Content and Collaboration Group – Finding the Best Tools for UC Berkeley

I’m always excited to see how our IT staff colleagues at campuses are collaborating and coming up with new ideas. Last fall, I had the chance to catch up with the Content and Collaboration (C&C) Group at UC Berkeley (UCB), which helps identify the best IT tools for UCB academic and research communities. The group is made up of representatives from three IT teams at UCB, bConnected, Educational Technology Services (ETS), and Research IT (RIT).

The Content and Collaboration Group began meeting in April 2013, as an outgrowth of the Research and Academic Engagement (RAE) Portfolio Planning effort. By working together to evaluate and improve IT services, “It became obvious that the three groups were addressing similar needs and had overlapping constituencies,” said Ian Crew of the bConnected Service Team. Since its formation, the Content and Collaboration group has worked to rationalize Berkeley’s overall Content and Collaboration portfolio of services by providing guidance on a variety of campus-wide service improvement projects. Some of these included the implementation of a new campus Learning Management System (LMS), bCourses, and the discontinuation of an underutilized research collaboration platform, Research Hub. The group has also focused on reaching out to their user communities through a series of Town Halls and by improving communications via their web presence and through social media.

The group has also established strong partnerships with the technology companies that provide its services including Google, Box, and Instructure (Canvas). “By working in concert with our vendors, we are better able to support Berkeley’s academic and research missions by offering better-coordinated technology solutions and collaboration services that are responsive to the needs of students, faculty and staff,” said Crew.

For 2016, the group plans to continue helping others on campus select the best tools for their needs and look at other areas for supporting collaboration, such as through videoconferencing. They are also involved with the Academic Innovation Studio Project, which is the new space for teaching and learning, scheduled for soft launch opening in spring 2016.

“The vision for this group is to provide a forum where we can collaborate across IT at Berkeley in order to minimize duplication of efforts, deliver high quality services, and leverage our collective experience to plan for the Content and Collaboration services of tomorrow,” said Jon Hays of the bConnected Service Team.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I provide PEZ dispensers to recognize groups across UC for their collaborative spirit. Each member got to pick some from a bag of dispensers that I brought to the meeting.

Now it’s your turn – tell me how your group or campus is collaborating in 2016!

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