Wednesday, 16 March 2016

California Dreamin'

The conference got underway with an introduction from myself as conference chair, and the chair of the Executive committee. Then the first real session was from Hilary Baker, CIO of California State University Northridge. The University of California system  is huge - 23 campuses, 460,000 students, 47,000 staff and at Northridge there are 41,548 students.

Hilary spoke about how they had used technology to improve student success, which is largely about largely about increasing the graduation rate - trying to get as many students as possible to graduate in 4 years.  They had provided tools to help students plan and manage their degree progress, navigate their university experience and prepare for careers.I'm just going to give a brief outline of some of their other initiatives:

They had developed a very functional app, which had a lot of the standard features such as maps, lecture schedules etc, but they were continuing to add ne things, with extra functionality added every two months. Use it for class schedules, maps etc.  It was tightly integrated with their student system, and could be used for many transactions including updating their details, paying for things, getting thier grades.

Another initiative was myCSUNtablet initiative which aimed to increase student learning and engagement, improve the quality of teaching materials, decrease student cost. Students bought their own iPads, but they were promised that the cost would be lower than cost of buying textbooks.
Used for creating and delivering teaching materials, eTexts.
Learning has gone from passive absorption to active learning.
Students can no longer escape learning. This is one of the slides showing seats in a lecture theatre, after the lecturer has asked a question and the students have had to respond on their ipad.

APPJam, was a competition for students to develop an app, and the winners had their functionlity put into the CSUN mobile app. 56 teams entered this year and the are partnering with their local chamber of commerce equivalent to help students take apps to market.

I particularly  liked their EPortfolio for students to showcase their work. Can add images, link to videos,  - looked a bit like a cross between Linkedin and Facebook.  Provides proof of competencies through examples. Provides a professional online presence for emplyers. Called Portfolium, its worth a look.

Her closing thoughts:
 Need a culture of innovation. But there is a balancing act between innovation and keeping things running. Have to get the basics right before you start innovating.
Innovation is risky, some will fail.
Follow technology trends. Use things like Gartner hype cycles, New Media Consortium Horizon reports. Don't just look at HE.
Select innovative efforts strategically. Consider your campus culture, align with University goals. This is not about IT, but about university initiatives.

Excellent opener, and you can watch the talk here.

No comments: