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Minutes of ACAC meeting

Oct. 9, 2013 2:30-3:30 pm by R. Mark Meyer

Chuck Wigley called the meeting to order at 2:35pm.

1.  Introductions, Banana Time Update

The minutes of the previous meeting (May 3, 2013) were overlooked, hence not approved.  Wigley solicited articles for “Banana Time” and examples were given.

2.  ITS Updates

Joe Rizzo told the group that by Oct. 18 of this year, Wehle will be mothballed.  Scott, Lisa, Dave, Tom and Mark will move to the former Physics department space in Horan O’Donnell.  Estelle will go back to the FACTS center temporarily and Joe will move to the library temporarily.  Leah MacVie will stay in FACTS in the basement of the Tower.

The iPad users group is up in the air this semester because of staffing schedules.  If you wish to be notified of future meetings or give your input as to the best time, email rizzo1@canisius.edu.  The iPad users group is a forum for exchange of ideas among faculty, such as partially flipping a classroom.  Some demos may be presented from time to time.

Estelle and Joe will be offering D2L (Desire2Learn, the new LMS) training every month for those who want to use it next semester.  In May 2014, Angel will be discontinued and D2L will be the only available LMS.  Joe is also going to put together a focus group of faculty who are using D2L right now to see where there are problems.  There are about 25 people on his list. 

Deb B. asked how to move an Angel course to D2L.  Joe replied that you should send a message to helpdesk@canisius.edu with your courses CRN, course title and the semester you want converted.  A Canisius staff person will send it to D2L in Toronto for conversion.  It should take, at most, about 3 days.  Once you have been notified of your course’s existence on D2L, make sure to check the links in it.

Pat J. asked about the learning object repository and Joe replied that you should save it to your hard drive for now. 

Nico L. asked whether summer 2014 sessions can use Angel and the answer is “no.”

Confluence is a new wiki system that Canisius is using, partly to disseminate computer self-help to the campus.  When users have questions, the help desk may send a link to a page in the wiki with the answer.  It is, also, fully searchable and can be reached by going to wiki.canisius.edu.  Because of the low staffing levels in ITS, not all questions can be answered personally and faculty are encouraged to search for solutions on the wiki first.  It can be found at wiki.canisius.edu. 

There was some discussion about the long time it now takes to wend your way through ITS’s new phone menu system.  Joe and Scott said this has been streamlined very recently.  Bob Grabowski is now answering phone calls himself, when he can, so as to take care of technology issues in classrooms.  However, faculty are asked not to push 1 directly on the new menu system so as to expedite their call because that option is intended only for classroom emergencies.

Some complained that the help desk’s number is hard to find and remember.  It is ext. 8340.  They asked for it to be put on the login screen on the standard computer build, but Deb B. asked that it be put on stickers on teacher’s podiums because sometimes it takes too long to boot up a computer. 

3.  Items from the floor

Nico L. asked whether Jodi Moor or Stever Warzarski will be replaced and Scott and Joe said that, unfortunately, budget cuts require a hiring freeze.  Joe said he can now use OM 115 for D2L training and it can accommodate 24 in a class.  All you have to do is sign up for it.  Mark M. mentioned a type of buddy system for experienced D2L faculty to help those who are new and having trouble.  Joe also wants to create a D2L user’s group.  He believes that fully 40% of the faculty are using Angel now, and there will be a big demand once Angel is discontinued.  Pat J. suggested that faculty get multiple early notices of the drop dead date and that a notice be sent to chairs especially.

Next we discussed the fact that ACAC is a very good forum for disseminating information to the campus and Wigley wishes that every department would send at least one representative.  This is an advisory board, so any decisions or resolutions are non-binding on the administration.  However, it is a rather unique way for the college to accept input and Wigley noted that many other colleges provide no such mechanism.

It was suggested that the minutes of ACAC be sent to chairs, directors and deans in order to keep lines of communication open.  Scott noted that the college considers there to be two official forms of communication and dissemination, namely, Under the Dome and the Canisius port (my.canisius.edu.)  Ignorance of the law is no defense, he said.  Until faculty regularly log in to the portal, making it part of their daily ritual, there will be a gap.  Joe noted that the students are using the portal very frequently.  Dan D. asked if the portal could come up automatically when logging in but Scott said that was hard to do.  Nico and Dan suggested we study that.  Nico also expressed frustration at having to login repeatedly.

Wigley noted three action items:

       Follow up with more specific, targeted email invitations to attend ACAC

2.      Put ACAC minutes on the portal

3.      Send ACAC minutes to chairs, directors and deans

Wigley also discussed forming subcommittees of ACAC to discuss specific issues, following the successful example of the LMS selection committee last semester.  He suggested two:

1.      D2L Training and issues (who would like to chair that?)

2.      Portal Subcommittee

Mark M. brought up an issue that cropped this semester with regard to deploying VDI on the Macintosh iMacs around campus.  VDI is a virtualization solution whereby an images of Windows 7 is made available instead of directly booting into Windows 7 on your own PC.  He noted that the Computer Science Department felt blindsided by this change without adequate notice or consultation, and that is greatly inconvenienced teaching in the labs and the students.  He expressed his department’s desire to return to Bootcamp for at least the one Computer Science lab in Science Hall.  Scott spoke at length about the push to use VDI on possibly every campus computer and Meyer noted many problems with that, especially for users who are tech-savvy and need to customize their computers and install software.  Scott noted that the infrastructure to deploy VDI everywhere is still lacking and that ITS would be glad to discuss this with departments.

 4.  Adjournment

 We adjourned at almost 4:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark Meyer