1. Introduction and Approval of Minutes
Chuck Wigley welcomed committee members at 2:06 P.M. to the last meeting of the year. Introductions were skipped.
2. Motion of thanks for Joel Cohen
We discussed writing a formal motion to thank Joel Cohen for his many years of service. He has been a member of ACAC since its founding in 1986 and has always met with faculty on a regular basis and listened to them, showing great concern for faculty input. Dennis Mike volunteered to write the resolution which will be approved at the Oct. 3 meeting.
3. ACAC award
We discussed creating an ACAC award for significant technical contributions to the college. Wigley has investigated some options, including a plaque for the wall, one that could hold twelve years of award winners, or perhaps a crystal award. This would cost about $150.
Wigley suggested calling it “The ACAC annual award for exemplary contribution to the innovation of technology at Canisius College.”
Estelle suggested giving this award at Digital Day. She also suggested giving two awards, one for a senior and one for a junior, the first going to someone who is recognized for lifetime achievement while the second for someone who is using the latest things. Wigley suggested leaving the former award for the lifetime achievement and giving out a certificate of recognition, or several, to people who are using the latest technology. He suggested a limit of five certificates.
Three members of ACAC will form a subcommittee to make the award decision, using their own standards or rubric. They could select one person each year and report back in a general ACAC meeting. This subcommittee will report back in November when the full committee could vote. Members of the subcommittee could not nominate someone in their department.
Mark Meyer and Nancy Bailey volunteered and will attempt to find a third person. Anyone could nominate anyone at the college, and self-nominations are welcome. The awardee must be one winner per year and must have been here ten years. It might be someone who is no longer actively employed. The subcommittee should bring nominations in October to the full committee for deliberation. Wigley emphasized that the award should be something above and beyond normal work duties.
4. Learning Management System
Dennis Mike led a discussion on possibly selecting a new LMS (Learning Management System.) He teaches solely online program and was on the previous LMS committee. He noted that that committee allowed the faculty to have a voice in the single most important piece of instructional technology on this campus. But a lot has changed since that committee made its recommendation, which was shelved due to funding shortfalls. Some of these concerns are that Angel is now going to be licensed indefinitely by its owner, Blackboard, but not developed. Soon Angel will become outdated. There are an increasing number of online programs at Canisius. Mike expressed the concern that in this period of financial distress, if faculty don’t have a voice, the selection might be made for purely business purposes and not pedagogical reasons and might be a bad decision. Chris Filkins, our main Angel support person and who has done an amazing job, is leaving. Angel has become limited and buggy. There is no mobile support (especially bad for those using iPads and iPhones) and no phone support anymore. Mike spent the first half of this semester dealing with two problems that emerged in the system. He also said he is not using many discussion forums because they are horrible in Angel. He is suggesting only that faculty should have formal input in the future. We might lose students because they are sensitive to the online environment, he posited, and faculty recruitment may be difficult if they know we are using an antiquated system. We may even lose existing online faculty, Mike suggested. Online programs and courses are generating significant revenue for the college. But a bad decision may be made if faculty don’t have a voice in the selection of an LMS.
Mike said that even a decision to continue using Angel must be shared with us. Siener said we will still be using it as the only one in 2012-2013. A year would require a solution getting started right away because there needs to be a year overlap, as we did in 2007 when we were transitioning from Blackboard to Angel. She said the field is very volatile and that a product named Canvas is gaining a lot of ground. Filkins said Angel and Blackboard have such a large codebase that they can’t change quickly, and browsers have changed a lot. Canvas updates every two weeks so it can be a constantly morphing product. Others criticized Angel, too. Filkins said we’re working with our AJCU colleges to bargain for better pricing and a bigger discount on licensing. He said Canvas was new and expensive.
Siener suggested we should form a subcommittee of ACAC to read the literature and explore alternatives. Mike applauded the committee idea as a workable structure to solicit faculty input. Several people volunteered for the new LMS suggestions subcommittee, including Nico Lorgnier, Dennis Mike and Susan Margolis. Margolis noted that she was part of a committee to reduce paper consumption on campus but Angel proved to be too clunky to grade papers and return them to students.
Wigley thanked many people, including Dennis Mike who saw that an announcement for ACAC meetings was posted on the academic calendar, along with the submittal date for student health forms.
5. Siener’s announcements
Siener reported for the Task Force on Online Education. She has an e-copy that she will post on the ACAC blog.
Cohen’s presentation to the Board of Trustees is on itunes.canisius.edu. You can download a 23-minute video on the five-year plan, which includes a section about technology at the college.
There will be a network outage on May 20, 9 am to 1pm, the day before summer school starts.
There will be the annual upgrade of Angel over the summer.
Software requirements were due yesterday. If haven’t done so, please do it now. If anything in labs is needed, please let Scott or Lisa know. Let them know even if you are still using some software, as they are always seeking to reduce the image size.
We are gearing up for the move to Science Hall and have bulk ordered computers to replace aging ones. The staging area will be OM 115 (Mac computer lab) this summer.
Siener mentioned the workshops for the summer, including a five-week course on development of online courses. Also included is a Softchalk workshop, and an advanced online course workshop in mid-July.
Joe Rizzo announced the next iPad user’s group Friday May 11, 1:30 in the Library Conference. The group is open to anyone.
Clark needs to know this week if there will be end of year budget purchase of iPads.
Pat Coward mentioned the “scale-up classroom” in Science Hall. If you are interested in a collaborative teaching space, request 1053 Science Hall from Dave Fischer. Right now only four people are teaching courses. There are actually two classrooms, 1053 and 1027 and they are not dedicated to any one department. They both have innovative furniture and computers and a movable podium. This is just for the fall.
Wigley mentioned special thanks to Chris Filkins for his long service to the college and also Joe Rizzo and Estelle Siener for representing ITS and the administration.
We adjourned at 3:03.