White Papers and Reports

ISU IT Services Academic Technologies continues to monitor and follow educational technology trends. We rely on various sources for information and also conduct our own tests and evaluations of educational technologies of particular relevance to ISU faculty and students. We encourage you to explore the topics and reports below.

Hosting Educational Video Materials on YouTube

This document contains a list of potential advantages and disadvantages of hosting educational video materials for ISU courses on YouTube. The information in this report was obtained through online research, discussions and feedback from the Instructional Technologies and Blended and Online Learning Constituent Groups under EDUCAUSE and the Consortium of College and University Media Centers (CCUMC) listserv. The ten responses from listserv members were all from staff and administrators who either had experience using YouTube for hosting educational content or who had looked into the option and decided not to use it. Read more...

Wireless Content Sharing in a Flipped Classroom

The use of wireless content sharing (WCS) allows students and instructors to share media from their mobile devices and laptops by streaming it to the main classroom display. Based on a Techstarter proposal to integrate WCS into a flipped computer engineering course Iowa State University (ISU) Information Technology Services (ITS) funded a WCS kit and loaned it to the course instructor to find out what potential benefits and challenges faculty and students would experience. This white paper explores the project and outlines the advantages and challenges experienced byt the course instructor. Read more...

AirTame - First Drive Review

When five young entrepreneurs from Denmark had a successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to create the AirTame, an HDMI dongle promising to let users wirelessly stream media from PC, Mac and Linux computers and all major mobile platforms, many in the academic IT support field took notice. The creators of this device claims that it “provides and alternative solution to share your screen wirelessly…across all major platforms” (AirTame website, Aug 7. 2015). This review is a first hands-on report to be followed by a more in-depth review once we have had a chance to test it more thoroughly in a classroom and conference room setting. Read More...

Audience Response Systems at ISU

Audience Response Systems (ARSs) have been around for decades and have found increasing use in institutions of higher learning since the mid-1990s. In 2007 Iowa State University standardized on the Turning Technologies ARS solution called Turning Point. CELT and ITS have continually monitored the functionality of the Turning Point solution on campus and the developments in the ARS market in general. Spurred by an upcoming comprehensive system update from Turning Technologies, which will be demanding on faculty and support staff to carry out, central technology support staff partnered to assess the current Turning Technologies ARS solution and to gain an overview of the current ARS market in an attempt to identify solutions that could meet the current and future needs of ISU faculty, students and academic support staff. Read more...

Streaming Media in the Classroom

Streaming of digital media such as audio, video and photos to a classroom provides a simple and easy way of integrating these sources into a course. To facilitate this, instructors may use a streaming media device which is capable of playing locally or remotely stored media files. Testing conducted by the Information Technology Services unit found that the Roku 3 and Western Digital TV Live streaming media devices may be good options for adding streaming media capabilities to an ISU classroom. It was also found that the Plex Media Server is a viable solution for hosting and serving these media files to either device. Read more...

Wireless Content Streaming

Wireless content streaming is a way for students and instructors to share the content of their devices and laptops with the entire class by streaming them to the main classroom display. Testing conducted by Iowa State University Information Technology Services found that using the AirServer software to turn a PC or Apple computer into an AirPlay receiver is a flexible and reliable way to enable students to share content from their Apple iOS devices. As a pedagogical classroom tool this technology has obvious potential. It is, however, not yet mature enough to reliably include devices running other operating systems, such as Android. Thus, instructors need to take this into consideration when they contemplate using wireless content streaming in their classrooms. Read more...

eTexts and eReaders

Educational eTexts have the potential to be far more than their paper-based counterparts. More than just words on a page, an eText could be a centralized learning hub, incorporating social functions, interactive exercises, personalized learning paths, video, and embedded animations. However, that vision has yet to be realized, and factors of publisher commitment, software design, teacher training, and sustainable business plans are all issues that need resolution before a robust eText vision can be realized. Read more... 

Lecture Capture

Lecture capture technology has the potential to fundamentally alter the way instructors and students interact in the classroom. Recorded lectures can free up time that may be used for class discussions, group work, and other activities that engage students as active learners. The ability to access material at any time also allows students an opportunity to review difficult concepts, and supplement their learning experience with additional material provided by the instructor.

This is a rapidly growing and changing field and it can be difficult to make the right decisions when considering a large-scale deployment. It is vital that as many stakeholders as possible provide input and that feature sets be clearly defined. Properly implanting a lecture capture initiative can require significant resources, not only in software, but also in networking and storage infrastructure. Read more...

Needs Assessment Survey Reports

In Spring and Fall of 2010 ComETS conducted a campus-wide needs assessment to learn more about educational technology use, needs, and attitudes. Two needs assessment surveys were administered: One for faculty/staff, and one for students.

The student survey is summarized in a 27 page report. Student comments provided during the survey are also included as an appendix to the main document. The full report, complete with the appendices is available for download as a PDF file at the following link:

Besides the overall responses in the report, the appendices include responses stratified by year in school (freshman, sophomore, etc.). For responses stratified by college, see the link immediately below.

The ComETS steering committee has made recommendations based on this report. Those may be found on page 26.

The faculty/staff survey is summarized in a 63 page report. Additionally, respondent comments to open-ended questions are included in subsequent appendices. Both the report, as well as the report plus appendices, are available via PDF download at the following links:

The ComETS steering committee has collectively come up with the recommendations of the report on page 62.