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TitleUSD Expands the Classroom through Technology
Date2.09.09
ContactLiz Harman
Contact E-mailharman, at sandiego.edu
Contact Phone(619) 260-4682
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It’s the classroom for the Facebook generation – professors, students and curriculum that are connected at the click of a mouse, 24 hours a day, from any location.

The University of San Diego will demonstrate cutting-edge classroom tools and applications at its third annual Faculty Technology Open House on Friday, Feb. 13 from 2 to 5 p.m. The open house is on the first and second floors of USD’s Maher Hall, adjacent from the main (east) entrance.

“New technologies aren’t a substitute but an extension of traditional classroom learning,” said Shahra Meshkaty, senior director for Academic Technology Services. “Our goal is to implement new technologies that increase student interest, involvement and interaction.”

Through iTunes and other programs like Echo 360 for example, students can watch traditional lectures or course enhancement materials online prior to class, or be presented with reinforcement materials after class, leaving much more time during face-to-face sessions for class activities and interactive dialogue that furthers learning.

USD is now officially part of iTunes University where lecture materials can be shared and downloaded to student portable devices for learning on the go.

Other popular technologies include online discussions and live web conferencing, something that can encourage a student who’s reluctant to speak up in class to interact with his professor or fellow classmates.

And with the new products TeamSport and ClassSpot, designed to create interactive learning spaces, small groups or the entire class can collaborate on a project or document simultaneously, via a large projection screen.

Growing numbers of faculty, Meshkaty said, are using programs like Wimba, which offers a live presentation environment supporting audio, video and text chat for all participants. Faculty members can host web conferences or webinars, committee meetings, office hours and lectures, all of which expand the reach of the traditional classroom.

Professors are also finding that students need to be familiar with these technologies before they find their first job, since “these technologies are already being embraced by the business world,” she added. 

Presenters at this year’s open house include Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Echo 360, Microsoft Surface Computing, Adobe, and Tidebreak.

The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning chartered in 1949; the school enrolls approximately 7,500 undergraduate and graduate students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The inauguration of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies brings the university’s total number of schools and colleges to six. Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Law, Leadership and Education Sciences, and Nursing and Health Science.

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