Developing a Mobile App to Track Student Engagement in High-Impact Practices


  • Amir Dabirian, VP for IT-CIO, CSU Fullerton
  • Matthew Badal, Administrative Analyst, CSU Fullerton
  • Su Swarat, Director of Assessment and Educational Effectiveness, CSU Fullerton

What are HIPs?

  • Occur when students are actively engaged in the learning process
  • Students involved in HIPs report greater gains in learning in personal dev
  • Underrepresented students affected positively the most

Common HIPs

  • First year seminars
  • Common intellectual experiences
  • Learning communities
  • Writing intensive courses
  • Internships
  • Etc.

CSUF Strategic Plan

Presidential goal is to increase student persistence, increase grad rates, and narrow the achievement gap for underrepresented students.

  • Get 75% of all students involved in at least TWO HIPs.
  • Broaden access to HIPs
  • Curricular (course based) and co-curricular (activity) based programs

CSUF Definition

  • Transformational
  • Significant student engagement
  • Experiential learning
  • Etc. (the list is long)

Institutionalize HIPs through a Data-Driven Approach

  • We don’t want to call something HIP unless it actually IS a HIP
  • We triangulate each course/program through a set of criteria to ensure HIP quality
  • Over 4,000 students now in designated HIPs

HIPs Technology Tracking

  • Technology, Tools, Data Collection
  • LMS has HIPs Templates
  • Peoplesoft Tracking & Designation (transcript)

We started it all through a survey, and as a result of this, we decided to accomplish this via a mobile app, but .

We harness the power of our existing app…why? Because it has a killer app built in that students go back to again and again – PARKING.

Data Collection Technology Tools Attendance

  • iBeacon deployed in all classrooms
  • All our HIPs use this feature to ensure participation

How Does the App Work?

  • Shake phone to register attendance
  • For each course, we provide HIP activity items for students to record their participation in each.
  • Real-time integration to LMS; the LMS provides the ability for professors to drill-down and view student attendance and participation.
  • It’s still a work in progress. Faculty orientations are continuous, and we also help students learn how to use the app. App changes: addition of activity tracking for more customization; multiple hour tracking feature

Humans Make the App Work

Sample timeline in a semester:

  • Pre-semester: app improvement, faculty training
  • Weeks 1-2: in-class student training
  • Weeks 8-10: mid-semester check-in, ongoing tech support, initial data collection
  • Weeks 14-16: post survey administration, heavy data collection, final tech support

Data Analysis & Assessment

There were a lot of graphs in this portion of the session, so my notes are a bit thin here.

  • Most of the gains were attributable to our female students
  • Self reported learning gains were almost universal
  • The more feedback received, the more improvement seen
  • Data identified colleges where student involvement was higher or lower than expected; this has affected pedagogical practices

Product Management CG


  • Chas Grundy, Manager, Product Services, University of Notre Dame
  • Deborah DeYulia, Director, Program Management, Duke University

Join the group:

What do you want from this group?

  • Learn how to create a culture that thinks in terms of products
  • Seeing a more developed product management group
  • Organizing around product management, interfaces to other parts of the organization

Product Manager vs. Project Manager

  • A product manager is the CEO of products. Goal is to deliver a product that customers love (intersection of UX, Tech, Business). Concerned with WHAT.
  • A project manager is responsible for achieving project objectives and is accountable for the outcome of the project. Concerned with HOW.
  • Common responsibilities
    • Align activities with strategic objectives
    • Work with cross-functional teams
    • Strong influential and collaborative skills
    • Guide critical decisions
    • Orchestrate key activities
    • Manage key deliverables
  • Product manager is more closely associated with strategic concerns.

Product Manager is a way to address ongoing sustainability of the products we use.

Product Management Boot Camp

  • Notre Dame’s Project Management office trains dozens of people how to be good project management. My goal was do the same for Product Managers for their own service offerings.
  • We outline what Product Management is through a half-day training; it’s about products and services.
    • What is Product Management?
    • Examples & scenarios
    • Services versus products
    • Framework: strategy (benchmarking, roadmap, customer research), Roadmap, Customer Research
    • Concept
    • Deploy: support, training
    • Manage: Communications, Metrics, Vendor Mgmt, Billing
    • Retire: when and how to retire a product
    • The Product Management Game
    • First 90 days
    • Community of Practice and Additional Resources

The First 90 Days Managing a Product

  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • ID expectations and goals
  • Familiarize yourself with the product
  • Join existing projects
  • Begin the vendor relationship
  • Benchmarking
  • Users & community
  • Support
  • Develop listening posts
  • Build lists of ideas to explore

The Future of Learning


Sugata Mitra, Professor, Educational Technology, School of Education, Communication and Language, Newcastle University

The Hole in the Wall: 1999 – 2005

His experiment placed a single computer in a wall in a slum, publicly available to school children in New Delhi. This allowed students to learn how to use a computer just by fooling around and playing with it. It was a wildly successful experiment.

At that time, computers were considerably more expensive than they are today. The only organizations at that time that put computers out in public were banks – ATM machines. I did not explain to the children what it was when they asked – I told them “I don’t know!” While I stood there, they didn’t do anything except stare at me. So I walked away, and that’s when they started interacting with the computer. After eight hours, I came back and found that they were teaching each other how to surf the Internet, and so on. After a few days, they were downloading and playing games!

What does it need to work? A big screen, to be outdoors and free.

The important thing here is that THERE WAS NO TEACHER! Everywhere I went and conducted this experiment, I got the same results. The question I was asking was WHO was teaching the children, when I should have been asking WHAT was teaching the children. This creates a strange kind of learning. Children, given access to the Internet in groups, can learn anything by themselves.

In nine months, kids can learn completely on their own with the Internet, the same level of computer competence as an average administrative assistant in the West. From there, they can teach themselves anything.

SOLE: Self Organized Learning Environments

Connecting lots of individuals together creates emergent behavior in complex, self-organizing behavior. It became clear through this experiment that children in groups have an understanding that is greater than that of each individual. It was this collective “hive” mind that was working like an efficient teacher.

Can objectives be achieved without hierarchical management? YES! What is required is desire.


Children begin to answer questions far ahead of their time. It helps if you admire them. I called this the method of the grandparent; admire and respect the children’s knowledge. We created “The Granny Cloud” from 2009 onwards. Main admonishment is DO NOT TEACH!

With the winnings from Ted, we created the School in the Cloud, which combines aspects of the Hole in the Wall experiment with the Granny Cloud. School in the Cloud helps children with:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Communication skills
  • Internet searching skills
  • Self confidence

We think we can tell the learner where to go, but that’s not true.

The Challenge of Assessment

Current assessments match rooms filled with clerks from the 1920s. You need to be able to read, write, and do arithmetic. Talking to your neighbors was not encouraged.

In order to cater to the needs of an obsolete examination system, teachers, good or bad, need to use teaching methods from the 19th century. Instead, we need to make examinations look more like the Hole in the Wall experiment. “My phone and I” know how to do almost anything.

Comprehension, communication and computation: need to be the key concepts that include reading, writing and arithmetic. We need to ask ourselves: what is the best way to communicate?

Schools should produce happy, healthy and productive people.

We need a curriculum of questions, not facts, a pedagogy that encourages collaboration and use of the Internet, an assessment system that looks for productivity over process and method.


Using Splunk Data Analytics to Protect Students, Faculty, and the University


  • Chris Kurtz, System Architect, Arizona State University

About Us

  • First Google Apps for Education customer
  • Multiple campuses with a diverse IT infrastructure
  • Large # of governing reqs: FERPA, HIPAA, DARPA, DoJ, NASA, JPL
  • Splunk is an Enterprise-level product, with easy access to all departments inside the University Technology Office (ISO/InfoSec, Ops, Dev, BA/BI, Accounting, Netcom, etc.). We wanted everyone to have equal access

The Power of Splunk

  • Is ASU’s universal aggregator of all machine generated logs
  • Typical response time to incident without Splunk: multiple days.
  • With Splunk, we have direct, immediate access…minutes!

Splunk and ASU

  • Had it for 4 years now.
  • It needs a lot of power to run properly
  • Use enterprise search head clustering and security
  • Licensing 1TB/day
  • Growth slowing down because we’re learning to better filter data
  • Admissions and payroll are beginning to use it

We Didn’t Know!

“It was like the invention of the microscope: we didn’t know what we couldn’t see” – Martin Idaszak, Security Architect, ASU

Use Case: Protecting Direct Deposit

  • Changing EE info online is great, but a target for hackers
  • ASU has international students, faculty and staff, just blocking other countries isn’ accessible
  • Before Splunk: whenever an EE was missing a direct deposit check, the investigation would take days, during which time it would sit between HR and Payroll systems. We were hand-protecting only a handful of people’s paychecks.
  • With Splunk, we check geo tag info, do an affiliate lookup, and put it into an unusual changes report which payroll checks.
  • Payroll will not run the payroll job WITHOUT this report now.
  • This is the most valuable data I have in Splunk, by far.
  • Where do you change your direct deposit from? Home and work. We take advantage of the “user’s center of gravity” to make a determination if the request is unusual.
  • False positives? YES. False responses? NO.

Use Case: Phishing as a Teaching Tool

  • We have 100K users. In 2015, we received 1 billion email messages, more than 750 million were spam and phishing.
  • We have students from all across the world, transient by nature, can’t assume traffic from Nigeria, China or Malaysia are hacking attempts. In fact, it’s probably legitimate!
  • Some Indian students were forced by their parents to give them their login credentials, which resulted in some interesting traffic and double-logins from completely different areas! We ended up setting up special limited accounts for these parents.
  • Do NOT store user emails in Splunk, only the headers that transit our system.
  • “This is the best tool we’ve seen in 10 years” – Jay Steed, AVP for UTO Operations, ASU

Leveraging Your Custom Data

  • It’s limited if you’re only reading logs.
  • If you don’t understand context of your data sources, you won’t get as much as you can get out of the product.
  • No schemas! No types! Eval is your friend.
  • Combine all data types in any way you want, on the fly.
  • “Think of it like a database where time is the primary key”
  • Don’t limit the power of Splunk!
  • Start using the Common Information Model now!
  • Not formatting data limits its value. Pull in secondary/ancillary data that makes sense of data in your logs. Makes the field extractions more valuable.
  • For ASU, the master datasource is the Data Warehouse. Affiliate ID is the unique ID.
  • Isolated Splunk server running Splunk DB Connect (DBXv2) runs SQL queries on several databases, and writes a series of lookup tables (with the Affiliate ID) every 4 hours. Linux ionotify monitors the lookup tables, and on write-close copies data to production systems (sanity checking applies).


  • Heavily invested in Splunk because it solves many of our outstanding problems.
  • 1st round of data onboarding concentrated on needs of ISO office
  • 2nd round focused on operations needs, with some interesting use cases thrown in as they appear
  • 3rd round is expanding Splunk usage and bringing it to the enterprise
  • Splunk’s savings in man hours, extreme flexibility, use to validate other systems, and goals to replace antiquated systems has very much paid off
  • Get your data into Splunk!
  • Modify it later.
  • Use the people who “get it” as evangelists
  • Don’t get caught up on “use cases.” Once you have the data in Splunk, use cases present themselves repeatedly. Think of it as use case on demand.

The EDUCAUSE 2017 Top 10 IT Issues


  • Rebecca Davis, Director of Instructional and Emerging Technology, St. Edward’s University
  • Susan Grajek, VP of Data, Research, and Analytics, EDUCAUSE
  • Marden Paul, Director, Planning, Governance, Assessment & Comms, University of Toronto
  • Gerard Au, AVP, IT Services, CSU San Bernardino
  • John Landers, PMO Leader, Case Western Reserve University
  • Michele Norin, SVP and CIO, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Top 10 IT issues

We have a large slate of professionals who weigh in on these issues each year. They come from pretty much every role in higher education IT. They meet four times a year, and we ask “what is the most important IT issue facing your institution?” We do this each quarter, and then again in the Summer before the annual conference…and that’s the list we’re presenting today.

  1. Information Security
  2. Student Success & completion
  3. Data-informed decision making
  4. Strategic leadership
  5. Sustainable funding
  6. Data mgmt and governance
  7. Higher ed affordability
  8. Sustainable staffing
  9. Next-gen enterprise IT
  10. Digital transformation of learning

* Bold items are new to the list this year.

Discussion of the Issues

  • Next Generation Enterprise IT: developing and implementing enterprise IT applications, architectures, and sourcing strategies to achieve agility, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and effective analytics.
  • Digital Transformation of Learning: collaborating with faculty and academic leadership to apply technology to teaching and learning in ways that reflect innovations in pedagogy and the institutional mission. Do you limit what tech people can use or do you have a limited set of tools you offer (limited set won the day). What’s the most misunderstood aspect of this issue? X solution = the panacea for digital learning. New networks are horizontal and personalized, not just content delivery online. It’s bigger than the implementation of a tech stack. Roles for people in this ecosystem will be different.
  • Strategic Uses of Data
    • Student Success and completion – effectively applying data and predictive analytics to improve student success and completion. What are the implications? The tech implementation does NOT necessarily solve the problem. Changing the culture is the hard part, especially when the technology adds another burden, i.e. just another chore. Aggregation of data from systems of record continues to be troublesome.
    • Data-informed decision making – ensuring that BI, reporting and analytics are relevant, convenient, and used by administrators, faculty and students. Engaging with all stakeholders is important to ensure we have the right data to make decisions…we all need to refer to the same dataset. IT needs to be the glue that holds all these folks together. Consider hiring a Chief Data Officer, to ask all these questions. Some faculty are getting student involvement by giving FitBits and recording what they eat as a means of educating them about owning their own data.
    • Data management and governance – improving the management of institutional data through data standards, integration, protection, and governance. How many people think that their data is always accurate? << laughter >> Are there outsized expectations of Big Data? Yes! It’s not about the tools, it’s about how people use the tools and how that affects the data downstream (which can be very bad). Use the data for what it is supposed to do…don’t adapt it for your own immediate purposes; rely on authoritative sources. Data is not a project, it’s a process.



How does this list make you feel? Do you feel hopeful? Cautious? Something else?

  • I think we’re collecting more data right now than we’re able to use effectively. Eventually, our ability to manage and process this data will become doable.
  • Cautiously optimistic.
  • As a PM, I’m nervous! What gives me hope is the fact that we’re not alone…we have this organization and our colleagues on other campuses.
  • IT is more relevant than ever…everybody is now a part of IT!

What was issue 11?

  • Building a sustainable workforce (but next-gen IT workforce was)

Did we slice the data by different university types?

  • Yes! It will be in the January issue.

Where can you get a copy of these slides?

  • Somewhere on the EDUCAUSE web site 🙂

What skills are necessary for next-gen IT?

  • How to read contracts << laughter >>
  • Click-throughs are not a good idea. Legal counsel will have a problem with 60 page documents with embedded links to other documents.
  • Business Analyst mentality will become more important.
  • You don’t know how much you know until you know how much you care.
  • Soft skills are really important – distributed leadership and the support to do that.


Continuing Adventures in Higher Ed & Technology