Technology Helping Students Get Organized

Photo of a new flash drive for Southeast students

Southeast Missouri State University has distributed about 600 flash drives to students chock-full of campus program information, a University survival guide and learning style tips to help students get organized.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Aug. 25, 2006 – During Opening Week, Southeast Missouri State University distributed about 600 flash drives to entering students chock-full of campus program information, a University survival guide and learning style tips to help students get organized.

The drives – commonly known as flash drives or USB Drives – are miniature portable computer storage drives, about the size of a keychain that can be used to store data, photos, music and video.

“The Collaborative Advising Program discussed wanting to provide students with the information they will need and also have something to give away,” said Dr. David Starrett, dean of University Studies and director of the Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning (CSTL). “It just popped into my mind — USB drives would fit all the above.”

Starrett said the CSTL, along with the Collaborative Advising Program, is working toward connecting with students using modern technology. That’s why the Collaborative Advising Program distributed 150 flash drives. In addition, the University Studies Advising Center plans to give out another 150 to students later this fall, Starrett said.

The Collaborative Advising Program is designed to support students who have not declared or who are undecided on a major. The program makes the resources of the University’s Learning Enrichment Center, Career Linkages and University Studies Advising Center available to these students. The flash drives include links to information about each of these areas.

In addition to the Collaborative Advising Program, Student Support Services and the Office of Minority Student Programs also have followed suit in distributing flash drives to students participating in their programs.

“Using the USB drives is a catchy and neat looking way of getting key information to students,” said Gerald Spates, director of Student Support Services.

Student Support Services (SSS) is in the process of distributing 200 flash drives to students. SSS is a federally-funded program designed to assist low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities graduate from post-secondary institutions.

“If students will maintain the USB drives, then they will always have great resources ready for them,” Spates said.

Spates said the Office of Minority Student Programs, which piloted a smaller grant funded flash drive distribution last year, is in the process of giving out 250 flash drives to students in that program. He said Minority Student Programs is hoping that by giving away flash drives, students will become and remain organized on a larger scale than in previous years.

The Office of Minority Student Programs provides programs and services that provide a positive educational experience for minority students. Minority Student Programs also supports multicultural activities on campus and in the Cape Girardeau community.

“We found that 11 of the 15 students from last year’s program kept their program information on their flash drives and used it regularly in regards to their coursework,” said Interim Dean of Students Trent Ball.

Ball says the flash drives distributed to students in the Student Support Services program and Minority Student Programs are blank, but students will be asked during the course of the year to download specific information to them pertinent to these programs.

Officials with Student Support Services, the Office of Minority Student Programs and the Collaborative Advising Program all say the flash drives are an effort to provide entering students with great information and opportunities for success in the new academic year. They also want to instill in students the importance of learning how to stay ahead of the curve.

Ball says students in the Student Support Services program and Minority Student Programs will receive read-only CDs later in the year with PowerPoint presentations containing resource information.

In addition, he says 10 students in their sixth and final year of the Bootheel Partnership Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (BHP GEAR UP) based at Southeast Missouri State University will each be receiving new laptop computers over the course of the next week. The students are all college freshmen this year, and six of them are beginning freshmen at Southeast.

BHP GEAR UP is designed to accelerate the academic achievement of middle and secondary school students so increasing numbers will graduate from high school, enroll in and succeed in college.