Research has proven that the current student generation prefers digital literacy, empirical learning, interactivity, and immediacy; therefore, increasing technology use is brought into university courses to sustain student participation in the courses (Berry, 2009). Because of this interaction and technology demand, universities must have the latest technological tools for both students and faculty to remain competitive and fill their classrooms with paying students.
The University of Maine educational system is an educational system that incorporates many of the newest innovative teaching technologies with the proper guidance and assistance in using them. In this paper I will explore the details of what the university has to offer and the marriage between interaction, technology, students, and faculty within this system. Technology Used in Instructional Delivery The University of Maine has always kept with the technological advances of the current times.
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To sustain the modern technological advancement the university uses high quality hi-tech resources in the instruction, scholarship, and research environment. The resources include, networking resources, telecommunications, and computing services. A University of Maine service titled UNET in 1997 formed after the University of Maine System’s Computing and Data Processing Services (CAPS) and distance the systems’ learning technologies and services merged into one system (University of Maine System, 2011).
UNET Technology Services provides networking, research, Internet access, and support to instructional and administrative services in all University of Maine system campuses, centers, and sites. Faculty can take advantage of new computing and networking media in their instruction and more students from all regions in the State of Maine can enroll in courses offered over compressed video systems and the Interactive Televised Video (ITV) system which is a live class room that is televised for many different campus’ to view with the ability to interact with the instructor and the other students through the live system.
A small selected group of course work is delivered over the internet in Internet based classrooms. These courses are invaluable to students living in rural locations and for the working students who cannot attend the traditional classrooms, as are the interactive televised courses. Through the partnership of University of Maine and UNET, students can acquire course schedules, grades and register for classes via an Interactive Voice Response system (University of Maine, 2010).
Campus or home computers can call for transcripts, course and grade information, examination of progress toward student’s degrees, participate in web-based course conferences or classes, and obtain transfer equivalency information (University of Maine, 2010). Hardware, Software, and Support The information technology department within the University of Maine System is set up to provide the necessary support and training to all members of the administrative and academic community.
FirstClass is a program included in tuition that offers private and public electronic discussion and conferencing groups; personal e-mail (including Internet mail services); Netnews and ListServe subscription services; as well as online chatting with other users. Netnews is a campus newsgroup and ListServe is a subscription group with various topics such as “psychology beginners or advanced” where students in the same majors can assemble together in an electronic format for projects and study groups.
A number of the faculty uses the e-mail system with students to ask and answer questions about course content. The majority of the professors in the University of Maine system require students to use Microsoft Word programs or some other word processing software for research and term papers. If a student is in need of either a computer or any software the University of Maine has a campus store on most campus’s where all students and faculty can purchase personal computers including Windows/Excel and Mac, computer peripherals, printers, supplies, software, and memory, at discounted educational prices.
Technology Competence Required Skillful in learning computer programs and basic keyboarding skills are minimum requirements of new faculty in the University of Maine system. Other technology skills include presentation skills using software such as Microsoft PowerPoint or Macintosh Keynote. Knowledge and basic e-mail skills are also a minimum faculty requirement. The faculty must have a comfort level in utilizing programs such as the video equipment to use in ITV and in Internet classes.
Conclusion There are now a tremendous variety of technological advancements in educational delivery. Students are demanding universities to keep up with the advancements that keep these universities competitive. The faculty at the University of Maine keeps up student demands for technology by learning the use of these technological advancements and remaining open to learning the newest advancements as they are released.