Another big time-saver is the bulk photo upload tool the IT team developed.
Taking the onus off students, the team created a system that automatically uploaded the professionally taken university ID images to each individual account, he says, which saved upwards of two days of administrative work. As an added bonus, the auto-upload feature seems to have encouraged more students to fill out the rest of their profiles, which further engages them in the platform.
“Students and professors are busy – we don’t want to waste their time with trivial tasks,” says St. John.
While the time savings has been a huge benefit to the university, St. John says the biggest shift is that faculty are once again asking IT for help in creating new ways of interacting with students online.
“Selfishly, it gives us a lot of buy-in with the faculty,” he says. “Whenever they want to bring things to life, we have a place to do it.”
For example, following a number of professor requests, the team rolled out a peer and team review feature on Brightspace, linked to the platform’s Assignment Grader. The external applications allow students to evaluate both themselves and their team members, which creates a more open form of dialogue among the students, as well as with their professors.
Both applications, he says, started for a single course, but proved so popular they were rolled out to multiple courses within months of launch.