NSF/JISC UK/US Program: Digital Libraries in the Classroom

From: DLI2 Coordinator <info_at_dli2.nsf.gov>
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 08:39:20 -0600


Press Release: JISC and NSF to collaborate on major digital initiative

24 Feb 2003

The UK and US to collaborate on major digital initiative

Monday 24th February, 2003.

The JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee) and the US National Science
Foundation (NSF) have agreed to fund a programme which will provide
exciting new content and a range of benefits to education sectors on both
sides of the Atlantic. The five-year programme, called 'Digital Libraries
in the Classroom' will cost around #6m ($9.5m) and will draw on best
practice in the creation and delivery of content from both the UK and the
US, resulting in a range of resources in four key subject areas.

The focus of the programme is to investigate and exploit the potential of
online resources in learning and teaching across a range of pre-selected
subject disciplines. But a key focus for each of the projects across the
programme will be to combine the application of sound pedagogic principles
in the creation, delivery and use of online materials, with new research
to develop the underlying information technology . The result will be
resources that will provide exemplars for the provision of digital
resources in disciplines beyond the ones chosen for development.

Malcolm Read, JISC Executive Secretary, welcomed the new programme,
saying: "The JISC and the NSF have a long history of collaboration, but
this is a particularly exciting programme which will bring a number of
important benefits on both sides of the Atlantic."

The programme consists of four projects, each of which will pool the
resources and expertise of British and US Universities with long and
distinguished track records in the use of information and communication
technologies. The projects are:

*The Spoken Word*

New resources for transforming teaching and learning - Glasgow Caledonian
University, North-western University, Michigan State University

Sound remains an educational resource as yet fully untapped, but its
possibilities in the digital realm are immense. Drawing extensively on BBC
and other sound archives and using the latest technology at their
disposal, this project will look at how audio resources can be
manipulated, applied, and used within a variety of learning situations.

*Teaching and Learning Anthropology*

Using 'scalable' digital library platforms and innovations in approaches
to content - London School of Economics and Columbia University

Digital resources provide the opportunity to deliver new insights in a
variety of ways. This project will develop digital tools and the
approaches and methods to use them successfully in undergraduate
anthropology courses. Many of the lessons of the project will be directly
relevant to teaching in many other disciplines.

*Digital Libraries in Support of Innovative Approaches to Teaching and
Learning in Geography* - University of Southampton, University of Leeds,
University of California, Santa Barbara, and University of Pennsylvania

Important skills in the analysis of spatial information can be taught
online and made available to undergraduates. This project will explore
these and other possibilities and, crucially, will explore how
cross-national collaboration can enhance and enrich the learning
experiences of geography students.

*Accelerating Globally Distributed Team Innovation* - University of
Strathclyde and Stanford University

This project will enable students to take part in global team-based design
engineering projects in which they directly experience different cultural
contexts and access a variety of different information sources via a range
of appropriate technologies.

Crucial to these projects will be the cross-disciplinary lessons that
projects in other subject areas will be able to learn. They also represent
the first instance of combining the use of rich electronic content with
the technologies that enable innovative delivery in core use in the
learning process. They will therefore provide an important testing ground
for the application of digital technologies to the practicalities of
learning and teaching in the classroom. Peter Freeman, the NSF Assistant
Director for Computer and Information Science and Engineering, said: "NSF
is delighted to partner with JISC in the support of these innovative
projects. We anticipate that they will help set the standard for the
development of digital resources of the future."

Taking these resources and these methods of teaching with technology out
of the domain of the enthusiasts and into the broader arena where whole
departments and institutions will have to engage will mark a significant
cultural, educational and technological shift, one with important
implications for the future. Howard Newby, Chief Executive of the Higher
Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), fully endorsed this
approach, saying: "These projects provide a model for the future. These
institutions have put their full weight behind this programme. This will
mean that the resources created by these projects will have direct and
beneficial use in the classroom."

For further information, please contact:

Rachel Bruce - JISC
+44 020 7848 2572

Stephen M. Griffin - National Science Foundation
+1 703-292-8930

Notes for editors

1. The JISC is a joint committee of the UK further and higher education
funding bodies, and is responsible for supporting the innovative use of
information and communication technology (ICT) to support learning,
teaching, and research. It is best known for providing the SuperJANET
network and a portfolio of high-quality resources. Information about the
JISC, its services and programmes can be found at http://www.jisc.ac.uk/.
Contact Philip Pothen on +44 (0)20 7848 2937, email

2. NSF is an independent agency of the United States government that
supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science
and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5 billion. NSF funds
reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and
institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 30,000 competitive requests
for funding, and makes about 10,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards
over $200 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
Information about NSF can be found at http://www.nsf.gov/. Contact David
Hart at +1 703-292-8070, dhart_at_nsf.gov.
Received on Tue Feb 25 2003 - 14:39:20 GMT

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