Announcements (5 minutes)


Victoria Szabo calls meeting to order.  Asks for announcements, turns to Chase Barclay.

Chase Barclay: The undergraduates are working on the undergraduate IT survey, which will be sent out next week or right after spring break in order to get results before presentation on the state of IT from an undergraduate perspective. Please let us know if there are topics we haven’t addressed in the past that you’d like data on. Or any other things you’d like to include in the survey.  If so, please send them to me, Zoe or Preston.


Sunshine Hillygus:  Happy to review survey and give feedback if you need help with survey design, best practices, or methodology.


Colin Rundel: Routinely we get feedback from students unhappy with how faculty are using Sakai. Can you also get data on what faculty are doing well, so we can see good examples to learn from? 


Michael Greene: I’d be interested in knowing how many students have previous experience with Canvas.


Charlie Kneifel: In light of all that is going on I’d be interested in knowing the undergraduate view of research support.


Preston Nibley: Since we are moving from Sakai to Canvas, how much Sakai do we want on the survey?


Victoria Szabo: Would it be useful to ask what they really appreciate in a course management system?


Tracy Futhey: Yes, as we transition from Sakai to Canvas, ask what it is that they liked best about Sakai that we can make sure Canvas still does?  Please let Chase, Preston and Zoe know.  You all are presenting?


Chase Barclay:  We are presenting at the end of March.


Victoria Szabo: Tracy, update on research support?


Tracy Futhey: Yes, just a reminder, we are doing those research IT working groups:


  • We’ve set aside April 6--a Thursday in which there is no ITAC or Academic Council--to have a poster session at the Technology Engagement Center. We are using the 4-5:30 window. Come by and let us know if we are getting it right or not.
  • By April 6, our Working Groups will be close to having recommendations. This will give us a chance for a feedback loop that includes all faculty from the first phase and attendees from the second phase. It will give us a chance to cross-pollinate.
  • We will get a calendar invite out in a week.


Victoria Szabo:  Next up on the agenda, transition and Canvas.  We have a 20-minute presentation plan followed by a 15-minute discussion:


4:05 - 4:40pm: Spring Semester Update on the Transition to Canvas – Michael Greene, Sharon Kaiser, Cindy Lurie, Randy Haskins (20-minute presentation, 15-minute discussion)

  • What it is: Update on the status of the transition of Duke’s learning management system (LMS) from Sakai to Canvas.
  • 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. Today we will hear a general status update from Duke Learning Innovation as well as from users in the two schools (Fuqua and School of Medicine) that have already adopted Canvas. 



Michael Greene:

  • Please note the website, as well as the e-mail address lmstransition at Please don’t hesitate to reach out.
  • I want to reiterate the objectives of project, which is not just move from Sakai to Canvas, but to make a positive impact on the teaching environment at Duke. Canvas is a tool to help us do that. But with that transition comes changes in workflow, processes, thinking, and people management.  We are looking for a lot of different ways to achieve that.
  • We are getting ready for the summer cohort, as that is the first group that will have the opportunity to use Canvas.
  • The two biggest questions we are asked are “What about my project sites?” and “can we use it now for spring?” We are going to do project sites, but “no” is answer for spring.
  • Since we can’t really tell what the future holds, we’ve invited colleagues who have already implemented Canvas. Sharon Kaiser will speak about implementing Canvas at the Duke School of Medicine; Cindy Lurie and Randy Haskins will speak about Fuqua.


Sharon Kaiser:

  • We are excited that Duke is migrating over because we see it as enriching our resources.  We are a small school and a small team.
  • Back in 2016, for our 3rd-year program, we were looking for an LMS that could reach people all over the world, where the students were, and we came up with Canvas.  This was at the same time that the School of Physical Therapy was looking for something different.
  •  At the time the School of Medicine had its own internal LMS which after several iterations became Leo by DaVinci. Faculty and students weren’t really enjoying it.  Then the Pandemic came, requiring users to VPN from off campus, which was not ideal.  Ultimately the decision came in June that our courses would move to Canvas.  It was a small cohort, and I became the campus admin.
  • We are using Canvas for 55 of our 500ish courses. But, we are looking to standardize things and will have a full implementation.  Our curriculum is doing a major renovation, so it’s a good time to do that.
  • We are excited with the LI team taking this on and talking things through on both sides—what works well, doesn’t.
  • I’m here to answer questions.


Michael Greene:  We have time for questions at the end as well.


Randy Haskins (Associate Dean of IT at Fuqua) introduces himself and Cindy Lurie, with Fuqua’s Educational Technology Services (ETS.)

  • We launched canvas 7 years ago with our Executive MBA programs, which were 80% remote. This meant the learning platform was key to the learning experience of these students.
  • We did a quick rollout and applied to our residential programs in 2017 as well. We have created over 2100 courses.
  • We made the move based on feedback--students wanted something more intuitive and easier to navigate--as well as Fuqua’s Program Administration office hearing about a lot of their peer schools using Canvas. Also, we were hosting our own instance of Sakai which was very resource-intensive. 
  • We got feedback from our own student technology advisory group about Canvas.  Students liked it, but they didn’t like the inconsistencies with how the professors were using it. As a result, Cindy Lurie’s team worked hard to develop templates to have a base consistency across courses. This solved most of our issues we were having around consistency.


Cindy Lurie:

  • We liked the intuitive interface, it was easy to use.
  • We don’t have to create a lot of documentation or training videos. Canvas has a lot of documentation as well.
  • Canvas makes it easy to develop and apply templates.
  • We are working hard on getting faculty to be consistent in the way they administer canvas sites; that is ongoing. We have our own documentation pertaining to templates and following protocols which helps immensely.
  • We like the LTI integration. We do custom LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability integration.


Cindy Lurie: We used LTI for zoom, which allowed us to create zoom sessions for the faculty and also to make the recording available on their Canvas course sites.


Robert Wolpert: One of the things the students liked about Sakai was its close integration with Piazza. Is there something taking its place that is well enough integrated?


Michael Greene: Ed discussions is the new tool in place for this use case and it has been integrated with Sakai; the same kind of integration would occur with Canvas.


Randy Haskins: We are doing a lot of Zoom integration with Canvas, which is very easy to setup and used frequently.


Cindy Lurie:  We use the Canvas templates for our different programs, incoming student websites, and career management services. Some of the feedback we’ve gotten from students is that they “always want to be in Canvas” and it’s great with the incoming student websites, because students get used to Canvas from the start.  (Cindy Lurie shows slide examples of an MBA course, an online program and an incoming student website that use Canvas.)


Randy Haskins: It’s been a positive experience, and most of our peers are still on it. We are also excited to see Duke transition to Canvas. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

Chris Meyer:  Cindy, there is a faculty tool box on there. Can you talk about that?


Cindy Lurie: Yes, that’s one of our custom integrations. Others include:

  • Different ways of downloading files for submissions.
  • NameCoach allows for an mp3 download for all the students in a class. Then they can listen to the names, one one after another.
  • A custom integration that allows faculty to send announcements to students even if a course site isn’t published. 
  • Another customization allows announcements to be sent to teams within sections. 
  • A lot of little customizations have been requested, and the LTI integration makes it easy.


Victoria Szabo:  A follow up on questions about Teams.  How easy is it to use various components of the Microsoft ecosystem? I attempted to teach a course through Teams and found it awkward.


Cindy Lurie: I’m referencing teams in the sense of student groups, not Microsoft Teams.


Randy Haskins: We haven’t done any integration Teams.  We’ve used MS Teams (and Slack) in some of our online programs.


Victoria Szabo: Do we anticipate integration with Kits?


Tracy Futhey: Can you let folks know about Kits, for those who don’t know what it is?


Michael Greene:

  • Kits is a way of connecting people on the project with the tool; an application for folks who maybe don’t want to center their entire course inside an LMS. Or maybe they don’t have a class at all, but are working on a collaboration or project Kits facilitates that workflow.
  • We are currently evaluating what kind of relationship Kits will have with Canvas.  One way for us to make an impact in the teaching and learning environment is for us to reduce complexity. Kits with Sakai adds a lot of unnecessary complexity. We want the relationship to be different with Canvas.


Tracy Futhey: Kits is like a shopping cart; you get to pick what items your course needs access to. It automatically provisions the access in each of those.


Michael Greene:

  • If you use an LMS, it does the same thing. It creates some duplication.  We are working to resolve that.  
  • We’ve also started working with OIT on Office 365 integration. We didn’t have that in Sakai, but we will in Canvas.


Cindy Lurie: Canvas can do so many things because of ease of LTI.  But it’s sometimes a problem because people don’t know what they are going to do with it.


Colin Rundel: The ease of LTI sounds great.  But assuming that using third-party app will require an approval process. What will that look like?  Will it be publicly available with an open process? For example, we’d like to make GitHub a priority. 


Michael Greene:

  • The workflow will be easier.  We are having conversations with ITSO and Identity Management to see what a fast track workflow using the Canvas LTI might look like. The conversations are ongoing, but not on the website now.
  • If you have a tool you want to use, let us know. Get us in the queue. The priority right now are those applications that are already integrated with Sakai as well as the new Enterprise tools.


Robert Wolpert: Some of us used Sakai in ways differently than the Sakai people really intended. For example, my lecture notes are on publicly accessible websites. if we kept those in the LMS, they would be invisible. Not every faculty member wants to do that.


Randy Haskins: We start with a template, but give the faculty an opportunity to choose.


Cindy Lurie: We look at it from the perspective of student expectations. In cases like that, you would let the students know you are doing something different.


Michael Greene:  NetID integration has been implemented but we aren’t ready for mass user

engagement quite yet. The Duke address is available now, but you won’t see anything.


Tracy Futhey: I get to login with my Duke credentials?

Micael Greene: Yes. We can create a sandbox if needed, just e-mail us. We are also working on a gateway site with web services team. We are making a lot of progress each day. We have a dedicated site detailing the progress of the migration. Our migration strategy is opt-in. If you own a site, it can be migrated.


Tracy Futhey: But you won’t take them en masse, migrate everything from Sakai.


Michael Greene:

  • Right, we don’t want to end up with a lot of waste. You only migrate the stuff you want, with a priority for people teaching upcoming classes. Project sites are down the list.
  • Also, no student data storage. We don’t want to make Canvas site just long-term storage for your Sakai data. That’s one of the reasons that Sakai will be around for a while, for archival purposes. We are also looking at options for archival storage.
  • You will also be hearing a lot about Sakai-to-Canvas which is our custom migration tool being built by OIT. It’s under active development. It will be ready later this term.
  • People who are teaching this summer will be able to migrate their courses in a few weeks; everyone who is teaching this fall will be able to complete the migration before summer break.
  • Support strategy: Canvas documentation is fabulous, as was mentioned. We have access to a custom training portal. We also have access to a 24:7 help desk. As well as our end-user training.
  • We are planning to dive into a cohort model for this summer for those who want to teach in the fall. We have an 8-hour basic training scheduled, along with the migration.  We will have rolling cohorts throughout the summer.


Dave MacAlpine: I’m hearing two different things: how great and easy Canvas it is to use, but also give us 8 hours of your time this summer.  Is it really going to take that?


Michael Greene: I don’t think it takes that for everyone, but we are trying to encourage good training and learning the system. Some folks need it, some folks don’t.


Dave MacAlpine: Would having office hours be more efficient?


Michael Greene: I understand that sentiment.


Elizabeth Milewicz: What about training for librarians?

Michael Greene: Yes, anybody will be welcome for training. E-mail us.


David MacAlpine: What about a Microsoft Teams space where people can share notes?


Michael Greene: We had considered for support staff, but had not considered for global end-users….is that something that would be useful?


David MacAlpine: New faculty that come in, are they just dropped in, like they were with Sakai? 


Tracy Futhey: (To Fuqua team) Now that you’ve got it up and running, do you bring new cohorts in through it, or do you let them figure it out?


Cindy Lurie:  We reach out to faculty, we are smaller. We create every course site for the faculty and hand over to them to administer. Our faculty don’t need quite as much training. It’s up to the faculty how much they want. 


Michael Greene: Just to be clear, the 8 hours of training involves things like diving into your course and looking deeper at content. It’s not just things like “click here to do that.”


Sunshine Hillygus: I start working on my Sakai site 2 days before classes start…. I can’t imagine faculty signing up for the 8 hours. Because we don’t have someone to build our sites for us, maybe we could have a point of contact within our department?  There is also the “dreaded name issue.” [That preferred names may not be appropriately displayed across systems.]


Tracy Futhey:

  • We will take that offline to a different conversation (name issue)
  • Michael, could we explore with the various stakeholders this sentiment that has been expressed about requiring 8 hours of training?  Can we look at other ways to provide support and create the fast path?


Michael: Yes. Thank you.


Victoria Szabo: next item on the agenda is myREARCHHOME:


4:40 – 5:15pm: Discussion on myRESEARCHhome and myRESEARCHpath – led by Jamie Wylie and Blake Perrault (5-minute introduction, 30-minute discussion)

  • What it is: From the Office of Research Initiatives, myRESEARCHsuite offers researchers at Duke multiple resources to facilitate their work. myRESEARCHhome is a customizable portal to multiple tools and a wealth of information to guide research. myRESEARCHpath is an interactive website that helps researchers plan and execute the lifecycle of their project. 
  • Why it’s relevant: Today we come together for a listening session to hear feedback from ITAC on their usage of these tools, how they benefit from them, and what might offer room for enhancement or improvement. 


Victoria Szabo: First, a few words from Tracy:


Tracy Futhey: 

  • I want to thank all of you for this conversation, including ITAC members, who in previous meetings have brought up questions about myRESEARCHhome; questions about getting it to work the way they want to and meeting their needs. These questions in another setting might be viewed as criticism; in this room we know these needs are part of our everyday activity.
  • I thought the best way to way to advance this conversation is to bring all the folks who are involved in myRESEARCHhome together with this group to have a real conversation. This includes talking about the perceived shortcomings as well as the valuable things this group finds that you need more of. 
  • For the ITAC members, please communicate as honestly and graciously as possible the constructive input you have for the team. 
  • Thanks also for the members of the OASIS team and Office of Research Initiatives who are here today to hear this. Now for Blake and Jamie’s presentation:


Blake Perrault:  It will be a short presentation and we are looking forward to your feedback:

  • There are 3 core offerings in what we call the myRESEARCHsuite: myRESEARCHhome, myRESEARCHpath and myRESEARCHnavigators.
  • The first 2 are IT-based services, while myRESEARCHnavigators is a concierge service, a team of subject matter experts from across the institution who consult with researchers to guide them to the services they need. They also provide onboarding to new researchers.
  •  myRESEARCHhome is an online portal helps members of the research community manage their research portfolio by consolidating their tools and information in one place. It aggregates that information about you from various Duke systems.
  • myRESEARCHpath is a “how to,” a website that connects in with MyRESEARCHhome. This website helps members of the research community navigate the research ecosystem at Duke using a lifecycle-based interface.  It’s about process, policy, templates, things like that. It is a place to get guidance and connect with offices.
  • The 3 main goals of myRESEARCH suite are:

-To consolidate information from multiple systems or websites;

-To provide transparency into process, policy and projects;

-To provide a simple interface to save time and get support quickly.

  • You are not supposed to have to do a lot of training to use these tools—a goal is for these services to be intuitive.
  • Target users are Investigators, research staff, and research administrators, serving the entire research community. 
  • Start at

Jamie Wylie:  

  • myRESEARCHpath is intended to navigate the ecosystem at Duke. Prior to myRESEARCHpath, all of this info was on over 35 different websites.  We organized this information to be topic, or task-based.
  • Content can be refined based on relevancy to your role, research and sponsor using the “customize your path” filters.
  • We know it’s not perfect we are trying to weed out the noise so you are seeing the things that are more relevant.
  • It’s a stand-alone, publicly-facing Drupal website.
  • myRESEARCHnavigators are a group of SMEs. There are decades of institutional knowledge among this team of 7-8. They complete the suite with the human element
  • We have a steering committee that helps us set priorities and direction.  Two of the members are in the back to help weigh in (Geeta Swamy, Paula Morrison)



Mark Palmeri: I spoke with Rebecca about this before it was created, when it was just a vision.
Need and motivation for it was tremendous at the time. The bloat became tremendous and it still doesn’t get everything. The grant submission process has gotten longer.

Tracy Futhey: The grant submission process at Duke has become more complex due to what it takes to get it through to NIH.

Mark Palmeri: There are things that are still not there: P card clearing, actual spending per code, patents, conflict management plans, etc. All this other stuff that you have to go through is still coming through e-mail. I’m still getting monthly e-mails from grant managers.  Even the top-level mission for this still requires you to go elsewhere. It’s not what I can use for everything. To me, it’s just a bookmark manager.

Tracy Futhey: You first mentioned the bloat, which sounded like a critique. but now you are saying not enough things?

Mark Palmeri: At the time we didn’t have as much stuff that needed to be in there. All the scientific research integrity stuff is great; but I don’t want to go there to do all that. I don’t need to do my finances, or OTC, or p card all in the same--it’s not the right portal for all these different things.

Tracy Futhey: But it is the right portal for some things? It doesn’t discern the “everything” from the particular things?

Mark Palmeri: I would like to have smaller silos, that are more comprehensive, where my brain needs to be thinking at that time. For example, if I’m writing a grant, I only want a dashboard with everything related to the grant process. I don’t need the clutter of the huge massive dashboard.

Tracy Futhey: So the comprehensive nature is distracting you when you are trying to write?

Mark Palmeri: I still can’t do the financial piece of the grants management process there.  Digital signatures can’t be done there. The disparate nature makes it so that a single home base isn’t the right landing point for all this information.

Blake Perrault:

  • We’ve also heard this kind of feedback, and while we don’t have a plan to address all aspects of this right now, I can tell you about some of the things we are looking at currently. 
  • When we started, in our quest to consolidate things, we did try to get in everything for everybody. We continually added widgets and everything got equal weight.  It was a notion that was a hypothesis when we started: everybody wanted a dashboard of all these widgets
  • We have actually have built out more functionality with the widgets, if you expand, or drill into something in the widget. There is also a lot of information we have put on these widgets that people don’t know exists. Management plans are easily accessible from there, and people don’t know it.

Mark Palmeri: But different offices keep them. I get a 3-page .pdf on what I have to click to find everything…. links are outdated in a few months….they go to a different database.  Business managers and grant managers don’t use the same interface….

 Tracy Futhey: Let’s take Marks’ input, along with other faculty members. We can internalize it, come back, and talk about how to address these.

Mark Palmeri: Yes. I was involved with the early part of this. The overhead with the tasks you have to do have increased exponentially. So many more steps, it’s overwhelming.

Tracy Futhey: There have become lots of new requirements and expectations from funding agency.

Sunshine Hillygus: I gave extensive feedback to Rebecca (poor Rebecca!)  but by the time I did it was too late to make changes needed by social scientists. I think the front end is nice. Kudos to you, I found it helpful for my federal funding. But, the finance piece is worthless. It doesn’t fit. We are doing monthly reports in Box.

Tracy Futhey: Does that work for you—the monthly reporting in Box—or do you find it equally useless?

Sunshine Hillygus: It turns out that it is different than what my grant manager tells me. I freaked out because I thought I had a negative balance. I have no idea how to make sense of finances on my various grants.

Victoria Szabo: There is a big difference between the advice function of your website and the “reflecting back” with what you have going on. Can you separate out the advice function of your website from the others? You won’t have as many widgets. It might reduce complexity.

Blake Perrault: We do have some ideas along the lines of moving away or providing an alternative to the widget layout.

Dave MacAlpine: Do you have a sense of the stickiness? My grants manager is right next door to me. I use the intent to submit, she prints it out. And then that’s it, and I never go back. I’ve surveyed additional faculty and it’s similar for them. Grants are submitted once or twice a year.  Are people using this regularly? Is there anything I can do to make it more effective for myself?  It doesn’t track things that are more important, like PI and mentor training.

Geeta Swamy: We do have use data, metrics data, but we did not bring that, since it was a listening session.

Tracy Futhey: That was intentional. The group was ready to come in with a presentation. We knew there was some pent-up perception from previous ITAC meetings.  The team can come back and present at a subsequent meeting, where we will have the opportunity to hear more from them and their forward-looking plans.

Geeta Swamy:  The majority of the funding has come from grants, not from the institution.  This explains the pace. This is not an excuse, just reality. We go through our goals and prioritize.  There are a lot of issues with “who is able to connect what to where” from a security standpoint. There is a long way to go. 

Tracy Futhey: Geeta Swamy is one of the members of the steering committee, a leader in the School of Medicine and also part of the Office of Research and Innovation. She has a foot in both camps. Having this conversation concurrently to the other one gives us an opportunity to look at institutional funding.

Mark Palmeri: I am managing graduate students, and am awkwardly a PI for them because I have no visibility of them. I can’t figure out where they are in the process. That is frustrating.
I have to send e-mails back-and-forth to my grant managers, excel files.  I think that’s why you hear criticism—if this is what the portal is supposed to be dealing with.

Geeta Swamy: It wasn’t meant to do that; it is a portal. There is no actual work happening in there.

Tracy Futhey: Mark, what you are talking about is the ecosystem workflow that happens within your unit. That is part of our challenge here, as we know going through the research IT needs process—many units layer on specific workflow or requirements onto the general institutional requirements which makes the workflow more complicated and somewhat unit-by-unit.

Mark Palmeri: I am surprised it is only funded by grants. Why didn’t that get more institutional support to fast track this?

Lindsey Glickfeld:  It’s only the place to look for some things, which can be confusing and frustrating. That’s why I don’t use it.

Tracy Futhey: So it either needs to have more, or be more explicitly scoped in what it does have?

Robert Wolpert: When you go there and try to find something, you don’t know if it’s your fault, or if it’s not there.

Sunshine Hillygus: Regarding the path customization--it assumes that everything I want to do is in the humanities; social sciences aren’t represented.  

Tracy Futhey: Prasad, anything on the NSOE end of things that you’d like to point out?

Prasad Kashibhatla: I haven’t talked specifically to people, but these are very common things I think, that people are bringing up.

Shamyla Lando: This is really good feedback.

Tracy Futhey: Thank you all for being gracious; thank you faculty colleagues for candor and kindness.

David MacAlpine: This can be a challenge. You can have 10 different things you’d like to see added to the tool, but at the same time there is the bloat.

Geeta Swamy: it’s the same with our SOM schools and departments. People wanting it to do different things in different ways. It gets messy when you really want to figure out where the issue is.

Tracy Futhey: Paula Morrison is another one of our steering committee members.

Victoria Szabo: I really like myReports and myWork Portfolio; they are very helpful.

Shamyla Lando: Appreciate the feedback; thank you all for being here. We have to improve together.

Victoria Szabo: Thank you

End of meeting