Examples of Partnerships for a Digital Campus: Working with MSU Global = Brendan Guenther, Michigan State
International Capacity Building – Developing a Knowledge Platform
- Challenge: create a knowledge platform that could be used by experts (within university and abroad in public and private sectors); Allow content to be linked to competencies developed by private-sector. Had to build an engine to store competencies, mapped from pieces of content.
Digital Campus Innovation Survey
Hackathons seem to be the most popular incubation platforms. Infrastructure – Storage, Code repositories.People find out through how-to guides and documentation. Some developer support services, some API documentation. Two schools have processes to move student projects into institutional services, four schools have made student-developed services available as institution-wide services.
Innovation support plans
- Hackathons and challenges
- Infrastructure – more guides, campus-wide big data analytic tool, expansion of on-demand VMs, expansion of collaborative tools, bring in outside trainers for developers.
- Governance – establish joint student IT committee, formal IT governance, IT innovation champions as part of Innovation Alignment team, Innovation training for staff.
- Student developers and non-traditional apps – establish a mechanism for ongoing support of student written apps
What have you done (or can you do) to help institutional culture embrace risk and experiments that may fail? Washington has a day per quarter for staff to work on things that don’t happen regularly.
Scotty mentions this book: Creative Confidence by David and Tom Kelley
Digital Campus: Infrastructure, Agility & Innovation - Mark McCahill, Duke
Innovation CoLab – 3 year project sponsored by Office of the President, Provost, Executive VP. Connecting students to doing cool stuff by functioning as a creativity incubator.
Innovation = applying ideas in new contexts or new combinations. Name of the game is speed – speed up the experimentation and sharing ideas and tech with a low friction environment. Promote a diverse software ecosystem.
Students are different – timeline compression (the semester is short); an affinity for non-traditional toolsets that aren’t even on central IT’s radar; striking sparks: matchmaking & challenges; heroic bursts of energy at 2 AM (so self-service is important); “separation of duties” and “change control” may be alien concepts.
Students might be approximated as autonomous roving mobil-device-enabled eating, printing, and studying units seeking food, laundry, and course registration arbitrage opportunities.
Central IT’s role? Nurture an innovation-friendly ecosystem; Brainstorming and matchmaking services; Pizza, office hours, expert staff access; Modular app architectures & “wiggle” room; API advocacy; Fast, flexible infrastructure.
Collab: first steps: VM server space with public IP addresses; student managed servers (have root + responsibility, no central backups, no security patches); 60+ prebuilt images from bitnami.com
VM-Manage – started with “fill out a form and within a day we’ll get your machine”, now have automated on-demand provisioning reduces one day turnaround to 1 minute for the 6 most popular images. Semester-long reservations with option to renew. VMs live on an “Outlands” network segment.
Source code repository – If my VM-manage server isn’t backed up by OIT, where do I keep my stuff? Shibbolized Gitorioius
Bug tracker – Shibbilized Redmine task manager. Both Gitorious and Redmine were available from bitnami.
Lessons – A short deadline made it possible to start with “good enough” and run cheap experiments; Mad Max in Outlands fears mostly unfounded; Recalibrate central IT’s instincts – fast and automated are your friends.
Swagger – (live documentation of REST APIs) for public info and JSON coding for Enterprise data.
New Hurdles: Mobile, APIs, and data access: Students want more access (personal class schedules, DukeCard meal points and spending balances; what is open and where to eat).
The Registrar OAuth: Registrar agrees that getting informed consent from students via OAuth satisfies his FERPA concerns; DukeCard FLEXspend and meal points balance available to student developers: January 2014; Course enrollment and schedule info: Februaru 2014.
Modular Duke Mobile: Moved to HTML5 mobile optimized web site + in-house developed apps; Central IT developers initially voice concerns about sharing source code with students; Students see performance issued with mobile food app as an interesting challenge.
Lessons: Central IT can lead by example and publish source code in the campus code repository; Potential for tension between classic central IT and innovation support; Students develop a more responsive mobile food app; OAuth permissions infrastructure is a key enabling technology
How can we scale up?
What is success? Speed, Service diversity, Self-service/on demand provisioning, Modular architectures to support small quid modules, Lower the cost of experiments so we can afford some failures; Infrastructure and ecosystems that budget the community toward sharing ideas and techniques.