Duke ITAC - November 16, 2017 Minutes

Duke ITAC - November 16, 2017 Minutes

4:00 - 4:05 – Announcements

The previous ITAC chair reported regarding the 3D printed gavel she was given as the outgoing chair of ITAC. Once taken apart, these types of objects are difficult to reassemble. This is a cautionary tale to handle these types of items with care. 

Sakai and Peoplesoft Gradebooks are ready for integration. There is need for a pilot group of which all faculty members of ITAC are automatically included. An email will be following with directions on testing procedures. The old and new interfaces can co-exist.  

Q: When does this go live?

A: The integration is live now.

4:05 - 4:25 – Response to Student Feedback, various presenters (10 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is:  This past spring, ITAC undergraduate and graduate student representatives surveyed their peers and shared findings on Duke students’ IT concerns and perspectives. In this presentation, Duke’s IT leadership has reviewed the students’ concerns and will provide feedback.

Why it’s relevant: ITAC values the input and needs of students, especially as it pertains to our goals of supporting the university’s academic mission and reviewing the status of information technology at Duke. This annual dialogue between staff and students keeps the lines of communication open to identify and address problem areas, as well as to recognize successes. We invite further discussion of student concerns and proposed solutions, and will share feedback with Duke’s IT leaders.

Internet service and WiFi is a continuing topic over the past few years. Speeds have improved after technology was added to support 5Ghz and 802.11ac. Some devices continue to use a wired connection but more users now rely on wireless resulting in a lower satisfaction level especially in dorms and outdoors areas. Over the summer, we refreshed the access points in the dorms to use newer wireless technologies. As a result, complaints have reduced with monitoring devices showing the wireless experience is better than a year ago. We are now focusing on several academic areas including Soc-Psych, Sociology, Hudson, and Gross Hall buildings. New equipment to improve the outdoor experience has been deployed at the Bryan plaza, CIEMAS, and K-ville and other areas will continue to be addressed. We've made good progress over the summer and continue to make improvements.

For Mobile Service, the Distributed Antenna System or "DAS" expansion has proceeded which should improve cellular coverage. We are in the design stages with T-Mobile to add them in the coming year and are working with AT&T and Verizon on the placement of a tower in the areas near Central campus and the Swift Avenue/9th Street corridor to help with coverage on the bus routes. These tower installations are in the regulatory approval process with a goal of being in production before fall of 2018.

We are rolling out "Campusvision" (an "Internet Protocol" or IPTV solution). 700 devices were installed. Athletics menu boards and Student Affairs should be completed by end of the month. There were some issues with disconnection and device remotes being lost (the latter will always be a problem).

Survey results for DukeHub were positive with good participation. The service went through a major upgrade of the underlying PeopleSoft systems. "Fluid" has not been enabled but will be part of next upgrade. We are monitoring comments from students and focus groups. SISS worked with students to design DukeHub ad we are taking a longer approach to modernize the look and feel. Students are happy with the new product and mobile-friendly features which support registration. We do want to hear from users and suggest using the "feedback" button. Additional upgrades to the system are coming.

Q: The faculty and advisor centers in DukeHub have been upgraded and look good. The Department center has not been upgraded and is still difficult to use. When will it change?

A: We would like make it look like the Faculty center. We are still investigating ways to do "sorts" and checks best, especially for departments with large courses. We have been meeting with faculty groups to get a list of features they wish to see.

Q: Was there any additional feedback from students attending ITAC today?

A: There are still wifi issues although the students are reporting them. They like individual wifi in rooms. There are issues with printers not working. Meeting attendees will follow up on this. There are some housing areas that are near campus but are not supported by OIT and residents would need to reach out to the internet provider for assistance.

Q: Over 50% of the students surveyed do not use the Duke Mobile app. The app does have access to several campus resources but performance in some cases is slower than using a mobile web browser while other components work better. What is the plan for the mobile app and where is it moving?

A: A governance body with organizational representation determines what is included in the Duke Mobile app. Complications do arise in that students are not the only audience. The app includes features relevant to Duke staff and faculty. There are goals to improve efficiency and reduce complexity of the Duke Mobile App.

Q: Regarding CampusVisions, students have found it to be a positive experience and love it.

A:  CampusVision can broadcast internal channels with sports and events not on TV. Duke Chapel has a channel and in the future students could create channels. We can provide alerts on signage. That said, some students are not familiar with the service and it may need more publicity. There is limited use at this time.

Q: Can students can report specific areas for wireless network issues including rooms?

A: Yes. If a room is particularly bad, students can submit a request for individual attention. OIT is also developing a mobile app that allows users to report "Cold spots" around campus. The app is user-friendly with building maps included that can auto-populate information.

Q: Where will this app be located and when will it be available?

A: It will be part of Duke Mobile and should be ready for testing within the next few weeks (most likely in January). The app will give almost a "point in time" ability to report problems which could translate to other services such as Office 365.

Q: T-Mobile phones include wifi capability which has saved a lot of users on campus. When the T-Mobile carrier is supported on campus, what are the implications? Will cellular be used instead?

A: As soon as the signal is captured, the phone should switch to cellular but this is in the control of the user. 

4:25 – 4:50 – Student Registration Process Review, Frank Blalark (15 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is:  The Registration Working Group led a comprehensive review of undergraduate registration processes, examining registration practices at Duke as well as at other leading institutions. While results show our current processes are sound and comparable to those at similar universities, they also identified weaknesses, particularly regarding students’ needs for additional data. This presentation will review findings and recommendations, including a discussion of next steps.

Why it’s relevant:  Course registration is an integral part of the academic experience with far-reaching impacts on a student’s education, and it relies heavily on technology. To enhance the registration process, the working group offers recommendations for technological enhancements and process improvements, as well as higher-level investigation and action.

A similar study was done in 2004 and served as a reference for this review. The recommendations from this review included the 7:00 a.m. start time for all undergraduate registration windows and three registration windows per class with an exception of one window for seniors. That was then modified so that today there are two windows for juniors, sophomores, and first-year students.

The charge was to review the undergraduate registration process and compare and contrast this to external institutions. For tactics, the group did a short survey of AAU member institutions. They also did individual interviews with faculty and associate deans. They conducted discussions with students, both in small focus groups and as part of a large group discussion. The working group used guiding questions such as "How do the processes compare and are there best practices elsewhere?", "What obstacles do the students face and is the registration process equitable?", "How does registration affect faculty?", and "How do current technologies provide support for the registration process?"

The findings of the working group were that standard practice at AAU institutions is to cycle students through by levels. At larger institutions, these may happen at 15 minute intervals throughout the day which in some cases means registration will open during a class. Duke chooses to open registration before classes start for the day. At recent registrations, 849 Duke students were registered within one minute. The group also researched if there were complex schemas in use by other institutions and they found within the AAU, it is very rare. Feedback from students show the more complex the registration, the greater the stress and issues tend to appear. Some institutions have several registration groups and for first years, some pre-enroll the students in required classes. Where there are conflicts, students reconcile using “drop/add”.

For this study, small groups of students were consulted regarding obstacles faced during registration. The participants said there were very few obstacles and they felt the process was fair. When these students asked if there should be one single registration window, they said that would be unfair. It would be limited to how quickly someone could click a button (including “bots”). The issue seems to be class capacity for popular courses rather than the system. Any modifications to the system to benefit one group could be detrimental to another. For example, there was discussion of moving registration from 7:00 AM to midnight, but group participants said chances were greater they would not be at home for a late night registration and they preferred an early window.

The groups also discussed alternative models. Duke currently does an “A B A B” priority window (fall, spring, fall, spring). There was consideration of an "A B B A" model for first-years and sophomores to keep things fairer with one window for juniors and seniors when courses leveled out. They eliminated a tiered model with a points allocation determined by academic level. Also eliminated were one window for all academic levels as well as a lottery system. Pre-enrollment was also not preferred as the students wanted the control over their own schedules.

The current registration process has a minimal impact on faculty because the registration window opens before classes start. If the window was moved to a later time, there would be concerns it was impacting class times.

Most agreed the current technologies are working for registration but thought some minor adjustments could improve it. These included implementing a "waitlist auto-drop" (if a student is able to enroll in one course, drop the user from a pre-designated secondary "waitlisted" course), "swap" (allow a student to simultaneously drop/add in the same process), and the ability to build an optimal schedule with support for "favorites").

Additional recommendations include getting textbook information into the registration system. Students also want to know more about the faculty that are linked to a course. And there is interest in holding "Bookbag Sessions" in the Library where students could speak with faculty prior to registration. Registration video tutorials with tips and hints were suggested, especially for first-time registrants (some of the functions students have been requesting are in the tool but are not as well-known). There is a request for a "syllabus archive" that provides requirements prior to registration so students can balance the different intensity levels of courses (this is a current request of the Duke Student Government and without an official archive, students are building informal ones with unreliable accuracy). Students also want better notifications about courses such as time changes and cancellations. Alternative notifications are also wanted. There are third party applications available that provide this but there is an initial investment of $25,000 or $80,000 and an annual maintenance of $10,000 or $42,000.

Q: For these other institutions, is all of registration in one day?

A: Registration "windows" are still used but during the day, traffic is controlled through 15 minute intervals where the students are notified when their interval is active. For larger institutions, it can take nine days for registration.

Q: Regarding the "syllabus archive": some faculty indicate they are required to provide a syllabus at the start of the semester.

A: In most cases, this is not making into the system or it's too late to include it. There is also the concern that what is included is outdated. There have been several attempts to address this issue including integration into Sakai with varying levels of success. There is a company interested in piloting a syllabus repository system for us that would make it easier for faculty to upload this information. That said, students are gathering what information they can.

Q: Can the waitlist for a class be "frozen" so that the faculty know the makeup of the list for a certain period of time?

A: It is possible to capture the state of the waitlist. But it is important to note that students are very aware of the order of this list and where they are on it.

Q: The current process for reserving "seats" for students who meet certain criteria is cumbersome. Can this be improved as there is a real need to segment, especially for classes that are in demand?

A:  There are some complications around this including getting that information from the faculty as well as the cross-listed courses. More transparency around this helps so that students who see the capacity but are not able to enroll understand why.

4:50 – 5:05 – DesignHub Pilot, Chip Bobbert (10 minute presentation, 5 minute discussion)

What it is:  The Innovation Co-Lab’s DesignHub, a pilot project launched by OIT, aims to transform virtual ideas into deliverable objects. Researchers and clinicians often need objects created that they simply do not have the time or CAD skills to design themselves. We will learn how DesignHub identifies and pairs talented undergraduate and graduate student designers with researchers, faculty members, or clinical practitioners.

Why it’s relevant:  With the recent rise in maker culture, the Co-Lab’s services and resources are in great demand. But, not everyone has the knowledge, experience, or time to design a solution to their problems. DesignHub addresses this gap by facilitating connections between students, staff, and faculty – giving interested students first-hand experience with higher-level research. While currently still in pilot phase, the results thus far have been profound.

A Duke anesthesiologist came to the Innovation Co-Lab with a project. Her colleagues used a wide variety of solutions for organizing their medications for emergency anesthesia. The syringes were of different sizes and she wanted to know if the Co-Lab staff could help design a tool to standardize this storage. Her request fell outside the scope of support provided by the staff and students because of the amount of time available to provide design assistance. The doctor attempted to design the parts herself by attempting to learn CAD. After several months, she returned with her project but her results were not ideal since 3D printing is time-consuming and is usually meant for a prototype. The doctor needed multiple replications of her project. At this point, a student began working with the doctor to improve her design and modify the output so that it could instead be "manufactured" using the cutting equipment in the lab. The end result was a practical piece that could be cut in less than ten minutes which could be distributed to the doctor's colleagues. The anesthesiologist wrote a paper and poster for this project giving credit to the student who worked with her.

As a result of this collaboration, a problem was identified. The Co-Lab had a fabrication focus and staffing was set up for quick interactions of less than one hour. However, the more complex and time-intensive process of design was not addressed. The pilot project "DesignHub" was developed which hired a team of three students ranging in talents from engineering to medical. Through micro-grants of up to 20 hours of time, student employees worked with clients 8-12 hours a week with projects typically taking 2 weeks while Co-Lab staff provided oversight to ensure project completion. This allowed the student to gain exposure to research while helping the faculty and staff get the assistance they needed in using complex software like CAD.

Projects coming out of the pilot included a "capillary bioreactor". The client initially tried to build a device using syringes and glue. He was able to work with the student to design the device, 3D print it, and use it "in production" in the lab. The "microscope slide gas chamber" project allowed the lab to design and print a device used for the study of fruit flies. The "equipment mount for 3D ultrasound system" featured components and mounts so that an ultrasound machine could provide imaging capabilities of a more expensive 3D counterpart. The results of these collaborations are being duplicated and modified in other labs. Participants in the pilot have reported success with overwhelmingly positive feedback. The projects have given students not only employment but skills they can include on publications and portfolios.

5:05 – 5:30 – Duke NextEd Festival, Shawn Miller, Michael Greene, Kim Manturuk (15 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is:  Duke NextEd Festival is a series of events celebrating learning at Duke, featuring talks by leading thinkers in the field of higher education innovation, hands-on workshops, engaging learning experiences, technology demos, networking, and more. These events are designed to engage anyone committed to advancing learning at Duke: students and faculty, advisors and mentors, inventors and researchers, developers and designers.

Why it’s relevant:  NextEd aims to bring the Duke community together for conversation and collaboration around innovative ways to make the Duke educational experience more engaging, transformative, and equitable. This year’s inaugural event replaced the Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) Showcase, and it coincides with a transition for CIT – now known as Learning Innovation. We will review the event and its new format, and discuss how it fits into the teaching and learning landscape at Duke.

In previous years, the Center for Instructional Technology organized a one-day event known as the CIT Showcase. This was an opportunity to get faculty together to highlight the great things they were doing in the classroom and bring in speakers with new ideas for education and technology. The event was well-received but there were challenges with organizing it. Since this event was limited to one day, it was difficult to find a date suitable for all interested faculty. There were struggles with finding the right location for over 200 attendees which resulted in hosting the event in different locations from year to year. There was a single keynote which tended to set the tone and a limited number of events during the day (usually around 20). As a result, the attendance remained around 250; steady but not growing. Feedback from faculty indicated it was useful to continue to hold the event.  As part of the rebranding of CIT and OnlineDuke to "Learning Innovation", the group organized a series of events called NextEd Fest that expanded to a month running through October into November. NextEd Fest was held in multiple locations, both on and off campus. They had multiple keynotes and over 40 types of sessions and events including panels, discussions, workshops, talks, and demonstrations. A panel discussion in particular focused on 5 years of online learning at Duke as part of the anniversary of the partnership with Coursera. NextEd Fest expanded beyond faculty to offer sessions with students and staff where Learning Innovation acted as a sponsor or partner. Some highlights of the events included "Structuring the Classroom for Inclusive Teaching", the Faculty Tech Fair, HackDuke, a Sakai Camp Lite, "Engaging International Students", and EdTech Demo Night (which included local vendors). 

While data was still being gathered and organized, there were some early numbers that Learning Innovation was able to provide. Instead of asking about the event logistics, the surveys focused on what was important for teaching so that the feedback could be used to prepare for next year. For the question "Which of the following are important issues at Duke", the more popular answers included "New approaches to teaching", "Interdisciplinary teaching on campus", and "Changing nature of higher education". For "Important topics in higher education", the respondents ranked the answers showing that "Cost of attendance", "Changing student demographics", and "Faculty diversity", and "Teaching funding" were the higher ranked. For "Where do you get information about teaching", respondents could select multiple answers which resulted in "Websites", "Colleagues at other schools", "Duke offices and centers", "Department Colleagues", and "Peer-reviewed research" being the more popular resources and "Email, forums" and "Social media" being the least. For the topic "Innovations Duke should try or explore in the next year", the results showed that "Lifelong learning, reskilling", "New educational technology", "Academic boot camps", "New audiences for academic programs", and "New campus course models", and "Alternative credentials" were of interest to the respondents. The respondents were also asked about the format for future events and most preferred short workshops, expert talks, and half-day events. 

For NextEd Fest for 2018, the planners indicated they will start organizing and partnering earlier and more often. They want to coordinate the events in timing so that they don't end up with too many sessions in a week. They also want to catalyze conversation (attendees of NextEd Fest 2017 indicated interest in artificial intelligence and virtual reality). Online advertising of the event is also being investigated as an alternative to print. 

For handling event registration, the planners ended up using multiple tools. For example, Event Brite was used for the EdTech Demo night. Duke Event planning was also used as well as some departmental tools but there were some events where no registration was tracked which made it difficult to gather data about who attended. 

Q: For your survey, what did you know about the respondent?

A: Only that they attended an event but during the next phase further demographics will be reviewed such as affiliation. 

Q: For the "Catalyzing conversation", are these conversations between faculty and students, faculty and faculty, etc?

A: It depends on the session. CIT did a study last year where the question asked was "Who is in charge of helping faculty with teaching and learning at Duke?" and they determined there were 15 to 20 organizations at Duke that were responsible. These "catalyzing conversations" could bring these different departments together with the faculty and students so they can find the right solutions and resources.

Q: How do students feel about "flipped" classrooms where the faculty switch courses?

A: Anecdotally, students do not like them although a previous study at Duke of 3 flipped and non-flipped classes showed that the end result was that it didn't do any harm and there wasn't a significant difference. It's possible students completed more work in a flipped class.

Q: Will the website offer recaps of any of the NextEd sessions?

A: Not all sessions were recorded but they hope to put out a blog post soon that provides recaps, slides, recordings, and other resources for those unable to attend the events.

Q: One topic of interest was combatting cheating, especially with phones in class. What is appropriate in class (especially regarding privacy)? What is the best way to handle this?

A: One suggestion is to make students do work using their computers during class. There is also research that indicates students distract not only themselves but others doing harm to student focus overall.  If you are honest with the students about effects of distraction, they tend to be less likely to engage in the behavior. This doesn't address the mobile phones so this might be a good topic for the future.