Monthly Archives: September 2012

CSUN’s University 100 Makes Transition to Moodle

CSUN’s University 100: The Freshman Seminar started a decade ago, but for Cheryl Spector it has been a work in progress for the last 40 years.

The seed for the class was planted in the 1970’s during Spector’s freshman year at college. She had moved from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Houston, Texas, and the transition was tough.

“I was immediately famous in my dorm as ‘that girl who cried all the time’ because I was an extremely homesick freshman for the first semester,” said Spector, an English professor and director of Academic First Year Experiences at CSUN. ”I just had a terrible time adjusting to college. I spent all of my time crying, working and worrying that I might not pass my courses but I did pass my courses. And when I came back from my winter break, I realized that I’d also made terrific friends.”

This rocky start to college life would eventually lead her to developing the Academic First Year Experiences program at CSUN, which provides opportunities for faculty to help new students make a successful transition to the university.

Along the way, Spector has embraced technology to assist with the transformation of University 100.

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Engaging Students With StudyMate

How do you appeal to today’s students who have competing demands for their attention and prefer learning in different ways?  What if your students could actually customize their homework and studying style to fit their personal learning preferences? With StudyMate, your students can study class material on Moodle in an engaging format of their choice.

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Anywhere, Anytime Software Access for Students: Virtual Software Library (VSL)

It is a familiar late-night scene in the computer lab on the second floor of Manzanita Hall — sounds of finger tapping and clicking cutting through the dead silence of a room filled with students racing the clock to complete their assignments before the lab closes for the night. Their projects require full access to the Adobe Creative Suite, an expensive software package that takes significant computing power to run.

For many students, the lab’s powerful computers loaded with software are the only tools available to complete homework assignments and projects. However, that luxury is all too often hampered by restricted lab hours and full classrooms. Students with limited access to CSUN computer labs run the risk of decreased learning opportunities and potentially lower grades.

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To MOOC, or Not To MOOC?

That is the question. MOOCs, or Massively Open Online Courses, promise to deliver high-quality education to the masses at no cost. Is that promise real? What kind of credit will they award, and how will it be counted? Closer to home, should CSUN award credit for students who take a MOOC? Should CSUN offer a MOOC? What are the implications for higher education? The questions are legion, and as of yet unanswered. The trend, though, downright riveting. Read more, starting with this article from the New York Times.

CSUN Dean of Engineering and Computer Science Teaches Virtually to an Audience Half-Way Around the World

S. K. Ramesh discovered the reach of technology early in his career when his class at Sacramento State was broadcast on cable television to the local market more than 15 years ago.

Early one Saturday in 1998, Ramesh was setting up an informational display at a local mall as part of an engineering outreach event when a janitor approached him and said, “I’ve seen your show.”

“I was amazed as this gentleman started to talk to me. He actually remembered a lot of things that I’d covered in the last lecture,” said Ramesh, who is now dean for the College of Engineering and Computer Science at CSUN. “It taught me that there were more than my students out there who are viewing this material. And that this was a way to demonstrate the power of higher education and the value that we bring to society.”

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