The CTI Centre for Economics is based at the University of Bristol, within the Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT) which is host to more than thirty-four funded projects at the forefront of learning and research technology. Such projects include SOSIG (Social Science Information Gateway), Biz/ed (Business Education on the Internet), REGARD (an on-line service providing research information due to be launched later this year) and NetQuest (a project developing TML -Tutorial Markup Language - a superset of HTML, to enable tutors and students to create sets of questions for self or course assessment with automatic marking and user authentication).
Since the last copy of the journal there has been a change in CTI staff, so I would firstly like to introduce myself, I am Sally McAllister, the new CTI Economics Centre manager. I have come from Chester, to take up the position, where I worked to promote the use of computers in learning within the workforce in industry, and in education, for West Cheshire College. I feel that within Industry many employees do not get the opportunity to expand their knowledge of IT and the benefits attached to it, so when a major company expressed their desire to give their employees the chance to broaden their education through opening an IT workshop on site, it was a welcome and worthwhile challenge, which has thrived for the last 6 months and continues to do so.
Part of my duties included offering IT support to an array of staff and students studying many different subjects, from Economics to car maintenance. This role included assisting teaching staff in choosing the right software for their courses, helping them review it and identifying the potential of the software to adapt to their subject matter, thus enabling them to incorporate it into their teaching presentations.
Up until I was 29 years of age I never gave much thought to computers, but on the commencement of my degree I found that I had to use them (not through a yearning for them, but the fact that if I did not word process my assignments I would fail dismally.)
Perhaps the fact that by the end of the first year of my degree I had changed my Major from Biology to Computer Studies says it all! I was entranced by the endless ability (added to the relevant software) of the computer, which can be and in many cases has been adapted for so many different uses, including use in Higher Education as a teaching aid.
The potential of Computer Aided Learning (CAL) is enormous.
Students studying at higher levels now expect new technologies to be included in their curriculum in various forms, not least to promote their subject in a way which will help them to develop an awareness of the subject in an enjoyable and accessible way, but also to aid lecturers in their teaching of the relevant subjects.
In my new position I would hope that ongoing promotion of new technologies adapted for use in the Economics field will be both useful and enjoyable to lecturers and students alike.