Wednesday, June 11, 2014

E-Textbooks at the Heart of WSU Goals




June 11th, 2014
Written by: Legend Dastrup, Technical Writer/Communication Assistant
Weber State University, IT Department.

E-Textbooks have been finding their place in classrooms for over 20 years now, and two studies done by EDUCAUSE in 2013 highlight the importance and needs of E-Textbooks in higher education, which are broken into 5 major categories: Cost, Availability, Portability, Functionality, and Innovation.

Following the goals and aims of Weber State University, we want to make sure both students and faculty have easy access to content needed, for the importance of learning from the courses taught here on campus. The EDUCAUSE article The Current State and Potential Future of E-Textbooks, talks about the increase of exposure to e-textbooks in the K-12 grades, and how more students of this digital age are graduating high school with the expectation of colleges having e-textbooks.

The access students have to e-textbooks is directly related to the availability talked about in both articles. While cost is number one on the list, availability is a close second. In the article Understanding What Higher Education Needs from E-Textbooks, they provide a summary figure of the major importance and needs of e-textbooks. As shown in the figure, the access of e-textbooks consists of three central categories: Functionality, Portability, and Availability. The versatility of e-textbooks caters to all types of students and in all areas of study. Not only are the e-textbooks easily portable, but accessed through any wi-fi point connected by the tablets, smartphones, and computers students carry with them almost constantly. The wi-fi is readily available nearly one hundred percent of the time here on campus, which means students have very few excuses to not read and be prepared for class. The e-textbooks themselves aren’t always good for every type of studying students do, but the versatility they offer allows students the option to read the e-textbook however they choose.


The second figure here from The Current State and Potential Future article, shows how students use e-textbooks, and their preferences to digital text opposed to hard copies. The nice thing about e-textbooks however, is the ability to print and have hard copies on hand to appease the greater number of students who learn better by having notes and highlights on material they can hold, read, and flip through. While it isn’t a flawless process, all types of learning are still catered to, and it is cheaper than buying a textbook. A percentage of students are also benefitting the community by staying green and saving paper.
The overall versatility of e-textbooks is hard to ignore, and while they aren’t always flawless in their format compatibility across digital devices, they are almost always readily available on one device or another. Weber State University has many ways for students to access what they need all across campus, and letting students know how to use what is offered, is of paramount importance.

Aside from the primary bonus of offering a great price for renting or buying the e-textbooks; the combination of easy access, versatility by catering to different learning styles, and the efficiency of saving paper for the community, are all excellent reasons for WSU classrooms to consider using e-textbooks as often as possible.


References:

Friday, February 21, 2014

Following EDUCAUSE


EDUCAUSE on Twitter @ https://twitter.com/educause

Following EDUCAUSE on Twitter will give the latest on Events, Ideas, and Information for IT and Higher Education to help information technology stay on top of the complications and issues IT often has to work around. 

Check out EDUCAUSE on Twitter and check back to WSU's IT's News blog for weekly information relevant to WSU and it's employees. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

TEDx at Weber State University





Ideas Worth Spreading

When: February 28th, 2014

Morning Session: 10-11:30 AM
Afternoon Session: 1-2:30 PM

Where: Eccles Theater, Browning Center

Tickets are required for live event, get them here:
http://www.weber.edu/tlf/TEDx.html

Places where tickets are not required:

WSU Davis - D2 Room 110, 111

Ogden Campus - Wildcat Theater

Weber State Downtown - 2341 Washington Blvd.

If you'd like more info about TEDx and what it is, you can find information here:http://www.weber.edu/tlf/TEDx.html, then click About TEDx


Thursday, February 6, 2014

ELI Conference

Recently, between February 3rd through the 5th, EDUCAUSE held an online ELI (EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative) conference detailing new research to help higher education workforces stay up to date with new trends.

The three-day conference covered:

  • The Learning Brain: Modern Neuroscience continually discovers how to integrate the science of learning with the practice of learning.
  • The LMS Evaluation 2.0: The number of LMSs (learning management systems) available has shrunk. The evaluation focuses on evaluation criteria and the principles an institution should consider when choosing a new LMS.
  • Collaboration for Change: Learn how you and your institution can join a growing collaboration to move education toward an open, scalable architecture to support instructional innovation.
  • Higher Education Innovation: The talk explored the role of higher education, and particularly higher ed innovation, in providing global access to the American Dream.
  • Into the Great Wide Open: Leading and Managing IT in the age of BYOD and cloud services, and how to face the difficulties these new technologies present.
  • Diving Deep into Data: Extensive research from 2013 concerning the motivations, perceptions, and learning in Minnesota MOOCs.
  • Building a Strategic Plan for Online Course Accessibility: This presentation discussed the resulting template, which consists of accessibility issues to consider, a means of prioritizing the work, and checklists to assist in the process of planning.
  • Sustaining Educational Innovation: Learn how we implemented an institutional change effort and created a campus culture that values educational innovation, supports efforts to scale and sustain this innovation, uses institutional change strategies to encourage alliances and partnerships, and defines outcomes, implements pilots, and analyzes metrics for sustaining innovation.
  • A Summer Experiment with MOOC Design by Educators: Weekly, MOOC topics were studied for support with synchronous and asynchronous Internet LMS connections, two-way IP video, a 3D-world, and mobile app support. Immersive, 3D-world, and problem-based learning (PBL) simulations. 
  • Incubating Strategic Innovation: Three participants from the Breakthrough Models Incubator (BMI) will discuss their institutions' latest innovations and cross-institutional collaboration to improve student learning outcomes and college success.
  • Launching a Campus-Wide Video Platform: This session focused on the implementation of ShareStream for institution-wide media management and its use for instructional technology, online learning, the library, and campus communications.
  • Leveraging Collaborative Technologies and Pedagogies in Large Active Learning Classrooms: This presentation explored an active learning classroom's development, and the results of studies on its impact on both faculty and students.
If any of these topics interest you, and you would like to get more details, please contact Ty Naylor at ext: 6266 for information regarding access to the recordings of these conferences.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Top 10 Issues Review

by EDUCAUSE

This week we would like to review the top 10 issues of IT as outlined by EDUCAUSE, to help us see how far we've come this year as a department, and realize what we have fixed regarding these issues.

The Top 10 Issues of 2013 are:
  1. Leveraging the wireless explosion.
  2. Improving student outcomes with wireless technology.
  3. Implementing an Institutional strategy for cloud technology.
  4. Developing a staffing and organizational model.
  5. Facilitating better information security.
  6. Funding information technology strategically.
  7. Determining the role of online learning.
  8. Supporting IT for consumer products and Byod.
  9. Transforming the Institution's business with consumer's products.
  10. Using analytics to support critical Institutional outcomes.

The four major solutions for addressing these issues are:
  1. Reducing cost. (By fixing Issues: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10)
  2. Improve Student Outcomes. (2, 10)
  3. Advancements in learning. (2, 7, 10)
  4. Meet the demands of consumer and products. (1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10)
If you've had a hand in solving any of these issues, you know you have benefited IT(and therefore the campus) through one of these solutions. Thank you for all you've done to help this year in solving these issues.

By March of this year, EDUCAUSE will have created another list of issues we can look forward to solving, in order to better the entire IT Department.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Internet of Things: the Now, and the Future

Image from Cisco

The Internet of Things is here and growing, check out these videos by Cisco to see what this is, and what it can do, and why:

What is the Internet of Things?:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FSmkKXNxq8&list=PLFT-9JpKjRTBUHKODoxHdGhV2GlaMBru5

Internet of Everything; a Typical Day:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8mORYxnBXQ&list=PLFT-9JpKjRTBUHKODoxHdGhV2GlaMBru5

We encourage you to check out the other Cisco Commercials on YouTube.com to see how useful the Internet of Things can be.

If you have comments or would like to add more cool innovations from The Internet of Things, please add them in the comments below.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Purple Tag

You’ve been Purple Tagged!
by Shelly L. Belflower

All computing devices purchased for less than the $1,500 price limit should be tagged with a purple WS inventory tag. If you own a device that has an operating system such as a computer, laptop or tablet, those items must be tagged. Other types of devices such as printers and cameras are optional to tag.

Our recommendation is to tag anything that stores information on the device or could be at risk of theft.
We would like to remind you about the proper way of disposing of purple-tagged items. When you no
longer need an item that has been tagged purple, you must do the following:
  1. The item must be transferred to either the new department or to the Surplus Inventory ORG within the PC Lifecycle database. Only authorized individuals may enter or transfer devices. Authorized employees are your Campus Technology Coordinators or CTCs. If your area does not have a CTC, you may contact the IT Service Desk to handle this transfer for you. 
  2. An email should be sent to Shannon Burton in Property Control listing the items to be transferred to Surplus. 
  3. After those two have been completed you may ask Surplus to pick up the inventory items or take them to Surplus directly. 

WSU would like to continue to track our computing devices not only as they move about on campus, but also when they need to be disposed, once they are beyond use on campus. Your help in achieving this goal will improve our processes for Weber State University as a whole. If you are unsure whether your device should be tagged purple or not, please contact your local CTC or the IT Service Desk at x7777 for assistance.