ETMS at the ELI 2012 Conference

ELI annual meeting logoLast week Jeho Park and I both attended the ELI 2012 Conference in Austin, TX. ELI stands for the Educase Learning Initiative and is the educational technology arm of Educause. Their annual conference is an opportunity for educational technologists, librarians, CIOs, faculty, and students to get together and talk about new and emerging technologies, new initiatives on supporting teaching and learning, and other topics. This year ELI sponsored a special Roundtable on Learning Analytics which I attended. The Roundtable consisted of 20 participants who got together for a special session on each of the three days of the conference. In addition to several introductory presentations on leadership and leading change and on the field of learning analytics, there were also presentations by ELI members who have implemented learning analytics on their campuses. One of the presenters was Dr. John Fritz from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He presented on a tool called “Check My Activity” that they developed for their instance of Blackboard. Dr. Fritz will be presenting via videoconference at A Bite of Learning on March 19th so be sure to attend if you’d like to learn more. Most of the learning analytics tools focus on identifying students who are struggling in order to provide appropriate interventions.

Jeho and I also presented at an Innovation Showcase Session on our “A Bite of Learning” lunchtime speaker series. The Innovation Showcase Session consists of three 15-minute presentations followed by breakout discussion groups.  Our presentation focused on the lessons we’ve learned over the past two years in organizing and managing a successful speaker series. Our session was well received and the attendees seemed to appreciate the practical suggestions and advice that we offered. I also facilitated a “Learning Circle” on accessibility. This is not a topic I know a lot about, but fortunately there were some experts in the group who knew quite a lot so we had a lively and informative discussion. A trademark of the annual ELI conference is their emphasis on trying out new formats for presentations. In addition to regular sessions and the Innovation Showcase Sessions and Learning Circles, there were also several debate/discussion panels, an ELI game, and “Experience IT Sessions” where participants could try out different technologies.

One of the highlights of the ELI conference is the annual presentation of the Horizon Report. The Horizon Report describes emerging technologies that are expected to have an impact on education over the next five years. This year the report focused on mobile apps, tablet computing, game-based learning, learning analytics, gesture-based computing, and the “Internet of Things.” The Horizon Report is published by the New Media Consortium and ELI. You can read the full report by downloading the PDF at http://www.educause.edu/Resources/2012HorizonReport/246056.

Jeho and I had a very rewarding conference experience, as well as some truly excellent Texas BBQ, so feel free to ask us about some of the other sessions we attended.

2012 Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award

Call for Entries for the 2012 Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award

The Sakai Teaching and Learning community is seeking entries for the  
5th annual Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award (TWSIA) competition.  
The award recognizes innovation and excellence in technology-supported  
teaching, academic collaboration, and student engagement. Since the  
first call for submissions in 2008, educators from institutions around  
the world have submitted their entries in the annual competition.

New this year is the creation of a separate category for portfolio  
sites, which will be judged by updated criteria. The other award  
categories are: "Higher Education: Face-to-face," "Higher Education:  
Fully Online or Hybrid Course," "Primary and Secondary Education  
(K-12)," and "Project Sites & Other Uses of Sakai." We look forward to  
entries from those using the Sakai CLE and also those pioneering the  
Sakai OAE (Open Academic Environment).

Entries are now being accepted on the Open Ed Practices, which  
provides information for applicants on how to enter the competition,  
including a description of the award categories, and the rubrics and  
definition of innovation used to judge entries.

The closing date for entries is March 2, 2012. Winners will be  
notified May 1, 2012 and may have their expenses paid to Atlanta,  
Georgia to present their winning entries at the Jasig/Sakai  
Conference, June 10-15, 2012.

To apply for the award, and for more information, please go to  
www.openedpractices.org/twsia.

Contact: 2012 TWSIA Committee Chair: maggie@thanospartners.com

Kate Ellis
Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning
Indiana University Bloomington
kdellis@indiana.edu

February 2012 update from the CIO

This is the February 2012 update from the CIO, with news about a number of projects.

Ultipro
CUC switched over to Ultipro for payroll and benefits in late December, in time for the new tax year. Ultipro is Software as a Service (SaaS), delivered over the internet.  Since it is used for processing payroll and benefits it will no doubt become familiar to all HMC employees.  It includes a number of self-service options that allow you to change things like the address and phone number that HR has on record for you.  We are delighted to say that Ultipro is the first application to be included in our Identity and Access Management (IAM) initiative.  The immediate effect is that you will not get a new username and password for Ultipro but instead you will use your HMC Credentials to access the site.  Later phases of the IAM initiative will include self service password management for your HMC Credentials and inclusion of other applications, so that once you’ve logged on to one application, you won’t be challenged for a username and password when you open the next application.   Eventually, Ultipro will serve as the “authoritative source” for employee information, and we will use the information it contains to trigger automated creation and deletion of accounts on many systems.

EMSCampus
F&M’s Isabel Jordan played the role of guest author and wrote for us about the upgrade of EMS to EMS Campus.  EMS Campus is shared between all of the Colleges, and operated by Pomona College.  The registrars were particularly interested in this upgrade as it will provide an online process to build the class schedule each semester.

CIS service vision
I wrote earlier about our BAO and CIS service initiative, which ended in early January.  We owe the members of the Business Office Leadership Team (BOLT) a debt of gratitude for their help with this initiative.  We are currently digesting what we learned from the experiment but know already that we would like to extend several elements into the future and across the college.  The first is a new commitment on our part to make more use of the Footprints ticket system.  Read more about this in the article CIS to make more use of Footprints ticket system.

ProfSOS
Kerry Karukstis recently announced the launch of ProfSOS (“student offered support”) which offers faculty assistance from students on specific tasks.  CIS built the ProfSOS application by linking together a number of cloud and local services.  Calvin Tong has written a nice article explaining this in more detail.  We were able to get ProfSOS up and running in a matter of hours, whereas we would have had to tell Prof Karukstis to wait for quite some time if we were going to use our internal staff and server resources to accomplish the same task.  This is one of the key benefits of the cloud computing offerings that we are taking advantage of.

UCS and virtualization
Speaking of internal staff and resources, our systems and network group has been busy since the arrival of our Unified Computing System (UCS). A UCS is basically an integrated set of servers contained in one cabinet. We are using ours to host a VMware virtualization environment. The systems and network staff set the environment up during the break and are busy converting physical servers into virtual servers. There are now eighteen production systems housed on the UCS.

Educational Technology News
Elizabeth Hodas wrote about the Spring Bite of Learning series, which has gotten off to a terrific start; lots of people attend and the discussions are lively.  Among the topics coming up this semester are presentations on collaboration with Google Apps, on classroom walls that talk and on bringing research alive with social media.

Elizabeth also wrote about a Kaltura video pilot that we are running this semester.

Network and infrastructure work
At the January Board of Trustees meeting, we provided an update on our network and infrastructure work. (In the Fall, I uploaded the September PPCPC presentation). We have completed inventory of our network equipment, which is housed in 23 locations across campus.  We will now engage a vendor to validate our inventory and help with design of a new network.  We are obtaining pricing for replacement of switches and routers (71 of them across campus) and anticipate working with BAO to develop an financial plan that will allow continuous investment in the network infrastructure.  We have identified a couple of possible locations to which we can move equipment out of our data center (in particular, we’d like to move the UCS I mentioned above) and are evaluating connectivity and costs associated with those locations. Under the auspices of CINE we are also evaluating options to increase the diversity of our internet connections with Los Nettos, our Internet Services Provider (ISP).

Email and Calendar
The email and calendar team are making steady progress on email migration from Zimbra to Google Apps.  They are currently scheduling migrations one department at a time, although they are also doing individual migrations on request.  We are finding that demand is slightly outpacing our ability to get the accounts created and the email and calendar information transferred.  Given the prevalence of Outlook as an email and calendar client in many of the administrative departments, we have decided to offer them two accounts, one in Office 365 for email and calendaring and one in Google Apps for collaborative document editing. Internally in CIS we have moved much of our document creation and editing to Google Apps and we don’t miss the days of passing different versions of Word and Excel documents around!   Read more in Cindy Abercrombie’s article Email and Calendar Project Update.

That’s quite a list of work for the first two months of the year.  Enjoy your Spring semester!

CIS to make more use of Footprints ticket system

Partly as a result of our recent BAO and CIS service initiative CIS has committed to making more effective use of the issue tracking system Numara Footprints.  This system is housed at Pomona College and is used by most of the Claremont Colleges, though each has a separate section in the database.

CIS has developed a process for working with the ticket system which identifies roles, responsibilities and the stages in the ticket life cycle. There’s a quick overview in the following slideshow.

Essentially, there are three roles and three life cycle stages. The roles are “user” (you, the customer!),  ”assignee” (members of CIS staff that do the work), and “owner” (member of CIS staff responsible for guiding the ticket through to completion).  The “owner” plays a customer advocate role to ensure that we provide the service we aspire to provide.

Why would you care about any of this? If we put issues in a ticket system they are less likely to be forgotten, and are seen by more than one pair of eyes. We will be able to track the work we do at CIS better, and build a knowledge base of solutions to common problems.  You don’t have to know the details of who does what in order to see your requests answered.  And we’ll be able to ask you for specific feedback about individual service requests.

I am very impressed with CIS staff member’s quick adoption of our process.  We’ve had a couple of “ticket squashing” pizza parties that resulted in closing large numbers of issues and, when we identified nearly 200 older tickets that did not have an owner assigned, the group pulled together to eliminate this problem in less than one day.

Kaltura Pilot in Spring 2012

As you may know, the Educational Technology and Media Services group has been conducting a pilot of a lecture capture system in the Learning Studio Classroom. (You can read the details here.) The piece that’s been missing, however, is an easy and convenient way to upload and distribute the lecture capture videos to the faculty and students. We’ve also been looking for a video streaming solution that allows faculty, staff and students to upload videos by themselves. Our current video streaming server does not allow self-service uploading and distribution.

One of the solutions that we’ve been interested in is Kaltura, a video hosting service that we’ve seen demonstrated at several conferences. It’s been of particular interest because it has a tool that integrates with Sakai, our course management system. During the Fall 2011 semester we tested a free demo account and decided to go ahead with a limited pilot in the Spring 2012 semester.

We have several faculty who have agreed to help us test Kaltura this semester. In addition to faculty who will be using it as a test of the distribution part of our lecture capture system, we also have several faculty who will be testing it for uploading their own videos and distributing them to their students via Sakai.

We’re looking forward to hearing the facultys’ feedback on how well Kaltura meets their needs. Stay tuned for more news on both the lecture capture system and the Kaltura pilot.

Spring 2012 A Bite of Learning Series

Prof. David Vosburg presenting at A Bite of LearningThe Spring 2012 A Bite of Learning series has started off with a bang with two very well-attended presentations. The first was by Prof. David Vosburg from the HMC Chemistry department. Prof. Vosburg spoke about his experiments using an app called AirSketch on his iPad. AirSketch allows an instructor to bring PDF or JPEG files up on the iPad screen and annotate them. The iPad connects wirelessly to a laptop that then projects the annotated images in real time to a video projector. Over twenty faculty, students and staff attended and there was a lively discussion on how this technology could be used to enhance teaching and learning during class time.

The second presentation was by Prof. Char Miller, Director of the Environmental Analysis Program at Pomona College. Prof. Miller spoke on his use of Pomona’s Video47 service for streaming movies to his classes through Sakai. Personally, my favorite part of his presentation were his comments on why it’s important to use video in teaching. The attendees were very curious about the Video47 service and Prof. Miller demonstrated his use of the video streaming technology in one of his Sakai courses.

You can find the complete schedule of the Spring 2012 A Bite of Learning series on our web site at: http://www.hmc.edu/about1/administrativeoffices/cis1/edtech/a_bite_of_learning.html.

 

 

Working with Professor Kerry Karukstis on Prof S.O.S.

You may have heard or read the news about Professor Kerry Karukstis’ faculty-assistance program called Prof S.O.S., where S.O.S. stands for “student-offered support”.  Essentially, HMC faculty are given an easy way to get student assistance for an occasional or short-term project or task.  You can read more about Prof S.O.S. at:  http://www.hmc.edu/profsos/

Faculty fill out a form on a webpage, and the data from that form gets sent to a tracking system that students monitor.  Students choose a task they want to work on and provide updates on their work through the tracking system.

CIS was very happy to help Professor Karukstis with this project, and we enjoyed working with the student coordinators.  We combined several cloud-based solutions for the submission and tracking of tasks.  The software we used included FormStack (cloud-based form software), Google Apps (cloud-based email), and FootPrints (ticket tracking system hosted by Pomona College).

Here’s a quick summary of the technical background:
The form to collect Prof SOS data is hosted on FormStack.  When the form is submitted, the data is scraped together and emailed into a Google Apps account on our g.hmc.edu domain.  The FootPrints tracking system then pulls email from that Google Apps account and puts them into the ticket system queue.  Students work on the tasks in the FootPrints ticket system and provide updates through the ticket system.  The ticket system will automatically send out emails to the faculty member with each student update.  FootPrints provides Kerry and the student coordinators a broad view of all the tasks that are in or have gone through the system.