The School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology (SMST) at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) has been in the forefront of enhancing undergraduate STEM education. Though, the SMST at ECSU understands change in educational system and encourages the faculty members to experience and observe effective uses of technology in their coursework, the following problems are currently plaguing our programs: the difficulty of accommodating diverse student background, preparation and intellectual ability; difficulty of getting students to engage and interact intellectually; impersonality and isolation; understanding how students approach technology-based learning and what encourages them to communicate, collaborate, and reflect on their learning; expanding the use of resources; slow growth in enrollment due to unavailability of online course offerings; keeping educational infrastructure cost down; and virtually no involvement of students in community.
The programs in the Department of Technology (Engineering Technology, Industrial Technology, Aviation Science) have well-equipped laboratories and software tools. Prior to receiving HP Innovations in Education grant there was no high-performance remote computing infrastructure in place to make these resources available to wider audience so that utilization could be maximized. Very few courses were web-enhanced and only one course was offered online. In addition, there was no course with a service-learning component and hence, there was no interaction and involvement of students in community projects.
The 2009 HP Innovations in Education grant has helped project team to develop strategies and redesign course modules to overcome aforementioned challenges by availability of high-performance HP Blade computing infrastructure, versatile Tablet-PCs, and other supporting instructional tools.