Nov
07
Filed Under (conference) by Geek in Residence on 07-11-2008

My conference notes on the talk: Managing Student Disputes through Technology by Aline Grossman, Executive Director Business Integrated Services and Traci Hardy, Project Manager of the University of Phoenix and Maddy Lakshmanan, Project Lead of Apollo Group, Inc.

The University of Phoenix is the largest private university in North America, specializing in adult (working students) education.  With nearly 200 campuses, the University serves 300,000+ students with more than 100 degree programs.  So it’s a big place … and their challenge was to manage student disputes in a highly distributed and mostly virtual environment.

So they built a web-base Dispute Management System (DMS) and in the last four years, they have successfully processed 14,000 disputes.

The requirements document was 103 pages long.  They employed traditional project management with agile development and “UI engineering” to maximize results.

Here are the layers of technologies used:

Framework: Spring MVC 2.04 (although 2.05 is apparently better)

View Layer: Ext.js, Prototype.js, JSP, AJAX, JSON

AppServer: Jboss 4.05 CA (with load balancing)

Data Layer: Hibernate 3.0

Database: MS SQL Server 2000

Authentication: ACEGI, CAS, CAP

Web Services: Xfire

Tools: Fortify (protects against SQL injection), QTP, LoadRunner (performance testing)

Libraries: Quartz

Some of the technical challenges:

  1. controlled access
  2. locking feature
  3. communication with other applications
  4. securing legal data
  5. backing up secured date (every 15 minutes)
  6. monitoring the application’s availability

Future directions for development include consolidating other dispute systems, easy access to earlier disputes, dealing with retaliatory issues, work load balancing and trending.

My next post will summarize notes from the talk The Unique Human Brain: Clues fromNeurology by V.S. Ramachandran, Professor and Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition, University of California, San Diego.

Nov
05
Filed Under (conference) by Geek in Residence on 05-11-2008

My notes from the talk Can One Institutional Calendar, Used Creatively Boost Retention by Rita Cheng, Provost and Vice Chancellor and Bruc Maas, Chief Information Officer of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

I love simplicity and clarity.  The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is very clear about student roles and the University’s role.  The students learn, work and play.  The University provides tools to enable student success in all three realms (learn, work and play).  Simple and clear.

And they have a very clear goal:  improve retention of freshman students through the creative use of technology to strengthen communication and social networking.

The result:   Retention numbers are steadily improving.

A new question: “Can a research university use an old friend—the enterprise calendar—to produce even better results?

Assumptions:

  1. freshmen can benefit from organization
  2. students want calendar information in ONE place (for all roles: learn, work, play)
  3. calendar provides synchronous communication in vital areas

Hypothesis:  One institutional (electronic) calendar used effectively by students, faculty and advisors will contribute to student success and thus increase student retention.

Getting Things Started: The Technology Innovator Grant Program was created to stimulate creative, applied used of campus technology.  Early adopters were given $500 one-year grants and were required to participate in public forums and provide periodic updates on their projects.

Learn about the case studies in the PDF version of the presentation.

Complimentary features included instant messaging, social networking and a calendar subscription center.

Is it working?  “Early returns are promising!”

Take a test drive of the tool they used:  Zimbra.

Some other notes generated by a question and answer session.

– Course calendars were pre-populated but beyond that subscribing to a particular calendar is a choice that the student makes.  The working philosophy is “one student and one experience at a time; pre-populating is a non-thoughtful (presumptious) thing to do”.

– Any individual can create a calendar and any other person can subscribe to that calendar so that calendars can be used for specific groups of people.

Next post will cover notes from the talk: Managing Student Disputes through Technology by Aline Grossman, Executive Director Business Integrated Services and Traci Hardy, Project Manager of the University of Phoenix and Maddy Lakshmanan, Project Lead of Apollo Group, Inc.