The TEMPO Model: Outreach Program for Educators

by DR. MARY P. ABOUZEID, Assistant Professor and VIRGINIA A. SCOTT, Instructional Designer University of Virginia Charlottesville, Va. How d'es a major state university meet the ongoing educational needs of teachers scattered across the state? At the University of Virginia, TEMPO, an acronym for Teaching Educators McGuffey Practicums Off-Grounds, combines satellite broadcasts with two-way audio and live onsite instruction to deliver graduate reading courses throughout the state of Virginia. This unique program is jointly sponsored by the Curry School of EducationxD5s McGuffey Reading Center and the universityxD5s Division of Continuing Education. It serves about 700 students a year at 50 different sites. It meets the needs of teachers who require courses for recertification, as well as those interested in pursuing a graduate degree, but who are unable to physically attend the university because of schedule constraints or distance from the campus. How TEMPO Came to Be TEMPO is the brainchild of the late Dr. Edmund Henderson, Director of the McGuffey Reading Center at the universityxD5s Curry School of Education from 1969 to 1989, and his colleague Dr. Tom Gill. As an adjunct instructor for the Division of Continuing Education teaching reading courses at sites in nearby counties, Gill had experimented with using videotaped classroom demonstrations to enhance his lectures. With tapes of his own teaching demonstrations in classrooms of teachers he was instructing, Gill was able to show direct applications of the concepts and methods he presented in his lectures. Robert H. Crow, former director of the Charlottesville Regional Programs of the Division of Continuing Education, was so enthusiastic about the positive response instructors and school districts had to this teaching method that he supported expanding the effort. Henderson and Gill realized they could serve more sites if they combined onsite instruction with annotated videotaped demonstrations. They traveled to a school district in the morning, taped demonstrations in different classrooms, and taught in that school district in the evening. The following week they would send the annotated tape of their demonstrations to the class. They also answered questions by telephone. With this system, they were able to offer five courses away from the university each semester. For the first time in 1988, half of the TEMPO lectures were broadcast live via satellite for each course. On alternate weeks when lectures were not televised, Curry School faculty and adjunct instructors were teaching live at remote sites. They continued to use videotaped demonstrations to support both the live broadcasts and onsite instruction. The first Off-Grounds MastersxD5 program to be supported by this format was in remote southwest Virginia. Two additional faculty members, Dr. Marcia Invernizzi and Dr. Mary Abouzeid, both graduates of the McGuffey program, were hired to share the responsibilities of teaching on television and the on-grounds courses with Henderson and Gill. Through satellite technology, courses became available to the six Division of Continuing Education Centers throughout the state as well as any school district with downlink capabilities. The demand for courses grew so rapidly that the program soon required a director, an academic coordinator and an instructional designer. Dr. Gill, as director, continued to teach on television, to demonstrate teaching techniques in classrooms for videotaping, and to promote the program statewide. Abouzeid was hired to be the Academic Coordinator. Her responsibilities included teaching on television and recruiting and supporting the adjunct faculty. Virginia Scott was hired to provide support in instructional design and video production. The TEMPO Model The use of satellite technology makes possible the delivery of a core of lectures by McGuffey Reading Center faculty to students at remote sites. The weeks they are not receiving a televised class, students meet with an adjunct instructor. TEMPO adjunct instructors are usually classroom teachers who have received a mastersxD5 and/or doctoral degree in reading from the University of Virginia. They not only bring their knowledge to their students, but also considerable in-classroom experience. They often demonstrate hands-on activities that the teachers can then use in their own classrooms. An additional innovative component connects students in state classes to the universityxD1the endowed George Graham Lectures in Reading. Once each semester, students who are enrolled in all the TEMPO classes come on-grounds, joining the reading research community to hear nationally known scholars in reading talk about current issues and trends. This affords students from across the state the opportunity to meet each other and faculty members. TEMPO can justify the time, effort and cost associated with the production of televised courses because of the large enrollments they generate. Also, tapes of the live broadcasts are used for two to three years after production to support the adjunct instructors in the field. So while Foundations of Reading might be broadcast one semester, four other courses will be running simultaneously from previously broadcast courses. In this sense, the live broadcasts more than pay for themselves. Instructional Design Challenges Because of its rapid growth, TEMPO faculty needed support in video production and in reconfiguring their classes for television. The first task for the instructional designer was to improve what was already being done. This was accomplished by upgrading the quality of the video production and those overheads used on the air. The videotape library was organized with HyperCard software. Over time, the faculty learned to integrate 20-30 minutes of supporting video footage into their 90-minute lectures. Hand-scribbled or 12-point type overheads, the choice of faculty who were not attuned to the requirements for television, were replaced by ones that could be read on TV! Most recently, faculty have integrated overheads created with PowerPoint software; now, the overheads are not only readable, but engaging. They make possible a seamless presentation as the lecturer moves from overheads to video clips, then back to lecture mode. PowerPoint was also helpful in scripting each class. One important fact gleaned from our midstream evaluations of the televised portion of our classes is that teachers like to see other teachersxD5 classrooms and hear from other teachers how they do things. Because of this, we broadened our videotape library to include footage of teachers demonstrating what we wanted other teachers to learn, rather than just relying on faculty demonstrations. For example, one wellxD0received format for a televised course (on organization and supervision of the reading program) was to have guest teachers on the set talk about their classrooms. The guest teacher would talk around pre-recorded video clips of her class. Teachers at remote sites responded to the model she offered by asking questions and engaging in dialogues with her and teachers at other sites. The second challenge was to design the classes to include interactive exercises to increase studentsxD5 involvement. At first, the faculty teaching on television were reluctant to deviate from their standard lecture format, partly because their teaching loads did not allow them much time to prepare for television, much less experiment with new teaching techniques. Fortunately, their department chairperson at the Curry School acknowledged the need for additional time to prepare for teaching on TV, and reduced teaching loads so they could spend more time in preparation. We began creating short interactive exercises for use on the air, many of them based on video footage, that enabled students to become actively engaged in the lecture. Some footage was designed to test and activate their prior knowledge of concepts before a lecture topic was introduced. Other exercises were simulations of the kinds of activities we hoped they would start using in their own classrooms. We also began to design interactive outlines for students to receive in advance of the lecture. Students loved these! Outlines reduce the anxiety a distance learner often feels from being afraid of not being able to keep up with the lecture. They also provide enough space so that students can fill in notes without spending an undue amount of time trying to write down everything during a lecture. Extra Support for Faculty Finally, we needed to provide more support to the adjunct instructors in the field, particularly for new courses. This resulted in the collection of information for each course from which we would form student packets and instructor packets. Carefully selected articles were organized into lending libraries for each class since many students were far from a library that might provide current research. At the same time, the adjunct instructor meetings, which are held each semester and previously primarily administrative meetings, evolved into learning experiences for the adjuncts. We also began to create supplemental videotapes for adjunct instructors to use. These tapes are designed for a variety of purposes. Some provide students with opportunities to practice techniques first modeled on the tape. Others provide in-depth examples of classroom activities, too long for satellite broadcast, that demonstrate concepts being taught across different age groups and content areas. Tapes have also been designed to help adjunct instructors test students in the field. With the increase in production of finely tuned video clips, over time those faculty who have taught for TEMPO on television have started using videotapes in their on-grounds lectures. Faculty also now want videotapes for state and national conferences, as well as inservice presentations in schools. One faculty member who had initially not been comfortable talking around video clips during televised classes, comments that xD2he now feels as though he is standing in front of the class nakedxD3 if he tries to teach without video clips. Plans for the Future With Dr. Peter Dewitz, the new director of all state outreach programs for the McGuffey Reading Center including TEMPO, we look forward to new administrative leadership, grant-seeking efforts, and research on the impact of our courses on reading programs in schools. Two new Off-Grounds MastersxD5 programs in reading will begin this year, and TEMPO will again be the delivery system through which the universityxD5s faculty reach their students. While we intend to keep broadcasting courses live via satellite, the increased cost of satellite time has encouraged us to consider other options as well. We hope to experiment with the design and production of teaching modules on videotape that would be more cost effective and would give us more flexibility. Information that d'esnxD5t change from year to year, that is common to a lot of our courses, such as diagnostic techniques, might be appropriate for interactive videodisc development or a CD-ROM. ItxD5s not hard to envision that eventually the university will move toward two-way video and audio capability in the TV classrooms that now utilize satellites to broadcast. In the meantime, we try to get the most out of the media we have available to serve our students in the state. n The TEMPO program has information available on the Web and encourages interested educators to visit it.. mcguffey.html Mary Abouzeid is an assistant professor in the Curry School of Education in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education at the University of Virginia. She is also the Academic Coordinator for TEMPO. She teaches graduate reading courses both on-and off-grounds. E-mail: Virginia Scott has a MasterxD5s degree in instructional technology from the University of Virginia. She designs televised courses and provides video production support for TEMPO. E-mail: Products and companies mentioned: HyperCard; Apple Computer, Inc., Cupertino, CA, (800) 776xD02333 Microsoft PowerPoint for Macintosh; Redmond, WA, (800) 936xD05700

This article originally appeared in the 12/01/1995 issue of THE Journal.

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