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Rapid Research in the Educational Technology Development Process

Cara Lane, University of Washington

While the subject at hand was the same for both groups, each relied on different strategies, vocabularies, mindsets, and timelines to accomplish their unique missions. Finding a common purpose, process, and language has been a time-consuming, but extremely valuable, undertaking for our IT organization.

This discussion covers the benefits and challenges of conducting research activities within a university IT organization. Within our group we pursue four types of investigations: tracking institutional technology use and needs, studying technology implementations to identify best practices, assessing user needs for new technology development, and conducting usability studies. The principal benefits of conducting such research “in house” are that research questions can be tailored to gather information that can be put to immediate use in our development cycle and that researchers on our staff have detailed knowledge of how the applications we have developed are being used on campus.

The principal challenges include perceptions from outside our organization that research we conduct may be biased, concerns that faculty do not want to learn best practices from the IT shop, and, most significantly, the compressed research timeline necessary to keep pace with a rapid development process. As a research scientist, I will share some of our strategies for overcoming (or minimizing) these challenges and provide examples of the “rapid research” we conduct at our university. I will lead a facilitated discussion about information-gathering strategies for university IT organizations.

 

 

CSMS Conference

SIGUCCS logo SIGUCCS Management Symposium 2008
April 6-8, 2008
Tucson Marriott University Park

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Updated: March 5, 2008 | Comments