Submitting ideas for student technology funding just got easier

More ideas, faster approval. That's the goal of recent changes in the funding process for student-focused technology projects.

The Computation Advisory Committee (CAC), the student and faculty group that oversees funding expenditures collected through the student technology fee, recently updated its traditional annual review of proposals to a crowdsourcing process using Iowa State's Techstarter site.

Beginning immediately, anyone on campus can use Techstarter to submit ideas for technology-based projects that benefit student learning.

First stop: Techstarter

Techstarter was introduced last year to help identify technology wants and needs on campus. It allows users to submit their ideas and lend support to other ideas by "liking" or supporting their projects.

CAC committee chair and associate professor of mechanical engineering Eliot Winer said Techstarter allows CAC to:

  • Encourage more ideas by initially requiring only a brief abstract
  • Advance and support ideas put forward by the campus community (monthly reviews are conducted throughout the academic year)
  • Select projects for further proposal development and potential CAC funding

The idea is to lower the barriers to entry, Winer said.

"We're trying to encourage more innovative educational technology ideas," he added. "We also wanted the ability to fund projects at any point throughout the year."

The new process

Anyone -- students, faculty and staff -- can enter ideas on Techstarter. Faculty, staff and students then have the option to:

  • Like an idea
  • Support it by helping to fund or pilot the idea, or
  • Follow the idea (receive email notifications when the idea receives comments or status changes)

CAC members will review Techstarter proposals each month as a committee. Selected ideas will be assigned a facilitator to help build formal proposals for committee review. Ideas the committee doesn't act on will remain on Techstarter for other campus groups or individuals to observe or pick up for themselves.

"If the proposer brings a good idea forward and pursues it aggressively," Winer said, "the idea could move from Techstarter to execution in a matter of a weeks."

To learn more details about CAC's new Techstarter proposal process, visit CAC's web site under the section "Proposal Process."