Technology fosters connecting, learning

Emily Beckstrom
Timmy Dunkin, a political science major from Dothan who was a junior in the spring, added his professor as a friend on Facebook.
Two days later, he found himself having coffee and speaking politics in the professor’s office.
“We have a lot of the same views,” Dunkin said. “I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in college.”
The most popular social media networks at the university are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Most of Troy’s programs have social media pages and handles — part of an array of technology services provided by the university.
Students work with the marketing department to promote the university on social media.
“We use the hashtag #TROYUspirit on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to reach our target audience,” said Shonna Bairos, a marketing major from Niceville, Florida, who was a senior in the spring.
Carrie Smith, a graduate assistant for the Troy marketing department, said since starting the social media team in August 2014, the university has seen more social media engagements than ever before.
Troy has five computer labs on campus.
ComputerWorks, located in Eldridge Hall, is an environment for students to complete their homework and print pages free.
ComputerWorks is open to students who have their Trojan IDs on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The library, located in Wallace Hall, is another popular resource. The two-story library has over 30 Windows computers and printers for students.
The other three labs are smaller and offer exclusive resources to students but hold class during the day.
Two of these labs are in Wallace Hall and Malone Hall. The other lab is in Bibb Graves Hall.
Troy also provides free Wi-Fi to every student, accessed with a Troy email and password. However, Troy blocks peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa and eDonkey due to legal issues.
Troy University’s eTroy division goes beyond direct-contact learning with online classes on a network called Blackboard.
Blackboard is the official learning tool of the university. Many professors use it for assignments, tests and announcements in both on-campus and online courses.
The Trojan Café, a resource on Blackboard, offers tools such as tutorials, student forums, an online writing center and a career center.
“The ultimate goal of Trojan Café is to unify the student body and to celebrate and encourage student achievement,” said Amanda Smothers, assistant director of student engagement at eTroy.
Since the Trojan Café opened in August 2014, over 17,000 students have enrolled in it from the U.S. and in 65 countries, she said.
The Troy University app offers links directing students to email, Trojan Web Express and the school’s website, www.troy.edu.
Each student receives a Troy email address. Almost every professor and staff member uses this email address to inform each student about class, on-campus events and meetings.
Trojan Today is sent daily to every student email. The daily newsletter, which provides information regarding social and academic events, is an easy way to know what is going on at the university.
Trojan Web Express is an online resource available to all students. Web Express offers information and tools about academics, such as transcripts, registration and program evaluations.
Students can follow progress in meeting degree requirements using their program evaluations in Web Express. Web Express provides information regarding financial issues such as tuition costs and your payments.
The Troy app is compatible with iOS and Android systems and provides links to Blackboard, as well as important dates and on-campus events.
The app also provides contact information for the university’s departments.
Students often use organization apps such as Evernote and CloudOn for taking notes and saving documents.
Social media apps can be useful in professional and personal situations. For example, many professors require participation from students on sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Professional social media apps such as LinkedIn help students network with professionals and gain internships or jobs.
The Microsoft Office Suite is available free at computer labs on campus.
According to the university’s website, the Information Technology department helps students with network connections and anti-virus software. However, a student must contact outside sources for help with computer repairs.
The IT department’s website, it.troy.edu, provides free software downloads and other information regarding technical issues.
Students who are experiencing technical problems with their on-campus Internet connections or university websites should submit Help Desk requests by going to helpdesk.troy.edu.

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