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Campus Technology Insider Podcast January 2022 Bonus

Listen: Seizing the Opportunity for Digital Transformation

Rhea Kelly: Hello and welcome to the Campus Technology Insider podcast! I'm Rhea Kelly, editor in chief of Campus Technology, and your host.

Back in November, Campus Technology hosted a virtual summit about innovation in IT: all of the ways higher education technology leaders have embraced agility and flexibility in challenging times. For this bonus episode of the podcast, I wanted to share a highlight from the event: a panel discussion on digital transformation and how the pandemic has accelerated digital efforts on campus. Our panelists were: Marina Aminy, dean of Online Education and Learning Resources at Saddleback College; Michael Berman, chief information officer at California State University; Shawna Dark, chief academic technology officer and executive director for Research, Teaching, and Learning at the University of California, Berkeley; and Jessica Phillips, interim director of Learning Programs and Digital Flagship at The Ohio State University. They talked about their digital transformation priorities, the need for a student-centric approach, issues of equity and access, pedagogical challenges, and more. Here's our conversation.

So first, I'm going to ask each panelist introduce themselves and say a little bit about their role. Marina, should we start with you?

Marina Aminy: Yes, absolutely. Hi, everyone. My name is Marina Aminy, as Rhea said, and I work at Saddleback College. It's one of about 114 public community colleges in the state of California. We're a pretty large operation. We have about 25,000 students here at Saddleback College, and I oversee online education. We're one of the largest online programs for community colleges in the entire state. I also oversee other areas that are sort of in the midst of digital transformation, like the library, like our tutoring center, instructional support, the student help desk, so all of the really, we find the areas that have been, I would say, most impacted by the pandemic, and moving forward will likely be the most transformative in terms of how they support students.

Kelly: Thanks. Michael, how about you?

Michael Berman: Good morning, everyone. This is Michael Berman. I'm CIO for the California State University, working from the Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach, California. And of course, we're close partners with our community colleges and the UCs in California and the power system that we have in the state of California. In my role, I work with our 23 campuses across California, which represent or serve about 486,000 students at the moment. Nearly half the state's bachelor's degrees are awarded by the CSU, and last year we conferred almost 130,000 bachelor's degrees and some graduate degrees. We have nearly 4 million living alumni and one in 10 employees in California is a CSU graduate. So with the scale that we have, it gives us tremendous opportunity to explore using digital tools to be more effective and to improve the student experience and improve the rate of student success. And I'm really very proud to be here with you and look forward to the conversation with these distinguished colleagues.

Kelly: Thanks so much. Jessica?

Jessica Phillips: Hi, so excited to be here. I'm Jessica Phillips. I'm the interim director of Digital Flagship and Learning Programs in the Office of Distance Ed and e-Learning at The Ohio State University. And my work really focuses on leading a team to address access and equity to technology for students. And so a big part of our work is to distribute technology devices to students as they come into the university as new students. And, or, this year, we've hit just right around 50,000 students with technology in hand as they come in, along with that technology training and digital literacy training to use that technology in meaningful ways. We also focus on workforce education in the form of providing opportunities for students and the public to learn how to code. In particular, coding that wouldn't be, otherwise have been an opportunity for students because it's not part of their major area of study. And then we also provide spaces to help students with ideation and design thinking in the form of two design labs that we have available for students. And we also use those spaces and work with students to help create apps that address student challenges. So I'm really excited to be here with everybody today.

Kelly: Thank you. And last but not least, Shawna.

Shawna Dark: Hello, everyone. It's a pleasure to see you all here today. My name is Shawna Dark. I'm the chief academic technology officer at UC Berkeley. It's, this is a really interesting and emerging role in higher education. I report into undergraduate education and I have oversight of a very large unit, which includes our research IT, so our high-performance compute platforms; online education; a team of instructional designers and media staff; classroom technology; we have a DevOps team; we also oversee the advising strategy for undergraduate education; we also have the Center for Teaching and Learning, where we oversee the center for, you know, faculty and professional development around faculty, in support of faculty. So it's a really unique team. And it's a very unique position that I think is becoming increasingly more important as we adopt more and more technology into the work that we do in higher education. And I'm delighted to be here and sort of share my perspective from Berkeley about the work that we're doing around digital transformation.

Kelly: Thanks so much. So digital transformation, you know, it, it can be hard to define. So I'm wondering if we could start with, what does it mean to you and your institution? You know, what are your digital transformation priorities? Shawna, maybe we'll start with you.

Dark: Sure, um, you know, for us, it's been really quite a journey over, you know, the, during the pandemic, of course, and the interesting thing that's been going on is sort of, we're seeing the expansion in the use of technology in instruction. It's really transforming the way in which we're delivering instruction. I think that's probably happening at every institution throughout the United States. And what that ends up looking like, we're still not sure. As a campus, we're not fully back yet, we will be in spring. So that will be a really interesting time to really get a better sense of what the new normal might end up looking like. But we know that we'll be adopting more and more technology on the instructional front. The interesting thing is that the pandemic has really driven us to adopt digital technology to basically create virtual experiences in everything that we do — also on the administrative side of the house. So we've really seen a shift and reliance on a lot of different types of technology. Of course, Zoom is one of the big ones, but also a lot of the discussion tools. Slack has become something that's been really critical for communication to maintaining a sense of community in our organizations. So, you know, on kind of both the administrative and instructional side of the house, we're seeing a shift in how we use technology. I do feel like the next year or two will be really telling and what the long-term impact of the pandemic has had on digital transformation on our campus.

Kelly: I like how you have you mentioned that it crosses both teaching and learning and the administrative side. Would anyone else like to weigh in on definitions?

Berman: I'll go ahead and jump in, follow up on some Shawna's comments. Good to see you Shawna. You know, it occurred to me that to certain extent, digital transformation is about doing the things that we in IT have known for many years that we could and should be doing that there's been a lot of resistance. And I think now we're seeing much less resistance and a lot more support for a lot of these things. I'll give you just one example. When we when we left the office in March, my boss, who's the chief business administration officer in the chancellor's office, said, I don't want to ever sign another piece of paper again. And we did that, you know, we got 100% digital signatures. And I think that's true across most of our campuses. In fact, we administer the license for that and we can see the massive growth in the use of electronic or digital signatures, the massive growth in web conferencing both for administrative and academic purposes. And of course, it was a necessity, we had to do it. But now we see it's part of a long-term transformation, where certainly as we plan in the future as a distributed institution that's spread across 800 miles, I don't think we'll ever do as much traveling as we did before. Because we know that while there's, there's great value, and we all like to see each other and we like to get together, when it comes down to just getting the work done, you know, traveling across the state to go to a four-hour meeting, business meeting, just usually is not going to make sense. And we know now we can get the work done electronically. On the, the academic side, it's not just the teaching and learning but the student services side I think has been utterly transformed. And I think again, I think that's permanent. Students report they're extremely happy being able to have a, for example, meeting with an adviser, electronically and not having to go in. And, you know, I think we, many of our campuses and many people on those campuses have been, we're locked in a model of, oh, it's better face-to-face, we want to see the student. And sure, we want to offer that as part of a mix of offerings. But if you ask most of our students in the Cal State, and I know it's very similar in the community colleges, they're very busy people, they have families, nearly all of them are working, many of them full time, some more than full time. And so to say, Oh, we can see you at 3:30 on Thursday, it's like, well, I don't know if I can get off work. And then I've got to drive for an hour, and then takes me half an hour to park to come in and have my 30-minute counseling session. They would far prefer to do that electronically. Faculty are reporting much higher rates of students coming to office hours when it's electronic than when it was face-to-face, because it's, it's less intimidating for a student, and it's so much easier to manage. So we're just seeing this all over the place. But I think those of us in IT, and a lot of our colleagues across campus, knew these were things we could be doing before. But there was always well, we don't want to do it now. It's hard. We're not sure the students want it. It's expensive. It's difficult. We're doing other things. You know, lots of good reasons why they didn't happen. And then when they had to happen, boy did they happen fast. And I don't think that … While there will be some push to go back and do some of the things the way they were done before, it's, it's going to be utterly changed from here on in. And so this digital transformation that we've been talking about for a long time has, has happened and, a lot of good things about it.

Kelly: Yeah, you know you hear so much about how the pandemic accelerated digital transformation in higher ed. And actually that came up in the latest Educause Top 10 IT Issues for 2022. One of them was learning from COVID-19 to build a better future. I'm curious how that resonates with you all. You know, what you, how you feel if COVID has impacted digital transformation at your institution? Marina?

Aminy: Yeah, well, obviously, I would say my area, online education, has been tremendously impacted and transformed for the pandemic. I think beforehand, statewide, online education was seen as this thing in the toolbox that not everybody needed. And if it was brought onto campuses, it was often done so reluctantly, or with hesitation, because there was this kind of, I think, bias about it, that it's not as good as in-person instruction, nothing replaces the face-to-face contact, and it can never be, you know, useful in that way. And so there was always like this stepchild, you know, called online education that we dragged behind us. And the transformation that I think COVID-19 has, has brought about is that now education is a major player. We are now the dominant force. And people finally recognize the deep equity issues that it can resolve for us, you know, those students that are disabled, that have mobility issues, the students with lack of transportation, the ones that need to work right before or after that class and can't get here on time, and, you know, sort through the campus for half an hour looking for that elusive parking spot. So I think now the really exciting thing for me is, as a fan of online education for the last 20 years and seeing it grow, is that finally now we have a seat at the table. We are now the enrollment management strategy when it comes to scheduling. And it's, it's really exciting and transformative, I think, in this last year to see what's happened with it.

Kelly: And Jessica, how about you? What has the impact of the pandemic been for digital transformation at your institution?

Phillips: So I have to agree with what Marina just shared. I would say that what we saw before was that technology was viewed as a layer on top of the student experience. And I think through this experience with COVID, this digital transformation, we're seeing that technology is so deeply embedded, and integrated into the student experience, not just academically but as part of their student life, as part of their, their experience of college. And so I think that's allowed for us to view technology in the ecosystem that the students navigate and in different ways. And I think it's also, it's provided an opportunity for us to, to think about the bookends here. So think about, what are high school students coming into college going to expect now, coming off of the pandemic and coming off of online learning, hybrid learning, what are they going to expect from their college experience? And on the flip side of that, workforce education — so how does digital transformation impact industry and therefore impact our need to prepare students differently to enter the workforce and to be career-ready? So I think it's opened up a lot of opportunities there for us to look differently at the full spectrum of the student experience. And I think one of, well certainly one of the big things that we've seen is that, that COVID forced discomfort, it forced us into a place of trying things that maybe we were uncomfortable to try, but have helped us to forge ahead into the future. And I think students, in a similar way, they've been kind of forced into some new ways of learning, and new ways of approaching their, their, their lives with flexibility. So that piece, I think, will be really interesting as we go forward, because I think technology provides that opportunity to allow for more flexibility and perhaps to even allow for more empathetic approaches to teaching and learning and teaching and learning with technology in general, as we've had to step back and think about what the student experience really is. I teach, in addition to my full-time job, I teach a course of about 200 students that's fully online. And so I saw myself, you know, the issues that students have, not only becoming ill themselves, but their family members becoming ill and the grief process, and there's been a lot for people to have to lift and carry over the last couple of years. And so I think that that ability to switch gears and really focus on empathy has, has been meaningful. And that's something that I see continuing on, I hope it continues on. It provides just a different way to understand the needs of students.

Kelly: I like what you said about how the pandemic, it kind of forced people to innovate or, or accept, you know, new change and new, new ways of doing things, and also maybe forced people to, to kind of consider empathy. So you know, that, that Educause Top 10 IT Issue learning from COVID-19, the way they defined it was pretty interesting, I thought. They said, quote, using digitization and digital transformation to produce technology systems that are more student-centric and equity minded. And also they emphasized that students need technology-mediated advising and support services. So I'm wondering what you all think about what student-centric technologies should look like? Michael maybe we'll start with you.

Berman: Thank you, um, well, you know, we're just, it just happens that right now we're interviewing a user interface designer to specifically focus on the student experience. And that's something that we've never had before. I think that the, designing from the student experience is critical and essential. A member of my team, Kate Miffitt, worked with Educause to research the impact that inability to connect online was having to students during COVID, and we presented on that at the, at the Educause meeting last week. You know, in Marina's comments, and in some of the chat, there's the issue of student equity, and also in the work that Jessica's doing at Ohio State. You know, that's critical: understanding that if you can't get online, you can't learn online. So I think there has been a huge shift. I know, in the Cal State, as in many of your institutions, the, the message is very clear from the leadership, and certainly from our Chancellor Castro, that we have to view everything we do through an equity lens. And that includes technology. I think, having been in technology leadership for quite a long time, I would have to admit that we probably didn't talk a lot about equity 20 years ago in my world. And now it's right in the middle of our strategic planning, and certainly of our institutional planning, that if our technologies aren't equitable, and if they don't meet student needs, and meet the students where they are, they're not going to be successful. So I think that's, that's really critical. And frankly, just trying to understand, you know, where are, where the inequities lie, and sometimes they're not accidental. Sometimes they're really a product of institutional racism. And I think we have to be, really look at that directly and call it out where it exists and try to change it. But it's, it's a challenge constantly.

Kelly: And Jessica, did you want to weigh in on the equity issues?

Phillips: I would, on the equity issues, but even more on the student-centric approaches, I think, because I think that they're, they're related. So the, one of the things that we've seen success with is really bringing students into discussions and bringing them to the table to help advise on our strategies going forward. And I think during COVID we saw a little bit more of that, in fact, because we were in uncharted waters. We were checking in with students more often to see, how are they feeling? How are they doing? How could we help? What are the big challenges that they're experiencing? And some of that was through surveys. But some of it was also through leveraging student employees in different ways. So if you have student employees on your teams, how can they be helping to advise the vision and the strategy going forward? We had a, we had developed, it was actually pre-pandemic, but it launched right before the pandemic, we, we developed a wellness app in collaboration with students. So we took students and experts from the university out to Cupertino, California, to work with some of Apple's app development team and to start with the challenge of mental health and wellness and suicide prevention and just have a three-day design session focused just on that. And we left that with this framework for developing a wellness app that was very, it was student-centric, because students built it, they helped design it. And so once we came back to campus, and we, we started to build it, we continued to get more feedback from students and had these constant feedback loops to make sure we were getting a diverse, we were getting diverse perspectives on, on the launch of that. And so as the pandemic came, went forward, we had just launched this app, and we were able to leverage it to help students with their mental health and wellness during the pandemic. And so that to me, was a really meaningful experience to be a part of to see students really at the, in the driver's seat of taking a challenge forward for the university. And I think that understanding equity issues, understanding what students are really experiencing can, can only really be done by engaging deeply with students and understanding their perspective. And what the challenges are that they that they bring forward.

Kelly: And Shawna, what do student-centric technologies look like at UC Berkeley?

Dark: Yeah, I'll talk about that. But I want to take a step back also, and kind of reflect a little bit on what both Michael and Jessica said — that I think we really are entering a new era, we're redefining what student success really is and what it means to our campus, and how we deliver that to our students. And I think we were having those discussions before at Berkeley, but the pandemic has really impressed upon us through surveys and feedback from our students about the types of things that are really pressure points for students and ways that we can help them be more successful, not just an instruction, but in kind of embracing the holistic experience in attending college, right? And meeting all these different people from all over the world and that sort of thing, and really embracing the opportunities for research and connection. At Berkeley, one of the tools that we have is a tool called BOA, Berkeley Online Advising. It's a platform that we have developed in-house that actually consumes learning analytics, data from our learning management system. And it really allows us to be — as well as other student information system type of data — and it allows us to be proactive with our students during the semester. So when there are critical, you know, exams or assessments that we know are important for them to pass and they haven't passed them, then we have an opportunity to reach out with them very early on in the beginning of the semester to help them find the resources that they need in order to be successful in their particular major. I bring up BOA, it's incredibly powerful advising tool, but the interesting thing that's happened as a result of the pandemic is, we suddenly have people from across campus and different units asking us to start using BOA in a different functional way — in a way that really helped to identify how students are taking advantage of resources that are available on campus, mental health resources, as well as, you know, internships and other types of experiences. So I think what we're really going to see is, is how we can utilize tools to draw all these different aspects of student success together into one platform in a way that's really powerful. And I, I feel super fortunate at Berkeley, that we have this great tool, BOA, to help us do that, because I think it's something that, you know, we can, can really customize to the needs of our particular students. It's also incredibly helpful in terms of ensuring that our students who don't have access to the resources that they need are able to get them, like we're able to be super proactive with students and find out what they need when they need it prior to them really, you know, hitting a roadblock in their academic career.

Kelly: And Marina, I want to make sure you have a chance to weigh in because I'm sure being student-centric and equity-minded is very important to a community college.

Aminy: Yeah, absolutely. And I would say that the themes that you know, Jessica and Shawna and Michael are bringing up are very similar — you know, looking at data, right, whether it's speaking to the students, as Jessica mentioned, or consuming data on the technology that Shawna described. So for us, I would say we really want to analyze student behaviors. And creating something as simple as like fitting a schedule, it used to just be, all right, we'll just slap some, you know, evening classes and weekend classes, and then everything else is like 9:00 to 1:00. And they will come. If we build a schedule, the students will know what the options are, and they will come. And I think we've really flipped that. We're now looking at, okay, are our online classes filling up at a quicker rate than our on-campus? If it's online, is it synchronous or asynchronous, right? Which sections do they prefer, eight-week versus 16-week versus, you know, summer session. So there are a lot of different data points that we're consuming and I think speaking about in a really deep way at our college, that is very exciting and very student-centered. We're looking at what students want, we're not just sitting around going, you know, the pandemic's over, it looks like everybody wants to be back on campus. So you know what, starting spring 2022, we're just going to have everyone back and you know, the students will come. We're not doing that, we're not just using anecdotal data, or what we feel like, we're looking at the student behaviors and schedule enrollments and, and wait lists and all of that good stuff. So that the technology is helping, I think bridges equity gaps, and helping to just make everything about the student in a very exciting way that has not happened before.

Kelly: Yeah, speaking of bridging equity gaps, during the pandemic, we saw so many institutions providing technology, you know, laptops and WiFi hotspots to students to ensure that they could, they could access their, their online courses or remote learning. So I'm curious, is the digital divide still a barrier to digital transformation? Or, in some ways is that, you know, is that a problem that still needs to be solved, or is it, is it getting better? Michael, maybe we'll start with you.

Berman: Well, you know, I think we've really been following leaders like The Ohio State University. That's the project that Jessica has been working on to deliver technology to all her students. And I think that the, while there were a lot of great efforts that campuses made throughout the, throughout COVID, it's clear now that this is a permanent, a permanent issue that, that is not a COVID issue. And I think this is, in terms of learning from COVID, which is something that that our chancellor has talked about quite a bit as well, we know that, we want to make sure that we do everything we can — and nothing we do is gonna eliminate it — but we want to make sure that we can do everything we can to reduce that gap where it exists. And it's really three things: it's a device, it's a way to connect, and it's the knowledge to use that device effectively. And you really have to look at all three. So we started this summer with eight of our 23 campuses, distributing iPads to new students, and so our big start for the fall was about 23,000 devices. I think we're going to be, within a year we'll probably be well over 100,000 a year that we'll be distributing. We're also going heavily into working with communications providers to provide reduced-cost conductivity for students, which is very difficult and complicated, because as we know, wherever you are, there's nothing that works wherever you are. Right? There's no one solution that works wherever you are, so it's, it's complicated, and it's expensive. But it's also clear that it's become a permanent challenge that we need to address for all our students. Our chancellor is very passionate about it. And so through our CSUCCESS program, we're really taking on making sure that we eliminate those aspects, the lack of a device, lack of ability to connect, the lack of knowledge how to use it. We're not there yet. There's a lot of work to be done. But we do look to leaders like The Ohio State University for how we can accomplish that.

Kelly: Yeah, so Jessica, I'd love to hear you talk more about that work.

Phillips: Sure, yeah. What Michael shared is spot on that it's about the technology, but it's also about how technology changes and advances people. And that goes beyond the device itself — that goes to the, what, how it makes people feel to enter a university and have the tools that they need and access to the software that they need to be successful. And it is about the ways that we can help them learn how to use that technology in meaningful ways. And one, one example I can share, because — so digital literacy training, I can just tell you all that this is not an "if you build it they will come" situation. This is a thinking very creatively about how to integrate digital literacy, digital skill opportunities into existing programming and existing traffic where students are going and make it very authentic and organic. And so one way that we were able to do that, specifically during COVID, was we were hearing from student organizations that they were struggling to figure out how to grow and maintain their student orgs during the pandemic. And that is one place where technology could come alongside and could help advance that work. And we also knew that students were feeling alone, and they were feeling more solitary during the pandemic, and that, that community piece was more important than maybe it has ever been. So we were able to help the student organizations learn how to use the technology that they have in hand to, and the software that comes along with it, which I see the device as really the mechanism through which we can provide students the software that they need to be successful. But we were able to help them think about how to approach community differently. And as we, you know, this evolves, we're hearing that some student orgs are really opting to continue in a primarily virtual format, because they're seeing that it provided more access to more people on all campuses. So Ohio State has six campuses. And so there's, there's, you know, rather than having student orgs that are on one campus, it created more opportunity for, you know, collective sharing ideas and a shared community. So that's been really interesting to see. But that whole piece of really thoughtfully trying to weave in training, because that digital divide is still there. Even if you have the device in hand, knowing how to use it in a meaningful way is still a piece that's missing for most students, but they don't know that. They probably think that they're better at using the technology in meaningful ways than, than maybe they really are. And they prefer to try to figure things out on their own. So just it's been very interesting, trying to be as creative as we can about providing those opportunities for, for growing those skills to be, you know, career ready, like we've been talking about.

Kelly: Yeah, that's a very interesting point about training. And Shawna, I saw you nodding your head a lot. So I thought I'd ask you to weigh in.

Dark: Oh, yeah, it's so similar on our campus. We actually have a student technology equity program, providing technology and WiFi hotspots for our students, and which has been very successful. And I'm, we're very happy to know that just yesterday, the whole program got funded again for another year. So we're really excited about that. And I think we've also been really thoughtful about, you know, really listening to our students about what they want, as we think about post pandemic. And sort of, you know, a lot of our students, I guess I should say, are, have been really burned out by being on Zoom all day, for example, and a lot of them are really relishing having that in-person interaction. And so our campus has really been thoughtful about, you know, responding to that, and ensuring that we are at a very well-thought-through threshold around how we're using technology as well. So that's something that's, that's really interesting, because we could, you know, I think some campuses are going to extremes and others are not. And, you know, I think that it's going to be interesting to see how the future shapes out. But we are looking at ways in which we can bring students back to campus as well as faculty and staff to create that in-person experience that we had before, which I think is also really critical for students in terms of how they connect to each other and how they feel a sense of community. One thing I did want to touch on about equity, though, is one of the things that we've found is just having access to WiFi at large, as Michael said, it's just super challenging. And a lot of our students who live in areas where there just isn't good WiFi, or they can't afford, you know, the access that they need, that has been a tremendous challenge. And it's something that I think has really motivated myself and a lot of the leaders on our campus to really push on the issue of getting access to WiFi for everybody as a part of just being human and having access to resources in the world around us.

Kelly: Okay. And I kind of wanted to touch on some of the challenges of digital transformation. And one of the things that comes to mind is on the pedagogical side, things like assessment or really, you know, the kind of collaboration and engagement that's hard to reproduce, you know, the in-classroom experience. Marina, maybe we can start with you address those issues.

Aminy: Yeah, professional development for faculty has been absolutely critical for us, you know, and a lot of it now has shifted toward kind of how do you teach in a synchronous environment. Prior to the pandemic, really, when we talked about online education, it was an asynchronous mode. And so how do you communicate with students you know, in a Zoom Room, that is not going to be boring and you lecturing for 16 minutes. Just like in a classroom, you'd break it up, there'd be collaborative activities, there's, you know, breakout rooms, things like that. So certainly that kind of training in terms of just the pedagogy of how to run a class in an online environment, both synchronously and asynchronously. But then there's also these additional issues related to equity that are coming up. In particular, something that I've previously chatted about is just regarding like online proctoring and assessment. Okay, we've given these students this chromebook and this WiFi hotspot, are you ensuring that they're in a quiet place where they're not going to be interrupted, if you're requiring an hour-and-a-half-long, you know, proctored exam using this intrusive technology? Are you sure that they have somebody to watch their young children in the room? You know, is something happening to prevent them? Are they embarrassed to turn on their camera because of their living conditions? Perhaps they're living in their car, or they're homeless. So these are all kind of questions that, I think faculty, especially our STEM faculty, really believe in academic integrity, they want to make sure no one's cheating or gaming the system. And so working with our faculty to rethink how they're assessing has been really, really critical, providing them with opportunities to meet with faculty that are from their disciplines, or utilizing some innovative strategies for assessment that don't involve cameras and plagiarism deterrence, that think about ways to engage students in ways that it won't lead to them cheating, because they'll be too engaging, too excited about that work, and they'll want to be a part of it. So that has been, I would say, the hard, slow work, the hard, slow work of kind of getting people on board in terms of supporting students, you know, examining their own beliefs about how students learn, examining their beliefs about academic honesty and assessment and curriculum design. And I think that is kind of the future of the kind of training the faculty are going to need and the support that they'll need to do this work.

Kelly: And, Jessica, how does the hard and slow work go at Ohio State?

Phillips: So I would say, something I wanted to call out that, that connects to that question and what Marina was saying: I feel, I'm really proud of some of the work that our students have brought forward. In the last couple of years, our university student government, they have developed a set of what they call Carmen Common Sense. And Carmen is the name of our, our internal branding for Canvas, it's our learning management system. And what the USG students did is they connected with, through surveying and through conversations with students, to ask what are the top 10 things that if your instructor did this in their online class, it would make your experience so much better and so much easier and so much clearer? And I'll pop a link into the chat to show that but I think that what that did is it brought forward the student voice to say if you do these things, I think we're very, they're very simple things, they're just things that are relatively inconsistent from course to course. So that's where students were really struggling was with the inconsistency in how their learning management, how the learning management system was set up for them in their particular course, and just finding files and finding, you know, where is this assignment? Is it within the modules? Or do I need to go to the Assignments tab? And these are all creating more cognitive burden for students to have to sort and find these things in different places. So providing a consistent framework that still allows for academic freedom but gives students a little bit more consistency, was where we really then focused a lot during the pandemic. So we, as a department, our professional learning team grabbed four of those top 10. And they said, Okay, let's start with these four. These are our four big things that we're going to try to promote for instructors to do over, over the next, you know, year. And then we started, we were able to see with some data from Canvas, how many instructors were starting to do that, how many times that sort of a setup was, was starting to take shape. So I think that was, was a really meaningful thing to see happen. And the fact that it started with students was, was, even made it even more, even more meaningful.

Kelly: And, Michael, what kinds of challenges come up in digital transformation at CSU?

Berman: Well, first of all, I just want to say, Jessica, I love that. That's so fantastic. And I look forward to getting the list of what your students came up with. You know, it strikes me that I don't, I don't in my current role do so much, but I used to work with faculty on adoption of learning management systems. And I think for a long time, we were very focused on how can we make this attractive to faculty, how can we convince them that they want to do this, and the student voice wasn't always present. And I think looking back that, I think that's a mistake some of us made and I think what, I really applaud the initiative of The Ohio State students to do that, and for the institution to listen to what they have to say. So I think that's, that's fantastic. And that's a model. I think that's wonderful. You know, I, just going back to the equity, I think that, you know, it's not just students, it's also staff and faculty. You know, people think of California as being very urban, but we have huge swaths that are quite rural. And we've had challenges with, with faculty conductivity, with staff conductivity, you know, inequities I think even on our, on our staff, with working from home in terms of what their living situations were, and so forth. I think that's been a big challenge. So yeah, it's been better for a lot of people, but not for everybody. And I think we have to acknowledge that and figure out how we can overcome the challenges that some have. I do think that many institutions are going to have some financial challenges, because we depended a lot on HEERF funds to drive a lot of this technology change. And as we know, in most cases, technology is not a purchase, it's a lifestyle. And once you, once you adopt it, you're, you're now paying a bill forever. And still, some of our administrators don't really understand, they think, well, can't we just buy the technology, and then now we'll go buy something else? You know, it's like, no, no, no, that, that was this year's bill. Now we've got next year's bill. So you know, while there's been a permanent shift, and I, you know, I really appreciate what I think it was Marina saying about, you know, being much less second-class citizens and people understanding the importance of online learning and the technology behind it, we still haven't made that shift. I think our institutes are still heavily focused on the cost of our physical plant. And, and how we're going to bring students back to campus, and we're going to upgrade classrooms — all good stuff. But we also need, have a lot of long-term needs and technology. And then I think the other challenge that we're all going to face is human resources. We're competing with institutions around the world that are expanding their use of technology at the same time that we are, and it's becoming more and more a world market, so that we, instead of having people who like well, you know, I like working at Saddleback because I live in Mission Viejo and it's close by, it's like, oh, now I can take a job in San Diego don't have to drive down there every day. And so some of those challenges that were based on physical location are changing. And our institutions in a lot of cases are not prepared to change as fast as the market is changing. And I think it's going to force us to look at doing things in new ways. And I do think that IT in higher education is going to become less people-intensive and more service-intensive. Not because we want to get rid of the people, but because we're not going to be able to find them. And we're simply going to have to continue to move towards more off-premise cloud services, contracted services, packaged software, which isn't going to be cheap, but it's going to be the practical alternative for many of our institutions, because we're just not going to be able to, to attract and retain all the talent that we need to do things the way we do now. So I think part of the digital transformation is going to be thinking about a transformation in staffing and focusing on having people who work the most closely with faculty, work most closely with staff, who are experts on business process, who are experts on student experience, who are experts on teaching and learning — and having a lot fewer technology experts, because we're just not gonna be able to find them and we're gonna have to work in a different way.

Kelly: Thank you for joining us. I'm Rhea Kelly, and this was the Campus Technology Insider podcast. You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify and Stitcher, or visit us online at Let us know what you think of this episode and what you'd like to hear in the future. Until next time.

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