Supporting Institutional Change: The Case of a Laptop University Initiative

By Gregory MacKinnon and Paula Cook MacKinnon.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

If North American society is to continue to thrive, it requires active and engaged citizens who have an enthusiasm for learning. In order for our youth to make significant societal contributions, an enthusiasm for learning must extend beyond their formal education. A positive predisposition to learning is dependent on many factors that include a faculty that understands the nature of the modern learner and how to engage that learner in meaningful and lasting ways. Engagement of a growing range of learners requires the thoughtful design of exemplary teaching environments. At the core of this challenge lies a reconsideration of curriculum; a concerted effort to encourage inquiry in the context of socially-important questions. In this age, the leaders of post-secondary institutions recognise that institutional change must be responsive, responsible and rapid in order to meet the increasing demands of the knowledge economy. In such a setting, how do institutional leaders encourage and support pedagogical and curricular change so that it is embraced and advanced by faculty who, for the most part have been encouraged to value research over teaching? This paper introduces the topic of institutional
change. Using lessons learned from the introduction of a notebook computer initiative close to a decade ago, the authors provide a retrospective of the successes and challenges that an institution has faced as it implemented change.

Keywords: Institutional Change, Laptop Universities, Technology, Faculty, Administration

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.147-154. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 575.615KB).

Dr. Gregory MacKinnon

Professor of Science and Technology Education, School of Education, Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada

Academic Background: Bsc(Hon) Chemistry; PhD Biorganic Chemistry (Drug Design); BEd (Science & Math Education); MEd (Science and Technology Education) Recent Publications include: (a) MacKinnon, G., Aylward, L. & Bellefontaine, J. (2006). Electronic discussion: A case study of the range of applications in a laptop university. Computers in the Schools 23 (1) 59-71., (b) MacKinnon, G. (2006). Contentious issues in science education: Building critical thinking patterns through two-dimensional concept mapping. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia. 15 (4), pp. 433-445. Chesapeake, VA: AACE., (c) MacKinnon, G. & Williams, P. (2006). Models for integrating technology in higher education: The physics of sound. Journal of College Science Teaching 35(7), 22-25., (d) MacKinnon, G. & Williams, P. (2006). An enhanced studio physics model: Which technologies are productive?. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching. 25 (1), 29-40., (e) MacKinnon, G. R. & Keppell (2005). Concept mapping: A unique means for negotiating meaning in professional studies. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia 14 (3), 291-315., (f) MacKinnon, G. (2005). Symbolic interactionism: A lens for judging the social constructivist potential of learner-centred chemistry software. International Journal of Technology in Teaching 1 (2), 89-102. and (g) MacKinnon, G. R. (2005). Forging new teaching models through enhanced communications: Action research in business, education and science classrooms. In Powers, S.M. & Janz, K. (Eds.), Ubiquitous and Pervasive Computing in Higher Education. Terre Haute, IN: Curriculum, Research and Development Center. (peer-reviewed research monograph)

Paula Cook MacKinnon

Higher Education Consultant, Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada

Paula Cook MacKinnon is the former Vice-President Student Affairs at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. In a university career that spanned nearly two decades, she has held administrative responsibility for student recruitment, student retention, admissions, campus programs, helath services, registrar, counselling and athletics.


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