Tag Archives: technology

SDSU Mobile iPhone App Updated

Rich Pickett is SDSU’s Chief Information Officer (CIO).

Today we released our updated Apple iPhone/iTouch application, SDSU Mobile .  This is an interim release to mitigate a issue we found with earlier releases of the Apple iOS, as well as improve usability.  If you are using iOS 4.0 (or later) on your iPhone/iToch you will be able to take advantage of some nice features, such as  locating an SDSU event and instantly adding it to your personal calendar.   If you integrate your iPhone calendar with other calendars, such as our SDSU Meeting Maker or Google, the event will display on that calendar as well.

The application can be utilized on the iPad, however certain limitations on the current iPad operating system don’t support some features such as full calendar support and  in-app video streaming.  To view the video streams in our app on your iPad first browse and locate the video,

(T) Video Channel  | (B) Selected=Go Aztecs

(T) Video Channel | (B) Selected Video

then select ‘Open in Safari’ after selecting the Forward button icon .

We are collaborating with colleagues across the campus to add additional features. We will keep you posted on new functions.

Remember, most of these features can also be accessed through virtually any mobile web browser at: m.SDSU.edu

Have fun and let us know your suggestions!

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Filed under Alumni, College Community, Prospective Students, Uncategorized

new design, same priorities

After over a year of planning, decision making, and creative designing, San Diego State launched a brand new homepage earlier this week. The finished product is functional, visually rich, and representative of all the things SDSU stands for as an institution. The SDSU homepage is often a prospective student’s first impression of their future life as an Aztec, so creating a page that captivates a viewer’s attention from the first click is exactly what needed to be done.

The new homepage positions student stories as the main focus. A screen-wide display of pictures and video links about student Veterans, personal journeys, and study abroad radiates the campus’ student-oriented philosophy. Scroll down a little farther and you’ll find a box highlighting upcoming campus events. San Diego State is a connected community that prides itself on an active and vibrant campus culture. Shared experiences like sports games and Aztec Nights foster a true sense of Aztec family.

The updated design also expresses SDSU’s enthusiasm for new media and technology. The previous text heavy page has been replaced with media rich content, including tons of videos for prospective and current students, pictures placed wherever possible, and prominent links to other online communities including SDSU YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and WordPress pages. San Diego State has always been a university that embraces new technology and strives to offer students the best resources available. The new sdsu.edu boasts a cutting edge design that is ahead of its time.

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Filed under New Media, Prospective Students, University News

removing the stress from registration

New Student Orientation is starting in a couple of days and one of the most important parts of the program is learning skills that you will use every semester at SDSU to choose classes and plan your schedule. This is arguably the most influential part of staying on track while at SDSU. Even though registering for classes can seem stressful, San Diego State has many tools to make your course choices a breeze.

In your orientation packet you will receive a copy of your Major Academic Plan, or MAP, which is a document that outlines all the classes you must take to graduate. Your MAP suggests the ideal sequence for all General Education, major prep, and upper division courses you will complete at San Diego State. Following this MAP will ensure you take all the classes you need in the correct order. Here are three tips to guide you in getting the most out of your MAP:

1. Be flexible – MAPs are the best resource to use when planning your semester schedule. However, often times planning a workable schedule isn’t as easy as signing up for the classes your MAP suggests. Time conflicts and limited section offerings make being flexible the only way to stay stress free when it comes to registration. General Education requirements are often fulfilled by a large number of classes, so be open to taking a course that may not be your first choice.

2. Complete prerequisites – Refer to the General Catalog to determine what classes require what prerequisites. Don’t get bogged down following the exact sequence your MAP outlines, but do be sure to take the required courses that allow you to move on to other classes. Certain classes can be shuffled around a semester or two to accommodate your schedule as long as you meet the proper prerequisites. Utilizing the SDSU General Catalog, along with a working version of your MAP, will provide accuracy and flexibility during class planning and registration.

3. Take advantage of help – Figuring out what to register for can become overwhelming, which is why New Student Orientation offers you personal advising about classes and a lesson on using the SDSU WebPortal. Feel free to ask your student Ambassador questions about major preparation courses, electives, and getting into your major. If you still have questions once you get here, the Academic Advising Center is always ready to help with General Education requirements, while your major adviser can help you stay on track within your program.

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Filed under Admissions, Prospective Students

orientation: your first run as an aztec

After one of the most competitive admission periods in San Diego State history, a new and diverse class of Aztecs is just a summer away from starting their first semester at SDSU. The first step in their new education starts at New Student Orientation.

New Student Orientation is the first event for new Aztecs. The day-long orientation blends technology with personal attention to provide students with one-on-one advising, chances to meet with faculty, and an information fair. While learning necessary skills such as WebPortal registration and class selection, students are exposed to a lot more than academic advising. Orientation days are scheduled by major so students also get to interact with faculty and staff within their discipline. This gives them a chance to connect with other new students who share similar interests. Many new students are already getting to know each other on an SDSU Class of 2014 Facebook group, coming together with a classic SDSU community spirit.

New friends, new organizations, and new opportunities pave the way for the most successful first years at State.  Orientation is a valuable opportunity to take initiative and get plugged in early to everything the campus and its culture has to offer. New connections made at orientation can last throughout your years at SDSU.

So new students, get excited for your first run as an Aztec! You’ll learn the ropes, meet new people, and make your transition to SDSU that much smoother. Register for orientation today and get talking on the Freshman and Transfer Orientation event pages on Facebook.

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Filed under Admissions, College Community, Events

new and improved catalog hits shelves

Catalog CoverThe new SDSU 2010-2011 catalog has just been released. It may not sound like the biggest news of the century, but this tool is possibly the most important part of planning student education at SDSU, and this year’s catalog was done a little differently.

New Design

The new catalog sports a fresh new design, complementing recent updates to other sites like the Prospective Student Web page and printed recruitment materials like ViewBooks and San Diego State posters. The new design was created with students in mind, pulling opinions from current students to create the most eye-catching material.

New Outlook

In creating this year’s catalog, SDSU also found out how much this reference is being used by students and staff. Feedback found that counselors and advisers utilize this tool on a more regular basis than the average student.

As of now, each new student receives a full copy of the SDSU catalog at New Student Orientation. But following SDSU’s other efforts to go green, the campus is considering an option to forgo passing out catalogs to every new student to avoid waste. The complete catalog is available online so printing books for every student is becoming unnecessary. This paperless access gives students and staff the flexibility to reference the catalog from anywhere and print only specific pages that are needed.

The 2010-2011 catalog is just one example of how SDSU embraces innovation and adaptation. The university is always looking for new ways to improve student education, protect the environment, and keep ahead of technology trends.

~ Desiree Roughton, Communications Student Assistant, Enrollment Services


Filed under Admissions, College Community, Prospective Students, Uncategorized, University News

Apple iPad – Impact on academia

Rich is SDSU’s Chief Information Office (CIO)

I couldn’t wait to try the Apple iPad, I wanted to see if all of the pre-release hype was really true, or whether the device would simply be an oversized iPhone. Well, it definitely looks like an oversized iPhone when you first see it. That isn’t a bad observation, since it shares many of the same features except for camera and phone capabilities. We wanted to evaluate the tablet for both general use as well as effectiveness for other uses on campus.

The vast majority of existing iPhone applications work on the iPad, albeit without taking advantage of the unique characteristics of the new device. For these applications, Apple allows you to magnify the original iPhone applications two-fold so they expand to fit the screen, however the lower resolution of the iPhone programs can’t take true advantage of the iPad. Maximum benefit is obtained by using apps that are developed for the specific capabilities of the iPad, such as the larger screen and new keyboard.

I’ve never been a good note taker, and over the years have attempted to use various computing devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets) to find an effective method recording of various meetings. Laptops can be intrusive and heavy, tablets never did a good job of interpreting my handwriting, and smartphones are not that smart!

Notepad on the iPad

The iPad includes a rudimentary notepad application that is useful for recording essential tidbits of meeting information, and with their predictive text completion is actual very effective. As you type the iPad suggests words based upon an integral dictionary which is useful, especially when using the on screen keyboard which is effective but cramped. With a little practice you can even achieve a modified ‘touch typing’ technique!

For more advanced writing, and spreadsheets and presentations, the Apple iWork apps are the answer. Slightly scaled down from the versions available on the Macs, they are incredibly effective, offering Pages (word processing) Numbers (spreadsheets) and Keynote (presentations). Using Keynote I’m able to edit exiting presentations, which I’ve loaded through email or other methods, or create new presentations utilizing any one of a number of installed templates. If you want to share your presentations with others, you can easily connect the iPad to a projector (or any VGA-capable display) through an optional dongle that provides 1024×768 video output. Very cool for a device that weighs less than 1.5 lbs with several hours of battery life.

Keynote on the iPad

Keynote presentation software on the iPad

There are a growing list of education applications, ranging from chemistry to astrophysics. While some applications are free, the majority of more complex educational applications range in price from $0.99 to $9.99. With the addition of Apple’s iBooks offerings, and a growing list of titles, combining the applications with educational materials could provide a very useful tool especially as the content publishers go beyond simple electronic presentations of text to include rich media.

Other Applications and Uses

With thousands of applications available, it is difficult to test all of them! I’m actually writing this blog using the WordPress app siting in a coffee shop before flying back to San Diego. Using the integral 802.11 wireless (the next version will also support cellular wireless), I’m able to view virtually all of my online work on various sites, unless it contains Adobe Flash which Apple stubbornly refuses to support on the iPhone or the iPad.

Editing our SDSU Blog on the iPad

The video capabilities are very useful. In addition to the ability to download videos through Apple’s iTunes you have the same YouTube access as the iPhone, with the benefit of a substantially larger screen. With the advent of the new SDSU channel on UTube it provides a great portable platform to view our video content. It is a great platform for viewing some of the Aztec for Life videos!

YouTube on the iPad

Viewing Aztec for Life YouTube video

What it doesn’t do well

It isn’t a full featured computer, nor should it be, since technology is always a compromise. For extensive document editing, large scale numerical analysis, or file manipulations its larger brethren are better choices whether your choice is Windows or Mac OS. The storage of documents, photos, etc. is simple, perhaps even too simple. Transferring files (other than photos) between your iPad and laptop is limited, unless you either e-mail them, use iWork.com (Apple’s new sharing site), MobileMe, or a third party application such as Sugar Sync, File Magnet etc. As I started to extend my writings and presentations I found this limitation to be awkward. As mentioned above, Apple not only does not support Adobe Flash, a common format used across the Web, but also legally prevents any applications from being sold in their App Store that does not use their development environment. As competitive hardware comes to the market, perhaps these limitations will be removed.

However, after carrying my luggable laptop with it’s requisite power supply to enable many hours of use, the iPad is extremely effective at what it does. A great example of the flexibility of the device occurred as I was writing this blog. I wanted to edit screenshots which just isn’t possible with the integral photos app. I knew there had to be a way,so I searched the Apple Store and found a free app Rotate Mojo that did the trick.

If you are interested in seeing the device in action stop by our Enterprise Technology Services (ETS) Help Desk in the Love Library and our staff can show it to you. Our own SDSU Bookstore is also selling the iPads, along with other computer hardware and software.


Filed under New Media, University News

So much technology, is there enough time?

I like toys.

Let me clarify, I like tech toys. Gadgets. Gizmos. Shiny blinky things. I can sit for hours playing with electronics. My kids hate me come birthdays or holiday time.

I just got a new Motorola Droid, and I’ll be honest, I love it. I mean, I love it, really. It’s changed my life. I barely use my home PC anymore. I am constantly amazed by the thousands of applications I can quickly download that serve no purpose other than to let me say to people “check this out!” In the middle of a sporting event, if a debate arises about a trivial statistic, I can search Google for the answer, simply by speaking the question into my phone. Now that’s cool!

The Motorola Droid

But professionally, my job is to be connected. And by connected I don’t mean reachable by phone or email at any time. I need to constantly be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and now FourSquare – which I’ll get to in a minute. The Droid let’s me do all of that with the tap of my finger. I can snap photos while walking across campus, and in the span of a minute, I can Tweet those photos, upload them to Facebook, and place them in our Picasa Photo Gallery.

Now, I’m not selling anyone on the Droid in particular, iPhones are just as powerful and have plenty of the same benefits. And there are other smartphones that do the same things. These “toys” are not necessarily for everyone. But for people who communicate for a living – PR and Marketing folk – these types of tools are not just fun, they are imperative. They open possibilities we never dreamed of 10, 5 or even 2 years ago.

I can communicate instantaneously via streaming video, photos, social media, email, text, etc. That’s important because the people I am talking to – students, faculty, staff, media, prospective students, community members, etc. – all get their information in different formats and from different sources.

It’s a lot to take in. But if I neglect any one of those formats, I am missing an opportunity to connect with someone. So technology allows me to not miss a beat. And that voice search feature? I can find answers to questions that come up in meetings in a matter of seconds, research competition over coffee or find a recent news story while walking downstairs.

But today’s technology doesn’t just create new toys, it creates new on line applications. And part of what we have to do is determine which ones are worth our time. The newest “hot thing” out there is FourSquare. I’ve been toying with it in my personal life trying to figure out what all the hype is about. I’ve been pretty skeptical of it. But more and more people are on it. So while I’m not seeing much use for me personally, with the guidance of some FourSquare evangelists, I’m starting to see the value for companies, such as retailers or restaurants.

Imagine thousands of people telling their friends via a “check in” that they are at your establishment. That’s pretty powerful. Now imagine incentivizing people to visit your establishment and then them telling their friends that they just did so. Even more powerful.

Not sure yet how we will use FourSquare here at SDSU, but I am certainly starting to see some possibilities. And they may emerge during SDSU Month. And that’s really what I’ve come to realize about all of these emerging technologies. Rather than asking “why,” they allow you to ask “why not?”


Filed under Events, New Media, University News