Prof Believes New Media Are Changing Academia

Lecture by Digital Culture Expert to Discuss Ramifications for Universities

Are academic libraries as we know them relics of the past?

The rapidly changing structure of information flow has brought into question the relevancy of certain academic institutions, says Dr. David Parry, an assistant professor at UT Dallas.

“Scholars estimate that every 15 minutes the amount of information produced online equals that housed in the 200-year history of the Library of Congress,” says Dr. David Parry, an assistant professor of emerging media.

Parry, who specializes in emerging media, digital culture and literary theory in the School of Arts and Humanities, will discuss his viewpoints in a free public presentation titled, “The University and the Future of Knowledge,” at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

The event, part of the McDermott Library Lecture Series, and will be held in the McDermott Suite located on the fourth floor of the library. The presentation is also part of the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the establishment of UT Dallas.

“Scholars estimate that every 15 minutes, the amount of information produced online equals that housed in the 200-year history of the Library of Congress,” he says. “What were once powerful intellectual institutions are now being made irrelevant by the new structure of information flow. Wikipedia replaces Britannica, newspapers are crumbling, and students admit that they complete a college education without stepping foot in the library.

“In this rapidly changing knowledge, what is the role of the university? And perhaps more importantly, what is the future of knowledge production, dissemination, and archivization?”

ATEC Prof to Take Clinical Concepts to Virtual World

Assistant Professor Marjorie Zielke has been awarded a three-year, $350,000 grant to create online training in neonatal nursing through an ongoing collaboration with the UT Arlington School of Nursing (UTASON).

“Student learning will be enriched by faculty perspectives from across the country,” Marjorie Zielke said of her project.

Zielke, with Arts and Technology (ATEC) faculty members Monica Evans, Frank Dufour and Todd Fechter, will build a Web site that allows student nurses to be taught concurrently by faculty from Dartmouth University, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, the University of Texas at Arlington and Stony Brook University School of Nursing in New York.  The new research enhances subject matter review and creates a more portable learning experience.

“Student learning will be enriched by faculty perspectives from across the country,” said Zielke. “Students also will benefit from the social community of other graduate-level nursing students through this virtual learning environment.”

The course subject matter covers conditions in fetuses and babies under 2 years old.  Students can download a lecture as a podcast or video, and then follow up with a virtual examination of an infant in a no-risk environment. The virtual environment allows for endless practice and limitless scenarios in a risk-free environment. For instance, the instructor can program symptoms such as respiratory distress into a 3D model, rather than teach based on the conditions of patients visiting a clinic or hospital on a given day.

ATEC students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels also will participate in this project, performing research, modeling, animation, story development and computer programming.

Research project sponsors are the UTASON, with principal investigator Dr. Judy Leflore, and the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Professor Zielke is thinking beyond the virtual classroom. In addition to her work on grants from The University of Texas System and other healthcare organizations, she plans to create a virtual baby, which is difficult because of the current technology used to capture motion. A researcher cannot, for instance, direct an infant to raise its right arm so that the cameras and computers can capture every nuance of the movement as a basis for animation.

“We like to take on complex projects that no one really knows how to do,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in being able to represent humans virtually, both physically and cognitively. Representing non-verbal communication is especially challenging.  This line of research has the potential to make a major difference in the way online medical education and medical simulations are done today.”