University launches DISCOVERe tablet program (video)

Dozens of Fresno State classes will introduce a new interactive tablet curriculum Thursday, Aug. 21 when fall semester classes begin. The first 1,200 students have enrolled in the university’s DISCOVERe program and 33 faculty members will teach a variety of courses incorporating tablet technology.

Fresno State has been preparing to launch the DISCOVERe program since President Joseph I. Castro arrived on campus a year ago. At 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Castro will officially launch the program with a scissor-free, virtual ribbon cutting at the new DISCOVERe Hub, a technology help desk similar to Apple’s Genius Bar, located on the first floor of Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library.

Students and the general public can visit the DISCOVERe Hub for training on how to use their tablets and workshops on apps that can help make tablets more effective in the classroom. Trained student DISCOVERe guides also will provide help with laptops, smart phones and other technology.

“This marks the beginning of a journey that is bold, innovative and laser-focused on student success,” Castro said. “As more courses get redesigned to incorporate technology, our goal is to build a sustainable program that keeps the cost of attending Fresno State affordable while increasing graduation rates.”

Castro said his vision for the new program is to help make tablet technology accessible to all students so they have the tools they need to succeed and are well prepared for careers that are increasingly dependent upon technology.

A grant from the Fresno State Foundation provides each student enrolled in the program $500 toward the purchase of a tablet. Students can choose an iPad Air (iOS), Asus MemoPad (Android) or Lenovo Thinkpad (Windows). The cost of the Asus MemoPad is completely covered by the grant. Each tablet comes bundled with one year of 4G Internet provided by AT&T to ensure students can connect when they’re off campus. A list of fast facts about the program are available online: http://fresnostate.edu/president/discovere/about/fast-facts.html.

Faculty are also reducing student costs by replacing books and other paper materials with virtual instructional resources they created.

Faculty fellows were nominated by deans from all campus divisions and volunteered to participate in the inaugural cohort. They participated in development and training activities throughout the summer to prepare their tablet curriculums for a diverse group of students ranging from freshmen to doctorate students.

“What you’ll see with DISCOVERe is a glimpse into the future of what education will look like,” said Mike Pronovost, project manager for DISCOVERe.

Beyond the classroom, the tablet transformation will carry over to other aspects of campus. Advising services staff members have been outfitted with iPads and adopted videoconferencing software so off-campus students can remotely meet with counselors, tutors and advisers during normal business hours.

For more information, contact Tom Uribes in University Communications at 559.246.1717 or tomu@csufresno.edu.

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Eddie Hughes

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Writer/Public Affairs Specialist, University Communications