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1 Copyright Michelle Bejian-Lotia and Dick Ellis, 2005. This work is the intellectual property of the authors. Permission is granted for this material.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Copyright Michelle Bejian-Lotia and Dick Ellis, 2005. This work is the intellectual property of the authors. Permission is granted for this material."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Copyright Michelle Bejian-Lotia and Dick Ellis, 2005. This work is the intellectual property of the authors. Permission is granted for this material to be shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright statement appears on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the author. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written permission from the authors.

2 Grad Tools A Nontraditional Approach to Tracking Doctoral Degree Progress

3 3 Introduction What doctoral students need Michigan’s Grad Tools Grad Tools and Sakai

4 4 Designing Grad Tools What is the dissertation process? –Administrative –Academic What tools are used to do work? Talk to the people involved to find out

5 5 The Dissertation Process Academics –Students “drive” the process Administration –Staff are the organizational memory Work Tools –Students already use basic tools –Unclear faculty interest, skills, and time

6 6 What Doctoral Students Need What wasn’t already being done? –Making the process clear to everyone –In an environment they already use Grad Tools inside CTools (our CMS) –Make use of tools they already use –Focus on developing Dissertation Checklist

7 The Graduate School’s View

8 8 The tab at the top of the screen tells us that we’re looking at the Grad Tools Administration site. This is where the Graduate School manages the master Dissertation Checklist. The steps you see here are inherited by all department and student Grad Tools sites. There are four sections - Candidacy and Forming a Dissertation Committee, Research and Writing, Defense and Evaluation, and Degree Conferral. Some steps are the official, required steps tracked by the Graduate School, and some are recommendations.

9 9 The Graduate School creates all the steps on the master checklist, and can move, revise, delete or add more.

10 10 Each step has icons to indicate who is responsible for completing a step, or who can verify that the step has been completed. The Graduate School verifies the official, required steps using the Upload Extracts tool. For example, step 5 is an official, required step and so it has the Graduate School icon.

11 11 Some of the steps have hyperlinks that go directly to relevant information on the Graduate School website. For example, students can access current deadlines for candidacy requirements from the checklist.

12 12 The final column shows whether a step has a prerequisite step. A step can only be checked off if its prerequisites have been checked off.

13 13 View Student Progress allows staff to look at the checklists of the 6000 + students under the Rackham umbrella. The students are sorted by the first letter of their last name.

14 14 The Upload Extracts tool shown here allows Graduate School staff to upload data from various data sources where the official milestones are tracked.

15 15 Staff can efficiently import data from the databases they use every day instead of manually re-entering it. As new students are admitted to doctoral programs, the Graduate School uploads data to identify them with their department. This way, new students get the specifics they need to understand their requirements for candidacy. Currently, 91 departments are included.

16 16 The Department View

17 17 Now the tab at the top of the screen tells us we’re looking at the Grad Tools - Sample Department site. Each department has a Grad Tools site like this one where they can customize the master checklist to match their process. They also check off steps for their students when they complete department requirements.

18 18 Since they can’t delete any steps from the master checklist, departments normally add steps to describe their requirements and suggestions. Usually they add steps in the Candidacy and Forming a Dissertation Committee section. Steps and prerequisites are renumbered automatically. For example, steps 6 and 7 above show that this department requires two field preliminary exams.

19 19 View Student Progress shows checklists for students in that department. For example here, staff mouse over checked-off steps to see the date G completed official milestones. The staff role allows them to check off steps with the department icon. Since the department steps are unofficial data, they’re asked to confirm, but the data isn’t sent back to the Graduate School. There is also a read-only role for Deans to look at student checklists.

20 20 The Student View

21 21 Students start with Grad Tools by creating their own Grad Tools site. This option is only available to doctoral students identified by the Graduate School. In this example, we’ll create a Grad Tools site for “G”. The new tab that’s appeared at the top of the screen is his new Grad Tools site. By default, he is the only person with access to his entire Grad Tools site, though his department can see his Checklist.

22 22 Right away, G’s Checklist reflects his progress. He can confirm the official data, learn what his department requires, and start keeping track of his progress himself. He can only check off steps that have a Student icon.

23 23 Once G has a committee, he gives them access to his Grad Tools site using the Site Info tool. He can use the “guest email address” shown here to give access to committee members in industry or at other institutions. He assigns them the committee member role, and can choose to send them an email letting them know they now have access to his Grad Tools site.

24 24 The Committee

25 25 Once a committee member has access to G’s site, she can see a list of everyone else who has access, but she cannot grant access to others.

26 26 G and his committee members can add steps to his Dissertation Checklist. They can’t remove or change anything they didn’t add themselves. They can look at the entire checklist or filter out completed steps, depending on their preferences.

27 27 In this example, this committee member doesn’t have any steps to check off right now. The first two steps that the committee is responsible for - steps 16 and 20 - depend on step 12, which hasn’t been checked off yet.

28 28 Student’s Grad Tools sites also include CTools communication and collaboration tools. One of the most important is Resources, where they can store and share documents, and alert others to them via email notification. Members of the site can set their notification preferences so they can receive emails more or less often.

29 29 Finally, for step-by-step instructions on how to use Grad Tools, each Grad Tools site contains documentation in the Grad Tools Help. The Grad Tools team and the UM Graduate Library also offer hands-on training.

30 30 Grad Tools at Michigan Open for students in December 2004 High student demand Exciting uses by students and faculty

31 31 Students Like It! “This list, in particular, has been VERY useful to me. I especially like the links in many of the checklist items. I was able to quickly get the info I needed. There is so much administrative stuff that has to happen in the last 3-4 weeks, and it would have been much more overwhelming without Grad Tools.” - Wendy Sanders, Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, 2004

32 Grad Tools and Sakai Making Grad Tools useful elsewhere

33 33 Interest in Grad Tools Beyond the –Graduate School –dissertation process –University of Michigan Potential use by a large number of institutions Portability: the next phase of Grad Tools development

34 34 Sakai: a framework for portable tool development Grad Tools, CTools, and Sakai Sakai 1.5 –First Sakai release to integrate tools developed at different institutions –A major milestone in maturing software and community processes

35 35 The Sakai Project Community Source Sakai Board, Architecture and Tools Teams Sakai Educational Partners Program Funding

36 36 Software How do we make sure Grad Tools fits into technology infrastructure elsewhere? Conversion work to: Connect different institutional data systems, Accommodate different database vendors, and Fit with other tools used by an institution. Sakai Tool Portability Profile

37 37 How do we connect different institutional data systems? Some steps’ completion status is provided by external systems Sakai solution: tools and APIs Sakai Component Manager “Step status provider” component

38 38 How do we accommodate different database vendors? Data concerns Oracle, MySQL, HSQL... Objects, relational databases Hibernate

39 39 How do we fit in with other tools used by an institution? “Look and feel” concerns Sakai Tools Team Sakai Style Guide Java Server Faces

40 40 Community standards Open Knowledge Initiative APIs (O.K.I. Service Interface Definitions - - OSIDs) Roadmap

41 41 Community Processes How do we make sure Grad Tools’ functionality meets another institution’s needs? Michigan’s enhancement punch list Forms submission Masters students Sakai Educational Partners Critical gaps? Co-developers?

42 42 Conclusion Rate of early adoption at U-M is promising A portable Grad Tools might meet the needs of graduate students and those who support them elsewhere We’re looking for co-developers…

43 43 Questions? Jody Misiak, Senior Systems Analyst, Rackham School of Graduate Studies, University of Michigan Michelle Bejian-Lotia, Usability Specialist, USE Lab, Digital Media Commons, University of Michigan Dick Ellis, Systems Resources Programmer, Collaboration Technology Lab, Digital Media Commons, University of Michigan

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