Partnerships, Hybrid Learning… “It Doesn’t Work in Isolation”

E-textbooks. Hybrid and online courses. Using learner analytics to assess experiments that involve academic technology. The future of SmartSite.

These are a few of the areas that David Levin intends to discuss, and address, as director of Academic Technology Services for Information and Educational Technology. Below, you’ll find an excerpt from an interview with Levin. You can also read the full text.

Can you speak to hybrid and online initiatives at UC Davis?

Some areas are rapidly changing in academic technology, such as the idea of e-learning, or online learning. There are more online courses. We’ve got different initiatives, locally and through the system, to offer more hybrid and online courses. The supports the development of online courses across the UC. We participate with the other campuses, and have six faculty members working on online courses. On campus the provost has supported the Provost Hybrid Course Award, and we have partnered with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning to offer this program to faculty, so faculty can develop hybrid courses.

We need to think about where we are going with online learning. If there is an interest on our campus to offer more online and hybrid courses, what’s our capacity to do that? Where do we need to build, what partnerships do we need, and what are the holes here?

For example, if we want to help faculty develop online courses, and we want to have more than our UC Davis students taking our courses, how do we offer resources to those non-UC Davis students? They would need access to our technology. But they don’t have UC Davis accounts. How can we assure that they have access to the resources they need?

Take software. Right now we can have our students using various software packages in our computer lab. But the gating mechanism is that they are UC Davis students. We can’t say to anyone in the universe, ‘Oh, come and use SPSS [an expensive software] on our campus.’ That would violate our licensing agreement. Our site license doesn’t mean the world. It means the UC Davis student. How do we work around that?

Managing all those resources is a complicated issue.

You need vision to see where conditions are headed, and the ability to manage details the campus has not had to think about before.

Many of the issues and initiatives we work on go far beyond the scope of ATS or IET. We need to forge the right partnerships so we can get these discussions going.

On another side of it, we have faculty who are creating all kinds of great content for their online courses. How do we help them manage that content so that it remains their content? In the past, content that a faculty member presented in a class was unlikely to go elsewhere, other than through the notes of students. Now, if a faculty member creates a video and puts that video in SmartSite, a student can grab it and put it out on the Web for the world to see. That’s violating the intellectual property of the faculty member.

I imagine you welcome faculty who want to talk with you about all this?


What’s the best way for them to contact you?

Send me an email ( or call me (530-752-2133). Even better, as much as I live in the virtual world, I want to get together and talk with you. So, set up an appointment. Drop by.

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