Friday, May 18, 2007

Distance and Distributed Learning ASAC Workgroup

Distance and Distributed Learning ASAC Workgroup
February 15, 2007, 10am – 3pm

Meeting called to order at 10:00 am

Members present: Susan Beasley (CVCC), Kim Blosser (BRCC), Charles Boling (VHCC), Joan Trabandt (NVCC), Kristen Kelly (JTCC), Leslie Smith (RCC), Ramona Coveny (VWCC), Ruth Smith (TNCC), Stacy Harris (SWCC), Joan Tuck (SVCC), Jaime Shetrone (WCC), Bill Dey (DCC), Inez Farrell (AS&R), Shelia Hobbs (PDCCC), David Carter-Tod (ITS)

Members absent: Mark Nelson (PHCC), Lori Ledford (PVCC), George Hoffman (LFCC), Reo McBride (DLCC), Jeff Burleson (MECC), Ron Wilt (ESCC), Linda Claussen (NRCC), John Ambrose (JSRCC), John Zwick (TCC),

Action Item 1.

Recommendation to Educational Technology Committee of ASAC for elimination of outdated VDEN procedures.

Background: The policies and procedures developed by VCCS and college administrators for distance learning were created to ensure the quality of this course delivery method. The method most in use during the creation of this document was compressed video. Other methods of delivery are now primary. The DDLC has been charge by the Education Technology Committee of ASAC to determine the following:

  1. Recommend what sections of the VDEN procedures should be considered by ASAC to be added to policy.

  2. Determine what sections are already in policy and recommend for deletion.

  3. Ascertain what remains in the VDEN that is valuable and should be incorporated into either:

    1. MOU

    2. Best Practices

    3. Other

Action Recommended: Review Section IV of VDEN and determine whether any parts that are already covered in the Policy Manual should be eliminated and if any parts should remain and be incorporated into the Policy Manual.

Rationale: Changes in distance learning delivery methods and the increased awareness that all delivery methods of content should follow the same quality criteria necessitate the updating of this procedural document.

At the meeting, much time was spent discussing what the VDEN document is and what it’s purpose should be within the VCCS. Several members indicated that it was used as a procedures guide and was still very helpful to many. Others still noted that the information was outdated and certainly needed to be updated.

During the previous DDLC meeting, small groups worked to recommend which parts of the document needed to be eliminated or revised. This information had not been captured in a format that could be sent out to the entire DDLC membership, so some time was spent re-creating those recommendations. Google docs were used to collaborate on the specific parts of the VDEN document. For the next meeting in May, the revisions that were proposed in this meeting will be distributed for further review.

The main charge for this committee was to determine whether or not any of the language in the VDEN document needed to be moved to the policy manual (recommended that it be moved) or how in fact it would best be modified to make it current and effective. The committee agreed that the document was valuable and needed to be considered a Procedures Manual. As a result, the committee agreed on the following motion:

The Distance and Distributed Learning Committee (DDLC) recommends that the VDEN document as it stands contains no reference to policy that is not already covered in the VCCS policy manual, but is an outdated reference guide for procedures and best practices. The DDLC requests it be allowed to rework the VDEN into a current set of E-learning procedures and best practices for Virginia’s Community Colleges.

This motion will be sent to the next ASAC meeting for response by the Educational Technology subcommittee. The hope of the DDLC is that we will be asked to revise this document so that it can remain an effective procedures document for those working with distance education.

Discussion Item 1.

Develop a calendar of dates for ITS to add and delete student email account or Blackboard account to the system for each semester. (When do the courses come on and when do they come off. When does the email account get activated, when does it get deleted).

Background: ITS needs help in determining the best time to add or delete student email accounts and Blackboard accounts to the system.

Action Recommended: Formulate a system-wide calendar to present toTech Council in March.

ITS indicated that they needed firm dates for when to delete email accounts from the system, as well as a process by which students are notified that their account will be terminated. Although this was initially a discussion item, this led to discussions about coming up with dates and was therefore moved to an Action Item.

After much discussion, the motion was as follows:

Email accounts to be de-authorized:

3rd Thursday after August 16, January 2, and May 16.

Email authorization:

July 1, November 1, and April 1.

Course de-activation:

December 15, August 15, and May 1.

Dates to flag:

December 1, July 15, and April 15.

There was an email later asking that ITS ‘flag’ accounts at least 4 weeks in advance, which David indicated was not a problem. ITS was more concerned with the deactivation process than when the accounts are flagged and sent a notice.

Information Item 1.

WIMBA update

Inez updated the group regarding the feedback she’s received on the WIMBA pilot project. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. ASAC is expected to approve the inclusion of WIMBA as an add-on to Blackboard system-wide.

Information Item 2.

Backpack pilot status from Leslie Smith

Leslie Smith reported that Ruth Greene (RCC) has been piloting another Blackboard building block called Backpack. They currently have a 30-day free trial version. The add-on allows students to download all the course material, with the exception of those items that are interactive such as quizzes, discussion boards, and assignments (etc). Anything not interactive gets downloaded and students can then review documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc without having to connect to BB. For students with a dial-up connection, this is very helpful.

Leslie and Ruth are looking for funding to continue the pilot so that they can share their results. Inez encouraged them to contact the rep for Backpack to see if they would be willing to allow RCC to pilot this for possible inclusion by more VCCS schools.

Information Item 3.

Blackboard 7 Update

As of this meeting, ITS is still planning for a fall 07 go live date. Further details will be forthcoming in regards to training and specific timelines.