6e. Unit resources including technology
6e.1. Describe how the unit proposes to allocate resources across programs to ensure candidates meet standards in their field of study.
It is the responsibility of the Division Chair to ensure that all programs are equally funded. All program courses are scheduled to enable utilization for all programs of the Education Building classrooms which are equipped with teaching technology, smartboards, and student computer stations, or classrooms with computer or science lab resources as needed. All other primary classrooms to which program courses are assigned are also equipped with current teaching technology. Library resources supporting Education candidates’ preparation are also prioritized to provide current, relevant resources for every program area. All students have equal access to student computer labs on campus for individual study.
The faculty hired across programs and satellite campuses are equally highly qualified. Those without terminal degrees have rich experiential backgrounds as teachers and administrators in the PK-12 partner school systems and have demonstrated competency for their Thomas University assignments. Along with subject matter expertise, the highly qualified faculty member in the Curriculum and Instruction and Teacher Leader programs will have recent experience supporting teachers in the PK-12 system and extensive knowledge of the current requirements and initiatives in PK-12 education.
Off campus PK-12 school-based sites are located based on the same criteria needed to teach the class on the main campus. The Thomas University library has online access to over 150 databases and nearly 300 journals from anywhere with computer access.
6e.2. Describe the information technology resources that will be available to support faculty and candidates. Describe evidence that will be used to demonstrate that candidates and faculty use these resources toward improving teaching and learning.
Faculty and students have multiple technology resources at their disposal for teaching and learning; many of these uses are mandated as part of the teaching and learning process for candidates. All faculty members are required to use a Blackboard Learn course shell to provide course resources and communication for each course regardless of delivery mode. Hybrid or online classes must fully use the Blackboard course platform to create meaningful instruction, interaction between instructor and classmates, provide feedback on assignments, and utilize gradebook functions. All faculty (full-time, part-time and adjunct) who teach hybrid or online classes are required to take and successfully pass an Online Teaching Proficiency Assessment. The online Office of Academic Technology provides frequent online workshops for students and faculty and houses video instructional modules covering most tools related to the use Blackboard and Collaborate.
The integration of technology into instruction by professional education faculty members takes place in every course. Courses specify teaching and learning utilizing various technology tools (i.e., Smartboard technology, blogs, wikis, narrated PowerPoints, Camtasia); this is evident in course syllabi. Other course assignments require demonstration of mastery of internet search skills and use of GALILEO and other scholarly databases; professors along with librarians provide instruction for these skills. Modeling the use of instruction technology for students is a practice of all professional education faculty members.
Students and faculty are required to utilize their portal access to Hawklink (CAMS), TU’s fully-integrated internet-based student records system which enables online registration; student portal access to financial aid, billing, unofficial transcripts, and course Blackboard shells; faculty portal access to advisees’ student records for advising and to automated grade reporting. All students and faculty are assigned Thomas University email accounts. Every syllabus states that students are expected to use TU email as faculty, administrative and student services offices will communicate exclusively through this media for email. Faculty are required to check TU email daily and expected to be adept with the features of Outlook for communication and calendars.
All Education faculty and teacher candidates must effectively utilize LiveText. Support is provided by the Coordinator of Assessment and Accreditation. Faculty are required to record student assessment in the system and to use the system to evaluate student progress. In addition, all faculty are expected to have competent skills using Microsoft Office suite programs. Use of Word, PowerPoint, and Publisher are required in Education course assignments as evidenced in course syllabi.
6e.3. Describe the resources that will be available for the development and implementation of the unit's assessment system.
The Coordinator of Assessment and Accreditation, a quarter time release assignment, facilitates the systematic process of data compilation, aggregation, and summarization of those data collected in order to allow the unit faculty, all associated partners, and the administration to analyze candidate and completer performance as well as preparation program and unit performance in regards to the outlined outcomes.
The Coordinator is assisted, as needed, by the university’s Director of Institutional Assessment (a 12-month staff contract) in statistical analysis of candidate performance data and the production of meaningful reports from the LiveText and EDUbase, and CAMS (the university’s integrated student records system) systems.
Additionally, a full-time (40-hour per week) Administrative Assistant to the Division of Education is assigned to supporting the work of the Division Chair and Coordinator of Assessment and Accreditation.
The university has assigned at least one Graduate Assistant to the Division of Education for up to fifteen hours per week each semester to assist with implementation of the assessment system and related Division projects. Student workers are hired, as needed.
6e.4. Describe the library and curricular resources that exist at the institution or agency. Describe how the unit will ensure that they are sufficient and that they remain current.
The TU Library houses over 34,000 holdings (print and media) in approximately 13,000 square feet of space. The library is open 60 hours a week and has reference, children’s literature, career, media, and general research collections available to patrons. As a member of GPALS, students and faculty utilize GALILEO and additional databases with online access to over 150 databases and nearly 300 journals from anywhere with computer access. The Library subscribes to forty-four journals, and provides eleven databases/search engines fifteen reference resources that are Education-specific.
The library has a reciprocal inter-library loan program. Patrons can make a request using an online form. Requested materials can be obtained in the library or shipped to a patron. Articles are delivered electronically.
Faculty can access library resources and professional librarian services. They can meet with librarians to find materials or to discuss specific course needs. Faculty can receive database instruction and learn about new resources. Computers, copiers, and scanners are available in the library. Laptops, Kindles, iPods, video cameras, and digital recorders can be checked out.
Students have access to library resources and to librarians for reference services. Appointments can be done face-to-face, in online chat, by phone or email, or through Elluminate. There are two computer labs for student use to encourage individual and collaborative research. A library commons area is available for studying.
The acquisitions program operates via an online request form and through meetings between librarians, departments, and faculty members. Materials requested by faculty are given priority. Weeding policies are developed with faculty guidance.
Support for off-campus students and programs
Faculty members can ask that a librarian be “embedded” in a course to assist with specific research assignments. The “embedded librarian” can join in discussion boards, post materials/tutorials, and meet with students via Bb Collaborate. Online/hybrid students also have access to librarians via the Virtual Reference Desk in Bb Course shells. For quick questions, students can chat with a staff member via Meebo, on the front page of the library website. Materials delivery service is also available for students.
6e.5. Describe how the unit will ensure the accessibility of resources to candidates, including candidates in off-campus, and distance learning preparation programs, through electronic means
Many resources are available through the internet and accessed via password through the TU webpage and Library webpage, specifically. Access to GALILEO and additional databases, the Library’s online catalog, Inter-library Loan assistance, and Live Chat with librarians for reference assistance are available through the webpage. The Technical Help Desk for student portal and Blackboard access questions as well as general technical support is available by phone, email, or in person at the Help Desk in the Library. Appointments can be made by phone or the webpage to schedule sessions in the Academic Resource Center and Student Support Services for tutoring; tutoring can be arranged in person, by phone, by Collaborate, or through email. Accommodations are provided for students with disabilities through the Office of Disabilities Services. Contact with this office can be done by phone, email, Collaborate, or in person. Accommodations include adaptations of the physical learning environment, acquiring or converting learning resources to an alternate format, and providing special assistance.