SACS Home at The University of West Georgia

Log On


3.4 All Educational Programs

Comprehensive Standard:

3.4.12 The institution's use of technology enhances student learning and is appropriate for meeting the objectives of its programs. Students have access to and training in the use of technology. (Technology use)

Statement of Compliance:   In Compliance.

Narrative:

Information technology is an integral part of the educational experience at the University of West Georgia. Academic departments/programs seek out technology that supports student learning, and prepares graduates for their chosen careers. However, technology support is primarily delivered through two departments: the department of Distributed and Distance Education and the department of Information Technology Services.

Distributed and Distance Education (DDEC)

The Department of Distributed and Distance Education enhances learning by providing technology for the academic departments as well as access to and training in the use of technology.

The Executive Director of Extended Learning and Dean of USG eCore oversees the Distance and Distributed  Education UWG Online [1], the UWG Newnan Center [2],  eCore [3], and other off-campus instructional sites.  This division is also responsible for the distance education helpdesk that serves students in fully or partially online courses, as well as those enrolled in face-to-face courses that use distance technology to enhance instruction. With seventeen fully online programs or certificates and multiple off-campus students, the UWG Online, eCore, and Newnan websites provide students with access to technology and student services specific to their needs.

Through collaboration across student services units, specific academic units, the Distance and Distributed Education Center, the Newnan Center, and UWG's central Information Technology Services department, access to and support of technology for online students are directly comparable to those provided for face-to-face students and are supplemented where necessary. Therefore, the University is in Compliance with the SACS policy on "Distance and Correspondence Education" [4]. Additionally, the Distance and Distributed Education Center has developed a table that provides a detailed comparison of services offered to face-to- face and external /online students [5].

The online learning management system, Desire2Learn, is used campus-wide by faculty in traditional classrooms as a supplement to their instruction and for partial or online courses. UWG calls its Desire2Learn instance CourseDen [6]; the USG calls it GeorgiaVIEW.  CourseDen allows faculty to post class-related materials (e.g. homework assignments, grades, class notes) in a central online location  accessible to all students enrolled in that class. CourseDen also allows students to submit completed homework assignments, participate in discussion forums, and collaborate using the chat and virtual lecture rooms.

UWG’s virtual classroom technology via Blackboard Collaborate and Wimba Classroom [7] allows dynamic synchronous interaction using video and VOIP.  Both systems provide an easy-to-use collaborative environment enabling students and instructors to talk in real-time, share whiteboards, perform application and desktop-sharing, instant polling and assessment, and record archives for later viewing. Both systems have an additional   suite   of   asynchronous   products (Wimba Podcaster, Wimba Voice Board, Wimba Voice Email, Wimba Voice Presentation, and  the Blackboard Instant Messenger) that are  used  extensively  for online course delivery, professional development, student orientations, tutoring, and support services. A comprehensive list of technologies supported for online instructors and students is available [8].

To help students and faculty in the use of CourseDen (Desire2Learn) and other distance technologies, the DDEC provides a local helpline (available via a local number, toll-free line, and live chat), multiple online and face-to-face student orientations, training, and support options, as well as guidance on effective practices for student success [9].  For faculty, the DDEC’s UWG Online team also offers regular face-to-face and virtual group workshops, individual consultations, instructional design services, and just-in-time training and support [10], [11].  

In addition to the local support services, supplemental support and training services [12] are available from out-sourced providers. The University System of Georgia provides a 24/7 helpdesk for CourseDen ([13], [14]) that is available 365 days a year. Online tutorials are provided on a wide scope of technology tools, including basic MS Office training, assistive technologies, and more, through Atomic Learning [15] and the UWG Online student website [12]. Online students can receive dedicated live virtual tutoring and services covering Writing, Reading, Math, Science, Business, Spanish, Nursing and Allied Health through Smarthinking [16].

The Newnan Center and other instructional sites have access to the same technologies and technology support services as on-campus or online students, either provided by dedicated on-site personnel, software, and equipment, or by virtual means discussed above.                

The Newnan Center has ten technology-equipped classrooms for instruction. These include three computer labs that double as classrooms, two of which seat 30 and one that seats 14; two lecture halls which seat 62 and 49 students; four classrooms, three which seat 30-40 students and one which seats 16; a conference room which accommodates 10 students/faculty members; and a small student computer lab that seats 5 students. All classrooms are equipped with a quad core computer (for instruction), LCD projector and DVD player. Wireless network connection is available for all students. Each classroom computer and all computer lab computers have Windows 7 installed, MS office 2010, Google Chrome, Firefox, Silverlight, and Adobe Reader. The three computer labs are also equipped with similar software plus Lockdown Browser for nursing testing and Starry Night for astronomy labs. One computer lab is equipped with a Smart Board. Each room may be supplied with an ELMO upon request.              

The Newnan Center also houses a Nursing Skills Lab which is equipped with the latest simulation technology and wireless access points. A Student Information Technology Services (SITS) [17] lab provides free computer service to UWG students. Newnan SITS can also assist students with MCA software downloads.

The  assessments  related  to  technology  use  by  the  department  of  Distributed  and  Distance Education are available [18].

Student Support and Resources

For all UWG students, faculty and staff, UWG Information Technology Services (ITS) [19] provides in-person, phone, web, and email support for all technology related issues [20], [21], [22].  As mentioned above, student support is also provided via SITS, or Student Information Technology Services [17] a unit run by students for students.  Through SITS, students can get help with software and hardware issues with their computers in addition to personal licenses for the current Microsoft Operating System, as well as the full Office suite of applications for both Windows and Macintosh. SITS facilitates peer-to-peer learning by providing an arena for students with an interest in technology to assist their peer students with computer support services. SITS is discussed in greater detail as an “academic support service” in the report for Comprehensive Standard 3.4.9. 

Additional support for software applications is available through the UWG Geek Squad. The mission of the UWG Geek Squad is to help students become proficient with the software programs that they need to be academically successful. The Geek Squad is coordinated by the EXCEL Center, and is composed of student educators whose work is devoted to assisting UWG students become successful in the use of software programs, instructional packages, and online research.  These peer educators work online or face-to-face in a computer lab setting within the EXCEL Center assisting students with the following three general learning emphases.

1 - University Based External to Classroom computer usage: UWG email, course registration, MyUWG, Career/Major exploration (FOCUS survey), CourseDen, and Wolf Watch usage.

2 - Classroom Based Computer Usage: computer research, library reserves, CourseDen details, eCore, Excel / Access / Power Point use, rudimentary Visual Basic programming.

3 - General College Success Usage: Microsoft Office Suite, Microsoft Windows 7, website development, college success skill training, ESL assistance, internet safety as relates to using Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and other social networking sites.

Training is also provided via Atomic Learning, as noted above.

The campus portal (myUWG) [23] provides students with access to their e-mail, Banner (Student Information System), and CourseDen D2L [6] (Learning Management System) accounts.  The portal also provides access to campus announcements and news, a personal calendar, student resources information, and support / help information (both technical and academic).

Computer Labs and Classroom Technology

UWG Classroom Technology is funded through a combination of Student Technology Fees and allocations from Academic Affairs. All technology in classrooms on campus is managed centrally by ITS and falls into three major categories:  Standard Classrooms, Advanced / Specialized Classrooms, and Classroom Labs.

The technology in a Standard Classroom typically consists of a teacher workstation, a ceiling mounted projector, speakers, and a control panel.  This setup allows faculty to easily deliver multimedia presentations during class. Advanced or Specialized Classrooms are custom built spaces typically designed to meet a specific academic need, and funding for these rooms is often split between student technology fees and Academic Affairs.  The campus currently supports three problem based learning spaces built in 2010.  These spaces consist of multiple workspaces allowing groups of six to eight students to collaborate.  Student work can be shared with the entire class via advanced classroom control technology.  These spaces also provide the ability to execute full electronic lecture capture.  Classroom Labs are identical to a Standard Classroom but provide each student with a workstation to use during class.  Access to the student workstations can be controlled by faculty member via the teacher workstation.  Classroom technology is also supported outside the classroom space via the Multimedia Lab.  This specialized lab allows students to work with a variety of media to create high quality presentations including still image and video production.  This lab is proctored by student assistants with backgrounds in multimedia development. The content of the majority of videos and presentations that are edited and produced from this lab are captured via checkout equipment made available to students through ITS and funded by the technology fees.  Many of these instructional spaces are noted in descriptions of technology use and support that are presented later in this report.

Computer Labs [24] at UWG are primarily funded by Student Technology Fees.  The labs that are managed centrally by ITS fall into three major categories:  Homework Labs, Specialized Labs, and Classroom Labs.  Homework labs are general work labs monitored by student assistants and generally keep broad hours (opening before 8:00 am with some staying open until 2:00 am).  These labs also exist to satisfy the UWG Computer Access Policy.  Specialized Labs are also typically monitored by student assistants but can be reserved for teaching or proctoring exams.  Software in these labs typically is specific to the corresponding discipline, examples include the Art Lab, Biology Lab, Geography Lab, and Anthropology Lab.  Classroom Labs are not monitored by student assistants. Their primary function is to provide computer access to courses that require them on a daily basis. Computer labs are also discussed as an “academic support service” in the report for Comprehensive Standard 3.4.9. 

Technology Infrastructure

The campus networking infrastructure, including access to the internet, is a critical component to ensuring that students have access to the resources they need to be successful. Campus buildings are connected to the network at 1Gbps, and the campus internet bandwidth is continuously monitored to make sure that adequate bandwidth is available. The campus wireless infrastructure was upgraded in 2011 in order to help meet the explosive growth in mobile technology.

The resident hall network, or ResNet [25], provides internet access to students living on campus.  This includes wired access (one port per student per room) and wireless access in the residence hall common areas.  In the event that a student is experiencing difficulties with internet connectivity in his or her room, an appointment can be made with ResNet to have a technician meet the student in their room and trouble shoot the issue.

The ITS department is responsible for the development of technology-related policies [26].

Library

Ingram Library [27]

The Ingram Library is a hub of technology on campus and with its 24/5 schedule serves as one of the primary campus locations for student life and academics. The library provides resources for student and faculty research as well as systems and tools for discovery of, preservation of, and access to information resources. The library also provides instructional services to support mastering the use of information to excel in research, curricular activities, critical thinking and lifelong learning. This includes on-site and telephone assistance at library help desks; 24/7 online chat support for using information resources; online LibGuides developed to assist users in the research process and with library services; in-class presentations and active learning experiences led by librarians to review information resources supportive of class assignments; and a for-credit course, LIBR 1101, part of Area B of the Core curriculum, which helps students learn how to effectively access and evaluate information resources.

Information resources

The University of West Georgia is a member of the University System of Georgia and the Ingram Library coordinates and facilitates access to information resources mediated through this consortium. Notably, this includes the GALILEO (GeorgiA LIbrary LEarning Online) [28] shared network of academic database resources and the GIL (GALILEO Interconnected Libraries) integrated library management system for participating Georgia institutions. The Ingram Library oversees its own locally-funded information resources, both article databases and the catalog, while integrating them into the larger consortial structure.

Library classrooms and computer labs

The Ingram Library includes three instructional spaces, each of which seats 24 students. Two of these spaces have a desktop computer for each student, one classroom offering 24 PCs and the other offering 24 iMacs. When not in use for classes, these two rooms double as student computer labs and collaborative spaces which are available during all hours the library is open. The third instructional space offers 24 laptops for students’ in-class use, otherwise, laptops are secured and the room is available as a study space when a class is not in session. Two of these classrooms also feature extensive whiteboard areas that further enhance their functionality for teaching and collaboration. All library instructional spaces include built-in projectors and speaker systems for sharing multimedia content. In addition, there is a built-in projector and PA system in the "Flex Space" area on the main floor of the library where public events (e.g., lectures, panels, musical events) are held.

Other library technology resources

The Ingram Library has over 60 desktop computers available for student use aside from the library classroom/lab computers. Funding has been allocated for up to an additional 40 public computers to be added in the 2013/2014 school year. A number of high performance computers with audio and video editing software are available at these public locations and include both Macintosh and PC platforms with such editing tools as Adobe Creative Suite and (for Macintosh) Final Cut Pro. The library also has 50 laptops that are available for students to checkout for use within the building with wireless cards to permit internet access. 

In addition to public-use computers the library has two printing stations, two computer-automated microfilm reader/printers and two photocopiers. The library also offers headphones, scanners, video cameras and graphics calculators for student checkout.

A digital signage system is installed throughout the library and four of these monitors are dual-use, allowing students to plug in their own laptops in order to work collaboratively on presentations in the library. Additionally, there are whiteboards installed throughout the main floor of the library in conjunction with spaces designed for student collaboration. Portable whiteboards are also available for student use on any floor as the need arises.  

The Assistive Technology Lab located in Ingram Library is available to users who register through the university's office of Disability Services.

Enhancing Student Learning and Academic Program Use of Technology at the Colleges/Schools Level

The following sections are devoted to more specific explanations of the technology made available within and in direct support of the specific needs of each academic college or school in the University.  As will be apparent, many of the technologies are made available institution-wide and, thus, have been introduced in earlier sections of this report.  However, the descriptions that follow demonstrate how these are adapted or tailored to the unique characteristics of disciplines within each college.

Richards College of Business

In the Richards College of Business, technology is used both to enhance student learning and to offer experiences with technological implementations they may experience after graduation in employment situations.  

Facilities and Accessibility

The RCOB has twelve technology-enhanced classrooms equipped for instruction.  These include two lecture halls that seat 86 and 100 students respectively; two large classrooms that seat 70 students; six mid-size classrooms that seat 40 to 50 students each; and two small classrooms that seat 28 students each.  All classrooms are equipped with a computer, LCD projection system, electronic screen, a DVD/VCR combination player, a Smart monitor for annotating information displayed through the computer, an ELMO projector and wired and wireless internet access in each of the rooms.  There are three computer classrooms/labs that are also equipped similarly for instruction and which provide individual computers for hands-on applications work, along with an open student homework lab.  The largest lab seats 54 students, two labs accommodate 30 students each, and the homework lab accommodates 24 students.  Four learning labs provide space for student collaboration and group work, as well as presentation capabilities similar to those of the classrooms for student presentation practice.

The University provides wireless access points across the campus, and both buildings housing the RCOB have wireless connectivity available for all students.

Classroom technology equipment is refreshed in the RCOB on a four-year cycle for computers and a five/six year cycle for other components through student technology fees and in conjunction with central IT support on the campus.

Curriculum, Training and Program Objectives

The degree programs offered by the RCOB provide both training and demonstration of student technology skills and abilities.  Key learning goals tied to technology are consistent in all BBA degrees and technology skills are also components of the other degrees offered through the RCOB:  the BS in Economics, the BA in International Economic Affairs and the BSED in Economics with Secondary Education certification.  

Most courses in the RCOB curriculum require use of technology, and all undergraduate students are required to take a Fundamentals of Computers and On-line Learning course (CISM 2201) as a part of their Area F curriculum.  Additionally, all students are required to successfully complete the Management of Information Systems course (CISM 3330) as a part of their junior business core.  Both courses are designed to provide training and practical application in various software programs and to help develop and hone students’ technology skills.

An example of a key learning goal and subsequent learning objectives are as follows:

LG3 

Use information technology to solve business problems:

 

LO3.1 Students will effectively use a word processing program. 

 

LO3.2 Students will effectively use a spreadsheet program. 

 

LO3.3 Students will effectively use a presentation program. 

 

Assessment

The Undergraduate Programs Committee and the Graduate Programs Committee maintain the ongoing processes of curriculum review and assurance of learning for their respective programs.  Faculty members in each discipline are responsible for recommending changes in individual majors, with oversight by the UPC or GPC.

Improvements in pedagogy in the technology skills area, based on assessment results in recent years, include increased focus on topics such as interpretation of quantitative analysis and spreadsheet skills and adding instruction on use of Adobe to the introductory MIS class.

College of Arts and Humanities

The Departments within the College of Arts and Humanities use technology to enhance student learning in ways appropriate for meeting the objectives of our programs. Students have access to and training in the use of technology.  The amount and type of technology used vary widely according to program objectives. 

Facilities and Accessibility

Virtually every classroom is equipped with an LCD projector attached to a computer, enabling instructors to implement a wide range of technologies, from PowerPoint to course-related digital archives.  Several classrooms, especially in the Technology-enhanced Learning Center (TLC), have SmartBoards, Many instructors make extensive use of CourseDen, which permits them to post readings and assignments online, allows students to post written work, and provides a forum for interaction and response beyond the classroom.  Some instructors have offered “hybrid” classes that combine face-to-face and online formats.  Some courses have been offered 100% online.

Art, Music, and Theatre rely heavily on technology to deliver instruction and meet program and course objectives.  The Art Department has three Mac computer labs with 20 iMac computers in each lab. Basic Mac software is available on each computer.  In addition to the primary software for Art and Design (Creative Suite or CS), the department has CS5 and CS6, the most current software. The majority of Studio programs in this department have at least two computers in each studio area to facilitate individual research and group discussions.

Music has a keyboard skills lab and a technology lab that are used as instructional spaces.  The keyboard skills lab has 17 electronic pianos (16 student stations and 1 teacher station) with a Yamaha networking system that allows students to practice simultaneously with headphones, and to communicate via microphone to the teacher. The teacher can communicate with individuals, to the entire class, or to groups of two or four. The instructor utilizes diad teaching to enhance student learning. The Music Technology Lab has 12 digital music stations with computers, music keyboards, a scanner and printer. Software includes up-to-date versions of Sibelius notation program, midi-sequencing and other composition software. Two classes are taught in this lab (Technology in Composition and Improvisation; and Orchestration and Arranging). The lab also contains ear-training software that is utilized in all four levels of Aural Skills classes required for all undergraduate Music majors. Students enrolled in these classes are granted access to the lab through an ID card swipe system.  In addition to classroom and laboratory technology, a recording booth is located at the back of the recital hall. The booth includes a Digital Audio Workstation that allows recording, mixing, and post-production and CD duplication and labeling. Each program presented in the hall is recorded and archived. Two of Music’s practice rooms are equipped with Smart Music software. This is a practicing tool that provides scales and vocalization cues and examples, and keyboard and orchestral accompaniments for much of the standard repertoire studied in Applied Music lessons.

ITS provides equipment for the band room, the one classroom that is not equipped with technology. Another classroom has a document reader and AVID system with digital tablet.  Beginning in fall 2012, the Master of Music Education (MME) program is being offered completely online.  The number of students enrolled in the MME tripled over last year.

Theatre technology includes a 15 station drafting and lighting design laboratory with a 10’ x 24’ lighting grid with twelve 2.5k dimmers; an ETC Acclaim manual lighting console; an ETC Expression 2x digital console with monitor.  A dimmer room off of this lab houses 36 ETC Sensor dimmers.  A 12 station computer assisted design laboratory is across the hall and equipped with Vectorworks 12.5, Poser, Pattern Maker and Virtual Stage Manager software. All stations are networked to an HP Design jet 800ps large format printer.  A system with computer for presentations on a 24”x 36” plasma screen display is also included.   An Acting Laboratory  used for teaching courses in acting and directing, houses a 30’ x30’ sprung floor; a 9’ x 15’ proscenium stage; and a 25’ x 35’ lighting grid with lighting positions to accommodate  twenty four 2.5k dimmers. This room is also furnished with audio/visual capacity (DVD/VCR player, LCD projector, cables for computer hook-up to the LCD projector and to internet and sound capabilities, and a projection screen). A sound design studio off this lab is used for student instruction and design work.  This space is ProTools based and uses an iMac processor.  The processing equipment includes a Digidesign Control 24 mixer, a Sony minidisk player/recorder, a Kurtzweil synthesizer keyboard, a Sony CD/CDR deck, a Digidesign Digi 001, a portable digital audio tape player, Garage Band and studio monitors.  Additionally, a fully equipped scene shop and costume shop housing a variety of shop tools specific to both design areas are located in the TCPA.

The Theatre department is a leader in the College of Arts and Humanities in developing and delivering fully online courses.  Faculty have created a policy however, to maintain a 50-50 ratio of the survey course, Introduction to Theatre, by offering a balance of sections taught face-to-face versus online in order to serve the optimal number of students.   Other Theatre and interdisciplinary theatre courses use WebCT or the MyUWG portal as a portion of the course requirement.  Some upper level Theatre courses, like Playwriting, employ CourseDen D2L [10] for 50 % of the course. All technical theatre software (as previously identified) is taught in the 2000 level course, Stage Craft. This allows the upper division design courses to dedicate more time to the actual design process rather than the intricacies of the software. The Theatre program works to ensure our students are up-to-date on the latest technologies used in theatre industry. Faculty have successfully requested and received Technology Fee monies to continually update hardware, software, and production equipment. The department also owns several Mac Computers (desktop and laptops) to facilitate students design needs. In order to fulfill a myriad of visually related course requirements, classrooms contain plasma boards that allow video, power point and documents projections.  As the discipline and industry of theatre has increasingly embraced digital technology, we have also acquired through a grant a GL2 video digital camera, an editing suite and a MacBook Pro all of which Theatre students are encouraged to use for classes and production work.

In nearly all English, History, Foreign Language, and Philosophy courses, students must use online resources to complete research projects.  Students are required to engage in formal writing assignments outside of class and to use word-processing software, such as Microsoft Word, to compose those assignments.

In spring 2012, 34 English composition classes were held in computer classrooms, a typical number; in this setting, writing instruction is closely linked to the use of technology. Some composition instructors teach "technology enhanced" courses through a program called ConnectComp, which provides writing activities from A Writer’s Resource, a peer review tool, diagnostic tests, individual learning plans, grammar exercises and other resources designed to facilitate composition. English Education classes, Professional and Technical Writing, and Creative Writing all use technology to facilitate learning in innovative ways that are often central, not peripheral, to course design. In support of the film studies minor, the English Department has a production room designed to allow students to create and edit films.

Foreign Languages faculty and students use technology in all classes, but there is no single use that is required of all instructors or of all students. In support of using technology in the classroom, students work in the technology-enhanced language lab for oral examinations and in additional Web-driven and dedicated environments. Faculty members use PowerPoint and other programs and media in the classroom environment.

The History department offers an undergraduate and graduate course in Digital History that teaches students how to develop and design websites, prepare audiovisual materials for World Wide Web distribution, and present historical research in a digital environment. The Department’s Introduction to Archives course also teaches students how to properly enter associated metadata fields for a variety of historical records, read and write XML code as it pertains to the preservation of historical records, and properly scan historical records for the World Wide Web.  Students have access to the Ingram Library databases and help from the personnel who assist them in collecting data for research projects. The History department has a Center for Public History which provides all history majors with access to digital/ tech equipment such as SLR Cameras for professional quality documentation projects, HD Studio Video Camera, and numerous Marantz Professional Grade Audio Recorders to record oral histories.  The Center also provides students with basic training in the proper use of scanners as well as an array of Adobe audiovisual software.  Any of this equipment or training is available to students both in and outside of class. 

Philosophy instructors and students use technology frequently and in the usual ways, but there is no single use that is required of all instructors or of all students. Some (but not all) instructors use PowerPoint, YouTube, DVDs and other programs and media in the classroom environment. Some (but not all) instructors make course material, e.g., syllabi, lecture notes, and study guides, available to students online. So while various sorts of technology are used by both Philosophy instructors and Philosophy students, there is no single use that is universal across all of the Philosophy Program's instructional environments.

Curriculum

The use of technology is specifically tied to the learning outcomes of all programs in the College (a complete list of student learning outcomes for all programs is available through the link below).  In Art it supports enhanced understanding of the language of visual communication.  In English students learn to use discipline-specific computer technologies related to the study of language. Technology in Foreign Languages supports the department’s mission of training linguistically competent and culturally literate individuals who are adept in the global marketplace.  In History, technology supports the goal of conducting research in a diversity of historical fields in order to enhance the quality of instruction, contribute new knowledge to the discipline, and introduce students to the methods and process of historical research, within the context of supporting the fundamental instructional mission of the Department.  In Art, Music, and Theatre, technology supports the mission to provide students with contemporary means of artistic production and professional grade experience to prepare for careers.   In Philosophy technology supports the development of skills in critical thinking, reasoning, judging, and philosophical argumentation.

Assessment

The Chairs of the departments in the College of Arts and Humanities maintain the ongoing process of curriculum review and assurance of learning for their respective programs.    As most of the student training occurs at the course level or in support labs maintained by individual departments, this is the appropriate point for assessment.  Faculty make recommendations regarding technology use within the programs.  The College is currently considering the formation of a technology committee to contribute to assessment.

College of Science and Math

In the College of Science and Mathematics (COSM), the use of technology is central in the teaching-learning process.  It is widely used in both face-to-face and online instruction.  The use of technology in instructional laboratories as well as in faculty-directed undergraduate research provides training and experiences that will serve the students well upon graduation, in employment or graduate or professional school. 

Facilities and Access

The six departments in the COSM are housed in four separate buildings.  Instructional space can be broadly classified as classrooms, laboratories, and specialized instructional space.  The table below summarizes these facilities:

 

Department

Class rooms

Laboratories

Specialized Instructional facilities

Biology

8

8

1 computer laboratory

Chemistry

3

4

1 chemistry studio

Computer Science

2 studios

3

1 tutoring/mentoring laboratory

Geosciences

6

7

2 GIS teaching laboratories

Mathematics

9*

0

Mathematics Tutoring Center

 

Statistical Consulting Center

Physics

2

3

2 computer laboratories

 *A small number of classes are offered in other buildings

All classrooms and laboratories are equipped with computers with internet access.  In addition, each department has one or more specialized computer laboratories.  In the Department of Biology, the computer laboratory is used extensively for testing, and is also available for general student use (when not used for tests).  In the Department of Chemistry, the studio is a unique classroom, which can serve as a lecture hall that seats 64, a computer-laboratory, or a chemistry laboratory for introductory courses.  In the Department of Computer Science, two classrooms are of studio format, and one computer laboratory is dedicated for tutoring and mentoring.  In the Department of Geosciences, two computer laboratories are dedicated for GIS.  The Department of Mathematics supports a tutoring center equipped with computers, and a Statistical Consulting Center.  In the Department of Physics, two computer laboratories are available, one each for introductory and upper-level courses. 

Specialized equipment in the natural sciences is interfaced with computers and used extensively in instruction (primarily for majors) as well as research. 

Wireless access points are made available by the university across the campus, including the four buildings that house the departments in the COSM. 

Classroom and laboratory computers are replaced with newer ones on the basis of a well-defined rotation, averaging four years. 

Curriculum, training and program objectives

All undergraduate students at the University are required to take courses in Core Area D (Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Technology, 10-11 credit hours), whose learning outcomes include:

The second learning outcome (in a required laboratory science course) necessarily involves the use of technology.  Furthermore, a course in computer science, taken by most students, necessarily uses computers. 

Students who major in one of the natural sciences have as a learning outcome data acquisition and analysis in discipline specific laboratory or field-based experiments.  In faculty-directed undergraduate research (required or highly encouraged in all disciplines in natural sciences) students acquire and analyze data, which necessarily requires the use of computers.  All degrees in mathematics require CS 1301, and, in computer science, courses in the major are, of course, based on the use of computers.  Thus, all majors in the COSM use computer-based technologies. 

Assessment

The Chairs of the departments in the College of Science and Mathematics maintain the ongoing processes of curriculum review and assurance of learning for their respective programs.  As most of the student training occurs in courses and/or at the program level, this is the appropriate point for assessment.  Faculty members in each discipline are responsible for recommending changes, including those pertaining to technology.  The Curriculum Committee of the College of Science and Mathematics reviews all proposed course and program modifications.

College of Social Sciences

In the College of Social Sciences, student learning is enhanced by technology, and students are taught to use technologies which they may encounter in post-university employment situations.

Facilities and Accessibility

The university provides wireless access points across the campus utilized in classrooms in the four buildings which house the departments in the college. Classroom technology equipment is refreshed by campus ITS through student technology fees, and occasionally on a case-by-case basis by entities within the College.

Labs.Among other labs and centers, the College of Social Sciences houses three labs which rely upon technology:

  1. Survey Research Center [29]
  2. The Center for the Study of Social Dynamics [30]
  3. Biological and Forensic Anthropology Laboratory (BAFAL) [31]

 In each of these labs, an interwoven mission of teaching and research relies heavily upon technology.

The Survey Research Center has the following technology available in its CATI lab. These are used to teach students about gathering survey data and to gather data for use by students and faculty as well as the community at large:

a total of 16 computers (15 stations and 1 supervisor/teaching station)

The Center for the Study of Social Dynamics maintains 11 desktop computer work stations (9 with NVivo software) and 2 digital transcription machines and a number of voice recorders to be used in gathering and analyzing data.

In the BAFAL lab in the Department of Anthropology, students are exposed to a variety of technological skills used by Forensic Anthropologists working in the field. Students learn to operate a ductless fume hood, to use a Stryker saw for cutting bone, to operate SLR cameras, to employ X-ray light boxes to interpret radiographs, to use high-end metal detectors, to use spanning calipers for bone measurements, and to employ digital and dial spreading calipers for bone measurements. In addition, students learn to operate a Total Station mapping instrument and download the data to a GIS mapping program. Students learn to manually map sites. The lab employs much specialized software such as Smithsonian’s Osteoware, UT Knoxville’s ForDisc 3.0, 3-D skull by E-Human, and Bodybrowser by Googlelabs in teaching students about forensics.


Classrooms.In addition to the three labs, students attend class in eleven computer and projection technology enhanced classrooms and two computer labs (20-33 students at workstations). The College maintains two additional classrooms which are equipped with recording technology for public speaking courses which also have the above mentioned projection technology.

The Department of Mass Communications maintains several specialized facilities for teaching students. TLC classroom 1106 contains graphics equipment and software, including Adobe CS5 Suite (special Effects & graphic designing software), Photoshop, After Effects, and Illustrator. The television station employs a number of computers, and many types of specialty software, including Final Cut Pro Studio 2 (Video & Audio Editing Software), Final Cut Pro 7, Motion 3, DVD Studio Pro, Compressor, and Sound Track Pro. It also contains a control room, several editing suites, and a number of digital and analog video cameras and accessories. The West Georgian, our student newspaper, employs six iMacs used in newspaper design and layout, several digital still cameras and digital recorders. The WOLF Internet Radio and the Radio lab employ computers running Adobe Audition 3.0, Adobe CS5 Master Collection, StationPlaylist Studio and Creator, as well as an audio control board.

Finally, the College controls two large lecture halls with projection and stereo equipment.

Curriculum, Training, and Program Objectives

The College of Social Sciences offers many degree programs, all of which require students to demonstrate some level  of technological competence.

For example, in Sociology, Criminology, Political Science, and Psychology, students are trained in the use of statistical software when appropriate.  Students will use these skills in the labs on campus, but will also be called upon to create and manage statistical reports in their future careers.

In Anthropology, students are taught how to transcribe interviews using a digital recorder; they are also taught mapping skills. In forensic Anthropology, as noted above, students use a great deal of very specialized technology to get hands on experience in Forensic Anthropology. Again, these skills will enhance student ability to function at high levels in their future careers in graduate school or in a job context.

In Mass Communications, students operate a television station, a newspaper, and a radio station using technology on campus. Students without the technological skills they learn in their mass communications courses cannot go on to successful careers in media.

In addition to these specific courses, a large number of classes is either fully or partially online. In conjunction with other campus entities, we have committed the College of Social Sciences to training all faculty in the creation and maintenance of online courses. During the summer semester, faculty are paid a stipend to train in the creation and teaching of online courses.

Assessment

The Chairs of the departments in the College of Social Sciences maintain the ongoing processes of curriculum review and assurance of learning for their respective programs. As most of the student training occurs in courses and/or at the program level, this is the appropriate point for assessment. Faculty in each discipline are responsible for recommending changes in individual majors to include the addition of appropriate training in areas of technological advancement to courses and to programs. The Faculty Council of the College of Social Sciences reviews all proposed course and program modifications.

College of Education

The College of Education (COE) is committed to enhancing student learning through the use of technology. This is an especially critical aspect of our work, since the COE is interested both in the success of its students and in modeling for them the technologies they will take into school classrooms as interns and future educators. Ultimately, the COE would like its graduates to use technology to support the academic achievement of children in classrooms throughout Georgia.

Resources to Support Instructional Technology and Distance Education

In the College of Education, many courses and programs have moved to online environments, and the COE worked hard to provide up-to-date technology to support this instruction.

For Faculty, there is a wide variety of tools and services are available to professors to support hybrid or online teaching. The tools, many of which have been described in other sections of this report, include Wimba Live Classroom, Wimba Voice Tools, Wimba Pronto, Wikispaces, Safeassign, TurnItIn, Respondus Lock Down, and presentation tools such as Impatica, Respondus Studymate, and Quiz Creator.  Faculty are also trained and encouraged to use Web 2.0 tools such as wikis, blogs, online videos, social learning, and other trends to engage students and enrich the learning environment.

Multimedia and rich content are also used heavily and supported by software, services, equipment, and training. The University System of Georgia podcast server provides centralized podcast hosting services for the distribution of audio and video content.

For Students, CourseDen provides access to course information and materials and to a Web server for publishing course content. Further, students are provided the full Microsoft Office Suite of tools, Microsoft operating systems, and firewall software, as well as some software for Mac users. An exhaustive number of instructional materials is available to students for check-out so they can take leading technology equipment into classrooms as they learn to teach.

The College of Education also has 10 large-screen monitors mounted throughout the COE’s three buildings to provide information to students about academic programs, COE activities, and professional training opportunities available to them.

 Facilities to Support Technology-Enhanced Instruction

The College of Education is well-equipped, providing excellent opportunities for faculty to model leading edge instructional technology. All instructional classrooms have internet connectivity and instructional technology stations that include computers, monitors, DVD players, document cameras, sound systems, state-of-the-art projection units, and interactive white boards.

The COE also maintains the state-of the art TecHub (Technology Enhanced  Curriculum Hub), where students can learn and practice new technologies related to teaching. Included in the TecHub are RM Vertable Interactive Whiteboards; Document Cameras; e-books; ActiveInspire and  Easy Teach Next Generation software programs; Cricut electronic dye cut machines; Interactive globes; Student Response Systems; audio enhancement devices, Laptop Carts (with 15 laptops each); and  digital story-telling kits, cameras, projectors, and recorders.

The COE also has 3 computer labs for student use, along with numerous walk-up stations in hallways and lounges. The College is currently constructing a “Classroom of the Future,” where the latest instructional technology will be highlighted. This room will serve not only the College of Education, but public schools in the area.

One of the COE departments is located in the Coliseum on campus. In addition to extraordinary classroom and seminar space there, the facility is equipped with a human performance lab with the capacity to analyze movement for maximum performance. The instructional gymnasium consists of five basketball courts that are also equipped for volleyball and badminton – perfect venues for preparing physical education teachers. An aerobics room, strength and conditioning room, a DEXA machine, CPR mannequins, and many other features make this a state-of-the-art facility for teaching physical education and sport studies.

 Additionally, a comprehensive list of COE classrooms, labs, and resource centers (both on campus and off campus) that support technology-enhanced instruction is available [32].

 Professional Development for Instructional Technology and Distance Education

For Faculty, the University of West Georgia Distance and Distributed Education Center (DDEC) supports faculty in providing meaningful, instructionally appropriate learning opportunities to students in distance courses. The DDEC provides faculty with workshops, one-on-one assistance, virtual sessions, and phone support. The opportunities for professional development that they provide are extensive (more information is provided in Distributed and Distance Education section).

For Students, the UWG Distance Education Department, Information Technology Services, and various student services units offer student support websites, tutorials, as well as an online student orientation and live assistance via the web, phone, and in-person for those who wish to travel to the Carrollton Campus or the UWG Newnan Center. In addition, the COE offers many training opportunities for students in its computer labs and TecHUB.

 Assessment

All courses and programs, including those offered face-to-face, hybrid, or via distance, are evaluated for rigor and alignment with expected learning outcomes.  The COE uses TK20 for data collection, management, and analysis. 

School of Nursing

Instructional Technology

The new Nursing building provides fully integrated and standardized A/V instructional systems for a total of 33 AV enabled spaces.  The overall system allows for centralized management, remote control and maintenance.  Lecture spaces, conference rooms and other instructional areas have video conferencing, telepresence, content archival/publishing and distance learning functionality.  Components include distance learning/teaching with large format HD widescreen projection, digital annotation on wired touch panel display at an A/V lectern, document projection, laptop computer inputs, acoustical room treatments, window dressings for ambient lighting control,  DVD playback, A/V system and room control automation, distributed wired/wireless speech reinforcement, stereo PGN audio support, classroom capture via DL Systems Cameras, multiple presets for light control, internet projected content and video fold back with large confidence monitor on movable stand.

Total costs for the general A/V instructional systems and proprietary SimView/SimManger high definition A/V capture systems for the skills/simulations labs were in the range of $1.6 million dollars.

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Classroom

Two new PBL classrooms, located in the new School of Nursing building, will facilitate a way for our students to interact with their instructors, peers, and information. Using dedicated software, the room contains a teaching station where an instructor can pose a situation that results in a problem for which students must propose a suitable solution. This information can be sent to all the "pods" (three in each room, each pod can accommodate twelve students) or selected pods depending on the situation. Each pod group can then work on the situation via laptop computers that communicate with the pod. The learning comes from the process the students use to get to the solution. Once the solution is found, the pod groups can then present their finding to the entire class by sending the information back to the instructor station. This process helps the students refine their problem solving expertise, critical thinking skills, and presentation abilities simultaneously.

PDAs and Unbound Software

The School of Nursing requires that all students have access to a personal digital assistant (PDA) while in the clinical facility. Students use the device paired with software bundles from Unbound Medicine [33] to look up drugs, interactions, dosages, side-effects, etc.

ATI Testing [34]

The School of Nursing using ATI Testing online examinations to assess and track students’ understanding of critical content. ATI is used in the traditional program all the way through their courses until graduation. We strictly use online testing in our traditional BSN program. 

SON ATI Policy

  1. Progression - Students must complete all required ATI testing by the dates set forth in the course calendar at the beginning of each semester.
  1. Course Credit - Scores on the Secured (Proctored) ATI Examinations in selected courses comprise a component of the course grade. 10% of the credit in these courses will be based on achievement of Proficiency Levels as indicated by ATI for selected courses. Any student who scores less than Level II on the first attempt will be required to complete a content specific remediation program.
  1. Remediation - students are required to take and submit the score of an unproctored ATI four weeks prior to administration of the proctored ATI. Scores obtained in subcategory areas that are 65% or below require completion of ATI’s focused remediation.
  1. Graduation - The proctored ATI RN Comprehensive Predictor Exam is a component of NURS 4444, Preparation for Professional Licensure, a course required for graduation. Students must pass the examination (within two attempts) during this course with a score commensurate with a 95% chance of passing NCLEX-RN on the first attempt.

 CourseDen – Desire2Learn [6]

All students are required to use the online component for each of their courses through CourseDen. Students use CourseDen to turn in online assignments, facilitate synchronous and asynchronous class discussions, communicate in the course with the instructor as well as peers, and schedule events for clinicals through the CourseDen calendar, discuss clinical issues and experiences within a clinical group, and track grades throughout the semester.

Students have access to online tutorials ^[34=587] and “help links” if they find themselves having trouble with CourseDen. They can also contact Distance Education for one on one trouble shooting.

Graduate studies are primarily conducted in an online environment; the CourseDen component is used for 95% of the course delivery for graduate students. Because the graduate program is 95% online, students are constantly using technological resources to meet program objectives. CourseDen is often used for asynchronous course activities. The graduate nursing faculty use Wimba classrooms to support the synchronous class structure.

Student Orientations

All students are oriented to the technology utilized in their programs of study. Undergraduate and Graduate students enrolled in online programs attend a mandatory orientation where they are introduced to the technologies they will use for the duration of the program. They receive extensive preparation on the use of Google, CourseDen, Wimba, presentation software, and online library resources from university personnel.

Electronic Medical Recording (EMR) 

Undergraduate Nursing students and Nursing faculty have access to an electronic medical record system, SimChart. Students receive training on the use of patient care documentation in their first clinical course of the nursing program. Access to the software is available through the UWG server while the student is on either the Newnan or Carrollton campus. Students use the EMR to document client care situations that are taught or experienced in the skills or simulation laboratory which may then be submitted for instructor feedback. Documentation can occur at bedside or in the computer lab.

Simulation

A wonderful opportunity is afforded undergraduate nursing students to practice client care situations in the high-fidelity simulation laboratory. The rooms are outfitted to resemble hospital patient rooms and include hospital beds, medical air, oxygen, suction, medication carts, IV pumps, medical equipment, bedside laptop computers and human patient simulators. The simulators are life-sized and life-like. Students can take vital signs, auscultate heart, lung and bowel sounds, start an IV, administer medications, palpate pulses, perform chest compressions and speak with the simulator to name a few valuable clinical activities. The simulators are equipped with audio voice box speakers which allow the operator to project their voice through the manikin’s voice box. Students are trained on the unique qualities of each simulator prior to each simulation experience either through demonstration or video.

There are two simulation rooms and one control room on the Newnan campus and seven simulation rooms (4 hospital rooms, 2 exam rooms and 1 community room), three control rooms, and eight skills bays on the Carrollton campus. The Newnan campus is equipped with the following high-fidelity manikins: 1 Laerdal SimMan Essential simulator, 1 Gaumard Noelle birthing simulator (with birthing infant), 1 Gaumard Pediatric Hal 5 year-old manikin, and 1 Gaumard Infant Hal manikin. There are also 3 Laerdal VitalSim medium-fidelity manikins (2 adult, 1 pediatric). The state-of-the-art Carrollton campus is equipped with 4 SimMan adult male manikins (SimMan Classic, 2 SimMan 3G, 1 SimMan Essential) as well as a SimMom, 2 SimJuniors, A SimNewbie, a SimBaby, and 3 Laerdal VitalSim medium-fidelity manikins (2 adult, 1 pediatric). Carrollton is also equipped with a Gaumard Noelle, Pediatric Hal, and Newborn Hal.  The Carrollton campus also has 13 medium-fidelity VitalSim manikins (3 adult black, 3 adult tan, 5 adult white and 2 children). Each simulation room is equipped with audio-video capture hardware and software which allows for the digital images of three camera shots, the patient care monitor, and the log of clinical activities to be archived in one digital file. In addition, the skills bays are equipped with hospital beds and medical equipment and cameras, microphones and audio-visual playback systems for student learning.  After each client care encounter, the archived video recording is accessed by a Nursing instructor. The students and instructor view the student’s performance for debriefing and learning purposes. Undergraduate instructors and graduate nursing students involved in debriefing are trained on use of the equipment and best instructional methods to use the video archives. Graduate students are encouraged to work within the simulation lab for their practicum component.

Simulation is vital to meeting program objectives for a pre-licensure nursing program. The value of simulation education is that a variety of client care situations may be replicated in a controlled and safe environment where students can learn to effectively manage their time, deal with clients in a caring manner and make clinical decisions which will positively impact healthcare.

Supporting Documentation: