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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 19, 2007

Feb. 22 'ICON Day' Examines How Web Technology Impacts Learning

The vast majority of University of Iowa students use a Web-based course management system called Iowa Courses Online (ICON) to submit assignments, take quizzes, chat with classmates or access documents they need for classes.

The widespread use of such technology has created a hot topic among some educators: Do students who use the technology actually learn better?

Linda Jorn, director of the University of Minnesota's Digital Media Center, will tackle that topic during an interactive keynote address at 10:15 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 22. Jorn will speak in the Richey Ballroom at the Iowa Memorial Union.

Jorn's talk is part of ICON Day, a mini-conference at which UI faculty, staff and students will share the innovative ways they're using ICON. The event is sponsored by ITS Academic Technologies. All ICON Day events are free and public.

At 1 p.m., UI instructors and students will display and discuss posters illustrating innovative ways they use ICON. Poster topics include: "The Iowa ePortoflio," a web-based electronic portfolio; results of a faculty ICON survey;  information about future plans for ICON; and examples of how ICON is used for online professional development courses offered by UI Learning and Development.

"Our main goal is to foster communication between different units on campus," said Aprille Clarke, an ICON administrator at the UI and organizer of the event. "Sometimes people in different colleges don't get a chance to see the interesting things people are doing across the river, for example. This gives them an opportunity to share their work and be inspired by the work of others."

Other highlights of the conference include a 3:15 p.m. demonstration by Kenneth Chapman, a product manager at Desire2Learn, the company that makes the software that runs ICON.

ICON is used by about 24,000 UI students for 2,000 courses. In December 2006, ICON replaced two similar programs used at the UI: WebCT and Blackboard.

Visit for registration information and a complete ICON Day schedule.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Nicole Riehl, 319-384-0070,; Program: Aprille Clarke, 319-335-6102,

EDITORS: Aprille (with two l's is cq).