Ann E. Barron, Ed.D.
Associate Professor, Instructional Technology
Director, College of Education
University of South Florida
Center for Instructional Technology
Could you tell us a little about your
professional background and how you got into the field of instructional
I was a middle school mathematics/physical
education teacher for 10 years (five in Illinois and five in Puerto Rico).
When I was teaching at Fort Buchanan in Puerto Rico, the school district
offered some inservice computer courses for teachers. I was impressed
with the potential that technology could offer to education, and upon
returning to the states, I searched for a program in technology that offered
a Master's degree.
As soon as I received my Master's degree, I knew that
my goal was to become a professor of Instructional Technology. Because
this is such a diverse field, I felt I needed experience in academic,
industrial, and military environments. Therefore, as I pursued my doctorate,
I worked for two years at Martin Marietta (as a Senior Instructional Designer);
one year at the University of Central Florida (as a Visiting Assistant
Professor); and the last year at Analysis & Technology (as a Principal
Scientist/Instructional Designer on primarily military projects).
I have been teaching in the Instructional
Technology Program at the University of South Florida for the past
six years. However, I continue to consult with industrial and military
clients to keep abreast of the developments in these areas.
What is the Florida Center for Instructional Technology
and what are your duties as Director?
The Florida Center for Instructional
Technology is sponsored by the Florida Department of Education. The
Center provides instructional materials and workshops to help teachers
integrate technology into the classroom. As Director, I have been responsible
for the design and development of many products, including:
Guide to the Holocaust
Guide to School Networks
Internet: Ideas, Activities, and Resources
The Florida Center
for Instructional Technology currently employs approximately twelve
graduate students who serve as Webmasters, graphic artists, editors, instructors,
and managers. Visit our Web site at http://fcit.coedu.usf.edu
for more information.
What areas of research and scholarship are you most
My current research centers
around the design and development of Web-based training (WBT) and instruction.
I am interested in this field both from a K-12 perspective and from an
industrial perspective. The Web offers unlimited possibilities for the
delivery of instruction, and it is very interesting and important to assess
which of the design principles that were developed for CBT are also applicable
My scholarship also encompasses both the K-12 and higher
education/industrial environments. The books include:
Barron, A. E., & Ivers, K. S. (1996). The Internet
and Instruction: Ideas and Activities. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.
Barron, A. E., & Ivers, K. S. (In press). Multimedia
Projects for Education: Design, Development, and Assessment. Englewood,
CO: Libraries Unlimited.
Barron, A. E., & Orwig, G. W. (1995). Multimedia Technologies
for Training: An Introduction. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.
Barron, A. E., & Orwig, G. W. (1993; 1995; 1997).
New Technologies for Educators: A Beginner's Guide. Englewood, CO: Libraries
Barron, A., & Lyskawa, C. (1997). Microsoft FrontPage97:
Brief Edition. Cambridge, MA: Course Technology.
Barron, A., Lyskawa, C., & Vodnik, S. (1997). Microsoft
Internet Explorer 3: Brief Edition. Cambridge, MA: Course Technology.
Barron, A.E., Tompkins, B., & Tai, D. (1997). EducatorUs
Guide to Creating Web Pages. Lancaster, PA: Wentworth Worldwide Media.
Salkind, N. J., Barron, A., & Lyskawa, C. (1997).
Microsoft Windows NT 4 Workstation: Illustrated Series, Standard Edition.
Cambridge, MA: Course Technology.
Tennyson, R. D., & Barron, A. E. (Eds.). (1995). Automating
Instructional Design: Computer-Based Development and Delivery Tools. Berlin:
You are on the Editorial Board of several journals...what
do you think are the main differences between a quality, publishable article
and an average article?
I serve on the Editorial Boards of The Educational
Forum, Journal of Educational Multimedia and
Hypermedia, Journal of Educational Computing Research,
and Computers in Human Behavior. I am also the Executive
Editor of the Journal of Interactive Instruction Development.
The focus of each of the journals is different. For example, the Educational
Forum provides practical information for classroom teachers; the
Journal of Interactive Instruction Development showcases
innovative and effective approaches to the design of multimedia projects;
and Computers in Human Behavior provides empirical research
studies. A quality, publishable article must first of all fit within
the framework of the journal and provide relevant information for the
targeted audience. A second criteria is the ability of the author to convey
his or her message in a coherent manner. Many of the average articles
include good, relevant information, but the structure of the article is
not easy to follow.
What do you think are the essential skills that
someone entering the field of instructional technology absolutely has
to have in order to be successful?
The field of instructional technology is very broad
and includes may roles (such as instructional designers, graphic artists,
programmers, etc.). For all roles, an essential skill is teamwork, since
everyone must work together to create a quality product. In looking more
closely at the skills required for instructional designers, refer to the
and Skills for Instructional Designers.
If you had unlimited time and money to do any research
project you wanted, what would you do?
I had unlimited time and money, I would focus my research on investigating
the design and effectiveness of distance learning alternatives. All areas
of education (K-12, higher education, industry) are being propelled into
distance learning with the Web, satellite, videoconferencing, and other
technologies. There is very little research and very few guidelines to
help teachers and trainers design and deliver effective instruction with
these new paradigms.
What are your professional plans for the next couple
I love to teach, and I plan to
stay in a university setting where I can teach instructional design, multimedia,
and telecommunications. However, I also plan to take a sabbatical in the
near future to work full-time with the design and development of commercial
multimedia projects. (I will be the Chief Technology Office/Vice President
of Interactive Media Corporation.) The experience I gain in the design
and development of "real-world" projects is extremely beneficial to the
classes I teach.
There are also several books that I will be writing in
the next couple years. With technology, the updates are continuous. I
am currently working on the second edition of The Internet and Instruction:
Ideas and Activities, and will soon begin the fourth edition of
New Technologies for Education: A Beginner's Guide.