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3.4.12 Technology use

The institution’s use of technology enhances student learning and is appropriate for meeting the objectives of its programs. Students have access to and training in the use of technology. (Technology use)

Judgment of Compliance

The Department of Computer Services, the Library and the Office of Academic Instructional Technology and Distance Learning all support and provide technology that enhances student learning. Computer Services’ personnel, hardware and software, library databases, science/computer laboratories, online courses, the KSHU FM radio station, and the KSHU TV-7 station are among the many technological resources that Sam Houston State University has available to enhance student learning. Support for these technologies is abundant and readily available both online and via individual instruction. All of these support services are available without charge back to departments.

The Department of Computer Services promotes and supports the use of technology in student learning in a variety of ways. All classrooms and resident hall rooms have high-speed connections to the University’s computer network and access to the Internet. Classrooms are equipped with appropriate technology to enhance student learning. Classroom inventories for four of the largest teaching buildings are provided in support documents [1] [2] [3] [4]. The University has available for faculty use technology carts containing a computer and projector that can be used in classroom without built-in projectors. Wireless connectivity is available from most locations on campus. Guest access to the wireless network is available as well as a virtual private network (VPN) for students, staff, and faculty to function via a secure communications connection. All students are allocated 70 Megabytes of personal storage space on a university networked drive. Additionally, each student is provided with 20 Megabytes of storage space for creating a personal web page.

Computer Services maintains in excess of 85 software applications on the campus network including email clients, messaging clients, web publishing software, spreadsheets, browsers, and word processors. These applications are accessible to all students, staff and faculty with a computer account and are accessible from over 1000 University owned and maintained computers. In addition, academic departments may request that a specific software package be made available on the campus network for classroom or laboratory use. Face-to-face and online tutorials, or training by appointment are available to students, faculty and staff [5] [6].

Computer Services operates 14 general use computer labs across campus, some of which are open 24 hours per day, manned by over 70 trained lab assistants. In addition to training in the use of the software available on the network, lab assistants are able to assist students with CD-R writer use, email setup, multimedia CD use, scanner use, sound recording, web page creation, network drive mapping, and wireless setup.

The Computer Services staffs a Help Desk, which is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week and can be reached by phone or email [7]. Support is provided for university-owned hardware, network-installed software, and computer account issues. An electronic work order system is used to log problems, document requests, and communicate with end users.

Sam Houston State University uses the Blackboard Learning System as its course management system. All courses are loaded into the Blackboard system and faculty can create content, post course materials, communicate with students, facilitate group projects, and evaluate student progress. Many tutorials for the use of Blackboard are available [8]. Additionally, manuals for both instructors and students are available online [9]. Staff members in the Computer Services Department are trained as administrators of the Blackboard software and are available for individuals requiring assistance as needed. Students participating in courses using Blackboard become proficient in various forms of electronic communication including email, discussion boards and forums, and real-time chat environments.

The Newton Gresham Library, with its online databases, indexes, and workshops, provides support for the entire campus. Please refer to Core Requirement 2.9 and Comprehensive Standards 3.8.1, 3.8.2, and 3.8.3 for more information on the Library’s role in technology-based student learning and training in the use of such technology.

Students at Sam Houston State University start using various technologies as part of their university experience before they begin taking classes at the University, and this hands-on use of technology continues throughout their college career. Students may apply online using the State of Texas Apply Texas application form, pay the application fee online, and register for an orientation session all before stepping foot on campus [10] [11]. Upon acceptance to the University, all students also receive a computer account which is immediately available to conduct business via email with university offices, access online training resources, and to access a variety of modern software resources. These uses of technology help to serve as the student’s introduction to Sam Houston State University and to the learning environment which they will encounter.

Computer literacy content has long been part of the core curriculum at Sam Houston State University. The department of Computer Science offers several introductory courses designed to improve a student’s understanding of computer systems, internet connectivity, web and search engines, communication, storage, file management, safety and security, databases, web design and e-commerce, and ethics in the Information Age. Students learn basic skills in word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentation, web design, image processing, and digital video [12] [13]. Effective with the 2008 fall semester, the responsibility for computer literacy will be transferred from the institutional core curriculum to individual departmental degree programs, but it will still remain a degree requirement. Individual departments may continue to employ the traditional computer literacy course as part of their program requirements or may provide and certify computer literacy within their other required program offerings.

The Office of Academic Instructional Technology and Distance Learning serves as the faculty’s technical advisor for the design, purchase, and utilization of classroom-based technologies. All online courses are evaluated by this office to ensure that the technologies used are appropriate, accessible, and relatively transparent [14]. The Office offers training and consultation for faculty offering distance learning courses [15]. It also serves as a clearing house for technological resources across campus [16].

Supporting Documentation
Documentation Reference
Document Title
[1] Building Technology - Academic Building IV (ABIV)
[2] Building Technology - Lee Drain Building
[3] Building Technology - Smith Hutson Business Building
[4] Building Technology - Teacher Education Center
[5] Computer Services - Software Guides
[6] Computer Services - Technology Training - Courses
[7] Computer Services - Support/Helpdesk
[8] Blackboard – Technology Tutorials
[9] Blackboard - Faculty Manuals
[10] Apply Texas, Online Application Webpage
[11] New Student Orientation Registration Information
[12] Syllabus - CS 133
[13] Syllabus - CS 143
[14] Technical Evaluation for Online Courses
[15] Distance Learning Training
[16] Distance Learning Support

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Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX 77341
(936) 294-1111