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 Face recognition could be difficult when a student uploads (avatars, photos that are outdated, heavily filtered photos).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


What’s New In Kurogo


  • Eric Kim:  VP User Experience, Modo Labs
  • Marshall Vale:  VP Engineering, Modo Labs

Kurogo Mobile Campus:  What a Year!

  • 3 major releases (2.1, 2.2, 2.3)
  • 20+ packages released
  • Major work at every level of the tech & product

What’s new for End Users?

  • New map module features pathfinding, which uses data from either google maps or campus ArcGIS data.  Does turn-by-turn navigation.
  • Tour 2.0:  maps, curated linear paths, with ability to skip stops.  Allows multiple layers of information.  Card-based photos.  Friendlier browser-based management tools for non-technical administrators has drag-n-drop content editing that dynamically adjusts the map routing.
  • Indoor maps.  This is driven in large part by our corporate customers, but is frequently requested by our .edu customers.  Find nearest items of interest such as fire escapes, accessibility, info of interest such as A/V in room.
  • Native tablet apps.  Split views, native OS controls like iOS popovers, sign-in / sign-out, Android ActionBar control, etc.
  • Favorite modules:  loss of customized layout.  With 2.3, users can “promote” modules they use the most.  These items are shown in a “My Favorite Modules” section at the top of the main page.
  • Facilities (Report a Problem):  allows creation of tickets.
  • Resources Module:  availability of resources such as laundry facilities (integration with a system I didn’t catch).  It connects to a number of different structured data, and can be used by computer labs.
  • Performance improvements:  ON THE SERVER:  improved data-source fetching, parsing, and caching; faster HTML sanitization; cache priming on every deploy; faster HTML generation and minification.  ON THE DEVICE:  more granular, persistent, and intelligent client-side caching, AJAX-loaded in-app notification banners for more cachable pages, native app asset cache (requires 2.3 server and apps)
  • Federated search now included publisher content
  • Typographic improvements to aid readability
  • Ongoing accessibility updates and improvements
  • Many visual updates and refinements
  • More diversity of content presentation via Publisher
  • More robust theming
  • Comprehensive theming documentation
  • Webfonts (support for Google fonts, Adobe TypeKit, Uploaded font files
  • Fonts will appear across all platforms, including native apps (aside from navbar & navmenu)
  • Publisher Templates:  more flexible and attractive

What’s New for Administrators?

  • Redesign KPM for more flexibility during dev lifecycle
  • Shopping cart model allows you to select packages before install
  • Introduces provider types (git, github, packages).  Github is now a first-class citizen within Kurogo.
  • Package Manager 2:  new channels for stable, beta and dev status; can change permissions to only show subset of channels; can change provider type; new Package Server
  • Admin Roles:  additional role types; can now restrict a user’s role to all modules, module instance, module type; Example:  can limit a user to only edit a single Publisher module
  • List Filter:  accelerator for finding matching items in long lists of components; enabled for data sources, modules, and services
  • List Sorting:  select column to sort asc/desc; available in most areas of Admin with a table list; works with filter by
  • Deploy Changes:  new in progress status for data sources, modules, and authentication authorities; limits deploying to only Edit and Test targets; limits deploying to only edit and test targets; allows changes to be made to production without deploying unfinished modules; can deactivate modes.
  • Additional:  New job worker queue handles many background tasks (2.2), mail service provider for forms (2.1), published status indicator for edit pages; edit UI; new inspector assist in Edit; UI created for many settings which required Advanced Config; Sharing settings config; additional access to server status info & logs

What’s New for Developers?

  • Documentation:  thorough update of kurogo core docs for 2.3, class hierarchies;
  • Lots of objects!
  • Package Manager 2:  new meta-data info in the package format; stable, beta, dev status; more detailed minimum and maximum version dependencies
  • Additional improvements:  parse map types; AJAX flash message support; Custom URL Parameters in Data Models & Objects (bookmarks for aggregate feeds)

What’s Next?

  • Self service & Enhanced App Assembly
  • Quick theme builder:  rapidly change your Kurogo app’s overall theme via the Admin panel; simplified options streamlines the process; builder auto-computes and sets 500+ theme variable from a few settings; 6 color schemes; primary and secondary brand colors; Serif, Sans, or Custom fonts; Upload a logo.
  • Marshall gave a quick demonstration of what the Quick Theme Builder can do
  • Focus on self service:  full theme editor, fine grained modification of theme variables and asset files; more data sources will allow file upload for situations where live data source available, i.e. CSV for Calendar; improving navigation management; portlet management
  • Longform,” a new much more flexible, more modular content focused template
  • Capabilities:  indoor maps (custom amenities, detail screens for amenities, feed support for POI and amenity data); Direct alerts; import/export of Edit content; duplication of Edit content; Banner ads (promote events and activities around campus); Tighter integration between Indoor Maps, Outdoor Maps and Facilities

Welcome to the Conference

Ron Kraemer:  VP and Chief Information & Digital Officer

Notre Dame

  • 1842
  • 12,000 students (2/3 undergrad)
  • Research funding:  100 million+
  • Endowment:  $8-9 Billion (12th largest in country)

Notre Dame’s Innovation Park

  • Opened 2009
  • 55,000 Sq. Ft.
  • 501(c)3
  • Mission:  transform university innovation to viable marketplace ventures
  • Houses faculty, students, alumni, and partners
  • Provides tailored space and services
  • Works closely with Admin, Tech Transfer, Office of Research and Deans

I urge you to please walk the campus!  The basilica and administration building are deliberately located next to each other.  If you have the chance, please check out the grotto, it’s gorgeous especially this close to graduation. ” Touchdown Jesus” artwork on the library is actually a mosaic.  A lot of our artwork is deliberately named with football themes.  There’s a $400 million investment underway around the stadium, including a digital media studio for video and mobile production work.


Slide showing difference between 2005 and 2013:  Catholic papal events – first shot from 2005 has one person holding up a phone to take a photo, the second shot from 2013 shows EVERYONE holding up a phone to take a photo.  Pretty dramatic.  Our partnership with Modo Labs has allowed Notre Dame to deliver value to our campus.   In higher ed, our ability to collaborate and share with other institutions has been a huge benefit.  We’re in this game because we want to help our students positively change the world.

“In a digital world, influence no longer emanates from the top of the heap, but from the center of the network.”



Kurogo Conference Opening Remarks

Presenter:  Stewart Elliot, CEO, Modo Labs

The opening keynote of any conference usually portends the overall content and feel of the event.  A nice breakfast preceded, so for now, at least my stomach is happy.  Let’s see how this goes…

kurogo crowd shot

First items:  The conference app itself was made with Kurogo Publisher, and a thank-you to the sponsors:  Apperian, Double map GreyHeller, Radius Networks.  Also, a shout-out to the folks who travelled the farthest and Mr. Andrew Yu, the man who started the whole thing.  Cal State University was well-represented with five campuses sending reps to the event:  CSUCI, SacState, Fresno, East Bay, and of course CSUN.  Cal State has eight campuses using the platform.   PHSC:  Pasco-Hernando State College from Florida is also here (Dr. Melissa Harts from PHSC is actually sitting next to me as I type this – her presentation later is “What’s the Point?”).

Modo Labs is 5 years old this month!  One of the overall goals of the platform is to enable non-technical users to “do mobile” without having to code, i.e. publishing.  2.3 is out now, and 2.4 is coming in a couple months.  We’re proud to be able to deliver new iterations quickly.

“The Race to 2.0”

Fresno State beat Notre Dame to version 2.0 by 2 hours, so Cal State gets bragging rights as the first to implement 🙂

Modo Labs

Becca is new director, and changed a number of items:  logo, web site, etc.  The Modo Labs “ball” idea has been likened to an 8-ball, a bowling ball, and a party ball.  Modo’s new logo is a building block / chevron.  Modo = “the way of”  Visit the new web site here:

modo logo

We want all universities to bring in students to develop on our platform, whether they have coding skills or not.  We urge our customers to do this.

The New Frontier

Where is the demand coming from, what are customers asking for?  In big demand are micro sites and multi-sites.  We’re helping one of our customers scale up their installation to 400+ different experiences.  In this case, crowd-sourcing becomes very important…how do you get people handle the challenge of managing all this stuff?

Modo Labs

Only independent company in this space, we’re growing 100% year-over-year.  This has allowed us to strongly reinvest in our product.  We also have customers in very large enterprises, hospitals and other verticals.  We recently moved into a new facility that is twice the size, the space itself was designed by Eric Kim.  We’d be happy to host you and your folks if you’d like to come visit us (and play foosball…it’s a big thing in our office).

It’s Just a Pen

Slide featured a Blackboard pen.  When we entered the market, Blackboard was our biggest competitor, with about a 70% market share.  Our product has grown by leaps and bounds, and Blackboard is now about 40%.  Ellucian is really big in this space, too (and experiencing challenges from WorkDay).

Why the pen?  We need to be humble about our product.  Competitors can easily move into this space and change the market in unpredictable ways.

kurogo tech support
The tech guy running the soundboard and video presentations.




…and the 2015 Kurogo Conference Begins!

After an uneventful flight from LAX to O’Hare and a two-hour drive, I arrived at Notre Dame University yesterday afternoon about 4:00 PM local time.  The Kurogo folks put on a nice mixer at the Morrison Inn for attendees last night from 6:00 – 9:00 PM, and I got an opportunity to meet a number of folks from around the US and Canada who are using the platform.  I’m eager to see how people are using and extending it to meet their campus needs!

The facility that we’re using for the event is the Notre Dame Innovation Center, which I’ll post picture for in a future update.  A very cool space, it’s really ideal for meetups, hackathons, and incubator-type activities.  I wish we had one of these at CSUN!  The reception desk of the center has a whole set of “that was easy” Staples-inspired buttons.  If you’re wondering, yes I pressed every one of these 🙂

that was

This conference is a number of “firsts” for me:  first time at Notre Dame, first time at the Kurogo conference, and first time at a mobile-focused conference.  I’ll do my best to capture what’s being presented here, along with a bit of the event’s flavor.

Watch this space!

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