When determining whether to recommend the adoption of a new University-wide learning technology, Saint Louis University's LTAC engages in a structured process that engages relevant stakeholders across the SLU. This process typically includes: determining whether there is a compelling need for a new University-wide learning technology, articulating SLU’s requirements for that technology, selecting a list of possible options, and designing an inclusive campus engagement process that invites participation and feedback from all relevant stakeholders.
Below are some of the current initiatives and past projects LTAC has undertaken.
An LTAC working group is currently exploring whether SLU should adopt an institution-wide classroom polling tool. The group has conducted a brief survey of faculty who use such tools and is analyzing the data from that survey to possible next steps. Faculty interested in this initiative may contact Mike Holmes in ITS, who is convening the working group.
Based on input from an LTAC working group, SLU is currently piloting a tool that supports wireless projection (i.e., screencasting) in a small number of classroom spaces. Faculty interested in this initiative may contact Tim Murphy in ITS, who is overseeing the pilot.
Possible Future Initiatives
Periodically, we receive requests for a plagiarism detection tool — sometimes referred to as an “anti-plagiarism tool” or a “plagiarism checker.” At this time, the University does not provide a tool that assists with potential plagiarism detection, and we do not currently have such a tool on our instructional technology roadmap. While many tools claim to prevent or easily identify plagiarism, all such tools have significant limitations and raise significant ethical concerns. Most tools indicate they should be used as educational tools, not policing/detection tools. Indeed, some academic units at other institutions have officially prohibited the use of such tools (see, for example, this Policy Against the Use of Plagiarism Detection Software at the University of Louisville).
If Saint Louis University were to adopt a tool of this sort, it would be only after a University-wide exploration process, which would include faculty, students, and staff, and which would begin with establishing common understanding about how these tools do/don’t work and the practices that would constitute appropriate use.
Regardless of whether or not SLU adopts such a tool, faculty also should understand the ways in which course and/or assignment (re)design can support academic integrity and learning. Faculty or departments interested in learning more about evidence-based practices for reducing the likelihood of cheating should consider consultations or workshops with the Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning.
In 2022-2023, an LTAC working group was charged to develop guidance on the use of remote proctoring tools. This project was the result of multiple inquiries and expressions of concern by SLU faculty about the ethical and equity issues surrounding the use of such tools. The working group developed Remote Proctoring at SLU, a set of web resources for faculty and students, to guide the use of these tools.
In 2017, LTAC oversaw the process of reviewing the University’s learning management system (LMS). The end result of this process was overwhelming support from SLU faculty, students, and deans to move to Canvas. Key factors in the recommendation to adopt Canvas included: Canvas’s focus on accessibility; robust student performance analytics; options to automate performance notifications to students; user-friendly interface with drag-and-drop functionality; video feedback tool; enhanced assessment features; strong mobile app; and extensive array of third-party integration options. Although projections showed Canvas likely would result in lower costs over time, cost-saving was not a driving factor for the decision.
Note: Although the School of Medicine had already adopted Canvas, their decision was not a factor in the recommendation to adopt Canvas for the rest of the University.
In 2019, LTAC recommended the University move to Zoom for its web conferencing needs. The committee did not engage in its usual University-wide process for two reasons: 1) numerous individuals and departments across the University were already paying for Zoom licenses, and 2) based on the teaching and learning requirements for web conferencing tools, there were no other industry-standard tools at that time that could compete with Zoom. Key factors in the recommendation to adopt Zoom were: Zoom’s ability to support breakout rooms, ease of use/user-friendly interface, reliability, and place as the industry standard in higher education.
Note: although the University did not adopt Zoom at the time the recommendation was made, the COVID-19 pandemic made clear the need for Zoom, which was adopted in spring 2020.
In 2018, LTAC oversaw the process of identifying a new lecture capture tool for the University. (SLU’s previous tool, Tegrity, was being phased out by its vendor.) The end result of this process was unanimous support from SLU faculty, students, and deans to move to Panopto. Key factors in the recommendation to adopt Panopto included: comprehensive editing capability; auto-captioning capability, combined with instructor ability to edit caption files; ability to migrate Tegrity files easily; and external support provided by Panopto.