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100 Percent Are Technology-Enhanced to Aid in Student
LOWELL, Mass. ߝ UMass Lowell announced today that 100
percent of its classrooms are equipped with technology that helps faculty
explain complex topics to students.
“One hundred and ninety classrooms on campus are ‘smart,’
or technology-enhanced,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. “This
generation of students expects to use technology in every aspect of their
lives, especially in education. This investment gives faculty the tools needed
in the classroom to help students absorb and retain complicated information,
which is key to student success.”
The university’s technology-enhanced classrooms include a
teaching podium, computer, digital document camera, DVD/VCR player, laptop and
network connections, integrated sound and a system that controls all audio and
video from the lectern. Faculty and students are extremely positive about how
the technology aids learning not only in the classroom, but also later as
students review materials and lectures to prepare for exams.
Lecture Capture Technology Helps Students Retain
Some classrooms also include an interactive LCD
touchscreen that acts like an electronic writing tablet with the ability to
save, share and print class notes. In addition, UMass Lowell recently outfitted
60 classrooms with Echo360 lecture capture technology, the largest deployment
of its kind in New England.
Echo360 creates a digital rich media version of the
classroom experience that includes video of the instructor and presentation
materials used in class so students can access them later from any computer or
mobile device to aid in studying.
Nursing major Marcia Schleier, a junior from Wilmington,
said that getting a second chance to view the slides and listen to the lectures
has helped her understand complex information.
“Listening to lectures after class has really helped me
remember information,” said Schleier, a student in Prof. Lisa Abdallah’s
“Nursing Assessment and Skills” course. “While in class, I am taking notes and
reading the slides, but sometimes I need to fill in some information. But then
I go online and watch and listen to the lecture. It’s amazing because when I am
taking the test later, I actually hear my professor’s voice and can remember
what she said. It really works.”
In addition to using Echo360 lecture capture technology,
Abdallah also uses a “clicker” system during class that lets her know how well
students are learning the information she is presenting. Each student uses a
handheld device to answer the professor’s questions by aiming it at a slide and
clicking on their choice of possible answers.
“The new technology in our lecture halls lets us know on
the spot whether critical concepts are understood by our nursing students,”
said Abdallah. “When I use the clicker system in class, students are more
engaged and I receive instant feedback on whether they are absorbing the
Improving Student Success
The expansion of UMass Lowell’s “smart” classrooms to all
lecture spaces is just one example of the university’s ongoing efforts to
improve students’ academic success. Other initiatives include the introduction
last year of learning communities, freshman seminars that teach academic and
life skills, and workshops focused on improving performance in challenging
courses such as calculus.
These and other initiatives are generating positive
results. The percentage of UMass Lowell freshmen who continue on to their
sophomore year has increased from 75 to 81 percent since Fall 2007, while the
percentage of students who continue on for four years increased from 63.7
percent to 69.1. UMass Lowell also broke records the last three years for the
number of graduates, this year awarding 2,390 degrees to undergraduate and
graduate students at commencement.
UMass Lowell, with a national reputation in science,
engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong
success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that
sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. The
university offers its 14,000 students more than 120 degree choices,
internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral
studies in the colleges of Arts, Sciences, Engineering and Management, the
School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education.