Computer Services has been steadily updating Temple’s Main campus in preparation for this academic year and the future. This fall, smart classrooms are enhanced, discounted Microsoft products are available, and online services used by students and staff have been updated for easier navigation.
“I think it’s important to bring technology into the classroom,” Timothy O’Rourke, vice president of computer and information services, said. “These upgrades and enhancements can be powerful teaching tools. By allowing instructors to get their point across more dynamically, students experience a more exciting and engaging learning environment.”
Classrooms formerly served by carts to get computer equipment have since been converted into a new style called a Level 3 classroom. They are equipped with Pentium 4 PCs with Internet access, DVD players, flat-screen monitors, permanently installed podiums, patch panels for laptops and other devices, remotes for control of media devices, VCRs, ceiling mounted video/data projectors and larger projection screens.
More than 20 classrooms on Main campus were converted to smart classrooms and 12 existing smart classrooms had major renovations and equipment upgrades. The new smart classrooms include 14 rooms in the Tuttleman Learning Center and three rooms in Barton Hall. Over 140 new PCs or Macintoshes were purchased for Tuttleman’s computer lab classrooms.
Temple University and Journey Education Marketing Company joined this fall to offer special prices of Microsoft products to all Temple University students. Temple University students can now save up to 60 percent off regular academic prices of Microsoft Windows XP Operating System, Microsoft Office 2003 Professional, Microsoft Office 2003 Standard, and Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac. The software is available through online purchases only and students will be required to provide proof of enrollment at Temple University via an electronic verification form.
“We know that students primarily use Microsoft products to complete their coursework so we negotiated with Microsoft to see what we could do,” O’Rourke said.
There are also various online updates that Computer Services has completed for the convenience of students and staff. In July, Computer Services installed Blackboard version 6.1.5 which includes a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor in the Text Box that allows for more formatting capabilities. There is also a Spell Checker option and a Quick Edit feature which allows Blackboard instructors to toggle back and forth between the “Display View” and “Edit View” and provides a shortcut for instructors who want to modify content.
OWLnet also got an update as students can now request an enrollment verification letter using the OWLnet Web site. This enhancement replaces the manual process in which Academic Records personnel would manually read each mail request, generate the enrollment verification letter, and mail it.
Blackboard and OWLnet were not the only online updates. Student Financial Services (SFS) online capabilities were also updated. Now financial aid award letters are sent to students via their Temple e-mail account. Students can then view and print their financial aid award letter from the OWLnet Web site by clicking on the Financial Aid tab. Due to these changes SFS will no longer mail award letters to students unless a request is made that a letter be mailed.
Also, SFS will now notify students to accept their Federal Perkins loan by sending an e-mail to their Temple account. The e-mail message directs students to a secure Web site where students log in using their AccessNet username and password. This Web site enables students to view, print, and electronically sign their promissory note.
O’Rouke stated that the advantages are obvious “when you can obtain proof of enrollment or access financial information anytime, anywhere. That’s one less office visit you have to make and one less piece of paper you have to handle.”
Courtney Makupson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.