Today, almost any classroom on a typical university campus has some sort of technology in it.
Almost all of the classrooms at ETSU that hold 25 or more students have full multimedia equipment, said Karen King, chief information officer and senior vice provost for information technology services.
Northeast State recently received a grant that enabled them to give iPads to all of their students. While this would not be as easy for a school the size of ETSU, there are still ways in which technology is being incorporated into the classroom and campus.
Tegrity is one system that King said was implemented in about 50-75 classrooms. It is a lecture-capture system that allows instructors to record their lectures and post them online for students.
Myra Jones, director of Academic Technology Support, said Tegrity is helpful for students who want to go back over a concept that they didn’t understand or listen to a lecture because they had to miss class. Another system available for students and instructors is Doceri, which allows them to share their iPad on the large screen in the classroom.
“We’re always trying to move forward in technology for students,” King said. “We’ve done things in collaboration with [the department of] admissions like DegreeWorks, the college scheduler, then the parking sensors, so you can look on your phone and see where the open parking spaces are.”
The classroom experience, for both the instructor and the student, is entirely changed by technology and the Internet.
“I taught for 15 years, and when I was first able to have access to the Internet in my classroom, everything changed,” King said. “The things I was then able to bring to the classroom were much more rich. I can’t imagine teaching a class anymore without access to the Internet. The benefit is inherent in everything we do in education.”
Jones works with faculty at ETSU to make sure that they are able to use technology beneficially in the classroom.
“My personal philosophy is that technology is a tool to help you,” Jones said. “It shouldn’t be the reason for doing something, it should be the tool that assists you in what you are doing. So our goal is to find technologies and use technologies and support technologies that help faculty get where they need to be in a quicker, more efficient way.”
King said her department is always looking for ways to be better, whether it is through improving the bandwidth of the campus Wi-Fi, replacing Wi-Fi access points, installing printer kiosks across campus, or implementing new interactive technology in the classrooms.
She also said that they take proposals for technology from faculty as well as ideas from student government.
“We try to stay in touch, and we try to talk to as many students as we can,” she said.
Technology is always changing, and this will influence how it is implemented in the classroom.
“That’s one of the challenges to try to stay ahead of it,” Jones said. “So we just try to watch what’s coming, and mostly we listen to faculty and students. A lot of times students are the ones pushing faculty along, encouraging them to do things, and we find that that’s actually pretty effective.”
King said the university is seeking to see technology seamlessly integrated into the classroom.
“We’re starting to develop strategic plans and to try to put initiatives in places that will keep us a little bit ahead of the curve all the time,” King said.