Student Systems & Student Success

A win-win partnership: Enhancing the learning environment through a cooperative Moodle cloud solution

Brian Mackay, Thompson Rivers University Dean Crawford, BCNET Presentation

With over 15,000 distance learning students, Thompson Rivers University (TRU) is a comprehensive, learner-centred institution that serves its students through high-quality and flexible education. As a collaborative partner and user of an innovative, private, cloud-based Moodle service for higher education, TRU is bolstering the learning ecosystem for its students. Today the cooperative BCNET shared service is enhancing the learning environment for 39,356 student and faculty users at eight institutions.

In this presentation, we will talk about the win-win benefits of a Moodle partnership that greatly simplifies administration and minimizes the costs and efforts for participating institutions. We will cover TRU’s contribution to support Moodle, the value of the collaborative community and the ease of integration with other learning tools and student information systems. We will also cover some of the challenges related to supporting the needs of various institutions in delivering learning services in a private cloud. Finally, we will share how the reliable, BCNET EduCloud infrastructure and functionality is providing a robust and flexible ecosystem to deliver cost-effective, personalized learning environments across institutions.

Co-Curricular Record Implementation - A Decentralized Approach

Graham Walker, University of Saskatchewan
30 minute mini-presentation

In rolling out a CCR, or Co-curricular Record system, we employed a decentralized model.  Individual units were empowered to approve their own activities in the CCR, and a central authority is not involved in the day to day operations.  The central authority only provides advice and guidance in more theoretical ways.

Empowering units individually has had its advantages and disadvantages.

In preparing to launch the CCR, other Universities were consulted regarding best practices, what to do and what not to do.  Establishing a position of CCR manager (whose primary role was policing the CCR) was suggested, but balancing an environment of financial constraint with the strong desire from our students for a CCR, forced us to compromise and share the duties among a few individuals across the campus.  Sharing the work has actually worked quite well for us.

The student union for the College of Education and the central USSU turned out to be amazing champions of the CCR.  Once engaged, their excitement was instrumental in building and solidifying campus-wide commitment.

This short presentation will chronicle the roll-out of the cloud hosted service, and the lessons learned along the way, both technical and organizational.

For Students, With Students: A User-Centred Approach to Creating the Next Generation of Student Services at U of T

Mike Clark, University of Toronto

The University of Toronto was faced with a challenge: a key piece of technology was nearing obsolescence, both in terms of its technical maintainability and its ability to meet the expectations of the students using it. These issues became the motivation for creating ACORN, a new online student service integrating academic, financial and student life content and functionality that sought to be an exemplar of the next generation of services provided by the University of Toronto for its students, staff and faculty. The purpose of this presentation is to share the principles and methodologies that guided ACORN’s formative research, design, testing and change management as the ACORN team worked to improve the overall student experience at U of T via this new online service. This presentation will give an overview of the research (that identified existing points of student confusion and frustration, as well as unmet mobile and accessibility needs), the iterative design process, as well as illustrate the necessity of a broad range of usability and functional testing. Finally, this presentation will stress the importance of an effective change management strategy to ensure the successful adoption of this major enterprise initiative. Attendees will take away an understanding of how a user-centred methodology may be employed to improve the user experience of products and services in their own communities, and gain insights into how adopting a user-centred perspective focuses attention on essential value and efficient projects.

GEER - Global Edtech Evaluation Repository

Johan Bergström, Umea University
Chris Willis, North Carolina State University
30 minute mini-presentation

Every institution worldwide is conducting some kind of evaluation of edtech. The questions posed are often: did anyone evaluated this tool, has anyone evaluated this kind of tool or how was this evaluated? Often you would turn to your friends or even the mailing list of choice. But what if there was a service where you could find the answers to these questions, find the instruments you need and connect to peers throughout the world. Enter GEER – Global Edtech Evaluation Repository.

The Geer project was initiated in 2016 by Johan Bergström of Umeå University and Anastacia Morrone of Indiana University. The project wishes to collect good practices and experiences from all over the world when it comes to educational technology evaluations.

The goal of GEER is to aggregate and make use of all the good evaluation initiatives and practices from HE institutions around the world. Evaluation processes, results, instruments etc. can be shared between institutions within the GEER community. The success of GEER directly linked to strength, reach and size of the network of institutions. This talk is a call for participation directed to the Canadian higher education community.

Improving the student experience by deploying software across campus on-demand

Frank Rosa, George Brown College

Creating an awesome student experience is a constant moving target for IT departments in colleges and universities around the world. But one area that continues to lack a “silver bullet” solution is application delivery: how do I deliver hundreds of software apps to tens of thousands of students across campus, on any device and at any time?

Tied to computer labs or delivered via expensive backend-laden pixel streaming or virtual desktop solutions, academic software often presents IT departments with numerous challenges: image size, packaging time, problems with drivers and dependencies, software licensing, the list goes on!

With the BYOD trend here to stay, the 21st century student expects to be able to get the software they need for their coursework whenever they need it. But often the reality is that they need to go to a certain lab at a set time; not a great student experience!

In this presentation, attendees will learn how George Brown College (one of Toronto’s largest educational institutions) are at the forefront of using EdTech to transform the student experience. By presenting applications in a familiar app store format on any device, leveraging next-generation application virtualization, and integrating with delivery technologies from multiple vendors, students at George Brown College now have a large library of software available to access anywhere across their three campuses.

Presented by Frank Rosa, Director of Information Technology Services at George Brown College, this presentation will cover:

– Why did the college need to do anything?
– What are the challenges with application delivery using traditional methods?
– How to deploy 100% of Windows apps on demand
– Enabling student BYOD
– Why application virtualization is a better fit than VDI
– How to improve internal efficiency around deploying apps

Leading a Transformational Change

Trevor Woods, Monash University

Higher Education is facing major challenges in a rapidly changing world. To thrive, one of the areas we need to focus on is the delivery of more efficient and modern student services that mirror experiences provided by other industries, freeing up students’ time for more meaningful experiences.

This case study explores Student First, a significant, University-wide transformational change initiative. What started as the need to replace the Student Information System has become a multi-faceted program of work focused on addressing the real problem: outdated and inefficient administrative processes, practices and experiences. We started small, learning to crawl before we walk, before we run. Momentum and internal capabilities, such as Scaled Agile, are created as more people become involved and more cross-functional teams work together to deliver the right outcomes for Monash. This is increasingly enabling us to deliver complex reforms in shorter timeframes, delivering benefits more quickly, often in days or weeks, vs. years or never. This approach provides true business collaboration via frequent feedback and review cycles, creating shared understanding and commitment and avoiding misaligned expectations, ill-fitting solutions and disappointment. Importantly, it also builds change maturity with business leaders and empowers them to set direction and own the change.

This has proved so successful that non-IT business units are now asking IT to train them on the approach!

The session will highlight both the opportunities and pitfalls of undertaking such a large transformational change project, and the investment and commitment required. It will suggest approaches to shaping a sustainable organisational change.

Learning Management Systems: More Management or More Learning?

Dr. Janni Aragon, University of Victoria
Birds of a Feather

Learning Management Systems (LMS) are ubiquitous on college and university campuses. Yet, typically working with the LMS vendors the discussion about the functionality of the LMS is not presented as an extension of teaching and learning, but rather heavily engages the language of business and so-called “enterprise” applications (Kalman 2016). The vendors themselves provide white papers about the efficacy of their product, and tend to use campus ambassadors as part of their sales pitch. At times the lack of familiarity with pedagogy or the scholarship of teaching and learning is troubling. However, this presentation will discuss ways to bridge the gaps.

Student Success through system integration and joint ventures

Brendon Irwin, Wilfrid Laurier University
Gordon Bertrand, Wilfrid Laurier University 
Gohar Ashoughian, Wilfrid Laurier University 
Michael Zybala, Wilfrid Laurier University 

At Wilfrid Laurier University, hardcopy course packs are being phased out due to a number of factors:

  • the library provides online access to approximately 80% of items included in the course-packs;
  • the high cost of printed course packs for students;
  • a significant and ongoing reduction in faculty demand for printed course packs;
  • a desire to position the university for the adoption of open educational resources (OERs) including the infrastructure to offer students flexible printing options.

However, eliminating course packs means that students who desire a physical copy of course documents (ie readings, diagrams, etc) will need to manually compile and print the documents themselves or only view them online. The process of collecting and printing course documents takes considerable time and effort, which could negatively affect the student experience. Therefore, as part of a joint collaborative project across ICT, the Library and Printing Services, the library’s e-reserves system (ARES) was integrated with the campus print solution (Web Print) to allow a student to easily (at a click of a button) compile and print their own compilations, while maintaining security, copyright compliance and reducing excess overhead costs.

Our “Ares – Web Print” print-on-demand project focused on partnering institution-wide to develop and implement infrastructure, systems, IT strategies and technologies supporting student success, data management and evolution of teaching and learning technologies.

Come hear how this collaborative effort united three separate departments and an external vendor in the creation of a simplified / workflow process which greatly benefits the student body and cuts costs for the Institution. We took the complex, and made it look simple.

Teaching and Learning with Google Apps for Education

Corey Scholefield, University of Victoria
Dr. Janni Aragon, University of Victoria 
Panel Discussion

Google Apps for Ed is a series of educational tools in the Google application suite that can be offered by educational institutions to their students, faculty, and staff. While GAFE does provide a rich environment to advance teaching and learning, supporting it comes with considerations for user privacy, identity management, technology integration, and faculty training. Our panelists will speak to the support for GAFE from multiple perspectives, and engage the audience to offer their own experiences with GAFE.

UBC Emerging Media Lab, Eveolving Learning with Leading Edge Technology

Saeed Dyanatkar, University of British Columbia
Dr. Claudia Krebs, University of British Columbia

The Emerging Media Lab at UBC is an experimental space where faculty, students, and staff from all disciplines collaborate with industry and community. Its mission is to help evolve learning by creating tools and techniques using emerging media including but not limited to Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality.

At this presentation will provide an inside look at the process of creating EML as an experimental and R&D space under IT. We will look at the present status of EML and its collaborative structure among faculty, staff, students and industry partners. As well we will explains the vision future of EML.

We also present and discuss some of the examples of EML projects in Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality including:

  • Holographic Brain Project – Mixed Reality with Microsoft HoloLens
  • Geography Virtual Reality Filed Trip
  • Ancient City – A VR recreation of an ancient city in Cypress (Archeology)
  • Using VR in Teaching Physics & Math
  • 360 Video orientation of UBC Campus for prospective students

You've Got Mail! - Creative IT solutions to Maximize Student Acceptance

Kathryn Hertzberger, Wilfrid Laurier University

Post-secondary Admissions departments are continually being asked to increase enrolment targets under a cloud of ever-shrinking budgets, while still maintaining the student experience. Long gone are the days of mailing unlimited copies of academic calendars printed on glossy paper. Add in a diminishing applicant pool, smaller staff complements and environmental concerns, and that’s a recipe for potential disaster.

Enter IT – with a concentrated and balanced approach, we have helped leverage the good work that the Admissions department already was doing in terms of communications, with a faster, electronically controlled method of connecting with an applicant that makes them feel more engaged with the institution.

And, it seems to be working. Laurier has seen significant increases in student applications over the past few years – 3.8 per cent in full time Ontario high school students from January 2017 to January 2018 alone. Non high-school applicant numbers have increased 15.5 per cent in the same time period.

Come along with us as we show you how we accomplished this incredible feat!

#lookatusgrow #yeahiwentthere #hashtagsarentjustforkids #illstopnow

CANHEIT-TECC 2018 : June 18-21