4:00 - 4:05pm: Announcements and Approval of 9/29/22 and 10/13/22 Minutes (5 minutes)


  • Approve meeting minutes of September 29th and October 13th.  


4:05 - 4:45pm: Special Guest: Yakut Gazi (40 minutes discussion / Q&A)


  • What it is: Each year ITAC has the opportunity to hear from selected university leaders. This week we are pleased to welcome Duke’s first Vice Provost for Learning Innovation and Digital Education, Yakut Gazi, who will answer questions and share her perspective as it relates to the next five years of learning and education at Duke. 
  • Why it’s relevant: In her new role at Duke, Yakut Gazi oversees digital and lifetime learning operations, including the pre-college and retirement programs. Previously, she was the Associate Dean for Learning Systems at Georgia Tech Professional Education. Her higher education experience spans over 29 years in four countries. ITAC members are invited to pose their questions to her.


David MacAlpine -  This week the focus is on Education and Learning Systems at Duke and so we have the Vice Provost of Digital Education and Lifetime Learning Yakut Gazi here.


Yakut Gazi - I’ve just completed my 100th day.. and I’ve been in this space for 30 years in higher education, Qatar, Turkey, the United States & Spain.  Most recently I was at Georgia Tech and I oversaw growth in online programs and courses from around 2k students when I arrived there and now it’s over 19k students.  It was great to be a part of that project because it as all about access and affordability, so I bring a lot of that experience and hopefully we will find opportunities to expand Duke’s impact and amplify and expand access to online programming. 


So, the question in many of your minds is probably, “Why now, and why should we do things differently at Duke? As we finish our first century and now look at the next century in a couple of years?”  We are a great brand here, we are a top ten institution – we show that what we do is successful.   I will go through the drivers that change our thinking in higher education.   I will do that very quickly.


Why the need for change?


Churn of Knowledge:

Technology is impacting jobs and with that is a skills gap. Even our graduates in certain fields we are producing will have to retool in a year.  There are also some demographic shifts, an aging population, and an enrollment cliff that you may or may not be aware of. The traditional student population that Duke—and our peers—attracts is going to shrink. The fastest-growing segment is 65+ and then second fastest is, 50+ especially in this country. Beyond the reality of long life learning it is also likely that 50% of students born today will live than 100 years.


Rethinking Education as a 60 year perspective:

There is a great opportunity to look at education from a 60-year perspective and not a 20-year perspective.  There are also sociological, societal, technological, and financial security challenges things that bring these concerns forth, higher education is seen as a solution to help with these shifts. 


Innovation is taking place:

The last 10 years were about content, and content is not education and learning experiences. These next 10 years has to be about learning services and student engagement and education. I mentioned that I was at Georgia Tech has 3 programs at scale that are online (Computer Science, Cybersecurity, Analytics ) all of them are less than $10k.  Boston University has a $24k MBA program.  They grant you the same diploma as a traditional program and they grant you access to the same alumni network. 


The value proposition is there for the students:

This is a little bit controversial, but why would a student come to Duke to get a Data Science Degree for $56k / year plus $20k+/year times 2 years, in living expenses when that student could go to Georgia Tech and get one for less than $10k total and that can be completed online?


Modality & Business Model Innovation

So innovation is happening already in terms of modalities and business models, you may say Duke is late to the game but hopefully our brand is powerful and our alumni network is worldwide.  


Life-Long Learning Journey

I learn, I work, I retire is the old way of thinking, but now it is more like I learn, I work, I learn, I go in a new direction..  Multiple entry points and multiple exit points.  However, the navigation is difficult because there is no prescribed path.  Now there are about a thousand different credentials in this space now.


3 Pillars:


We are in the business of Lifetime Engagement with Learners:  Not in the business of technology or program creation.


Data Informed Practice – We need to have a research and data informed practice..


Digital Education to remediate, amplify, and accelerate.  – Duke has been in the business of identifying talent rather than remediating knowledge gaps for our students, but an impact of COVID has been more students with deficiencies in Science and Math which may affect us in the future as we embrace life long learning. Using Digital Education as a continuum from 1%-100% it is not purely online – it can be in person or online. 


How do these pillars support our work?

Using these pillars to move us from a Supply Based program perspective to a Demand-Based Program, what does the market and industry want and creating those programs in the non-credit space for lifelong learners.   It’s important for us to listen to what the market is saying and develop those programs.


Apply Research in Learning and Talent Strategy

We will have to leverage existing centers that focus on teaching and learning or generate new centers that can generate new data and research  workforce development, talent and strategy teaching and learning in digital education.  We will have to stay true to inclusion, diversity, universal access and the last mile problem is right in front of our eyes.




Steffen Bass - Demographic Cliff – I was under the impression that being in an elite institution that has an acceptance rate of less than 6% that we were shielded from these cliffs?

Why would one pick Duke versus the $10k program at a different institution? What are your target customers?


Yakut Gazi - I would disagree with you because  a person living in Turkey won’t afford your $70K, if they are not here anymore.  I agree with your data for Duke Alumni in London, or US, or some other countries like Germany, but there is a global audience to consider.  There are not a lot of online programs for them to benefit from where they are. And the affordability factor only goes but so far.   I would not have come to Duke had I not seen that activating global network initiative from the President.


Steffen Bass -  So what is it you want to do, you want to create programs at Duke that can compete at that price scale, or create programs that are so attractive that we can offer at our price scale?


I don’t think we have to make that choice, we could offer geo-pricing that a lot of institutions are not doing right now – so we can offer it here for 70k but for other countries use a different price.  


John Board -  COVID taught us that many of our programs are not ideal to shift online..


Yakut Gazi - What happened during COVID is not the best that happened. When we design for online learning it’s a 6-9-month endeavor with an instructional designer, graphics designer, etc.  Moving to overnight zoom teaching that’s not the same.  There needs to be a Digital Education Continuum.


Ultimately, lab-based courses are harder to do online..  Undergraduate education as a whole is very hard to do online.  However digital learning does give you access to recordings that can provide relevant content 


Shawn Miller – For engineering there is precedent with doing it well online such as Texas A&M’s model.   It depends on how we approach the design, the undergraduate education will be the last to transition because it was designed as a place-based setting.  


Yakut Gazi – I am not here to push for online at the undergraduate level.  I am here to advocate for digital learning because I know as a researcher it has power to enable lifetime learning – because it gives students extra time, it works. We have to put things in place for them to use that time wisely.  I am here for digital education and solving problems at scale.


David MacAlpine – I like the Lifetime Learning Marketing.   I hear all the buzz words, and all this but it sounds almost like a revenue grab, versus MIT’s open courseware.  Are we offering this for free or are we charging you $5k for a pre-k license on tying shoes?


Yakut Gazi – Duke has already been doing Coursera courses, access to the courses are free, but the credential comes at a fee.  Duke has already committed to that credential being affordable. If we are after change, like climate change, then it needs to be at scale it needs to be affordable.  If we are saying Duke is the climate institution it needs to be global it needs to be affordable, it can’t be in Durham.  


Ken Rogerson - I’ve been thinking of the last mile thing for 25 years.   When a Duke student thinks about this they are thinking about bad cell service in the dorms.   I would be extremely interested in how you envision Duke with the last mile .  My partner teaches in the public school system, how do we do that and how can we help with that. 


Preston Nibley -  Is the goal to eventually have a credential of some sort that is a variant of an online degree?


Yakut Gazi -   Quite frankly  - I don’t know but I do want to have a conversation about Digital Education, including a collection of courses to be offered online. 


Preston Nibley – I only mention that I’m only a sophomore, and I see upper classmates leverage the Duke Alumni network and then friends.. they leverage that network because they see that trust that there is a shared experience.  I wonder if we open that network to a broader network – then I’m wondering how the integrity would be affected.  Having a Duke banner on a LinkedIn. That goes a long way and if that goes from a Master’s degree, undergraduate degree, to a class or a certificate, it will affect that integrity.


Yakut Gazi – There is an aspect about preserving the sanctity of doing this.  However, there are still ways to put quality products together, let’s not throw away a modality altogether. There are good ways to teach online and crappy ways to teach online, just like the same in person.   So, let’s focus on the power of digital education, nowhere in this conversation am I saying I’m for creating a fully online undergraduate experience or degree. 


Paul Jaskot – To the 60-year perspective …  we need to think about financial aid as a 60-year perspective?  Not just an access problem… 


Digital education is also a modality without a curriculum. As we redoing the university curriculum, we are thinking do we need to think about Art History, do we need Languages? We aren’t thinking do we need a room to teach in person or will it be online? 


What’s the charge to the curriculum reform committee and is it broad enough? The sooner you all can think about where you see that curriculum, the sooner someone like me gets less nervous. 


Lindsay Glickfeld -  What gets us nervous,  is to think about will this curriculum falling on the shoulders of faculty.


Yakut Gazi – We all know you can’t do anything without faculty. You can incentivize the faculty but that’s not giving them more time, it’s changing their priorities. This is a key problem and constraint


Shawn Miller  - How fast can we grow all these efforts and put more money in to add more faculty, and also add to Duke’s bottom line. Is this part of the faculty members core membership.. it will get fuzzy as Duke pivots to this.  If you are hired to teach undergraduate students, it’s hard to think about your commitment towards them greater that 4 years.  


Lindsay Glickfeld – do you imagine this faculty makes the content and walk away from it or will students need questions and the staff have to be around. 


Yakut Gazi – There is a design component and in some cases there is a 6-9-month delivery mechanism and scalability, we do the heavy lifting


Colin Rundel  – Statistical science department has a 40 student cap.. we can’t do more  - sure 80 students could bring us more $ but we are maxed at 40 students.   I’ve been involved with MOOCs and the pedagogy is compromise and I’m not a fan of it.  How would we do this, how do we scale this? 


Yakut Gazi – The way we did it at Georgia Tech , we changed the model for delivery, the instructional model is different, business model is different.  You need to find things that can scale.. topics like Cyber security and analytics had high demand at Georgia Tech. As those scale, the faculty member is the owner of the course and the person behind it but the TA’s dealt with the students.  It requires an army of TA’s .


Joanne VanTuyl – Regarding the market demand, where does that fit with Liberal Arts?  How do foreign languages and literature scale?   


Yakut Gazi –There is a huge need for whole person education STEM skills and human skills. 


Chris Meyers -  I was classical trained in computer science, but now as an older learner I ‘m interested in literature, humanities etc..  


Shawn Miller – Skills half-life is 3-5 years.. so, most people end up having to retool.  How did you find out what to do next?  Duke Alum will graduate, instead of going somewhere else they can come back and retool in the next 3-5 years.



4:45 – 5:05pm: Mid-Semester Update on LMS Transition Project – Michael Greene (10-minute presentation, 10-minute discussion)


  • What it is: Update on the status of the LMS Transition project evaluating the Canvas platform as a replacement for Duke Sakai.
  • Why it’s relevant: The LMS transition impacts many areas of the institution and offers a significant opportunity to review and improve strategies, operations, integrations, and policies. This project and platform play a key role as we seek to create positive institutional impact on the teaching and learning environment at Duke.


Shawn Miller describes the Traditional Student Journey:

  • You apply you get accepted
  • You do payment registration
  • You do enrollment management
  • You have a learning experience
  • You are credentialed
  • Leave the university and then come back for alumni parties


Now the Lifelong Learner Journey becomes cyclical: You never actually leave the loop, the goal is to create as much of a frictionless process for any learner, across the board.  Undergrads, and graduates too, but it’s also friends anywhere in the world, there tolerance for getting into a new learning experience is very small.  


So how does this look:

  • What’s a Learner Profile and pathway look like
  • Will Learners be able to go into system and see their possible pathways are as they take different courses.
  • Customer relationship management – interaction tracking will we know what they took 5 years ago and what they need to take now.
  • What kind of services will we need for people that are not Duke learners
  • Advising, mentoring , how much support, tutoring, training coaching, learning analytics, are people getting through them.
  • What kind of credentials are we offering.  
  • Most people that are working need different types of credentials / badging and that eco systems is kind of developing.
  • We are thinking of building all these things at the same time.

To be able to do so we have to change out our LMS to one that supports students being able come into at different points along the way. 


David MacAlpine – All of the tools are already existing.. . so I hear Innovation means technology would change.


Shawn Miller –I envision learning innovation as being modular.. and what we have to do is work on building the glue for those systems.  


Yakut Gazi -  LMS – transition – is based on a life time learning LMS which relates to our efforts to change out our LMS and Michael’s presentation 


Michael Greene – Sakai Transition Update –  Sakai has done well for us for 10 years considering that it was never designed for those needs.  It’s been about 6 weeks since we started all of this, since September 1st


The  Project Team Objectives:

1.       Create positive institutional impact on the teaching and learning environment at Duke

2.       Provide a platform. 

Recent Activity:

  • Engage with Instructure – who makes Canvas
  • Published website and contact address - https://lmstransition.duke.edu/
  • Notified academic administration 
  • Identified functional stakeholder group (FSG)
  • Began ITSO and procurement review

Before the end of 2022:

  • Finish evaluation and announce decision – by first week of December
  • Draft migration strategy
  • Draft a survey for broader Duke implementation and configuration decisions
  • Begin technical configuration 

Spring 2023

  • Communicating and over communicating
  • Collect input from Duke community configuration decisions
  • Identify early adopter audiences 
  • Engage with instructors’ implementation tam 
  • Configure canvas platform and support services

Begin content migration

  • Train and consult faculty and TA’s 
  • Begin non-credit experimentation 

John Board:  Several Duke Schools are already running Canvas, and many of Duke peers are already running Canvas and also did the migration from Sakai to Canvas..  Most of our peers have voted with their feet (by being on Canvas)


Paul Jaskot – We need easy content Migration


Tracy Futhey – That’s the thing to reassure people, it’s the content migration that we are going to focus on getting right. 


Michael Greene – That’s all true, but it’s unrealistic expectation to expect that things built in Sakai will come over to campus and work perfect.  Can that be in the notes please!!


Shawn Miller – Sure content we can almost guarantee. Where things typically go wrong in LMS transitions, is for people with really deep quizzes and those tools don’t go over as smoothly.   


John Board – I use the LMS tool as a springboard for other tools like Gradescope.


Colin Rundel – If faculty know that there are people that will help with the transition it goes a long way to helping faculty be more comfortable.  


Chris Meyer – There is a data retention policy for the LMS that specifies 5 years, but we have 10 years for data in Sakai. 


Michael Greene – There is not a plan to shutoff Sakai when we go to Canvas, so Sakai data would remain at least for some time.  


Tracy Futhey – We should bring to this group a plan to endorse our defined retention policy at 5 years.


Shawn Miller – In our past experience – maybe Ed, Chris or Tracy, we kept our data for maybe a year..


Ed Gomes – It was two years


Yakut Gazi – A lifelong learner may come back to our programs and how do we think about that it will have implications for record retention policy….  



5:05 – 5:15pm: Update from Common Solutions Group – led by Tracy Futhey and John Board

  • What it is: The Common Solutions Group (CSG) works by inviting a small set of research universities to participate regularly in meetings and project work. These universities are the CSG members; they are characterized by strategic technical vision, strong leadership, and the ability and willingness to adopt common solutions on their campuses.
  • Why it’s relevant: CSG meetings comprise leading technical and senior administrative staff from its members, and they are organized to encourage detailed, interactive discussions of strategic technical and policy issues affecting research-university IT across time. We would like to share our experiences from the most recent meeting.


Topic was deferred for a future meeting