Georgia Southern STEMstars Program Highlighted at University TechExpo
November 15, 2010
Georgia Southern University’s STEMstars was recently highlighted by the Center for Academic Technology Support TechEXPO for their outstanding use of technology in data gathering and constituent communication.
STEMstars is a graduate program funded by a National Science Foundation GK-12 grant; the program provides graduate student professional development opportunities and educational outreach to area high schools. Each year 14 graduate students and 7 geographically separated high school teachers are actively engaged in the program, making communication and data sharing a challenge. Timely data access is important for the program director, collaborative Biology and Education faculty, and the outside evaluator; all of whom need to provide time-sensitive feedback and suggestions to foster graduate student success.
Utilizing Microsoft SharePoint software, the program has designed a site that allows all program participants, including an external evaluator, the ability to contribute, edit, and review program documents, all in one secure online location. Before SharePoint, the program utilized email to collect data in Microsoft Word documents or snailmail to collect hardcopy documents. Classroom projects were often too large to be emailed and there was no central location for program documents. In addition, a second layer of effort was required to electronically collate all of this information.
“The SharePoint site has streamlined our data collection process. SharePoint workflow has allowed us to design online forms that collect data from our offsite partners and then create data logs that can be exported to Excel. I have been able to set up email alerts that notify program partners of tasks to be completed and can monitor participant progress on those tasks. It also gives me peace of mind because I am working in a secure environment, hosted on server that serves as a system backup,” said Janee Cardell, STEMstars Program Coordinator.
The SharePoint site allows the program participants to upload projects to a library with unlimited capacity, as well as photographs to a site library. This feature alone makes this site a very powerful tool and promotes project sharing and cuts out duplication among the participants, thus lowering costs.
“You can’t believe how much easier it is working with the SharePoint site when you compared it to last year’s forms. All I have to do is log in, click on a form, type in the fields and click submit. What could be easier? I also get an email telling me my log was successfully submitted. I archive those emails as a checks and balance system. My partner graduate fellow generates a joint log for us each week, I get an email, click on the link and our form opens up. I edit the form, click on submit, and I am finished. It’s that easy,” explained Yvonne Arnsdorff, STEMstars partner teacher.
SharePoint technology has allowed the MBI program to build a communication network that links 4 counties, 5 high schools, 7 partner teachers, 14 graduate fellows, 1 program coordinator, 3 collaborating program faculty members, 1 external auditor, and the program director in a fast, easy and secure online environment. SharePoint has moved the MBI program a long way into the 21st century.
Last updated: 8/18/2014