Archive of Educational Technology Articles from UC Berkeley

For those of you who are interested in the history of educational technology, this is an archive of articles on that topic from UC Berkeley. They were published in Berkeley Computing & Communications (BC&C), which was published by Information Systems & Technology. Many of the articles were written by staff from the Instructional Technology Program (ITP), a sub-unit of IS&T.

This post also includes a list of articles published in ITP’s newsletter. Mostly they are about the forums, seminars, and workshops organized by ITP. Unfortunately, I do not have pdf versions of these articles, yet. However, I do have hard copy versions, which I plan to post once I find the time.

Instructional Technology Program Newsletter Articles and Events


  • CMU Tutor Forum (guest speaker from CMU)
  • Course of Action Seminar
  • STELLA Forum
  • Systeme-D Seminar (Cornell)


  • Grapevine Seminar
  • HyperCard Forum
  • Intermedia Seminar (Brown)
  • Literature and Writing Instruction Forum (CMU)
  • Mathematica Forum (Illinois-Urbana)
  • Shakespeare Seminar (Stanford)
  • Sun New Operating System Seminar
  • Women’s Computer Fair
  • Physics Seminar (University of Maryland)


  • CAD Forum
  • Calculus Workshop
  • Collaborative Writing Workshop
  • HyperCard Training Workshop (Beginning)
  • HyperCard Training Workshop (Intermediate)
  • ITP Project Fair
  • LabView Forum


  • Interactive Media Seminar – MacroMind
  • Physics Forum (Harvard)
  • Physics Seminar (MIT)
  • Macademia (8 Forums, 15 Presentations)
    Engineering in Education
    Interactive Media for Learning
    Mathematics and Physics Instruction
    Modelling, Simulation, and Experimentation in Physical and Natural Sciences
    Teaching Computer Science
    Technology for Teaching, Writing, and Foreign Language


  • Easy-to-use Multimedia Development Environments Forum (U. Chicago, UCSF)
  • Hypermedia in Education
  • Writing and Composition Seminars (USC, Lewis & Clark)
  • Computer-Aided Design & Computer Science Seminar
  • Presentation Software Training Workshops
  • Teaching in the “Classroom of the Future” Forum (Stanford)
  • Physics Macintosh Laboratory Open House
  • Interactive Multimedia Development Laboratory Open House
  • Foreign Language Focus Group Seminar on Easy-to-Use Sound and Video


  • QuickTime Training Workshop
  • Seminar on Mental Models in Chemistry (Michigan)
  • Writing and Composition Seminars (Stanford, UCLA)
  • Scientific Visualization Forum (Illinois-Urbana, USCD)

BC&C Articles on the WWW and Educational Technology


Spin Your Own Web
by Shuli Roth
Jan-Feb 1995

WWW Home Pages Server Installed on Violet and Garnet
by Ginger Ogle and Ruben Zelwer
March 1995

Courseware Developer’s Update 

  • SuperCard 2.0 – a Powerful Multimedia Tool
  • QuickTime Notes
  • Macromedia Director Notes

by Jeff Rusch and Judy Stern
Instructional Technology Program
Summer 1995

Writing Tools in the Classroom
by David Elderbrock
Instructional Technology Program
Summer 1995

Announcing UC Berkeley Library WWW Page
by Roy Tennant, Library Web Manager
Sept-Oct 1995


CyberSemester 1997
by Jack McCredie, Director of IS&T
Nov-Dec 1996


Faculty to get help with Web sites
by Fred Beshears, ITP
April-May 1997

Note: This article describes ITP’s initial efforts to help faculty create course websites. Some faculty want to roll-their-own course website, often with the help of a graduate student. This is what Tony Bates calls the Lone Ranger model of course content development. At this point, ITP has not started to offer coursesites on an LMS, but that was coming soon.

OMS launches Computer Assistance Program
by Randy Saffold, Computer Assistance Program Coordinator
Summer 1997

Note: Up until this point, ITP had been in the business of hiring graduate students and undergrads to work with faculty. Now, OMS decides that they want to get into this business as well. Later, OMS would decide that they also wanted to get into the business of supporting Learning Management Systems.

Socrates to host research and instructional Web servers
by Sherry Rogers
Winter 1997

Note: IS&T decides to help faculty post course websites on Amber, one of their Unix systems devoted to academic computing. We find that creating separate websites for each course taught by a particular faculty member gets out of hand very quickly, especially when faculty want a separate course website when they teach the same course in a subsequent semester. Faculty also find it difficult to tie together various Unix based tools (e.g. bulletin boards and email) when they try to teach a course. This was sometimes called the ‘cafeteria problem’ – faculty have to go down a complex cafeteria line of different support services when they teach a course, and they are expected to have the technical skills to pull all of these services together. For example, they have trouble getting a list of email addresses for every student enrolled in their course. These are the administrative problems that LMS were invented to solve.


Classroom technology development
by Bruce R. Pray, Director of ITP
Instructional Technology Program
Summer 1998

New tools to help instructors create and maintain course websites
by Fred M Beshears
Instructional Technology Program
Sept-Oct 1998

Note: This article provides the campus with an introduction to a Learning Management System. It also describes the need for standards. Also, it describes the four LMS that ITP has evaluated: WebCT, CourseInfo (which eventually becomes Blackboard), TopClass, and Web Course in a Box. After the evaluation period, ITP decides to just support WebCT, but eventually ITP decides to also support BlackBoard. At this point, both the WebCT and Blackboard systems are low-end. These companies are just getting started and have not released their enterprise-level LMS products.

Seminar examines standards for developing online course management and digital library systems
by Fred M Beshears
Instructional Technology Program
Nov-Dec 1998

Note: This event attracted representatives from all nine UC Campuses. It featured presenters from IMS, which is now called IMS Global.

Faculty members learn new skills at Instructional Technology Institute
by Judy Stern
Instructional Technology Program
Nov-Dec 1998


Course web pages
by Bjorn Solberg, Director of Student Information Systems (IS&T)
Winter 1999


Talks on Demystifying Technology for Teaching
by Judy Stern
April-May 2000

Interactive University Project: Update on Phase 2 work
David Greenbaum
Fall 2000

Summer 2000 Faculty Technology Program
by Judy Stern, Instructional Technology Program
and by Ellen Meltzer, The Teaching Library
Fall 2000

Talks on Demystifying Technology for Teaching
by Judy Stern
November-December 2000

Services for creating course websites and linking to the Schedule of Classes
by Carol T. Christ, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
and by Alice M. Agogino, Faculty Assistant to the Executive Vice Chancellor
Winter 2000

UC Berkeley’s proposed Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology
by Alice M. Agogino, Faculty Assistant to the Executive Vice Chancellor
Winter 2000


Digital Chem 1A: An experiment in integrating technology into Berkeley’s largest lecture course
by Natalie Kato, IST-AVCO
and by Diane Harley, Berkeley Multimedia Research Center, and the Center for Studies in Higher Education
Spring 2001

Interactive University Project: New Directions in 2001
by David Greenbaum, IST-STP
Spring 2001

Remaining spring Instructional Technology events
by Judy Stern, ITP
Spring 2001

Summer Faculty Technology Program
by Judy Stern, Educational Technology Services
Fall 2001

Learning Management Systems at UC Berkeley: The present and the future
by Wendy Edelstein, Educational Technology Services
November-December 2001

OMS and ITP merge to become Educational Technology Services (ETS)
by Wendy Edelstein, ETS
November-December 2001

Note: This is about the merger of Office of Media Services (OMS) and the Instructional Technology Program (ITP). Prior to this merger, the ITP was in charge of the campus wide Learning Management System support services. OMS was a much larger unit that had mostly provided Audio Visual support for the general assignment classrooms. At the time, ITP was supporting two low-end versions of WebCT and BlackBoard. Programmers at Student Information Services had developed a very simple system for linking course websites to the Schedule of Classes. ITP had a budget to purchase a high end version of BlackBoard, but this plan had been scrapped. The campus was in the process of deciding whether to build or buy a high-end LMS for the campus. Eventually, we decided to join Sakai so we could co-develop a LMS with the other members of Sakai.

Webcast.berkeley: Courses live and on demand
by Wendy Edelstein, ETS
November-December 2001

Note: The merger of OMS and ITP also brought in the webcast system developed by the Berkeley Multimedia Resource Center, which had been directed by Berkeley CS Professor Larry Rowe.

Current streaming media support on campus
by Tom Hutcheson, OMS
and by Ann Dobson, IST-CCS
Winter 2001

Note: This describes how various units have been involved in providing streaming media support. The units that have been involved are IS&T Academic Computing Services, Berkeley Multimeida Research Center, Berkeley Language Center, Media Resources Center in Moffitt Library, Instructional Technology Program, and the Office of Media Services.

Spring Instructional Technology event
by Judy Stern, ITP
Winter 2001


2002 Summer Faculty Technology Program
by Judy Stern, ETS
Fall 2002

A transitional year for course websites
by Mara Hancock, Karen Miles, Judy Stern,and Oliver Heyer
Educational Technology Services
Fall 2002

Meet Mara Hancock, Educational Technology Services’ new Web Services Manager
by Mara Hancock and Michael Hardie
Educational Technology Services
Summer 2002

Understanding educational technology interoperability standards: An annotated resource list
by Raymond Yee, IST – Interactive University
Summer 2002

ETS training events
by Judy Stern, ETS
November-December 2002

Redesigned webcast.berkeley
by Obadiah Tarzan Greenberg, ETS
November-December 2002


Campus videoconferencing facility renovated
by Jeff Henry, ETS
iNews 2003

Can IT help to transform higher education?
by Jack McCredie, UC Berkeley Chief Information Officer
iNews 2003

Note: This article is in response to “IT Doesn’t Matter,” an article written by Nicholas G. Carr, editor-at-large of the Harvard Business Review. Carr argues that since many IT functions can be outsources, they really do not provide a corporation with a competitive edge. Jack McCredie’s article takes issue with Carr’s argument. He claims that: “Educational institutions that incorporate information technology in better ways than their peers will do better in the competition for great students, faculty, and staff.”

This article raises a number of questions. Should we develop our own LMS (the homegrown option); should we outsource development to a commercial LMS vendor (e.g. Blackboard); or should we develop a community source LMS (e.g. Sakai)?

When it comes to textbooks, most schools outsource this work to textbook publishers, but now the Open Education Resources movement has begun to develop creative commons textbooks.

Now we also have massive open online courses (MOOCs), which could in theory be more than just open online textbooks.

So, now the questions Jack was addressing in the article above also apply to textbooks and courses.

In 2005, I broached the idea of creating a large consortium of schools that would pay the British Open University to put all of its content in the public domain. You can read about that idea here: The case for creative commons textbooks.

IT Doesn’t Matter
by Nicholas G. CarrHarvard Business Review
May 2003

CourseWeb update
by Mara Hancock, ETS
iNews 2003

Note: CourseWeb was a system developed by Berkeley’s Student Information Services. It linked to course websites developed elsewhere, and it provided an extended description of the course along with a few other features such as the current syllabus for a course. CourseWeb was integrated with the Registrar’s Class Schedule, a system that was also developed by SIS. It was separate and distinct from the commercial LMS now being run by ETS: low end versions of WebCT and Blackboard.

ETS launches new Multimedia Services team
by Mara Hancock, ETS
iNews 2003

CourseWeb: The next generation – redefining the strategy for learning systems on the UC Berkeley campus
by Mara Hancock
Summer 2003

Note: At this point, ETS supports three different LMS: a low-end version WebCT, low-end version of BlackBoard, and a home-grown system, CourseWeb, that is integrated with the Registrar’s systems. CourseWeb, however, only provides a few features such as links to websites developed elsewhere, a current syllabus, and course descriptions. In 2002, ETS conducted an RFP with the intention of buying an enterprise version of an LMS from some commercial vendor such as BlackBoard. However, the RFP process has been cancelled.

As I recall, ETS joined Sakai in 2003 and would eventually decide to co-develop a enterprise level LMS with other members of Sakai. This community source LMS would eventually become the enterprise level LSM for the Berkeley campus. It would interoperate with the Registrar’s Class Schedule and the campus Student Information System. Nevertheless, the gameplan according to this article was for ETS to work with SIS to continue to develop CourseWeb in house.

Also, at this point, ETS plans to work with standards setting bodies such as IMS Global. However, in late 2006, ETS decides to pull out of IMS. Then, in late 2007, the UC Office of the President decides to re-join IMS.

All-UC video conference on MIT’s Open Courseware Initiative
by Fred M Beshears, ETS
Spring 2003

Note: Berkeley invites representatives from MIT’s OCW Initiative to explain what is now known as Open Educational Resources to representatives from all nine UC campuses. In 2003, the idea of inviting faculty to give away course content (e.g. PowerPoint slides used in lecture) was very new and controversial. What we were learning, however, is that many faculty are actually happy to do this, as long as they get credit for their work. At this point, we did not have the kinds of creative commons licenses that we now do. These licenses help clarify exactly what is being given away.

Upcoming ETS training
by Judy Ster, ETS
Spring 2003

What’s new with CourseWeb?
by Mara Hancock, ETS
Winter 2003

Note: ETS continues to work with Student Information Services to do pilot testing and to build new features into Berkeley’s home-grown system: CourseWeb. At the same time, ETS still supports two low-end versions of commercial LMS: WebCT and Blackboard.


ePortfolios: What’s behind the hype?
by Phil Walz, School of Information Management and Systems
iNews 2004

Multimedia Services Update
by Adam Hochman, ETS
iNews 2004


ETS Multimedia Services to be phased out
by Mara Hancock, ETS
iNews 2005

Sakai Project and community source at UC Berkeley
by Mara Hancock,ETS
iNews 2005

Note: UC Berkeley joined the Sakai project in December of 2003. The plan outlined here calls for phasing out the low-end versions of WebCT and Blackboard. Berkeley’s brand for the Sakai software will be bSpace. At this point, ETS is “anticipating moving some of the CourseWeb functionality into bSpace.” Eventually, the home-grown CourseWeb system will be phased out in favor of Sakai.

The case for creative commons textbooks
by Fred M Beshears, ETS
iNews 2005

Note: This article looks at the cost of commercial textbooks and argues for a creative commons alternative. It uses cost data from the British Open University, which develops online courses for around 250,000 students. Further, it calculates what it would cost a large coalition of schools (around 1,000 schools) to buy the content produced by the OU and then release that content with a creative commons license. (Note: contrary to what this article states, the British Open University spends up to $3 million per course, not an average of $3 million. This, of course, lowers the cost of buying the OU’s content and putting it in the public domain.)

As this article notes, the idea of organizing 1,000 schools to collectively purchase resources that would open sourced was initially proposed by Ira Fuchs. He called his idea Educore. However, he was mostly talking about developing software for student record systems and learning management systems. This article extends Ira’s idea to domain of textbooks.

There is at least one problem this article does not address: How do you get faculty to use open textbooks once they’re made available? At the OU, this isn’t a problem: Teaching faculty are obliged to use the content developed by the senior faculty who supervise the development and maintenance of the content owned by the OU.

An updated version of this article can be found at: The case for creative commons textbooks.

An article that discusses ways to encourage faculty to use creative commons textbooks can be found at: Persuading faculty to select open textbooks.

Webcast.berkeley update: rebuilt application, podcasts, and more
by Obadiah Greenberg, ETS
iNews 2005


Organizational Changes at IST and the Office of the CIO
by Shel Waggener, Chief Information Officer
iNews 2006

Note: This plan differentiates IS&T, the central technology delivery organization, from the Office of the CIO, which will be responsible stewarding the Campuswide IT Strategic Plan as well as IT architecture, policy, security, privacy, ad staff development.

What is not mentioned in this article is that towards the end of 2006 UC Berkeley (i.e. ETS) decided to withdraw from IMS Global. Up until then, I had been the representative to IMS and had served as co-chair of the IMS technical board for two years. However, towards the end of 2007, the UC Office of the President decided to re-join IMS Global. Back in 2006, Shel Waggener told me that he had asked the other CIOs in the UC System if there was any interest in staying in IMS. Shel informed me that there was no interest in IMS at that time. But to my surprise, approximately twelve months later, the UCOP decided to join IMS.

In my opinion, it’s good that the UC system decided to re-join IMS. Their standards play a central role in helping schools plan their IT architecture.


bSpace in full swing
by Mara Hancock, ETS – Learning Systems
iNews 2007

Note: WebCT has now been retired, and the “creaky” low-end Blackboard System is in the process of being phased out. bSpace is the local implementation of Sakai. This article also explains the challenges of working with a coalition of schools to develop ‘community source’ software.

Campus classroom upgrade and renovation project
by Brenda Farmer, ETS Classroom technology
and by LaVern Lazzereschi, Office of the Registrar
iNews 2007

New bSpace release and Blackboard retirement
by Mara Hacock, ETS – Learning Systems
iNews 2007

Note: As of July 31, 2007, the UCB campus no longer hostsor supports courses in either WebCT or Blackboard. Sakai is now the single enterprise LMS on the Berkeley Campus. According to this article, ETS plans to retire the homegrown Couseweb system in January of 2008.

UC Berkeley ETS receives Mellon Grant for the Fluid Project, a community source UI project
by Mara Hancock, ETS-Learning Systems
iNews 2007

Note: “The Fluid project will help universities provide more usable, consistent, and accessible web applications to all users, including those with special needs. … The project’s core partners are UC Berkeley, the University of Cambridge Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies (CARET), the University of British Columbia, and York University. Participating community source software projects include Sakai, uPortal, and Kuali Student.”


Shel Waggener named Associate Vice Chancellor for IT, campus CIO
by IST Public Information Staff
iNews May 13, 2008

bSpace and Sakai 3.0
by Oliver Heyer, ETS
iNews September 12, 2008

Note: Sakai 3.0 now has its own user experience project (UXI – Sakai UX Improvement). According to this article, “ETS plans to join the UX Improvement effort during the fall semester in order to help simultaneously ensure that it meets the requirements of bSpace users and make a major contribution to its overall success. ETS will likely participate under the aegis of the Fluid project, which is building accessibility and usability tested software “components” that can be plugged into the UX Improvement code.”

The evolution of the IT organization
by Shel Waggener, CIO
iNews 2008

Note: “The era of monolithic centralized IT control via the mainframe has passed. The confusion and duplication brought about by a decentralized model can no longer be sustained in today’s world of ever-shrinking resources. The time of individual empowerment through the democratization of technology is upon us. So what’s it going to be? Struggling to maintain control while doing it all, or embracing IT’s future using the demand and supply organizational model?”

The Fluid project
by Allison Bloodworth, ETS-Learning Systems
iNews 2008



Educational Technology Servics (ETS) 2009 Annual Report
by Mara Hancock, Director ETS
iNews April 23, 2010

ETS pilots web conferencing tools for teaching
by Lisa Rothrauff, ETS
iNews October 27, 2010

Note: “This past spring and summer, ETS launched a pilot of Adobe Connect, a conferencing tool that facilitates virtual communication and collaboration via the Web. Like WebEx and Skype, Adobe Connect is often used as a low-cost way to conduct meetings across campus or campuses.”


IST organization changes
by Michael Mundrane, Deputy CIO
iNews May 3, 2011

Note: A program called Operation Excellence has left IST with a smaller number of supervisors. This article details how IST plans to reorganize itself to cope with fewer supervisors and staff.

Online education: ETS launches a one-stop production suite
by Cathy Cockrell, Public Affairs
iNews December 9, 2011

Note: “Summary: Berkeley faculty can now make professional-quality multimedia recordings for presentation online, at a small fraction of the going commercial rates. Educational Technology Services’ new production suite allows faculty to record video, audio, and PowerPoint slides (or other presentation materials) simultaneously, review and tweak their presentations, and publish them directly to YouTube.”  This article links to another at UC Berkeley NewsCenter.


Directors of ITP and ETS

Professor Curtis Hardyck
Director of the Instructional Technology Program (ITP) from 1986 to 1989

Professor Marcia Linn
Associate Director of ITP from 1986 to 1989
Director of ITP from 1989 to 1996

Professor Bruce Pray
Director of ITP from 1996 to 1999

Professor Alice Agogino
Director of ITP from 1999 to 2001

In 2001 the Office of Media Services (OMS) and ITP merge to become Educational Technology Services.

Victor Edmonds
Director of ETS from 2001 to 2007

Mara Hancock
Associate Director of ETS from March 2002 to December 2007
Director of ETS from January 2008 to August 2012

Jenn Ramsdell Stringer
Director of ETS from 2012 to present

History of Learning Management Systems at UC Berkeley

ITP describes the features of a LMS to the campus in the “New tools” article in Sept-Oct 1998 BC&C article.

As of 1998, ITP has evaluated four LMS:

  • WebCT
  • BlackBoard (which was called CourseInfo at that time)
  • TopClass 
  • Web Course in a Box

Initially, ITP decides to just support WebCT. But, later ITP adds support for Blackboard. Both of these are low-end systems that are dirt cheap but also not ready for prime time. In particular, they are not ‘enterprise level’ Learning Management Systems. (ITP eventually develops plans to purchase an enterprise level LMS  (and receives a budget allocation for an enterprise LMS), but these plans are scrapped in 2001 when ITP merges with the Office of Media Services. ITP’s budget for an enterprise LMS is reallocated by the new director of ETS in 2001.)

Bjorn Solberg, Director of Student Information Systems, announces that they will begin development of CourseWeb in a Winter-1999 BC&C article.

Carol Christ and Alice Agogino announce CourseWeb in a Winter-2000 BC&C article.

ITP provides help desk support for CourseWeb.

For more insight as to why the campus wanted CourseWeb, a simplified, homegrown LMS, check out A Brief History of Learning Management Systems at UC Berkeley.

Prior to merging with OMS, ITP receives a budget to purchase an enterprise level commercial LMS. ITP selects Blackboard, but this decision is cancelled when ITP merges with OMS.

ITP and OMS merge to become ETS in 2001. ETS continues to support low-end versions of:

  • WebCT
  • Blackboard

ETS also initially continues to support CourseWeb and initially works with SIS to add features to CourseWeb.

ETS joins the Sakai project in 2003 and starts development of a local version of Sakai which will become known as bSpace.

In 2005, ETS plans to phase out WebCT and Blackboard. At this time, ETS also plans to move some CourseWeb functionality into bSpace.

ETS retires WebCT and Blackboard completely as of July 31, 2007.

ETS retires CourseWeb in January of 2008.

On February 19, 2013, ETS announced plans to phase out support for Sakai and switch to Canvas, a commercial LMS. For more, see this blog post: Will Berkeley Switch from Sakai to Canvas?

2 thoughts on “Archive of Educational Technology Articles from UC Berkeley

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: