Friday, November 03, 2006

Engaging Freshmen with Technology

Student Engagement Technology

Planning Document (Google Docs)

"Ubiquitous Computing" ….provide a laptop to every student – students pay annual fee.

Tracy Gottlieb, Dean, in Acad. Affairs:
AHA! -- terrific... series of activities ENGAGING students with SHU from shortly after receiving laptop until they actually arrive as freshmen.

• KEY ISSUE - good collaboration: Works closely with IT and student affairs; "Are you working with people who are team players? Willing to try something new? Get something done?"
• Most important step: access to SHU computer system - with username, password - as soon as admitted (or registered) to enroll? - Engage new frosh EARLY - BEFORE moving onto campus - give laptops during orientation in spring year BEFORE beginning
• "Melt has shrunk" - loss of enrollees between June and Sept has DECREASED Some students still "shopping" even when they're going to freshman orientation!!!!!!
• Retention has gone UP in last few years!
• Some of these activities do NOT really require the full laptop "ubiquitous" commitment. Giving pre-enrollment students SHU email accts, etc. is useful even without laptops; but SHU gets students accustomed to using their own accts, Blackboard experience, access to portal ... for doing REAL projects.. e.g., "The Doubloon Project" - online scavenger hunt. Made college preparatory podcasts for frosh; plus podcast by English prof related to a summer reading assignment

• Try to create freshman "learning communities" - = a group of people who take the same set of courses; At SHU lots of discussion of "building community" - and intend to do so in MANY venues, in MANY ways; also communities of learners in the same field of study
• "High school students are very compliant" !!!!???? Not so once they are frosh; they are EAGER to become part of Seton Hall community.

Paul Fisher, Dir., TLT Center
• Students gain access to tech resources as soon as they make their deposit
• Distributing 1200 laptops over a few days is NOT to be committed to lightly!
• "Online tech skills course" - hybrid over summer BEFORE arriving on campus... 1.5 hours F2F 3 "hours" online!
• Students' mastery of basics with new laptops has dramatically increased; better than expected; REDUCED FACULTY FRUSTRATION AND COST OF STUDENT TECH SUPPORT!
• Summer "reading" assignment was done as CD/download...
• There is a Freshman Studies Community created where all communications take place

STA began 10 years ago!!! 10 years later, computers still aren't used all that much IN THE CLASSROOM; but are used much more IN COURSES!

PEER ADVISORS: 40 undergrad student Peer Advisors begin communicating with the freshmen from the very beginning when pre-freshmen get their online accts; now train ALL frosh Peer Advisors with same basic training as for beginning STAs!
Are these students paid? Some Peer Advisors get paid via Fed. Work Study; others get paid otherwise; Sliding pay scale - with training, experience; STAs are paid depending on the job they are applying for, experience level and skill level

Tracy: Reach out to the incoming students as early as possible; giving them their tech accts early; being deliberate, MEANINGFUL in communication online with these students; good use of Blackboard in PRE- enrollment

Paul: First steps - get buy in from depts./offices/areas as will be necessary for supporting such a successful program.... "getting the players around the table"..... [Steve Gilbert modestly recommends TLT Roundtable guidelines!]

STANDARDIZATION.... not innovative BUT makes some things MUCH simpler, easier, less expensive... [We'll return some day to ask about how this STANDARDIZATION fits with new Web 2.0 options!]

What difference would it make if your campus is a commuter campus? Seton Hall U. is 50/50. Paul: I don't think it would make any difference

Steve Gilbert:
• Great bumper sticker: "Limit the Melt!"
• "Blackboard community" often means little more than a place on the Internet where a group of individuals all have access to some shared info and to exchanging info/messages with each other... but a "community" in other contexts can mean much more

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