On Homepage: Marketing and finance professor Keith Harvey examines stock portfolio transactions in the Dykman Trading Room of the Micron Business and Economics Building.
Boise State University faculty and students are returning to classrooms and campus spaces this fall that make the most of available technology, and integrate it into teaching, learning and research.
Boise State is creating tech-enabled learning spaces to deploy unique content delivery methods, support student, faculty and staff digital fluency, make additional eContent available, expand research capabilities, develop new support for online programming and to improve business processes.
“Faculty are not bound in traditional ways,” said Max Davis-Johnson, associate vice president in the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and the university’s chief information officer. “The technological changes enable learning and growth in a variety of physical and virtual spaces and at a variety of times. Learning isn’t about the technology, but the technology is empowering Boise State’s signature education.”
Teaching and learning
A number of notable advances have taken place inside the classroom. They include:
- All centrally scheduled general purpose classrooms — more than 100 of them — are now equipped with max-wireless, meaning every student in a general purpose classroom can have a wireless device to interact with the lesson. The rooms also include student response receivers, or clickers, to encourage student feedback and instant response.
- More than half of these classrooms are equipped for classroom lecture capture, enabling students to review class meeting content anytime and anywhere. The changes give faculty new choices for integrating technology into their teaching.
- New software allows faculty to offer “flipped classrooms,” choosing to publish lectures to Blackboard, iTunes, or YouTube, in some cases instantly.
- Given that support is key to enabling faculty and student success, OIT provides seamless service to students, faculty and staff at the Zone. The Zone is Boise State’s walk-in, hands-on tech support center, with the flagship location inside the Interactive Learning Center and outposts in the Student Union and the new Micron Business and Economics Building. Students and faculty members can check out devices such as iPads and laptops in the Zone or in Albertsons Library.
- Academic Technologies also provides direct support for faculty exploring the use of digital media through workshops, webinars, and one-on-one consultations.
- All University Foundations 100 classes will include a student created digital media component as a final project. These projects are purposefully designed to stretch students and increase their understanding and ability to communicate digitally. Academic Technologies is developing a web-based tutorial resource to support the assignments in this project.
- Instructional Designers from Academic Technologies have aided three cohorts of mobile learning scholars through intensive experiences with technology and teaching thus far. The first mobile enabled program, or “m-program,” will launch this fall when the Master’s in Applied Historical Research program infuses mobile strategies in all courses. Library staff has collaborated with faculty to purchase eContent specifically in support of their mobile infused curriculum, and Academic Technologies coordinated an intensive Summer Institute for the mProgram faculty, along with other peer faculty from around the campus, to spend a week learning about mobile-enabled course design strategies.
Boise State is continuing to expand its centralized support of research cyber infrastructure. The High Performance Computing Cluster located at the Idaho National Labs in Idaho Falls can now perform more than 16 trillion calculations a second, double its previous capacity. All faculty and researchers at Boise State have access to expanded enterprise storage for research data, up to 500 gigabytes of enterprise class storage plus a virtual server for their use. Faculty may request additional support as needed for research grant applications.
OIT also has implemented a 3D visualization center, or mini-cave, in the Environmental Research Building that is being utilized for research as well. Initial efforts have included visual modeling of surface grids, proteins and molecules.
This fall, the university will begin to benefit from a three-year University wide technology initiative, known as the Roadmap. A new undergraduate admissions application is live, a new graduate admissions application will go live later this fall along with an updated and improved student system that will coincide with the student release of my.BoiseState, an individualized, unified web portal.
Process improvements for Human Resource Services and Finance are also under way.
Boise State is taking advantage of Internet technologies to reach a rapidly growing off-campus student body. About a quarter of Boise State’s current students are enrolled in at least one online course and credit hours earned through distance education at Boise State has grown from 5,000 to nearly 55,000 during the past 10 years.
The eCampus Center (distance education programs and services) is supporting faculty in the development of new high-impact online academic courses and fully online programs. The core purpose of the eCampus is to provide access to online courses and programs free from the constraints of distance and traditional schedules. This lowers student barriers to education.