SIGUCCS ’21: ACM SIGUCCS Annual Conference
SESSION: Keynote & Invited Talks
Does your college/university say one of its core values is diversity, equity, and
inclusion? If so, is the IT they are using equitable and inclusive for usage by diverse
populations of users? The evidence suggests “no” — and in this talk, we will consider
how to address this problem by answering the following questions: How can IT professionals
assess whether their IT supports diverse users? And if they find problems, how can
they fix them? Although there are empirical processes that can be used to find “inclusivity
bugs” piecemeal in software, web apps, websites, and so on, what is often needed is
a systematic inspection method to assess IT’s support for diverse populations. To
help fill this gap, we developed GenderMag, a method for finding and fixing “gender
inclusivity bugs” — gender biases in IT interfaces and workflows. We then introduced
InclusiveMag, a generalization of GenderMag that can be used to generate systematic
inclusiveness methods for other dimensions of diversity. In this talk, we present
the latest GenderMag results, what OSU’s IT professionals are doing with it, and provide
a glimpse into the future by briefly introducing InclusiveMag and our early experiences
Tales abound in popular magazines and academic publications of technologically savvy
adolescents with near-magical powers. Whether celebratory or despairing, however,
claims and assumptions about these roaming packs of digitally-nimble young people
are often based on flawed – or nonexistent – research. Concurrently, educators may
find themselves pursued by shadowy specters of what “everybody knows” about teaching,
learning, students, and all things brain-ish. “But, does it really matter,” you might
ask, “if a student believes that humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish?”
Short answer: Yes, it does matter, indeed. This presentation will propose a longer
answer to that question by unearthing the sources of these legends, shining the light
of day on the true nature of such creatures, and offering strategies for combating
the pernicious effects of their influence. (Torches and pitchforks optional.)
SESSION: Session 1: Lessons Learned from Massive Pivots Due to Physical Campus Closures
In early March, Lewis & Clark started to prepare for a primarily face-to-face campus
to scale up to support distance learning in the event students or instructors would
need to quarantine. We expected to use Zoom, the video conferencing platform fully
supported by IT to deliver a handful of fully online and distance learning courses.
Within a week we instead needed to assist with an emergency transition to teaching
online fully. To support this effort, we needed to quickly scale up both a video conferencing
platform and faculty development program for all faculty. In this paper, I’ll share
our experiences using both Zoom and Google Hangout Meet, our training programs, eventual
adoption rates, feature evaluation, and faculty and student responses to this transition.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many institutions talked about hybrid learning
models for both fall 2020 and spring 2021. For the most part, hybrid instruction is
a variation of the HyFlex model – synchronous instruction of faculty and students
both remote and in class. Institutions are approaching configuration of these rooms
through many different methods. The question is “How does one create these rooms,
at scale, across an entire campus?” This kind of flexibility and cost-control is necessary
when trying to balance having enough rooms available to cover the majority of classes,
but not so many that one breaks the bank.
CSU Northridge (CSUN) has approached this, with support from a CSU System mini-grant,
with an eye towards cost control and the ability to expand across potentially 350
classrooms or more. Come to this presentation to learn more about not on the HyFlex
model of teaching but also the thinking that happened behind the scenes to build this
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Colorado Boulder teaching activities
shifted rapidly to a remote and HyFlex model. Neither campus technology infrastructure
nor the bulk of instructors were prepared for this extremely rapid change in teaching
models. In response to the impacts on campus operations in the Spring 2020 semester,
and subsequent plans to begin the Fall 2020 semester by teaching in a mixed environment,
the Office of Information Technology (OIT) developed 23 rapid-response projects and
This presentation highlights those projects relating to personal computing software
and hardware resources for instructors. This includes developing new software delivery
strategies, adapting software licensing to fit rapidly evolving instructional needs,
and providing computers and peripherals to instructors outside the normal range of
provisioning. All these were done in response to COVID-19 impacts on campus operations
and the subsequent plan to begin the Fall 2020 semester by teaching in a mix of traditional
on-premise, newly remote, and highly-flexible environments.
SESSION: Session 2: Leadership
In many cases managers are not properly trained for the responsibility of becoming
a leader. True leadership is a never-ending experience of personal and professional
evolution and does not happen overnight. Even when the desire to lead and help others
exists, it can take decades to develop methodology that works for you and those you
lead. Employees are really counting on you to lead them not “Manage” them.
To set the stage I will share some of my experiences and insight through real-world
challenges and pitfalls stemming from the shortcomings of poor leadership in my own
experience as a manager. Finally, I will share some tools, tips, and techniques I
use on a daily basis. The focus will be around helping individuals grow their careers
no matter where they are now keeping them engaged in their work, their teams, and
The transition to remote work was a slow one for our campus. Our employees are unionized
and our human resources department values hours in the office. Last year, our department
piloted a program where employees could get permission to work from home on a sporadic
basis. In March 2020, New York State’s mandated closing of our campus transformed
all of our employees into remote workers. In this presentation, we will describe the
hasty escalation to occasional work from home situations to fully remote teams. Topics
include communication tools, business continuity. accountability, time management,
tracking employee performance, and team cohesiveness and morale.
Learning On and At the Edge: Enabling Remote Instructional Activities with Micro Controller
and Microprocessor Devices
As a result of the global pandemic of 2020, many colleges and universities shifted
to remote instruction. Thanks in part to the reliance on cloud-based hosting for mission-critical
enterprise systems (e.g., enrollment, library collections, learning management, and
videoconferencing), most higher education institutions have been able to continue
teaching and learning activities overall in this difficult context . For a small
but important subset of courses, however, the lack of access to laboratory, workshop,
or studio spaces has presented enormous obstacles to carrying on . The negative
impact to hands-on instruction has been a major preoccupation during the pandemic,
but there are some signs of hope. As we’ll see, inexpensive microcontroller and microprocessor
systems and accessories have emerged as enabling technologies that show promise as
a solution for carrying on certain kinds of remote hands-on activities. This paper
looks at three situations where instructors were able to overcome the challenges of
remote instruction by being able to distribute kits and digital lab materials to students
for remote work using devices such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and NVIDIA Jetson. The
three examples suggest a potential role for academic computing services in being able
to scale up these sorts of device-based solutions to achieve broader impact.
SESSION: Session 3: Infrastructure and Networking
Centralizing Server and Workstation Provisioning, Configuration, and Management with
Foreman and Puppet.
As a lone system administrator, efficiency is key. As our Computer Science and Digital
Forensics programs grew, and student enrollment continued to increase, one thing became
clear: I needed a better way to control the provision / configure / management lifecycle
of our servers and workstations. This paper will chronicle the journey from several
disparate systems to a single console capable of managing the entire lifecycle of
both servers and workstations. From Zero-touch provisioning of bare metal and virtual
machines, to ensuring up-to-date configurations, as well as software deployment across
both Windows and Linux systems alike.
Email is a traditional but still important global communication tool. An email address
is a kind of personal identifier, and email addresses printed on publications require
persistent reachability. Kyushu University provides a university-wide email service,
Primary Mail Service, and assigns a Primary Mail Address for each member. Divisions
of the university additionally operate individual email services for their internet
subdomains and administer member email addresses. Since email is a major means of
cyberattacks nowadays, the secure operation of an email server demands considerable
effort and high skill. This article describes a challenge at Kyushu University for
consolidating individual email services. Since 2018, the Primary Mail Service has
been operated using Microsoft’s cloud service, Exchange Online, which supports multiple
internet domains on a tenant. The approach employed is registering divisional subdomains
to the tenant and configuring forwarding addresses from addresses of the subdomains
to the Primary Mail Addresses or external addresses. A desirable scheme is for each
domain administrator to manage forwarding addresses of the domain, but Exchange Online
is unable to delegate administration to the domains. To overcome this, a system was
designed and developed for domain administrators to create, read, update, and delete
forwarding addresses. Beginning in July 2020, a new service to import divisional domains
was offered. We are now planning measures for promoting the consolidation of individual
An attempt of automatic and flexible operation of equipment in a campus is discussed.
This operation was realized by Bot Computing, a framework for Internet of Things (IoT).
Bot computing enables remote control of edge devices which are protected by NAT routers,
from the Internet. Any electric appliance can be controlled using the combination
of Bot Computing and an edge device with an Infra-Red (IR) transmitter, if the appliance
has the IR remote controlled function.
We can program the power-on time and the power-off time of any electric appliance,
by writing a script on a Wiki page on the Internet, using the Bot Computing. We can
change the program anytime, anywhere. We also can force turn on or force turn off
the appliance anytime, anywhere.
We have used this to realize a large digital signage system by using windows of a
building at our university. The signage system displays university information at
We could have planned operation of video projectors in a building. We could also have
forced turn on video projectors and changed the plan of operation from the outside
of the building, which is locked at night.
SESSION: Session 4: Higher Education IT Staff are/are not Okay
Last year’s panel generated a number of positive requests to continue our conversation
in future conferences, and so we are once again offering a panel presentation and
discussion on the subject of mental health in the workplace.
Everyone has their own personal struggles; many of us have diagnosed mental health
issues; and still too many have genuine health issues that remain undiagnosed. The
good news is that there seems to be more open conversation around the issue of mental
health within the workplace. However, we still have a ways to go, and many of us still
find ourselves powering through our days without support, either because we don’t
think we need it, don’t know how to request it, or because none exists. Maybe there’s
a better approach.
This panel will once again be comprised of members of the SIGUCCS community who experience
some form of mental health issue that has impacted their professional (and personal)
lives. We will also have the perspective of a supervisor who has worked closely with
one of his direct reports in order to accommodate their related needs. We’ll spend
our presentation time talking about how these conditions manifested themselves, their
impact on our work, and how they were or are being addressed. We’ll also talk about
the importance of support structures in the workplace and how to seek them out. The
remaining half of our time will be for open discussion: questions for members of the
panel, or an opportunity for participants to share their own experiences.
Please join in what we hope to be a safe environment for an important conversation.
The drive for both diversity and Inclusion has become more and more central to the
core values of many instructional institutions throughout the world. Until recently,
many LGBTQ+ people felt the need to hide who they were. As a somewhat invisible minority
status it was often difficult to participate in many of the personal discussions that
our “straight” co-workers regularly engaged in; finding ways to still converse without
giving away our secret. It is those tough and, frankly, scary conversations that are
so very important to not only our own psyche, but also for those around us. In this
facilitated discussion we will open the floor to the topics of LGBTQ+ inclusion in
the workplace, coming out to coworkers, what it means to be an ally, and much more.
This will be a welcoming and affirming environment, regardless of where you are on
the spectrum. Let’s have an open and candid conversation of our experiences be you
LGBTQ+ or not!
SESSION: Poster Session
Design and Implementation of the Cisco Webex System Based on Self-service Sign-up
Using G Suite for Rapid Deployment
Following the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), there is a growing requirement
for online class at universities and other educational institutions. Information Media
Center (IMC) at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT), provides Google
G Suite for Education, which can be used by all faculty members and students of our
university. G Suite provides a service called Google Meet, which can be used for remote
meetings. However, since Meet is somewhat inferior in terms of functionality as a
web conferencing system, it is expected to have some barriers for the smooth class
management by faculty members. Therefore, IMC considered that Cisco Webex Training
could be a choice for effective online class use. First of all we discuss the functionality
of Cisco Webex Training in this paper. A product version of some web conferencing
systems such as Webex can be easily implemented for a large-scale environment by working
together with a university’s integrated authentication system. However, in order to
do this, it is necessary to renovate the existing authentication system. It also coincides
with the end of the fiscal year in Japan’s budget period. In this situation, online
classes are also an important issue that needs to be implemented quickly for COVID-19
measures. From these situations, renovations and cost incurrence for coordination
should be kept to a minimum. Therefore, IMC starts preparations for a small-start
implementation of the system. First, we built a system that allows users to open an
account for the Webex system by signing up, and then users can start the service by
self-service when they need it. This system consists of a combination of the Webex
system and the various services included in G Suite, and is ready for use when both
services are available. In this paper, we also provide a brief description of the
process of building the system and the details of the system. By proposing an introduction
method that is different from the linking the authentication system normally used
to deploy the Webex system, we can propose a new use case for the university community.
Introduction of the Basic Human Resource Development Program for Freshman and the
Practical Professional Development Program for Current Students at Tokyo University
of Agriculture and Technology
The Internet and information systems have been used widely as part of the social
infrastructure. With the commoditization of these technologies, the importance of
human resources to handle them is increasing day by day. However, there are not enough
infrastructure engineers to handle information infrastructure, so the development
of these professionals is an urgent necessity. Universities also have a variety of
information systems, and by effectively utilizing these systems, advanced research
and education can be carried out. The Information Center is an organization that promotes
the operation and utilization of these information systems. The Tokyo University of
Agriculture and Technology Information Media Center (IMC) operates the university’s
information infrastructure, and in conjunction with this, it also provides education
on the effective use of information infrastructure. First of all, there is an information
orientation as a basic education program for freshman. This program is conducted at
the beginning of the new semester to educate students on the use of the university’s
information system and information ethics. It is also considered that the role of
a science and technology university is to develop engineers who support information
systems as a social infrastructure. Therefore, IMC provides an educational program
for the development of infrastructure engineers, which is separate from the regular
curriculum of our university. In this program seminar-style classes are held with
exercises covering a wide range of content in keywords such as Internet technology,
cloud computing, server operation technology, and security. In addition, this program
is based on a program that has been developed for working people outside the university
and is being implemented as the original program for the university with advanced
content. Our students belong to their own specialties, such as engineering and agriculture,
but by providing other programs for these students we can develop a wide variety of
human resources by acquiring knowledge of information technology, not only in their
own specialties but also in a wide range of fields. This paper outlines these two
programs that IMC provides as programs mainly for students. This paper will help to
consider the human resource development programs that can be implemented in universities,
from basic programs to practical and advanced programs.
Face-to-face activities at universities have become difficult with the worldwide
outbreak of COVID-19. In our university, we are making various efforts to prevent
infection. In the first semester, all face-to-face classes were cancelled, and a remote
lecture using LMS and a video conference system was conducted.
In order to support remote activities, the university contracted Cisco Webex Education
Offer in addition to the previously purchased Cisco Webex license. With this license,
we made Cisco Webex available to all faculty and staff.
In this paper, we will describe our knowledge related to the preparation of remote
activities at universities in conjunction with the information infrastructure already
reported, and report the contents.
In December 2019, The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
of Japan announced the GIGA (Global and Innovation Gateway for All) school concept.
The aim is to optimize education for each and every child by providing a terminal
and a high-speed, large-capacity communication network. To achieve this goal there
have been various initiatives across Japan. A demonstration experiment of remote classes
using a high-speed network was conducted between Kyoto Institute of Technology (KIT)
and Kyoto Prefectural Toba High School. This paper reports the effects and problems
of the demonstration experiment.
Japanese Activities to bring online academic meetings against COVID-19: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Online Meetings
Various rally events in Japan were canceled or postponed since mid-February 2020
due to the impact of the new coronavirus COVID-19 which was confirmed in late 2019.
In Japan, February and March are the months when many conferences and research meetings
are held. The authors were key-persons to bring the conference/research meeting online
from late February to mid-March. Over 100 to 1,000 participants attended each conference.
Each conference consists of a single session to a maximum of 13 parallel sessions.
This paper discusses the prospect of the conference and summarizes the decision-making
process and technical decisions of the conferences.
SESSION: Session 5: Pandemic Panel
Preventing COVID-19 infection in a university using a cloud computing service, Microsoft
Office 365, is discussed. In order to start in-person classes safely, our university
decided to survey health status of every student and staff member, every day. The
student or the staff member is asked to not to come to campus if there is a symptom
of COVID-19 infection or if they did not fill out the survey sheet daily for two weeks.
If there are no symptom of COVID-19 for two weeks, there is almost no possibility
of infection of COVID-19 or the person had recovered from the infection. The survey
data is collected and analyzed with Office 365 to minimize time and effort. In addition
to the survey, we made the class seat assignment sheets using our academic affair
system and Excel. The assigned seats were used in order to coduct contuct tracing
if a student tested positive with COVID-19.
With each new calendar or academic year, we hear platitudes like “the possibilities
are endless!” Many of us in higher education have been anticipating coming changes
as the industry undergoes a transformation. Yet no one expected a pandemic to strike
and completely upend life as we knew it, hastening change and forcing us to re-envision
and reinvent daily operations, on a weekly or even daily basis. How did the Campus
Relations group in Drake University’s Information Technology Services respond to the
pressure? The leadership team will share how we anticipated upcoming changes, developed
contingency plans, adapted on the fly, and kept operations going. Did we exhaust all
the possibilities? Or did the possibilities exhaust us? Attend our session and make
your own determination!
SESSION: Session 6: Lightning Talks
Is it possible to plan, schedule, and execute a document migration of over 350 support
articles in a six-month timeframe with one dedicated full-time staff and a part-time
student worker assigned to the task? And is it possible to do the migration work while
encountering a pandemic situation which no one had planned for in our lifetime?
The Help and How articles at Oregon Health and Science University’s Information Technology
Group were migrated from an aging Content Management System (CMS) into a modern platform.
This migration was completed with minimal allocated resources. This presentation covers
the importance of planning, placing trust in colleagues, adopting a Skunkworks mindset,
and staying resilient for ensuring a successful project outcome.
How would you feel if your workplace uses everyday language which triggers, offends,
or otherwise makes you feel unwelcome? Do uncomfortable terminology affect the level
of trust within your team and colleagues? And do you wonder why we don’t do anything
about problematic language in professional workplaces?
In light of anti-racism movement of 2020, many corporations and organizations took
action to focus inward and look at systemic and institutionalized racism within their
entities. The Information Technology Group at Oregon Health & Science University was
no exception, as we took action on oppressive, discriminatory, and exclusionary terminologies
which we encountered in IT. Our efforts included going beyond changing the language
used in documentation: we also educated our colleagues and implored our vendors to
update their documents when we found problematic language.
The modern board game scene has exploded in popularity in recent years. Many games
are released every year and have a wide range of size and rules complexity. I have
found that having a small supply of these modern games has been an invaluable relationship
building tool. As an IT consultant for a mid-sized department I have a open policy
to play games over lunch with anyone who requests a game. I keep a curated supply
of games that take 15-45 minutes in my office. These games have led to many sessions
playing and chatting with the professors and grad students in my department. As a
new employee these sessions helped me establish peoples names and responsibilities,
but they also have allowed me to form friendships and a welcome decompression time
in the middle of the day. My talk will be focused on the above with more specifics
of how I make it work in practice.
As with all IT departments, remote work brought a surge of support needs from our
community. Faced with the increased demands on our time, the thought of trying to
run the Helpdesk with a reduction or the elimination of our student staff was not
a pleasant one. However, we were allowed to employ our staff remotely, providing we
had specific plans for the type of work, scheduling of shifts, and in particular communication
Fortunately, a number of our existing practices lent themselves to adaptation. With
the judicious use of Slack, soft phones, and a drive to maintain existing working
relationships, we modified our service approach and student focus such that we seemed
to meet the campus needs. We thought that we’d share what changes we made, how we
implemented them, and a little of what went well and what might still need some work.
When the announcement was made to move to remote learning, schools across the country
had to make fast and intense changes to curricula, teaching methods, technologies,
and support practices. Carleton College was fortunate in that there were funds available
to cover the costs of some of the additional training and new technology needs. Faculty
workshops, computers for students, technology aids for faculty, implementation of
remote labs, remote work equipment policies for staff, all of which will sound familiar.
While we got a number of things right, there were also some surprises. We initially
overestimated the number of machines we would need to loan to students, while a number
of students overestimated the capabilities on their own equipment. Our remote lab
machines saw less use than expected. More faculty chose to fully flip their classes
than expected, while some stuck to a strict lecture format. At the same time, there
was a constant outflow of equipment and peripherals throughout the term as our community
continued to adjust: webcams, headsets, monitors, iPads, ethernet cables, wireless
cards, and a handful of cellular hotspots.
We thought it might be interesting to talk about our hits and our misses, and why
we think things landed as they did on our campus. Perhaps more importantly, we’d also
like to talk about how we see this informing (or how it informed) our approach to
the following term, with a more hybrid remote & in-person demand.
This would be an interactive session, open to audience participation for comparing
notes. It could even be a panel discussion if several presenters also wanted to talk
about how they dealt with similar demands. This is all predicated on the notion that
there will be much discussion of How We Survived COVID-19 in Higher Ed IT.
SESSION: Session 7: Accessing Resources
Figuring out how and which pieces of equipment to circulate has stymied many a Technology
Services department. How do you decide what types of equipment to check out? Which
brands/models to purchase? How long should it go out? How do you keep things in working
order? How do you remedy the situation if someone damages, loses, or refuses to return
Those are some of the questions the Technology Services Loan staff from the College
of Literature, Science & the Arts at the University of Michigan have asked, answered,
and continue to ask themselves as our loan service evolves and grows. With over 1,000
resources circulating out of two Loan Centers, the Loan staff must keep their eyes
on the present (making sure our equipment is functioning properly and returned on
time) while considering the future (how new technologies will impact our circulating
collection, when to update equipment, and when to add new resource types).
Included in this discussion are:
The three qualities all Loan equipment must have (and when and how to give a little
on one of them),
Equipment life cycles and how we apply that concept in a practical sense,
How usage patterns changed and continue to impact how we circulate equipment,
How our partnership with the Learning Technologies Consulting group helps us anticipate
areas of the collection needed to develop and grow, and
Why a person-to-person reservation/checkout works for us now (rather than self-checkouts,
reserving online, and kiosks).
A Team-Based Approach to Developing Training, Documentation, and Communication for
a Virtual Reality Space
This paper is a case study of a data visualization and virtual realities technologies
space in a university library which had been misunderstood, underused, and neglected.
Through an intense project-management effort involving stakeholders over the summer
months, the space received a mutually-agreed upon purpose, and co-developed documentation,
training, and communication strategies. As a result, the use of the space increased
tenfold from the previous 3 years of operation and led to multiple new connections
across campus with users of and researchers in virtual reality. This project demonstrates
an effective method of re-envisioning the purpose of a space by engaging multiple
stakeholders to gain a shared vision. Ultimately, this method can be employed by other
institutions looking to improve use of a space or service