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The Wired University

IUP has one of the most ambitious technology programs in Pennsylvania. Its branches have spread farther than many would suspect, and high-tech advances appear in many different forms throughout the university.

A prime example is the safety and security of university residence buildings. IUP is installing security cameras at entrances and exits of each residence hall and apartment building. Every exterior door requires the use of a student ID card to gain entrance; video cameras are slated for every on-campus ATM site; and security alarms are located in all residence hall shower areas.

Besides having full Internet access in the residence halls, students can access any of the nearly 250 computers in university public laboratories. An additional 1,400 PCs are available to students in over forty computer laboratories on campus, nearly 60 percent of them located in residence buildings.

The Wired University

Assistant Dean for Technology Lloyd Onyett helps Kelly Longwill in the Electronic Portfolio Assistance Center. The center offers individual attention by lab technicians who help with the use of scanners, digital cameras, video editing hardware and software, and use of templates which are based on standards set by the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium.

Students can access web services from any networked computer (on or off campus) to register for classes, review schedules, check grades, update personal information, and complete other activities that once required the direct involvement of school administration.

Every IUP student has twenty megabytes of personal space available on the university web server, and all are provided with free e-mail accounts. Dormitory residents also have cable TV hookup and optional telephone voice mail. The university subsidizes many of the costs of using technology, including Internet access, e-mail accounts, on-line library services, and educational software.

IUP provides administrative support for undergraduate students in the form of on-line application and course registration processes, on-line access to financial and academic information, and on-line help and technical support.

With IUP’s adoption of wireless network standards, Stapleton Library and the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology were the first entities on campus to receive wireless networks. Using a network card, portable computer users can connect to both Internet and Intranet resources from anywhere within the buildings.

University Testing Services opened its new computer-based testing center this past October. Located in Pratt Hall, the center is able to deliver tests that have not been available on campus for several years, including GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, CLEP, and Praxis I tests. 

The Wired University

Craig Zamboldi takes a swing in the HUB's golf simulator.

Many courses routinely use web and video enhancements for their materials. On-line or distance education courses use WebCT, a course management software system. WebCT bulletin boards and chat rooms encourage class participation, and there is an on-line testing system. Distance education courses, which enrolled nearly nine hundred students last summer, are coordinated through the School of Continuing Education. An on-line associate’s degree is available through a cooperative program with Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and consideration is being given to an all-on-line master’s degree program within the College of Education and Educational Technology.

Distance learning courses are also constructed through the SAIL Project (School Assisted Interactive Learning) for use by the Department of Defense Education Activity. Now in its second year, IUP’s SAIL team comprises faculty members, technology specialists, and administrators of the College of Education and Educational Technology. IUP received a $912,000 grant to complete four initiatives by May 31, 2003: create a web-based, K-12, six-week summer reading enhancement course; develop three web-based, one-credit course modules that will prepare teachers to teach gifted students; develop an on-line tool to evaluate on-line courses; and prepare an evaluation of distance learning management systems.

IUP is cooperating with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to implement a computerized geographic database to help biologists and zoologists map areas in Western Pennsylvania in which endangered animal and plant species live. With this information, specific locations that pose threats to plants and animals within the commonwealth can be identified.

Technology Has Impact on Philanthropy, Too

IUP is one of four universities in the state to be specially recognized for excellence in the use of technology in teacher preparation. The university is also part of a $160,000 project funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Education Technology to help fund an introductory workshop on Geographic Information Systems for Pennsylvania’s public school teachers.

The rapidly expanding electro-optics industry received a boost when the IUP Armstrong Campus launched its associate's degree program in electro-optics last fall. The Armstrong campus program, one of only a dozen such degree programs in the country, prepares students for jobs as laser engineers and designers.

In the Geoscience Department, professor Karen Rose Cercone said, “I’ve completely replaced chalkboard notes in my large nonmajor classes with computer presentation software. This allows me to incorporate multimedia directly into my notes for classes. Computer notes can be transformed into web pages and then attached to digital recordings of my lectures to create an on-line learning experience.”

Students can also work with actual scientific data sets available through the Internet. For example, they can study a “virtual earthquake,” examining the complete data from the California quake that interrupted the 1989 World Series. Analyzing real data also applies to other courses, such as statistics.

Students who take core mathematics courses are required to use the TI-92 Plus calculator. Its built-in computer algebra system helps free them from computational drudgery, allowing instructors to spend more time on concepts.

In the fine arts, instructors teach music composition with computers and run electronic class piano labs. New computer looms assist the fibers program. Computer-driven equipment for lighting and sound control has long been a part of the theater program, and dance classes use computer programs to help with performance composition and notation of choreography.

As technology costs drop, items such as digital tablets and film scanners are easier to afford. A document camera will soon be added to fine arts classrooms, projecting images onto a screen from a book or other document.

The Wired University

A state-of-the-art observation lab for IUP’s Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Program will be built with a $134,324 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. IUP will be the only site in the nation to use this type of technology to teach students to assess and treat communicative disorders. Glen Tellis (right) is project director and assistant professor in the Department of Special Education and Clinical Services, and Thomas Meloy ’70, M’75 is codirector for the grant and director of the Office of Special Projects for the College of Education and Educational Technology.

“This is one of the biggest teaching aids art historians could hope to have,” said Michael Hood, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “It’s important to note that, while some design programs claim they are teaching design, they are actually teaching the ‘tools’ of design. We still teach the principles of design, of music, of composition and lighting. This needs to be clearly understood by all of our students if they are to truly access their creativity.”

Many categories of software prices have dropped as well, such as 3D modeling and animation programs.

The Eberly College of Business and Information Technology developed one of the first Management Information Systems programs in the country almost thirty years ago. The college has recently introduced a Business Technology Support major, focusing on training, network administration, and web design and administration.

Eberly was among the first in the country to enter into a partnership with SAP America, the leading producer of ERP software that includes all of the related business functions utilized by an enterprise. SAP America donated over $1 million in software and faculty training. The Eberly College, in turn, integrated ERP concepts into a wide range of coursework; built courses around data warehousing, data mining, and e-commerce; and focused substantial resources on facilities and equipment related to network administration.

In recognition of its technical advances, IUP’s College of Education and Educational Technology was selected by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Technology in Education Consortium as one of five higher-education institutions in the state to be included in a report on Teacher Preparation Programs to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The college awards approximately fifteen technology mini-grants each year to faculty members for development of technology-related projects. Within the last two years, institutional funds have been provided to purchase hardware and software, to pay professional association and membership fees, and to improve research and teaching skills.

Computers, computer projectors, VCRs, DVD players, and other hardware and software have been installed in over 70 percent of the college classrooms, allowing instructors to train students how to use technology appropriately when they become teachers. It is hoped that the remaining 30 percent of the classrooms can also be converted to technology centers.

The electronic portfolio program is of particular interest. The National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education requires student portfolios from preservice teachers as part of a three-step process for application for admission, student teaching, and graduation/certification. The college established a collaborative Student Portfolio Process, which pulls together the student’s entire undergraduate career. Creation of an electronic portfolio, which must meet National Education Technology Standards, is required of all IUP teacher preparation students.

IUP chose the electronic portfolio over the paper version, since the construction of the portfolio develops the students’ technology skills and provides a portfolio that is easier to navigate and maintain.

To assist with portfolio creation and maintenance, students use IUP’s project directory, accessible to both students and faculty as networked file space to store assignments and ongoing work, courses, and course sections. Finished portfolios are then moved to a separate drive for permanent storage.

The Special Education and Clinical Services Video Observation Lab was created through a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The program helps speech-language pathology students develop the knowledge and skills required to assess and treat communicative disorders. A high-tech video and audio capture system, installed in a suite of four clinic rooms in Davis Hall, allows faculty members to record sessions digitally. This improves the supervision of students and helps them review their clinical skills. The video recordings are used to create course modules that are incorporated into both direct and web-based instruction. IUP is the first university in the U.S. to implement an observation system of this type.

Future plans include two more observation room systems, one to be used by the Counseling Department and the other by the Educational and School Psychology Department. Two wireless carts will each hold thirty laptop computers and will serve as mobile computer labs that can be moved into any classroom, eliminating the need to build additional computer labs where classroom space is already at a premium.

The college is also involved in the K-12 Computing Services Center Project, combining the talents and resources available in area schools with those at IUP. This six-year project will make technology easier to access within the schools and will improve training and support activities.