Duke ITAC - January 25, 2018 Minutes

Duke ITAC Meeting Minutes – January 25, 2018

 

Ken Rogerson warmly welcomed Duke’s 10th President Dr. Vincent E. Price to the committee expressing gratitude and thanking him for his first presence at this gathering.  Tracy Futhey introduced the makeup of the committee audience to Dr. Price, mentioning that the turnout was a little higher than usual, however, this is probably among the most active of all the Higher Ed IT advisory groups.  20-30 members meet every two weeks with representation from faculty, students, and both central and distributed IT groups.  Tracy also added that it has been highly effective to have all these groups meet together rather than separating out as students or faculty or staff.

 

4:00 - 4:30 – Special Guest: President Vincent Price (30 minutes)

 

What it is: The 10th President of Duke University has been invited to attend an ITAC meeting to answer questions and share his perspective as it relates to technology and other topics; ITAC members are encouraged to pose questions of the President.

 

Why it’s relevant: As the new leader of Duke University, President Vincent E. Price guides priorities and initiatives reaching all areas of Duke and beyond. His perspectives on technology will play an important role in helping shape Duke’s future.

 

President Vincent Price began his address by thanking the committee members for serving and expressed his appreciation for their support in recognizing that this committee which meets frequently by academic standards, does not only serve a very important task but also a task that is very time consuming.

 

Dr. Price said that in his very brief time here at Duke, he’s been impressed by what he’s seen so far such as the Innovation Co-Lab and continued on to say that such an accomplishment can only be achieved in a climate that values collaboration and finds ways to get things done.  A constantly changing environment makes our work difficult, said Dr. Price, as we try to formulate long term strategic plans. 

 

Dr. Price spoke about his sense of our high-level initiatives going forward, in which Duke will be targeting a lot of our energies and which will each have implications for the IT infrastructure such as the replacement of about a thousand beds on our central campus.  This gives us an opportunity to think about the student experience on campus in terms of undergraduates and the transition from East campus to West.  We're coming up on our 100 year anniversary and the issue from an IT perspective is how best to plan for an enduring infrastructure now, since the buildings will exist for 40-50+ years.

 

Dr. Price hopes that Duke will emerge as a leader in redefining teaching and learning over the next 15 years or more, including focusing on active problem solving and team-based learning.  Dr. Price added, this will need to involve thinking about the deployment of technology and support of new pedagogical practice, and indicated he sees the potential for Duke to be a leader among our peers in this area.

 

Dr. Price stressed the need to think deeply about what it costs to support all programs and optimize learning outcomes, leverage technology in every instance and as we make investments in science and technology. The successful Quantitative Initiative may serve as a foundation for such human-capital-based investments, which will require deepening and strengthening faculties in Trinity, Pratt, Medicine, Nicholas and other areas.

 

Dr. Price described that the way Duke engages with our external communities as impressive, specifically citing Duke Engage and emphasizing the founding service mission of the university and importance of deploying our human resources—both our intellect and capacities for research—to support the needs of Durham as a city and the school district of the region more generally.

 

Dr. Price continued that we can seek to leverage programs already in place like the Data+ program and the IT infrastructure that supports it.  Modeling a Healthy Durham initiative on Healthy Duke may dovetail with larger shifts toward population health, and there is a premium on information technologies as resources and assets to leverage to serve population health needs going forward.  

 

In the space of Pedagogy, Dr. Price is encouraged by what he’s already seen at Duke, including not only our ability to adapt existing technologies to education but also in the realm of invention.  Dr. Price views the nascent field of learning science as an exciting opportunity for higher education, advancing what we know about how human beings learn.

 

For these and other reasons Dr. Price sees this is as the most exciting time to be in higher education. He reminded us to be thoughtful about anticipating needs as we launch new initiatives, including anticipating the secondary and tertiary impact of those investments on the University infrastructure.

 

Dr. Price expressed recognition that the complexity of Duke’s distributed environment includes the danger of redundant and uncoordinated investments especially in the Resource Center Management model, and views ITAC as one important way to confront that challenge. He indicated his appreciation for ITAC and cited the value of building on where we have already demonstrated success, such as the Innovation Co-Lab.

 

Dr. Price concluded his comments by stating that we have fabulous leadership in IT and when he shared with colleagues that he was coming to Duke University, he was told how fortunate he is to inherit a great IT infrastructure here at Duke.  

 

Question: Robert Wolpert from Department of Statistical Science:

In your inspiring inauguration speech, you spoke of changes that are coming in Education that will increase our International presence and spoke of lifelong learning and those are things where information technology is clearly going to play a role. Do you happen to see anything specific as we try to plan what is going to be needed 10, 20 years from now?

 

Answer:  Dr. Price sees the value proposition in places like Duke University as resting in the community assembled here; the network of people we call Duke University is the attraction. Accordingly, we need to take full advantage of the strengths of the Duke family including 160 thousand alumni, which will require leveraging our abilities to connect that community virtually in order to supplement, complement and extend the campus face-to-face experience, and this is likely have information technology at its core. He further observed that a short-term challenge will require combating the perception that technology reduces cost, relative to the reality that it produces rapid escalation in costs.  This will need to involve not only achieving economies that will arise from doing things differently or better, but also realizing that in some cases we may be doing something that frankly could not do without technology.

 

Comment: Rachel Richesson from School of Nursing:

One of my greatest joys here is actually being on this committee with great examples of pulling the health system side and the university side together. Since the School of Nursing is largely distance based, we're really exploring all kinds of innovative technologies and the notion that the on premise model of education for nurses and physicians is not sustainable. The challenges we are facing are not unique. There's just a world of opportunity here and anything that can maximize explorations campus-wide would be terrific.  Sometimes we feel a little isolated across the street.

 

Answer: Dr. Price acknowledged the importance of forging strong connections between the Health system and health schools and the rest of campus and highlighted the great strides nursing has made on in distance learning.  Extending those lessons to campus is essential and represents an opportunity for faculty to learn from what other faculty are experiencing. Dr. Price went on to describe the re-centering of the delivery of medicine into a population health perspective and the central role for nursing.  

 

Question: John Board from Electrical & Computer Engineering at Pratt and OIT

When you talk about modern approaches to learning, a path one can go down that is both fascinating and creepy is deep analytics on the student's lives. One can imagine that if one probed everything they ate, every app they installed on their phone, and when they went to bed, we could learn things about them that in principle could help them learn better or do better by some metric. What's your comfort level, and excitement level, in proceeding down that path?

 

Answer: Dr. Price acknowledged the multiple considerations, including related to students versus research subjects and implications related to research ethics. Despite there being creepy aspects of new technologies, Dr. Price believes we will need to confront the very difficult research ethics challenges and try to balance those against the potential for gain in the case of learning science.  It would be hard to imagine that a good learning science isn't deep behavioral science.

 

Question: Jeannine Sato from OIT

In the last few years, we find ourselves with many different ways to communicate with our audiences whether they are internal or external which can sometimes contribute to the cacophony of information overload that people are having to sift through.  What is your vision or what would you like to see for how we communicate with our audiences in an effective way without creating that overload so it's not so much what can we do but what should we do?

 

Answer: Dr. Price observed the radical and continued transformation of the media system in recent years and observed that the world we live in is very messy right now but noted it does have a lot of interesting tendencies. Those media systems for many years had strong kind of centripetal tendencies. Decades ago the major rap on the media was that they were mainstreaming everything and dissident voices, minority voices had no access to the media system.  Now the system has such incredible centrifugal energies and virtually zero centripetal force to counterbalance that. The other problem with it is of course the tendency for information to move rapidly across these networks. We just haven't figured out as human beings how to convert those technologies to productive means but perhaps this will become a role for faculty in the Sanford School or elsewhere on the campus since what's great about these technologies is they give us an opportunity to do some really interesting experimentation. Dr. Price urged that we shouldn't be using the same communication structures to make important decisions that we use to entertain ourselves and noted that working that out take time.

 

Dr. Price concluded his remarks by once again congratulating and thanking the committee.

 

4:30 - 4:35 – Announcements (5 minutes)

 

Ken Rogerson reconvened the meeting following Dr. Price’s address.

Richard Biever made the following announcements:

  1. Two changes in VPN will be coming out February 6th due to phishing attacks from overseas.
  2. Multi Factor will be implemented in some of the Virtual Computing networks.

 

4:35 - 5:05 – Social Media Initiatives – Michael Schoenfeld, Kristen Brown, Laura Brinn, Sonja Likness Foust, Blyth Morrell (20 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

 

  1. it is: Social media facilitates the creation and sharing of information, ideas, and expression, and it has quickly evolved into a prime means of communication. Duke has embraced these online tools to connect with audiences around Duke and world, and the Office of News and Communications is leading the charge. This presentation will provide an overview of Duke’s main social media accounts and focus on ways Duke’s use of social media changed last year in three main areas: issues management and institutional advocacy, social media security, and custom content for social media channels.

 

Why it’s relevant: Communication and technology go hand-in-hand, particularly where social media is concerned. A recognized leader in higher education social media, Duke continues to evolve its social strategies, embracing the creativity and responsibility necessary to stay at the forefront of emerging social initiatives.

 

Social Media Update and Lessons from 2017

 

Duke’s Universe of Social Channels:

  • Facebook groups (Duke sanctioned):
  • Duke University Parents and Families
  • Duke University class year groups for students
  • 274 units use Twitter
  • 239 units use Facebook
  • 139 units use YouTube
  • 28 units use Instagram
  • 5 units use WeChat
  • 3 units use Weibo

 

The top Duke Social Media account is Duke Men’s Basketball on Twitter with 2.25 million followers.

 

Today’s discussion included:

  • Role of social media in issues management & institutional advocacy
  • Account security
  • Custom content for social channels

 

Main Takeaways:

  • We use social media to share and to listen.
  • Social media lets us reach people directly –and vice versa.
  • Different channels have different strategic strengths. Post accordingly.
  • Group maintenance on shared passwords is possible (with a little help from OIT)
  • Assume your account may be vulnerable.
  • Custom-created content for each social media channel is increasingly important and impactful.
  • More people will experience big events at Duke through our social channels than in person.

 

Questions/Comments:

 

Q1: What are the support mechanisms for helping departments to setup a Social Media presence?

A: We need to do a better job of communicating this via Duke Communicators and we do have 350 people around Duke who are on the communicators network Listserv.  So we invite anybody and we also have a series of Pro-Comp classes that help folks get started on Social Media for their units or departments.  We also have Socialmedia.duke.edu but not a lot of policies in place as social media is ever changing. 

 

Q2: What guidance do you have for Organizations that have a Service role where people presume that they can make a service requests or report a problem in hopes that someone will see it and follow up?  How do you guide us in that?

 

A: Social Media is increasingly about engagement and if you don’t have the resources to really do engagement then it’s better to direct people to the main channels.  We are looking into rolling out messenger bots that can take over and say please report this to OIT.

 

5:05 - 5:30 Web Accessibility Guidelines – Joel Crawford-Smith, Leigh Fickling, Blyth Morrell

 

What it is: Duke prides itself on creating respectful, diverse, and inclusive work and learning environments – and this includes access to our web content. To this end, Duke has established a Web Governance Group, charged with creating accessibility guidelines for Duke’s public web presence. This presentation will discuss these guidelines, who they apply to, and how Duke is rising to meet new and evolving challenges.

 

Why it’s relevant: Today, access to web content is more heavily reviewed and litigated than ever before. As web accessibility becomes an area of increasing focus across higher education, Duke’s new program helps our community make sense of current requirements and maintain our commitment to accessible environments for students, faculty, staff, and beyond.

 

Web Accessibility and Duke’s Commitment to Inclusion for people with sensory impairments that use our websites motivates this discussion.  22% of adults in the US identify as having a disability as follows:

 

  • 13% Mobility - Serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs
  • 10.6% Cognition - Serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • 6.5% Independent Living - Difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor's office or shopping
  • 4.6% Vision - Blind or serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses
  • 3.6% Self-Care - Difficulty dressing or bathing

 

Who has a disability?

Any person not able to see, hear, walk, read, print/Write with pen or pencil, communicate verbally, tune out distraction, learn/manage physical/mental health is a disable individual.

 

A person does not have a disability, rather, a disability arises when circumstances deny the opportunity to meet a need.  Some disabilities can be overcome by modifying the environment.

 

People who use screen readers browse webpages the same as anyone else.  Sighted users do not read every word on a webpage, they skim the sections, scan for headings, and scan for links.  People who use screen readers do the same.

 

Our investment and commitment to Web Accessibility pays big dividends.  Duke has always been inclusive and prides itself on having a respectful, diverse and inclusive work and learning environments for the Duke community.  Inclusive work and learning environments include access to our websites.

 

Duke’s Disability Management System has provided accommodations for students, faculty, staff, and visitors for years, and more recently has focused accommodations on the web, which is challenging because Duke has 3,000 affiliated websites created and hosted at a variety of inside and outside vendors, most of which are managed within our decentralized environment.

 

Accordingly, Duke needed a university-wide standard and swiftly created a Working Group to address the need. It included people from:

  • Disability Management System
  • Office of Counsel
  • Office of Institutional Equity
  • Office of Information Technology
  • Public Affairs
  • Interim Web Accessibility Advisor

 

This group provided the foundation of the Web Governance Group and created a Standardization Plan:

  • Create Guidelines for current and legacy websites
  • Create a Web Accessibility Administrator position to coordinate
  • Communicate the new Guidelines
  • Provide assessments and remediation services and monitor for continued compliance

 

Efforts ensure content is available to the senses (sight, hearing, touch) and is Perceivable including:

  • Text Alternatives - Text equivalents for every non-text element.
  • Time-based Media
  • Adaptable
  • Distinguishable
  • Ensure that Interface forms, controls, and navigation work.  Every interaction on a site should be possible with the “tab”, “spacebar” and “enter” button.
  • Inaccessible Navigation is a common culprit.
  • Keyboard accessibility is a good indicator of screen reader compatibility
  • Enough Time
  • Seizures
  • Navigable - Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.
  • Pages have titles
  • Focus and focus order
  • Link purpose
  • Provide more than one way to get to a page
  • Use headings and Labels

 

Joel provided details about techniques to make content perceivable, and described our general approaches to accessibility:

  • Universal Design: The design of products and environments are usable by all people without the need for adaptation or specialized design.
  • Accommodation: A means or method designed to meet each individual’s needs in cases where Universal Design would not be feasible.

 

Duke has established Public websites as well as private (Shibboleth-protected) resources for website maintainers.  These include:

  • Duke’s Universal Design approach
  • The ability for employees and students at Duke to self-identify as having a disability, since we cannot provide accommodations for people that we do not know.

Duke Disability Management System can proactively make accommodations.

 

Joel detailed the triage of websites priorities:

  • Tier 1 websites, conforming by Nov 1 2018 and will be reassessed for compliance every month
  • Tier 2 websites, conforming by Nov 1 2019 and will be reassessed for compliance semi-annually

See web.accessibility.duke.edu/duke-guidelines/website-priority-tiers for listing of Tier 1 and 2 sites.

 

Other websites with New or Substantially Modified Pages should conform to Duke’s Guidelines and will receive periodic Assessments.  Legacy websites (launched before Nov 1, 2017) are not subject to the Duke Guidelines and are not required to make changes.  People can volunteer for free Assessments and are under no obligation under Duke’s Guidelines to make the changes.  However, anyone can register a complaint against your website.  Websites aimed to serve people with sensory impairments should be especially mindful of the guidelines.

 

Meeting the Duke Web Accessibility Guidelines does not fall just on one person.  Accessibility is a team effort shared by web developers, content creators, and owners. Joel is central to this effort and his role was created last year to establish an Official Web Accessibility Program for Duke and coordinate the implementation of the Program.  He is also central to Duke’s maintenance, training, and outreach related to this Program.  Communication includes individual contact to website owners in Tier 1 and 2 and key resources can be found at: accessibility.duke.edu and web.accessibility.duke.edu.  Assessments and remediation services are available as part of this program; contact Joel for details.

 

In summary, there has been a very positive response overall and people are enthusiastic and cooperative.  There have been dozens of requests for assessments and training.  We have trained 165 people since the announcement (more on the calendar).  We have made a lot of partners along the way and Duke is on track to meet the deadlines.

 

Questions/Comments:

 

Q1:  Can faculty use sites.duke.edu to add a web page and would that automatically conform to the guidelines or do you have to do something extra?

A1:  This is why we work so closely with public affairs because it relates to IT people and communicators very strongly.  Content is very important and the templates have extensible defaults to build you an accessible page but if you add images without the text and don’t use the stylesheets correctly with headings, you can break it.

 

C1:  Also, since we have more than 3000 sites, we’re really triaging with the things that we think will have the most appropriate focus by other people and the need for accessibility as well as the attention for people wanting to make sure it’s successful.

 

Q2:  Is the assessment all done manually?

A2:  Yes.

 

Q3: Do we have to limit access to our course website to students in the course?

A3: No

 

Q4:  Is Sakai safe to use?

A4: Yes, and it’s also password protected.

 

C2: Joel will be available to present this material to any department that is interested and this will be an ongoing effort.

 

Ken Rogerson brought attention to the meeting minutes from November 2, 2017, which were motioned upon, seconded, and accepted.