Tuesday, June 07, 2005

DDLC Meeting Minutes

Distance and Distributed Learning Committee Meeting
June 3, 2005
AT Blue Ridge Community College
I. Welcome and Introductions

Dr. John Downey, Committee Chairperson, welcomed the group to the meeting and Dr. Sullivan to the VCCS. John explained to Dr. Sullivan the role of the DDLC in advising him on academic matters as they relate to technology, distance and distributed learning. John indicated that the DDLC was working closely with the Technology Council and the IT side of the VCCS to foster excellent communication and informed decision making.
II. Position Paper

John briefly reviewed the history of the development of a position paper on the status and future of distance and distributed learning relative to the goals of Dateline 2009. Committee members carefully reviewed the second draft of the paper, and made several suggested edits. Leslie Smith made the motion to endorse the revised draft of the DDLC position paper with the changes made during the meeting. Scott Langhorst seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. The revised position paper is attached to these minutes.
John indicated that the final draft would be presented to ASAC as an information item on June 6th and 7th, toward the goal of gaining ASAC endorsement at the fall meeting of VPs and Provosts.
II. Process needed to evaluate “Plug-ins” and other software requests from colleges.

The next agenda item concerned the point that there has been no process, nor single group, that addresses requests from colleges for the purchase of state-wide software product procurement. John cited the example of plagiarism detection software that several campuses have purchased on their own. As the demand for such software has grown, individuals have petitioned the VCCS to buy the blackboard plug-in for that software. Other examples cited include plug-ins and software for voice recording that can tie into blackboard, web conferencing software like Breeze, Centra and Elluminate, and any of the 150 plus plug ins that are likely available for use in Blackboard 6.0.

John suggested a process whereby colleges would fill out a brief form documenting the purpose or need the college sought to address with a particular software product. The college would be asked to name any known competitors to the product, the academic reasons for desiring certain features etc. Once the need was documented, a small group of DDLC members, VCCS IT and academic staff and faculty could be charged with evaluating each request and making a recommendation to the DDLC. The DDLC would then make a recommendation to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Services who would work with the Vice Chancellor for ITS to obtain approval in consultation with the technology council. John acknowledged such a process could be lengthy and burdensome and sought other ideas for the evaluation of enterprise software or negotiated priced software with a college “opt-in/opt-out” option. The discussion continued with no clear consensus on developing such a process. Some members pointed out that the role of DDLC members agreed that John would work with David Carter-Tod on the VCCS staff to draft such a written proposal for a process and discuss it next meeting. John and David agreed.
IV. Update on Blackboard 6.0

David Carter Tod and Sue Ann Curran updated the DDLC on the Blackboard upgrade. 9470 courses were migrated successfully. About 1000 courses did not have a faculty member associated with them and the VCCS was working with blackboard administrators to identify those faculty and link them with the courses. The IT staff is also working on continued issues associated with multiple EMPLIDs.
Next steps include deployment of functionality beyond what was available in BB 5.5. Staff is working on creating a small consulting workgroup to address questions associated with features available in 6.0. The major features include a community system, a content system, and integration of BB with other VCCS enterprise products like student e-mail and SIS. Policy issues identified by the small group will be brought back through DDLC for advise, and to ASAC and Tech council for action.
V. Update on VCCS Portal

Scott Langhorst made a comprehensive presentation on the progress TCC was making on the creation of a portal, its benefits, and its challenges. He sought help from the DDLC and specifically requested that any members who served on the DDLC portal committee and anyone else interested join in the discussion and planning for a VCCS portal. Scott asked that any DDLC members who could assist with the VCCS portal project please e-mail him at slanghorst@tcc.edu.
VI. Proposed meeting dates

John distributed a list of proposed meeting dates for the DDLC (Also attached to these minutes). He indicated that the dates take into account ACOP and Technology Council dates but not the ASAC meeting dates which were not yet determined. DDLC members agreed to the dates and will adjust them if they interfere with ASAC dates. DDLC members also agreed on a two-day meeting in September focused on goal setting for the year to be held in Charlottesville. John will work with Mary Clare to get that meeting arranged.

VII. Governance and bylaws.

John indicated that the DDLC is operating as an advisory body to the Vice Chancellor of Academic Services and Research, but has no bylaws or operating governance structure. John suggested that we may want to address this in some future meeting. In the meantime John suggested that an election be held for chair and asked for nominations. John was nominated and elected to serve another year as chair.
VII. Virginia Education Wizard.

Neil Matkin presented on the Chancellor’s interest in pursuing another federal earmark. This earmark would be dedicated to the creation of the “Virginia Education Wizard”. The Wizard is a concept for a search engine type technology dedicated to helping Virginia’s citizens gain easy access to information about careers and educational opportunities available to them. Rather than searching for “a needle in a haystack” the project would create a system where the user could set specific search parameters and the wizard would “reply” with specific information that responds to the users questions. Neil’s PowerPoint presentation on the Wizard, along with the federal earmark proposal, will be sent to DDLC members via e-mail. (If you are interested in getting a copy of this contact Ruth Smith and I will forward you a copy,)

There being no other business, the meeting adjourned.


Michael Weiser said...

NO mention thus far of the issue of placement into DL courses and attrition (still 50% nationally), NOR of the class size issue as it relates to any other than non-interactive DL courses!

Ruth said...

The campus will be forming a new Distance Learning Committee (check with the faculty senate for details) to set policy for our campus. These things should be discussed here with the DDLC documents as a starting point.