Active learning with technology: bringing students, faculty, and information together
Miami students join a community of people devoted to creating and sharing information—activities that can be enhanced by information technology. Find out how technology is used to support learning and collaboration in individual areas of interest.
Coursework in and out of class
How does Miami use technology to enhance teaching and learning?
Technology is an integral part of teaching and learning at Miami. More than half of the courses at Miami use technology in the classroom at some level. For example, clicker technology, supplementary podcasts, and web-enhanced courses are designed to increase active learning; communication spaces such as wikis and blogs are used to facilitate project-based, collaborative learning; and computer-based animations and simulations help develop critical thinking skills.
Approximately 85 percent of instructors use a web-based course management system to extend the academic experience outside the classroom. Faculty can post announcements, course outlines, syllabi, handouts, assignments, and grades; conduct online-mediated discussions through discussion boards, chat, and email; and allow online submission of assignments. Miami's course management system, Niihka (pronounced nee-ka), is configured in Sakai, an open source collaboration and learning environment.
Is there technology in the classrooms?
Miami University provides a "standard classroom technology" configuration to meet the needs of faculty and students. This equipment includes a ceiling-mounted data projector, and an instructor's station with a resident computer, guest computer interface, document camera, iPod connector, DVD/VCR, and stereo audio. Nearly 100% of general Registrar-scheduled classrooms are technology-equipped. The standardized control system and integrated data network allow instructors to move easily between classrooms on all campuses.
In addition, many classrooms are equipped with additional technology to address specific course requirements. There are also several large auditorium and theater venues for guest performances. Miami supports a variety of video conferencing, digital media labs, and computer instruction classrooms.
All academic and residential buildings have wireless network capability.
Is technology used for collaboration with other students in both introductory and advanced courses?
Technology is accessible to all students, regardless of their major. Students can use technology in the following ways to collaborate on projects:
- Niihka—Students can use our web-based collaborative learning environment, Niihka, to participate in online discussion among project teams. Niihka is Miami's installation, customization, and configuration of Sakai. Niihka means "friend" in the Myaamia language. Through Niihka we celebrate our community of learners and honor the thriving relationship between Miami University and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.
- Google Apps for Education—Students can store, share, and edit files in Google Drive, one of the many tools available through Google Apps for Education.
- MyFiles (netDisk)—Students can assign access to individual files or folders on their network space to others via a web interface in order to facilitate collaborative writing and project work.
- Email—Students have access to lifetime email through Google Apps for Education. LISTSERV™ mailing lists are also available; these mailing lists can be course- or organization-based.
- Instant messaging—Students have access to many commonly-used instant messaging applications.
Does Miami give credit for courses taken electronically (online/at a distance) from other institutions and sources of instruction?
Miami University may accept transfer credit for courses taken electronically if all requirements pertaining to transfer credit are satisfied. Students are strongly encouraged to consult their advisors or the Office of the Registrar prior to enrollment to ensure credit will transfer.
How does the campus provide access for students to work with multimedia (audio and video)?
The Miami Libraries' Center for Information Management (CIM) provides a variety of hardware and software for working with digital image, audio, animation, and video files. Assistance is available on an individual basis during the academic year. Faculty may request tours or demonstrations for their classes as well. Libraries on all campuses offer hardware checkout for items such as laptops, digital cameras, iPads, digital audio recorders, microphones and tripods.
Are library collections and resources—such as catalogs, research databases, special collections, full-text electronic journals, books, and streaming media—available online and accessible off campus?
The Miami Libraries own numerous licensed electronic reference materials, including many searchable research databases, electronic books and electronic journals, and magazines. The Libraries provide access through a proxy server to make all licensed electronic reference material available to anyone with an Internet connection and a Miami UniqueID (username) and password, whether on campus or off. (Those accessing the materials off campus will be asked to log in using their UniqueID and MUnet password.)
Through the Libraries' website, faculty, staff, and students can complete the following tasks:
- Request books from the 80+ Ohio colleges and universities that belong to the Ohio consortia of research libraries, OhioLINK
- Complete an online interlibrary loan request to obtain hard-to-find research materials
- Read more than 90,000 electronic journals, 500,000 electronic books, and 2,200 electronic plays
- View collections of more than 700,000 images of artwork, architecture, and historical photographs, and view nearly 1,000 online videos
- Explore special digital collections from and about Miami University
- Seek real-time research help from librarians using an instant messaging system
- Use online reference resources, which include links for everything from almanacs and encyclopedias to telephone directories and weather information.
Can the library deliver documents electronically, either via email or through web posting? Does the library charge a fee when information resources that you need are not available in its collections?
Sometimes, the Libraries provide access to a digital copy of articles requested through interlibrary loan or from their remote storage facility.
Currently, there is no charge for use of interlibrary loan services at Miami. However, there are costs associated with the process of receiving materials from other institutions, such as labor, photo duplication, copyright compliance, and postage and handling. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to use this resource judiciously.
In addition to interlibrary loan, the Libraries use digital delivery for several services, including digital copies of library items and the following special collections and archives:
- Electronic Theses and Dissertations: Electronic submission has been required at Miami for over a decade.
- Repositories: In partnership with the Miami University Art Museum, the Libraries house artifacts and records from the Myaamia tribe, the University's namesake. Some of these resources may be made available electronically.
- Images, Audio, and Video: OhioLINK's Digital Resource Commons provides access to an extensive collection of images, audio recordings, and videos from commercial distributors.
- The Scholarly Commons: The Scholarly Commons contains research and scholarly output selected and deposited by the individual university departments and centers on campus.
Does the library provide research assistance? When is this assistance available?
The Miami University Libraries provide individualized assistance in person, by phone, by email, and through an online reference service. The online reference service at http://www.lib.miamioh.edu/askus/ enables those seeking assistance to communicate with librarians through chat.
What technology resources and help are available to students with special needs?
Adaptive technologies for students with disabilities have become an essential component of post-secondary education. Miami's Office of Disability Resources provides alternative media production, as well as hardware & software technologies, for students who need such services. Assistance includes, but is not limited to, voice-recognition software, large monitors, screen readers, text readers, and procedures to access and convert print materials.
The University Libraries also provide a variety of hardware and software, including JAWS, ZOOMTEXT Magnifier, and Kurzweil 3000.
For more information about adaptive technology options at Miami, contact the Office of Disability Resources at (513) 529-1541.Back to top