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INITIATIVES


 

 

Large-size Active Learning Classroom

A joint effort with the College of Education.

Classroom 302 in the Education building was identified as an underutilized space. The existing regular-size Active Learning Classrooms (ALC) in the Education Building and the professional development program offered by the College of Education on active learning teaching techniques was considered in the selection of this room with 2,654 square feet into becoming the first large-size active learning classroom in UTEP.

Due to the budget constraints, the transformation will be done in two phases. Phase 1 consists of everything that is related to construction (asbestos, walls, core drill, paint, and carpet), furniture, lighting, electrical, and Wi-Fi infrastructure. This phase is scheduled to complete in early August 2019. Phase 2 consists of the installation of the audio-visual equipment, computers, and the technology to manage and control the audio-video sources.

This room is expected to support active learning classes in spring 2020.

 


 

Increase use of software thru vendor’s cloud

A moving forward direction is to look at opportunities to transition the use of academic software that traditionally installs on desktops/laptops or accessed thru our cloud into the vendor’s cloud ecosystem. In recent years, software vendors with on-demand access to their products continues to grow. To provide faster access to new product versions and features for UTEP users, we will be relocating our existing resources into vendor’s cloud offering on-demand access to their software. In addition, software on-demand only requires a web browser to access the software. This feature along with the use of Respondus Lockdown browser will increase the adoption of e-Exams in courses where students need access to the software while taking an exam (i.e. Mathematica in Mechanical Engineering courses) using their own laptops.

Software titles for academic year 2019 - 2020:

Mathematica  • SAS  • Matlab

 


 

Make it easier for students to acquire a laptop for college

Incoming students may go out and purchase a laptop for college. They take this journey without guidance and most likely spend more money than they should (i.e. laptop packages, which includes software that UTEP provides at no cost to them). In collaboration with Student Affairs, we will connect with new students as early as they get their acceptance letter and provide them with information on free technology resources and guidance in buying a laptop.

UTEP offers book loans to students with affordable payment plans. The funds are made available thru student’s Miner Gold Card to purchase books at the Bookstore.

It is our goal to work with the UTEP Bookstore and Student Business Services to establish a similar loan (i.e. technology loan) for technology purchases. If the Bookstore guarantees education pricing for our recommended laptop options, we will promote and direct students to the bookstore for acquisition of computing devices.

 


 

Dean/Chair Dashboard on faculty engagement

A recent analysis of UTEP’s learning ecosystem concluded that faculty needs to be more responsive to students’ inquiries. Furthermore, students perceive a lack of activities in blackboard learn courses.

Our goal is to provide department heads and deans with visibility into faculty utilization of the technology, instructor’s activities inside the LMS, and responsiveness to student inquiries. This visibility will be available thru an online dashboard and will include reporting on student performance in program’s outcomes.

 


 

Remove Dell CFIs from new computer acquisitions

Implementation of Microsoft Autopilot and Office 365 ProPlus deployment. Currently, we acquire additional configuration services from Dell that allow the direct delivery of ready to use systems to UTEP users. With Microsoft’s Autopilot most or all of these services will no longer be needed as we will be able to perform necessary set-up configurations using this technology.

This project will also include making the deployment of Office365 ProPlus available to campus. This project has potential saving of over $31,000 per year, but most importantly, it will allow us to give our users faster access to the latest software and computer configurations required for institutionally owned computers.

 


 

Windows Defender as the campus-wide supported AV

Microsoft’s Windows Defender is the built-in anti-virus (AV) protection for all Windows supported operating systems. We are currently using BitDefender for campus computers and would like transition to Windows Defender. For this project, we will conduct a pilot of Windows Defender by enabling it on all computers in two of our campus computer labs. This pilot will take place starting Fall 2019.

 


 

Bb Learn Ultra Experience

In efforts to improve the overall Blackboard user experience, we will be implementing the Blackboard Learn Ultra Experience, which will consist of the overall transformation of the user interface and workflows in Blackboard. This project will be implemented in two phases.

The first phase will be the activation of the Ultra Base Navigation. Enabling the Ultra Base Navigation will allow us to transform the existing Blackboard landing page into a more modernized look, allowing intuitive navigation that will provide quick access for faculty and students to the most critical information from across their courses. It creates a more engaging, efficient, and improved experience for faculty and students without any changes to the actual courses. Our goal is to turn on the Ultra Base Navigation in spring 2020.

The second phase will be to start the transition of courses to the Ultra Course View. Like with Ultra Base Navigation, Ultra Course View provides a cleaner, intuitive and more modern design at the course level. With Ultra course view, the workflows and tools for faculty to build their courses will be much simpler to find and use in comparison to the existing “Original Course view” we are currently using. This will also improve the overall user experience for students across their courses. Tentative transition start date is spring 2021.

 


 

Transform the Teach Tech research program into an OER content development initiative

Since the signing of Texas’ Senate Bill 810 in 2017, the pressure has been on statewide organizations to hasten the development and support of Open Educational Resources (OER) in colleges and universities. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s 60x30 Texas Initiative, for example, has established an Open Educational Resources Grant Program to encourage faculty to turn to OER. This could mean as little as replacing a course’s textbook with an OER option to as much as designing degree pathways, which use only OER course material (a practice which Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative has demonstrated leads to improved student outcomes, including success and degree completion).

The UTEP Library and Technology Support Services will focus on affordability for the next TeachTech Research Cohort (2019-2020). This initiative will identify, curate, create, support and evaluate OER or other affordable materials to be used in a variety of UTEP courses. 10-12 faculty will be selected to transform their courses by replacing commercial instructional resources, including textbooks, with OER or affordable materials—either curated or created--to maximize student learning outcomes while reducing or eliminating the cost of instructional materials.

 


 

Video Content Management System for Academics

An increased interest by faculty on flipping the classroom has provoked us to look into the technology that can facilitate the creation and sharing of videos. We have collaborated a video content management system, and had a pilot with faculty in various departments in Spring 2019. The features that we will explore during the pilot include the following:

• Embed interactive quizes to videos

• Indexing videos

• The ability for students to create and edit videos within Blackboard

• Use of analytics to measure the engagement of videos

 


Completed Initiatives


2018 - 2019

2017 - 2018

 

TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT

UTEP Library Room 300  |  TS.UTEP.EDU  |  915-747-4357 (HELP)