Dean’s Update: ITS News

As we wrap another successful semester and academic year, the Instructional Technology Services Team is already gearing up for summer. Here are a few highlights from us at ITS.

Smart Classroom Security and Identity Management
Update: Canvas Learning Management System Pilot
Spring 2019 Ally Pilot is a Success
In-Video Quizzing (PlayPosit) is Changing Student Course Engagement

Summer Classroom Refresh Plans

Each summer ITS gives the campus’ Smart Classrooms a carefully planned update. This year, ITS surveyed the 180 Smart Classrooms to check for outdated or faulty technology that needs replacement, furniture that needs to be refreshed, and any major obstructions in the learning environments. Feedback is also solicited from SDSU faculty, staff and students to prioritize a list of classroom upgrades. Classroom upgrades include L.E.D. lighting, ADA-compliant podiums, movable furniture, automated video capture, document cameras, upgraded audio systems, and new technology including computers, switchers and projectors/displays. The data is analyzed and informs a prioritized summer room improvement strategy. This summer, a total of 17 rooms will receive renovation:

  • Engineering 201*
  • Engineering 328*
  • Engineering 427
  • Education & Business Administration 345
  • Education & Business Administration 445
  • Fowler Athletic Center 1014
  • Hepner Hall 214*
  • Music 206
  • Music 215
  • Physics 144
  • Physics 149
  • Peterson Gym 153*
  • Peterson Gym 242*
  • Professional Studies and Fine Arts 310
  • Professional Studies and Fine Arts 350
  • Storm Hall 104 (New Active Learning Space)
  • Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences 220

* These spaces are now Video Capture enabled.

As a reminder, in Fall 2019 ITS will begin implementing use of SDSUid accounts to log on to Smart Classroom computers. This change is the result of findings from the 2018 CSU IT Security Audit.

Update: Canvas Learning Management System Pilot

After an extensive survey of the SDSU student and faculty communities, ITS is exploring Canvas as a new option for the campus’ learning management system (LMS). The first phase of the Canvas pilot will begin in Fall 2019 with 21 courses across campus, including SDSU Imperial Valley and the College of Extended Studies. The faculty teaching these courses will participate in a series of workshops and training sessions this summer to prepare for the pilot. These faculty also volunteered their time and expertise to support the evaluation process. In Spring 2020, the pilot will include additional courses and student participants. If you are interested in learning more about the Canvas pilot and timeline, or you would like to be involved, please visit: or contact Dr. Sean Hauze, Instructional Design and Academic Media Lead ([email protected]).

Spring 2019 Ally Pilot is a Success

This spring, Communication Studies (Oral Communication, COMM 103) engaged in a large-scale pilot of Ally; software that integrates with the Blackboard Learning Management System and helps with assessing the accessibility of course content. This brief video gives an overview of Ally. Faculty are guided by the Ally software, which helps them make small changes that have a large impact on the students’ interactions with course materials. Ally also converts course documents to alternative formats, For example, students can “listen” to text documents while reading them.  Multiple modes of engaging with course content potentially increases comprehension for all students, and augments resources for students with disabilities and students for whom English is a second language.

After administering a pre and post-course survey to students in COMM 103, we found that student respondents’ (N=~2,000) self-reported awareness of alternative formats (PDF, HTML, mp3, etc.) increased. While students shared that they most frequently access course materials on their phones, an overwhelming majority prefer to work on their courses using a laptop computer. A full report is forthcoming. For more information about Universal Design and Accessibility efforts, please contact Instructional Designer, Jon Rizzo ([email protected]).

The Ally pilot will expand to include more courses in the Fall 2019 semester, with a full rollout planned for the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year.

Ally Explained in 40 Seconds:



In-Video Quizzing (PlayPosit) is Changing Student Course Engagement

In the Fall of 2018, ITS Faculty Fellow and Television, Film, and New Media faculty member Stuart Voytilla, began to add questions within the video content in his Cinema as Art course (TFM 160). The technology, PlayPosit, enables faculty to share media content, and to embed questions within the video environment. In Voytilla’s class, students would take “A Closer Look” to learn about nuanced film techniques in: “Rear Window,” “Silence of the Lambs,” and the classic, “Citizen Kane.”

The evaluation that accompanied the PlayPosit pilot is underway, but early findings demonstrate that students who engage with the video content throughout the semester are ultimately more successful. Further, we found that instructional design strategies can be employed to optimize how and when those videos and quizzes may have the greatest impact on students’ success in the course.

For more information about the PlayPosit pilot, please contact Dr. Sean Hauze, Instructional Design and Academic Media Lead ([email protected]).

Instructional Technology Services
Adams Humanities, 1st Floor
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Dr.
San Diego, CA 92182-8114