The term virtualization is intentionally broad in scope. It is designed to capture all facets of the use of media and information technologies as they are used in the teaching and learning environment, both inside and outside the classroom.
In other words, we need to consider not just traditional ‘top-down’ technologies such as PowerPoint, web pages, videoconferencing and WebCT, many of which are now pervasive at Queen’s and elsewhere, but also the whole gamut of technologies and uses of technology.
In examining the potential for virtualization, it is necessary to consider the culture of Queen's, which has always given primacy to the on-campus learning and living environment. Our results in surveys such as the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) show that this has benefits in terms of students’ perceived sense of engagement. However, this model is increasingly challenged by enrolment growth, larger class sizes, limits on classroom and social space, and a growing gap between revenues and expenditures.
In light of this, it is tempting to seek short-term fixes which enable us to "do more with less". While the committee has identified several areas in which this may indeed be possible and believes that these should be explored, there was also unanimity in considering that the touchstone in our behaviour must be the primacy of the teaching and learning environment. In every case, we must ask ourselves: does this innovation allow learning to happen better or in a way which might not otherwise be possible?
To examine the potential for use of information technology and electronic media in reducing costs of instruction, alleviating space constraints associated with growing enrolment, and enhancing the quality of the teaching and learning environment at Queen’s.