2013 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.  It met a total of 3 times during the  2012/13 school year.  This document summarizes the projects and activities funded during that year.

In reviewing  activities and projects proposed and undertaken, 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 continue to solicit and review campus feedback as these initiatives move forward and future eTech projects are considered and planned.

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.

In 2012-2013, 39 rooms were updated. This included all 18 Social Science Lab classrooms, 13 trailer classrooms upgraded to full SmartClassrooms, a complete refresh of HIB 100, and completion of full refreshes for ELH 100, HSLH 100A, and PSLH 100 that had been initiated in Summer 2012.

Reduced Rates for SmartClassroom use for Student Groups
Rates for student group use of installed SmartClassroom equipment, previously reduced in 2012 with eTech funding from $30/hour to $5/day per room, were eliminated, allowing student groups to reserve and use SmartClassrooms at no cost.  These changes significantly increased student group use of these rooms.

Instructional Computing Labs

Completed 2012/2013 upgrades to campus computer labs included:

  • 55 new PCs and monitors to replace 7 year old systems, plus 20 new monitors for instructor workstations in OIT MSTB 210 Classroom Computer Lab, with smaller, replaced monitors reallocated to drop-in labs
  • 61 new PCs to replace 7 year old systems in UCI Libraries
  • 25 new PCs and monitors in the School of Humanities Computing Classroom
  • 21 new Mac high-end computers for digital video production in The School of the Arts Mac Labs

Campus WiFi Wireless Internet Access Improvements

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%), and 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 2013, eTech funds have supported the improvement of WiFi coverage in 10 lecture halls (net capacity 3,110 students) and 27 classrooms (net capacity 1,138 students). Wireless service was improved with new access points as well as higher-performance replacements for older access points. The upgrades increased capacity to accommodate the continued increases in both number and density of WiFi devices used in these locations, largely driving by proliferation of smaller mobile devices (e.g. tablets, smart phones).

Lecture Hall Power and WiFi Wireless Capabilities

Power PlugA 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.

After surveying students about power plugs installed in lecture halls in 2012 and receiving predominantly positive feedback, additional lecture hall projects were completed in 2013 to add 25 duplex receptacles to HIB 100 (outlets for 50 students for 14.5% coverage of total seats in location) and 23 duplex receptacles to ELH 100 (outlets for 46 students for 15.3% coverage of total seats in location)

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 draws upon the student body itself.

Guidelines and processes for submission, review and funding of proposals were established and initially deployed.

EEE Development

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.

Major 2013 EEE development projects included:

  • Eater Evals (eaterevals.eee.uci.edu)
    Displays quantitative results for department-activated final evaluations (starting Fall 2012) for Senate faculty and lecturers with SOE/PSOE (completed in partnership with ASUCI, the Division of Undergraduate Education, and the Academic Senate).
  • Photos
    Official ID card photos are now imported from The Hill and shown in Classmates area on EEE (completed in partnership with ASUCI, the Academic Senate Council on Student Experience, and The Hill).
  • EEE Mobile: Classes, RoomFinder, Contact Us
    Mobile devices continue to soar in popularity and, after surveying students to identify priority areas, we have added more mobile-optimized pages to help students access information on their classes, locate classroom facilities, and contact us for support.
  • Survey, GradeBook, and EasyWebsite enhancements
    Survey now supports required questions, individual participation history, and more detailed activity logging. The GradeBook student interface and administrative interface for managing weighted categories were overhauled to improve usability. EasyWebsite now supports consolidated access restriction management with timed page release and enrollment restriction exceptions, plus file new page view and download counts.
  • MessageBoard group administration
    In addition to instructors, assistants, and campus staff, users working under group UCInetIDs can now creater and administer message boards.
  • Third Party Tools recommendations
    The Third Party Tools & Cloud Computing Resources group, including EEE Technology Support Specialist, Caryn Neiswender, was tasked with reviewing campus needs and considerations surrounding third party tools. Thier report paves the way for EEE to undertake third party app projects.

Pending projects include:

  • EEE Mobile: Grades
  • MessageBoard hidden identities
  • Direct transfer of scores from Quiz to GradeBook
  • EEE future directions research, analysis, and planning
  • Evaluations overhaul to support “choose one from many” opt-in participation
  • Third party tool integration
  • Ongoing enhancements in response to campus requests (700+ pending)

Instructional Technology Support

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. With eTech funding the EEE Team added an Instructional Technology Specialist, whose time is dedicated to helping instructors select & effectively use instructional technology, including both campus tools (like UCI Replay and EEE) and third-party tools and services. Students benefit from greater access to technology and an improved educational experience.

Faculty Instructional Innovation Support

During 2012-2013, an eTech funded position facilitated: 322+ individual consultations, 5 department/school presentations (330+ participants), 9 campus-wide workshops (257+ participants), 5 resource websites, and 2 action-research reports about hybrid/online learning.

Spanning all levels, departments, and schools, these statistics underscore a rapidly growing academic interest in new learning modalities and innovative instructional strategies. Pioneering faculty, lecturers, and TAs are driving adoption of new technologies on campus.

Overall, instructional design and innovation consults and interviews have revealed:

Facilitating this active interest in hybrid/online learning has produced opportunities for instructors to recalibrate: learning objectives, instructional strategies, formative/summative assessment, and course/curriculum alignment. Interestingly, these topics correlate to key elements in WASC accreditation, as well as, strengthening student engagement.

As faculty individually explore various technology-enabled innovations in their courses, individual consultations become an avenue both for helping faculty integrate their use of non-UCI services with campus resources and for learning how these services work in tandem. By providing workshops and forums, faculty can share ideas, experiences, concerns and successes which is essential to increase the appropriate use of newly available educational technologies.

Past Year Summaries