Aggies Ask

by: Andrew Torres, Regime Team #31

What is Aggies Ask?

My creative innovation, Aggies Ask, focuses on the Metrics of Strategy 4A. In Strategy 4A, it says that Texas A&M plans to, “Expand and support faculty…” I feel that the most important part of this strategy is the support of faculty. I believe that making it mandatory for every class to dedicate a webpage, which would become part of the new “ecampus” system, to the questions of students that arise during the lecture is the best way to both support the faculty and aid students. Professors do not always have time to allow the class to ask questions, and oftentimes when they do, very few students in the class benefit from them.

The Aggies Ask webpage could be accessed through either students’ personal laptops, or tablets that are secured to the tables in classrooms and provided by the university. Students would be able to “request” already posted questions so that professors would know which topics the class finds confusing, and which ones they understand. The webpage must be able to display math equations, graphs, and pictures of problems that require free body diagrams. Ideally, professors would use extra time at the end of class to answer as many questions as possible, and the other relevant and highly requested questions could be answered on the webpage as the professors and TAs have time. This support tool would greatly benefit both our faculty and students because professors would have more time to cover their course’s material and have immediate feedback about the topics, which they covered in their lectures. Additionally, students would have a medium through which all of their questions would be addressed, without detracting from the learning of fellow students.

Aggies Ask would be structured similarly to a discussion/question forum or our Texas A&M Emails, where each individual question is a separate thread, and the responses to those questions would be found in their respective conversation threads.

The Creation of Aggies Ask: A Conversation With its Creator, Andrew Torres

Q1: What needs did you find that helped drive your process of problem solving?

A1: The need for professors to cover all of their course’s material, and answer questions at their conveniences as well as the students’. I also saw a need for students to have their questions addressed so that they can master the material, excel in their classes, and fulfill their potential as Aggies.

Q2: What resources did you need to implement this extremely creative innovation?

A2: I needed skilled webpage designers and computer code writers, as well as guidelines set out by the University’s IT department so that the webpage cand be used without violating any of the rules and policies of Texas A&M. Lastly, I needed approval from the Board of Regents, President, and Provost to make this webpage mandatory for every class.

Q3: What precedents or prior products does Aggies Ask resemble and surpass?

A3: Aggies Ask has similar functions to discussion forums found on the internet, facebook groups that allow all members to post and reply to other members' posts, and email and text message conversations that create message threads and conversations instead of many separate messages. It surpasses all of these by identifying the useful functions of all three, combining them in a manner which is academically minded, and making it available to all faculty and students at Texas A&M.