Started at ISU in early 2009, the Community of Educational Technology Support (ComETS) is a collection of faculty and staff who are passionate about good and appropriate technology use in support of learning.
Loosely governed by a steering committee of faculty and learning technology support staff, ComETS is not a product of any one college or department. It is a grassroots effort attempting to bring together dialog on knotty issues, emerging best practices around new technologies, and support for common learning technology challenges facing ISU. ComETS attempts to bring together faculty users and instructional technology support at ISU that is typically widely-scattered on many other college campuses. Any ISU faculty, staff, or graduate students interested in dialog on learning technology are welcome to participate.
Perhaps most importantly, ComETS helps guide decisions being made by institutional IT at ISU. For instance, ComETS membership was pivotal in making a decision to support a university RFP for the recently-acquired Panopto classroom capture software. ComETS is ramping up to provide key input to future strategic initiatives for learning technology, including input to ISU's course management system direction.
Today, ComETS participants at ISU number over 200, and engage with one another in a variety of ways.
- An annual symposium occurs during the spring semester, with a keynote by a national leader in educational technology. Additionally, ISU faculty and staff get together and share technology projects and teaching tips in a series of rapid-fire 10 minute mini-presentations. These mini-presentations are designed to give a brief overview of a topic, while encouraging ISU community members to connect with one another if they have deeper interest or want to work together. And finally, interest groups get together to discuss common issues on a variety of topics. Video from the 2010 ComETS symposium and the 10 minute "lightning strike" presentations can be found at http://www.comets.iastate.edu/symposium/2010/videos/.
- Special topic forums are held throughout the year, with recent topics including "Is technology a distraction in the classroom" as well as a demonstration of Google Wave.
- Interest groups exist on several topics including mobile learning and online media. The groups meet at the annual symposium, but also connect with one another electronically.
- Last but not least the ComETS listserv is an important place to stay connected with campus colleagues. The list is not too onerous, experiencing just a few emails per week from people wanting to inform others about technology events or initiatives. The list has also been a place where hot topics are debated. Those interested in joining 200+ ISU faculty/staff peers on the ComETS listserv should go to https://mailman.iastate.edu/mailman/listinfo/comets.
Those interested in learning more about ComETS can do so at http://comets.iastate.edu.
September 20, 2010