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Project Title: Enhanced Student Technology Training

Award number: 0206
Project Leader: Cj Johnson
Report Period: final

Project Description:

As technology becomes more pervasive in our society and continues to change rapidly, opportunities to improve computer skills and learn new skills are essential for college students. The use of technology for teaching and learning is becoming widespread, and students are often required to use various forms of technology in their classes. Students who are entering the work force are finding that employers are demanding an increasingly higher level of technology skills and learning skills. The need for timely, up-to-date technology learning opportunities and support for NDSU students has never been greater.

Student technology training needs were addressed when the Technology Fee Advisory Committee created a Student Training Specialist position and student trainer positions that have been funded by Student Technology Fees since December 1997. The Student Training Specialist coordinates training and supervises a group of student trainers. Together, they provide classroom training on many computer topics for the general student population as well as for instructors who request training for their students. New classes are added each semester. In Spring 2002, the TLC is offering 42 different computer classes. From July 2000 through June 2001, the TLC recorded nearly 2200 student contacts for almost 3000 contact hours.

Introductory computer classes are offered at the beginning of each semester for new computer users. Also, the TLC works closely with the Skills 189 class to inform new freshmen students, in person, of available services and to provide support for the technology component of Skills 189.

In Fall 2000, the TLC acquired a cluster (IACC 150G) and the TFAC approved a request for 10 computers and a video projector. This initiative allowed the TLC to expand and enhance their services. The TLC is now a comprehensive, learner-centered environment where students not only attend classroom training, but also:

  • Get help with computer-related coursework and projects on a walk-in basis or by appointment
  • Meet in small groups to work on projects (e.g., group Web sites)
  • Get follow-up help after attending a TLC class
  • Use self-paced learning materials and reference books available in the TLC resource library
  • Get help setting up and using their email account
  • Try out and use software that is not available in the clusters (e.g., Macromedia Flash, WinZip, Adobe Acrobat)
  • Practice presentations that incorporate the use of technology
  • Meet with instructors to work on Web-related or multimedia projects
  • Walk-in lab assistance has been well utilized and will undoubtedly continue to increase in use. Spring 2001 was the first complete semester that the TLC lab was open for walk-in assistance, and during that time 204 walk-in student contacts for 144 contact hours were recorded. During Fall Semester 2001, walk-in student contacts increased by approximately 300% and hours by 275% when the TLC recorded more than 600 student contacts for approximately 400 hours of walk-in assistance.

Acquiring a computer lab with a ceiling-mounted video projector for their exclusive use has alleviated scheduling problems that existed when TLC staff was required to hold classes in general clusters. Two New Initiatives: Enhanced Technology Support for Students and TLC Student Manager

1. Enhanced Instructional Technology Support for Students ITS support services staff (TLC staff, Service Center and Multimedia Area staff, and Custom Media coordinator) would like to work together to provide more collaborative, organized, and project-based support to students who are required to use multimedia software and hardware to complete assignments. We are requesting funding for three Media Assistants, students who would have expertise in using multimedia hardware and software and, preferably, have Web development skills as well. Currently, TFAC Project #0112 provides funds for two Custom Media Graphics students. Instead of requesting continued funding for Project #0112, we are requesting three Media Assistants, who would become part of the TLC staff.

Problem:

An increasing number of instructors are requiring students to create Web sites, presentations, and other projects that contain multimedia components including graphics (static and animated), audio, and video. These assignments can create rich opportunities and motivation for learning, but they can also cause frustration for instructors, students, and ITS support staff. Typically, these projects require a significant amount of time and technical support. For most, if not all, multimedia and Web development projects, many separate technologies are used to complete one project. For example, a student who creates a portfolio in PowerPoint might need to incorporate sound (audio software), video (camcorders, video editing software), images (scanning, digital cameras, image editing software), and CD burning. Since all students who work on these projects are likely to encounter new technologies, technical support, as well as the planning and coordination of that support, is crucial.

Currently, students can receive software training, e.g., PowerPoint and Web editors, from the TLC; and they can receive limited multimedia assistance in the Service Center Multimedia Area where multimedia hardware and software reside. What is missing is a "bridge" between the instructors, the TLC staff, and the Service Center Multimedia Area staff for project planning, identifying student needs, and developing and coordinating project-specific support. Also needed are student multimedia specialists who would assist with exploring options and identifying the best methods for completing projects, developing training and documentation materials, and providing multimedia assistance and learning opportunities for students, ITS staff, and instructors.

Proposed Solution:

To address this problem, we are requesting funding for student employees to help support, teach, and create video, audio, graphics, and animations. The students, who would be called Media Assistants, would possess expertise in graphic design and in the use of multimedia technologies. They would:

  • meet with instructors and ITS staff to assist with project planning. investigate hardware and software options for completing projects, help to identify the best methods, and provide project-specific student assistance.
  • assist with creating documentation and training materials for using multimedia hardware and software through the TLC, schedule demonstrations and hands-on instruction for students and faculty on appropriate topics.
  • establish support hours when they will be available in the TLC and/or the Service Center Multimedia Area to consult with and assist students on an individual basis.
  • train the trainer-Media Assistants will train TLC and Service Center student employees and staff on how to use multimedia software and hardware.

This initiative will facilitate collaboration among ITS service areas: the TLC that provides classroom training and walk-in lab assistance, the Service Center that houses multimedia software and hardware, and Custom Media Services (TFAC Project #0112) that currently consists of two students who provide customized artistic media services for students, staff, and faculty.

The three Media Assistants will be a "learning link" between the students and instructors who utilize multimedia technology for instructional purposes, the TLC staff, the Service Center Multimedia Area staff, the Multimedia coordinator, and the Instructional Designer. These students will be visible and accessible; their focus will be on teaching others how to use the software and hardware instead of doing projects for others (which is the current Custom Media Services focus). If time permits, the Media Assistants will continue to be available, on a limited basis, to work on projects that require advanced graphic design skills and technical knowledge, i.e., projects where they do the work.

The following ITS staff will be involved in implementing this initiative: TLC Student Trainer Specialist (Sheree Kornkven), Service Center Coordinator, Multimedia Coordinator (40% FTE), and Instructional Designer (5% FTE). ITS staff will:

  • periodically meet with instructors who assign multimedia or Web projects to their students and the Media Assistants to plan projects, identify needs, and coordinate support services for students with assistance from the Media Assistants, explore options and identify how these projects would be best accomplished by students.
  • identify and organize existing training modules and documentation;
  • identify needed modules and documentation; assign training modules and documentation projects to ITS staff and Media Assistants.
  • develop, evaluate, and revise training modules and documentation.
  • inform instructors, students, and TLC and Service Center staff of available training, documentation, and support for students.

Following are some positive outcomes of this initiative:

There will be improved communication about instructional technology projects between ITS service providers, instructors, and students. There will be better utilization of existing support services, i.e., the TLC, Custom Media Services (these students will become Media Assistants), and the Service Center Multimedia Area so that support for students working on course-related multimedia projects will be more accessible and relevant to their specific needs

.Proactive planning by instructors, ITS staff, and Media Assistants will result in projects that are clearly defined and documented, making it easier for students to complete the projects.

.All NDSU students will have more opportunities to learn and to use multimedia hardware and software; although training modules and documentation may be developed in response to a specific project need, the training, documentation, and the support of the Media Assistants will be available for all NDSU students.

.Multimedia and Web development projects will serve as models for other instructors who become interested in such projects.

 

2. TLC Student Manager

Expanding the TLC services to include daily walk-in assistance for students has required that the TLC hire more student trainers, not only to provide daily lab coverage, but also to ensure that a wide spectrum of computer skills are represented among the student staff. As the TLC has become a real "Center," the Student Training Specialist has acquired new responsibilities including supervising more students, scheduling lab coverage, and providing direct individual assistance to students, both computer-related assistance and talking with them about their learning needs. In addition, developing and maintaining a Web site and ongoing marketing and advertising obligations leave little time for collaborating with instructors and other ITS staff to plan, research and develop learning modules (including "train the trainer" material) and assessment tools and seek opportunities for partnerships with other campus entities.

A student manager would work 15 hours per week and would assist the STS with:

  • developing and maintaining the TLC Web site.
  • Preparing and managing computer lab schedule and fill in as needed
  • Marketing and advertising (creating posters, arranging other methods of informing students of the TLC services, e.g., talking to student groups)

Duties of the Student Training Specialist and the Student Trainers:

  • Provide lab coverage for just in time learning in the Technology Learning Center computer lab (IACC 150G)
  • Deliver classroom training at times and locations convenient for students
  • Deliver classroom training with the assistance of the ITS training team
  • Serve instructors by providing training opportunities for their students, upon request, either during class time or outside class time, on either a required basis or for extra credit
  • Create and review student surveys and evaluations to identify training needs
  • Collaborate with ITS staff (including student staff) to develop training modules on existing and requested technology topics
  • Research, review, and evaluate training materials
  • Revise current training offerings, based on student evaluations
  • Create handouts and other resource material to augment classroom training
  • Evaluate existing online and CBT courses for possible use at NDSU
  • Engage in professional development activities when possible and appropriate
  • Promote and market technology courses to students by using the Spectrum, an electronic list, a Web site, posters placed around campus, the Video Bulletin Board, the contact tables at the Memorial Union, and other appropriate methods
  • Reserve facilities when needed
  • Continue to expand the student training library to assist students with learning new software or to help them develop their current skills
  • Continuously encourage responsible use of NDSU computers

 

A diverse level of competencies continues to exist among our student body. A first year freshman right out of high school and an older-than-average student enrolled as a freshman have similar needs but may have very different technological skill levels. Regardless of their level of expertise, during their college careers, students will be required to use increasingly sophisticated technologies as technology becomes more integral to teaching and learning. The TLC is committed to making sure that all students at NDSU have the opportunity to play on a level IT playing field.

The Technology Learning Center has been successful and well received by NDSU students. Student evaluations of training are overwhelmingly positive, often expressing thanks. Continuing to fund the Student Training Specialist position, the Student Trainer positions, and the new initiatives, i.e., the Media Assistants and the TLC Student Manager, will enable the TLC staff, through the support of ITS and the Technology Fee, not only to continue to provide technology training for students, but to work to enhance, improve, and expand the services the Technology Learning Center is able to offer.

Progress toward Milestones:

Date Milestone

05/2002 - 06/2002:
Met with instructors for multimedia and Web development project planning for fall semester

06/2002:
Identified existing and needed modules, documentation and guidelines for fall projects

07/2002:
Hiring was completed for summer; began summer training; conducted student assessment; scheduled lab hours

8/2002:
Met with instructors to review student resources in place for fall semester

9/2002:
Hiring was completed for fall semester; conducted trainer orientation workshop

09/2002:
Began fall semester training; conducted student assessment; scheduled lab hours

11/2002:
Met with instructors and ITS staff to discuss instructional technology projects for spring semester

12/2002:
Evaluated fall training assessment / designed modules accordingly

12/2002:
Met with instructors to review student resources in place for spring semester

1/2003:
Began spring semester training; conducted student assessment; scheduled lab hours

04/2003:
Evaluated training assessment / designed modules accordingly

05/2003:
Conducted end-of-the-year evaluation and short- and long-term planning

06/2003:
Began summer training; conducted student assessment; scheduled lab hours

05/2003 - 06/2003:
Met with instructors and ITS staff to discuss instructional technology projects for fall semester2003

Comments:

I included the carryover amount in the beginning total when calculating the remaining expenses. I would like to request that the remaining expenses ($3554.01) be carried over to this year's grant. I am anticipating needing more support for administrative assistance, for help with our Web site, which uses PHP and a MySQL database, and for hiring adjunct trainers to help with extra classes like AutoCAD. Thank you.

Funding Summary:

NDSU fund number: 1547
Carryover: 2962.21
Award: 82653.00
YTD expenses: 82061.20
Anticipated remaining expenses: 0.00
Unspent amount: 3554.01


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North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7890 / Fax: (701) 231-7599
Campus address: Bison Court West 104
Mailing address: NDSU Dept. 5310 / PO Box 6050 / Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: Technology Fee Advisory Committee

Last Updated: Monday, August 08, 2011 1:36:53 PM