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Accomplishment: Tech Commons Design and Development

What was accomplished?

Scoped, designed, developed, seeded and tested a technology discovery tool to be used by the entire campus.  The Tech Commons includes a community-sourced repository of the basic metadata related to technology products and services used by campus employees; simple and intuitive entry forms; indexing, search and filtering across products; and product reviews and ratings.

Tech Commons Development Team: Bill Allison, Yu-Tin Kuo, Brian Wood, Kathleen Lu, Ian Crew, Rick Jaffe, Rich Meyer
Steering Council: Devin Jones,Tom Holub, Lucia Tsai, Liz Marsh, Bill Allison

  • Defined and documented scope and functional requirements
  • Formed and facilitated decisions through a steering council representing various constituencies of IT staff across campus
  • Documented agile-based user stories to identify development features
  • Identified and instantiated a technology platform
  • Designed and developed product entry forms with SC
  • Integrated Apache Solr allowing search titles, free text, tags and taxonomies; indexing; and search filtering
  • Designed and implemented user interface
  • Developed basic social media policy via Conditions of Use
  • Pre-seeded tool with content from IST services catalog
  • Performed usability testing of contributions forms and search
  • Conducted basic accessibility testing
  • Designed browse functionality and reviews
  • Internally released the product by invite for content population

What need does it fill? What problem does it solve? What goal does it meet?

Information about campus technology is housed in a number of disparate venues across campus with varying quality and differing durability. Knowledge of and access to these venues is seldom intuitive or integrated. Further, technology has become so much a part of everyday life, that IT providers are no longer the sole proprietors of its value, benefits and impact. The Tech Commons was designed as a discovery portal for technology integrating access to the disparate venues that exist on campus. Further, it was designed to leverage the technical and experiential knowledge of the entire campus community. By engaging the larger community, we should increase awareness of the overall quantity of technology products and services that are used, and make them more complete and resonant with the community by including experiential and contextual content such as rating and reviews. Finally, the Tech Commons is a vehicle to increase and deepen partnership with other IT groups across campus. By jointly contributing and consuming each others contributions and reviews, interaction and trust should increase between all parties.

Impacted areas:

  • All IT staff across campus will have a central place to discover and access technology metadata.
  • Campus students, staff, faculty and affiliates can be directed to the Tech Commons by their IT support personnel.

Strategic Alignment:
How does this further the mission/vision of AVC-IT, campus, OE, or Systemwide?

  • The Tech Commons was built as part of a larger vision within AVC-IT to provide common-good tools to the campus community. These tools are meant to be of, for and by the community.
  • The Tech Commons should increase conversation, collaboration and partnership between IT staff across campus, increasing efficiency.
    • Although in phase 1 the Tech Commons was specifically targeted to IT staff, additional phases will also provide a non-IT face to the tool allowing the broader community – students, staff, and faculty – an intuitive interface to the listed technology products and services.
  • By enabling discovery of various technology products and services and providing basic metadata, the Tech Commons will increase awareness of available technologies as well as increase a user's ability to self-select products reducing overall service requests and product research time.
  • The Tech Commons was designed and implemented to scale not only beyond local IT staff to the breadth of campus, but also beyond campus to other UC schools.
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