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Monday, April 6, 2015


This past Friday through Sunday ANI experienced the worst mass outage in the company’s history.  We had some serious operational and equipment issues which resulted in more than half of our customers experiencing an extended period of downtime while we worked with our vendor to try to troubleshoot and eventually replace the failed hardware.

As of right now, everything is running normally.  Yesterday [Saturday, April 4] the failed hardware was replaced and our team spent the day configuring and testing the new part to make sure the configurations were correct.  Saturday night we began to bring up each production instance carefully to ensure no further issues were encountered.  This extended into Sunday for some clients.  We have been monitoring the performance throughout the night and are confident the issue has been permanently resolved.

So what happened?

The central storage server that houses client data had a hardware failure, of the NVRAM, which caused the service interruption.  Our storage server is fully redundant system with no single point of failure to provide customers with the best service experience.  It means a single component failure must not stop the service.  Nevertheless, this time, the fail-over to the backup controller was not fully successful.  As a result in order to restore full service, we had to install a replacement part in the primary controller and restore the configuration.  Saturday morning we installed the replacement part and reloaded the backup of the configuration.  Unfortunately, this was not successful and the storage system vendor had us proceeded to restore manually, which took several more hours. By 7 pm MST, the configurations were restored and we began restoring service client by client.

Will this happen again?

We will work closely with the storage system vendor to ensure a successful fail-over if one should occur in the future. The system is designed for this, and we are following up to understand why this did not happen and why a backup configuration was not reloaded successfully.  We will see what steps we can take to ensure a faster recovery if it’s ever needed, whether it is an automatic fail-over, a part replacement and configuration reload, or a full manual recovery.

Again, I apologize to those of you that experienced this difficult and protracted outage. I know it’s not acceptable for you or for us. We remain committed to giving you a stable high performing experience and we are putting together a team to research a different path forward to ensure this never happens again.


Best regards,

Akira Takiguchi
Asahi Net International, Inc. (ANI)
1955 S Val Vista Dr., Suite 126
Mesa, AZ 85204


March 6 DOLCE Meeting: Libraries, Video, and LMS

Shields Library Sculpture


The March 6 DOLCE meeting will feature at least three speakers.


Bill Garrity is Deputy University Librarian and Chief of Staff at UC Davis libraries, and is responsible for the overall administration and operation of the University Library system. As you can see from reviewing Bill’s bio, he has significant experience in academic technology. He will talk to us about evolving functions of the library, and potential partnerships that focus on teaching and learning.


Faculty Technology Training Coordinator Steve Faith will talk to us about the UC Davis Video Initiative, a short and local version of a talk he gave recently at the Educause Learning Initiative Conference that took place last month in Anaheim.


Finally, University Writing Program Lecturer and Academic Associate Director for Academic Technology Services Andy Jones will provide an update on the discussions sounding Learning Management System opportunities and the future of SmartSite.


I hope you can join us in the Surge III large conference room for this lively discussion.



DOLCE – Discussing Online Learning and Collaborative Education

Friday, March 6th

12:10-1:00 PM

1310 Surge III – The Large Conference Room


March FLIP: Digital Storytelling in Higher Education

The second Friday of the month is upon us, and that means it’s time for Academic Technology Services (ATS) to share with you a FLIP workshop. This month FLIP, standing for “The Future of Learning In Practice,” will focus on Digital Storytelling in Higher Education. We hope you will join us Friday, March 13, noon – 1:00, at Academic Surge 2363, a floor above the Bohart Museum of Entomology.

Your host for this session is Cheryl Diermyer, Instructional Design Consultant, Academic Technology Services. Cheryl joined ATS this past November from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has lead several digital storytelling efforts at campus and university system levels. Here’s what she has to say about the session:

DST UC Davis

Digital storytelling in higher education, either as a student-produced assignment or a faculty-produced story, connects course content with real-world expereinces. In this session, you will be introduced to the craft of creating engaging narratives for learning, view examples of how universities are using digital stories to teach, discuss assignment design and the production process, and explore digital storytelling tools.

Digital Storytelling in Higher Education with Cheryl Diermyer
Friday, March 13th
12-1:00 pm
Academic Surge 2363

James Carey

James Carey

The following is the preface for Entomology professor James Carey’s Video Capture and Production Handbook. Please download a copy of VideoHandbook_JRCarey, note the many video tutorials created by Professor Carey and his colleagues from various UC Davis departments, and follow the links!


This is a first attempt at producing a packet of information (handbook) that brings together links to example (mostly instructional) videos that I have produced, supervised production of, or captured over the past several years, and relevant information for their production including equipment, software and helpful websites. The sampling of videos here represent only a small subset of many possibilities on what can be done with the use of this technology in instruction. One only has to sample some of the MOOCs and other online content offered (see Section 7) to see many excellent models for the use of video in teaching.

The video instructional model that I promote has two features: (1) low- or near-zero cost of production; and (2) instructor empowerment through video fluency (i.e. learn the basics). Although it is certainly possible to go “Hollywood” with sufficient funds and technical assistance, there are two down sides of this strategy. First, most instructors do not have the time, motivation and/or wherewithal to raise these necessary funds. Second, the instructors that opted for this strategy would again have to raise funds a few years later in order to keep their high-tech video sets fresh and current.

High tech is not what this packet of information is about. Rather it is about purchasing a $50 webcam and $200 video recording/editing software such as Camtasia to get started recording and producing one’s own videos. High quality video content for instructional purposes (as distinct from Cannes Film Festival premiers) can be produced with basic video equipment, software and knowhow as you will see by viewing some of the videos in the first part of this handbook. After my initial $250 investment I produced virtually all of these at zero-cost.

James R. Carey UC Davis


The UC Davis Arboretum. Photo by Ivan Kozik.

The UC Davis Arboretum. Photo by Ivan Kozik.

Faculty Panel

Friday, February 20th at noon

1310 Surge III – The Large Conference Room




Dear Faculty Colleagues,


Our February faculty panel will take on the topic of “Ambitious Faculty Projects.” We will hear from faculty who have taken on ambitious teaching and outreach initiatives, with discussions covering topics such as juggling responsibilities, motivating staff and volunteers, publicizing events and online resources, and keeping centered while taking on too much.


Delmar Larsen will talk to us about ChemWiki, his internationally-successful online textbook, while Wendy Silk will review her innovative musical science class: “Earth, Water, Science, and Song.” If we have time, Andy Jones may talk about some of his own outreach work.


Please join us at noon in 1310 Surge III. The discussion will be informal, and you are encouraged to bring a lunch.





Future of Learning In Practice (FLIP) – February Session

The second Friday of the month is upon us, and that means it’s time for Academic Technology Services to share with you a FLIP workshop. This month FLIP, standing for “The Future of Learning In Practice,” will focus on teaching with video via the application called Kaltura. We hope you will join us tomorrow / Friday, February 13th at Academic Surge 2363, a floor above the Bohart Museum of Entomology.

Here’s what your host, Steve Faith, has to say about this workshop:

“Come learn about AggieVideo, and how we are busy crafting an integrated rich-media initiative for UC Davis. TKalturahis workshop will begin with an overview of the Kaltura / AggieVideo initiative and its components, and then proceed with some technology show-and-tell involving media creation, management, hosting, and distribution. At the end, we will brainstorm on how we can improve teaching and learning by using some the covered tools and resources.”

You may wish to review this related article from Inc. magazine: “How Kaltura Went From Free-Spirited Collaboration Tool to the Future of Online Video.”

Many thanks to FLIP workshop series and instructional designer Dan Comins – he is enjoying an extended and well-earned paternity leave with his new son Nathaniel. Our new instructional designer Cheryl Diermyer, along with faculty technology training coordinators Steve Faith and Fernando Socorro, stand ready to meet your instructional design needs during Dan’s absence.


EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.08.30 PM

Designing Our Thinking: Crafting New Directions for Digital Engagement

Academic Technology Services invites the UC Davis faculty and staff to attend the virtual webinar of the annual EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. Please join us in collaboration and discussion of how the session topics are, or can be, applied at UC Davis.

WHEN: Monday, February 9, 8:00 – 6:00, and Tuesday, February 10, 9:00 – 5:00, 2015

WHERE: 1310 Surge III, the Large Conference Room.

Feel free to come and go throughout the day or stay for all sessions.

Refreshments and snacks will be provided.

Featured Sessions Monday:

8:00 – 11:00 Innovation and Proven Practice in Online and Blended Learning (featuring innovations from multiple presenters, including Steve Faith of UC Davis!)

12:00 Working with Learning Analytics

2:20 Investigating the Next-Generation Digital Learning Environment

4:00 Digital Assessment as a Quality Booster for Education 

5:00 From Silver Bullets to First Principles: Effectively Leveraging Technology in Higher Education

Featured Sessions Tuesday:

9:15 Examining the Student Voice in the Impact of Quality Matters

10:45  What Does Unizin Mean for Digital Learning?

11:45 Learning Spaces for Digital Discovery

2:15 Framing the Future: Are We Playing on the Right Side of the Chessboard?

3:15 Faculty Development: 60 Small Changes and Gaming

4:15 Learning Spaces

Additional information about ELI can be found at http://www.educause.edu/eli/events/eli-annual-meeting/virtual-meeting.


January 16 Faculty Panel on the Future of SmartSite


Friday, January 16th, 2015


1310 Surge III (note the return to our favorite conference room in Surge III)


Please join us this coming Friday (January 16th at noon) for a Faculty Panel on Learning Management Systems (also known as LMS) and the Future of SmartSite at UC Davis.

As you probably know, our contract with the vendor for our learning management system, Sakai (and known as SmartSite at UC Davis) is coming to a close, and this has given us to consider all the best options for supporting instruction with an LMS. With the many concerns that have been raised about Sakai in recent years, 18 months ago the Campus Council for Information Technology charged an LMS working group to review LMS options. To that end, that working group has invited the major vendors to give public presentations, to respond to a request for proposals, and to support pilots of UC Davis classes this past fall. The three learning management systems under consideration are Brightspace from Desire2Learn, Canvas from Instructure, and Sakai / SmartSite.

Tomorrow at noon we will hear from some of the participants in that pilot, share some samples of the responses that we are hearing from faculty and students, and discuss the future of course management systems at UC Davis. We hope you will join us tomorrow / Friday for this event, and that you will bring you own learning management system stories and questions.

This event will take place at noon in 1310 Surge III, three buildings west of the Silo. We hope to see you there!


Staff Interview: Cheryl Diermyer

Diermyer, Cheryl_004

Cheryl Diermyer joined UC Davis IET/Academic Technology Services in November 2014. Prior to coming to UC Davis, Cheryl worked at the Division of Information Technology (DoIT), Academic Technology (AT), at the UW Madison as a Senior Instructional Design Strategist, focusing on interdisciplinary education innovation efforts. She is passionate about human-centered design, mixed-method approaches to research, and strategic planning that collaboratively addresses needs in higher education.


Your greatest professional achievement? Personal?

My proudest professional achievements come when I and the people I work with move beyond our own expectations and affect wide positive change. For example, while at UW Madison I was the recipient of a UW-System Digital Storytelling Curricular Redesign Grant that supported statewide efforts (15 campuses) to implement digital storytelling in the higher education curriculum as a way for students to practice skills in research, communication, and digital literacy. At that same time, a UW Madison faculty member was looking for a creative way to teach difficult course concepts while at the same time humanizing her classroom for an enriched learning experience. She tells the story of how she barely knew how to hold a computer mouse, yet after our work together she produced her own digital story. Each semester she uses this story as a way to introduce herself to her students so that her students know her as more than just their professor. The following semester I worked with her to integrate student produced digital storytelling assignments into her course. The result? She and her students won the Hirsh Family award for “imaginative endeavors which showcase a UW Madison initiative, department, or division.” I helped to strategically plan efforts across the state, but it was she that served as an inspiration to all fifteen campuses.

As project manager of the campus MOOC pilot, Office of the Chancellor, I worked on Educational Innovation efforts that included a complex matrix of individuals and committees. The MOOC process led to new and invigorating approaches to teaching, learning, research, and building community. I enjoyed envisioning possibilities and shaping the process. Some of the best moments came when I witnessed the excitement from faculty regarding teaching in this new space. Faculty expressed their excitment of reconnecting with their passion for research and teaching.  Also, reading the MOOC discussion forum thank-yous from the MOOC participants to the professors for offering innovative and high quality education was testimony to the value that good pedagogy design, supported by appropriate technology, can improve people’s lives. One woman shared a story of how she and her husband bonded in deeper and new ways when working through a MOOC on Anthropology, all while her husband was bedridden in a hospital. Anthropology was a topic they’ve always wanted to explore. Making a quality educational space available to them, made a difference in this couple’s lives.

The personal achievements that I am most proud of are my strong relationships with my life partner, the rest of my family, and my friends. My three sons — Harvey, an HVAC specialist, Phillip, a chef and aspiring civil engineer, and Joseph, an international entrepreneur  — are kind, thoughtful, strong, ethical, and adventurous men and they make me very proud.

How do you personally use educational technology?

I’m a fan of Google Applications. I find them easy to use, highly collaborative, and allow for easy access no matter what devise I am on. I am a mobile devise fan. As a former CBS video journalist and professional photographer, I can easily pass an entire day using the video/photo mobile applications. Video and photojournalism are in my blood. While doing humanitarian work in Nicaragua and Guyana, I created short media-rich field training videos on sustainable hydroponic farming using nothing but my iPhone.  That said, as an Instructional Designer I focus on defining the problem first, then I look for appropriate technologies. I start with design research methods to understand the needs of the individual, in this case the learner, and then I consider the instructor’s teaching style, the classroom/delivery mode, available resources, the mission of the campus and Academic Technology, and the campus infrastructure. I also keep in mind state and global possibilities that can connect learners in ways that go beyond the classroom, making learning real and lifelong. I depend on research in the learning sciences and current practices to guide my decisions on the use of educational technologies.

Read any good books lately?

My current work-related favorites are Managing Technology in Higher Education: Strategies for Transforming Teaching and Learning (Tony Bates) and Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation (Tim Brown). I was unbundling a leadership lesson on delegation when I met Tim Brown last year. Tim clarified for me the message of “do less and lead more” by recasting it into needing to balance doing, managing, and leading. He said, ”You have to be good at all three.”

I rarely dedicate time to fun reading, but when I do I always rediscover that it’s one of the pure pleasures in life. About a year ago, on a fight from Wisconsin to California, I read Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Cheryl Strayd). The book consumed my attention to the point of feeling like I on was on the Pacific Crest Trail rather than a long plane ride. Another book that captured me was Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel (Robin Sloan), which is a good mix of adventure, suspense, geeky tech stuff, and a small bit of romance. The protagonist is a curious out-of-work graphic designer. The book is definitely a page-turner.

What advice do you give aspiring designers?

Be curious. Be adventurous. Never stop learning your craft. Find ways to ignite people’s creativity. Be Collaborative! Human needs first, learning goals second, technology third, and assessment first, second, third, and fourth. Designers need to be good listeners to identify needs and bridge gaps. Know where and how you can make a difference, then do it. Let others mentor you, and mentor others.

To learn more about Cheryl’s career path and experiences you can visit her on LinkedIn.


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Dan Comins, an instructional designer with Academic Technology Services, will be hosting the second of this year’s Future of Learning in Practice (or FLIP) workshops tomorrow Friday, November 14th, in the School of Education Computer Lab (Academic Surge 2363) at Noon. The workshops are held on most second Fridays of the month during the school year, providing an opportunity for faculty to practice using the tools that can help us teach more effectively with different media, especially video and images.


Continuing with this year’s FLIP theme, Tools for Creating Video and Interactive Media, Dan will discuss ThingLink for Images and Video, a web application that allows instructors (and students) to mark up images and video with interactive hot spots, thus providing additional information, links, and functionality to otherwise static images and videos on the web. The workshop will help participating faculty understand how this tool to create rich, interactive content.


Please join Dan for this workshop from 12 – 1PM with an open lab for practice and additional questions following from 1-1:30. There is no need to RSVP – just drop by. I hope to see you there!


P.S. If you have any questions, please contact Dan at djcomins@ucdavis.edu or 530-752-1032.



ThingLink for Images and Video

A FLIP workshop hosted by Dan Comins

Friday, November 14th

12 Noon

Academic Surge 2363

(the same building as the Bohart Museum of Entomology)


FLIP Flyer Fall 2014