Category Archives: University Tech

Highlights case studies and forward thinking campus-based technology.

NCSU Learning Commons

NCSU Learning Commons Originally uploaded by mstephens7

There’s just so much good here! Take a look at North Carolina State’s Learning Commons Web presence:

  • Live computer availability
  • Web cam of “The Brickyard”
  • Flickr photos
  • “We want your Ideas” for eboards
  • Commenting form
  • Borrow laptops, cameras, iPods, GPS units, etc

I’m incorporating this and the Loyola Information Commons into my new talks. 

Google’s IT Department

From “Pleasing Google’s Tech-Savvy Staff”

Unlike many IT departments that try to control the technology their workers use, Mr. Merrill’s group lets Google employees download software on their own, choose between several types of computers and operating systems, and use internal software built by the company’s engineers. Lately, he has also spent time evangelizing to outside clients about Google’s own enterprise-software products — such as Google Apps, an enterprise version of Google’s Web-based services including email, word processing and a calendar.


 It used to be that you used enterprise technology because you wanted uptime, security and speed. None of those things are as good in enterprise software anymore [as they are in some consumer software]. The biggest thing to ask is, “When consumer software is useful, how can I use it to get costs out of my environment?”

Google Apps is hosted on my infrastructure, and [the Premier Edition] costs roughly $50 a seat. You can go from an average of 50 megabytes of [email] storage to 10 gigabytes and more. There’s better response time, you can reach email from anywhere in the world, and it’s more financially effective.

This reminds me of Arizona State University aligning with Google for apps and email:

Is this a model for other universities? For libraries? 

Universities A-Twitter

From the Chronicle February 29, 2008 (I think it’s expired :-( )

As iPhones and other “smart phones” become more popular on campuses, and as computing becomes even more mobile, it seems that some form of Twitter-like service may become part of student and faculty life. But the technology has potential costs in terms of money and privacy. Some observers, essentially arguing that there is such a thing as too much information, say that Twittering will never catch on the way blogs and
e-mail have.

David Parry, an assistant professor of emerging media and communications at the University of Texas at Dallas, says he was reluctant to try the technology. Mr. Parry’s first instinct was that Twittering would encourage students to speak in sound bites and self-obsess. But now he calls it “the single thing that changed the classroom dynamics more than anything I’ve ever done teaching.”


Last semester he required the 20 students in his “Introduction to Computer-Mediated Communication” course to sign up for Twitter and to send a few messages each week as part of a writing assignment. He also invited his students to follow his own Twitter feed, in which he sometimes writes several short thoughts – not necessarily profound ones – each day. One morning, for instance, he sent out a message that read: “Reading, prepping for grad class, putting off running until it warms up
a bit.” The week before, one of his messages included a link to a Web site he wanted his students to check out.

If you have access to the Chronicle, checkout the full article. I’m intrigued with adding Twitter to one of my courses to see how it goes over. 

Watch the video:

The Connected University (Library)

 ACU Connected

Mobile technology is shaping the way we live, work and learn. Since education can now take place in the classroom or virtually anywhere, ACU is committed to exploring mobile learning technology that makes sense for our students and their future.

ACU leaders have given top priority to researching and developing a “connected” 21st century campus, integrating technology into course curriculum and campus life. Several pilot applications have already been developed for Fall 2008.

There’s a video as well:

A fictional day-in-the-life account highlights some of the potential benefits in a higher education setting when every student, faculty, and staff member is “connected.” The applications portrayed in the film are purely speculative; however they’re based on needs and ideas uncovered by our research – and we’ve already been making strides to transform this vision of mobile learning (mLearning) into reality.

Creating connections via a converged device in a university setting is huge. I applaud the forward thinking and sense of innovation that went into the charge of “researching and developing a “connected” 21st century campus.” The focus on students — they use technology in every aspect of their lives — does my heart good. Can you see your campus connected – students, staff, faculty — and using technology like this to learn and engage? What role might the library play?

This is a model to watch and ponder not only for universities but for university libraries. Again, take a look at the video before you decide to keep the ban on cell phone use at your library.

Oh! And what happens though. when IT hates the iPhone?