Technology is ever-evolving, and it isn’t always simple. Since not everyone is a tech wizard, the staff at the TECH Center are trying to help students who are looking to better their knowledge of technologies that they use in their daily lives through the new TECHminutes program.
Sometimes the little things you just can’t figure out how to work can be frustrating. TECHminutes intends to alleviate some of this frustration and teach students how to actually better use the plethora of resources at their call for free. TECHminutes takes place in the second floor lobby of the TECH Center every first Tuesday and third Wednesday of the month during the fall and spring semesters.
Creators of TECHminutes acknowledge that many students have busy schedules and may not be able to attend some of the lengthier seminars offered at the TECH Center. Assistant Director of Seminars and Training Gale Gallow, Executive Director of Computer Services Jerry Hinkle and their content expert, Quaiser Abdullah, worked together to offer helpful programs to students in a timely and easily accessible manner.
“The main thing is we are trying to get topics of interest for students and offer this at a time and place that’s convenient for them,” Hinkle said.
The topics are kept simple and narrowed down to what Gallow called “tips, tricks and techniques.”
“It’s for when you don’t want to learn an entire program from start to finish, you just want to learn some particular aspect,” Hinkle said.
TECHminutes tries to target and explain certain topics that students are interested in learning about. The topics vary from fun things, like creating MP3 files and embedding videos, to things that are more practical in nature, such as the features of Microsoft Word 2007.
“It’s still an evolving process,” Hinkle said. “We try different topics, like, ‘Should we do things that are really practical that people need?’ Like if you’re working on a paper that you need to do. Or, ‘Do we do stuff that’s fun?’”
TECHminutes topics change every session, forcing those facilitating it to continuously come up with ideas to engage students’ interests. To come up with ideas, they monitor popular questions at the Help Desk and readily accept suggestions from students.
“I think we are going to be guided by the feedback we get,” Hinkle said, noting TECHminutes is still in its infancy, having just started in late January. “We really want to raise awareness of what is available.”
To get students more involved, there is a listserv available at seminars.temple.edu. Gallow asserted her desire to have more student involvement.
“It would be great if we had some students give us a hand,” she said. “Some students are content experts as well. We learn so much from them. So we’re also looking for students to help us host these events.”
Gallow stressed the laidback environment of TECHminutes.
“It’s really informal,” she said. “It gives students the chance to ask questions, and Quaiser Abdullah, our man on the scene, walks around soliciting questions from the students.”
The entire presentation can also be viewed live from the comfort of a remote computer and allows those in attendance online to communicate with each other and ask questions.
“You can actually establish a live meeting from your computer,” Gallow said. “Those online can hear everything the instructor is saying and they can see the instructor as well.”
Another way the program makes itself readily available to students is through archives on its Web site, where those interested in a topic that has already been covered can find and watch past presentations.
The entire idea mainly revolves around the TECH Center’s continuous attempts to reach out to and better accommodate students.
“We are trying to figure out a way to offer topics of interest to students in a place where they already are,” Hinkle said.
John A. Dailey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.