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.
The University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) recognizes the importance of information technology literacy as central to the students’ education and future employment. Students are exposed to a variety of technological initiatives that ensure proficiency at levels acceptable to their disciplinary and professional standards. All programs integrate technological preparation throughout the curriculum and also develop these skills in conjunction with specific instruction from faculty librarians who promote use of electronic research tools, web-based bibliographic tools, and other cutting-edge research techniques.
Information technology literacy is one of five student learning outcomes for the general education program and is assessed systematically. The results of the spring 2010 assessment yielded recommendations to strengthen the information technology literacy skills of students. The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is based in part on this assessment.
Technology Access, Training & Support
Technology Infrastructure: The majority of the computing environment on campus is supported in the Windows XP, 2007 and Macintosh OS-X environments. The Information Technology & Services (ITS) division offers assistance to students, faculty and staff in a variety of commonly used applications (such as Microsoft Office, electronic mail, and the Internet). Network services are provided through USC Upstate’s state-of-the-art Cisco network providing 100 megabit connections to the desktop, multiple gigabit connectivity between buildings, access to the entire University of South Carolina network and the Internet. ITS manages over 55 Windows servers, providing the campus community with electronic mail, network printing, file sharing, office communication, portal services, www services, IP phones and department specific network applications. The division maintains and upgrades computer hardware on a three to four year replacement cycle, and software as required so that faculty, staff and students have access to current technology to accomplish their work. An 802.11n wireless network is available for use within all buildings and housing on campus. Faculty personal network space for securing and sharing documents is easily available using a mapped drive through a secure on-campus network or from off campus using a secure SharePoint portal. All academic and administrative departments also have shared portal access for easy file sharing and storage. Data from the servers are backed up regularly in daily or weekly increments and tapes are stored offsite at a remote location. Students are provided 25 gigabit secure online storage in the cloud through their Live@edu accounts.
Technology Enhanced Classrooms: The ITS Media Services Department is responsible for installing and maintaining a wide range of instructional technologies in USC Upstate's classroom and instructional spaces. Classrooms are equipped with an LCD projector or display, VCR/ DVD player, network/Internet access, and an instructor podium. Many classrooms also have electronic interactive white boards and document cameras. The entire campus has wireless accessibility, and wireless laptops are used in curricular and co-curricular activities. ITS Learning Technologies staff members provide training, tutorials and assistance to faculty, staff, and students in the use of classroom technologies.
Computer Labs: Information Technology & Services division provides staff expertise to develop, configure, test, deploy and maintain the operating system, installed applications and network printing for student access to open access lab, instructional labs and tutoring labs that combined house 533 computers . The Client Services Department of ITS actively monitor the lab workstations and printers to ensure all systems are functioning properly. Students have access to one of the computer labs in the Library 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week using their USC Upstate student ID smart card.
Instructional Services: The Learning Technologies department of ITS in partnership with the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) is promoting 21st Century Learning Initiatives to connect USC Upstate faculty and staff to the latest innovative practices and advancements in instructional technology through webinars, workshops, and seminars, as well as offering consultations for departments and individuals. In addition, Learning Technologies and the CTE maintains web pages that provide access to training videos, videotaped presentations, blogs, teaching tools, and newsletters with practical tips for faculty and staff.
In support of all course offerings, University Technology Services (UTS) on the University of South Carolina Columbia campus maintains Blackboard, an online course management system available to the entire USC community. Every course offered at USC Upstate has a Blackboard course generated for it. USC Upstate departments and organizations may also use Blackboard to share information. All courses are automatically populated with a student roster based on information from the Registrar’s office. The Blackboard course management system is used for both distance education and face-to-face classes in addition to providing online communities for academic programs, residence halls, student organizations, and faculty groups. Throughout the academic year, ITS Learning Technologies staff on the Upstate campus offers several training events on Blackboard and sessions about other instructional technology tools.
Library: Students not only visit the Library to conduct research but also make use of the facilities and resources for course-related activities such as studying, report writing, and computer usage. The Library houses 90 desktop computers, one of which is dedicated for disability access with specialized software.
Technology Support: To enhance technological knowledge and computing skills, student must have access to quality software, hardware, and technical support. The Information Technology & Services Division at USC Upstate assists faculty, staff and students in meeting their computing needs, coordinates telecommunications services, and provides student email and wireless Internet access across the entire campus. Student Email used for official communications is Microsoft Live@EDU, a secure hosted service.
ITS Client Services staff and student assistants are located at the Help Desk from 8:30 A.M. – 5:30 P.M. Monday through Fridays year-round to assist faculty, staff and students with computing needs. During the 2010-2011 academic year, the Help Desk logged 3375 customer work orders through the Help Desk TrackIT system. The average time to close a call was 21 hours with 584 requests being closed within the first hour. Upon closure of a request for technical assistance, clients are periodically asked to complete an online satisfaction survey. The assessment data indicate an average 92% satisfaction rate by clients.