This is the HigherEdTech podcast Season three, Episode three: Fall 21 Update with Nick Wilkening.
Tim Van Norman 0:19
Welcome to today’s HigherEdTech podcast. I’m Tim VanNorman, the instructional technologist here at Irvine Valley College.
Brent Warner 0:26
And I’m Brent Warner Professor of ESL here at IVC. We both enjoy integrating technology into the classroom, which is what this show is all about.
Tim Van Norman 0:34
Welcome. We’re glad you’re here with us. So we’re in breaking into September. Yep. But this means that you and I, Brent are each a year older as of this past month.
Brent Warner 0:45
Yeah. Happy Birthday.
Tim Van Norman 0:46
We both – Happy birthday to you. We both have birthdays in August. So that was something we learned a couple years ago when we were starting this off that we both have birthdays in the same month. So kind of a cool thing.
Brent Warner 0:59
Yeah. I hope you had a good birthday.
Tim Van Norman 1:02
Yes, it was the Friday before professional development week. So
Nick Wilkening 1:08
Happy Birthday to both of you.
Tim Van Norman 1:11
Thanks. Thanks, Nick.
Brent Warner 1:12
So Nick is here with us. Nick Wilkening. Welcome back. So if anyone read the title of the show before, they shouldn’t be surprised that you’re, you’re back on with us. But we had this conversation about bringing you back on fairly regularly. Because there’s so much stuff that’s always happening with tech services. And there’s kind of always updates and always things going on. And so. So we’re hoping to kind of keep this like, beginning of the semester, what’s going on? What can people look forward to? What should people? What What should people look backwards at? Is that a thing that people do reflect reflection? So Nick, welcome back.
Nick Wilkening 1:54
Thank you both for having me, I really appreciate you, inviting me back and getting the opportunity to kind of highlight a lot of the good work that technology service has been doing
Tim Van Norman 2:02
It has been a lot of good work. And we’re gonna, we’re gonna start off with some of this. So 2021, better than 2020 people are back, we’re seeing some people on campus, it’s actually kind of a weird site to not see everybody, it’s kind of almost like we would see during the summer. It’s It feels like there’s about that many people on campus right now. And so from a technology standpoint, as people are coming back on campus, what do you see? What should they be looking for? And this can be students and faculty and in fact staff, because we’ve made a lot of different changes in different ways. And what, from your perspective, Nick, what are you? What do you want to want people to be looking for?
Nick Wilkening 2:54
Yeah, great question. Yeah. So I think from it, a lot of the work that’s been done over the summer isn’t necessarily in sight and even before the summer. But a lot of that work isn’t necessarily quite in everyone’s face. However, that’s not to say that there’s not a lot of infrastructure and work that we’ve done in preparing the environment around IVC for mainly, that the main objective we all came together behind was, we want to prepare a campus for reopening and also support and continue supporting our hybrid and fully remote technology needs. So over 2020, we really kind of focused all of our efforts in getting things online and making sure we were providing policies and procedures and helping support all the myriad of different technology challenges that are fully remote environment looks like. And if you guys remember how, how quickly it pivoted from, hey, we’re all in person, and then everybody’s online. So we had a steep learning curve, jumped right in. And then as we’ve kind of seen the evolution of the pandemic, and the return to an in person, kind of or hybrid environment. We were We were realizing, you know, been over a year since a lot of these, like computer labs, and some of the classrooms had really had that care and feeding that they need as an ongoing kind of projects throughout the year. So we, you know, the absolute stellar work of the tech services team just jumped right on it. We, you know, we said, Hey, main objective, by the end of the summer before Plex week is we got to get all the labs updated, we got to make sure we’ve got the classrooms that are available for hybrid learning, we want to continue our laptop loan checkout program, we want to make sure that there is opportunities for virtual labs in addition to on in person labs. So you get the best of both worlds, or whatever you feel more comfortable in, whether that’s you’re working from home and you’ve got a laptop that’s been checked out by IVC. Or you’re actually in the lab, you know, couple computers away from someone else that’s running through the same problem that you might be in in your class, or homework or whatever issue or challenge that you’re working through. So we’ve had a number of different objectives that we worked with throughout the summer, we absolutely were able to get it done, we got 41 classrooms that have lecture capture technology. So that means they have very sensitive microphones and high definition cameras. So if you’re sitting in the back of the classroom, and you’re a student, and you raise your hand, you’re heard as easily when you ask a question on zoom, as you would be if you’re the instructor at the front of the classroom, and so you can have that dialogue back and forth with the instructor, and also have these zoom integrations. So those students that might be working or doing remote learning, and also want to show up on on campus a couple days a week, they get the best of both worlds we have within those classrooms. We’ve also continued with the virtual labs. So those are available 24 seven, which was a pretty big change for us in the past, where computer labs were only available for a set period of time. Now we’ve got them fully available 20 473 65. And if your student that wants to work Sunday night, and does really well with some of the homework that you have to get done. That’s that’s an opportunity that’s available. Over the last month or so, we’ve continued our laptop loans checkout program. And that is a program where we have Chromebooks and Windows devices that are available for student usage. And they you can check them out for the fall semester. There they were bought last year. So they’re fairly new devices. Technologically speaking, they’ve got cameras involved in the in the actual device itself, good, strong Wi Fi connection. And we’re also formulating a program for the end of the fall semester to hopefully allow for a little bit more flexibility and movement of those devices. We’re still defining what those kind of constraints look like, or what those what that program looks like. But I think we’re in a good shape over the next few weeks to have a pretty robust opportunity for our students in the long term. When it comes to laptops. We’re pretty excited about that.
Tim Van Norman 7:00
Let me stop there for a second. Does that Sorry, I’m rambling? No, no, you’re doing great. But I want to highlight that. So basically, what you just covered very quickly, let me slow it down in just a second. Because this is really, really cool. We were able to buy how many laptops was that that we bought?
Nick Wilkening 7:19
Good question. Yeah. So we purchased 1000 laptops. Last year, we did 700 Chromebooks, and 300. Windows devices,
Tim Van Norman 7:26
Specifically for students,
Nick Wilkening 7:28
Specifically for students to be able to use only, you know, for remote learning. Uses they It was a very popular opportunity for our students.
Tim Van Norman 7:38
Absolutely. It absolutely has. I love the fact that I get calls, not every day, but often enough, the people are “can I get a laptop?” Yes, go to this website. And, and we should have one available. And we have had a lot of them. And they’re not, it’s not like it’s garbage laptops, either, you know, we didn’t go out and buy the, you know, $200, old windows seven laptops, throw windows 10 on them, these were designed for the operating system. And they all work with the tools that we’ve got here on campus. So this has been a really good program, we’ve heard, I’ve heard complaints from students when their laptop, they had to return their laptop, stuff like that. So that’s a good sign, right?
Brent Warner 8:31
From the faculty perspective, I want to say like how important this has been, because it’s been a real load off my mind to be able to say like, if a student saying, Hey, I’m having computer problems, or Hey, you know, like, I’m using my brother’s computer that’s old, and dad or whatever. And I can just straight up say, with full confidence, we’ve got a program, let’s get you in there right now and get you signed up for it. And that’s a big deal. Like because before it was like, with, especially with online teaching, I’m like, Oh, do I have to make accommodations and like they’re not going to be able to be in this setting, or do that work very well. And now I can just straight up walk in and say, I know exactly what you can do to go get a laptop, you can go drive over there tomorrow and pick it up or whatever, however long that system takes, but it’s it’s a big load off of my mind to not have to accommodate another setup of potential problems with my students. And and for them to of course for the students themselves, like they are like, Oh, I can I don’t have to think about all those things. I don’t have to do research on computers to figure out what I’m going to be what I can afford to be able to get in and get with, get onto my classes and all those types of things. It’s it’s a huge effort to that I think kind of it I have appreciated it a lot and I talk about my students are quite regularly if they’re having any issues, I’d say. Let’s talk about how to get it done and fixed for you.
Nick Wilkening 9:55
That’s absolutely awesome feedback. And I couldn’t agree more. I think there’s such a Like a when, when students don’t know that there’s a laptop loan opportunity, and then they find out, you see the look on their face where it’s like, wow, this is like an opportunity to, you know, I don’t have to go out and buy it, I don’t have to go figure out, it’s already pre packaged, it’s you just apply, you show up, you pick up the laptop, you go home, fire it up, and it’s, you know, you connect to wireless, and you’re going, you’re going and we did have, we have opportunities for wireless on campus, we’ve got the library, we’ve got a number of spaces throughout campus where even if a student doesn’t necessarily have, you know, dedicated high bandwidth, wireless at home, or they can come to campus, they can use that mobile device, they can use an existing device, there’s enough technology now that I feel very same thing from your your perspective, right, where I feel a lot more confident knowing that we’re getting students the most that they can get to kind of get through some of their classes have any any barriers to any of the learning kind of removed from a technology perspective. And that’s a really nice feeling at the end of the day, it’s fantastic feels probably the best part of the job. So I’m glad I’m glad you highlighted that.
Brent Warner 11:06
And I’ll throw this out is just a hint to any faculty members who might be listening. If you see students that are continually logging into zoom on their iPhones or, or logging in by just by telephone and calling in, then you can reach out privately to them as well and just say, hey, just so you know, there’s programs available and, and they might not respond to that, but like, not respond directly back to you. Because they might have their own issues about wanting to, you know, maintain their privacy for their socio economic status, but they’re taking advantage or they know, and it’s another it’s another point of access for them. So yeah, really, really great. And I’ve been super happy with this program.
Tim Van Norman 11:46
This has been this has been really huge, like I said, from a support standpoint, to, to offer that. And then the other thing is we can actually help the students on those computers, because they’re IVC computers. So if they’re having a problem, we can hop on one of the beautiful things that has happened with with technology with with the pandemic is now we’re using zoom more often. So I can hop on with zoom and see what the student is seeing, and stuff like that. So that program has really made us have the support side, it really does make a big difference. And that said also, we’ve done the same thing for staff and faculty. So granted, yes. Oh, well, they would have a computer if they were in, in person. But some of our part time faculty have been able to get computers and stuff like that. This. Well, it’s separate from that 1000 laptops. This is another really nice thing that I’ve heard from faculty over and over again. Oh, I can get one. I had to return my last one because I’m not there full time anymore. It’s been really nice to have that, again, as that backup to for us.
Nick Wilkening 13:05
Yeah, and I thanks for highlighting that too. That’s a really good point, we bought a number of devices for faculty, for staff, we were checking out ring lights, Wi Fi extenders really tried to make sure we had a robust I guess catalog of things that people in your home office, you know you’re looking for, you’re needing those types of things to make sure you’re you’re, you know, teaching or work experience is at the highest quality. So we, you know, absolutely amazing job by Stephanie Alvarez. She does a great job. She’s one of our administrative assistants that absolutely just jumps in, gets all the inventory built out orders all of the gear keeps track of it just super amazing job getting that stuff taken care of and having it be available for our for our faculty and staff as well as well as the students. It’s been a pretty big program over the last year and one that like I said, at the end of the day, I feel really good knowing you know, it’s it’s worth the level of investment. We love it all the team with each other, we’re like, this is super cool, we’re, we’re able to help out in a really positive way.
Brent Warner 14:06
So Nick, just following up on this, because last time last time you were on, you know, we got a lot of non IVC people listening, they’re like, Oh, I want to hear what’s going on with you know, you know, it it other places. And so, I think that there probably would be another jump of people who might listen in and I’d be interested to share or at least give the basics so that they might know how to build or how to move towards doing a program like this.
Nick Wilkening 14:36
Great question. That was a lot of the Yeah, lots of lots of great positive meetings that we were able to put together where we really use try to use existing tools and and build a workflow that was touch free for our students, and also for staff and faculty. I’ll start with students because it’s a little bit more comprehensive, but we we used an existing Drupal web form, which is our website. That we use kind of as a standard across IVC. And we built out an application program in there. And in there, we said, you know, what, what device would you prefer a Windows 10 device or a Chromebook, you know, put your name, we tied it into a database system that’s pulled from districts, we know students are enrolled, we tried to make it simple. So the student logs in, their information is pre populated, they just have to click their preference, or no preference of the device that they like, then click Next. And once they go into next, we actually had an integration built for a Terms and Conditions document that we put together in our Adobe sign. So if you’re on a mobile device, or you’re, you know, on a laptop, it works everywhere. And it outlines our terms and conditions for the laptop loan, and at the bottom, you click to sign it pre signed for you. And then from there, once you’ve signed the terms and conditions, it routes you over to another system called ECE Rs, and ECE RS is our kind of appointment tracking system. And that was to make sure that we had enough inventory and staff to be able to hand the laptops out. That was the the most interaction we had with the student, he really tried to make sure that we didn’t have an in person interaction to prevent or to ensure we had the physical distancing accomplished. So he SARS allowed us to put in 10 minute increments where a student could pick in the morning or in the evening time, on Thursdays and Fridays, every week throughout the semester that they could come and pick up their device. So 910 929 30 clicker time I can make it, they drive to campus, we have a map that’s included in that he saw his appointment scheduling shows the exact lot where we’re going or where they would need to go. A couple of our tech services members will be out there, they’ve got the laptop already inventoried and ready to go for them in the box that’s there, the student rolls up, rolls their windows down in the car, we drop it in, and they’re on their way we know we’ve got a good handoff between the two. So we were really proud of all the hard work that went into that because it kept our staff safe, it kept students safe. And we made sure that they still got their devices at the end of the day. So that was one I’m particularly proud of Michael Martinez and rich Kim and the team that really did the brain work of putting that together and getting it done quickly. Like we were like, Hey, we got to get this up and running. We got to do it like yesterday, we got to make sure we get these devices out. So they just kind of put it together and rocked it so not to mention Jose Mendoza going out there every week in the sun and the rain and the snow he’s he’s out there. So absolutely rockin job by those folks to get that up and running for the students.
Tim Van Norman 17:35
The snow here.
Nick Wilkening 17:38
Did I say snow?? (laughter)
Tim Van Norman 17:44
We did have fires.
Nick Wilkening 17:45
Yeah. That’s the word. We can edit that out, right. But yeah, through the the rain, the fire smoke and the sun that’s more in our environment. For our staff and and faculty members, we have an existing what’s an ITSM solution IT Service Management Solution tool, we’re using avanti as the name of it. And it’s about workflows that are pre built into it. Amanda Turner, one of our fantastic application specialists, she put together a full workflow of checking out equipment. And part of that was because of the ease with which it integrated to our back end systems. So a faculty member applies, it comes to myself and or my assistant director and we both apply, approve or disapprove or needs more information. And they get the they get it that goes into another work queue. And that work queue Actually, we ship the device to the member’s home. So they don’t even need to come on campus, they don’t have to be here, we just we ship it directly out on their behalf to make it a little bit more more a little bit easier for them to not have to worry about coming on campus and interfacing with folks as well. So yeah, that one was a little bit more straightforward, because we weren’t using as much was all the staff and faculty members. But one that’s been very, very successful from our perspective as well. We just kept those workflows moving through. And like I said, the staff just just knocked out of the park with getting all that kind of taken care of.
Tim Van Norman 19:14
With that said, Nick, we I hear all the time that Oh, you guys had the money to do this. We don’t have the money to So thinking about especially the student side of things. How did we pay for these?
Nick Wilkening 19:29
Good question. So through the different iterations of the federal funding, we used a lot of was cares act money, and then it turned into cares too, I think and then ultimately, the overall umbrella that we’ve used for all of our technology support in this regard has been the her funding the higher ed, American rescue plan money that we received. And that’s been super amazing to have as an opportunity for us to improve a lot of our technology, workflows and processes and pay for things like the 1000 laptops, pay for the fact Tea, you know, staff devices that we need to make sure that are able to support Wi Fi in your, in your home Wi Fi extenders and lights. And yeah, so her funding has been very helpful. And we’ve been able to really make a lot of this work, because we’ve had that opportunity to get that funding through consistently throughout the last three distributions.
Tim Van Norman 20:20
And that’s, that’s part of why I wanted to specifically bring that up is because you didn’t have to have come up with that funding out of the budget that had been created before you started a year and a half ago, realistically, you know, you came in at the very, very end of that budget cycle. So there was no way that any of this stuff would have been in that budget, period, it just wasn’t there. And so to be able to use those other federal funds creatively, and such a way to make this happen, I’ve been impressed, I’ve loved that we’ve been able to do it.
Nick Wilkening 20:58
Likewise, it’s, it’s, you know, we got to build our own processes internally, we got to, you know, really focus the efforts of what the intention of that money was, which was enablement of remote learning, however, we need to get that done. And this was just right there, it was so, so powerful for our folks to be able to get, get that money, spend it in the right way, get it distributed out in the right way. And like I said, you know, leave at the end of the day and feel pretty good about the overall, you know, program itself. So yeah, I’ve been we, you know, one of the other things we’re able to use those her funds for was creating a closed captioning program, that has been absolutely just a force multiplier for a lot of our faculty members that, you know, when we were in the fall of last year, we hadn’t quite formalized the full majority of the program. And I saw the struggles that they were having in making sure that they could get their videos, finished recording captioned it in a timely manner submitted out so students have the value of the closed captioning. And you just saw this, it just building up it was so much, you know, additional time that was taken our our members to be able to get that taken care of. And with us being able to with great advisory services, Tim you put together in helping with the closed captioning program, we put it out and I think of January of this year, and we’ve just, we’ve, we’ve captured over 2000 videos, we’ve spent 1000s and 1000s of dollars, making sure that we’re getting that necessary captioning turned around in a 24 to 48 hour time frame, when a faculty member submits their video, we use a really good company that’s been, you know, absolutely amazing in turning the videos around in that timeframe. It’s commonly called rev, we use them, we take the video, we submit it back to the faculty member and they’re they’re up and running in a few few few short hours, we try to shoot for 24 to 48 hours, but we regularly are able to get it done shorter than that. So that’s been another program where herf has been just an absolute saving grace, you know, we absolutely had, you know, a lot of opportunities. But those two in particular, where you have that direct impact, you can see that it was helping, at the end of the day, we’re really kind of powerful. And we’re continuing into that into the fall where we have more than enough funds more than enough, you know, support to be able to handle the fall semester and what that looks like as well.
Brent Warner 23:17
The thing I really is, if you go back to our older episodes, Tim, we were talking about this stuff as it was like, forming as you were starting to, like get ideas and like, like, it’s not just talk, right? Like it actually becomes a real thing that processes through. And so if for those people who’ve been listening to the show for a while, like they, they’ve been going through that process and being a part of that in real time as we’re like, Hey, what do we think about the idea of like closed captions? What do we need to do for that? Why is it important, right? Oh, what are you starting to do for this now? Oh, now, you know, like, and we would talk about it from show to show every once in a while. And then now we’ve got this final outcome, which is an actual direct, tangible benefit to you know, students and faculty who are, you know, reaping reaping those benefits every day. And so that’s, that’s, it’s so cool to actually see this stuff come together in a real way instead of just like, you know, I think a lot of people get concerned about like, just talk talk talk, right? And where’s the actual outcome and, and I love that we were able to get that actually pushed through and all of these things are like, have real, real outcomes. And so it’s amazing to see that happen.
Nick Wilkening 24:37
Yeah, and for any faculty members listening, please submit your videos, we will we’ll get them turned around for you if we want to make sure we get that advertised as widely as possible.
Tim Van Norman 24:47
And we’d love I mean, it is a really neat service that we we loved putting together and and we even have staff that caption as well. So we can handle A lot of the different aspects on that, which is really good. One other thing before we before we move on to some other stuff, one other thing, you’ve also made some changes here. Things like print services, upgrading of desktop computers and stuff like that. There’s a lot of things that people are seeing new. And frankly, I’m thankful that we’re not all 15,000 students back at the same time right now, because we are seeing a couple things that Oh, okay, that’s, that’s a normal hiccup. But because not everybody is back. It’s more like a summer type of thing here on campus. We’re able to solve those problems before they’re, we solve them as issues rather than them becoming problems. So yeah, new print services. What’s up with that? Because that that one’s a little different for a lot of us?
Nick Wilkening 25:56
That’s a great, great question. And, yeah, there’s actually a number of efforts that we really tried to focus on over the spring and summer of last year, to make sure we were prepared for you know, this, this expected opening, and then and then spring of 22. And being prepared to make sure that we’re casting that wider net of a very thing. And the first one we really tried to attack was having a replacement plan for the all of the Xerox, what are called multifunction printers. Those are the copiers and scanners, both for students and for staff. So our old manufacturer Xerox, was, you know, getting older, and we were, we were ready to look at a replacement opportunity in coordination with saddleback. And so we worked with our purchasing office, they’re fantastic. We put out opportunities for a number of different vendors and konica, Minolta was selected. They have been absolutely amazing to work with they, they’re really a partner in this because of how big of a change this is. This is 32, large scale printers across the entire campus to include seven in the library that has a high usage from students, these things turn, they print out a ton of black and white print jobs. And so we really needed to make sure we had a partner that could help us make sure that the devices that we had would sustain and improve the opportunity for our students that are using those devices, and then also improve the user experience for our staff as well throughout brand new devices. We’ve got a new software on the back end, that we’re replacing the old software was Pharos, and the new one is called paper cut. It’s got much better integrations for what we’re using. We’re super excited about that.
Like, I feel I do, too. That’s a good point. Yeah, that’s pretty good. We’re excited about that. And we’re going to be rolling that out over the next month, there’s been some supply chain challenges with getting those devices in our heart in our inventory sooner. I think we’re seeing that everywhere across the world. And yeah, in different spaces. But yeah, that definitely impacted us. However, we do have five in production right now. So we’ve got five across the campus. And we’ll start adding more. This also includes the two really, really big production machines in our duplicating center, we replaced those we got brand new devices there, we’re pretty excited about that. Those are the you know, hey, you can turn out 1000 in a few minutes, 1000 pages in a few minutes. And you’re able to get any classroom material needed books, printed anything that is necessary, in a much faster, more efficient way. So we did that one, a five year lease with konica Minolta. And we’ll have that rolled out hopefully in the next month. And there’ll be a whole new user experience. And then one of the other big things that we really tried to do to focus on improving the information security perspective of the campus was to move away from windows seven. So our team has, you know, they in addition to all of the other projects that we’re working on, through Hey, can we do a desktop upgrade over the last six or so months? And they just jumped right on it took it really took the windows 10 devices started replacing all the windows seven to Windows 10 worked with the users did this rollout as as people were working remotely, right, so they’re dialing into their home computer on campus or their their computer, and we’re working through making sure we’re doing it on the downtime. So just absolutely rockin job getting all of our windows seven devices off the network. So I think we’re down I think we finished our last one a couple weeks ago, which has been a big feather in our cap to make sure we’re we’re making the you know, we’re protecting the campus from from vulnerabilities and windows seven was one of those large vulnerabilities for us.
Brent Warner 29:51
So Nick, just to clarify on that. With the windows change, are you saying that that the teachers who are already who are logging in remotely are already in the new system? Or are you saying that when they come to campus, then they’ll have the new system to look forward to and or get used to
Nick Wilkening 30:10
when they come to campus, okay, for faculty members, if you’re for certain folks that are using what are called VDI, or virtual desktop instance, those are the folks that might be working throughout the day because they have to use our soft phone capability. So they dial into their campus computer, they talk on that, or they’re using resources on campus, those are the ones that we worked around as well to make sure we did it in off hours. But for the most part, faculty members should should see a change when they come on campus when they’re actually here.
Brent Warner 30:38
Okay, so this is gonna lead to the important question for a lot of faculty members. What what’s the change? Like? What are they going to see? That’s different? Because it’s gonna it’s a new iOS, right? And so what are what should they, as people start trickling on the campus either just for like, a little bit of like office work or starting to do like, some classes? And we’ve got a it’s been a messy semester in terms of are we on campus? Or are we not, but I think there’s going there will be legitimate questions that people like, Oh, this is a whole new thing. Do I have to sit down and learn it? I don’t know about Windows 10. So what I guess, is there either an onboarding or what’s the what’s the system for getting people okay with, with coming back to basically new operating system,
Nick Wilkening 31:27
I would say you first and foremost, as if, if anybody feels uncomfortable about the change, they can reach out to one of our help desk analysts and get really fantastic, absolutely kind of almost curated opportunities to work through what those you know what those expectations look like, if they’re feeling like they’re a little intimidated with the windows 10 change, or they might have software that they use on Windows seven, that they want to make sure works on Windows 10, that can definitely be a call to our help desk, we can work with them, make sure that it has that Karen feeding and making sure that they feel confident coming into the office, we want to make sure people don’t come in sit down and are like I can’t work. That’s that’s not that’s not helpful that that is completely anti to what what we tried to achieve with information security is we want to protect the network. But we also don’t want it to completely stop work. That’s Yeah, so we’re here, I keep my cell phone in my signature block. Anybody that wants to call me, I don’t have any problem showing windows 10. As opposed to Windows seven, I have the same, you know, expectations for our whole team. We’re here to help that we’re a service to the campus that we always Technology Services, we are a service, we’re here to help. That would be what I would say, I will send videos, we’ve got cut sheets, we can send, we’ll do the curated, you know, one on one time, we’ve got all those opportunities in our in our toolbox. Awesome.
Tim Van Norman 32:52
Let’s, let’s switch gears a little bit. And I alluded to it earlier, you’ve been here now for a year and a half a year and a half of which has been under COVID. So I think it was what three weeks you were here, and all of a sudden, we started doing everything COVID. But in that time, include COVID in some of your responses, but a couple of questions. First of all, so what have you learned? Like I said, You’ve been here for a year and a half, you came from a district environment? What have you learned?
Nick Wilkening 33:31
Yeah, this is this was a good question. It really made me think about what the last year and a half has really been. It’s, you know, it’s been just constant new challenges, new experiences, I will say, the thing that just kind of came out of all of it to me was the whole reason I came to IVC was to feel like I had a better understanding of how the campus worked. And what what students, you know, what, what they what their experiences were, like, you know, and have a better understanding of the way that the campus operates. So when I was at the district, I had come directly from industry, I’d never worked at a college campus. And I felt like it wasn’t quite the same appreciation for what goes on at the campus so that I could help in, you know, guiding technology to support students at the end of the day. And when the pandemic hit, I will be honest, I was like, oh man, I’m so bummed and like everybody’s working remotely, I don’t get that opportunity to like see how how this works. And really get my hands dirty and, and, you know, see students in the hallways and talk to him about their technology challenges and then figure out what that looks like. But I will say over the last, you know, it was a couple months where, you know, it was like, oh man, kind of bummed that that happened. But at the end of the day, I noticed the campus community is still alive and thriving, and it’s just in a different way. That’s what I had to shift my my mind with is, you know, there’s still heavy interaction with students. They’re still committees and a community of people that are absolutely amazing whether it’s a dean or any of the vice presidents or president Hernandez all the way down to D’Angelo as our president of IVC. As IVC, we’ve had a lot of opportunities to have those interactions with students, we get to talk to them. I saw France, the I think he’s a vice president of as IVC in the hallway yesterday, or on Monday, or Friday, rather, today’s Monday, and got to talk to him, there’s still that opportunity, you still get to, you know, have the interactions and I, I’ve had a lot of my relationships, on campus through zoom. And yet I still am able to come into meetings and prepare and, you know, we are just as open and having fun, as if we were in a conference room getting work done or walking through the hallways and seeing a student I mean, you know, I’ve got my IVC shirt on. Like, there’s, there’s definitely like that you feel a part of a community at the college that, that even though we’re in the pandemic, and it has shaped a lot of what our life has been for the last 18 months, it hasn’t deterred from the fact that we’re still very socially connected, we’re still very much in this together with one mission, and that is educating our students. Right. And so I, I’m, I’m heartened that that is where my, my experience has gone over the last 18 months, especially with where we’re at my initial reaction was and how that’s evolved. And I’m really excited about when people come back, and it starts growing to a more in person and return to a new normal kind of perspective, and what that looks like, and how we evolve over the next 18 months into the future. So I think that’s, that’s what stands out the most.
Tim Van Norman 36:40
So with that, what do you realize you still need to learn? What What is something that you all I didn’t, you know, didn’t think about it? Or? Or maybe you thought you had it now you realize, if you just you had this month, you know, a little tiny bit, you know, what, whatever you realize you need to learn?
Nick Wilkening 37:01
Like, I mean, I I feel like I could just answer that with almost every day, what am I? I feel like it’s so true. And you’re young, you think you know, everything and the older you get, you’re like, I know nothing, and I need to just not talk I think that’s what I’ve, I’ve probably most learned is I just need to listen more and hear from from people. And, and yeah, really understand the technology challenges of what 2021 looks like. I mean, we say that, and I think when it was pre pandemic, it was, you know, it was there. But I think getting better at listening and figuring out how we problem solve those those different challenges was challenges as we go into a hybrid work environment, a hybrid learning environment, rather. And see what does it look like in 18 months? What What can we plan for? How do we prepare for a future that we just, we thought we would have this, you know, return to normal, everyone comes back and campus pandemic is over with the vaccine. And obviously, we’re seeing that that there’s a shift pretty dynamically to a more accepting online experience for the foreseeable future. How do we make sure we’re providing the tools for our faculty to be able to teach in the most comprehensive and meaningful way for students? How do we make sure students are connecting into the campus? How do we make sure exactly to the point where I felt like I wasn’t a part of a community that we can help leverage the technology that we have or explore other technologies to build in that continued growth of, you know, social glue that you get at a college campus that, you know, we’re still in kind of this transition phase? You know, it feels like every week, there’s something new that pops up that I’m like, Oh, I guess I got to relearn how I do business now, which is good. It keeps you on your toes, and we get into technology to stay on our toes. I think it’s a it’s a it’s a good marriage for the future.
Brent Warner 39:01
Awesome. So, Nick, as we’re wrapping up here, you know, we’re stepping into this semester here. There’s a lot of things that you’ve mentioned that are going on there. I’m sure plenty of other initiatives and projects that you didn’t have time to mention. What are you? And this can either be a repeat and touching back on something you mentioned before or something you didn’t have a chance to talk about. But what are you looking forward to in the fall of 21? Like as we’re as we’re this semester, what are you looking forward to either launching or, or wrapping? I guess either way. Yeah. And what can what can some of the faculty and staff have to look forward and students to to look forward to in this semester?
Nick Wilkening 39:46
Yeah, that’s a great question. I so there were two things I wanted to highlight. One was we’re looking to replace the mark keys on Irvine Center Drive, we’re actually doing that in three weeks. So higher visible marquee are better pixelation, the messages on urban center drive will be a lot clearer for those members or those those folks driving by coming on campus. We’re also possibly hopefully over the fall, fingers crossed, we can get everything done going to install Mark keys on Jeffrey, on on the Geoffery entrance, and then also on the back of campus at laser way, when you drive all the way onto campus. So we’re excited about the opportunity to be able to get our messages out to the different areas people driving by, hey, come check out IVC if you drive by laser way, you don’t really see a lot that it’s an IVC entrance. So we’re trying to make sure we have that opportunity for folks. So that’s one one project that I’m particularly excited about, I think that will be really awesome for and that’s an strong partnership with our facilities and maintenance team. They’ve been doing an absolutely amazing job making sure they keep that moving for the process. The other thing that we’re working on right now that I’m particularly excited is we’ve got a project to add a video wall and an AV system to our labeled terrorists area, which is our on the backside of the performing arts center. It’s a wide open amphitheater looking space. And we use it for graduation, and commencement each year. So we’re hoping we’re hoping Fingers crossed, and this is continuing through fall into the spring, that we can purchase that equipment, get it installed and have commencement in person on a really nice stage with some great audio video and a big huge monitor right behind. So as folks, you know, walk across the stage to get some really good opportunities to memorialize that kid pictures. And we’re excited about bringing that technology on campus. And that’s also another one that we’ve been working in partnership with our facilities and maintenance team that have been doing a great job with our architect and getting that squared away before for May. And then, yeah, just continuing to learn as we go through the fall semester about how we can better support technology in the hybrid environment. I really do. I meant 100% what I said every day, it’s a new, a new process, a new thing, that we didn’t consider a new thing that we have to figure out. And I think that that is such an like, I love that opportunity. Because at the end of the day, we get programs like closed captioning and laptop loans out of it, those challenges present opportunities for us to bring in creative solutions for our students and and make sure that our, our staff and faculty are able to get those students what they need. So that’s really what I look forward to. I mean, yeah, that’s that’s what fall is. And spring semester, I’m pretty amped, but Yeah, awesome.
Brent Warner 42:34
Well, there’s a lot to look forward to. I like that some of those are like, big visual things that are like, here we are, right? it’ll, it’ll kind of, you know, because cuz you do so much work on the back end that’s like, Oh, we fix these things inside of the computer system. And the, you know, it’s like, well, nobody sees those things. But like that, it’s also nice to have some like big visual wins at the same time. And, and so I’ve been looking forward to those ones as those conversations started coming up to so. So we’ll keep an eye out for that.
Nick Wilkening 43:05
Super cool. Yeah, we’re excited about the laser live up to live oak terrace, especially to for like, movie nights. And I mean, it’s just such an opportunity for our community to come in and use this, like beautiful space, you could set up, you know, battle of the bands like jazz festival, there’s so many great possibilities that we see for how we turn it into a community based event center that people can use. And we see, especially with the Fine Arts Complex, getting built out the future of that space and students moving through and other community members coming in and out of campus. I’m particularly excited about what that’s going to look like for the long term. Yeah.
Brent Warner 43:41
Awesome. So Nick, thanks so much for joining us. Again, we’re looking forward to building this as a a regular regular, at least semesterly feature and there’s always updates coming on. So we appreciate your time.
Nick Wilkening 43:57
Thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure working with you guys. This is great.
Tim Van Norman 44:05
So to our listeners, thank you for listening today. In this episode, we had a fall 21 update with Nick Wilkening, and more. For more information about this show, please visit our website at the higher ed tech podcast Comm. There you’ll find our podcasts and links to the information we’ve covered.
Brent Warner 44:24
As always, we do want to know your feedback. So please go to the higher ed tech podcast.com and let us know your thoughts. If you have ideas for future shows. There’s a link on that page which you can use to give us your topic ideas.
Tim Van Norman 44:37
For everyone at IBC. That’s listening. If you need help with technology questions, please contact IVC technical support at extension 5696 or by emailing IVC firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions about technology in your classroom, please contact me Tim van Norman at t van email@example.com.
Brent Warner 44:57
And if you want to reach out to me about the show, you can find me on Twitter or Instagram @BrentGWarner.
Tim Van Norman 45:03
I’m Tim VanNorman,
Brent Warner 45:04
and I’m Brent Warner. And we hope this episode has helped you on the road from possibility to actuality. Have a good one, everybody
We’re back with Nick Wilkening, Director of Technology Services at Irvine Valley College. Nick shares what’s been going on behind the scenes with IT at IVC and how other tech leaders can make changes on campus with programs like Laptop Loans, OS updates, Print Machine refreshes, Closed Captioning, and more.