Student technology fees fund loaner laptops, Reiman Gardens chronicle, more

Loaner laptops, an operating room camera that allows veterinary medicine students to watch and learn and a digital chronicle of every plant at Reiman Gardens  -- these are among the technological improvements that will be funded with more than $336,000 in student technology fees next fiscal year.

Every year, the Computation Advisory Committee (CAC), a group made up of faculty, staff and students across the university, decides how to spend a portion of the funds collected through the student technology fee. The committee looks for projects that encourage innovative use of technology to enhance student experiences. CAC recently awarded $336,493 from FY14 funds to 10 projects.

The CAC funds will help fund or fully fund projects to:

  • Replace 30 new laptops for a student laptop loan program, sponsored by Information Technology Services (ITS) and Government of the Student Body. Approximately 100 laptops are available for free checkout through ITS, 1200 Communications Building. Allocation: $65,671.

  • Beef up the GIS Design Computing Lab (526 College of Design) so that it can be open to any students doing homework, projects or research involving geographic information systems. This will alleviate some of the load on the increasingly busy GIS teaching computer lab in 248 Durham Center. Funds will be used for computers and software. Allocation: $16,350.

  • Replace 50 outdated user stations in a student-athlete computer lab in the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center. The old stations will be replaced with low-cost, low-maintenance stations. The computer lab is available to more than 450 student-athletes. Allocation: $23,512.

  • Upgrade multimedia technology in two rooms in the Hixson-Lied Student Success Center. The classrooms, which accommodate 60 students each, are used by multiple university departments.  The upgrade includes new projection systems. Allocation: $14,983.

  • Purchase an operating room camera that integrates into the surgical light system in the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center. The camera will enhance student learning in veterinary surgery, allowing HD video streaming, recording and on-demand playback of surgical procedures. Allocation: $29,694.

  • Provide 15 high-quality, portable sound recorders for student checkout. These devices will give students access to professional, easy-to-use sound recording for use in their research and studio projects. The equipment will be housed in the College of Design, but can be checked out by any Iowa State student. Allocation: $7,651.

  • Fund equipment, software and student help to document and map all the plants at Reiman Gardens. Once the database has been completed, a public web interface will provide online access to information and maps of Reiman Gardens collections, which include more than 10,000 plant species and cultivars. Academic programs in five colleges currently use Reiman Gardens for classes, labs and research programs. The new system should be available for academic use by fall semester 2014. Allocation: $60,520.

  • Replace obsolete MacBooks in the Apple Mobile Learning Lab, which is used for upper-level classes in ecology and evolutionary biology.  The mobile lab provides a flexible on-demand solution for classes with computational requirements, but no permanent computer lab.  Allocation: $30,873.

  • Help fund a year's salary for a medical illustrator working on an ongoing project to create realistic surgical simulations that eventually may allow doctors and students to practice surgical procedures in the virtual world before working on real patients. The illustrator, using CT and MRI images and cross sectional images of frozen specimens, will create extremely accurate 3D renderings of the entire anatomy of an animal. Researchers in the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Engineering are involved in the project. Allocation: $67,239.

  • Purchase 25 iPads in the College of Design. This project will provide graphic design students and other students access to iPads for designing and presenting their designs. Allocation: $20,000.