LSU offers students free access to high-end software through the public access labs, as well a virtual lab which provides online accessibility. Students, faculty, and staff may download a host of free software for personal and professional use, like Symantec Antivirus and Microsoft Office from TigerWare. LSU’s Gear 2 Geaux program provides students with free access to laptops, digital video recorders, and digital cameras through a check-out program in the LSU library.
How has your campus financed its technology initiatives?
The majority of initiatives are paid for by the institution. A student technology fee (STF) also generates nearly $4 million annually, and a committee comprised of a majority of student representatives determines how these funds will be invested. The STF funds the labs, software for students in TigerWare, multimedia classrooms, and a number of other initiatives.
What initiative or project are you most proud of, and why?
LSU has a Flagship Information Technology Strategy (FITS) that was drafted by the campus community at large and has been guiding investments in IT for the last five years. Faculty, through the Faculty Senate-appointed IT Governance Council, are at the forefront of decisions being made regarding the strategic investments made in IT infrastructure and services. The IT Governance Council recently completed its updating of FITS this year.
What has proved most challenging when it comes to integrating technology into lecture halls and campus processes?
The biggest challenge lies in people’s fear of change and the need to effectively train faculty and staff in utilizing new technologies. Technology has to be used in order to be effective.
How did you overcome those challenges?
LSU has invested in the people necessary to train and provide one-on-one technology support to facilitate the transition to new technologies. GROK, the online knowledge base, houses step-by-step instructions for those interested in self-paced, individual learning. The Faculty Technology Center (FTC) provides face-to-face assistance to faculty across campus interested in utilizing technology for their teaching and research. The FTC provides training as well as opportunities for faculty to demonstrate to other faculty their use of technology.