John takes a few minutes between all the excitement of Welcome Week to sit down on a bench behind University Hall to take care of some of the tasks that will set him up for success this semester. Last year he had to stand in line multiple times to get some key things done. Luckily, there is a new way to do things this year, thanks to the new McMaster app. John downloads the McMaster app on his smartphone and accesses the Office of the Registrar’s ‘Virtual Kiosk’. John decides to confirm his OSAP requirements through the Virtual Kiosk rather than in person. It walks him through the necessary clicks until he gets a success message with a fun audio applause track. He will get a mobile alert when the money is transferred into his bank account.
Next, John uses the McMaster app to access the Student Services ‘shopping cart’ to choose other services he needs to support him this year. He schedules a few appointments and the times get automatically added into his calendar, so he can avoid conflicts. John will receive text alert reminders whenever one of his appointments comes up. He can adjust these for frequency so he doesn’t miss anything. Before he knows it, all of John’s tasks are completed and he can head back over to the quad where he will be meeting up with other students. It feels great to know that his semester will be off to a smooth start with a few fast and easy clicks on his smartphone.
Digital moments, digital future.
Name: Gayleen Gray Role: Assistant Vice President & Chief Technology Officer Goal: Help to guide the institution to its digital future When: 2019 – 2021 Where: McMaster University
My digital moment is always about the journey and not the destination. As we build our capabilities with information technology and services, my focus is as much on the many individuals within McMaster University and our collective goals and aspirations as it is on the technologies that will underpin everything we do. It is the people, and how we develop and embrace our digital future that really excites my imagination.
As we began our McMaster IT Strategic Planning efforts, the idea of a digital future was already a reality. At McMaster University we can look around on any day and see more than enough evidence that we continue to advance our technological integrations. Members of our research and teaching communities are already experimenting and exploring with technology and its capabilities. Students straddle technology in all of their daily experiences. The opportunity open to McMaster University is how well we can adopt and adapt to digitalization across the institution to improve our teaching, learning, research and administrative experiences and how well we can do this together, as a cohesive and collaborative effort. Hence the McMaster IT Strategic Plan. I am excited about our digital future – the ‘delightful technologies’, as I see them – and its exciting promise. I can imagine a future when people no longer wonder how technology and information can provide support and enhancements to their day to day activities. In my digital moment, we take information technology and services and their digital promise for granted, because it will be integrated into our day to day, in essence, working along side of us. I look to 2021 and see this reality starting to take shape. I’m looking forward to this journey with you…
Optimizing research to promote healthy lifestyles for McMaster students
Name: Saraya Program: PhD Student, Faculty of Health Sciences Goal: Make the research process more interactive When: Multi-year study (2019 – 2021) Where: McMaster University
Optimizing research to promote healthy lifestyles for McMaster students
Saraya, a PhD student, communicates her research project to prospective and current Mac students via the McMaster smartphone app.
Potential research participants learn more about her study via video and live chat session and can sign up and provide their online consent from their smartphones, with an option to allow GPS tracking to monitor gym usage, activities, etc.
Study participants receive a daily ping to check their mood, drinking patterns, risk factors and eating habits and the study methodology includes links to online games in the app which will measure attention, memory and other outcomes. Once in the study, participants can inform friends about their experience automatically through social media posts.
Participants get regular feedback on their performance and are able to see graphical images of their moods, alcohol consumption, and cognition on a personalized study dashboard.
Saraya uploads her research data daily in real time to a parallel computing cluster where the data is analyzed, anonymized and stored securely. The data also gets uploaded to public health network data repository.
Eventually, using the archived data records, study alumni are chosen and recruited as ‘coaches’ for the next cohort of participants.
Accessibility by design
Name: Thea Program: First year Engineering Goal: Use technology for better accessibility When: September 2020 Where: mcmaster.ca
Thea is a first-year international student with a print disability that results in her having difficulty accessing print materials without the correct assisted technologies. Thea uses a McMaster integrated app with audio capabilities to access the online bus schedule. The app informs her which bus she will need to take to get to campus in time for her exam and interprets the online campus map to tell her which building her exam location is in.
Once on campus, Thea is notified through the app that her exam location has been changed. This doesn’t alarm Thea as she knows the app can help her get to the new location using audio directed GPS beacons for navigating. Thea can also use voice to text in the app
to communicate with her instructor, SAS coordinator, or friends through the app if she needs help.
After arriving on time, her exam is pushed to her laptop and she is able to complete the open book exam using her accessible textbook. Thea successfully completes the exam and joins her friends for a celebratory coffee.
The 360 Online Experience
Name: Christine Program: First year Science Goal: Create a personalized online McMaster experience When: September 2020 Where: mcmaster.ca
Christine is a prospective student trying to choose a university to attend in the Fall. Through online university ranking sites, she is drawn to McMaster University and when she visits the main website, she is able to find a welcome page where current students are able to upload their personal video testimonials to provide prospective students with a fun and engaging overview of their Mac student life.
Christine is excited by everything she learns and as she registers, she is able to create an online profile to assist her in her application process, including her preferred courses and residence location. She can also tailor what experiences she wants to have when she visits the campus.
Once accepted to McMaster, Christine’s profile remains live and interactive, and she can choose orientation experiences, and the site also provides her with suggestions for activities that will help her to become more prepared, including interactive video chats with orientation volunteers. Through this interface, Christine is better equipped to adapt to her introduction to Mac and can create an experience tailored to her needs