The University of Toronto’s enterprise education technology ecosystem (our ‘Academic Technology Toolbox’) has grown organically over the past several years. At times services and solutions have been added in an ad hoc way. At other points, the University has gone through a formal acquisition process.
This time around, we are taking a holistic approach to the ‘Academic Technology Toolbox’ in its entirety. As result, under the Executive Sponsorship of the Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education and the Vice-President, University Operations, we have launched The University of Toronto Academic Toolbox Renewal Initiative.
The scope of the exercise is to look at enterprise-level educational technologies, recognizing that divisions and departments may continue to deploy local resources. However, in order to improve the possibility of integrating both enterprise and local applications into a common student experience, and to leverage the purchasing power of the University, the goal of the Renewal initiative is to implement a standards-based ecosystem that allows for the flexibility of integrating many tools and resources (so long as they too are standards-based).
The ultimate goal is to create a strong foundation upon which instructors, departments and divisions can make flexible, sound choices about educational technologies, while ensuring basic enterprise needs are met (like protecting private data and intellectual property, among others).
Think of it, if you will, like a Swiss Army Knife. If we create a proper case, and publish the criteria for how a tool is added to it, then instructors, departments and divisions can make informed decisions and recommendations about the tools and functionalities they need.