NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Department of Education grant to help improve computer assisted education at NMSU

Thanks to an approximately $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, New Mexico State University is installing multimedia computers in several of its classrooms and preparing to train faculty and students in the innovative use of the technology, said Bahram Nassersharif, head of the university's mechanical engineering department and director of its Title V program.

e next five years, NMSU will use Title V grant money to install new computer technology in classrooms in the College of Education, the College of Business, the math department of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering, said Nassersharif.

In addition, the university will remodel a room in Branson Library into a technology training center for its faculty and is turning a room in the newly remodeled Goddard Hall into an "active learning center," with a multi-projector computer system and advanced sound system, he said.

The Goddard Hall classroom will be available to all the university's departments and should be able to offer a theater-type environment for special presentations, Nassersharif said.

Several of the classrooms -- including Goddard Hall's special classroom -- should be ready for use by the fall 2001 semester, he said.

Nassersharif said the classrooms will have varying levels of sophistication. At a basic level, they will have a projector and wiring to connect a computer to the projector and a sound system, allowing Power Point presentations and the use of Web- and software-based presentations. But other classrooms will allow the use of wireless projection and laptops. The wireless projections typically reach 600 feet from the transmission source. This means that, at least theoretically, students could sit outside on the grass and follow their instructor's lecture inside a building.

Nassersharif said Jett Hall, a College of Engineering building, currently has four classrooms with computer connections of the basic kind. Under the grant it will add five more with the wireless connections, making it possible to have a "mobile classroom" with a cart of laptops that travels from room to room.

Ross Staffeldt, an associate math professor, said the animation possible with computers can help demonstrate complicated mathematics concepts.

"We can talk about very simple stuff on the board and I can introduce a more complicated example using the machine," he said.

Maria Mercado, an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, teaches teachers and college education majors who want a Spanish/English bilingual endorsement on their teaching certificates. She said she wants to familiarize her students with technology they might find useful in their own classrooms.

"Our new rooms will allow video conferencing, the use of a smart board and a video hub with laptops in the classroom. With video conferencing you can reach people all over the world. In a Spanish-English classroom, it's nice to have that connection to the Spanish-speaking world," she said.

Title V is a U.S. Department of Education program aimed at strengthening institutions of higher learning that serve Hispanic populations.