The Instructional Technology Center picks one faculty member (or several members) each semester to be our "focus". Thus we like to call this feature of our website the 'Focus on Faculty''. They are chosen based on their use of technology and how they incorporate that technology into their teaching.
Dr. Timothy N. Burcham, P.E.
Professor and Parker Chair of Excellence, College of Agricultural & Applied Sciences
Dr. Burcham holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Engineering, and focuses his scholarly work in the areas of online education, water quality, animal waste management, and environmental engineering.
We chose Dr. Burcham as our Feature Faculty Member because of the many things we observe him doing with technology. Dr. Burcham regularly tries new technologies and is not afraid to venture into uses of technology that are previously untried.
He regularly pushes us here at the ITC to try new things and think of different ways to incorporate technology into the classroom, and for that, Dr. Burcham is our Feature Faculty Member for Spring 2007.
1. Do you think using technology helps you teach better? If so, how?
Yes, I think it brings another dimension to my teaching. I treat technology just like any other tool used in teaching. The use of technology in and of itself may or may not actually improve student learning, so it is important for the faculty member to be secure in their respective teaching style and the use of associated instructional technologies. Technology in the classroom can take on many different forms within the various disciplines represented at a university. Therefore, it is important that we do not foster a "one size fits all" paradigm, particularly as it relates to use of technology in teaching. I believe it is important for faculty using computer-based teaching technologies to keep their focus on "learning" and not the "tools" being used to facilitate the learning process. My goal is to use all appropriate means (computer technologies, personal mentoring, traditional lecture, etc.) to help my students "learn" to the best of their ability.
2. Is there anything at UTM in regard to technology that you would like to mention that makes a difference for you as you do your job?
I think the overall level of support we (the faculty) get from the ITC/ITS is excellent. I know that timely help for all my questions is only a phone call away. Our IT personnel are knowledgeable and professional in dealing with a wide range of technological issues. This kind of support allows me to keep my emphasis on "teaching" versus the "tools of teaching." As I share our teaching technologies with faculty members from other universities throughout the country, I realize how fortunate we are to be associated with a university that is committed to using technology to enhance excellence in teaching.
3. What are some current things that you are doing with your courses and your students that you are particularly proud of and want the campus to know about?
I am really excited about the audio/video capabilities of the new Apple MacBook computers, particularly as they relate to online learners. They provide an extremely easy platform for creating and posting audio/video Podcasts. These Podcast allow my online learners to be more "visually connected" with me as a teacher. The Apple MacBook and Windows-based Tablet PC provide a formidable set of tools for faculty to author content-rich learning objects for both online and resident learners.
Blackboard Course Request
Create a new course, get students enrolled, copy an existing course, or delete old courses.
Echo360 Classroom is a special setup in certain classrooms on campus that enable professors to record their classroom lectures and automatically upload them into Blackboard or iTunesU.
Website Change Request
All requests for departmental website changes should be submitted through the Website Change Request Form