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2020 Cal State Tech Connect - Campus Champions

Division of Information Technology

We nominate the entire Division of IT to recognize the tireless, creative, and collaborative effort put forth to meet the needs of the CSUN community throughout this spring. Responding to the multiple layers of challenges precipitated by the pandemic has required the collaborative efforts of the entire Division of Information Technology. Working in concert with colleagues across the University the team has reinvented multiple services, created new capabilities, and designed new methods of outreach and support. Necessity has truly been the mother of invention and the team has developed several innovative approaches to enable a smooth transition to high-quality online education and remote operations. Along the way CSUN IT has found new ways to team and collaborate with one another even while acclimating ourselves to remote work. We highlight here several of many collaborative accomplishments.

Multiple parts of IT came together to rethink and revamp training and support capabilities for faculty and students.  

  • The “Keep Learning” resource webpage was developed by Division staff as a central location for students to find technology-related information, resources, and a toolkit to help in their transition to virtual learning. Similarly, the “Keep Teaching” resource webpage was developed by Division staff as a central location for faculty to help them prepare for the transition to virtual instruction. 
  • The Faculty Technology Center expanded its hours of operation, including evenings and weekends, and launched a new Zoom option that allows faculty to “drop-in” and receive real-time support. 
  • A significant number of additional workshops were developed to support faculty to transition teaching online towards continuing CSUN’s student success mission. In Spring 2020, 166 new workshops were delivered in real-time focusing on Canvas, Zoom, Portfolium, Canvas Insights, Lecture Recording – with several offered in linear progression starting with basics, going through intermediate and advanced. These workshops were refined and further developed into the Summer Bootcamps and the Zero to Online nine-day intensive workshops, offered during the Summer. In addition to the workshops developed for faculty to help them teach in the virtual environment, there were videos produced for those who preferred to do their professional development asynchronously. 

The team introduced new services to support students and facilitate retention.

  • The eProcess+, applications, infrastructure and information security teams worked in close collaboration with partners in the Divisions of Student Affairs and Administration & Finance to custom develop an online application to facilitate the distribution of CARES Act funds. This easy to use the application, developed using OnBase and PeopleSoft, provides students with an intuitive, easy to navigate the process to apply for vital financial assistance.
  • Division staff developed technology related New Student Orientation materials for incoming students towards helping prepare them to be effective online learners. Guides for students were developed on the most frequently asked questions about instructional technologies commonly used in CSUN classes along with helpful tips for learning with technology. 
  • In addition to providing the necessary tools for students, Division staff worked swiftly to procure hundreds of laptops, webcams, headsets, and internet hotspots – while also building the mechanisms to offer them via a loan to students in need with partners in The University Corporation, and the Academic Affairs Division.

The team worked collaboratively to assist faculty with the transition to teaching online. 

  • The Telecomm team assisted the Faculty Technology Center team in the transition to softphones and later to Jabber for the purpose of providing call center support to the campus following the face-to-face staff reduction resulting from the pandemic. 
  • The Classroom Technology Team partnered with the Faculty Technology Center team to help faculty members requesting support using Zoom. This is significant as during the campus transition to virtual instruction Zoom has been the product most requested by faculty members to provide academic continuity. Prior to this partnership, there was only one staff member providing support for this tool to the campus. 
  • In addition, the Help Center began supporting Canvas, in conjunction with the Faculty Technology Center. This significantly expanded capacity to respond to faculty and student questions as well as extended the hours support is available.