Duke ITAC - March 8, 2018 Meeting Minutes

Duke ITAC - March 8, 2018 Meeting Minutes

 

Start of Minutes

Agenda – March 8, 2018 4:00 ‐

4:00 - 4:05 – Announcements (5 minutes)

4:05 - 4:45 – Undergraduate Student Presentation – State of IT – Tommy Hessel, Joel Mire, Sanya Kochhar (30 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

4:45 –5:25  – Graduate Student Presentation – State of IT – Emily Phillips Longley (30 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is:  ITAC Student Representatives appointed by the Duke Student Government and Graduate & Professional Student Council will present on the state of IT from their perspective.

Why it’s relevant:  Feedback from the students allows IT administrators to hear firsthand the challenges that students face on a regular basis.  This information can help set goals and priorities for various IT projects and initiatives.  By moving these presentations earlier into the spring semester than has been typical in the past, IT leadership will be able to respond to the students’ issues and concerns before the end of the academic year.

UNDERGRADUATE SURVEY

The goals of the survey were guided by the structure from last year. The committee wanted to be able to compare the results and determine if progress had been made. They also felt it was important to address new topics if needed and to increase the response rate. They offered a prize to a random participant, kept the survey active for 3 weeks, and consolidated questions into groups. The link to the survey was distributed via the DSG weekly email blast, class Facebook groups, and GroupMe. Areas of potential bias in the survey results included higher response rates from committee associates as well as the possibility that dissatisfied students could be more likely to respond.

There were 275 total responses with the class of 2021 having the greatest number of respondents at 37%, the class 2020 at 27%, the class of 2019 at 19%, and class of 2018 at almost 17%. Participation increased by 4 times over last year's survey. First year students may have been motivated by issues with registration, an issue not as common with seniors. The areas of study was highest for respondents in the STEM fields. The operating system used by participants were Mac and iOS followed by Windows and Android with a small Linux representation. The web browser Chrome was the popular choice for almost 75% of the survey participants and this was a factor in reporting issues for certain Duke web applications web browser reliability. 

The academic portals Sakai and DukeHub were viewed favorably but there were comments related to how professors used these tools, especially related to consistency. Professors might use different tabs for the same functions. Notes may have been posted under "lectures" while someone else used "resources" or posted everything under "announcements". Students had to learn how each instructor used Sakai but respondents wished for some uniformity and consistency. It was suggested that un-used tabs in Sakai be removed in order to reduce "clutter" on the screen. Respondents also wanted professors to use GradeBook rather than sending grades through email or using physical copies. For the user interface, participants wanted improved navigation with fewer clicks between classes and they wanted an improved mobile version. They wanted improvements in notifications, ideally beyond email. Respondents wanted the ability to stay logged into Sakai. And there was a request for more calendar integration including reminders for midterms or when assignments  due dates. Some "missing" features of Sakai included guidelines or instructions for the intended use of each tab. There were also requests for some kind of forum similar to Piazza for students to ask questions. And there were requests for the ability to download entire folders from a cloud-based storage provider.

Suggestions for DukeHub included making a student's bill part of the landing page or at least easier to find. They felt that the web application could use speed improvements. During registration, participants wanted to be able to have multiple tabs or windows in the browser open (ex. looking at your bookbag and the course schedule at the same time). For the user experience, users felt the search page was too confusing and that filters would be a better option similar to online shopping. Users also commented that course evaluations were inaccessible during registration when they were most needed. Respondents also wanted a return to the old Schedule Builder with it's ability to toggle between sections. The respondents also used the mobile platform for registration because it was faster.

For IT services provided to students, Piazza was viewed favorably as well as Coursera. Responses did show that students do not use or are not aware of several services including the Duke Calendar and 25Live which is also true of some professors. Students would like to see more classes recorded for review purposes. For improving ePrint, students suggested more printers in dorms especially on East Campus. There were also reports of students being unable to print in the Swift area because the Dukeblue network was not an option there. Respondents also suggested improving the accuracy of the ePrint maps.

A large portion of the respondents did not know about or use Duke Box or were unsure what it was. They did suggest it would be helpful if there was a tutorial or information targeting the first year students that provided information about IT services. For Duke email, a large number of respondents did have Duke email configured on their phones but they did have suggestions for improving the configuration experience, perhaps with better tutorials or documentation. Users who configured the Mail app on the iPhone reported success but had difficulties getting the mobile Outlook experience working. This may have been because for a large portion of the year, the Outlook app was not available for Duke users. Some browsers issues for Duke email were reported including difficulties with the timing of automatic logouts and "headers too long" errors with the Chrome browser. This might be a shibboleth issue more noticeable in Chrome and clearing cookies or using incognito windows seems to fix the problem. Comments on the Duke Mobile app indicated there was a perception the product was a bundle of links taking you outside the app and a large number of respondents did not use it. Duke Calendar also had a high number of participants who did not use it. Suggestions for improving this service included using a grid layout.

Of the 272 responses to the question of satisfaction level with Duke Wifi, more than half were "Very unsatisfied" or "Unsatisfied". "Consistency" being a major theme with the service as well as dropped connections. Survey participants said it was difficult to connect to Dukeblue or maintain good data flow while joined to the network. Some users reported that they had to cancel Skype interviews because of network issues. Areas with wifi issues included Swift and Edens. User comments indicated issues printing using Duke Visitor, wifi "holes" between buildings, and dropped connections in Perkins.

The 25Live service is another service that is not as well-known to the survey participants. Those who do use the service report that the room descriptions and date availabilities are unclear and a cleaner interface would be an improvement. Respondents report that users of the campus cell service for AT&T and Verizon are satisfied while T-Mobile, Sprint, and Cricket users are neutral with some dissatisfaction. A significant number of participants reported dissatisfaction with the Transloc/Rider service, especially with accuracy of information (times, predictions, stops, arrivals). Buses would be out-of-service or would not arrive at the predicted time. The majority of survey participants did not use the CampusVision TV service and there may have been some confusion with the retirement of the Campus Roku service. Tutorials for this service would be helpful. Most survey participants had personal laptops so there were not as many users of the campus Desktop Computer service. That said, participants found this a useful solution when they were having computer issues or had a dead laptop battery and needed a computer.

Users were overall very satisfied with the CoLab. There were some comments about class schedules conflicting with offerings like Roots courses and office hours and suggestions to increase awareness about the CoLab, perhaps offering more introductory tours. Survey participants were appreciative of Duke-licensed software and were satisfied with the service although some users reported issues with getting Microsoft Office up and running.

Users were asked "Is cybersecurity a priority for you?" and almost 44% answered "yes" but were not sure how to protect themselves. This year 60% of respondents reported that they had activated MFA (multifactor authentication), a big increase from last year's number of 19%. In addition to MFA, users also reported using anti-virus and ad blocking software. Most users were aware that the Symantec anti-virus software was available free of charge.

Respondents did have feedback on "large, stationary technology" on campus which include the displays with announcements and campus information. A little more than half did not believe these were being used effectively. Comments suggested that information of more relevance to the students like bus and dining schedules be added as well as interactive maps and events of the day. Users also suggested these displays could be turned off overnight to save energy. When asked about virtual reality services, most users had not but were interested in trying it out.

When it comes to getting technology help, most respondents ask friends first but they also consult Duke web sites. For equity of access to Duke resources, most users reported satisfaction but there were a few comments that indicated this could be improved. One respondent was a humanities major who took a statistics class and found it very difficult to get started using the software. Another commenter reported experiencing rudeness when she reached out for assistance. 

Discussion

Feedback: A response from the staff who can address the issues raised at the two presentations will be presented in April.

Q: For users who suggested a forum in Sakai similar to Piazza: what are the issues with using Piazza?

A: The STEM classes used it heavily but humanities students were resistant to dealing with more email and didn't want to use Piazza. Piazza does require that instructors make modifications to improve the user experience. Some professors have their own websites which also lead to some user frustration. Users could get to class content faster if it was stored in a common location. That said, there was a hope that Sakai could be a common tool for classes. There have been posts in Piazza that should have been in Sakai. Sakai lacks a "save" or "draft" option and this is a source of frustration for professors who are composing messages or announcements that are lost if the window is closed or the session interrupted without posting the content. 

Q: Does the "app" model for Sakai where additional tools can be added to the main product resonate with the work of Learning Innovations?

A: There is a desire to find a better balance for how to use Sakai without diminishing performance. This balance also is important for respecting professor choices while lessening cognitive load. In the end, it may helpful to choose better defaults in Sakai to address that balance (professors setting up a course are having to turn off multiple features). The Learning Innovations group were very interested in studying the slides and responses that relate to Sakai as they prepare for the upgrade to come. 

Q: How do we better get this information regarding wifi issues outside this survey window so that we can take steps to fix problems?

A: Display a message on the "Fix my campus" that provides information for how to report problems. At one point, this message was pinned to the top and it may have removed. OIT will follow up to see why it's no longer there. As for addressing issues, users should report where they are and what device they are using since issues may be related to particular hardware or building problems. It would be helpful to have a reporting process that is faster to complete without as many questions. It is also complicated when the behavior is intermittent and by the time a report has been submitted, the issue has gone away. The new Planisphere web tool may help us identify problem devices and fix or remove them.

Q: When users are referring to the "CoLab", is this for the program or the physical space?

A: In most cases, it's the physical space. 

Feedback: There seems to be a misalignment between what instructors and students want when it comes to technology. Modifying the "defaults" in the tools is a start but there are still faculty who are not interested in improving the course settings and there are technology-savvy students who want these changes for their online experience. There are situations where a student may want a feature activated while the instructor has purposefully decided not to make that option available. This could party be addressed by conversations between these groups, at least so that expectations are clear. Norms may vary from class to class, but some discussion can at least mitigate how different the experiences are. Students want to know if they can use the course evaluation to provide feedback but it was suggested an informal conversation might be more successful getting the changes they want or understanding why it's not an option. Ultimately the faculty want to help the students learn. Faculty indicate it's very difficult to see what other professors have done in Sakai and apply these changes to their own courses. This might be an opportunity in this survey to ask for specific suggestions on how instructors have modified Sakai that students wished were done on a wider scale. This would allow best practices to surface.

Q: What emerged from the survey that was a surprise?

A: The poor experience with the wifi service was unexpected. There seemed to be a large gap between expectation and reality. The desire for more training on IT services especially for first year students was also an interesting result of the survey. 

GRADUATE SURVEY

Last year's survey had 59 participants and the survey covered email, the OIT Service Desk, wifi, Box, and ePrint. The survey was kept short to increase responses. This year's survey offered more open-ended questions and covered additional services that were relevant to the graduate students. These changes resulted in 105 respondents. Negatives from last year's survey included wifi as an issue with 25% dissatisfied and requests to have ePrint in Research Drive buildings (this was not feasible because of the requirement to integrate with the Medical Center network).

The breakdown of the participants in the survey showed the greatest participation in the Graduate school but without representation from some of the other professional schools, something the organizers hope to improve next year. This was also true of STEM vs. non-STEM students. The goals of the survey were to get a sense of current issues and interests and gain a picture of overall satisfaction and identify specific issue areas and strengths. The key results from the survey showed overall high satisfaction with and usage of services. Feedback included improvement in wifi options off-campus. The positive feedback from the survey indicated overall high satisfaction with wifi, Duke Box, and the computing cluster as well as security as a high priority.

For individual services, respondents were very satisfied with Wifi. Graduate students were not heavy users of ePrint but those that utilized the service were satisified with it. Specific feedback on these services suggested that on campus, wifi is reliable but is problematic at American Tobacco or other downtown offices with particular trouble in conference rooms. The CIMEAS building was also mentioned as having wifi coverage problems. Respondents also said that the process for allocating funds to ePrint was not clear and they would like a color printer quota that refreshed each semester.

Most of the survey respondents used Duke Box and were satisfied with the service. Comments were very positive. There was a request to have a "group" Duke Box (content that is not owned by one individual). Participants also indicated that the securing of personal data as it is handled by Duke was important to them. This was also true of research data. Most respondents were very satisfied with how Duke was handling the security of their data, both personal and research. Most participants used Office 365 Webmail to access email with a significant number forwarding to Gmail. A large percentage were satisfied with email although some respondents seemed to be unaware they could forward to Gmail. Those that could not forward were most likely under Duke Health email policies which do not permit email to be automatically forwarded. There were some complaints about "clunkiness" on the mobile version or on slow connections.

A large majority of survey participants reported they were not aware of or did not use Academic Media Services but those that did use this service were satisfied with it. There was concern about how this question was phrased which may have led to the results and the committee plans to modify the language for next year's survey. Users were more familiar with the 3D Printing service but most did not use it. Those that did were satisfied and provided positive feedback on the service. "This resource (and the fact that it's free) is one of those things on campus that makes it obvious Duke is a world class institution." Survey participants were familiar with Software Licensing and most had gotten at least few products from the site. There were requests for software applications not on the site. In particular, respondents mentioned Maple because it was required for a class.

For the OIT Service Desk, participants used either phone or live chat to request assistance and were overall satisfied with the service. The students did inquire if it was possible to swipe their Dukecard to rent equipment instead of filling out a form. The Service Desk ITAC representative reported this has already been addressed. For messaging systems, the participants reported a variety of apps with the most popular being Slack followed by Google apps, and Jabber. But a large percentage indicated they did not use a system. Those who used Slack did inquire about the possibility of Duke licensing the product. For "Computing usage", respondents who did use this service were satisfied with it. There was a comment requesting better documentation. 

Survey participants were asked to give suggestions for next year's survey. One area was feedback for Sakai and specific issues with the service. Comments from this year's survey indicated issues importing Excel worksheets into the grade book. Another participant reported that final results for grades could not be tallied until they were published to the students. There were also performance issues in Sakai for resident TA staff with classes that have large enrollments. Most participants didn't know "Academic Media Services" by name so this should be more specific. And there was a need to support better distribution of the survey, particularly to Fuqua and the Law School.

There was a general overall satisfaction reported in the survey including comments such as "I have always found OIT to be prompt and helpful whenever I have needed something, and I appreciate that!" and "Learning to use Duke virtual machines was very helpful for my research."

Discussion 

Q: Could you clarify if the participants from last year's survey were indicating wifi needed improvement or that it had improved?

A: The participants were satisfied with the performance of wifi but wanted more installations especially in the downtown offices.

Q: Regarding Gmail, why is that product compelling compared to Dukemail?

A: Users like its appearance and feel it is more modern and nicer to use. This is especially true of the mobile app. They also like how seamless the experience is between Google apps. That said, a faculty member indicated he had a Gmail account but it was kept completely separate and the faculty member used Dukemail for work.

Q: Are the students aware that after they graduate, they can keep the Duke Box 50 gigabyte quota in a personal Box account?

A: The students had been making arrangements with other storage providers because they were not aware of this benefit. This indicates a knowledge gap that needs to be addressed. One person did make a comment about liking that this was available. 

Q: The undergraduate versus graduate surveys do report significant disparity in satisfaction with services such as wifi. Could this be a result of many of the undergraduates living on campus while graduate students mainly live off campus?

A: This is likely to be true. One aspect of residence hall living is that the physical equipment gets painted over or damaged. That said, there are issues with outdoor areas and specific residence halls. 

Q: Would it be helpful to offer specific blocks of time on a regular basis for students to report or work on wifi issues with OIT staff? How can the Raspberry PI devices help?

A: We have deployed the Raspberry PI devices in areas around campus but there are still gaps in coverage. The problems with wifi differ in that the dorm users report that the connections are dropping while outdoors it's difficult to connect. Users in the dorms may also switch to a data connection without necessarily reporting the issue to a service desk.

Q: Is the issue with phones or laptops or both?

A: It appears to be with both.

Q: One issue not in the survey is the lack of power outlets in older facilities like Trinity. Is this something that OIT can help get resolved?

A: We often focus on networking and wifi but this is an important issue. That said, batteries are getting better and we may invest in putting an outlet by every seat only to be in a similar situation with ethernet ports before the broad availability of wifi. Perhaps there could be a happy medium. Even in new spaces, the outlets are around the edges leaving cords dangling as tripping hazards.

Q: There are still some differences between the two surveys that may not be explained by where participants live. Is there interest in creating a more common survey with some differences between the two audiences?

A: Once concern is the point-of-view of the two groups. The undergraduates may be more idealistic with higher expectations of what is entitled to them while the graduate students tend to be realistic. It is also important to note that positive comments tend to be generalized while negative ones are more specific and actionable.

That said, there are still interesting differences with Duke Box which don't seem to be associated with "on" vs "off" campus. That could be because graduate students have specific storage needs for data. In the end, the suggestion is that the two organizations may want to consider having some common questions and phrasing.

Q: For the OIT Service Desk, a large group preferred online chat to other contact methods. Is that a generational trend?

A: The chat users are more than 70% students which does imply a generational preference.

Q: In the ITAC schedule perhaps in January, would it be possible to discuss the survey before it is sent out so that these suggestions can be considered next year?

A: Yes, that is something where the committee could provide feedback. For example, do students know that Panopto is where they would go for class recordings? What name do students use to refer to that service? ITAC could also provide connections for getting broader participation in other schools such as Fuqua which has a student tech chair.

 

5:25 - 5:30 – Student TechFairs – Jeannine Sato (5 minute presentation with discussion)

This presentation will provide data on the first annual student TechFairs held in February and ask for feedback on locations, IT topics selected, and timing of the events.  This discussion will be very helpful for future TechFair planning to ensure students fully benefit from the events.

We have been searching for ways to share our services with students. There aren't as many opportunities to interact aside from move-in day and student engagement with the Service Desk. Even in these instances, there is not time to discuss in greater detail what IT services are available to them. This year, we started holding "TechFairs" and each event was focused on a segment of the Duke population. The first, held in July, was directed toward staff and the second in November reached out to Faculty and finally two Student TechFairs were held in February. The participants loved the events and enjoyed getting practical information as well as handouts, food, and gifts. The challenge continues to be getting people to attend. They've been added to the Events Calendar and broadcasted on displays and in social media but it has been difficult to work around busy schedules. The Staff TechFair was very successful with around 230 attendees and indicate the staff enjoy participating. The Faculty TechFair did not have as many attendees with 75 participants but the audience was very engaged. The first Student TechFair was broadly advertised and provided lunch but the attendance at 71 was not as high as the organizers hoped it would be. The survey responses were high and those that attended the event were engaged and on average spent about an hour at the event. The second Student TechFair was held at the East Campus Marketplace during the evening hours. Attendance was higher with 109 attendees even though the event location was on the second floor. The Duke Blue Devil mascot was on sight to encourage students to participate.

Q: Is there a particular place, date, or time for this type of event for the students?

A: In reality, the attendance for both student TechFairs was actually very good. One alternative might be to hold the event at the beginning of the school year with the other activities where participants are more aware and receptive. 

Q: Is the Link meeting this type of need on West Campus? Do the students find the OIT Office hours at the Brodhead Center and Lilly at the beginning of the year helpful?

A: It was good to be able to ask questions in a less formal environment. In fact, the presence was extended an extra week due to positive feedback from students.

Feedback: Faculty could indicate the technical requirements for courses in January for prospective students so they could familiarize themselves with these applications similar to books in the syllabus. STEM majors are familiar with the CoLab space but students outside those majors may not find the location as compelling. Consider holding these events in the Brodhead Center or the plaza in front which might broaden the audience. It might be good to hold a smaller scale event on regular basis with a comparison being "Art Tuesdays" held inside the Brodhead Center. These are casual and offer "freebies" which tends to draw in participants. There are also "Club Fairs" held twice a year and this might be a good place to set up a table advertising IT services. 

Q: Does timing make a difference (middle of the weekday as opposed to the weekend)?

A: During the day and on weekdays is better since students tend to be off campus outside those hours. It is not common to see tables set up on the weekend. The Student TechFair on East Campus was held in the evening so a lot of the participants were already there to eat and the organizers offered desserts.

Feedback Summary: The TechFair could participate in existing events such as the "Majors Fair" or set up in a place where there is a lot of foot traffic.