ITC Meeting Minutes

September 20, 2004  2:00- 3:30

In attendance were: Dennis Aebersold, Fran Ayres, Hunter Crowther-Heyck, Cheryl Carney, Robert Dougherty, Robert Kelly, Donald Maletz, Matthew Matos, Burr Milsap, Dimitrios Papavassillou, Sarah Robbins, Mike Sewell, Adam Westerman, Deborah Trytten

Absent: Nick Hathaway, Nathan Kula

Visitor: Matt Younkins


The meeting was called to order at 2:00.


Members introduced themselves.


The mission of ITC was explained, and examples of recent policies given.


Deborah Trytten recommended using a different approach this semester than in the past two years.  We have had standing committees (Policy, Teaching Needs, Common Computing Needs, Multi-Campus Issues). Some of these committees have been productive, and some have not. Instead, Deborah suggested that we use a task force approach where committees are selected to address particular issues. This approach is a good match for the largely reactive role that ITC has taken in the past few years due to the rapid advance of technology. This approach was accepted by the ITC.


Recent difficulties with Course Management Systems (CMS) were discussed. Dennis Aebersold explained the history of CMS at OU. He discussed current problems with the performance of the existing Blackboard system and OU’s role in the Sakai project (a shareware CMS that is under development, although far from complete).  Dennis also discussed an informal survey of many Big-12 Universities that he had recently done that showed that other institutions supported only one CMS, not two like OU (WebCT and Blackboard).


The suggest was made that IT should provide templates for classes for WebCT, if Blackboard were to be discontinued (a decision that has not been made). The absence of student groups in WebCT was also discussed.


This issue will be addressed by a Task Force being formed by Paul Bell and Dennis Aebersold. The ITC will recommend that Fran Ayres, and Catherine Pandora be members of the task force. ITC Chair, Deborah Trytten, and Robert Dougherty are also expected to be members.


The need to standardize clickers systems used to gather student responses in class. At least two incompatible systems are being used on campus already. This is an area of rapid technological development. Dennis Aebersold  volunteered to have Steve Cade present a summary of the similarities and differences between clickers systems that are currently on the market.  An attempt to find a chair for a task force on this topic failed, but may be resumed at the next meeting.


Last year the ITC was revising OU’s web policy.  A task force was created to complete this policy. Deborah Trytten will shepherd it through the administration to implementation. Robert Kelly volunteered to Chair this task force. Mike Sewell will also be a member.  Dan Hough and June Lester, who were members of the Policy Subcommittee last year and have invested much time on this policy will also be asked to join the subcommittee


The need to create a single IT policy at OU out of our existing array of policies was discussed. It was decided that a Task Force to complete this task should be formed after the web policy is completed.


The fact that ITC has been reactive in the past years instead of proactive was discussed. Bruce Mason recommended that the ITC work on a vision statement for technology at OU. Dennis Aebersold recommended that the vision statement be of more limited scope. Hunter Crowther-Heyck suggested that we create a vision statement for technology in teaching and research, and was immediately appointed to chair the Vision Task Force. Fran Ayres will be a member of this Task Force. The Task Force will select other members from ITC and from campus in general as needed. Deborah Trytten suggested that the vision statement include measurable objectives that could be assessed each year by ITC.


Don Maletz asked about the resolution of the 4x4 problem that had been discussed in email. In this email, it was noted that a local bank had used the last four digits of the social security number for security in online banking. Dennis Aebersold said that IT was working on a resolution to this problem. Deborah Trytten recommended using the last four digits of the employee or student ID number instead of the social security number. Dennis Aebersold said that by Fall of 2005, the transition away from social security numbers to student identification numbers in OU’s IT systems should be complete.


Fran Ayres mentioned that the University spam control software was not performing well on her computer. After the meeting, the problem was found and addressed.  The ITC recommended that the email describing spam filtered by resent to the University community, since it appeared at a particularly busy time for faculty, staff, and students.


Hunter Crowther-Heyck asked for a progress report on last year’s Teaching Subcommittee’s recommendation that an endowment be created for technology in teaching at OU.  This recommendation had been taken to the Faculty Senate, where it was enthusiastically endorsed by the Executive Committee, and taken to the President’s Office.  More recently, a similar recommendation was made by the Classroom Renovation Task Force, although with a broader focus to the whole classroom environment.   There is no further progress to report.


The meeting was adjourned.