Our Progress Towards Strategic Goals – Year 1

As a community partner, enabler and digital leader, Education Commons is committed to excellence and making a difference for the OISE community. As we come to the end of the 2020-2021 academic year, we are pleased to report our progress in the first year of our three year strategic plan, Rethinking Education Commons: Building Strategic Priorities, which guides us and aligns our efforts to put this commitment into action. 

Enabler of Innovative Pedagogy: 5 out of 10 goals are in progress.
Becoming a Community Partner: 4 out of 10 goals are in progress.
Digital Leadership in Research and Scholarship: 2 out of 10 goals are in progress.
Environment and Well-being: 3 out of 5 goals are in progress.

Read below for detailed information on our progress in year one.

Year 1: 5 out of 10 goals in progress

Champion technology integration into teaching and learning

  • Collaborating with CTL MT program to adopt and implement Google Workspace for our teacher candidates to facilitate a more seamless integration into their practicum. Targeting Fall 2021 for implementation

Discover new technologies through industry and community inquiry and collaboration

Build technology adoption strategies

  • We have established a new role at Education Commons – Technology Adoption Consultant. LaizeRyan and Andrea are our technology adoption consultants. They are establishing a framework and implementation of various technology adoption strategies that they hope to begin implementing in September 2021

Facilitate removal of barriers to learning with the appropriate use of technology

  • We have partnered with SJE and CTL to identify students with the urgent need for a computer in order to enable them achieving their learning outcomes. Education Commons was able to recycle older equipment and donate such computers to students in most need

Adopt best practices and standards to enable digital accessibility

  • We adopted W3C standards for web accessibility and produced resource materials to help our community increase the levels of digital accessibility and achieve legislated. compliance https://www.oise.utoronto.ca/home/educationcommons/digital-accessibility
  • We have now a tool, called SiteImprove, that monitors for accessibility gaps on all our web pages. Our team is addressing these gaps behind the scenes to ensure OISE web pages are accessible.

Year 1: 4 out of 10 goals are in progress

Renewed focus on customer service and enhanced community experience with Education Commons

  • We are looking to improve our community’s experience with using their computer, from the ability to download the software to having all required updates done in the background without the need to contact Education. Commons. Vince is actively working on adopting inTune as a solution that will allow us to improve OISE’s experience with their computers.

Build catalogue of services available to the community based on their role

  • We have built an initial service catalogue for students, teaching faculty and researchers. We continue adding services into this service catalogue and look for continual improvement opportunities during the Summer 2021. Please reach out to let us know how we can do even better (julia.kraveca@utoronto.ca).

Establish sustainable channels of focal point of contact with Education Commons

Adopt industry’s best practices in service management

Build welcoming, inviting and collaborative Education Commons space where people play, collaborate, innovate and discover

  • We began the planning phase of looking at Education Commons physical space with the incredible support of OISE CAO, Helen Huang and our phenomenal partner and collaborator in Facility Services, Leah Scherk.

Re-establish Education Commons presence in the community

  • Last year, Education Commons participated in the student open house, student orientations and welcoming new faculty. We constantly look for ways to engage with our community. Please invite us to your gatherings and events if you feel we can bring value (oise.help@utoronto.ca and julia.kraveca@utoronto.ca).
  • We hold virtual sessions with our community on a number of topics, including the coffee hour with the Education Commons Director. Please connect, give our experts a try and provide your feedback on how we can do even better during those sessions!

Re-establish and enhance Education Commons communication channels and strategies

  • We now have a role of Communications Coordinator. This role is helping us with our communications efforts. We began with our newsletter, The Discovery and produced ten editions. We engaged in story telling to demonstrate how we enable our community to achieve their outcomes through technological solutions. We are in a process of developing communication and engagement framework.

Year 1: 2 out of 10 goals in progress

Improve technological capacity and unlock technological innovation by building a roadmap to cloud

  • Our system administrators, Gurpreet, Raman and Vince have begun evaluating OISE infrastructure and what and when can be moved to the cloud. As we evaluate the possibilities of the cloud, we are building a plan that will inform how we can adopt the cloud services. We are currently working with OISE researcher to build a solution for data storage, sharing and analysis in the cloud.
  • We have built our first Drupal application for Research Services that is being hosted in the cloud. Adrian, our Drupal expert is transforming our capabilities utilizing best practices in development and leveraging modern technology.

Assessment of OISE digital products and building of a roadmap to continual improvement

  • Over the years, there were 30 custom applications built for the OISE community. We have established a roadmap for each of the applications. Out of 30 current applications, Bahman will focus on the re-write of six applications and several others will be reproduced as Drupal plugins and features as opposed to an application. This allows for a sustainable way to manage the functionality that the OISE community has become accustomed to with a higher level of stability, availability and support.

Year 1: 3 out of 5 goals in progress

Process optimization through digitization to simplify work processes, enhance productivity, and support positive impacts on wellbeing and environmental sustainability

  • We have been working with OISE community to bring solutions like DocuSign and JotForm to facilitate the establishment of paperless processes while providing highest levels of security.
  • Currently these solutions are being used for workshop registrations, process requests and online payments for ORSS, OISE clinic and Research and Data Analytics Workshops which were done in person in the past. Refunds are processed faster and can be done immediately as soon as it’s been requested.
  • Prof. Hilary Inwood pioneered the OISE Climate Emergency Declaration, being the first Canadian Faculty of Education to do so and we used jotform as a solution for her.
  • So far 91 forms were created as part of various processes optimizations
  • Please book some time with our incredible Technology Adoption Consultant, Laize to start the conversation about possible opportunities in your area.

Influence workplace practices that enable work flexibility and connectivity through technological tools and products that support presence and access anytime, anywhere, tailoring work to individual well-being

  • We introduced MS Teams, MS Bookings and Zoom in new ways and how they can be used and applied in order to achieve work flexibility such as establishing online office hours, creating virtual drop ins and establishing the ability to book consultations online.

Mobilize Green IT practices to improve environmental sustainability through energy conservation, waste minimization, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

  • As we look at adopting cloud services, we will minimize our footprint. As we donate older equipment by recycling it, we minimize waste. As we work remotely, we greatly contribute into reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.