Nevine Chawra is the first changemaker in the McMaster Women in Tech series. Developed by the Office of the AVP & CTO, ‘McMaster Women in Tech’ is a project that highlights and recognizes women tech changemakers within the McMaster community. Read on to learn about how Nevine is changing the future of technology for McMaster!
Nevine Chawra: Information technology is a progressive and constantly changing industry. It promises a wide range of opportunities. Technology is focused on breaking new ground and IT professionals are embedded in a culture of movement and growth. We aim to solve a range of problems that businesses struggle with and offer options for things we never thought needed a solution. It is a challenging and exciting time to be in the technology field.
NC: Collaboration, Team Development, Transparency, Collaboration, Integrity and Due Diligence
NC: In the Registrar’s Office Systems department, we manage processes designed to implement academic regulations across the entire undergraduate student population. These processes track the student’s academic progress towards degree completion. It’s a critical management piece that safeguards student records, and abides by institutional and national privacy regulations.
Recently, the Registrar’s Office collaborated with the Faculty of Engineering on an exciting project that leverages technology to improve the student experience. In June 2019, the digital diplomas project allowed McMaster University to issue Faculty of Engineering graduates a digital version of their bachelor’s degrees, anchored in the bitcoin blockchain. The digital credential is cryptographically signed by McMaster University and is encrypted, shareable, verifiable and portable.
McMaster University was invited to join the MIT Digital Credentials Consortium (DCC) as a recognition of the effort we have made to modernize the concept of credentials. As a member of the MIT DCC, McMaster will contribute to the development of globally accepted standards for a transparent governance model and for learner-controlled and privacy-preserving credentials that keep the learner’s rights at the centre.
NC: I think women can do a lot to support each other in the IT industry. Raising each other and channelling the power of collaboration is how we will make a difference. Women need to seek opportunities for themselves and other women, learn to learn together, and help lead the way for others. Women who support the success of other women experience more success.
NC: Support her growth and her professional progress. When men and women support each other, we ALL shine.
NC: Women get intimidated by technology. This has improved with more participation of women in the field. I think women need to understand that their perspective is needed and is critical for holistic, inclusive, and meaningful solutions to be designed. Women have a lot to offer, and the field needs their contribution.
NC: Love the pace and intensity of the field. Be curious and adaptable to succeed. Support the success of others, not only women, but men too.
NC: I envision a future McMaster where digitally-supported teaching and learning is the norm. A future where digital learning is accompanied by instructional methods that make effective use of technology. In addition to engaging students, digital learning tools sharpen critical thinking skills and equip students with the skills they need to thrive in the digital economy. As Tony Bates said in his blog: ‘students will not earn digitally if they don’t learn digitally.’In the coming decade, generation alpha (born between 2010 and 2025), will arrive on our campus. This is the first-generation born entirely within the 21st century. All they will have known is the seamless integration between technology and everyday living. They have no perception of life without WiFi or on-demand access to documentaries, movies, soundtracks, and textbooks. These students will expect technology to be integrated into campus life and university studies, and their learning will be virtual for the most part.
I also envision a future McMaster where the student is provided with a system of record that is digital, encrypted, shareable, instantly verifiable, immutable, and portable. Generation alpha will expect to have control over the digital evidence of their achievements, without relying on academic institutions to produce such evidence. I envision a system of record that aligns with the Groningen Declaration Network, a movement in higher education that started in 2012 to promote the portability of the student’s record, allowing students to share all or part of their academic record “with whomever they want, whenever they want, wherever they are.” Such a system of record will support student mobility and attract international students.
Students in the future will not ‘use’ technology. Students in the future will ‘live’ technology.