1. Introduction and Approval of Minutes
At 2:05 P.M. Chuck Wigley convened the meeting in the President’s Board Room. Marianne Djuth moved to accept the minutes of March 7 and they were unanimously approved. Since the secretary forgot the power cord for his laptop, he had to go to his office to get it and so missed out on the first part of introductions.
2. Discussion by attendees
Moleski praised the new system for reporting network and software outages to ITS, noting that it worked recently when the mail server was down. Cohen said ITS isn’t entirely happy with it and is moving to a new system wherein a cell phone will be carried by top ITS personnel during off-hours. If there is a serious problem, then the person with the cell phone will be notified by a voicemail and will dispatch it appropriately. Cohen observed that the ITS staff does not work a 24/7 schedule so this extra level of responsiveness is being done purely gratis to accommodate the college’s information needs in case of a truly serious problem.
Meyer asked about the switch from the 2299 phone number for the Help Desk to the less easy to remember number 8340. Siener said 2299 is being phased out because it is part of the old phone system but acknowledged that 2299 is easier to remember. Cohen said he will investigate to see if we can keep 2299 in the future as the help desk number once the new phone system is in place.
Update: Yes, we will be able to keep x2299 as the Help Desk number. Dialing either x2299 and x8340 will reach the Help Desk
3. Presentation about Online courses
Wigley reported that Dennis Mike asked why students were suddenly dropped from the class roster due to their missing health and vaccination forms. Because he assigned collaborative projects to teams which were then diminished by the dropped students, this procedure caused a lot of problems. Thus, he wanted to know the final date when students could submit these forms and would be dropped afterwards so he can schedule his team class activities after that. MacVie noted that this is a problem with all courses, not just online courses. Cohen said each semester approximately 75 students are usually dropped but that triggers them to fulfill their forms and get back into the system. Coward asked about the archaic nature of the laws. MacVie said students who never come on campus are not required to turn in the forms but some are enrolled in both online and on-campus courses. MacVie suggested it could be added to the academic calendar and perhaps faculty could get notifications when this date is approaching.
4. Brief Summary of Online Task Force
Siener reported on the recent activities of the Presidential Task Force on Online Education, chaired by Dean Michael Pardales. That large committee has been meeting every week since August to draw up guidelines and policies and is very close to being finished. There was a public forum on March 1 to discuss drafts of these policies. The documents have been edited since then and every faculty can get access to them through Angel: https://angel.canisius.edu/section/default.asp?id=GROUP-110825-100209-FES
(Click on Folder: Drafts: Policy for Conducting Online Education –created 1/9/12; then scroll to bottom and click on TFOE – Complete Report -4/2/12 to access the file)
The reason for the Presidential Task Force was to fill a void in policies, noting that online education ties in with college strategic plan to provide a diversity of course delivery options. The state of the technology allows us to reach and help more students.
She then reported some basic facts about the state of online education at Canisius. In 2007, the Masters of Physical Education was launched online and has remained very popular. Now there are nine degree programs, mostly online except for a two week residency during the summer. These programs include Anthrozoology, one, International Business, in the Wehle School of Business and the rest in Education and Human Services.
There are also undergrad courses, including many that fulfill core attributes. We are quickly moving to cover every core attribute by some online course. From Summer 2011 through Spring 2012, there were 218 sections of online courses offered, 37 of which were undergrad. In FY 2012, there were 527 students enrolled totalling 13,000 credit hours and over $8 million in gross revenue. Ninety-three faculty teach online, of which about 40% are full-time. The US News and World Report ranked Canisius highly for its online graduate education programs in terms student satisfaction of the courses.
MacVie has trained most of the Canisius faculty to teach online by now and continues to offer her course in the summer. It is now five weeks long. To join the course, which will be offered in early summer, go to http://surveys.canisius.edu/workshops.aspx and register. All ITS workshops are listed at this site.
Djuth asked about undergraduate online programs, asking whether they should be taught at night. Cohen said there is a group of the deans, including himself, Pat Mizak and others who are looking at ways to reach veterans via online education. Djuth noted that most of the students in her online course are undergraduates at Canisius, but she thought that reaching out to others might be a smart direction to head.
5. ITS announcements
Cohen said there’s an advanced draft available of Library and Information Services Strategic Plan. It is not too late to read and make comments or express concerns. The same document is available on ITS’s website under planning at http://www.canisius.edu/its/planning.asp . Coward praised it as a model of how a strategic plan should look, noting its connection of the ITS goals to those of the whole university. Cohen said mobile devices are being targeted for much work now. The library currently has a mobilized website that provides a nice interface for the catalog, he mentioned.
Clark said we are now an iOS developer site and several faculty are going to publish apps soon. Cohen said a self-guided admissions tour app would be nice.
Siener said ITS is gearing up for summer and asked faculty to submit their software requests for classrooms or labs. ITS needs to know by May 1 due to the opening of Science Hall. The first floor of Science Hall will be move-in ready by first of July and we’ll need to complete computer installations in July so that the rest of the campus can have technology refreshed in August. Think of what software you and your students will need in courses for the entire next year, she elaborated, adding that it would be helpful to say what current software you are using should remain, in order to keep the hard disk images as small as possible. Scott Clark handles the Mac images and Lisa Mastropaolo handles Windows. Faculty may contact them or let her know directly.
Siener said she was asked about the computer replacement policy and she explained it again. The college sets aside a block of money to replace computers every year. A list of old installations is made by June 1 so we can order faculty computers. The list is maintained purely by age of computer installation. She said ITS is still replacing 2006 computers, but intends to do 2007 this year. What normally happens is if the department paid for the computers then the department owns them. But computers paid for by the college will be replaced out of the computer replacement budget so ITS expects to get them back once the faculty member no longer needs them or gets a new one. ITS recycles these older computers, making sure that all private documents are transferred to the new one and wiped clean from the old. Faculty will be contacted if they are on the list for a new computer, she said. Also, faculty should feel free to contact her or ITS to find out the age of their computer and where it stands in the replacement cycle.
Siener mentioned Blackboard’s big announcement that they will not drop their Angel product in 2014 as previously announced but will support it indefinitely. However, it probably won’t be actively developed or upgraded. We will still keep keep our eyes open for new possibilities, she said, noting that we don’t want to stay with an outdated and increasingly old-fashioned piece of software, but we have breathing room.
Coward announced that the Center for Teaching Excellence is funding five faculty to do innovative teaching in Science Hall next year. The classrooms will be tagged as Level 5 classrooms.
Clark mentioned that next Friday is the next iPad user’s group meeting in the Library Conference Room at 1:30, April 13.
Wigly reported that he got good feedback regarding the idea of a technology award and even some names were mentioned as potential nominees. We will talk about some names at the next ACAC meeting. Wigley wants to form a three-person committee to consider the nominees and make the awards, saying these committee members should be members of ACAC. Wigley will make a preliminary write-up of the award to be discussed next time.
We adjourned about 3:00.