With the growth of cloud-based and other inexpensive instructional tools in the learning ecosystem, a rapidly increasing number of requests for software and tool integration was overwhelming academic support staff at Iowa State University. Faculty were requesting software integration with the LMS, and hardware additions in the classroom. With the wave of requests, staff were having difficulty testing efficacy and impact of the requested technology.
In January of 2014, ISU academic support staff released a locally developed site called, “Techstarter.” This community crowd-sourcing site is intended to provide a process for suggesting new and emerging technology tools and experimentation. The site includes the ability to comment/converse about the proposed idea, and show support for it, either via a standard “like” or show of resource support. Academic technology support staff then mine the site for ideas, looking for potential technologies to evaluate and pilot.
ISU’s annual innovation grant process is being refined and will use this site. The advantage is that Techstarter only requires a few paragraphs of explanation to enter an idea, as opposed to the older innovation grant process that required formal proposals, which took a lot of time to develop, and created an effective barrier to entry for students. Now, the entire campus community, students included, can submit technology ideas for consideration.
Jim Twetten is the Director of Academic Technologies at Iowa State University. He has responsibility for ISU’s centralized electronic systems support, the technology in over 200 ISU classrooms, and the university’s web development services. Twetten’s area also recently launched a community-sourced emerging technology initiative to stimulate and leverage use of new tools and software to support learning and teaching.Twetten current serves on the CCUMC FLEXspace task force, and is the CCUMC representative to the FLEXspace interim board. He has recently served on the CCUMC board of directors, including a four year turn as CCUMC treasurer.Twetten also currently serves on the EDUCAUSE Advisory Committee on Teaching and Learning, and recently served on the advisory board of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative.
Jacob Larsen, Iowa State University
Jacob E. Larsen is an Emerging Technology Specialist with the Iowa State University (ISU) Information Technology Services where he manages the emerging technology support efforts. This includes leading faculty support efforts and assistance for all IT Services Academic Technologies including software assistance and pedagogical support. He is also the primary communications agent for the Community of Educational Technology Support (ComETS) organization at ISU. Larsen’s current focus is on faculty engagement, wireless content streaming and streaming media technology. In addition to his experience as a college-level instructor Larsen has extensive experience with faculty pedagogical and technical support and blended and online learning.
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