Having just graduated last month, it feels strange now to consider The University of Texas at Austin my alma mater. It has felt like my home for so long, much longer than the four years I spent on campus as a student. It has felt like my home partly because it is rooted in the central hub of my beautiful hometown of Austin. It has felt like my home since 2001, when my dad began working in administration at the UT Tower (or the Main Building). It was my home when my mom attended UT in the early 2000s, and my dad and I would drive to campus in the evenings to pick her up from the library. It was my home when I was offered admission to the university in February of 2013, just short of a decade after my mom graduated in the class of 2003. Read More
Unizin’s new Community Site will help Members connect, collaborate, and share knowledge.
One of the benefits of membership in the Unizin Consortium is access to a network of colleagues who face similar challenges on a variety of fronts. In order to increase collaboration and communication at every level, we have just launched a new and improved Community Site that combines the best elements of a listserv and a community portal. Users can now easily pose questions, discuss solutions, and simultaneously create a library of knowledge that is sharable and available to all Members. Read More
When it was first announced that the University of Iowa was planning to pilot Canvas as part of Unizin, Jon Garfinkel, finance professor at the Tippie College of Business, realized this could be just the opportunity he needed to try flipping his new undergrad course. He had started flipping his MBA courses a while ago when he observed the rise of free and low-cost college-level learning opportunities, like edX and Coursera. He knew doing nothing wasn’t an option, that something needed to change. Read More
At the 2017 Unizin Innovation Summit, I attended several marvelous breakout sessions. One of my favorites was “Early Lessons from High-Enrollment Course Transformations,” presented by Maggie Jesse, Senior IT Director at the University of Iowa, and Sarah Miller, Leader of Faculty Development in Academic Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Read More
Presented by Rick Miranda, Colorado State University
The Unizin Innovation Summit is an opportunity to reflect on where we are in the Unizin Consortium and our goals for the future. One of the benefits of operating inside the Consortium is the ease of communication and cooperation that it affords. We can come together to share our expertise with each other, discuss our progress, and ensure we are meeting both our strategic goals and fulfilling our mission of improving teaching and learning. As universities, we’re moving away from competing with one another, as we have in the past, and toward a collaborative model in which we work together, with partners like Unizin, to improve education.
Our goals for Unizin are starting to be realized in the form of several advancements: the common usage of the Canvas platform as a foundational LMS for us; the development of Engage and its wide adoption as a state-of-the-art eReader with capacity for exciting functionality; the beginnings of our ability to share content modules across the Consortium (either generated by Members or by vendors); the incorporation of innovative all-student-access mechanisms for content dissemination; and several others, including (importantly) a focus on effective and useful learning analytics.
Unizin is a very special collaborative effort. Our Consortium exists because of a vision shared by thought leaders at some of the nation’s most respected research universities. We are not a technology concern, but an organization committed to the improvement of teaching and learning. As part of that mission, we collect data on student engagement during the learning process, and we believe that data is the key to unlocking the next iteration of pedagogy and student success. Read More
The 2017 Unizin Innovation Summit took place April 19 and 20 in downtown Denver, Colorado. It was an incredible two days filled with collaborative conversations, the sharing of successes, and a spirit of synergy and unity. Take a look back at #UIS17. Read More
Gone are the days of system administrators desperately trying to make sure their servers stay healthy. Services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) allow modern operations staffs to write code to describe the machines and then create new servers on-demand. Here, we will explore how we do just that at Unizin. Read More
Like we mentioned in the previous blog, universities are and will continue to be places where instructional content is created. Lately, we’ve seen a change in how instructional content and courses are created as pressure rises for teaching practices to adapt to the needs of next-generation learners. Faculty are still the primary creators of lecture materials, course materials and textbooks, but increasingly instructional designers, media developers, graphic artists, software developers and others are appointed to support faculty in the creation of this content and courses. At Unizin, we call teams that support course development, content communities.
Content initiatives at Unizin Member universities have made headlines this year. Indiana University announced this September that its eText initiative has saved students at least $15 million since the program began in 2012. The University of Wisconsin-Madison published a policy that prioritizes the production of Open Educational Resources (OER) as an important part of the Educational Innovation (EI) Initiative and its Unizin membership.