Stay Alert with Rave Alerts
Along with longer days, warmer temperatures, and blossoming trees, springtime is also a harbinger of severe weather. As another turbulent tornado season approaches, it's important for you to stay in the loop all the time and everywhere.
When inclement weather rears its ugly head and impacts the University's daily operations, the MTSU community will be always be notified via the Rave Alert system. Rave Alerts are an integral component of MTSU's critical notification alert system, Alert4U.
All current MTSU staff, faculty, and student e-mail addresses are automatically entered into the MTSU Critical Notification System (Rave Alert). If you wish to add phone numbers for texting and/or voicemail, or additional email addresses, please log in with your PipelineMT username and password. You may also access your Rave account through your PipelineMT account by clicking on the Alert4U tab.
If you are new to MTSU, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access your account. You are responsible for keeping your account phone numbers up to date.
The Critical Notification System is used only under circumstances that pose a threat of imminent danger to the campus community and/or when it is vital to contact members of the campus community as quickly as possible to take some kind of action.
This critical information also includes (but may not be limited to) notification of an imminent purge of a student's courses due to the lack of the student completing the registration confirmation step. The system will also be used to send Timely Warnings via email only. Timely Warnings inform people of situations and encourage them to be vigilant.
For additional information, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/alert4u/faqs.php or contact Alana Johnson at 615-898-2677. Rave does not charge subscribers to send or receive SMS messages. Standard or other messaging charges apply depending upon your wireless carrier plan and subscription details. Once registered, you can opt out of SMS messages at any time by texting STOP to 67283 or 226787.
In addition to the Critical Notification System, the University will also inform the campus about severe weather threats via local radio and television stations, the "Alert Updates" Web page at www.mtsu.edu/alertupdates, an alert on the MTSU homepage at www.mtsu.edu, the University's Twitter feed, and on the MTSU hotline at 615-898-2000.
IT Tips and Tricks
Maximize and Minimize Windows Instantly
Tired or too busy to click the maximize button? Windows 7 provides you with a super quick shortcut: Win+Up key. What about minimizing, you ask? Win+Down key . If a window is maximized, press Win+Down twice to minimize (once to restore down, a second time to minimize). It's pretty nifty when you're juggling lots of windows.
Thinking with Mathematics
Mathematics students don't necessarily learn the same way as history or English students. Very few math students have the ability to fully comprehend the material by simply listening to a lecture; instead they learn mathematics by doing mathematics–working out non-trivial problems for themselves.
Two Middle Tennessee State University Mathematical Sciences professors realized this when they began piloting a redesigned pre-calculus course to engage students directly in the classroom in order to support their mathematical problem solving.
"It's a grassroots effort among the faculty in the Department of Mathematical Sciences," explained Dr. Jeremy Strayer, who collaborated with Dr. James Hart to pilot the course. "We wanted to look at what the research has to say about the best ways to teach pre-calculus."
After reading numerous articles and books on the subject, disseminating ideas among their colleagues, and testing their findings against the research, Hart and Strayer settled on a textbook entitled Pathways to Calculus to provide material in their pilot course.
Authored by Arizona State University mathematics professor Dr. Marilyn Carlson, Pathways to Calculus represents the culmination of more than 20 years of math education research.
"We felt we wanted to make our courses more relevant to our students and to give them as many opportunities as possible to succeed," Hart said. "We wanted to provide our students with the opportunity to master the material without compromising the material itself."
"We didn't want to compromise the content," Strayer added, "but we also didn't want to recreate the wheel. We thought that it was very important to keep everything we did grounded in sound mathematics education research."
Technology is playing an instrumental role in the redesigned pre-calculus class. For example, students in groups of four or five are given their own white boards and television monitors, and students use document cameras to display what they write to the rest of the class.
In addition, Strayer and Hart record three-minute videos that launch new mathematical tasks and post them online. Their students view the videos and submit their initial solutions via email. By introducing new concepts online and beginning the path toward a solution before class, the students can hit the ground running by expanding on what they learned and sharing solutions instead of focusing a lot of time learning new materials.
One of the main objectives in this endeavor is to keep the instructor from being the center of the classroom, Hart explained.
"The idea is to shift the focus more on what students are thinking and how we can use what they're thinking to help further the learning process," he said. "One of the things we learned as we were piloting this course is what we thought students were thinking about the material is radically different from what they were actually think about it."
"Most instructors are good at giving clear explanations, but we found that years of giving good, clear explanations of pre-calculus doesn't get you far in terms of student success," Strayer added.
The course aims to provide students with the tools and ability to think about mathematics in order to come up with their own meaning.
"We're not necessarily trying to reach 'today's students,'" Strayer noted. "It's about what mathematics is and what mathematicians do. No students get to hide behind lectures. Mathematicians speak with meaning, they listen carefully, they persist in problem solving, and they speak with integrity. This course helps students develop those skills."
Digital Signage Team Partners with Electronic Media Communications Department
Digital signage at MTSU continues to grow. From our initial sign in the College of Education building first deployed in 2011, to now 47 signs in operation with another 15 signs in planning, the project is expanding rapidly.
The most recent signs, located in the new Student Services and Admissions Center, include two way-finding directories, a 10'x10' video wall, and four information boards that provide visitors, prospective students, and current students visiting the MT One Stop with welcoming messages and important information needed by students on a daily basis.
The newest undertaking by ITD's signage staff is a partnership with the Electronic Media Communications department to assist in the incorporation of digital signage concepts into the departmental curriculum.
ITD is introducing digital signage design, deployment, and management concepts to students in Todd O'Neil's EMC 4460 course, where students in turn will develop an interactive sign for the College of Mass Communications.
For more information on deploying new signs or requesting content to be added to current signs, please visit www.mtsu.edu/digital-signs or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Eyes and Ears of Telecommunication Services
When it comes to Telecommunication Services, Lisa Lynch is a jack of all trades.
"I do the billing for the entire campus for phones and cable TV," she described. "I also bill annual charges and for monthly services like long distance and voice mail."
As the Telecommunications Services secretary, Lynch's responsibilities also include processing trouble tickets and work orders for phones and cable services for the University and maintaining accounts receivables/payables for the department.
Before joining the Information Technology Division three years ago, the versatile administrative assistant had worked at MTSU's Business Office.
"I enjoy the people here the most," she said. "Everyone gets along so well. We're like one big, happy family."
Lynch had previously worked as a grant specialist and administrative assistant at the University of North Florida in the sunny city of Jacksonville.
She assisted the director of the Educational Interpreter Project in handling a grant that advanced the education of Florida interpreters through various workshops and online instructional courses. She also served as the LTA (Licensed Test Administrator) for the national certification testing for educational interpreters through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.
Lynch holds an associate's degree from the Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Fla., and is putting the finishing touches on her bachelor's degree in Accounting at MTSU. She plans to graduate this summer.
Because there is so much involved when it comes to telecommunications, Lynch never has to slough through a boring day.
"I appreciate the fact that the job is different on every day," she said. "It never gets old."
When she's not manning the phones or handling trouble tickets at the Telecommunications Building, Lynch enjoys walking, running, and reading.
She resides in Murfreesboro with her husband of 31 years, Jim. The couple has three daughters, Ashley, a University of Tennessee graduate who works as a recruiter in Murfreesboro and is married to Jay Spurlock, a local high school basketball coach; Taylor, who currently attends MTSU as a Global Studies major; and Olivia, an MTSU graduate who works as a preschool teacher in Hendersonville and is the mother of their 3-year-old granddaughter, Bella.
ITD Staff News
Assistant Vice President Barbara Draude attended the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Annual (ELI) Meeting, which was held in New Orleans Feb. 3–5. This year's meeting was organized around six themes, identified directly by the ELI Community. These themes or content anchors included emerging technology, future modeling, and academic transformation; mobile learning; methods for evaluating technology-based instructional innovations; online and blended teaching and learning; e-textbooks; and learning analytics.
In addition, Draude will be attending EDUCAUSE Connect: Baltimore on April 30-May 2. The event is a highly interactive, action-driven professional development experience. Draude is a member of the event's Core Planning Committee and also chairs the conference's "Elevate Your Game/Career Development" track planning committee.
Instructional technology specialist Brenda Kerr recently became a Certified Faculty Developer through LERN (Learning Resources Network), a nonprofit education association specializing in providing professional development for teachers and faculty, as well as consulting for central administrators. The Faculty Developer Certification prepares faculty developers to assist instructors in identifying current trends and issues that need to be addressed by faculty development programs, become aware of the latest innovations and best practices in instructional strategies, be apprised of emerging technology advances, understand the needs of characteristics of today's learners, and address the changing role and needs of faculty.
Statistical consultant Toto Sutarso recently collaborated on several publications including "Falling or Not Falling into Temptation? Multiple Faces of Temptation, Monetary Intelligence, and Unethical Intentions Across Gender" in the Journal of Business Ethics; "Model Linking Sources of Stress to Approach and Avoidance Coping Styles of Turkish Basketball Referees" in the Journal of Sports Sciences; "Gender, Conflict, and Workplace Bullying: Is Civility Policy the Silver Bullet?" in the Journal of Management Issues; and "Are Money Smart People Satisfied with Pay and Life? A Theory of Monetary Intelligence" in Academy Management Proceedings.
Most University telephones will allow users to establish audio conferences among six parties utilizing the conference feature on the telephone set. Specific instructions, by equipment model, can be found on the Telecommunication Services website at http://mtsu.edu/itdtele/services/equipdesc.php. Telecommunication Services also provides a toll-free conferencing service that will accommodate audio conferences of up to 125 participants. For more information on the toll-free conferencing service, please contact Emily Harper at extension 2206.
Faculty Office Hours Can be Displayed in RaiderNet
MTSU faculty, have you entered your office hours on RaiderNet for your students and advisees to see?
You can keep your office hours up to date and easily accessible to students by entering them via RaiderNet's Faculty Services tab. Simply log into RaiderNet, navigate to the Faculty Services tab, then click the Office Hours link. Next, select a term and click Submit. The courses you are teaching for the selected term will automatically be loaded for you to update with your office hours, or you can click the link to enter a CRN directly. Select a course and enter your office hours at the bottom of the screen. This will need to be done for each course. Please note that From/To times and From/To dates are required when entering office hours. Also, the Display indicator must be checked for a student to be able to view your office hours via their class schedule in RaiderNet.
When office hours are kept up to date, students will be able to see this information in RaiderNet. Please make your students aware that they can find your office hours in this manner. To do this, students can navigate to the Student tab in RaiderNet then click on the Registration link. From here they can click on either the Active Registration or Schedule (Detailed) link. Any instructor who has entered their office hours through RaiderNet will have their name displayed as a hyperlink that when clicked will display the Office Hours page to the student. This provides an additional option for students to view your office hours rather than from the course syllabus or D2L.
FootPrints Work Order System Gets an Upgrade
We have upgraded the FootPrints work order system to the new 11.6 version. This brings it into alignment with ITSM standards for the industry and reflects that BMC purchased Numara and their products. Most of the changes are to the management side of the software and seen by ITD staff and management.
The University community will note a change in the input form that they see when creating a work order. One change of note is there is no longer separate pop-up windows for certain kinds of work orders. Those input fields now pop up within the main form depending on the options chosen for problem type, category, and symptom.
We have added Telecommunications issues under the problem type of Other Systems. Regular phone issues on the Avaya system can and should still be reported using the Telecommunications work order system. If they are reported using FootPrints they are moved to the Telemanagement system. Lync, Cable TV, and FaxMaker are to be reported using FootPrints.