Supporting Student Success Through Technology
Student and Academic Technologies partners with faculty, staff, and students to enable innovative instruction and student success.
Supporting Faculty as They Move Instruction Online
When the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic demanded a shift in instructional methods at the University of Arizona, it became clear that technology was going to be a critical part of sustaining the university’s academic mission. 35 colleges and over 1,000 faculty made the transformation from the familiarity of leading instruction on campus to sharing a not- so-familiar classroom in an online environment.
The UITS Academic Technologies team collaborated with the Office of Digital Learning (ODL) and Office of Instruction & Assessment (OIA) to support faculty in shifting to online learning with D2L and other applications.
Once the remote learning decision was made, within 72 hours, a specialized website for online instruction resources and a special student learning website were created to assist in the transformation.
Although 93% of university faculty had at least one online D2L site prior to March 2020, transferring all curriculum and learning online was a monumental effort for many. A primary source of support for faculty quickly became the D2L support phone line. ODL and OIA staff pulled together to increase capacity from 6 people working 8 hours a day to daily 12-hour coverage, seven days a week.
UITS supported these efforts with developing websites and creating digital learning webinars on using Zoom, Virtual Computing Access Technology (VCAT), and other tools.
New Student Center Made for Students
UITS launched a modern, mobile responsive, and redesigned UAccess Student Center in FY20. The new platform made it easier for students to search and enroll in classes, monitor their financial aid, and manage personal information. Design of the new UAccess Student Center was guided through collaboration with students. It provided students with a more modern personalized, digital experience for their academic journey. UAccess Student and Trellis CRM teams collaborated with many campus partners on this important project including, Registrar’s office, Bursar’s office, Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, and Academic Advising Resource Center.
Degree Search Redesign Tops Website Visits
June marked the completion of a large-scale redesign to Degree Search, one of the University of Arizona’s top visited academic planning websites. The enhanced web experience now allows students see details on all majors, options to filter by interest, view sample course plans, and even compare majors against other degree programs, giving them plenty of ways to explore and plan their academic career.
Zoom Use Soars During Pandemic
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom quickly became a household name as people across the globe migrated to the online video and audio-conferencing platform for remote teaching, learning, and work.
UITS already had an established enterprise-wide Zoom service for campus and was able to quicky shift resources to support the expansion of Zoom use to more than 60,000 faculty, staff, and students.
UITS Classroom Technology Services teamed up to make sure all 240 centrally scheduled classrooms met the needs for remote learning and assisted departments with setting up their classrooms and specialized Zoom rooms.
Digital Change of Schedule Form Supports Student Success
In spring 2020, the University of Arizona established a temporary pass-fail grading policy, allowing students to elect a pass/fail grade instead of a letter-grade for their courses. The Office of the Registrar with support from the UAccess Student team, helped implement the policy, while Trellis worked with the Office of the Registrar to launch a digital Change of Schedule/Late Change Petition Form that gave students an option to withdraw from courses online. The new digital change of schedule form was convenient for students to complete and submit, creating a more efficient review and approval process with a faster turnaround time.
"I am immensely grateful to all those who pitched in during a time of incredible disruption. The way our teams across multiple departments worked with a single purpose to provide top-notch support for instructors is one we should all reflect on with pride.”
Lisa Elfring, PhD, Associate Vice Provost, Instruction and Assessment, Office of Instruction & Assessment