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Fresno State professors using new technologies

Fresno State is looking to find new opportunities for professors to integrate technology into their teaching methods.

Most students have become accustomed to online programs like Blackboard, and seeing a PowerPoint presentation is not out of the ordinary. But even these are considered new technologies that have been adopted, said Director for Academic Technology and Innovation Rudy Sanchez. Many students are very comfortable with using the Internet for classes, shifting the learning experience from looking through books to surfing through websites.

“We are sensitive to doing the right thing with these technologies regarding student learning,” Sanchez said.
Fresno State has added more into the technological tool belt. Two programs, e-portfolios and Tegrity, are changing the way the classroom works.

Tegrity makes things like web conferencing available on Blackboard. Instructors can record their lectures during the class and upload them onto Blackboard, allowing students to access their exact words at home.

Students can also search key words during a lecture and jump to the spots those words are used. This allows students to quickly access the information they seek, rather than needing to skim the entire lecture to confirm one phrase.

Tegrity allows students to bookmark specific portions of the lecture they did not understand and email a professor their questions along with the lecture marked to the spot they were confused about.

These new technologies allow professors to flip their teaching structure, Sanchez says. Students can take in the information at home and work out problems or parts they did not understand in class.

E-portfolios are way for students to build an electronic portfolio that they can keep throughout their years at Fresno State. This allows students and professors to track progress. If a student is having trouble in a class, a professor can access an e-portfolio and look at past work to pinpoint where they are having trouble.

E-portfolios are available to all students who have access to Blackboard. Martin Shapiro, associate professor of psychology and director of the faculty learning community for e-portfolios, says e-portfolios give students a chance to design a personal webpage and put whatever content they wish. An e-portfolio page can be made public or private. Those that are public can be found through Google searches.

Shapiro uses e-portfolios throughout his course with his students. The program allows students to embed videos in their essays as well as links. Though Shapiro stresses that students still need to write their essays well, the videos and links make the essay very interactive.

Some students, Shapiro said, use the e-portfolio as a resume.

“There are many companies that like this type of resume,” Shapiro said. “It looks great and shows a student is tech-savvy in the digital world.”

Students can even upload their e-portfolios to another server and modify them to fit their needs. The program is also available to students once they graduate, free of charge.

E-portfolios are currently being used in the English department, nursing department and psychology graduate program.

“We’re really trying to make this a large part of our campus,” Shapiro said.

Students interested in learning more about e-portfolios can find the link at the top of their Blackboard page. There are tutorials on how to navigate the page as well as how to build and customize an e-portfolio. Students can also visit https://fresnostate.digication.com/digication_tutorials_fresno_state/Welcome/published