June 11, 2015


SUBJECT:    Appointment of Jeffrey Elman as Faculty Director of Online Learning and Technology Enhanced Education

It is with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Jeffrey Elman, Chancellor’s Associates Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and former Dean of the Division of Social Sciences, as the inaugural Faculty Director of Online Learning and Technology Enhanced Education effective immediately. He will work under the auspices of the newly established Teaching & Learning Commons (The Commons) to manage online education activities for the campus.

With the campus’ focus on improving the educational experience for our students, increasing interest in online and hybrid education, and the availability of State funding to encourage the use of technology in leveraging and expanding access to our University, it is essential that we have faculty leadership to drive planning and policy development and practices related to these efforts on behalf of UC San Diego. The use of technology in the education delivery process offers the possibility of increasing student engagement, encouraging group collaborations, supporting project-based learning, and in providing tools that assess the efficacy of different approaches.

As Faculty Director of Online Learning, Professor Elman’s responsibilities cover three distinct functions. First, he will provide general oversight of our online activities. This includes, among other things, organizing and providing training activities to get new faculty involved in both hybrid and MOOC-style courses; serving as the point of contact for instructors who have questions about copyright issues; organizing relevant campus resources to facilitate the faculty’s efforts in this area; and representing the campus in forums that explore online learning and the exchange of information and best practices related to those activities. Second, Dr. Elman will serve as the official institutional coordinator, platform administrator and partner liaison for Coursera and edX, and others as we may partner with in the future. The Director’s responsibilities include establishing and managing relationships with these online platforms, providing guidance to interested faculty who want to use the platforms, and assisting faculty to ensure that their intellectual property rights are safeguarded. Finally, Professor Elman will work with faculty and with The Commons’ new Center for Engaged Teaching to develop a campus strategy for innovating new pedagogical methods using online technology, and for exploring new niches and needs that can be served by this technology. Our goal is that UC San Diego should play a leadership role in developing new technologies for enhancing education. Online methods will be one of several approaches to this end.

Professor Elman has been the informal institutional coordinator, platform administrator, and online partner liaison over the past few years. I am delighted that he has agreed to accept this more formal role in leading our campus’ use of online learning and opportunities for prominence in the development of new digital pedagogical tools. The Office for Online Learning and Technology Enhanced Education will be located in the Teaching & Learning Commons (currently located in Center Hall 307).

Please join me on congratulating Professor Elman on his appointment.

Suresh Subramani
Executive Vice Chancellor