2012 Initiative Summary

The Educational Technology Initiative Advisory Committee (ETIAC) was convened in fall 2012 to provide feedback and guidance to UCI’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) regarding eTech@UCI decision-making.  ETIAC comprises 4 student, 4 faculty, 3 staff, and 2 OIT representatives and is chaired by the CIO.  The ETIAC will meet 7 times during the 2011/12 school year.  This document summarizes the projects and additional staff positions identified to be funded during the first year of the Initiative.

In preparing and evaluating these proposals, ETIAC considered feedback from one-on-one consultations with student representatives, student and faculty online surveys (including the Winter 2012 eTech Feedback Survey – Download results summary), student focus groups, and emails sent via the eTech feedback page.

ETIAC and OIT are continuing to solicit and review campus feedback as these initiatives move forward and future eTech projects are considered and planned.

Eater Evals

In partnership with ASUCI and the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE), the Office of Information Technology (OIT) now provides online access to results for faculty evaluations to students. This new service was made possible by eTech.

Access evaluation results through Eater Evals at:

https://eaterevals.eee.uci.edu

The Eater Evals name was selected from entries submitted by undergraduate students. Congratulations to the two students who submitted the winning entry — thanks, Drake (junior majoring in Biological Sciences) and Grant (junior majoring in Business Economics)!

Quantitative results are available only for Senate-level faculty members (assistant, associate, and full professors, as well as lecturers with security of employment), so not all instructors will be listed. No qualitative/textual responses will be displayed. Results will be available for 4 academic years, starting with Fall Quarter 2012. Faculty members can also opt-out of releasing their results to Eater Evals through the end of the 3rd week of classes each term.

For more information, check out the FAQ: https://eaterevals.eee.uci.edu/faq

Classroom Technology

UCI’s general assignment classrooms are equipped with an assortment of technology used in instruction. Equipment includes projectors, audio systems, computers, document cameras, and other devices. 127 classrooms are operating with equipment more than 4.5 years old, with 29 rooms (mostly in Humanities Hall) having equipment that is 9 years old.  OIT staff monitor the state of equipment through regular reviews, consultations, help desk records, and surveys. Due to their age and state of repair, the Humanities Quad classrooms were identified as the priority for 2011/2012 funding, along with “hot spots” identified through instructor or student feedback.

Summer 2012 Upgrades
Summer 2012 upgrades will include (depending on the classroom):

  • replacement of audio, video, and control systems
  • new instructor computers and displays
  • digital and analog laptop inputs
  • widescreen projectors and screens
  • microphones and microphone inputs
  • new auxiliary video inputs, multi-region DVD drives, and Blu-ray players
  • VHS equipment will be retired

Classrooms include 20 in Humanities Hall, as well as:

  • HIB 110
  • HOB2 130
  • SSLH 100
  • SSPA 1100
  • HSLH 100
  • ELH 100
  • PSLH 100

Ongoing classroom upgrades will require investment of funds on an annual basis.

Reduced Rates for SmartClassroom use for Student Groups
Rates for student group use of installed SmartClassroom equipment have been reduced from $30/hour to $5/day per room.

Instructional Computing Labs

In 2011, 20,956 students used at least one of the nearly 1,500 computers available in UCI’s instructional computing labs.  Demand for scheduled labs and specialized software has been increasing and older equipment is in need of replacement; some computers are 7 years old and cannot continue to be deployed due to outdated software; others are unsupportable due to hardware failures.

New Computers in Instructional Labs
For the 2011/2012 academic year, labs in the Student Center, Natural Sciences I, and MSTB were identified as upgrade priorities. OIT purchased:

  • 20 new Macs for the Student Center drop-in lab
  • 40 PCs for the scheduled lab in Natural Sciences I 2144
  • 60 PCs for MSTB lab B and the Student Center

The new equipment replaces obsolete systems (7-8 years old). Natural Sciences I 3166 will be updated with newer PCs relocated from OIT labs being closed in Engineering Gateway. The two Natural Sciences I labs are now available for students of all majors through an agreement between Biological Sciences and OIT.

Student Center Wireless

Wireless networking is provided by “access point” devices strategically placed were coverage is required.  Increasing wireless network use has taxed access points in popular areas, reducing performance. Other areas lack coverage. In the UCI eTech Survey, students were asked what campus locations needed wireless improvements. Locations identified included:

  • Student Center lobbies and hallways (19% of surveyed students)
  • Student Center food courts (17%)
  • Gateway Study Center (15%)
  • computer labs (12%)
  • the campus Starbucks (12%).

OIT reviewed the cost and feasibility of updates in these locations; the Student Center was identified as the initial focus.

In Spring 2012, OIT added 27 new access points to study areas, lounges, terraces, Starbucks, student areas in building G; Zot-N-Go; East and West Food Courts, Anthill Pub, and the Visitor Center, plus another 20 in Student Center multipurpose and conference rooms (Crystal Cove Auditorium, Pacific Ballroom, and the following rooms: Balboa Island, Doheny Beach, Emerald Bay Moss Cove, Woods Cove). Students have already been enjoying increased wireless bandwidth and performance for a number of months thanks to this project.

Power Plugs: Initial Projects

Power Plug

Many students bring laptops and other portable devices to campus study areas, where the availability of power outlets varies.  In discussions about educational technology needs, students have frequently expressed the importance of increasing the availability of power sources.

The UCI eTech Survey asked students for input on power availability to help identify priority locations for improvement. Locations identified include:

  • Student Center Food Courts (45%)
  • the campus Starbucks (36%)
  • Student Center lobbies and hallways (36%)
  • Gateway Study Center (31%)
  • Rowland Hall lobby (25% )
  • Phoenix Food Court (24%)
  • BC’s Cavern (24%)
  • MSTB lobby (20%)

A follow-up survey was conducted to gather additional detail for the Gateway Study Center and additional updates were identified based on cost and volume of use.

OIT is in planning stages to work with the Student Center, other units, and Facilities Management to add or replace power receptacles in BC’s Cavern (10 new, 6 replaced), Phoenix Food Court (14 new), Student Center East and West food courts (38 new), and MSTB lobby (11 new).

Student Technology Project Initiative

Technology For Students, By Students

UCI students have directly or indirectly contributed to campus instructional technology over the years. Student ideas have guided projects, and part-time student programmers have been hired as members of the EEE Web Team since its inception. To better serve student instructional technology needs, the Student Technology Project Initiative will draw upon the student body itself.

During Spring and Summer 2012, ASUCI will reach out to the student population for technology ideas to benefit the student body and will solicit project proposals from teams of student developers. In 2012-2013, the eTech Advisory Committee will select 3-5 student projects it hopes to fund over the academic year to bring the project to a feasible stage where it can be incorporated by OIT. Student teams will receive funding, oversight and advisory support from faculty and staff.

Lecture Hall Power and Wireless

A growing number of students use laptops and other mobile devices to take notes and access network resources in their classes. Many classrooms have some available power outlets, but not enough to meet the increasing demand. OIT has been aware of the need for greater access to power in classroom facilities and responses to the UCI eTech Survey both confirmed that need, and helped identify priority locations. The survey also highlighted a lack of wireless coverage in a number of lecture halls and classrooms.

OIT is currently working with Facilities Management to identify costs for lecture hall power outlet upgrades, and is reviewing classroom wireless coverage.  The goal will be make improvements in power and wireless starting with a subset of heavily used lecture halls with the greatest need.  Additional classroom power and wireless deployment will be considered in 2012/2013.

EEE Developers

The Electronic Educational Environment (EEE), UCI’s home-grown online course management system, was founded in 1995, well before commercial vendors providing any similar products. The system has grown with UCI, guided by abundant feedback from students, staff, and faculty, and evolving into a toolset unique to UCI and tailored to the needs of the campus. EEE supports an average of 34,000 unique users per quarter, yet in the budget environment of the last several years, OIT was down to a skeleton crew of staff supporting it. Despite 600+ requests from the campus in the development queue, new development was not feasible, and critical system updates and other maintenance were deferred.

OIT has hired two new programmers (both UCI alumni!) and as of Spring 2012 EEE can return to an active support cycle with required maintenance, new tools, features, and system updates to keep pace with campus needs, requests, and changes in technology.

Instructional Technology Support

The Electronic Educational Environment (EEE)
Many instructors might incorporate instructional technologies, but lack time or resources to explore how best to do so, while others find its effectiveness compromised by technical issues, Support and training staff is limited. OIT Academic Web Technologies (AWT) Team members contribute portions of their time to training and support, but their combined efforts add up to less time than that of a single full time staff member.

An additional staff member will be hired who will be dedicated to helping instructors select, and effectively use instructional technology, including both campus tools (like UCI Replay and EEE) and third-party tools and services. Students will benefit from greater access to technology and an improved educational experience.

TLTC Instructor Support

Faculty do not currently have sufficient support incorporating new technologies into their teaching in pedagogically sound ways.  This new eTech funded position in UCI’s Teaching, Learning, and Technology Center (TLTC) will provide additional instructional technology support to faculty and help them design and create technologically-enhanced and hybrid courses.  Students will benefit from the use of educational technology best practices that improve their learning experience.

Instructional Computing Lab Support

The campus has lost instructional computing lab system administration and support positions over recent years, while the demand for schedulable lab facilities continues to increase. This position will augment the OIT Instructional Lab Support team to provide additional assistance with central and school labs.