SAS Technology Beta Program

  • Faculty & Staff


SAS Computing Beta logo

SAS Computing is always experimenting with new technologies for teaching, research, and administration.

We are eager to work with faculty, staff, and students to identify new technologies to advance teaching, research and efficient adminstration. We will often engage in short-term pilots of new technologies in "beta" tests. These beta tests help us to determine if a technology is effective, measure adoption and evaluate whether they should be scaled up.

As beta tests, we cannot guarantee the long-term availability of the solutions listed here, but we encourage interested faculty and staff to test them and give us feedback so that we can move in the right direction.

Here are some of the systems we are currently evaluating



Teamwork project management software provides an efficient framework for planning and tracking projects large and small.  SAS Computing is using Teamwork to help us stay organized and efficient.  Teamwork is also available for use in other areas of SAS.  Ask you department computing support provider for information on how you might be able to use this tool in your work.





The Respondus Lockdown Browser is a special web browser that students can use when taking quizzes or exams in Canvas. Once a test is started, students are locked into it until they submit their work for grading; they are unable to access other web sites or programs during the test. The Lockdown Browser is intended for use in on-campus, proctored settings.

Additional information at




Zoom provides an easy way to hold online meetings including voice, video, screensharing and chat.  During the 2015-2016 pilot period faculty and staff can get Zoom accounts at no cost

Additional information available at




PollEverywhere is a lightweight, easy-to-learn audience response system.  Instructors use a web-based system to post questions either in advance or on the fly.  Students respond via text message or on a website by using a phone, tablet or laptop.  The system is free for students and Penn has licensed the software for instructors for this year.

We think PollEverywhere may be best for un-registered responses, where you don't track whether or not a person votes.  However, we have licensed the full system, so you can also try it in a "registered" mode.

The pilot is intended to determine whether there is enough demand for this system to justify ongoing licensing of the software.

Additional information is available at




This pilot has ended, and we will not be scaling up support.  YellowDig is a Canvas plug-in that has variously been described as "a synthesis of Reddit and Instagram" and "discussion boards on steroids".  It allows instructors and students to post articles and files, web links and audio/video media to a "feed" available to the class.  Users can view the posts on laptops or smartphones, and can comment on the materials posted, building engagement and a sense of community.