Functional Requirements for Innovators

Our first priority for the Segue from Segue project is to make sure there are technology solutions available to meet the needs of as many faculty, students and staff as possible.   Where possible, we would also like to be able to support innovative uses of technology, particularly those innovations that may eventually be useful to the broader community.

Based on our analysis of current technology usage and focus group findings, here is a list of functional requirements that would support some of the innovations of current faculty, staff and students.

Web-based Capture

Our surveys indicated a moderate interest in this sort of technology, primarily amongst Language and Humanities divisions.  A number of Language School programs of study have been giving students audio recording assignments.  These types of assignments are done using audio editing tools such as Audacity and require students to upload audio files to course site.  Being able to record audio directly on the course site would greatly simplify the fulfillment of these assignments.

Some Language Schools have expressed interest in being able to do online oral proficiency exams.  This usage would require web-based audio recording tools that can be integrated with online assignment platforms.

Tools for web-based audio recording currently on the market usually can also do video recording.  While there have not been requests for web-based video recording to date, this may be useful in the future.

There are also tools available for capturing audio and/or video and uploading these to a distribution platform such as iTunes U.  Such a set of tools would simplify lecture podcasts, something that some of our faculty have been doing.

Web Site Design Customization

A number of faculty offer courses that teach students how to design sites using Adobe Dreamweaver.  These faculty have avoided using content management systems such as WordPress, Segue or MediaWiki because these platforms offer limited design options.  Some of our content management systems could be made more open to allow students to experiment with custom cascading style sheets (CSS).  In addition, some of our platforms could include themes with more advanced design options to help to fulfill this need.

Curricular Sandbox Servers

A number of faculty offer courses that teach students how to create web sites or web applications.  For these courses it would be useful to have web servers that allow students to safely experiment with server side scripting and database servers that students can create databases and develop web applications.

Video Production

Only a small fraction of faculty, students and staff currently create or edit video for curricular use, but this will likely increase in the future.  For now, better documentation of how to create and edit video in general would be sufficient

One type of video that is particularly useful are “screencasts.”  Screencasts can be used for technology documentation and dissemination.  Having widely available tools to capture computer screens movements and documentation of workflow and best practices would help promote this kind of technology usage.

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