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November 1, 2011

SDSU service brings IT innovation

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Written by: Carl Hensley
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As part of an effort to gear the university toward overall student and faculty success, San Diego State’s Instructional Technology Services has created a program that increases student productivity through smart classroom resources.

On its website, the ITS program states, “Instructional Technology Services provides support to SDSU faculty and staff in the design, selection, production and distribution of instructional media.” The program is located in the basement of Adams Humanities and is home to several smart classrooms, a learning research studio, video conferencing facilities, video production studios and several other multimedia and training facilities for faculty.

Director of the ITS program at SDSU Dr. James Frazee said it is designed to help students through faculty with the use of technology. He also said the program is engaging and relevant for students because it lets them learn through mixed modalities in the classroom.

According to Frazee, working in technologically equipped classrooms will also help students in the future because once they leave college for a career, they may have to use the same technology implemented in their classes.

According to Frazee, about 93 percent of the classrooms are smart classrooms and, that statistic will increase to 100 percent within the next year or two.

The technology used at SDSU includes Blackboard Academic Suite, Wimba, plagiarism-checking software such as turnitin.com and handheld clicker keypads used in large lectures.

The ITS website also states the program teaches with “a process that uses instructional tools in conjunction with learning theories to organize, sequence, present and reinforce information appropriately for particular teaching and learning situations.”

Frazee said Blackboard is in the process of being updated for the coming semester and will allow students and faculty to be more interactive with one another. The new Blackboard version 9.1 will allow for Web 2.0 tools, blog posts and wikis, which can be made public or private to enrich course experience. Frazee said it will also encourage faculty to use formative evaluations throughout the semester. This will allow students to rate the course and the content during the semester rather than at the end. This process will help professors address student problems and better explain the course to the students while still in session.

This new version of Blackboard will also allow teachers to post grades and course content faster and allow students to track their progress in a more timely manner. It will also include a student progress warning system that will alert students about their progress in the course and provide them with feedback on assignments.

“This makes instructors more efficient with their time in the classroom,” he said. “Teachers can post questions and students can answer them through Twitter by typing their answer and a predetermined hashtag to the course’s Twitter account.”

Frazee is excited for the program’s future. Right now the ITS program is building a new multimedia classroom in Adams Humanities that will promote student success through the use of technology and student interaction with the content of the courses there.

Frazee said the program is successful because of its “service orientation and single-minded focus on helping faculty,” which will nurture student success and create an efficient learning community at SDSU.

More information about ITS can be found at its.sdsu.edu.

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Carl Hensley





 
 

 
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