Information Technology Council
Minutes for the Meeting of October 6, 1997
Members present: D. Brown, L. Colaw, F. Durso, G. Green, C. Hudgin,
B. Mason, L. Portwood, T. Ragan, M. Sherbon, W. Stolt, B. Swisher.
Lee distributed a draft policy on web pages and suggested that the council
will need to look into problems of copyright laws in the distribution of
material on web pages. This issues ties into problems of intellectual
property, web publishing, and who should bear the burden of copyright issues.
A description of OneNet was given to the council. Its goals, capabilities,
advantages, and disadvantages were discussed.
The first set of recommendations from the Mingle report, specifically those
dealing with distance education, were discussed. This was a wide-ranging
discussion. The major points are outlined below:
Four major questions need to be answered: 1) What are the potential
gains and losses of OU's participation (or lack thereof) in distance education?
2) Who are our potential clients? 3) Who are our potential
competitors? 4) What is needed for effective participation
in distance education?
Gains and Losses: There is a large, and ever growing, population
of "non-traditional" students who have difficulty getting to campus for
regular classes, or are looking for a smaller number of specific courses
for training or re-training. A university ignores these students
at its own peril. However, a strength of a traditional university
is its atmosphere and personalized learning environment. The question
remains as to the best relation between distance education and the traditional
university. This goes to the heart of the role of the traditional
university in an information economy, and is based largely on what employers
will be willing to pay for our students.
Potential Clients: Potential clients of distance education
at OU are non-traditional students who do not have the time to commute,
state-wide students looking for degree programs (assuming regional restrictions
on higher education delivery are lifted), and students world-wide who may
be interested in courses or programs where OU is a recognized leader.
Equally important, traditional students who want to access course materials
from home or dorm are also clients of "distance education" meaning education
that is not spatially and/or temporally constrained.
Potential Competitors: For specific courses, there are many
competitors to OU for both traditional and non-traditional students.
Schools both inside and outside the state, and comercial enterprises will
all be transmitting course material to potential students. Western
Governors' University is organized, ready to broadcast into Oklahoma, and
has the blessings of the governor to do so. It is less clear what
the competition is for students enrolled in a degree program. One
question that must be explored further is the possibility for transfer
of a large numbers of courses to a degree program at OU.
Infrastructure: There are several elements necessary
for successful participation in distance education at OU. First,
the opportunities will best be identified by individual units or colleges,
although encouragement from the administration to find and exploit these
opportunities will be helpful. There must be a reward system in place
to encourage this work. If it is an overload burden on faculty, it
will not be done well. There needs to be support and expertise at
the university that can be employed by faculty or departments with a desire
to do this. This will require both technical personnel and top-notch
educators interested in the best uses of technology in learning.
Pieces of this type of support system exist in individual colleges, the
ITS (formally ISC), and CCE, but better coordination is needed. This
raises the question of the optimal relationship between these entities
and the university at large.
Further discussion of the Mingle report will continue next week.
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