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Dr. Soleman Abu-Bader
February 2004

In Howard University’s School of Social Work, it is hard to find any computer technology that has been implemented without the help of Dr. Soleman Abu-Bader. Dr. Abu-Bader has served as the school’s webmaster. He has chaired the school’s Multimedia & Technology Committee. He has represented the school on Howard’s Teaching, Learning, & Technology Committee. He has directed the school’s Technology & Multimedia Lab. He has trained the school’s faculty and graduate students to use Blackboard, PowerPoint, Smart Rooms, and the statistical software package SPSS. He has even authored a textbook on SPSS to teach students at the school and elsewhere.

Yet Dr. Abu-Bader is not an Instructional Technologist by profession. He is an Associate Professor of Social Work, who is best known for his research on depression and satisfaction among social workers, the elderly, and former welfare recipients. Having achieved national recognition for his research, he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies and co-chairs the Muslim Symposium of the Council on Social Work Education.

Abu-BaderIt is because of his commitment to social work education that Dr. Abu-Bader has devoted so much time and energy to instructional technology—especially in the School of Social Work’s Smart Rooms. He teaches all of his research methods classes in the Smart Rooms, where he introduces and explains course material before taking students to the lab for hands-on practice. Not only do the Smart Rooms enable him to display his PowerPoint slides, his Blackboard course site, and his SPSS tables or graphs during the class period; they also enable him to shift easily from one source to another. He explains, “I use the Smart Board because…it is a very effective tool to keep students and teachers interactive. The movement from one screen (e.g., PowerPoint) to another (e.g., SPSS) and back is very helpful because you demonstrate more than one thing without wasting time.” Thanks to the “screen capture” capabilities of the Smart Board, Dr. Abu-Bader can even save screenshots or any annotations he makes in class and then post these files on Blackboard or his website for students who missed class or want to review. In short, the Smart Room allows him to make the most of several instructional technologies.

Now that CETLA provides Smart Room training, Dr. Abu-Bader doesn’t have to teach his colleagues the “ins and outs” of the School’s newly renovated Smart Rooms. But he continues to assist faculty as needed because he has seen—from evaluation forms and emails—how his students have responded to instructional technology. “To be honest,” he says, at first, they think instructional technology is “unnecessary.” “However,” he adds, “once they experience it, they would like to have more.”


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