2020: Year of the [computer] mouse

Tech department keeps campus online


The Instructional, Communication & Information Technology (ICIT) Department poses for a 2019 staff photo.

Jaelyne White, Business and Technology Editor

In the Chinese calendar 2020 is the year of the rat, but it will likely be remembered as the year of the [computer] mouse.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the world has had to live, learn, work and find entertainment online. The Instructional, Communication & Information Technology (ICIT) Department has helped make much of that possible for the UW-Whitewater campus this year. 

“I’m proud of our team because we did work that would normally take a year in less than two months. We built 30+ technology platforms to enable online classrooms from scratch. We had to help instructors become more familiar with it, and the Teach Program was offered for them as well to understand how they can teach online. We appreciated their willingness to collaborate in these ways,” said ICIT Assistant Vice-Chancellor Elena Pokot.

The Teach Program is a training that many faculty and academic staff undertook over the summer. It’s designed to help instructors find new ways to teach their students, and recently to assist with the technology they’ve had to use in a virtual teaching environment. Instructors can now enroll in the Teach Program over the upcoming winter break. 

“Summer training numbers were higher than I’ve ever seen. The instructors were ready to learn, they were appreciative, and understanding,” said Curriculum and Instruction professor Matthew Vick. “They want students to succeed and it takes a ton of reconceptualizing.” 

The ICIT Department has been big on educating everyone at UW-Whitewater about technology. This includes transitioning to a HyFlex model of instruction for professors as well as collaborating with the Learning Technology Center to create more than 70 workshops over the course of the summer.

“In February, we created a Remote Resources Website for students, faculty, and staff. This site contains resources dedicated to working, teaching, and learning remotely. We have been adding and updating this site each week since,” said senior communications specialist Dane Seckar-Anderson.

And the department is big on collaboration and teamwork too. Technology is something the university cannot go without during these times, so even during the struggles, the team has acknowledged them and worked to efficiently to effectively problem solve. 

“The total of the calls were similar, before and after the pandemic, but the nature of the calls changed,” said customer operations manager Mary Acuna. “Instead of having trouble printing on campus, the caller would have trouble with the VPN.” 

The ICIT department wants to thank the students of Whitewater for their willingness to collaborate with them. The Whitewater Student Government provided a lot of leadership in helping plan an online SOAR orientation for the fall 2020 semester. The help desk/ICIT services page and UW-W App are resources that students and employees alike are encouraged to adopt to keep connected to campus through technology while the pandemic persists into 2021, the year of the ox. 

ICIT Services page 

UW-W App