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A faculty guide to ETC services at Princeton


20110816 (Photo credit: lemasney)

What is the Educational Technologies Center at Princeton

The Educational Technology Centers at Princeton University have assisted faculty members at Princeton in using technology in teaching, learning, and research for more than two decades. In fact the present ETC had it roots in the ICGL, the Interactive Computing Graphics Laboratory, established at Princeton in 1974.

Things have changed quite a bit since then: the original purpose of
the laboratory was to allow graphics support for faculty, staff and
student projects. The work terminals used in the first lab on the fourth
story of the E-Quad, were connected to a mainframe computer, allowing
users to do complex visualizations of data and research. Today, each one
of us has a computer or portable device that exceeds the capabilities
of that mainframe.

Just because computing has become smaller, cheaper and almost
ubiquitous in our daily lives, it doesn’t always mean that it’s always
easy to pick the best solution for a need. When ETC assumed its present
name in 1999, the tagline for this group was “technology consultants for
faculty.” That remains ETC’s mission. For more than two decades, we
have been working with Princeton faculty members on projects that
combine their scholarship with current technology.

We’re here to help.

How can we help you?

Do you need some advice on how to use an interesting new technology in your course? Do you have a teaching or research project that could benefit from IT?

Here are a few examples of the sorts of services we provide:

  • we can send someone to your office to give you a one-on-one tour of the new Blackboard 9
  • we can give you advice on how to use discussion boards, blogs or
    other social media to improve the quality of student feedback in your
  • we can advise you on the current state of trending technologies, for
    example, how an e-book reader or slate-type mobile device might help to
    improve your productivity
  • we can tame your office hours by providing tools that make
    scheduling easier, or allow you to hold your office hours online at
    hours more convenient to you and your students
  • we can help you budget IT needs in your next grant proposal
  • we can get you or your department a presence on the web that represents your professional life at Princeton
  • we can consult with you about exploring new technologies you may not have the time to research yourself
  • we can discuss the possibilities of testing new technologies in an upcoming course

Lunch &Learn: Flash Forward: The Rise of Small Tech Gadgets with Doug Dixon.

gadgets.jpgA compelling technology, flash memory continues its march through the consumer electronics industry, yet again doubling quickly in capacity and dropping in price. In its wake, the wreckage of other, once proud, technologies and products — the floppy disk wiped from computers by the USB drive, the CD Audio disc humbled by portable flash players, and tape-based video cameras that now seem clunky compared to smaller flash cams. And next in the sights: computer hard drives giving way to faster and more rugged Solid-State devices.
Again this year, Doug Dixon of Manifest Technologies worked the January Consumer Electronics Show to scope out the new products. This year’s show saw even more examples of the impact of flash memory: rugged HD camcorders, replacement solid state storage devices, Wi-Fi integrated on SD memory cards, new formats promising 2 terabyte memory cards, and card slots everywhere, from mobile phones to HDTV displays. Dixon returned to Lunch ‘n Learn on April 15 to explore the developing trends in the rise of flash memory and to show off dozens of fun, new, high-tech gadgets. His web site, contains his Lunch ‘n Learn presentation, as well as more than 200 additional articles and a blog about a range of technology topics. The site also contains more detailed information about the products that Dixon demonstrated during his talk.

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