Posted by: Apurva Mehta | January 15, 2013

Educational Technology Update Spring 2013

ApurvaThe wide array of educational technologies available today has evolved substantially in the past few years.  Tools which had been released just a few years back, are now more feature rich, easier to use, are able to integrate into campus portals. More importantly the systems have become more affordable – in that most are now hosted in the cloud, not needing developers and technical staff to maintain; thereby allowing instructional designers, media and content specialists to concentrate their work on assisting faculty in using these technologies.

As Director of Educational Technology and Client Services at UMass/Boston, I am pleased that, over the past four years, we have been able to take advantage of these developments and to offer the community a wide variety of options for engaging students:  Blackboard Learning Management Systems, wikis, blogs, classroom capture systems, iTunes U, personal response systems and other services. Offering wide choices allows our faculty to teach with tools that suit their teaching styles and responds to dramatic changes in the ways that students are learning today.

So what’s in store for 2013 and beyond?  Clearly the industry is changing – today we see the proliferation of mobile devices, major changes in the publishing industry, and the consolidation of various segments of the industry.  As members of the Educational Technology Department, we are committed to moving the university forward in new directions for supporting learning.  We have several initiatives that are well under way – the upgrade to Blackboard Learn, scheduled to be completed by Fall 2014; the roll out of the iPad in the Classroom project as a way of introducing mobile devices as a learning tool; making iTunes U more accessible for courses, allowing faculty to distribute content via this medium; investigating the next generation of personal response systems;  and working with the library, publishers and the bookstore to see how best we can offer ebooks to our students as way of reducing the cost they incur in purchasing the printed material.

Other projects include the upgrade to the computers in the Red Lab and in the library 4th floor; the replacement of all the iMacs in Mac Lab A which will allow the Art department to teach courses in various Adobe products are scheduled to be completed this winter break.

On behalf of all of us in IT – Educational Technology we look forward to working with you closely in the new year.

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