These are six areas that we feel are currently important to a successful acquisition of a new product or the development of a new innovative solution in this day and age. These are the topics that we would like to make common place when investigating new technology here at Cal State San Marcos.
Mobile devices are a part of everyday life and will continue to be an integral part of the campus culture. Our future technology goal is allowing our students to access any campus service through the CSUSM Mobile app. Within 3 to 5 taps using the CSUSM app, we would like our students to be able to do such tasks as register for classes, make an advising appointment or buy a ticket to the volleyball game. The possibilities for using a mobile device for campus services is continuously growing and we want to make sure that any student facing system is available to them on their mobile device.
Aligning with the concept of our services being accessed on our user’s mobile devices, we want to provide this mobile experience with a familiarity across all different services. Having students use different interfaces across campus when using different online services or mobile apps creates a confusing disconnection of the student from the campus in a digital sense. All areas on campus want to have an affiliation with the students but should not provide a different set of information or experience in the digital world. In the case of mobile apps, there are plenty of services out there that provide their own version of a app for students to use. Our vision is to take that data or service that is provided in the 3rd party app and make it available in the CSUSM campus app. Eliminating disjunction in the experience provided in the mobile platform. We want the campus to be front and center and all the divisions on campus to be the supporting cast.
As more personal data is shared on social media platforms, mobile apps and other websites, users have become accustom to receiving a personalized experience in all facets of the technological world. As a result, the new generation of students, parents and alums expect personalized and adaptive solutions to their college needs and wants. Our campus is constantly collecting data about our students in such ways as where they get help on campus, what events they attend or, through our Degree Planner program, what classes they may be interested in. This data can help our campus departments personalize their communications and offerings to students. Connected technologies enable provide a personalized experience on digital channels.
There are many different procedures on campus that are still paper based. Many have come to find that making digital versions of the information that is contained in paper format is helpful in saving time and organization. Even though making digital versions of these once paper documents is helpful; we do not want to take digital copies of the information and use the same processes that have been used in the past. By using technology and the mobile format, we can create new ways of collecting and storing information and automating processes. Much of this information could be shared across platforms to further unify campus procedures. An example of this would be digital form or application that would be auto populated with data that has already be collected in other system and routed to the appropriate parties with minimal user interaction. If we already know the name and contact information of a user, why would we have them fill out this information again in a different system. The technology should be doing the simple thinking and mundane tasks. Not the user.
Data Silos are separate databases or set of data files that are not part of an organization's enterprise-wide data administration. They exist separately; without sharing, cross-referencing, interpreting, adding to each other’s self-contained data sets. We would like to have data from all different areas of campus and be accessible from one location. This allows the campus to have unified data that provides insights to past and future campus objectives. Simply put, siloed data creates divisions within organizations that isolate departments from departments, teams from teams, and eventually even people from people.
So much of what we do is a function of interactions with technology. We provide online services to students to initiate and check the status of processes related to admissions, registration, financial aid, and more. We offer online courses, interactive tutorials, and social media engagement points. We provide technology-based pathways for faculty and staff to accomplish their goals or complete a job-related task. The challenge is that if we aren’t careful, we can easily place barriers in those paths without realizing it. Universities and colleges are required under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure the accessibility of all campus technology. We must evaluate the degree to which our processes and learning materials can be accessed by individuals using screen readers, file readers, voice recognition programs, modified input devices, caption and subtitle files, Braille displays, and more. Those who rely on accessibility features can be impeded when information accessibility standards and technology procurement policies are either not clearly established, or not reliably enforced. Our responsibility, as a campus, is to look at new technology with accessibility in mind and determine if the product is the right choice to be used in certain campus environments.