College of Education’s Technology Oasis thrives

Founders of NIU’s College of Education’s Technology Oasis did not have time to ponder whether their creation would prove successful.

During its first three months of operation in 2011, more than 300 faculty members, students and staff members walked through the doors asking for help with their iPads, iPods, laptops, smart phones and long lists of class projects.

Among their questions: How do I turn on my new device?

College of Education Technology Oasis logo

Steve Builta, information systems manager for the College of Education, says that’s exactly one of the questions he and his colleagues were hoping to answer when they conceived the Oasis.

After all, they recognized a need for a tech-support service for electronic portable devices for students and faculty members. They also saw a need for the service to be available in a warm and comfortable room that did not further intimidate users and provided space for tutors who are computer savvy to teach all forms of current software.

“We’ve created a warm, inviting space,” Builta says. “Our goal was to design this room so people feel comfortable learning the capabilities of the technology that surrounds them.”

“I’ve had people come for the first time wanting me to show them how to turn on their technological devices,” said Mary Baker, Technology Oasis instructional designer. “Now they are doing multimedia projects with their classmates or for their students. It’s nice to see that students, faculty and staff realize the capabilities their electronic devices have.”

If students and faculty members do not own the tools to create or edit video for their class projects or the knowledge to manipulate computer graphics that allow their lessons to reach beyond words, the Technology Oasis does – and help is available within minutes.

In addition to individual consulting, Oasis staff members also present one-hour daytime workshops.

The Oasis is located in Gable Hall 08 (College of Education Learning Center). For more information, call (815) 753-9030 or email technologyoasis@niu.edu.

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