The summer is over, the fall 2010 term is finally here and the Office of Technology (OTS) is pleased to welcome back all Lone Star faculty and staff! With record enrollments, the construction of new buildings and satellite centers, and numerous administrative, instructional and technology-related initiatives, it promises to be a full and eventful semester. Here’s a quick review of recent OTS activities and what's coming...
Innovation is in! The Office of Technology Services strongly believes innovative integration of technology into teaching and learning is an effective way of increasing student success, which is essential to LSCS becoming the premier college system in the nation. As such, it is funding a number of innovative instructional initiatives. First, a collaborative review of assessment tools (“clickers”) is underway to evaluate and select a tool for system-wide implementation. Faculty involved in the evaluation will make a recommendation in the coming weeks with a Request for Proposal (RFP) to follow. Second, through its Campus-Technology Advisory Councils (C-TAC) at each location, faculty-led initiatives like thermal camera imaging, the use of iPods and tablet PCs to enhance student engagement and implementation of systems for students with disabilities are being piloted. Next, there will be more interactive whiteboards (“Smart Boards”), already successfully piloted at several Lone Star campuses, in use this fall. If you haven’t used or experimented with a Smart Board recently, do it! The boards our faculty review team recommended are fantastic. Contact your campus OTS executive director if you are interested. Last and most importantly, the Chancellor’s Faculty Technology Innovation Grant inaugurated in FY09-10 is funding three important initiatives: thin-client desktop virtualization, high-fidelity simulation in nursing and the use of personal digital assistants (PDAs) to enhance clinical experiences. In fact, the Chronicle of Higher Education in naming Lone Star as a Great Place to Work for the second straight year specifically mentioned the Grant as a deciding factor in its Honor Roll recognition of LSCS.
Comprehensive iStar roll-out and training plans specifically designed for faculty and students are coming! Information will be provided to faculty during campus In-Service/Adjunct Night events later this month, with follow-up training offered in October/November. The project is employing a faculty-mentor approach similar to provide faculty-led, faculty-driven training on the new system. If you are interested in serving as an iStar faculty-mentor, contact your academic dean for more. As for students, we’ve employed current Lone Star students from each campus to develop and implement a system-wide training plan. As part of the plan, they will receive information the week classes begin, including how to access the new portal and their Lone Star-provided E-mail accounts. There will continue to be monthly Open Forums, lots of communications, training opportunities and fun activities for faculty and students alike as the new system is implemented.
Please see “The Big and Small Things” section on page 4 for more on iStar.