Resource Finder for Students
A primary problem affecting individuals on campus is the difficulty in finding what existing resources are available at the UW to support their work. This results in faculty, staff, and students feeling unsupported by the institution and/or in individuals and departments making requests for and purchasing redundant items.
This issue is largely one of campus Information Architecture and infrastructure. Where can an individual go to find a central, authoritative source of physical campus resources available to them? One that feels complete? For that matter, how do campus resource providers ensure that their resources are findable by students on campus?
UW Information Technology is proposing to create a web application, leveraging the SpaceScout database, that will serve as the definitive catalog of UW physical resources for students. This application will:
* Give students one location (Resource Finder) to browse for specific resources available on campus
* Create a central database to gather authoritative information about available resources.
* Provide resource administrators the ability to create and edit their resource offering listings for findability in the Resource Finder and --if applicable-- in SpaceScout.
The proposed software will help students locate and learn about physical resources on campus to support their work. UW-IT will create the infrastructure necessary to support shared campus resources by providing administrators with a place to post and update the resources they offer, and make this data available to students on any device. There will be two deliverables, a Client Web Application and an Administrative Web Application.
UW Information Technology (UW-IT) supports students, faculty, and staff in accomplishing their work and achieving their goals. We follow a user-centered design model, developing tools and identifying technology solutions based on ideas and feedback from our clients. In January 2012, we received fast-track funding from STF to develop SpaceScout (originally with the working name “SpotSeeker”), an open-source mobile application designed to help students find places to study on campus that meet specific needs.
SpaceScout was successfully built with the idea that the back-end (SpaceScout Server) could eventually become the authoritative source for data around physical spaces and resources available to students. To this end, we can leverage the back-end to run the proposed client and administrative applications. The benefits of this are multiple:
* We can focus our efforts on building the front-end applications, rather than building a back-end from scratch, saving considerable development effort and time.
* We continue to enrichen a single, central data source for all spaces and affiliated physical resources on campus, allowing for cross-referencing of this rich data to build complex applications and analysis to assist campus decision making.
* Administrators update their spaces/resources in one location and the space/resource will automatically be updated in SpaceScout and the Resource Finder, as applicable.
Both the Client and Administrative front-end applications will be new web applications, available on all devices via a web browser.
Benefits to Students and the University
Our goal is to provide students with a more complete picture of what physical resources are available to them on campus. This includes everything from specialized lab equipment, portable items for checkout, and shared resources such as 3-D scanners or large-format printers. We will provide this information in context of the other information sources on campus, such as SpaceScout, and be thoughtful about how each of these sources accommodates specific user goals and can be best used to compliment each other. The software will be developed using the User-Centered Design process to ensure that the end product is both useful and usable to the intended audience.
To source the data, we will partner with the STF Committee, Learning Technologies, and other campus partners to be determined in order to provide a single location for definitive, up-to-date information on campus resources. The administrative app will allow us to give control of the data entry and updating directly to the individuals/groups who have the knowledge and motivation to keep data up-to-date and accurate. Since we will be building this off a shared server with SpaceScout, the same administrative application that we are building can be used for space owners to create and edit space data.
The groups funding new resources for students --whether at the department-level or central UW-level-- can use the application to determine what resources already exist for students, allowing them to make informed decisions about where they can best invest to fill gaps and hopefully reducing costly redundancy.
UW-IT is committed to the development of it’s student workers. This project will be an opportunity to give 3 undergraduate students some hands-on web application development experience, mentored by a professional staff software engineer, and working directly with Software Engineers, UX Designers, Project Managers, and Quality Assurance Engineers.
"The initiative described addresses a fundamental problem of communication on campus. We can continue offering valuable services and resources to serve students in their academic pursuits, but if they never find out about these offerings (esp at the point of need), then we are failing to serve these students. The communication across resource providers is also lacking, creating an environment in which there is no definitive source for discovering what resources are currently available. This uncertainty leads to a high-risk of redundant resource procurement across campus, and again fails the students in that there is no authoritative source for finding the resources they need. This proposal would create a critical resource for campus, and --with the inclusion of the admin app-- would do so in a way that addresses issues of scalability and sustainability vital to long-term success. I fully endorse this proposal.”
Tom Lewis, Director of Academic & Collaborative Applications, UW-IT
“One of the biggest challenges when offering a wide array of physical resources to the student community of UW is ensuring that those resources are well known and utilized by those who need them. Students are often unaware of what resources are readily available to support their academic needs and this sometimes results in individuals and departments purchasing technology that is already offered elsewhere on campus. As such, I wholeheartedly endorse this proposal because I believe that having a resource finder like the one outlined in this document would be remarkably useful in helping our students better understand what technology is available to them across the entire campus community and will drive increased usage of the previously funded STF purchases as a result of the increased awareness of past technology purchases. The creation of this application would add a powerful new functionality to the already successful SpaceScout and will ensure that our students are able to utilize the tools and resources we have to offer."
Nate McKee, Director of Learning Technologies, UW-IT
Pending funding, development of the Resource Finder for Students can begin in Summer 2015. Development will happen in 2 phases, taking a total of 39 weeks to complete. Phase one will consist of data gathering, updating the SpaceScout Server models, and creating the Administrative web application. Phase 1 will take 24 weeks. Phase 2 will consist of creating the Client web application and last 15 weeks.
Once the administrative application is developed in phase 1, resource data collection will be ongoing and handled by campus partners; STF Committee encouragement could be crucial in this regard.
Resources Provided by Department
UW-IT is seeking $86,167.44 in funds for the design and development of the definitive catalog of UW physical resources for students, including web application interfaces for students to find these resources and for administrators to manage the resource listings. This number represents the cost of 3 undergraduate student developers, as well as 40% time of a professional staff Developer for mentoring the student developers. This covers 21.7% of the estimated cost.
The remaining 78.3% will be contributed by UW-IT in the form of additional Developer, User Experience Designer, QA Engineering, Technical Writing and Project Management resources to complete this effort.
The cost is spread across 2 distinct phases of work. Cost derived from the following calculations:
Phase 1: Inventory Finder Administrative App
STF Funding = Student developers & mentor = students [24 weeks @ 8 hours X 3 people (@ 21.61) ] + mentor [336 hours @ 114.48/hr]= $50912.64
UW-IT Contribution = 840 hours UX(@93.97) + 504 hours Dev (@114.48) + 300 hours PM (@93.97)+ 180 hours QA (@104.06) = $78934.8 + $57697.92 + $28191 + $18730.8 = $183554.52
Phase 2: Inventory Finder Client Web App
STF Funding = Student developers & mentor = student[15 weeks @ 8 hours X 3 people (@ 21.61)] + mentor [240 hrs @114.48/hr] = $35254.8
UW-IT Contribution = 600 hours UX (@93.97) + 360 hours Dev (@114.48) + 150 hours PM (@93.97)+ 150 hours QA (@104.06) = $56382 + $41212.8 + $14095.5 + $15609 = $127299.3
STF Funding = Student developers & mentor = $50912.64 (phase 1) + $35254.8 (phase 2) = $86167.44
UW-IT Contribution = $183554.52 (phase 1) + $127299.3 (phase 2) = $310853.82
Total = $86167.44 (STF Funding) + $310853.82 (UW-IT Contribution) = $397,021.26
Technology and client support
UW-IT utilizes the existing robust support systems for the Catalyst Web Tools, Canvas, MyUW Mobile, and other teaching and learning technologies to provide support for SpaceScout. First-tier support is handled by the central UW-IT support desk. Second and third-tier support is handled by trained Learning Technology undergraduate staff in consultation with UW-IT professional staff. UW-IT Software Engineers and User Experience Designers are directly involved in third-tier support, and the Software Engineers support and maintain the underlying servers and infrastructure.
UW-IT will allow administrators to update and manage their own data. However, we will still need to manage the list of administrators and periodically audit the system data and work with partners to ensure consistency and integrity of the data.
Access Restrictions (if any)
Students at all three UW campuses can access the client web application via the Web browser on any computer, tablet or smartphone. Access to the administrative app will be limited to authorized administrators of UW spaces or equipment. We will work with campus partners to identify these administrators.
Updates will be released to the Web app following UW-IT's standard software release procedures. Students using the Web version will simply see the updated features the first time they come to the app after the software has been released.
We will let students know about the new application as part of our current marketing efforts around SpaceScout, continuing in partnership with the UW Libraries and Housing and Food Services, as well as with faculty and advisers who have been sharing information about the application with their students. Additionally, in the course of development, we will look for new partnerships and avenues to further promote this new service.
“It is very inconvenient and discouraging to try and dig around for scraps of information regarding what physical resources are available to me at the UW. If I am able to find exactly what I need, the process typically involves jumping through multiple websites, or calling departments. I would love to see a centralized, user friendly source for this information! Adding this to the Space Scout app would be particularly convenient, and would certainly make me more likely to use it regularly.” - Virginia W., Chinese Language & Literature, Graduate Student
“I think Space Scout is a great app that is convenient and an incredible use of technology. I can find a study space that is available at a moment’s notice. By including UW physical resources, it would create a unified place for students to find the resources they need without having to jump through multiple channels.” - Robert H., Healthcare Administration, Graduate Student
The web app that allows administrators to create/edit resource listings for the SpaceScout and Resource Finder Client apps to consume.Justification
UW-IT requires funding for 3 student developers & a 40% professional staff developer to begin development and will then contribute additional resources to bring the project to final completion.
The web app that allows students to find UW physical campus resources.Justification
UW-IT requires funding for 3 student developers & a 40% professional staff developer to begin development and will then contribute additional resources to bring the project to final completion. UW-IT requires funding for 3 student developers & a 40% professional staff developer to begin development and will then contribute additional resources to bring the project to final completion.
Total requested: $86,167.44
Total funded: $86,167.44
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