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UTSA to give away iPads to promote new online course evaluations

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(Nov. 22, 2010, 10:00 a.m.)--NOTE: End-of-course evaluation notices are being e-mailed to students -- one for each course in which they are enrolled. As of 9 a.m., Monday, Nov. 22, server problems are delaying delivery of the e-mail messages.

The UTSA Office of Information Technology is working to resolve the problem, and students will receive all of the necessary messages as soon as possible. Because of the delay, the deadline for completing course evaluations has been extended to Tuesday, Dec. 7.


UTSA will give away up to four iPads as part of the university's launch of the new online course evaluations. Beginning fall 2010, end-of-semester course evaluations will be conducted online, completely replacing the paper-based IDEA surveys previously used.

"In addition to many other benefits, the university is realizing a significant cost savings by switching from paper to online evaluations," said Sandra Welch, vice provost for accountability and institutional effectiveness. "We're using just a small portion of that savings to offer iPads as prize incentives to students who complete their evaluations."

Welch said the number of iPads given away will depend on student participation. Two iPads will be awarded if 40 percent of UTSA students complete their online evaluations; three iPads will be awarded if 50 percent complete their evaluations; and four iPads will be awarded if at least 60 percent do so. That means that the more class evaluations students complete, the more chances they will have to win.

"Online course evaluations offer a number of benefits to UTSA, not the least of which is time savings," said John Frederick, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "Instructors no longer have to use valuable class time to administer course evaluations, as students will be able to complete them online at their convenience. Also, because of this new, automated process, results of evaluations will be available to faculty by the beginning of the next semester."

The online course evaluations also help the university comply with Texas H.B. 2504, which requires certain evaluation results and other data to be posted online. At UTSA, that information is posted on the Bluebook website.

And just like the paper surveys, online course evaluations are anonymous.

"We've worked to ensure that the online survey mechanism is completely confidential," said Ken Pierce, vice provost for information technology and CIO. "Students will receive an e-mail with a link to the evaluation for each course they are enrolled in. Once a student submits their evaluation online, the answers are stored in a separate database, so, there's no way to link a student to her or his responses."

Informational videos explaining online course evaluations will be available on the desktop of every classroom computer beginning Nov. 18. Frederick urges faculty members to show the videos to their students.

"We are asking faculty to take a few minutes in class to talk to students about why it's important to complete their evaluations," Frederick said. "Students need to understand that their feedback can help our faculty improve their course content and instruction."



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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