Mission and Vision
Teaching, Learning, and Technology Services (TLT), a division of Information Technology Services (ITS), empowers the entire campus community to utilize technology effectively by providing a wide range of learning opportunities, designing and maintaining engaging learning spaces, managing academic and workplace technology projects, and exploring new technologies that enrich digital life and learning. TLT strives to become a trusted service provider that encourages innovation and experimentation and a recognized leader in the design of learning spaces and the support of a technology-empowered community of learners.
The Spring 2012 Tablet Pilot
Tablet devices such as the Apple iPad and the Kindle Fire have rapidly become a popular “third device” alongside laptops and mobile phones. Currently used mainly for content consumption, tablet capabilities are evolving and they are already disrupting the development and sale of laptops. It is essential for WSU to explore the value that tablets might add to the e-Warrior Digital Life and Learning Program (DLLP), both today and in the near future. This spring, TLT conducted a pilot project that involved distributing Kindle Fire tablets to groups of students in four different classes in Nursing, Geoscience, Chemistry, and English. Students were provided with electronic versions of some or all of their textbooks for the course and asked to provide feedback every three weeks. Students reported using their tablets about 4-5 hours per week on average, spending approximately 50% of that time reading their course ebooks. By the end of the semester, 67% agreed that a tablet is a useful device academically, 75% agreed that WSU should include a tablet in the DLLP, and 85% agreed that they will buy ebooks for future courses. In the words of one participant, “I really loved using this device. It was perfect for a nursing student since we have tons of books that are very heavy and thick.” Additional pilots involving the distribution of Apple iPads to entire classes are planned for the fall.
Today’s students, faculty, and staff need instant answers to their questions about academic technology. Support teams must be able to create and update this information quickly, easily, and collaboratively. WSU’s solution, the TLT Technology Knowledge Base at learn.winona.edu is a robust, trusted, online support system for the entire university. Open for the world to read, the knowledge base was moved to a local production server in December. TLT checked all existing wiki content, pruned content that was no longer needed, and transferred articles to the new server manually. The old knowledge base was decommissioned on April 12th. Learn.winona.edu currently hosts 1161 active articles and the homepage has been accessed over 46,357 times since April. Statistics and a list of the most popular articles can be accessed online. Learn.winona.edu is part of an important transition in the provision of first and second-tier technical support that emphasizes efficiency, mobility, and learner-centered control. It also frees support staff to focus on deeper levels of support and professional development. TLT was honored this year when Minnesota State CIOs recognized learn.winona.edu for the Minnesota State 2012 IT Award for Excellence.
The Classroom Report Card
Many WSU classrooms are beginning to show their age and funds were made available this year to improve our classroom learning environments. At the request of the CIO, the VP of Finance and Facilities, and the Deans Council, TLT developed a rubric for evaluating a variety of classroom environmental conditions, from light and noise to instructional technology. During the semester break, members of TLT and Facilities Services used this Classroom Report Card to grade every scheduled classroom on the Winona campus. The data were refined and shared with stakeholder groups and used to support decisions regarding repairs, furniture purchases, and other improvements. This summer, the classroom assessment will be repeated following the completion of this first wave of classroom improvements. A baseline evaluation will be established for each classroom before the start of the fall term and the data will be displayed online in a series of classroom dashboards on learn.winona.edu. This project is an important step toward developing a collaborative, data-driven process for learning space improvement and transformation.
The Visual Media Studio
As more WSU instructors move what used to be their lecture content online, they are “flipping” their classrooms by asking students to engage in what used to be homework (e.g., group projects, active problem solving) during class meetings. Last year, TLT assisted in the development of the Math Achievement Center and the process of flipping developmental math courses. This spring, TLT worked with faculty and Facilities Services to completely transform Phelps Hall 101 into the Visual Media Studio. Using a modular design with five, six-person tables, a powerful multimedia workstation and high definition LCD screen at each table, and an application called Tidebreak ClassSpot PBL tying everything together, groups of students can use their laptops to work collaboratively at their tables and exchange information with other tables and the instructor instantly. This classroom is already promoting the flipping of courses in Mass Communication, Art, and Computer Science. According to James Bowey, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication, who taught in the lab this spring, “I will never teach photo journalism the same way again. I flipped my class in 30 minutes!” These classrooms will provide important data and serve as models for future projects.
Quality Matters and Online Course Redesign
TLT’s support of online and blended course design continues to grow. An increase over last year, 70% of all faculty teaching online and blended courses during the 2011-2012 academic year either participated in the TLT 5-week Teaching Online Workshop Series or received significant guidance and support from TLT to redesign their courses. Across the fall, spring, and summer administrations of the program, 45 faculty members participated. This enabled TLT to work closely with faculty on issues of course quality. TLT has integrated the Quality Matters standards and peer review process into its programming and support and this continues to be viewed positively by instructors. Two instructors who worked with TLT all year, Eric Brisson (Music) and Nicole Aulik (Biology), submitted online courses for formal Quality Matters review this spring. Music 120: Music Theory and BIOL 445: Immunology were both certified, the first two course to earn that distinction at WSU. To cover the cost of additional reviews in FY13 and train faculty to be certified Quality Matters peer reviewers, TLT obtained a $14,000 Next Chapter Grant this spring. This focus on quality is already having broader impact on the organization. This year, Business Administration agreed to apply Quality Matters standards to all of their online courses and TLT will assist them in this effort during the coming year.
New Data, New Insights
TLT helped implement three new campus assessment tools this year that will be integrated into the comprehensive performance assessment plans of both TLT and the eWarrior Digital Life and Learning Program (DLLP). The first annual WSU Alumni Technology Survey was administered this spring. Over 500 alumni at three years post-graduation were invited to participate. When asked to give a letter grade to the DLLP, 91% gave it an A or B, 96% indicated that participating in the program benefitted them post-graduation, 64% agreed that participating in the program made them more computer literate than their current co-workers, and 60% agreed that participating in the program helped them progress professionally. The second new assessment tool was the Center for Transformation in Students Services (CENTSS) Audit, an online survey used to evaluate online student services. Although several of our online services received “next generation” ratings, most were simply informational pages directing students to onsite services. Of particular concern were disability services, tutoring, and new student orientation, leading to several improvement projects this year. Finally, this was the first year that WSU participated in the ECAR 2012 National Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology. In March, TLT invited all first and second year students enrolled in the DLLP to participate in this survey developed and hosted by EDUCAUSE. The data will allow for the comparison of WSU students’ attitudes and practices with those from similar institutions. Once the data is received later this summer, TLT will write a report and present the findings to the university community.
The OpenText Upgrade
The university’s public Website at www.winona.edu is a major asset and a powerful communication tool. WSU allows departments and programs to maintain their own Web presence within the confines of a content management system called OpenText. In November, ITS rolled out a significant upgrade of OpenText. This was the first major upgrade of this system in two years and included significant changes to the user interface, the WYSIWYG text editor, and the content publication process. This necessitated retraining for all authors. TLT delivered workshops and 1:1 training sessions throughout the remainder of the semester and developed a series of related articles on learn.winona.edu. The majority of authors were retrained and working on their pages using the new system by the end of December.
Support Our Staff
Administrative assistants are linchpins in their programs and departments and are increasingly expected to use technology to accomplish their tasks. Although TLT offers workshops and other learning opportunities, administrative assistants would benefit from collaborating and sharing knowledge with their peers in other offices more frequently. As part of an Educational Lean project, TLT has been working with a group of administrative assistants all year to develop a Microsoft SharePoint team site to support this collaboration. Unveiled in February, the Support Our Staff (SOS) site is managed by administrative assistants and allows them to share information and good practices in a variety of functional areas (e.g., travel, budget). The most important outcome of this project is increased collaboration among this important group of employees and TLT will support it as it continues to develop this year.
Minnesota State Multimedia Management System Pilot
Instructional video has always been a popular medium, but today’s authoring tools make it easier than ever for faculty and students to create video content. Instructors are capturing their lectures using Tegrity, capturing their computer screen activity using TechSmith Camtasia, and narrating over their PowerPoint slides using Adobe Presenter. Although public services like YouTube and Vimeo are common destinations for this content, these systems do not offer the control or tracking required by an educational organization producing and storing copyrighted intellectual property. This spring, Minnesota State and The University of Minnesota partnered to implement a multimedia management system (MMS) based on the open source technology Kaltura. TLT participated in a Minnesota State pilot of this system, which included testing Kaltura-D2L integration and campus administration features. Two members of TLT are also serving on the technical and policy committees moving this effort forward. This system is much needed and has great potential. It will be important for WSU and TLT to take the lead as it is rolled out to the system this year.
Course-Specific Student Technology Support
Working directly with students and instructors engaged in a genuine and meaningful class project is one of the best ways to help both improve their technological knowledge, skills, and abilities. Twenty instructors requested course-specific technology training for their students this year. After discussing the tools that best fit their pedagogical goals, TLT developed classroom demonstrations, workshops, and online documentation specific to their class projects. This included applications of web authoring, web conferencing, group writing, and multimedia production. Digital Learning Center STARS conducted most of the classroom training and published documentation to learn.winona.edu, where descriptions of the fall and spring projects are also posted. This year, this service impacted 25 class sections and 740 students.