Technology, online course support for students

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The student technology center offers technical support for students in both face-to-face and online courses.

By PATRICIA MCGLAMORY

sac-ranger@alamo.edu 

Students can get help with computers, Wi-Fi and hand-held devices at the student technology center temporarily located in Room 542 of Moody Learning Center.

Services include technology mentoring, equipment loans, technical support and technology workshops.

From 53 to 102 students used the lab each week during the first four weeks of classes, said Heather Cura, instructional innovation center supervisor.

The lab has 27 computer stations including Macs and PCs for student use.

Some have multimedia software, scanning capabilities and faxing.

In August 2011, the Internet skills center at this college underwent a name change to better reflect the broad support and services it offers.

The center became the student technology center, Usha Venkat, director of information and communication technologies, said.

In addition to online course support, the center now offers additional services to include multimedia support, technical walk-in support and training for students needing technology assistance for online and face-to-face courses.

The center is also available for potential students to get help with registration and online classes.

“Some of the things that we do offer in the student technology lab are that the student can come in even before they are a student and get some assistance with filling out the ApplyTexas application,” Cura said.

She said the lab also offers help with filling out financial aid applications.

Staff will assist as much as possible and then provide direction for more specific financial aid help, Cura said.

Technology workshops are available.

“We do help them (students) with some of their skills, learning how to use Microsoft Office products, or if they need to have assistance with their multimedia courses,” Cura said.

Students can learn how to use Adobe Acrobat X Professional, Windows 7, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe PhotoShop, PowerPoint and Microsoft Word.

“Our team is … graphically based, so they can support those specific softwares,” Cura said.

Another service the center helps students with is the learning management systems.

They will help students navigate through Blackboard Vista, the last semester it will be used at this college, as well as the new learning management product, Canvas, Cura said.

A calendar of workshops can be found at www.alamo.edu/sac/ots. Click on the training calendar link.

SmarterMeasure is another tool students can utilize to help them succeed.

SmarterMeasure is a 35-minute online assessment designed to help students determine their level of readiness for taking online or technology-rich courses.

The assessment asks questions such as how well students can use a computer, how motivated, organized and self-directed they are, how they prefer to learn new information and how students read and recall information online.

Upon completing this assessment, students will receive a score report to help them understand their strengths and opportunities for improvement.

Students also will be provided resources to help them succeed in online courses.

SmarterMeasure was originally built to prepare students for online learning.

“But in my opinion, I think it is valuable for anybody … to rate where you are in your skills and how you can improve them,” Cura said.

Visit the SmarterMeasure site at www.sac.smartermeasure.com.

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