Advancing Student Learning and Superior Scholarship

Advancing Student Learning


In 2014, there were so many great projects that Information Technology launched to help improve the student experience at Pepperdine. The two major projects that were launched in 2014 were the major network upgrades to student learning areas and the Application Development Internship Program.

Student Internship Program for the Application Development Department

Read about how a simple article in the student managed paper —The Pepperdine Graphic— inspired the start to the Application Development Internship program. Read more.

Major Network Service Upgrades to Student Learning Areas

Read about the great work Network Services did to improve student learning through improving the Internet connectivity at the Malibu campus and the international Lausanne campus. Read more.


Technology and Learning hosts another successful faculty conference

On Wednesday, Oct. 15, the Technology and Learning group hosted the Third Annual Technology and Learning Faculty Conference. Pepperdine faculty representing all the schools attended the conference at the Drescher graduate campus. This year's half-day conference focused on "Taking the Next Step," encouraging faculty to learn from their peers to further enable their classes with engaging technology tools. Newly-appointed Provost Dr. Rick Marrs delivered the opening keynote address and newly-appointed Dean of GSEP Helen Easterling Williams delivered the closing keynote address.

Provost Rick Marrs

Provost Rick Marrs
Newly-appointed provost Dr. Rick Marrs delivered the keynote address for the conference.

Dean Easterling Williams

Dean Helen Easterling Williams
Newly-appointed dean of the Graduate School of Education and Psychology delievered the closing thoughts of the conference.

Other speakers included Pepperdine faculty speakers included Dr. Jim DiLellio, Graziadio School; Dr. Stan Warford, Seaver College; Dr. Jennifer Smith, Seaver College; Dr. Linda Polin, GSEP; Dr. Paul Sparks, GSEP; Victoria Stay, Vice Provost for Research and Strategic Initiatives; Dr. Reyna Garcia Ramos, GSEP; Dr. Jeff Schieberl, Graziadio School; Dr. Linda Purrington, GSEP; Dr. Kevin Miller, Pepperdine Libraries; Paul Stenis, Pepperdine Libraries; Marc Vinyard, Pepperdine Libraries; and Jaimie Beth Colvin, Pepperdine Libraries.

Visit the following link to learn more about the 2014 TechLearn Conference:


MyLibrary tool connects students with library resources

In Courses, powered by Sakai, there is a little tool in class sites called "MyLibrary" that connects students with the specific librarian and helpful research resources relevant to their area of study. MyLibrary was a collaborative effort between Information Technology (IT) and Pepperdine Libraries and has evolved over the years.

It began in 2007 when the library approached IT about students not knowing where to go or who to speak with regarding research for class papers and projects. IT's Mark Giglione and Alan Regan assisted in creating this tool. The tool finds a specific match for that class site, section, and semester (e.g. ENG 101.01 F16), then it displays custom information for that class including a picture and contact information for the librarian related to their subject matter.

"We're very grateful for our collaboration with Pepperdine Libraries and hope that students and professors alike benefit from library resources readily available from their class sites," commented Alan.

MyLibrary shared with Yale

Through a familiar Pepperdine connection, Alan and Mark were able to share their "MyLibrary" tool with Yale University. Dr. Michael Dula, Pepperdine's Library's previous Director for Digital Initiatives & Technology Strategy, invited Alan and Mark to showcase the tool to his colleagues at Yale. Like Pepperdine, Yale uses Sakai as a teaching and learning platform, and they were also looking for ways to better link their students directly to library resources. Pepperdine demonstrated the tool, explained its inner workings, and shared sample code as a model for Yale's consideration and inspiration.

"Being a member of the Sakai community has allowed Pepperdine to contribute to the advancement of teaching and learning," commented Alan. "It feels good to know what we do here at Pepperdine can go to help other universities across the nation."


Courses (powered by sakai) was upgraded to version 10

Sakai upgradeOn August 12, 2014, Courses (powered by Sakai) was upgraded to the latest version, Sakai 10. The new version offers many fixes, enhancements, and several brand new features. Here are of some of the improvements in the latest version of Pepperdine's learning management system.

Group Submission in Assignments

Some professors want students to work in teams on a major project or paper. In the past, each student had to upload the final document to receive a grade. Now, if professors enable "submissions for a group," then any member of the team can upload the submission document for all members of the team. Professors can also easily assign one grade for all members of the team or override to set individual grades for each group member. This was a common request by faculty members — and now group submission is here! Scroll to "Access" on the help page for faculty.

Peer Review in Assignments

Instructors can empower students to assess the work of their peers, providing feedback and even grading the work. When creating a new assignment, instructors can enable "peer assessment" and choose how many papers each student must review, whether reviews are anonymous, and whether the feedback will be displayed to the graded student. Professors can either accept the average of the peer review scores or may override this value and enter a separate grade.

Drag-and-Drop File Upload to Resources

Tired of uploading documents one at a time? The new drag-and-drop feature allows site managers to quickly upload multiple files to Sakai. Simply drag files from your computer into the web page and let Sakai upload them en masse! Learn more. Brand New Built-In Help Documentation The built-in documentation has been re-written from the ground up. Clicking the blue help icon will take the viewer to the new help pages with detailed step-by-step guidelines with accompanying graphics. There are also separate "instructor" and "student" pages for each tool. Explore the new built-in help.

Another Successful summer Faculty Professional Development session completed

The Technology and Learning team andfaculty mentor Dr. Stella Erbes from Seaver College completed another successful summer Faculty Professional Development Program where 16 faculty and staff members came together to learn ways to enhance their teachings with technology.

Faculty participant Dr. Chris Heard from Seaver College said, "I learned more than I expected to learn! It was like summer camp for pedagogy and technology."


Pedagogical topics ranged from how the brain works to teaching methods that engage students, such as how game-like learning can motivate learners, and how better usage of graphics in a PowerPoint can make presentations more memorable. In addition, various teaching technologies such as web conferencing, advanced tools in Courses (powered by Sakai), social media such as Twitter, Google Apps, and Polling Everywhere were demonstrated to engage students and measure learning.

Faculty Participants:

Dennis Lowe - Graduate School Education and Psychology
Timothy Dong - Seaver College
Chris Heard - Seaver College
Chris Stivers - Seaver College
Jennifer Smith - Seaver College
Lynn Newman - Graziadio School of Business and Management
Barry Fike - Seaver College
Ann Ching - Caruso School of Law

To learn more about Technology and Learning's other teaching initiatives, please visit: