Hartford, Connecticut, March 9, 2017 – Trinity College’s Information Services Division (IS) recently released a report to the campus community regarding its current projects and recent technological updates, most notably improvements made to internet speed, wireless access, and a revamping of the Spring Housing Lottery system. Vice President of Information Services and Chief Information Officer Sue Aber, who submits these comprehensive reports at the beginning of each semester, detailed the progress being made on a variety of projects including online courses as part of the edX pilot program and renovations to the Center for Educational Technology.
The team’s main project over the Trinity Days weekend in February was to increase the internet speed tenfold. This improvement will be particularly noticeable to anyone on campus during evening hours, when there is high internet traffic which used to slow down connection speed. In addition, IS is continuing to work on the College’s wireless connectivity. The wireless internet was upgraded in the dormitories over the summer, but the team is working toward improving connectivity all over campus. “We’re adding 18 additional access points in the library, so there will be better coverage in the library, and then we’re going to move to the academic buildings,” Aber said.
|The recently renovated Center for Educational Technology on Level 1 of the Raether Library and Information Technology Center. |
The report highlighted the continuation of the College’s involvement in the edX pilot program
, which consists of six-week online courses that are available to students of all ages. Courses have had participants from 175 different countries. The edX courses are an “opportunity to showcase the strength of Trinity faculty and provide open access to liberal arts education,” Aber said. This semester Trinity is offering three courses taught by Brownell Professor of Philosophy Dan Lloyd
, Professor of Computer Science Ralph Morelli
, and Professor of Educational Studies Jack Dougherty
. This is the second time Morelli’s course is being offered, building upon the success of an enrollment of 16,000 last year.
The recently renovated Center for Educational Technology on Level 1 of the Raether Library and Information Technology Center “offers more space for collaborative and individual work, more coherent space for Student Technology Assistants, and screen space for people working on intensive projects,” according to the biannual report. While this project highlights the academic aspect of the library, Aber said it is part of overall plans to make the library a more appealing space to study and unwind. “Our goal for many of the changes we’ve made in the library is to make the space more welcoming,” Aber said. Puzzles and other quiet activities around the library are meant to invite students to take a study break and be comfortable, and IS is working to improve resource accessibility for students. “We’re here to help [students] be successful, and with this comes making both our educational technology and our research services more accessible,” Aber said.
IS also helps other departments complete their technological initiatives. The team is currently working with the Office of Residential Life and the Student Government Association to move the Spring Housing Lottery event to an online platform. Director of Residential Life Susan Salisbury said that the digitization of this process is beneficial to students for a variety of reasons. She explained that because the lottery had been historically held during a chaotic time of year, many students were not able to physically attend the event. “Giving students the ability to participate themselves may give them more sense of control over their housing rather than depending on someone to attend in their place,” Salisbury said. Additionally, with the housing lottery online, this process can be completed earlier to avoid excess stress during finals week. Students are currently testing this online program in order for it to be launched for the upcoming lottery.
IS is constantly looking for ways to improve the College’s technology. “We are having conversations with the dean’s office and an ad hoc faculty committee to create a space that complements the Center for Educational Technology that focuses on digital scholarship,” Aber said. The team expects to continue to cultivate faculty and student input in future projects.
To see the full Spring 2017 Information Services Update, click here.
Written by Sophia Gourley ’19