A closer look: What WCER Technical Services can do for projects/PIs


By Karen Rivedal, WCER Communications

Madison Education Partnership infographic
An infographic that Technical Services created for the Madison Education Partnership (MEP)

You may be most familiar with what WCER Technical Services can do when your computer won’t start, you need new software, or your password won’t update, and that’s important work. But it only scratches the surface of the different types of work that Tech Services can do for projects at WCER.

With 12 members overall, Tech Services provides a packed slate of computer and creative services. Its skilled personnel and advanced technologies can provide projects with research-focused programming, application development, and website design, plus network, multimedia, and graphics expertise. You can see many examples of the work Tech Services has done for WCER projects and other clients in this detailed and expansive portfolio.

“If I could tell PIs (principal investigators) across the center one thing, it would be that we have a wide range of services on offer,” says Elizabeth Kraege-Soechting, one of four people who handle software application development in Tech Services. “Not only can we build them a site, or build them an application, but as part of the intake process, we’ll investigate existing solutions that might save them time and money. If a custom solution is the right option, we offer reduced development rates for internal WCER projects.”

Tech Services colleagues also can help even if a project already has one or more tech people on staff. They can help those in-house developers brainstorm and solve problems, and/or step up to do some of the work on a project’s required solution.

“We’re also available to consult on technology that’s offered through the university,” Kraege-Soechting says. “If we’re not the right people to give you detailed help, we’ll get you to the right people. We want people to see us as more of a one-stop solution for their tech needs, and be the resource that helps get them connected to someone else if we can’t do it.”

For Kraege-Soechting’s development team specifically, services offered include:

  • development of fully custom tools for research projects;
  • help on pieces of an existing application;
  • taking over enhancement and maintenance of an existing application;
  • custom development integrated with existing or 3rd party tools;
  • data planning and management for analysis and reporting;
  • redesign/redevelopment of old sites into modern platforms.

Application development jobs handled by Tech Services for clients on and off campus include WECAN, the Wisconsin Education Career Access Network, a job application portal used by more than 70,000 applicants for employment in Wisconsin’s K–12 schools; and the WIDA online store, a type of e-commerce storefront tied to a custom-built CRM (technology for customer relationship management) for the sale of WIDA educational products such as standards, assessments, and memberships. See below for illustrations:

Rebekah Novak is the application development team’s newest member. Hired in August as the product owner/software project manager, she is the first point of contact for all development-related requests, working with clients to gather job requirements and understand project goals as part of the intake process.

Beyond development, Tech Services offers a web design, graphics, and print services team. Its members handle work including logo development and branding; production of reports, booklets, and brochures; project and event material such as posters, flyers, signs, invitations, and art for giveaways; social media banners and ads; and illustration and infographics.

Projects can contact Janet Trembley to get help with graphics and print services-related work, while Christine Olson handles web design and CMS-related work, along with web accessibility evaluations and quality assurance testing.

If you’re not sure exactly who you need, you can contact Tech Services overall to ask at support@wcer.wisc.edu, by phone at 608-263-4333, or in person on the third floor of Educational Sciences in Suite 370. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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