The new St. Thomas E-Learning and Research (STELAR) center, located in the lower level of O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library, will open Nov. 10. The center, which is a collaboration between Information Technology Services, St. Thomas Libraries and Faculty Development, will support the technology and learning missions of the university through informative and transformational technologies.
STELAR is intended to be a one-stop shop for faculty to learn how to better use current technology and to brainstorm how to integrate cutting-edge technology in both their classroom and research while maintaining the foundation and community of a St. Thomas education. STELAR also will support faculty in considering how and when online and hybrid courses may be offered successfully.
Through this work, STELAR will address the evolving expectations of current and prospective students and their needs as they graduate, as well as support the Flexible Pathways priority of the strategic plan.
“Education, other institutions and expectations for students are changing around us, and it’s important for us to pay attention to those changes and react to those changes, so we can be relevant to our potential students,” said Brett Coup, associate vice president of academic technology.
The center has augmented and virtual reality systems, including Oculus Rift, Vive and zSpace systems, as well as an active learning classroom and a video studio, which has a Lightboard that allows for faculty to more easily record their lectures and notes.
Coup emphasized that collaboration with faculty is key, as the needs of each faculty member, department and college will be different.
“We want to connect faculty and what they need with what’s possible and, together, come up with brilliant ideas,” Coup said.
Department chairs may contact Coup to set up a meeting and discuss the technology needs of their departments.
For faculty who are interested in learning more and testing some of the technology, an open house will be held Thursday, Nov. 10, from 3-5 p.m. President Julie Sullivan and Provost Richard Plumb will speak beginning at 3:30 p.m. Refreshments also will be provided.