Technology Pilots

RITG runs pilots from time to time on new-to-Pomona technology that (1) may meet a need for faculty and staff that is currently not fulfilled by other technologies we support and/or (2) the Consortium is considering updating from an existing technology. Below you will find a list and short synopsis of the technology tools we are currently piloting. 

If you would like to learn more about one of the technologies listed below or would like to discuss piloting a new one, please schedule a consultation with us based on your needs: Teaching with Technology or Research Computing.

Canvas 

Canvas Logo

Current Pilot 

A small cohort of faculty is working with RITG this summer to move their Sakai courses into Canvas and then implement those courses in the Fall 2022 semester. This limited pilot will allow us to gain valuable information on the experience of Pomona faculty and students, test the Canvas environment, and build ITS capacity. In this way, Pomona College will be poised for a possible Sakai-to-Canvas consortium transition. We are only now in the first phases of planning. We have identified the first faculty cohort, determined a pilot timeline, and are now turning our attention to faculty development with our cohort. We look forward to updating the Pomona community with developments. 

Faculty Cohort 1 for Fall Semester 2022

  1. Sharon Stranford (Biology)
  2. Paul Cahill (Romance Languages & Literatures)
  3. Feng Xiao (Asian Languages & Literatures)
  4. April Mayes (History)
  5. Jo Hardin (Mathematics and Statistics)

Rough Timeline

  • Summer 2022 = prepping for pilot
  • Fall Semester 2022 = pilot cohort 1 implementation
  • Spring Semester 2023 = pilot cohort 2 implementation, continue with pilot cohort 1
  • Summer 2023 = reflection and prepping for possible consortium year one implementation

Why a Canvas Pilot 

In the early 2000s, The Claremont Colleges deployed a variety of Learning Management Systems (LMS) solutions–Moodle at Pomona College, WebCT at Claremont McKenna College, and Sakai at Harvey Mudd College. Sometime around 2005 or 2006, the Consortium standardized on one LMS, Sakai, and it has been in use continually by most of the Consortium since then. However, over the past six years, several schools, Claremont Graduate University, Keck Graduate Institute, and significantly, the first undergraduate school, Scripps College, moved to Canvas. Given the value of consortial collaboration and supporting cross-registration, Claremont Consortium faculty and administrative governing bodies, have been interested in returning the Consortium to a single LMS platform in order to provide a common teaching and learning environment for our students and faculty. This Pomona College pilot will allow us to continue supporting and capturing the Sakai experience while we also explore the technological and pedagogical implications of a Canvas implementation. Together with our faculty, instructors, students, administrators, and staff, we can explore costs and benefits of a potential move to Canvas and a return to a common LMS experience. 

The decision to move from Sakai to Canvas does not rest with ITS, but the possibility that the Consortium might move to Canvas suggested that we, in ITS, would be prudent to conduct this pilot. There are some good things about Canvas, including…

  1. It has a simple, modern, user-friendly interface.
  2. It’s built on cloud-native architecture, enabling scalability and reliability.
  3. It offers an extensive list of third-party integrations.
  4. It provides a wide range of built-in features to support teaching and learning needs.
  5. It delivers data analytics and reporting to help gain insights into student learning.

Please see our current list of Canvas FAQs to learn more.

Ed Discussion

ed logo

Current Pilot 

Omar Wasow, Assistant Professor of Politics, is piloting Ed in his POL90: Statistics for Politics and International Relations course. His students use Ed for tech support and troubleshooting, and they rely on one another for answers. Wasow finds that students who are new to computer programming often lose countless hours to simple syntax errors. But with Ed, they work collaboratively with their classmates to solve syntactic coding issues by posting live updates. This makes Ed an especially powerful tool when students can’t make it to office hours or need help during irregular hours. Wasow saves time answering emails as students begin to rely on the forum and one another for help, and he saves even more time by being able to point students to answers he has previously given. Ed’s data analytics show promise in making grading more efficient too—the analytics show who was active, when, and the total contributions. If the short video clip above of Omar talking about Ed isn’t enough for you, please see his full presentation in the 2022 Hahn Info Session recording.

Why Ed

Ed is a class discussion tool with a modern interface that helps increase and track interaction. Like other discussion tools, Ed can help create classroom community, but it also offers additional ways students can interact, giving them more agency over their learning. In addition to traditional typed messages, Ed allows users to post videos, annotations, equations using a visual math editor or LaTeX, and runnable code in multiple programming languages. Users can like and endorse posts so they rise to the top, increasing the effectiveness of the Ed discussion.  

Ed permits filtering, sorting, and searching of posts as well as organizing into categories or launching into megathreads devoted to single topics. Instructors can track participation, quickly see which questions remain unanswered, and use that information to offer further explanations and examples or re-teach if needed.

Like most of Pomona’s other technology tools, Ed integrates with the learning management system (LMS), is mobile responsive, and meets accessibility and security standards.