Campus Technology

 

Holloway Hall

Technology at Salisbury University...

I often get questions from current students, new students, parents and even faculty and staff about the current state of technology at Salisbury University. This is a pretty broad question and the answer will vary somewhat depending on the perspective of the person asking the question.

Current students have seen some pretty great changes in technology use over the past few years.  There has been very rapid growth in the technology provided in the classrooms.  The university now operates over 155 high tech classrooms, or SMART rooms. Most faculty are now integrating technology into their classes. This can range from using power point or the internet in the classroom to utilizing elaborate web sites to supplement class activities. Most students make use of faculty web sites, MyClasses or web sites related to their particular area of study. Resident students have high speed access to the web in their residence halls and University Park.  Wireless internet services were added to the residence halls in January 2009.  Some students have also discovered the wireless network in almost all academic buildings and the Blackwell Library.  Over 98% of the SU student body owns a computer and almost 3/4 of these are laptops. Over 99% own cell phones. This group is “connected” to say the least. Through GullNet most academic services can now be accessed through the web. Registration, bill payment, financial aid information, degree status reports, transcripts and housing management can all be obtained through the web.  SU has not issued printed grade reports to students since the Spring 2003. Times and services have changed.

Future students will be coming with an even a higher set of expectations than the current student body.  Web services are not new to this group, but are expected. I doubt most high school students would look twice at a university that did not present large amounts of information about their programs and activities on the web.  They expect to apply for admission over the web and expect to have access to the internet wherever they are. Wireless networks are growing rapidly at SU and elsewhere.  Students can and do expect to be “always on”. The availability of low cost wireless ready laptop computers is changing the campus culture rapidly. The advent of reliable wireless connectivity and inexpensive laptops changes everything.  SU is growing its wireless network so that students are connected as soon as they “cross the curb” to the campus. Most areas provide wireless access to the internet now. My advice to students starting in the fall 2010 is to come to campus with a wireless laptop. Over 80% of our students have already made this choice and the number will grow rapidly. At this writing all academic and administrative buildings now offer wireless internet access.

Parents often ask “what kind of computer should my son/daughter have?”. This is a relatively new question since the question of should my son/daughter come to campus with a computer seems to have already been answered. As mentioned above for the next few years wireless connectivity will be a main focus of campus technology. This will lead to changes in teaching and learning. We are already seeing technology play a very important role in almost all areas of study.  Here is a link which provides some guidance,  http://freshmantech.blogspot.com/ .

Faculty have experienced a high level of change over the past few years.  New technology in classrooms, the addition of GullNet for class management and advising, and the adoption of web tools to put class content on the internet are just a few of the changes that have altered the way teaching and learning takes place. The adoption of technology in teaching has been very significant. The growth in the number of SMART rooms, the activity level in the Instructional Design and Delivery Center, and the growing use of MyClasses and faculty websites are all indicators of a faculty that have embraced technology in teaching.  With the addition of the Integrated Media Center in the new Teacher Education and Technology Complex (opened fall 2008) we will see even more collaboration within and across disciplines in the use if cutting edge technology.

Summary

In the past ten years technology has invaded SU, like many campuses.  Some on campus already describe technology as “just like electricity, it’s just there”. This is very different view from just a few years ago. Students and parents are coming to campus with expectations which necessitate growth in the technologies available and they are pushing for “any time, any where connectivity”.  Connectivity and content will drive our growth for some time.  We are excited to push toward new levels of technology innovation.  This is what education is all about. We welcome the input of students and faculty as we learn together.  Thanks for choosing Salisbury University.

Jerry Waldron
Chief Information Officer
jfwaldron@salisbury.edu
freshmantech.blogspot.com

February 9, 2009

 

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