Duke ITAC - November 21, 2013 Minutes

ITAC Meeting Minutes
Thursday November, 2013

I. Announcements

Next meeting will be the Annual Reception also held in the RENCI Conference Room.

Mark Phillips the current IT Auditor is leaving Duke. Mark DeLong has accepted the position of Director of Research Computing.

II. Agenda Items

4:05- 4:35 – Online Course Evaluations,, John Campbell – SISS Office, Jennifer Hill – Trinity College of Arts & Science (20 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is: Online Course Evaluations are assessable via the ACES Student Center and the STORM Faculty Center and can be used to replace the traditional paper form still being administered today by many schools.

Why it’s relevant: In the interest of resource sustainability, and with the goal of enhancing the usability of course evaluation data and reports, Trinity College of Arts & Science has developed an online framework for the administration and reporting of course evaluations. As we prepared to move the process wholly online, a faculty and staff committee reviewed and adapted the questionnaire to capture essential information about Trinity College. Working directly with the SISS office, we created and implemented a student course evaluation form and the Instructor course description form, which are accessible to authorized users via ACES and STORM. We will also demonstrate how we utilized Tableau reporting software for dynamic interaction with the data that allows for more flexibility and data security.

This project started about a year ago. A pilot was done last summer and pretty well received by both the students and faculty involved. The students felt the process was easier and more secure than the paper process used previously.

The paper form was transformed into digital form and put in ASUS on the front page with the students’ class list. During evaluation time, a new column is updated to show links to the evaluations. The evaluation is tied to the class so it can be configured to show up a set number of days before and after the end of the class. There are various statuses which show whether a student has started or completed the evaluation.

The evaluation allows for scale, Yes/No and free form text. The tool allows you to specify whether or not a question would be required. Because the students could easily choose to skip a question on the paper form, the decision was made to allow all questions to be left blank. If there are multiple professors per course, there will be a drop-down for the students to choose the appropriate professor for the evaluation they are completing.

The faculty side of the evaluation is similar to the student view.

Questions and Comments:

  • How has it been made clear to the students that these evaluations are anonymous? In the communications to the students it has been stated that the data is confidential but not anonymous. The reports will be available to the faculty and department in the aggregate and no individual submissions will be viewable. In addition, the results will not be available until after grades have been submitted.
  • Students were polled as to their feelings about the lack of anonymity. One student stated that she felt comfortable with the caveats given above. Another student stated that she was concerned about small classes where future courses might be taken with the same professor and that as a result their responses might be deduced over time. No evaluations are done for classes with 5 or fewer students for this reason. No student attributes are disclosed in the reports that might make a student identifiable (e.g. class standing).
  • Was SurveyMonkey or Duke survey tool considered so that anonymity could be assured? Yes, Qualtrics was considered but it was decided to house it within SISS for security reasons. In addition, there was the concern that links sent out via these tools could be caught by spam filters and students would not get the opportunity to fill one out because the email was not delivered.
  • One faculty member stated that she did not believe the previous paper methods to be terribly anonymous. In the December 2012 and Summer 2013 pilots, the students overwhelmingly felt that this new digital format was more secure than prior methods. The students were able to fill them out without faculty hovering over them while filling out the surveys and also could fill them out on their own time and provide more thoughtful responses.
  • Some departments have encouraged faculty members to ask students to bring their laptops to class so that they could fill out the surveys at that time. This is up to each department and faculty member to decide which way they prefer. In the summer pilot, the highest response rate was seen when students were permitted to complete the survey during class.
  • At what point are the data harvested (e.g. when it is “In Progress” vs. “Completed”) for the reports? At this point in Phase 1, anything entered into the system by the student is included in the reports. In the pilot 98% completed the surveys while the other 2% got to the last page. It was assumed that those 2% probably intended to submit their evaluation but accidentally did not, thinking the evaluation was complete. More research will be done to see if there’s a significant difference in the individuals who complete the process vs. those who do not. This is a point of concern to the faculty because with a paper form the students can fill out the form and then make a conscious decision to not submit it to their professor at the last minute. This system is therefore forcing the hand of the student to submit data to the faculty whether or not they ultimately want to. There is currently no “Clear” or “Cancel” survey button. The faculty members were encouraged to contact Keith and Lee about these concerns.

4:35- 5:00 – Duke Mobile, Co-Lab Update, Evan Levine, Laurie Harris (15 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is: Duke’s Mobile strategy consists of both a web accessible HTML5 DukeMobile Dashboard and native DukeMobile apps for Andriod and iOS. By bringing the development in house, we have created an updated look and feel that is consistent with modern Duke branding, enhanced features, ease of use and gained the ability to integrate student work.

Why it’s relevant: The DukeMobile Dashboard was launched on October 25, 2013. We will be demonstrating the current version of the Dashboard and discuss the upcoming release of the DukeMobile App. Additionally, we will provide an update on the IT Innovation CoLab’s first DukeMobile Challenge, which concluded on October 4, 2013. The Duke Mobile app has just been accepted by the Apple App Store and also available in Google Play. On October 25th, the mobile.duke.edu dashboard launched. Evan thanked the ITAC group for their testing efforts with the new app. The new app looks a lot like the old dashboard. For the remainder of 2013, the focus will be on making sure that everything is functioning as it should be. After that is done, we can focus on other things like customizable dashboards. For the Co-Lab challenge, the students were provided with the code of the existing dashboard so that they could choose to use that, if they so desired. Quite a few good ideas came out of the challenge, but a lot of them were not ready to be rolled out as-is. The challenge is over, but students will be encouraged to continue developing apps to enhance Duke Mobile. Some example apps that were submitted:

  • Office Hours app
  • Duke Card balances and budgeting
  • Dining app improvements (searching future dates, distance from current location, cached data for offline access, etc.)

The revised dining app is currently being looked at for replacing the existing app, but is undergoing some detailed scrutiny to make sure that it’s ready for prime-time. This will probably happen in Spring 2014 after the initial launch of Duke Mobile.

Next steps:

  • Audience specific views (student, staff, faculty, alumni, etc.) and a configurable dashboard (choice of apps)
  • Look and feel updates
  • Tablet optimization
  • Network Connectivity App (Duke-specific speed test)
  • Push Notifications
  • Documentation (developer information added to the Duke Style Guide)

Questions and Comments:

  • Can apps be created for use as a teaching tool and for apps for use in class? Yes, but the development will be up to the students to decide what is needed and to take the initiative to develop it. The winner of Hack Duke had created a plug-in to PowerPoint.
  • What is involved in the approval of the app with the app stores? Is it the underlying architecture or all the sub-apps within it? Mainly the underlying architecture. Most of the process is simply trying to find out who is responsible for the app (are the developers trustworthy) and what is the app’s intended purpose. For Google Play, there really isn’t any approval process.

5:00- 5:20 – Ivy+ Updates, Chris Meyer (Administrative Systems), Charley Kneifel (Infrastructure) (10 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is: Representatives from Ivy League schools meet on an annual basis to discuss and share information in various areas. Topics range from overall university directions, budgets, projects, online learning tools and daily operations.

Why it’s relevant: Sharing experiences and discussing challenges with our peers helps to provide a collaborative environment where ideas are formed and problems are solved. OIT had several representatives attend and we would like to share experiences from the Infrastructure and Administrative systems. The Fall meeting of the Administrative Systems group was held at the Washington Duke Inn the first week of November. Two schools are looking into using ServiceNow and six are already using it. Some schools are looking at the possibility of moving to workday. Workday is an HR and Financials product similar to Peoplesoft, but lives in the cloud and is offered on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis. The Infrastructure meeting was held at Stanford. There was some discussion around security breaches in higher ed. One of the schools reported having implemented two-factor authentication to combat similar attacks in the future. Here at Duke, we have also begun using two-factor authentication on our servers. One of the schools is moving forward with virtualizing their Peoplesoft Financials environment, something that we are also working toward. One school will be doing a yearly recurring password validation to make sure that passwords stay as strong as possible and are updated as security needs change.

5:20- 5:30 – BOX, Charley Kneifel (5 minute presentation, 5 minute discussion)

What it is: BOX is a cloud based service that allows data storage across all clients, including Web, IOS, Macs and Windows.

Why it’s relevant: Duke plans to offer BOX.com services to all campus and medical system users. Features of BOX include easy upload of content, organizing data into folders, sharing links to files and managing file/folder permissions. Box.com is a cloud-based file sharing storage. It allows users to synchronize their files between devices and can also aid in sharing and collaboration between individuals (including both Duke and non-Duke entities). The lawyers are still working on an agreement, but we will be moving forward with the implementation in hopes that legal agreements catch up early in the spring semester. We are currently working on getting the Shibboleth authentication tested and working. A working group has been formed with representation across the university and hospital to work through some of the government regulations and requirements. Apps can be limited if necessary (useful on the hospital side to prevent data leaks) and can be locked down to a well-defined structure. Hopefully within the next