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Release: Immediate

UI business college opens first multi-media center designed for business education

IOWA CITY, Iowa ­- Online education will come alive this fall for business students at the University of Iowa thanks to a first-of-its-kind educational technology center at the UI College of Business Administration that will help faculty use the latest in online audio, online video and other computer technology to augment classroom teaching.

The college's New Media Center ­ called COBALT (College of Business Advanced Learning Technologies) ­ will provide business faculty, students and staff with instructional and technological support to create online lessons, assignments and other learning activities.

COBALT, located in Room W294 of the Pappajohn Business Administration Building, is the first center dedicated solely to business education to be located within a business college. The recognition comes from the international consortium of New Media Centers. (For a full list and other information on New Media Centers, visit

Robert Forsythe, senior associate dean for faculty and development, says the creation of the center continues the UI business school's emphasis on providing students and faculty with the latest technology to assist learning.

Forsythe says students will benefit from the activities of the center by having greater access to faculty, classroom and non-classroom materials. They will also become more adept at using new technologies, skills that they will need as graduates in the business world of the future.

"Recent computer technology has opened a world of opportunities for faculty and students to explore new ways of delivering education in ways that are flexible, timely, and readily accessible," says Forsythe. "By creatively taking advantage of new technological developments, faculty can better use classroom time for interactions with and among students to focus on educational issues in more dynamic ways."

COBALT, which officially opened July 1, is co-directed by Joan Huntley, a founder of the campuswide New Media Center Second Look Computing, and by Maggie Jesse, who directs the college's World Wide Web initiatives. Other staff include Linda Knowling, digital media designer, and Kate Lewis and Sherri Krob, digital media technicians.

Huntley says the goal of the center is to provide guidance to faculty to use multi-media in ways that are specific to business education. Traditionally, business education's number-focused curriculum hasn't lent itself to multi-media, but that is changing as new developments are made in software and as businesses realize the importance of being online, Huntley says.

"The way business is done has changed dramatically with the development of the Internet and the World Wide Web," Huntley says. "The same is true for business education."

Several faculty have already begun using COBALT to explore new ways of presenting information. Some examples:

* Beth Ingram, associate professor of economics, has posted the lectures for an introductory course online as audio files. Students can click on each lecture and hear them presented by Ingram. As the audio lecture plays, the screens on the web browser change to present different information. (

* Kurt Anstreicher, professor of management sciences, has created a website to augment his lectures on linear programming. Students see video stills of Anstreicher presenting lectures, allowing them to revisit work covered in class and to work on problems presented in class. (

* Thomas Pogue, professor of economics, has created an online database for his course on public sector economics that allows students to record how they would change the amount the federal government spends for various purposes. It also allows them to show how they would change the federal tax system. Students are asked to record their changes at both the beginning and the end of the course. Comparing the changes provides an indication of how students' perceptions about government taxing and spending are altered by the course. (

Huntley says a priority of the new center is for faculty members to keep their individual personalities when presenting information online.

"The College of Business Administration has some wonderful teachers, and we want to make sure that comes through in the technology," Huntley says. "These are not static, two-dimensional web pages. You get the essence of a very good teacher in a very convenient way."

Jesse says many faculty have been active in developing new ways to use technology in their teaching, but staying up-to-date requires constant awareness of software developments and research. COBALT will serve as a resource for faculty who want to develop new ideas or work on multi-media presentations.

The New Media Center is the latest in a series of technological developments at the College of Business Administration. In May, the college became the first on campus to offer students wireless access to the Internet and the World Wide Web through a local access network based in the Pomerantz Business Library.

Visit the College of Business Administration's website at