Stages of reopening are guided by Provincial recommendations and guidelines, but USask may decide to move more conservatively in some areas to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty and staff.

USask is currently in Stage 3 of reopening.

Introduction

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) must support the technology needs of both the resumption of on-campus activity as well as remote academic, research, and administrative activity. ICT resources will be remote when possible but will have presence on-campus commensurate with the service delivery needs.

Goal(s)

  • Collaborate with academic, research, and administrative stakeholders to develop strategies and solutions that will provide a high-quality hybrid experience for students, grad students, faculty, and staff.

  • Support digital learning and discovery by developing training materials and resources.

  • Support the on-campus experience (teaching, learning, research, and administration).

  • Identify and address privacy and security issues related to changes required within the technology landscape.

  • Adhere to enterprise architecture principles as well as the principles of the fall implementation plan.

Resources/Supports

To achieve our goals, ICT will need:

  • To be engaged in planning for academic program delivery that is remote vs on-campus.

  • To be engaged in planning research activity that will remain remote.

  • Safety guidelines/proper safety and PPE equipment and supplies required for staff provide in-person support when on campus.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • ICT teams (including academic tech, service desk, classroom support, college coordinators) will need to be on-campus at least part-time to support faculty in preparing for remote delivery in addition to supporting on-campus teaching and research activities.

  • Data centre operations, network operations, customer/support service (A/V/Desktop support) staff will have at least some full-time presence on-campus.

Key Assumptions

  • International students learning or researching remotely may not be able to be able to fully participate in learning and research activity due to political/technical/financial barriers.

  • Rural and remote students (including Indigenous students living on reserve) may require additional supports to overcome technology and connectivity challenges.

  • On-campus support needs for research will increase as research returns to campus. In addition, ICT may be required to provide new solutions and more support as researchers change their remote discovery methods.

  • Teaching and learning: Along with the building plans we will need to map which computer labs are accessible for course work. A logistics plan will need to be in place. Access to technology-enabled classrooms will be necessary for recording online courses, some support for home/remote recording will also be necessary.

  • To plan for technical capacity, we will assume enrolment levels for the fall/winter term are consistent with prior years.

  • College and department offices and large student areas will be generally be closed.

  • Paper processes will need to be changed to digital.

  • Support will be primarily remote.

  • International travel bans will prevent many collaborators from coming to Saskatoon, and the campus community from outbound travel, resulting in an increased need for collaboration tools.

  • In-person conference attendance will be restricted requiring technical supports to attend.

Planning and Logistics

  • ICT will continue to participate in research and academic planning groups with a goal of building a comprehensive yet concise academic and research technology toolkit that will address the emerging needs of faculty and researcher.

  • Technical support will be required to change admin processes to digital.

  • A prioritization mechanism will need to be in place as there will be more requests for new technology or changes in technology than ICT could handle at once.

  • ICT will support and sustain existing IT services, but this will need to be balanced with the emerging needs of teaching, learning and research.

  • ICT will expedite specific projects required to deliver on the hybrid model, such as the LMS rollout. Other project details available at https://www.usask.ca/avp-ict/initiatives/.

  • We will continue to work on delivering excellent recruiting tools/supporting faculty with remote grad students.

Timelines and Deliverables

  • LMS configured and ready to use by mid-June; onboarding colleges and departments; wide-scale use by September.

  • Working, learning, and researching remotely sites will be primary tools for sharing information about technology supports and resources.
    • Technology self-help materials (e.g. decision trees) for all faculty, staff and students.
    • More focus on video tutorials; “smart” knowledge base articles.

  • Communication and change management strategies to support remote working, learning and research.

External Relations/Partnerships

  • Saskatchewan Research Network Inc. (SRNet), telephone companies, government ministries, Indigenous leadership (First Nations, Métis and Inuit), and others to identify opportunities for addressing accessibility challenges for remote students, faculty, staff, researchers (including Indigenous and rural).

  • Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA): USask technology in SHA buildings/hospital. As SHA shifts protocol we need partner to protect staff while providing services.

  • Maintain effective relationships with IT peers at other universities to look for sector wide solutions for supporting remote activities.