Page 7 - 2020 OIT Progress Report
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Sorting students into Red/Blue teams while ensuring optimal distribution within assigned classes was no easy task. A subset
of the earlier Data Ninjas team was enlisted to examine different methodologies, including alphabetization or SMU ID. All examined scenarios would create lopsided Red/Blue days and were not feasible.
The data scientists developed a method, once again relying on ManeFrame II, that almost equally split students while balancing the number in Red/Blue days. The team waited until most enrollments were complete before executing the final model. About 150 million iterations produced a near perfect split by looping through the largest classes.
With the teams assigned and the schedule for Red/Blue by day produced, we needed a way to share the assignments with both students and faculty. A new tile was developed within my.SMU to show students their team. The team assignments were added to the faculty’s course roster. Finally, a Canvas course was produced to track the Red/Blue days. The entire split was executed and live in my.SMU and Canvas on August 11.
If students were to be divided into a Red/Blue block schedule, they would need a place to participate in online classes. This gave birth to the Room of Requirements project, otherwise known as Zoom Spaces. A cross functional team polled every remaining, unused space, and converted it into Zoom Spaces ( Signage was developed and a reservation system built. Zoom Spaces went live just in the nick of time — August 21.
These were just a few of the summer initiatives that relied upon the expertise of many. There was certainly a “get it done” attitude across all groups trying to make the best of new and unusual situations. Innovation and determination were key to providing the solutions that ultimately let faculty and students return to campus for in-person instruction.

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