Office of Institutional Research and Assessment
In order to ensure that distance education courses meet the same high standards as traditionally taught courses, the University has established a policy for distance education, Standards for Quality Distance Education. This policy guides the development of the use of technology in course delivery and provides mechanisms to ensure that both faculty and students have the necessary skills. It should be noted that the standards developed for the distance education courses were based directly upon the SACS policy statement on distance education.
Since the larger majority of teaching at Southeastern takes place in the face-to-face environment, it is essential that classrooms and teachers have adequate access to appropriate technology. Adequate funding for technology access is accomplished in multiple ways: the University's operating budget, the Student Technology Fee, and external sources of funding such as grants. The University's operating budget has thus far established 32 basic multi-media classrooms, which provide, at a minimum, a ceiling-mounted projector linked to a computer with presentation and/or other specialized software installed. In addition, the University has nine distance education classrooms (primarily for compressed video), and eight destination stations (portable large-screen multi-media units) for classroom use.
Perhaps the greatest contribution to enriching the use of technology for educational purposes has come through competitive projects funded by the University's Student Technology Fee for specialized equipment requested by academic departments. (This student fee is collected each semester from enrolled students and is 100% dedicated to enriching the campus environment through the applications of modern technology. Further information on the Student Technology Fee is given at the end of this document.) An example of a multi-media technology project funded by the Student Technology Fee is Pursley Hall 211, a large lecture hall for 96 students, used by the Department of Chemistry and Physics. This room has an overhead Elmo digital camera, a computer with Internet access, CD/DVD drives, and a VCR directly connected to a high power projector that is mounted on the ceiling of the room. This allows the instructor to go from a Power Point presentation, to an applet running on a web site, to a video, to course notes that are all projected on a large screen at the front of the room.
Student Technology Fee funds have been used to fund a variety of teaching technologies, not just those that are computer-based. For instance, the Department of Biological Sciences received funds to purchase 24 high-resolution Olympus microscopes for cell biology classes. The Department of Visual Arts used Student Technology Fee funds to renovate the equipment in the ceramics studio, purchasing five computerized electric kilns, a clay roller, and eight electric potter's wheels. An audio amplifier and recording and playback equipment was purchased by the Department of Music and Dramatic Arts, allowing students in rehearsal rooms to record rehearsals and performances for self-evaluation.
Faculty have also been successful in leveraging external funding resources to procure additional technology for the classroom. One example of this is the SCALE-UP classroom (Student-Centered Activities for Large Enrollment University Physics) funded by a grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents. This room has two overhead projectors that are connected to a central podium with an Elmo and a computer with Internet access. There are four round tables in the room, each seating nine students, and each table has three ports for Internet connections used with laptop computers. Southeastern's SCALE-UP classroom is the only one of its kind in Louisiana, although this format for teaching is becoming more popular nationally and has been installed at such institutions as North Carolina State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Blackboard is widely used by faculty in the teaching of online and face-to-face courses. Students are introduced to Blackboard in Orientation 101, a required course for all incoming freshmen. Blackboard allows faculty to post class-related information (e.g., homework assignments, solutions, grades, links to supporting information, course notes) on a central site to which all students have access. Blackboard is used for nearly all online courses and is commonly used as a supplement to traditionally taught courses. In the fall of 2003 more than 2000 courses used some component of Blackboard. The University offers extensive support and training for Blackboard through the Center for Faculty Excellence.
The Effectiveness and Appropriate Use of Technology for Learning
Southeastern's 2002-2003 Current Student Survey asked students to express their level of satisfaction with the use of technology in teaching. Overall, students indicated that they were most satisfied with the use of Blackboard, and 66.8% of the students indicated that they were satisfied with the use of technology in classroom teaching. In the 2002-2003 Exit Survey, 77.1% of Southeastern's graduating students indicated they were satisfied with the use of appropriate technology in the classroom.
At the individual class level, students have the opportunity to provide feedback to instructors through the Student Opinion of Teaching (SOT) instruments. While there is no specific rating item on the quantitative survey regarding effective and/or appropriate uses of technology, students may submit open-ended comments on the narrative form about the instructor's teaching strengths and weaknesses and also the materials used for learning. As indicated in the Student Opinion of Teaching policy, the narrative comments provided by students are reviewed by the instructors and by the department heads. Positive or negative comments about uses of technology can be used by instructors to improve teaching methods and to ensure that the most effective technology is being used.
Student Access to and Training in the Use of Technology
There are currently 62 computer labs at Southeastern Louisiana University available to students with 1499 computers. In addition, every dormitory has its own computer lab. These labs fall into three categories:
The other labs are the dormitory labs (eight), three computer classrooms, and one lab in the library. In addition to computer labs, students are able to check out equipment such as laptops, digital cameras, external zip drives, LCD projectors, and digital media packs.
Role of the Office of Technology
Student Technology Fee
The following are specific uses of Student Technology Fee money:
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