ITAC Expands Services

On Round Rock Campus

On Oct. 1, 2017, the IT Assistance Center (ITAC), officially began offering in-person support on the Texas State Round Rock Campus (RRC). ITAC now occupies the space in the Avery Building previously known as the Campus Technology Center (CTC). There are now ITAC Walk Up Centers ready and available to assist faculty, staff, and students in San Marcos and Round Rock.

The change comes as preparation for rapid growth on the RRC. In addition to supporting students, faculty, and staff in the Avery and School of Nursing buildings, ITAC is also preparing to support the thousands of additional students moving from San Marcos to Round Rock, as the College of Health Professions initially moves three academic departments into the newly constructed Willow Hall – Communication Disorders, Physical Therapy, and Respiratory Care. The moves are the first phase toward moving all College of Health Professions majors to Round Rock. Additional buildings are planned for future expansion which will include structures for academic use and student living spaces.

The ITAC Walk Up Center in Round Rock is run by seven full-time staff and eight student employees. While there was an information technology presence in Round Rock prior to the change, staff members worked in different departments making IT support disparate. Some were technical support personnel in the CTC, while others were lab and classroom technicians, and still others only supported the School of Nursing. These staff were already familiar with the campus and able to begin assisting faculty, staff, and students immediately under the ITAC umbrella. Consolidating resources and centralizing support will help bring a uniform customer service experience across both campuses.

Ben Rogers, Assistant Vice President of ITAC, is enthusiastic about the opportunity to formalize support. “We’re happy to extend the excellent customer service experience that ITAC is known for to Round Rock and provide users the one-stop-shop feel they are already accustomed to in San Marcos,” he said. “As the Round Rock Campus continues

to grow, we will be right there with faculty, staff, and students to help them succeed.”

Renovations are planned to the previously held CTC space to facilitate ITAC Walk Up support, classroom support, lab support, and student lab usage. In addition to previously existing computer labs in Avery, the redesigned ITAC Walk Up Center space will include a triage counter, technician workspaces, and student computer and study spaces. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

By Jen LaGrange

 

TXST Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant – Reflective Teaching

Students in music education are using multi-stream video technology in the classroom to reflect on teaching and engagement practices thanks to Dr. John Denis, Assistant Professor in the School of Music. Dr. Denis was awarded a 2018 Teaching and Learning Innovation grant that helped his students to develop and strengthen their skills using innovative technology. Watch the video above to see how this grant helped advance the student learning experience.

Now is the time for faculty to submit proposals for a 2019 grant. To learn more about how this grant can help fund your unique and innovative teaching idea, visit the grants page (https://www.tio.txstate.edu/grants.html) on the Technology Innovation Office website.

Grant proposals will be accepted through March 29, with awards being announced by April 5, 2019.

Website Rodeos: Wrangling Accessibility at Texas State

Website RodeoImproving accessibility for all

The Division of Information Technology and the Office of Disability Services have hosted a series of “Website Rodeos” the past three semesters to address ongoing concerns around disability access on Texas State University websites.

When Dr. Milton Nielsen, special assistant to the vice president for information technology, first began the website rodeos, accessibility was not something many administrators understood well, or were implementing consistently.

Wrangling the Errors

Management of Texas State websites is decentralized, which can empower departments, but may cause problems with structure that impacts accessibility. The day-long rodeo training sessions are designed to teach managers of university websites how to improve website accessibility.

At the first rodeo on May 5, 2017, 39 website editors and six managers trained on 23 error types and tackled 60 sites. On that first day alone, the groups identified and corrected over 700 errors.

The three rodeos have corrected more than 2,000 errors. Many of the corrections were for web issues a user without a disability would hardly notice, but are vital features to a vision-impaired student – things such as alt-text behind website images, closed captions on website media and special document sharing functions, for example.

Rori Sheffield is director of Mobile/Web Systems, the department in the IT Division responsible for the university’s web content management system, known as Gato. She said the goal of the rodeos is to make websites across Texas State more accessible.

“What that really means is that information sharing across Texas State meets the needs of not only sighted viewers, but also individuals interacting with our resources who are hard of hearing, deaf, blind or visually impaired,” Sheffield said.

Website Rodeo

Saddled Up for Training

The rodeos have been so successful that they are now being held each semester. During these hands-on events, the web team works with individuals to evaluate and update websites they manage and give administrators an in-depth education in accessibility.

Departments around campus are taking the initiative, reaching out to the web team to ensure their editors are properly trained. This growing interest and momentum around website accessibility is a huge benefit to the advancement of accessibility efforts on campus.

New Online Training

Website accessibility is a vital part of the continued efforts the university is taking to address disability access. The web team has created mandatory self- guided training. Editors must complete a self-paced accessibility training online before they are given Gato editing permissions.

Additionally, the Division of Information Technology has created an online website accessibility guide for website administrators to refer to, which can be viewed at https:/gato.its.txstate.edu/user-guides/best-practices/ web-accessibility.html.

With the combination of website rodeos and ongoing training for administrators, Texas State is well on its way to much improved accessibility for all individuals with disabilities.

By Joel Ausanka

The Launch of the Texas State Dataverse

Dataverse ImageProviding an avenue to store & share research data online

I believe in open sharing of scientific data

-Dr. Logan Trujillo

Storing, sharing and publishing research data online can be a challenging hurdle in the race to coordinate with research partners, meet funders’ requirements, and preserve important research findings.

In fall 2017 University Libraries launched a new online repository for researchers called Texas State University Dataverse that helps make that hurdle less daunting.

Dataverse is a platform for publishing and archiving research data. The software was originally developed by Harvard University. The Texas State University repository is available to all Texas State students, faculty, and staff. It is part of the Texas Data Repository hosted by the Texas Digital Library (TDL), which includes 22 higher education institutions throughout the state. The Texas Data Repository was created through the collaborative efforts of a consortium and committees consisting of 14 Texas university members, including representatives from Texas State.

For Dr. Logan Trujillo, an assistant professor of psychology, Texas State’s Dataverse was a welcome answer to a pressing need. His research project required not only large datasets and a place to publish and share the data. Researching human brain behavior is predictably complex and requires voluminous datasets for analysis.

“I study human perception and cognition from basic and applied viewpoints,” Trujillo explained. “This research is very data intensive and generates a lot of code for analysis. It is difficult to share because the research requires hundreds of megabytes, if not gigabytes, of data.”

Trujillo’s research was funded through a National Science Foundation grant requiring researchers to demonstrate that they have publicly shared their data.

Fortunately for Trujillo, University Libraries had just launched Dataverse as a free, open-source research data repository. College of Liberal Arts grant proposal reviewers told Trujillo about the new resource.

He found the tool easy to use and was able to enter metadata discoverable by search engines such as Google and Google Scholar. He was pleased that the Dataverse not only met grant requirements for data sharing, but also increased the visibility of his work, which will likely lead to increased citations.

“I think it’s a great tool,” he said. “I believe in open sharing of scientific data. It helps to further scientific research because everyone can check and verify results and build on the work of others.”

Trujillo’s paper and data have received many views. His research will help clinicians better conduct and analyze electrophysiological complexities and brain cognition through EEG monitoring of brain activity.

Texas State University Libraries staff were active in the development of the repository serving on the TDL Dataverse Implementation Working Groups, including the policy and governance, technical configuration, and budget and business model subgroups.

“A key component of the library’s strategic plan is to enable scholarly communication through library technology services,” said Dr. Ray Uzwyshyn, director of collections and digital services for University Libraries. He served on several subcommittees for the platform.

“This project provides a new online resource for faculty and students at Texas State in concert with TDL’s other member universities,” he said. “Our Dataverse serves larger missions fulfilling federal grant requirements for faculty and increasing possibilities for online access, collaboration and sharing on global levels.”

After just under a year, Texas State researchers have stored nearly 1,500 files on Texas State’s Dataverse, ranking Texas State next to the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University in terms of its deposit rate into the Texas Data Repository.

To learn more about the Texas State University Dataverse, visit the Alkek Library’s dataverse web page at (guides.library.txstate.edu/datarepository).

By Debbie Pitts