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Published February 12, 2007 | Multidisciplinary

A Cooperative Collegiate Reality Confronts Our Cultural Conundrum!

It was an exciting time, and this was before the advent of blogs, wikis, and other teamworking innovations. Nicole Perreault, who recently wrote a report on plagiarism for Profweb, became involved with on-line teamworking as director of APOP in the early 90s. She organized the first Internet 'Teachers' Room' (Salle des profs) where instructors from any department or discipline could start a chat room, invite colleagues to participate and share resources and techniques. Within months of its creation, the 'Teachers' Room' had more than thirty discipline focused sections.

Several years later, Profweb animaweb Fraçcoise Marceau found herself working to create the IT Representatives' Network. In November 2002, an IT representative was named in each college of the Quebec network, theoretically in both English and French networks. A first meeting at Cégep Limoilou confirmed the teamworking potential for the organization. Representatives from both anglophone and francophone colleges were invited to meetings, but many anglophones did not attend.

From this first meeting, profiles outlining Information Technology competence for IT representatives were determined by focus groups and work was assigned to produce the resources required for this position. In several months the work of francophone representatives resulted in important position papers such as the Profile of a Graduate in Humanities as Regards IT Integration and the Profile of a Graduate in Accounting and Management Technologies as Regards IT Integrationwhich are both available in English.

Since this time the French IT Representatives' Network, le Réseau REPTIC, has been incredibly productive. References such as the profil TIC et informationnel pour l’ensemble des élèves du collégial, a modèle d’élaboration d’un plan d’intégration pédagogique des TIC, and pragmaTIC Competencies for IT teachers are on-line. An English pamphlet outlining the role of the IT representative is also available.

At the heart of the francophone IT Representatives network is an activity called Pratiques mobilisatrices. This is an on-line electronic survey mechanism that allows reps to ask questions, respond and then post the entire range of answers as a reference for other members of the network to consult. Subjects covered include activities to promote IT integration, student projects of interest, Powerpoint presentations to help reps train users in IT and a research engine.

In 2007 the francophone members of the IT Representatives are a dynamic lot. Passionately involved in the ongoing process of IT integration, they regularly meet virtually using the VIA platform, they communicate with their 'practiques mobilisatrices' surveys and three times a year come together physically. The hard work building principles and priorities outlined in the documents mentioned above functions as a guide keeping participants focused and productive.

Next week the IT representatives will again meet in Cégep Limoilou to celebrate their fourth year. The rich activity scheduleis testimony to the vibrancy of the network. An IT student profile, a pedagogical IT integration plan and the use of the electronic portfolio are on the agenda. Nicole Perreault's recent report on Electronic Plagiarism and the use of Smart Boards will also be presented. Of course, anglophone IT representatives are invited.

IT Representatives from the English colleges have been meeting in their own English network since 2005. A major project was working on the first IT Fair which happened in the Spring of 2006. The IT Fairs have been an important activity for the network providing an opportunity for staff at the English colleges to exchange information and learn about new developments.

Profweb covers meetings and events of IT Representatives in both languages. The English sector, although dynamic and productive in its own way, cannot have the dynamism of activities in the much larger French section. Perhaps, it is the collaborative nature of informational technology that has made the de facto separation of the IT Representatives into anglophone and francophone sections so striking. This state of affairs is not likely to continue in its present state for long, and careful consideration must be given to tentatives to build bridges between the two electronic solitudes. How can the two organizations share activites? Can activites like the IT Fair and 'practiques mobilisatrices' surveys be made more welcoming to the other linguistic group?

If you would like to communicate your thoughts about these issues drop us a line in the 'Contact Us' section of Profweb or discuss it with your IT representative.

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