From the CIO
When Information Systems (IS) launched the year-long, institution-wide, technology strategic planning initiative in 2015, we could not have fully imagined the digital transformation that has taken place across Wake Forest University, bringing advances in which technology and digital content plays an integral role in support of teaching, learning, and research. And we are just at the start of the multi-year implementation of the Wake Forest Strategic Technology Plan! Highlighted below are three of the many successes the campus community achieved in 2017-2018:
Learning Spaces Transformation: Two years ago, Wake Forest had significant deferred maintenance of classroom spaces with over 96 classrooms that had technology that was 15 years or older. In response, we established a representative Learning Spaces Committee (LSC) to provide an integrated, consultative, pedagogically-driven approach to classroom modernization. The LSC: (i) reviews proposals for classroom changes and enhancements, (ii) prioritizes upgrades and renovations, and (iii) synchronizes renovations with the Facilities and Campus Services department. In 2017-2018, 40 classrooms were transformed into innovative, versatile learning environments with digital tools that are reliable and support a range of teaching and learning modes.
Workday Launch: You may recall that the WFU community identified the state of enterprise-wide systems as the most pressing institutional technology challenge. Following a 5-phased, 18-month implementation project, Workday was successfully launched on July 2, 2018. This integrated cloud-based system for human resources, financial and payroll management replaces seven standalone legacy systems. The overall project was an enormous institutional undertaking and the successful launch was driven by the collective efforts of a talented and unfailingly dedicated implementation team along with the engagement and collaboration of the campus community. We are deeply thankful to those that have provided feedback on the new system, as that allows us to identify and prioritize opportunities to further improve and streamline institutional business processes.
Information Security: Our new suite of security tools has had impressive results, mitigating the risk of data and intellectual property loss due to theft, ransomware and malware. The campus community is a critical component of cyber security and your vigilance and adoption of the new tools and procedures have enabled a safer computing environment for the campus as a whole.
I invite you to delve into this 2017-2018 Year in Review to learn more about the digital transformation underway at Wake Forest.
As always thank you for your partnership. Please keep your comments and ideas coming as we continue to engage in conversation about technology at Wake Forest
Best, Mur Muchane
Vice President for Information Technology & CIO
integrating new technology in the classroom
The speed with which technology is evolving is accelerating and the ability to keep up can be daunting. Just two and a half years ago, Wake Forest had 96+ classrooms with technology that was at least 15 years old.
Information Systems leadership recognized that there needed to be an inclusive committee comprised of representatives from all the colleges to work in conjunction with IS Academic Technologies and IS Multimedia to align technology selection and implementation with learning outcomes, faculty and student technology support, and innovative teaching and learning practices. Hence, the Learning Spaces Committee (LSC) was chartered in 2017.
The twenty-three members of the LSC work collaboratively with IS Multimedia to implement technology updates based on the pedagogical needs of faculty. Meetings with faculty are held to better understand how they use their classroom space and what technology would best meet their needs within that space, allowing faculty to actively participate in the design process for new innovative ideas on the horizon. This interactive process has led to the realization that, in some cases, less technology is required to meet the pedagogical needs. As an example, upgrading the existing technology in 5 classrooms was estimated at $35,000/room but after faculty discussions, Multimedia was able to meet the technology needs of those particular classrooms for $12,000/room, less than half the initially projected cost. Multimedia streamlined overly complex room scenarios to more refined, yet elegantly simple, solutions resulting in systems that look great, have high versatility, and will require less maintenance in the long run.
This redesign of how and what technology gets to the classroom has established a uniform and cohesive approach to addressing the technology needs of faculty and students, ensuring an ultimate learning experience.
Preparing for Workday
The University hosted 12 Campus Engagement Sessions to demonstrate Workday to individuals who directly interact with key processes. Instructor-led and self-paced training as well as departmental power users and training guides are in place to assist in the transition to Workday.
Information Systems hosted a number of events this past year to showcase the innovative use of technology across our campus.
Our 6th annual TechXploration event was well attended, as 30+ presenters from our campus community shared their expertise on topics such as:
- Using Lightboard in the Classroom
- Develop Students’ Oral Proficiency in World Language Classes using Technology
- Increasing Class Participation through Pre-Class Videos and Slack
- Facilitating Interaction with Students using Google Classroom
- Video Editing Tools for Gait Biomechanics
IS hosted the bi-annual meeting for The Learning Technology Consortium, a national collaborative of 10 higher education institutions from across the country with common interests and challenges regarding teaching and learning with technology. The group spent 3 days on campus touring new spaces and talking with faculty about their technology-enhanced classes and classroom spaces. Additionally, guests from the University of Miami, University of Pittsburgh and Wake Forest led a panel and open discussion on “Learning Space Design: From Process to Pedagogy”. Our student organization, The Media, demonstrated some new technology and live streamed the panel in virtual reality, which provided an interactive and next-generation viewing experience.
To assist our campus community with learning more about Adobe Creative Cloud, IS held multiple events around campus including a workshop on how to use Adobe Spark Page, Post, and Video. Digital storytelling is bigger than ever and these tools give our Wake Forest community the opportunity to tell stories in a stunning visual format with impactful social graphics, web stories, and videos.
This Fall, we celebrated the openings of our One Button Studio and a Makerspace, providing more opportunity to facilitate the innovative and imaginative use of technologies to enhance and strengthen teaching and learning at Wake Forest.
2017-2018 IS Fellow
Information Systems was pleased to have Elliott McKoy as the 2017-2018 IS Fellow. Elliott graduated with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Psychology. As an undergraduate, Elliott was involved in the Student Advising Program, Student Government, Alpha Kappa Psi (a national, co-ed business fraternity), and the Pro Humanitate Institute.
During his fellowship, Elliott played a vital role in several IS projects including the creation and launch of a campus mobile application, the successful launch of the Google 2-Step Verification Initiative, and the search process for our new CISO. Additionally, Elliott represented IS on a number of governance committees, and managed the T-CART Grant Program.
Elliott’s favorite experiences as a Fellow included having access to consistent face time with University leadership, having a unique level of responsibility that would not be provided in most other first jobs out of college, doing impactful work for the Wake Forest community, and learning “a valued perspective and opinion on decisions that affect all aspects of the University.” Through these experiences he acquired a variety of transferable skills that he has taken with him to his new position as an Associate Account Strategist for Google’s Global Customer Care (GCC) division in Boulder, Colorado. In particular, he notes that developing stakeholder management, cross-team collaboration, and project management skills as a Fellow have been useful at Google.
Over the summer, Elliott had the opportunity to pay forward the mentorship he received at IS when he mentored one of Google’s nine interns, who ended up receiving a return offer.
As an Associate Account Strategist, Elliott helps support Google’s largest clients on the Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Google Merchant Center platforms. He describes his day-to-day as revolving around “technical troubleshooting, solution implementation, and operations work—all to ensure ad and shopping campaigns are performing correctly and that data is being correctly tracked via Analytics.”
Elliott gratefully attributes the opportunity to work on impactful projects during his Fellowship, along with the guidance and mentorship from various individuals across the IS Team throughout the year, as being key factors to getting to where he is now at Google.