ITS STRATEGIC PLAN: GOALS

GOAL 1: SUPPORT LEARNING

Goal 1 (Support Learning) expands pedagogically driven adoption of existing academic technologies, supports evaluation and use of newer academic technologies and innovative classroom designs, and supports adoption of digital content including open educational resources.

  • 1.1 Coordinate classroom design and support services to improve the functionality of classrooms and the ability to sustain their effectiveness.

  • 1.2 Optimize the use of existing technology enhanced spaces and create distinct new spaces that support pedagogical innovations and provide students with varied learning experiences (e.g., Maker spaces, VR/AR teaching labs, virtual anatomy labs).

  • 1.3 Extend the availability and support for adoption of academic software including the learning management system.

  • 1.4 Provide enhanced support and infrastructure to expand adoption of digital content, including open educational resources.

Goal 1:  Support Learning with Digital Content, Software, and Technology-Enhanced Spaces.

Effective technology in classrooms and technology enabled virtual and casual learning spaces add capabilities that faculty can elect to utilize to engage students and improve learning. These capabilities enable faculty to employ different pedagogical approaches designed to make learning more active, and collaborative and create personalized experiences even in large enrollment courses. Supporting faculty and students requires continually strengthening the partnership between CLT, Libraries, ITS and Student Affairs to inform faculty of the capabilities of classroom technology and academic software and guide the incorporation of these technologies with sound pedagogy and student success research.Initiatives in support of this goal will better integrate support for classroom technologies and provide better tools to support student collaborations and engagement with course content. It will also engage faculty in evaluating the features and capabilities in the current learning management system and determining new strategies to raise awareness of its capabilitiesor, if warranted, explorenew learning management system options.

Strategic Initiatives

1. Coordinate classroom design and support services to improve the functionality of classrooms and the ability to sustain their effectiveness.

Work will continue to regularly update classroom technology and remediate rooms with aging equipment that is at risk of failure. However, effective classroom technology depends on factors beyond the currency of the equipment. Technology must work in concert with the physical attributes (sound, lighting, layout) of the room and faculty must have ready access to high quality pedagogical and technical support. CLT and ITS will synchronize classroom technology upgrades with Facilities to enable electrical power, lighting, sound, furniture and technology to planned to work in concert with one another and upgraded at similar intervals. CLT and ITS will continue efforts to improve and integrate support for faculty to provide clear avenues to receive support in the classroom and while developing course content. Support for classroom based and other learning technologies will be further enhanced through coordinated outreach by CLT, ITS, and the Library to each of the schools and colleges. Communication and outreach may also benefit from the designation of cross-trained CLT or ITS liaisons to each of the schools or jointly staffed office hours held in residence in each of the college to respond to impromptu questions.

2. Optimize the use of existing technology enhanced spaces and create distinct new spaces that support pedagogical innovations and provide students with varied learning experiences (e.g., Makerspaces, VR/AR teaching labs*, virtual anatomy labs).

A comprehensive analysis of existing technology and their uses by faculty will be developed to inform future design, upgrade and expansion of classroom spaces. Understanding of existing usage rates and faculty interest in expanding adoption of various learning technologies will inform the priorities for upgrading existing rooms and defining the levels of capabilities required in different types of rooms. Guided by this analysis and consultation with the Learning Environment Committee, several types of additional technology enhanced spaces will be created to complement standard classrooms. For example, some lecture halls can be converted to flexible spaces able to accommodate 40 to 80 students and outfitted with shared display screens, modular furniture, and abundant wireless to facilitate collaborative work and active learning pedagogies. A potential model for these spaces is the Scale-Up room design.

Additional and expanded specialized spaces can be developed to enable faculty to selectively incorporate their capabilities into student projects, an individual class meeting or spread throughout their course. These spaces may include additional Makerspaces, augmented and virtual reality labs, language labs, and virtual anatomy labs. The current Emerging Technology Studio serves as a foundation upon which advanced capabilities may be created. Finally, additional spaces for impromptu student collaborations will be created featuring modular furniture, smartboards or display screens and abundant wireless. New solutions for printing and virtual software libraries will enable some of these spaces to be created in what are presently Pods. As resources permit, similar spaces may be created in residential living communities. Finally, wireless networks in buildings and outdoor spaces will be expanded to offer sufficient capacity to support varied room designs, uses of devices and active learning pedagogies.

3. Extend the availability and support for adoption of academic software including the learning management system (LMS).

More extensive analysis will be undertaken to understand which software and software features faculty use or are interested in using in their courses. This information will aid consultations with faculty to identify the academic software that should be made widely available to all faculty along with more extensive support. Broadly used applications will continue to be complemented by very specialized software that individual colleges or departments provide.

*VR/AR refers to virtual or augmented reality technologies.

Additional focus will be placed on supporting adoption of the features of the learning management system and monitoring if and when it should be replaced. The University's current LMS software, Blackboard, and the learning management system marketplace have evolved significantly in the last five years. Many faculty have not had the opportunity to explore Blackboard's newer capabilities and consider how they might be useful in their courses. Additionally, peer institutions have begun to adopt other learning management solutions drawn by their promise of more modern interfaces, better tools for incorporating varied forms of digital content, and improved learning analytics. For all these reasons, it is timely for the University to review its desired requirements for a learning management solution and either affirm its continued use of Blackboard or commit to an alternative solution through a consultative process. Semester-long pilots of alternative solutions may also be organized to provide interested faculty with a hands on experience with other learning management systems. If a clear preference emerges for an alternative product, a transition strategy will be developed. Or, the evaluative experience will be used to influence Blackboard to improve its product and to expand awareness of its newer capabilities.

4. Provide enhanced support and infrastructure to expand adoption of digital content including open educational resources.

Open educational resources and other forms of digital content provide faculty with the flexibility to tailor materials to their courses, facilitate student engagement with curricular materials, and can lower students' cost of attendance. The Library, ITS and CLT will partner to provide the infrastructure to enable additional faculty to more readily identify and incorporate existing or self-created content in their courses. Search tools will help faculty identify and assemble open textbooks and other digital materials. Curated repositories will help faculty to organize self-created and assembled content and make them accessible to students.

The Libraries will work with ITS and CLT to leverage the licensed digital content it provides to enhance classroom curriculum by making such content more readily available via the Learning Management System or library-based technology platforms. Additionally, web development and multi-media support services willbe expanded and made available to faculty developing new digital content. The Library, CLT and ITS will engage faculty to discuss their experiences incorporating digital materials, review outcomes, and expand interest in adoption. Finally, the adoption of industry-wide standards will promote the accessibility and interoperability of digital resources among different learning systems, users and platforms (e.g., mobile).