CSUN’s Annual Tech Fair Introduces Latest Trends to Faculty and Staff

  • About 130 faculty and staff Tech Fair attendees seated

    The third annual CSUN Technology Fair welcomed about 150 faculty and staff members on May 29. Attendees talked with technology vendors and engaged with speakers.

  • Clifford Nass, one of the event’s speakers

    The event included two keynote speakers who discussed various aspects of technology usage. Clifford Nass, a Stanford communication and computer science professor, lectured on “Media Multitasking: How it’s Changing You and Your Students.”

  • Laurie Burruss, one of the event’s speakers.

    Laurie Burruss, a representative from lynda.com and one of the event speakers, discussed “Learning Outside the Classroom.”

  • A Dell representative speaking with IT staff members

    Dell was one of six companies that participated in the vendor showcase. Jim Borel (left), a representative from Dell, speaks with Don Foster and Carl Grant, IT staff members.

  • Two representatives for Box explaining their product to faculty and staff participants

    Ryan Howard (left) and Brandie Coin, two representatives from Box, explain some of the products their company offers to faculty and staff Tech Fair participants.

  • A representative for Echo360 talking to faculty and staff members

    David Rojo, a representative from Echo360, discusses his products.

  • A college dean poses with three OnBase representatives

    S.K. Ramesh (left), dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, stops by the OnBase vendor table to talk with representatives about their technology.

For many, multitasking—checking emails, text messaging and Facebooking simultaneously—is a highly-valued practice. However, research conducted by Stanford University professor Clifford Nass, Ph.D., and his colleagues finds that consistently juggling multiple, unrelated tasks greatly reduces the ability to focus on critical tasks such as reading and writing.

“High media multitasking is bad,” said Nass, during his lecture at California State University, Northridge’s third annual Technology Fair.

Nass discussed “Media Multitasking: How it’s Changing You and Your Students” at the May 29 event hosted by the Division of Information Technology in the University Student Union’s Grand Salon. His lecture elaborated on laboratory and field experimental studies conducted by Stanford researchers that started in 2009 and continues today. The research found that people who regularly engaged with multiple forms of unrelated electronic information have difficulty maintaining focus, memorizing relevant content or switching from one job to another as well as those who complete one or related tasks at a time. He suggested that students and staff can enhance their performance if they limit high levels of multitasking.

Nass was one of two speakers who addressed about 150 faculty and staff at this year’s fair. The fair offered faculty and staff an opportunity to learn about the latest tech trends used in higher education. In addition to the speakers, several companies participated in a technology vendor showcase.

Laurie Burruss from lynda.com discussed “Learning Outside the Classroom” in an afternoon session. Lynda.com, is a provider of online video tutorials in various subjects, currently available to CSUN faculty and staff.

As a full-time faculty member at Pasadena City College, Burruss said lynda.com allows all members of the campus community to pick tools relevant to their jobs. Her lecture focused on how employees can continue to learn from online tools.

“The annual technology fair is a reflection of what technology really means to all of us,” said Hilary Baker, vice president for information technology and chief information officer. She noted that every college and office was represented at the event, showing how widely technology is used across campus.

Taehyun Kim, an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism, said the tech fair was great.

“It makes us think about ongoing issues with technology and ways we can overcome them and use it to our advantage,” Kim said.

Other vendors at the event included Box, OnBase, Echo360, Apple, HP and Dell. These companies are already providing services to CSUN or will be providing services in the near future.