Donald P. Ely, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair,
Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation
Associate Director,
ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology
Syracuse University

What is your highest degree?
Ph.D., Syracuse University, Communications and Psychology, 1961.

Could you describe how you got into the field of Instructional Technology?
I was a projectionist in the audiovisual club in my high school. Later, in my undergraduate college (Suny-Albany) I worked with the AV Director.

How would you describe your research agenda? How did you decide to research that area?
I am currently involved in three areas: conditions that facilitate the implementation of Educational Technology innovations; cross-cultural transfer of media; and the history and philosophy of the field of Educational Technology. Each of these research areas grew out of field experience. When I found a gap in the literature, I began to explore and then to do research in each of these areas. (This is the short version. There is much more, of course.)

What are two books or papers you have written that you believe are especially well done or interesting?
Teaching and media: A systematic approach (Prentice-Hall, 1971; 1981).
Media personnel in education: A competency approach (Prentice-Hall, 1975).

What are two works by other people that you found very provocative or informative?
David Hawkridge's "Next Year, Jerusalem" From the British Journal Of Educational Technology (1976). Bob Heinich's "The Proper Study Of Instructional Technology", ECTJ (1984).

What practical work experience do you have in the it field? What has been the relationship between work experience and research?
Concurrent with teaching, I was director of the Center for Instructional Communications--an instructional development unit at Syracuse and Consulting in many universities and many countries.

Who are a few people who have had the most important impact on your career?
James D. Finn, a close personal friend and professional. Colleagues from the University of Southern California; Irene Cypher, head of the media program at New York University; and Floyd Henrickson, AV Director at SUNY-Albany.

What do you see as the future of IT?
This should be a long answer but, in brief, I see our field leading in the design and appropriate application of technology in teaching and learning with less emphasis on the hardware and more on the software and its use.

What do you like best about your job?
No two days are the same.

What advice do you have for IT researchers who are just beginning in the field?
Do not think about research per se, rather, think about what you are curious about...what questions you would like to have answered that have not been answered.