PSU takes a holistic approach to managing our Digital Learning Environment, recognizing that learning technologies are dynamic and interconnected, and that our community’s needs are constantly evolving. Our goals are to effectively support student learning, build faculty capacity to support and facilitate that learning, and to choose technologies that reflect and build on PSU’s culture of innovation and student-centered learning.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who oversees the Digital Learning Environment at PSU?

The Digital Learning Environment is a complex ecosystem, and is collaboratively overseen by the Office of Academic Innovation, Office of Information Technology, Office of Academic Affairs, and PSU faculty. 

The support and maintenance of the Digital Learning Environment is overseen by the Office of Academic Innovation (OAI), in collaboration with the Office of Information Technology (OIT). OAI, as platform owner, oversees budgets, contracts, and staffs a faculty support team. In coordination with OIT and other partners, including faculty, OAI oversees the implementation, technical configuration and ongoing decisions about features and updates of all platforms. 

Decisions about which platforms make up the Digital Learning Environment are made collaboratively by steering committees made up of a Quadrant of stakeholders who represent Faculty, Students, Digital Pedagogy Experts, and Business/Technical experts. OAI coordinates these efforts, which can include Piloting alternative platforms, evaluating the utility of current platforms, and choosing and rolling out new platforms.

What informs your approach?

Technology now supports a very significant part of teaching and learning at Portland State University. As such, we are very aware that we must choose tools that are effective, and that work together to create a robust and effective digital learning environment. Our approach to this is research-based and collaborative in nature. We take our cues from current studies on effective technology management, such as those published by organizations such as Educause and the Gates Foundation, which suggest that the approach to managing digital learning tools in higher education is shifting to a more scholarly, research-informed, and collaborative perspective. In all parts of the process, we seek to involve a Quadrant of stakeholders, who represent Faculty, Students, Digital Pedagogy Experts, and Business/Technical Experts. These Quadrants act as steering committees on major decisions, and represent the interests of the institution as a whole and its goals of innovation and student success.

What policies and guidelines cover these activities?

There a variety of policies and guidelines that govern the Digital Learning Environment. OAI has compiled these into a set of guidelines. The most important of these are:

Use

When using any Academic system, students, faculty, and staff must adhere to the behavior standards outlined in PSU’s acceptable use policy. Instructors can request the removal of any student found violating these standards from any Academic system. This request should be made to one of the managing units, who will escalate the issue to the Dean of Students for further instruction and confirmation.

If faculty or staff violate the acceptable use policy, they may also be removed from the Academic systems. This is also done by requesting removal through the managing unit, who will then escalate the issue to the appropriate Dean and Union officials.

Access to protected Data

Data within the Digital Learning Environment is protected by PSU policies and by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In many cases, various PSU staff and faculty request that system administrators provide them access to faculty or student materials or information. System administrators and help personnel cannot perform any of these actions without receiving proper authorization. These requests for authorization are always processed through the following channels:

Access to student information and coursework requires written (email) approval by the Department chair and/or the Dean of Students

Access to faculty workspaces and course content require written (email) approval by the Department chair, and/or the Dean of College and the Director of Personnel and Labor Relations (OAA)

Procurement

Portland State University is subject to Oregon Administrative Rules and guidelines or any subsequent procurement code issued by Portland State University. The procurement rules regarding purchasing authority are described on the contracts and procurement website. Most academic systems are contracts which require quotes from different qualified contractors.

The above policies are by no means complete or exhaustive; to request the full text of these guidelines, please contact the OAI Faculty Support Desk.