Summary of recent campus technology research

Last updated: January 5, 2023
Audience: InstructorsStaffResearchers


UW-IT’s Academic Experience Design & Delivery (AXDD) unit has long conducted ad hoc studies assessing the technology needs of campus constituents and evaluating new tools for teaching and learning. In 2020, AXDD established this service more formally as Campus Technology Research (CTR). The mission of CTR is to improve the experience of UW students, faculty, researchers, and staff by understanding unmet needs and conducting research on new or existing technologies and services to meet those needs.

While the projects undertaken each academic year differ, they are designed to meet the same overarching objectives and will generally fall into one of two categories: Assessment of campus technology needs or pilots of new technologies for teaching and learning. A summary of the activities of the first two years (Summer 2020 – Spring 2022) is provided below.

I. Assessment of campus technology needs

Survey on UW researchers’ IT needs

  • Finalized the survey on UW Researchers’ IT Needs and distributed it to over 7000 eligible faculty and staff across the three campuses
  • Partnered with eScience Institute to clean and analyze data, generate reports and recommendations
  • Delivered internal UW-IT reports addressing findings and recommendations in targeted areas: data and computing needs, data management, resources and support, collaboration, and research technologies for teaching
  • Designed follow-up study to further assess needs of qualitative/digital humanities researchers
  • Conducted initial interviews with researchers and campus units providing support to qualitative/digital humanities researchers

Student needs for online connection/community

  • Conducted research review on students’ needs for online connection and community
  • Conducted initial interviews with UW students regarding experiences with connection and community, online and in person

II. Pilots of new technologies for teaching and learning

Online discussion tools

  • Identified online discussion tools as priority focus for pilot testing
  • Selected three tools to pilot: Hypothesis, for collaborative annotation/discussion of text; Ed Discussion, for course Q&A (potential replacement for Piazza); and Harmonize, traditional discussion plus Q&A and chat feature
  • Recruited pilot participants across UW campuses/programs
  • Worked with vendors to provide learning opportunities and support to pilot participants
  • Collected feedback on user experience from participating instructors and students
  • Reviewed tools using additional evaluation criteria
  • Summarized pilot findings and recommendations

General/Establishment of pilot program

  • Identified criteria for selecting tools to pilot
  • Identified recruitment strategies
  • Established processes for pilot participation (intake form, tool access, learning webinars, support resources)
  • Established processes for gathering user feedback (instructor and student surveys)
  • Identified additional criteria for tool evaluation (accessibility, cost, vendor responsiveness, etc.)
  • Created pilot report format
  • Created pilot evaluation summary template
  • Collected lessons learned
  • Established channels for input on pilot focus for future years (LT, ACTT discussion)