Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Dr. Jennifer Haber, SPC Communications FacultySt. Petersburg College communications professor Dr. Jennifer Haber received a national award for using social media and technology to engage her students.

Haber is the 2013 recipient of Crestron’s Summum Bonum Award. Latin for “the highest good,” the national award is presented to teachers with a track record of improving student achievement and making a difference in the lives of their students.

A national provider of classroom equipment, Crestron will present Haber with a plaque and a check for $2,000 at an event on the Tarpon Springs Campus on Jan. 15, 2014.

“Technology is everywhere and evolves constantly,” Haber said. “As educators it’s important that we keep trying new technologies that can help our students be better learners.”

Haber finds time to learn about and test new technologies by utilizing the resources and expertise her campus Instructional Design Technologist (IDT) provides.

“Jennifer is always reaching out to explore new ways to solve challenges with technology,” said Karen Hesting, Tarpon Springs IDT. “She is not just adding technology to make her course shiny. She is doing it to help her students succeed.”

Each term she picks one or two new technologies to learn about and decide if they will help her students be more successful. This term it was Facebook groups and ANGEL rubrics.

Facebook Groups

FacebookOn Facebook, students not only are responding, but also are initiating conversations on content and reaching out to her and other students.

“It’s not about being complicated or overly techie but about knowing your audience and learning how to communicate with this generation where they are at,” she said. “I login to ANGEL maybe once a day to check for student communications. Facebook notices on my phone are an ongoing conversation with my students. I want them to know I am available. It’s not like I respond instantly all the time. But when I can and it matters – I do.”

Dr. Jennifer Haber Facebook conversation

Sample Facebook Group conversation with students.

ANGEL Rubrics

ANGEL 8 includes a grading rubric that connects to drop boxes, discussion forums, and essay type assessment questions. Check out a recent Technology Project and the Rubric developed for the assignment.

Top Tech Tools

Here are a few of Haber’s top technology and social media picks and how she uses them:
Top Tech Tools

  1. ANGEL rubrics – for grading
  2. Google Voice – for communication
  3. Facebook – for discussion
  4. Twitter – for content/readings
  5. SnagIt – for paper review
  6. Turnitin – for paper review and plagiarism detection
  7. YouTube – for content
  8. Camtasia – for content

WITS Blog Resources

Awards and conferences

In addition to the recent Crestron award, Haber also received the CETL Critical Thinking Grant (2012) and Travel Grant (2013). Funds from the travel grant were used to present at the Sloan Blended Learning Conference in July 2013 in Milwaukee, WI. She also attended the Campus Technology conference this summer in Boston.


Dr. Jennifer Haber has been teaching at SPC for 15 years, full-time for the last 12. Her educational background is in teaching and technology. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees are in English from the University of Florida and University of Central Florida respectively. Her Ph.D. is in Curriculum and Instruction with a cognate in Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida. At home, she is a soccer mom with two children ages 8 and 11. She loves to travel with her husband and children and has a goal for her children to visit all 50 states.

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d2l-logoAfter more than a year of research, it’s official: Desire2Learn will replace Angel as the college’s learning management system. The Board of Trustees officially approved the decision on Tuesday.

The transition to the new system will take about 18 months to complete, but that is only the beginning.

“Changing the LMS is only the first part of an even bigger project, and that is revitalizing our online education,” Vicki Westergard, executive director of eCampus, Web and Instructional Technology, told the board.

More than 90 members of faculty and staff are involved in a complete examination of how online learning at St. Petersburg College should look in the years ahead. See a previous story in the Blue & White on revitalizing online education for more details.

“The larger issue is online education in general,” said Rich Mercadante, Faculty Governance Organization president. “Over summer, Dr. Law put together a white paper with some of questions we should be considering with online education.

“One of the questions he wrote really captured the spirit of what we need to accomplish: What level of learning or support should a student have a right to expect when he or she enrolls at SPC?”

President Bill Law told the board that SPC already is a leader in online education. “About 10 percent of all online enrollment in the Florida College System is done by St. Petersburg College. We are the lead dog in this. We’ve been at this the longest so our stuff is a little shopworn. It’s like every other technology, it’s a consumable. “

Learn more:

See the Learning Management System Replacement PowerPoint presented to the Board of Trustees on Tuesday.

Watch the Board of Trustees meeting discussion about the learning management system and online education revitalization.

Read Dr. Law’s four-page white paper on Online Course Renewal at St. Petersburg College that sets out the issues, challenges and expectations for the project.

See the Online Education PowerPoint presented by Vicki Westergard at Fall Faculty.

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wifiThe St. Petersburg College’s wireless network has undergone a major upgrade on all of its campuses in Pinellas County.

The new SPC Wi-Fi is used by students, staff and visitors, including users in the on-campus joint-use public libraries. Compared to fall 2012, the network’s usage already has increased 200-400 percent.

The previous, aging wireless network was retired in favor of state-of-the-art technology, which was designed with a focus on the student experience. Network speeds are now 10 times faster and the Wi-Fi now supports many new mobile devices including Androids, iPads and iPhones.

The new cloud-based system frees up valuable SPC resources to optimize and maintain the wireless systems. Network coverage areas also have increased substantially to cover indoor areas and major outside student gathering areas.

Once users log onto the network, they will not be required to re-enter their login information during subsequent visits because their computers will automatically recognize the network.

Update requires a one-time log-in

When you use SPC Wi-Fi for the first time after Friday, Nov. 1, you will be required to re-enter your login information. This only will be necessary one time to install a security update.

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IMG_1122Recently, St. Petersburg College students in CISCO Certified Network Associates classes got the chance to tour Tech Data as part of the college’s Tampa Bay High-Tech Technology Program.

With the help of Collegewide Internship Coordinator Susan Biszewski-Eber, Career Outreach Specialist Rosaria Pipitone set up a tour of the Tech Data facility. The vice president of Tech Data Services, Bill Brooks, also played an active role in reaching out to the college since he had a “strong interest in partnering with a community college such as SPC.”

Pipitone, along with Michael Gordon, CISCO Instructor at SPC, and the CCNA students were given a tour of the CISCO labs at Tech Data and had hands-on experience working with the equipment.

They also had the opportunity to experience a simulated work environment where they were able to deal with customers over the phone.

Students learned that they “don’t have to be locked into one area of technology, but there are a host of opportunities that Tech Data has to offer,” said Pipitone. In the end, there was a Question-and-Answer session with a former SPC student who now works for Tech Data.

Overall, Pipitone said that the experience was designed to “offer hope to those who are unemployed and open their perception to the working world.”

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network_ciscoApplications are now being accepted for unemployed workers in the Tampa Bay area who are interested in a career in information technology.

Eligible participants can receive free IT certification training at St. Petersburg College. To be eligible, individuals must be 18 or older, a resident of Pinellas or Hillsborough counties, have a high school diploma or GED and be unemployed.

The Tampa Bay Hi-Tech Training (HITT) is being funded by a $3.8 million grant awarded to the Tampa Bay WorkForce Alliance and WorkNet Pinellas by the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant covers tuition, books and fees for certification training at SPC and HCC for individuals who meet the qualifications.

Enrollment into the HITT program is competitive and is based on certain eligibility requirements, such as unemployment status.

More details about the program and enrollment information are available on the websites of WorkNet Pinellas website or the Tampa Bay WorkForce Alliance. Certificate descriptions and other information also is available at www.spcollege.edu/hitt.

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St. Petersburg College’s Virtualization Summer Camp, held at the EpiCenter this month, offered networking and virtualization concepts to students.

The camp, made possible due to a National Science Foundation (NSF) , was held in partnership with Florida State College of Jacksonville (FSCJ) and was one of three piloted in the summer of 2013. Twelve students from St. Petersburg Gibbs, Countryside, and Osceola high schools participated in activities designed to impart computer networking and virtualization skills.

Virtualization refers creating a virtual machine , which acts like a real computer with an operating system.

Through this five-day course, students learned networking and virtualization concepts that included CITRIX VDI-IN-A-BOX, a new generation of software that allows creating virtual desktops for users that can be accessed from any location, wireless networking and router configurations. Students were assisted by Instructors Michael Gordon, Dr. Holly Hoopes, and Vera Goodacre, all from SPC.

Also present were Technical Support Specialists Jamaal White and Michael Selva, both from SPC. High School faculty included Dan Smith from Countryside High School and Sheryll Norwood from St. Petersburg Gibbs High School.

Learn more about the camp in the CCIT Bulletin.

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Vicki Westergard

Vicki Westergard, St. Peterburg College’s Executive Director of eCampus and Web and Instructional Technology, was voted Chair-Elect for 2013-2014 at the May 21 meeting of the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) Members Council on Distance Learning and Student Services.

Westergard has been the SPC representative to the FLVC since it was created by the Florida Legislature in July 2012. Since 2005 she has served as the SPC representative to the Florida Distance Learning Consortium, one of four previously independent organizations that comprise the Florida Virtual Campus.

Each year the Member Council on Distance Learning and Student Services Chair rotates between a state college and a university representative. University of Central Florida representative Thomas Cavanagh, 2012-2013 Chair-Elect, will become the Chair in July for 2013-2014. Following the established rotation, Westergard will assume the role of Chair in July 2014.

As Chair-Elect, Westergard will also serve on the Florida Virtual Campus Advisory Board until June 2015.

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Unemployed workers in the Tampa Bay area who are interested in a career in information technology can receive free IT certification training at St. Petersburg College or Hillsborough Community College. To be eligible, individuals must be 18 or older, a resident of Pinellas or Hillsborough counties, have a high school diploma or GED and be unemployed.

The Tampa Bay Hi-Tech Training (HITT) is being funded by a $3.8 million grant awarded to the Tampa Bay WorkForce Alliance and WorkNet Pinellas by the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant covers tuition, books and fees for certification training at SPC and HCC for individuals who meet the qualifications.

Certification programs at SPC include:


CISCO Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

  • Microsoft Certified IT Professional: Server Administrator
  • Java

Certification programs at HCC include:


  • Microsoft Technology Associate Certification: Networking Fundamentals
  • CompTIA A+ Certification Training
  • CompTIA Security+ Certification Training
  • CISCO Certified Network Associate (CCNA)


  • Information Technology Support Specialist
  • CISCO Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

“Information technology is one of the fastest growing career fields in Florida and across the country. Job seekers with specific IT related training and certifications are in high demand,” said Sharon Setterlind, Dean of SPC’s College of Computer & Information Technology. “The HITT program will help create a diverse pool of talented workers to meet the needs of IT employers.”

In addition to being high-demand, information technology is a high-paid career field. Last year, the median hourly wage for the IT industry in the Tampa Bay area was $29.55.

Enrollment into the HITT program is competitive and is based on certain eligibility requirements, such as unemployment status.

Full details about the grant are available on the websites for WorkNet Pinellas or the Tampa Bay WorkForce Alliance.

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St. Petersburg College was mentioned in a recent Tampa Bay Times column looking at how to provide technology workers in the region with needed skills and more real-world experience.

The article discussed a report that was the brainchild of Rick Homans, CEO of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. It also talked about student chapters of the Tampa Bay Technology Forum at SPC and USF St. Petersburg, plus the creation of tech training programs at local community colleges that complement instead of duplicate each other.

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Barry Shevlin

Barry Shevlin, CEO of Vology, Inc., a leading networking and telecommunications services and solutions company, will speak about the industry at a luncheon with select College of Computer and Information Technology faculty, administrators and students at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12.

After lunch, he will address students at the Clearwater Campus Court Room in SS 160 as part of a CCIT Technology Forum from 12:15-1:15 p.m. Human Resources representatives from Vology will be present to speak with students about career and employment opportunities.

Shevlin was named the Technology CEO of the Year in 2009 by Tampa Bay CEO Magazine. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008 by the Gulf Coast Business Review. His company, Vology, was named the winner of the 2010 Best Places to Work by the Tampa Bay Business Journal and also was a finalist in 2011.

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