LSA Technology Services shines in the midst of pandemic prep

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Technology professionals do their best every day to deliver reliable and innovative services to faculty, students, and staff. Sometimes they work on their own, sometimes as a team, and often in collaboration with other campus IT units. The LSA Technology Services team rose to new heights in response to changes in the last half of March, from the switch to fully-remote teaching and the campus shutdown to supporting essential on-site needs. 

Meeting immediate needs for remote teaching and learning

To meet the immediate needs of faculty and students as we moved LSA’s 4,000 classes for approximately 19,000 students from in-person to remote teaching, LSA Technology Services:

  • Added lecture recording capabilities to 37 additional classrooms, doubling the footprint. This allowed instructors to keep using existing classroom spaces and times to teach, record lectures, and make content available to students. Many faculty members who had never used Lecture Capture before were able to almost seamlessly keep their classes going.
  • Created and offered eight unique, interactive workshops for faculty on teaching remotely including a general overview and dedicated workshops on Canvas Assignments, Canvas Quizzes, Kaltura, and MyMedia.
  • Provided extra evening and weekend support to LSA faculty switching to remote teaching.
  • Provided computers, video cameras, cables, and audio equipment to 334 students in LSA and nine other schools and colleges.
  • Worked with the Registrar’s Office, faculty, and departments to help reduce the number of open classrooms and on-site instructors.
  • Held hundreds of faculty consultations on teaching strategies, use of available tools, and aligning pedagogical outcomes for remote instruction.

During this, LSA Technology Services also transitioned 95% of more than 150 staff members to remote work without reducing hours or service levels. We helped about 1,000 staff across LSA to work remotely.

I wanted to take the time to say a very heartfelt thank you for everything that you all have done over the past few weeks to help us get ready for this transition to remote teaching and remote work more generally, and all that you continue to do to provide support to LSA faculty, staff, and students. Please know how grateful I am for all your work.

— Anne Curzan, Dean, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

Creating additional resources

In addition to the short-term needs to move all classes from in-person to remote, LSA Technology Services:

Amid all this preparation, LSA Technology Services also supported an unexpected, day-long, international workshop. They provided 50 people from multiple countries significant technology resources, including statistical software, storage, and accommodation for non-UM users. This involved creating and provisioning LSA’s largest virtual server to date, with 16 CPUs and 66GB memory.

SUPER thankful for all our IT pros like you, and all the solutions available to us. I’ve been pleasantly surprised how productive and coordinated we’ve been able to be so far, all working remotely. So, thank you to you and all your terrific colleagues across U-M, SINCERELY!

— Thomas Ivacko, Associate Director, Center for Local, State and Urban Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy

Collaborating across campus

LSA Technology Services partnered with ITS via a shared Slack channel to better serve faculty, students, and staff. It also participated on the ITS project team to develop and provide Zoom training materials to support the campuswide roll-out. 

LSA Technology Services provided Michigan Medicine audio/visual equipment to support telehealth. And, although 3D printing services were suspended for most uses, we partnered with the university community to help provide 3D-printed supplies to hospitals, including Michigan Medicine.

For more information
Additional examples of LSA Technology Services’ work include:

Author: Josh Simon, LSA Technology Services

Josh is a member of the Michigan IT Newsletter working group and the Michigan IT Symposium planning committee. He works for LSA Technology Services as a senior systems administrator and is in charge of the @umichLSAtech Twitter feed. Contact him at jss@umich.edu.