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SJSU Launches Major Tech Initiative

Media contacts:
Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-656-6999
Andrea Cousens, Cisco Communications, 310-270-8903
Meredith Ehrenberg, Nexus Communications, 949-265-6088

SAN JOSE, CA – As the only large public university in Silicon Valley and as the major source of workforce power for the region’s tech industry, San Jose State University has launched a five-year, $28 million initiative to partner with Cisco and Nexus IS Inc. to upgrade the campus’ information technology infrastructure.

Moreover, San Jose State is supporting faculty in using and applying next generation technologies to better support students’ learning by partnering with corporate neighbors and with other cutting edge educational efforts such as Harvard-MIT-UC Berkeley’s edX and Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative.

SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi outlines the long-term potential for this tech initiative in his white paper, “Reinventing Public Higher Education: A Call to Action.”

“The university sits in a position of real opportunity given the double incentive of recent technological advances coupled with the decline in state support for public education,” President Qayoumi said. “Never before in the history of higher education has technology provided such important challenges and opportunities. We must reinvent teaching, learning and educational delivery systems.”

The Next Generation Technology Project reflects “SJSU’s Strategic Plan: Vision 2017,” developed after President Qayoumi’s 49 town hall meetings with students, faculty and staff who collectively identified five distinct campus priority goals including supporting “Unbounded Learning,” “21st Century Learning Spaces” and “Agility Through Technology.”

Students work together in class

These SJSU electrical engineering students are working on problem sets in class after viewing edX lecture videos at home, a concept known as a “flipped class” (Christina Olivas photo).

An Integrated Plan

San Jose State selected Cisco and Nexus to upgrade the campus’ infrastructure in accordance with a fully integrated and comprehensive plan designed to improve the learning experience for students. Plans for the first 18-24 months include the following:

  • SJSU will develop a total of 51 next-generation learning spaces with all the equipment needed to enable high-definition recording, indexing and transcription of lectures and classroom experiences within the next 18 months. Eleven next-generation learning spaces will be completed this fall, with the remaining 40 to be completed by the start of fall 2013.
  • SJSU will make Cisco Show and Share® and TelePresence® available at no cost to all students, faculty and staff within the next 18 months. These services will be fully integrated with audio and video recording equipment in the 51 next-generation learning spaces, providing students with access to classroom experiences, lectures and meetings anytime and anywhere.
  • SJSU has brought Cisco WebEx® web conferencing to the campus community.  WebEx provides access to live lectures inside the 51 next-generation classrooms and beyond, anytime and anywhere faculty members and students connect using cameras on their own computers.
  • SJSU will consolidate phone service from five separate systems into a single Cisco Unified IP Phone system for the entire campus within the next 18 months.
  • SJSU will expand its free, secure wireless Internet service, utilizing Cisco wireless solutions to serve all students, faculty, staff and guests campuswide.

Mindful of the dramatic budget cuts that continue to loom for the state and public higher education, the first year of the project will be funded by proceeds from the sale of San Jose State’s Educational Broadband Service spectrum, facilitated by the Federal Communications Commission to increase educational programming accessible via the Internet. Other funding sources include the ongoing SJSU Information Technology Services office budget, SJSU’s new Student Success, Excellence and Technology Fee, and SJSU’s continuing education program.

Dr. Mohammad Qayoumi

Dr. Mohammad Qayoumi

Supporting Student Learning

The goal is not to replace conventional teaching methods, but build on what we do now in order to enhance student learning and preparation for the workplace. Numerous studies have shown outcomes improve when instructors and students combine traditional and new teaching methods using the latest technology.

For example, “lecture-capture” software and equipment will allow students to review as many times as needed all aspects of a classroom presentation, including slides and whiteboard notes. This could benefit all students on all topics, but will be especially helpful for challenging classes heavy with complex material or for students who speak English as a second language.

“This is a top priority for San Jose State, which seeks to provide access to higher education and professional opportunities for many first-generation Americans in the heart of Silicon Valley, where science, technology, engineering and mathematics are at the core of the industries driving the regional economy,” Qayoumi said.

New Teaching Methodologies

In addition to the IT infrastructure upgrade, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Junn, along with Associate Vice President for Academic Technology Catheryn Cheal, are leading efforts to strategically employ and assess new teaching methodologies with faculty and other key industry leaders such as Adobe to deepen San Jose students’ skills with new technology products and services.

“San Jose State University is uniquely positioned to be pioneers in the use of academic technology because we are the only large, public university located in the heart of Silicon Valley. It has been incredibly gratifying to reach out to the industry leaders in our backyard, and receive such a positive response in terms of partnering with our faculty to develop and use technology to enrich and deepen our students’ learning and skills in the digital world,” Provost Junn said.

Dr. Ellen Junn

Dr. Ellen Junn

“Our graduates go on to become top hires for many of the tech industries here in Silicon Valley,” Junn said. “So, it’s no surprise that San Jose State and our technology partners want to invest more in our students by working closely with our faculty to become cutting edge adopters and forerunners in the use of academic technology to enhance student learning.”

Some of the new programs that will be launched this fall for faculty include the following:

  • Enhancing students’ use of Adobe® Creative Suite® software and digital media.
  • Innovating learning with Apple products such as iPads, iBooks, iTunesU and iMovie.
  • Designing more effective learning experiences for students by creating online, hybrid and flipped (viewing recorded lectures at home so instructors can work with students in class) courses.
  • Implementing lecture capture and video conferencing.
  • Introducing the use of online student writing support tools such as ETS Criterion.
  • Joining with Harvard-MIT-UC Berkeley’s edX initiative and with Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative.
  • Tracking and measuring student learning with learning analytics and learning dashboards.
  • Utilizing assessment tools such as ETS Major Field Tests and ETS Proficiency Profile to measure student learning outcomes and support institutional reporting.
  • Leveraging game-based resources for student learning.
  • Making educational materials from the KQED and PBS LearningMedia archive available to faculty and students in partnership with the University Library.

“At SJSU, we seek to become recognized leaders in developing innovative and effective curricula, reinventing and supporting faculty work, deepening student engagement with academic and professional learning and expanding our international and global connections by utilizing effective new technologies to meet academic goals,” Provost Junn said. “It’s a very exciting time to be at San Jose State—we are a community of faculty, students and staff who are on the move!”

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,500 students and 3,850 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

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EdX is a not-for-profit enterprise of its founding partners Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that features learning designed specifically for interactive study via the web. Based on a long history of collaboration and their shared educational missions, the founders are creating a new online-learning experience with online courses that reflect their disciplinary breadth. Along with offering online courses, the institutions will use edX to research how students learn and how technology can transform learning-both on-campus and worldwide. Anant Agarwal, former Director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, serves as the first president of edX. EdX’s goals combine the desire to reach out to students of all ages, means, and nations, and to deliver these teachings from a faculty who reflect the diversity of its audience. EdX is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is governed by MIT and Harvard.

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