News from Instructional Technology

Instructional Technology is pleased to launch our new blog! Our posts will provide information on current instructional technology news, services, and programming, as well as our expert staff members’ individual takes on pedagogy-based and emerging technologies, best practices, and tips and tricks to make technology work better for you. In the future we plan to include guest posts from faculty and other colleagues to share what kinds of technology they are using for learning and teaching. The first set of posts are re-introductions of Instructional Technology staff plus one about Drew’s videoconferencing platform, Zoom. Enjoy!

Zoom: Drew’s Videoconferencing System

When we piloted Zoom in the spring and summer of 2015, I didn’t realize that it would become a part of my daily routine and for many others at Drew. Zoom is a web conferencing platform that has become quite popular on our campus, especially with our Theological School. We had used several conferencing platforms over my 15 years  at Drew and none of them really had any traction. The Doctor of Ministry program was using Breeze, then when Adobe bought them out it became Connect. My own technology department was using WebEx, with other folks around campus using Skype. When Drew became a Google Apps for Education School,  Google Hangouts was an option, but Zoom has pushed them all to the side. The question is why? Why did this one catch on when others couldn’t get a foothold? The biggest advantage Zoom has is its ease of use. Zoom is very straight forward:The user creates a meeting, and Zoom generates an invite. Copy and paste the invite  into an email and everyone with the link has access to the web conference. The fact that it’s just a link is a big advantage. If you’re an invited participant you don’t […]

Gamin Bartle: What I’m working on now

I’m the Senior Director of Instructional Technology and User Services here at Drew, and I’ve asked the Instructional Technology team to (re-)introduce themselves to the Drew Community. We all work hard to support faculty and students in their technology-related academic activities. Please check out all of our posts!  Paul Coen Verna Holcomb Nicole Pinto-Creazzo Shawn Spaventa   Here are a few of the things I’m working on right now: Working with Laura Martin, Dean of Information, Innovation and Strategy, to enhance our offerings and ensure that the work of Instructional Technology is founded in best practices for the pedagogically sound integration of technology in learning and teaching. Collaborating with Chris Anderson, Associate Dean of Libraries, to offer services and support in coordination with the Library as we work together toward realizing the Library space as the hub of Drew’s intellectual life. Participating on the Digital Humanities Steering Committee with CLA faculty members Hannah Wells, Josh Kavaloski, and Louis Hamilton. We are working on a proposal to the Mellon Foundation to secure funding for a major Digital Humanities Initiative at Drew. Working with Nicole Pinto-Creazzo, who is leading our search for Drew’s New Learning Management System. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting search.  Working […]

This is Me: Verna Holcomb

I am currently the Training Coordinator for Instructional Technology at Drew University. Since my arrival on campus as a college freshman more than ten years ago, I have held 4 different titles (in addition to “student”). I now arrange training both one-on-one and in group settings, reaching out especially to the students in all 3 of Drew’s schools. I also maintain online documentation to assist people at all times of the day and night. In addition, I can be found answering phone calls for the University Technology Service Center at various times throughout the week. Collaboration and open communication are both very important to the work I do (that is, trying to make my alma mater a better place!). One thing people don’t always get to find out about me is that I am a lover of not only culture, but other languages. I have studied German, Japanese, American Sign Language, Spanish, and French (I can still read in German, but I am not conversationally proficient in any language but English – yet!).

Paul Coen: Utility Player

I have a dual role. I’m the Senior Systems Architect in the University Technology Operations group, and I’m responsible for providing the environment for our systems and services – the storage, the servers, and the virtualization layer.​ In addition, I have day-to-day responsibility for a number of those services. In my consulting role as part of the Instructional Technology team, I provide support for academic departments that need specialized software. For example, I manage the servers for the Computer Science and Environmental Studies programs on an ongoing basis, the servers used by the Library, and create additional systems for other departments when needed. I’m part of the team supporting the Art Department’s Digital Classroom. And, of course, I’m available for any additional consulting and advice as needed by our customers. I’m originally from Rhode Island, and still find any excuse possible to spend time in New England. My family and most of my friends refuse to play Trivial Pursuit with me.

Shawn Spaventa: What do I do?

  I have an interesting position within University Technology. I’ve spent over 15 years in the Media Resource Center and over that time, I’ve collected assignments and duties as they have become more important on campus. During a typical work day, I assist with the day to day operations of the MRC. I make sure classes and events get the technology as requested, sometimes going out into the field to train a student or to assist a faculty or staff member. The other parts of my job include video production, video editing (using various software packages) live streaming campus events, and web conference support. My role on the Instructional Technology team is to create multimedia content for faculty and departments, to assist Nicole Pinto-Creazzo with our learning management systems and, maybe most importantly, to make people laugh. I was  born and raised in Central NJ, enjoy traveling, sports and live music. If you choose to see more about me, you can check out Shawn Spaventa

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