One of the core values that shapes the work that takes place here at Georgetown is a commitment to doing more, being more and always looking for new ways to improve. The concept of magis informs the highest standards of academic excellence to which we hold ourselves as a community.

This constant pursuit of growth and self-improvement asks us to seek and consider new tools and opportunities to achieve stronger and better outcomes for our students. One such area to explore lies in the opportunities and challenges presented by rapidly evolving technologies.

At Georgetown, we have a long and proud tradition of fostering innovation in the classroom to improve the experience of teaching and learning. For example, through the work of our Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, Georgetown has been recognized as a leader in integrating technology into its classrooms. Soon, members of our community will come together for Georgetown Hackathon, where teams will work to design processes and tools to improve the Georgetown experience through their imagination and creativity. It’s my privilege to support their work and serve as a judge in the competition.

As the landscape of technology in higher education continues to evolve and new tools become available, we remain committed to seizing the opportunities before us in our work to find the most effective ways to enhance the learning experience of our students. A month ago in a university-wide email, I announced our Initiative on Technology-Enhanced Learning, which will support faculty who are interested in incorporating technology into the classroom. The grants made under this initiative — the first of which we will issue early next semester — will help faculty with innovative ideas ranging from introducing technology into single course elements to providing complete course and program redesign.

Our efforts to launch and execute this initiative have been supported and informed by two working groups, which both include faculty and staff from across our campuses as well as undergraduate and graduate students. The opinions of the members of our community involved with the ITEL working group have been instrumental in advancing our efforts.

It’s important to be clear about the aims of our work. Our primary objective, in the spirit of magis, is to strengthen the environment for teaching and for learning on the Hilltop. We need to determine under what circumstances technology may allow us to free more in-class time for students and faculty to engage in deep dialogue leading to richer understanding of material. Through technology, we also can create more opportunities for self-paced student learning. These two examples represent a small portion of the opportunities before us to enhance teaching and learning by integrating technology more fully throughout our campuses. We must also learn the limits of technology in helping us do our work and identify which learning experiences don’t translate well to an online environment.

By sponsoring a set of pilot projects, we will also create new opportunities for assessment. We will evaluate which projects enhance learning and produce stronger student outcomes and which ones don’t work, and we will respond by setting higher standards and expectations for our curricula, ourselves and our students.

It’s important for members of our community to know that we are encouraging these innovations to enhance the experiences of students. No faculty will be forced to participate, and for some courses, adding technology may not be the right choice. We are pursuing broad engagement throughout our community because wider participation will produce better opportunities to share lessons learned and best practices. We will jointly discover the optimal use of technological assistance for learning on the Hilltop to meet the challenge of magis.

This is an exciting time to be at Georgetown.

ROBERT GROVES is the provost of Georgetown University.

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