Education Technology

NOMI: a tool to secure professor-student connection


  • Whitney Scott (WS), Director of Faculty Development, CSUN
  • Tiffany Navales (TN), UI/UX Designer & Front-End Developer, CSUN

What is it like when someone addresses you by your name? When someone, you don’t expect to know you, says your name, what is your reaction?

“Nobody cares what you know until…they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Why is this important?

Higher education is built largely on what we know. Building relationships is important to humanizing the classroom experience…and learning names is key! Names are political, they represent history and experiences before they come to the classroom. Is there a way for technology to help in this process?

  • ISR: Instructor Student Relationships. Higher quality IS relationships is correlated to student success. Are students engaging? Are instructors calling students by name? Some benefits: motivation, attendance, reduced disruptive behaviors, student willingness to take risks, building trust.
  • People who share traits, attitudes, birthdates are more likely to relate better.
  • Development & oxytocin: generated by the frontal lobe when people are interacting and connecting. Using a student’s name in class helps to create a welcoming environment that can help do this. By contrast, cortisol is generated by an activated amygdala, which is anathema to learning and engagement.

Labor Intensive Paper Strategy

  • Use paper strips with student names written on them to learn student names
  • Have students write their names on construction paper, held in front of them, then take a photo. These images were then combined into a Word document…all students in a class in one document. Very labor intensive!

Student Driven Process

  • Why not use canvas? Canvas can upload a photo/avatar. Face recognition could be difficult when a student uploads (avatars, photos that are outdated, heavily filtered photos). It’s also not very mobile friendly
  • What are the challenges for faculty learning their student’s names?
  • Do you think all faculty would use this?
  • How big is a typical classroom?

NOMI: Names Of Matador Individuals (“Know Me”)

  • Class roster automatically imports
  • Easily review students by semester
  • Take photos of students within the application
  • Take private notes to help remember student interests, likes, similarities, etc.
  • Shared photos so that the more faculty use the web application, the richer the database
  • Integration with a student profile manager for students to individually upload their photos for larger classes
  • Test yourself with flashcards to learn student names
  • It’s mobile friendly!

Tiffany gave a demo of NOMI and the functionality

Q: how long did it take to get the app to this stage? TN: It took over a year.

Q: is this used by the campus? TN: it’s not a campus-wide rollout

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
– Maya Angelou

Education Technology

Compass crm Program year 2: completing the 360 degree view of the student (how we did it, benefits, and how much it cost)


  • Jake Hornsby, CIO, CSU East Bay

Been on this journey for a year and a half, but the mission is the same: make students successful

  • Academic prep
  • Enrollment mgmt
  • Financial aid
  • Student engagement & well-being
  • Data driven decision making
  • administrative barriers

Roadmap: 2017: Kickoff, build team, select vendor and base tools > 2018 Quick wins > 2019 Branch out > 2020+ endless innovation

Going Big: what are we doing or will with CRM?

  • University Extension: manages student lifecycle & interactions between faculty, students and admin; automated comm via marketing cloud; service cloud (planning)
  • ITS: partner program of opportunity tracking and campus wide, open reporting (Tableau)
  • Campus Wide CRM project (Compass): Marketing automations; service for student success (case mgmt, knowledge, live chat, bots; Advancement (gifts, marcom, volunteers, community, social listening); Student community (OrgSync replacement); other (volunteers for Salesforce campus-wide, internships, scholarships, international/grad/other programs; Mobile app (ModoLabs replacement)

Summary of Current Programs

  • Programs: advancement, communications, student community, expanding service cloud
  • Partners: EigenX, Appirio, UC Innovations, Salesforce (5 campus collaboration

Adoption rate bumps every time we bring on new use cases

How does this all work?

All aimed at nudging individuals through to completion:

  1. Marketing and communications
  2. Student Experience/Case Management
  3. Building communities

And the subtext: reducing legacy debt, reducing costs (sort of), simplifying, making a student experience.

Theme 1: Marketing and Communications

Automated marketing, using real people data; social listening and advertising.. We create user journeys, which can branch endlessly. We want to at least know that when they reach a certain stage in the funnel, are they a “hot prospect?”

Theme 2: Student Experience and Case/Queue Management

  • Case Management
  • Forms & requests
  • Chatbots/AI (auto suggest, case deflection)
  • A real one stop shop?

Theme 3: Building Communities

  • Advancement
  • Student
  • Prospective
  • Parents

Giving Control to the Users

  • Graduate/Intl. programs
  • Colleges and programs
  • Student Life
  • Academic Advising
  • Athletics
  • Police
  • Fixing old stuff
  • Hr?
  • Etc.

Total Costs

  • High for professional services/one-time
  • Medium for total recurring
  • Significant replaced/cost avoidance
  • Net difference (but not real, will be reinvested)

General Issues

  • Culture: how to fix? particularly understanding experiences vs. efficiency. Can we have a student experience program without a staff experience one?
  • Products: classic higher ed or open market
  • Partners: which one? and when?
  • People: hard to find, hard to keep; how can we collaborate?

Getting Involved

  • Power of us hub
  • Cal State collaborative (Northridge, Fullerton, Monterey Bay, Chico and East Bay)
  • Local community groups (non-profits are experts)
  • Ask us for a demo…make sure to include primarily administrators!

Q: some constituents want it, what’s their reception to this that can be viewed as an additional set of work? JH: each constituency knows what they want, they want the data pushed to other areas once they have it.

Q: what role does Salesforce play in higher education? JH: I don’t know how to answer that question.

Education Technology

api web services: data sharing in the service of your campus


  • Nerces Kazandjian, Mentor/Product Owner, CSUN


  • Genesis & first steps
  • Current META_LAB API Web Servies Suites
  • Usage examples across campus
  • Q&A

Genesis & first steps

API: clearly defined methods of communicating among verious components

Abstracts underlying implementation, only exposing reqd objest or actions

Web services: communication via wWW between multiple electronic devices; provides an OO web-based interface to a db server

API/Web APIs: programmatic interface consisting of one or more publicly exposed endpoints; typically expressed in JSON or XML; commonly done through an HTTP server

How it all Started

  • 1st apps had direct access to databases. Do we need that level and freedom of access? What happens when the db structure changes? How do we give access outside of applications?
  • The appropriate time to move to an API web service: data is currently in used by multiple apps; data is id’ed as being potentially seful in future apps; data is requested by external dev teams

Tech Specifics

  • Lumen: Laravel pared down for micro-services and APIs; esily adaptable to Laravel applications
  • JSON: JS Object Notation; open standard that is human readable
  • RESTful: representation state transfer; standard HTTP methods (eg. GET, POST)

Advantages & Challenges

  • Advantages: simplify access to institutional data; promote the usage of data among campus devs; streamline web dev process
  • Challenges: getting access from authoritative source initially; 2-way access to read and write data; backward compatibility and support

Current Offerings

  • Affinity: teaching expertise
  • Citations: published works
  • Curriculum: course & class info
  • Degrees: Degree and institutional background
  • Directory: contact and listing information
  • Jewel: JSON data structure with HTML
  • Media: profile photo and name pronunciation
  • Roster: Membership of departments, committees, classes, etc.
  • Waldo: Room location information

Usage Examples Across Campus

  • AS Metro Pass: reduced-fare transit pass for students who meet unit requirement; available to students through registration/payment process; micro-app provides availability at AS Ticketing Office; Roster web service – number of enrolled units on student-by-student basis.
  • Catalog: online catalog with faculty, program, and course listings; curriculum web service class listings on course-by-course basis; degrees web service faculty degree information; directory web service faculty listing by department, faculty listing A-Z
  • Electronic Thesis & Dissertation: replaces thesis paperwork previously used by students and faculty; deposits theses to the library’s searchable repo; curriculum web service (graduate programs); roster web service (graduate program memberships, students and faculty)
  • Faculty profiles: automatically-generated profile page for CSUN faculty; affinity web service (faculty award badges, teaching & research interests); citations web service (faculty publication info); curriculum web service (faculty teaching schedule); degrees web service (faculty degree info); waldo web service (room location on campus map)
  • Late Add-Drop allows students to add/drop classes after respective deadlines; uses
  • Shared note taker: enables students to request note taking services
  • Academic curriculum: departments and programs using API web services: Computer Information Technology (senior design projects); computer science (faculty projects, senior design projects); Information Systems (faculty projects).
Education Technology

CSU/Unisys dev-ops automation roadmap


  • Milten Garia (MG), Manager of Integration and Web Services, CSU Office of the Chancellor
  • Anand Deshpande (AD), Cloud Architect, Unisys, CSU/Unisys Dev-Ops Automation Roadmap
  • Rajeev Singh (RS), Executive Transformation Architect, Unisys, CSU/Unisys Dev-Ops Automation Roadmap


  • CMS History
  • Business Drivers, Challenges and Target Areas
  • Vision & Strategy
  • Automation Roadmap & Journey
  • Automation Tools & Proven Results
  • Business Case: Data as a Service

CMS History

MG: discussed pre-history of storage, pottery for storage of grain and other foodstuffs, and invention of the pottery wheel. “Machines are a way to outwit nature.” “We’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re inventing the pot.”

Started in 1998, Mission to provide efficient, effective and high quality service to the campuses, students, faculty and staff of the 23 campus CSU System and the Office of the Chancellor. All 23 campuses are on HR.

Business Drivers, Challenges and Target Areas

  • Align institutional and IT priorities, i.e. GI2025.
  • Lagging technology
  • Increased Services at lower cost
  • Campus autonomy, empowerment: we want campuses to have the flexibility to manage their own environment.
  • Data security and access: we’re constantly under attack, and we have Oracle patches not just quarterly, but all the time now.
  • Digital integration: being able to integrate new applications into your environment without interruption. We need to be able to streamline this process.
  • Data-driven culture: we’re at 500K students now, we have mountains of student and administrative data, so this is a priority for us.
  • Speed of service to campuses: upgrades are constant, we’re trying to manage this better.
  • Realize operational efficiencies

Target Areas for Automation

  • Agile delivery of instances: being able to provide better responsiveness.
  • Handle Peek Load during registration: cooperation for calendaring of resources.
  • Optimize HR
  • Campus self-service of daily requests: campuses can deliver faster in many cases.
  • Automating mundane & administrative tasks

Vision & Strategy

RS: This doesn’t need to be a complicated discussion, there is no one right answer to what we need. Our operating principle: keep things simple; we need to be focused on the outcomes. We want to build a self-service portal where we can ask for whatever tools we need, being cloud- and tool-agnostic. Options are important.

  • Cloud Ops
  • Approvers
  • Cost Management
  • DevOps Tools

Strategy for ROI: Productivity feeds > Speed of delivery feeds > Quality improvements

  • Priorities: nobody is “busy,” it’s just a matter of priorities
  • Targets: simple and well-defined
  • Communication: keep momentum and provide tangible results
  • Actions: win fast and fail even faster

Automation Roadmap & Journey

AD: I’ll discuss the following topics and hopefully keep you entertained 🙂

  • CMS Hybrid Cloud Deployment
  • CMS Peoplesoft as a Service
  • CMS Data as a Service
  • CMS Auto Burst Capacity in AWS
  • Fully automated CMS Private Cloud

Journey to dev-ops is easy early on, but as you build it up it gets more complicated. Ad-hoc/Scattered/Shell Scripts > Devising dev-ops strategy for automation & config management > PoCs w/multiple CM Tool i.e. ansible, puppet > Setting base dev-ops infrastructure ( application deployment tools > educating & training staff > transforming & writing code for automation > evolving as true dev-ops organization.

We chose Ansible as our dev-ops tool. We wanted to setup our infrastructure as code, automating using Ansible, Jenkins, GitLab, Right Scale, Dome9, ServiceNow, VMware, AWS, Delphix for DB virtualization, etc. This stack removes layers of human approval for many commonly-requested things.

Ansible benefits: simple maintenance with strategic setup. Power tools: automation toolbox, workflow, agentless approach. Simple: no scripting, low learning curve, human readable automation, create prototypes quickly. Applied across multiple IT Operation Areas: storage, infrastructure, applications and databases to create a larger scale of improved operational efficiencies and reduced infrastructure costs. Use cases include: cloud, infrastructure, database, and applications.

Automation Tools & Proven Results

  • PS PIA build 3-4 hours > 1 minute
  • Automated web server validation: 1 hours & 2 FTEs > less than 3 minutes/automated
  • LInux/WebLogic/Oracle Patching: Manual 12 hours > automatic 1 hour or less
  • Automated maintenance window 6 hours 15 FTEs> more work in 6 hours
  • More examples were shared, I can’t type that fast 😉

Business Case: Data as a Service

Shared an Ansible infrastructure workflow that includes many of the elements available.

RS: we’re providing these services to Brendan’s team, and he’ll talk more about this later in the conference with respect to system data, i.e. BI initially.

Q: you’re talking about making this a priority, how do you get a “lift” without impacting operations? RS: as we move along the project we want to 1) see how do the implementations while automating them and 2) find out where we really spend our time. We want to enable campuses to do most of the day-to-day stuff on their own. That’s an incentive for us to allow folk to work on the exciting things we currently don’t have the time to work on.

Q: is the Ansible tool built for managing AWS or Azure? AD: it allows you use different modules to manage those services. For most things like EC2, it has modules that allow you to do most common tasks.

Q: are you using in the cloud confirmation and terraform in conjunction with Ansible? AD: we’re using Ansible pretty much exclusively right now.

Q: what’s the itinerary looking like for pushing this out, i.e. training, tools, etc.? RS: we’re going to post “how we did it” articles, a service catalog, a set of guidelines for security, etc.

Q: do you use a 3rd party to audit/verify your service is running properly? AD: no, Ansible does this for us.

Accessibility Education Technology

Leveraging blackboard A11y and campus “allies” to support a culture of inclusion


  • Shelli Wynants, Director, Online Education and Training, CSUF
  • Willie Peng, AVP, Academic Technology Support Services, CSUF

WP: Started this conversation in early Spring 2018, when we signed the MOU, began testing and deployment, developed a rollout plan, etc. In Summer 2018, we rolled out to about 40 faculty during our Summer “B” session. In 2018 Fall, we added CourseMatch, DSS registered courses, added selective volunteers. In 2019 Spring we enabled for all courses, embarked on a big marketing and training program (we’re getting a lot of great feedback from our faculty about this product). In the near future, we’re enabling for our Moodle Community Instance and doing more marketing and training.

How has your campus implemented A11y?

Q: Are you tracking how many people are responding to your MarCom emails? WP: No, but we’re planning to switch to a new email program so that we can do that. SW: all emails do come to me, but I only fielded one negative comment from faculty.

Q: DRC connection: did they give you a list of classes? SW: Yes! So it was turned on for all of those classes.

COMMENT: at SM, we rolled it out quickly. It was not received as well as we had hoped. Lots of faculty were doing remediation of materials that we didn’t know about. We’re going to involve marketing going forward.

Leveraging Campus Allies

SW: Our Academic Technology Center is our #1 stop. Instructional designers help out with most common kinds of things, like remediation of Word documents. We also have GrackleDocs for Google Docs, Forms and Slides. We turned on VoiceThread auto captioning for presentations and discussions and that’s worked out well for us (this is complimentary to services we receive from Automatic Sync Technologies). IT completely revamped our accessible technology website.

Q: how did you go about training? SW: we created a 3-part certificate, totally online training. #1 Accessibility Awareness, #2 universal design for learning, #3 creating accessible documents and presentations. Training is individual, not cohort. We’ve had a lot of non-faculty taking this training as well.

SW: We have grant money for OER: Student Success Series for Faculty Summer 2019. I give $100 to each person who completes the certificate…I had 35!

Our goal for staff is to take 5 courses in professional development. We have lots of material on A11y, Universal Design for Learning, and more. We start with equity, student success and then dive into accessibility.

What resources does your campus use to leverage A11y as part of a larger campus discussion about inclusion? Which campus “allies” are involved on your campus for promoting a culture of inclusion?

Q from CSUMB: you’re a “pull” type of organization…it’s all opt-in. Is anyone else doing a broader “we’re going to remediate things en-masses, set a baseline and get the work done?” SW: I think we’d have a faculty revolt if we attempted that!

Q: Would focusing on new faculty be a good idea? WP: yes. We’re also using CourseMatch and remediating as appropriate (the provost is behind us on this). SW: we’ve found that the certificate goes a long way toward providing motivation. A door sign or micro-credential might be useful in this way, too.

Q: are you planning on turning on the scoring part? SW: no, not yet. However, we thought we might turn it on for our early adopters/volunteers. It would be good if we had another campus’ experience to learn from. Some campuses have resolutions around maintaining accessibility for all coursework. SW: I think our policies are generally like this, but enforcement is a question. WP: we have 2 different Moodle instances, one is for coursework, the other is for “community.”

Next Steps

  • Student Awareness: campaign to promote accessing instructional materials using alternate format
  • Support: student, faculty, staff
  • Escalation: bugs, features
  • Additional tools to support accessibility: provide tools to address accessibility at document creation

Student awareness: advisors, res life, new students, U100 classes, email address for a11y, blocks of text explaining what a11y is (messaging like “you can listen in the gym, on the train,” etc. for ePub).

Support: WP we have a faculty support center AND a student support center; walk-in centers have been helpful.

Escalation: channel to submit bugs and feature requests.

Additional tools to support accessibility: WP we’re trying to be more pro-active and catch thing early (doing things in post-production is a lot more challenging). We’re trying to create a community among all constituencies to create learning materials about making documents accessibly.

What are you doing on your campuses?

Q: Filetypes…what are people telling folks about saving and uploading particular types of files? SW: we direct faculty to our module 3. CSU MB: faculty that create their materials from pre-existing materials? Yeah, that can be kind of tough. SW: we tend to help out with Word documents the most, and we have an in-house “guru” on PDF accessibility.

Q: what are you doing on your campuses? Filetypes…what are people telling folks about saving and uploading particular types of files. SW: we direct faculty to our module 3. CSU MB: faculty that create their materials from pre-existing materials? Yeah, that can be kind of tough. SW: we tend to help out with Word documents the most, and we have an in-house “guru” on PDF accessibility.

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