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The steady march of technology into our daily lives has
fundamentally changed the way students interact with the college,
explained Patuto, who holds a BS from Northeastern and an MBA
from Southern New Hampshire University.
"Today's students have grown up using technology. They shop online,
so naturally they want to pay their tuition bills online. They want to
see their grades online, and many are coming to class with e-books,
not printed textbooks."
Patuto teaches one "Introduction to Business" course each
semester and has seen this behavioral shift in his own classes. "I've
stopped handing out a printed syllabus and collecting assignments
during class," he said.
"Students want to receive info and submit papers electronically. And
this semester, for the first time, instead of a textbook I'm using Open
Educational Resources (OERs) -- freely accessible, openly licensed
online documents. I want our business case studies to be current."
Enrollment in online courses has risen steadily over the past
three or four years, Patuto added. And increasing numbers of
high school students are using mobile technology, like tablets
and iPads, in class. "They expect to use that technology in
college, too," he said.
With all these changes in mind, Patuto has helped launch
several new IT initiatives. Two recent pilot programs
exploring the use of mobile technology (iPads) in college
courses were very successful.
In spring semester 2015, students in "Creative Writing &
Literary Publishing" were given iPads. Under the direction
of English Professors Jonathan Bennett and Joe Nardoni,
they contributed to and complied a student-published online
magazine, titled The Dead River Review.
And in spring 2016, iPads were incorporated into "How to
Succeed in Business," a two-course Business/English Learning
Community. Team-taught by Business Professor John Femia and
English Professor Cathy McCarron, the class used iPads extensively
throughout the semester with Patuto acting as
their IT advisor.
"That Learning Community was really exciting," said Patuto.
At mid-semester, students conducted video interviews with
local business owners, using their iPads, he explained. For
their final project, they edited their footage, incorporating music and
graphics, into a "commercial" about the business. (See
related Faculty Profile, page 14)
"Just having mobile technology in their bags made those students
more successful," said Patuto. For example, he was able to
communicate directly with a couple of students who had stopped
coming to class, and helped get them back on track.
"We don't want to add technology just to add technology," he said.
"You need to know if it's having a positive impact."
The mobile technology pilot has been so successful, it's being
expanded. Patuto has firmed up an agreement with Apple Inc. to
make iPads available for 300+ "English Composition" students next
semester. "President Mabry's main goal is to have these tools in
students' hands," he said.
Patuto has also been working with Professor of Chemistry Sally
Quast, President of the Faculty Staff Association (FSA), to revamp
the FSA Technology Committee. The committee will focus on four
particular areas of teaching and technology: redesigning classrooms
for the latest technology; establishing technology standards;
instructing faculty in the use of mobile technology; and developing
an Online Learning Strategic Plan.
"As a successful CTO, you're on a continuous professional
development path you're never done," said Patuto. "You're at
national conferences and always looking to see what's new
and innovative.
"One of the key things I like to do is network and partner with the
faculty. They're out there too, and they bring back good ideas about
using technology in the classroom."
Kathy Register
" We don't want to add
technology (to the classroom)
just to add technology. You
need to know if it's having a
positive impact. "
Joe Patuto
Chief Technology Officer
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