University of Washington Bothell
Technology Advisory Committee
April 9, 2012
Eric Chan, Ron Ellison, Rob Estes, Brian Fletcher, Munehiro Fukuda, David Goldstein, Ted Hiebert, Laura Mansfield, Joe Shelley, Betsy Tippens, Jane Van Galen
Ron Ellison, newly hired Assistant Vice Chancellor, Budget and Planning, was introduced as a new member of the Technology Advisory Committee. Since his arrival, Kendra Yoshimoto has stepped down from TAC, and the committee thanks her for her contributions to our work.
Laura Mansfield announced that she has scheduled a social networking brown bag for May 23rd. Everyone with interest in social networking is encouraged to attend this informal discussion.
Web site redesign
Laura and Azadeh Azarian showed the committee the new UW Bothell website design and asked for feedback. The committee was generally very positive about the suggested changes.
Technology Roadmap (UW Bothell Horizon Report):
Joe Shelley reported on his team’s progress related to a proposed technology roadmap. Currently, the team is gathering input from faculty around learning technology platforms. The outcome will be data for campus decision making around the technology of teaching and learning. At last month’s meeting, Joe reported on some highlights from the faculty survey that gathered data about faculty experience, needs, and desires related to learning technology platforms. At today’s meeting, Joe described the next steps to be taken in this project.
1. A faculty focus group will be held to delve into these issues a little more deeply. TAC and the Instructional and Research Support Committee will be consulted as this activity is planned.
2. Information gathered from the focus group will be combined with data from the survey to create a draft report.
3. This draft report will be presented to TAC, IRSC, and Academic Council for comments, feedback, and approval.
4. The final report will be a recommendation to the campus for a roadmap for future growth in the technology of teaching and learning.
Committee members were invited to offer feedback by emailing Joe regarding how the survey results could be used in the report. The committee also discussed the possibility of using this general process as a model for inclusive decision-making for technology strategy on campus.
Update on Learning Management Systems
IT has been working on an upgrade to the latest version of Blackboard since last fall. All course content was moved to the new version over spring break. There were no reports of any lost content. After the upgrade there were some problems with uploading files to the Blackboard system. Blackboard staff are working with us to resolve those problems.
As a reminder, Blackboard recently discontinued support for the Basic version of the system that we have been using, necessitating an upgrade to a more fully featured (and more expensive) version. Last year, Blackboard offered a three year contract to bridge costs from the Basic to the Enterprise version. In this contract, we were required to upgrade to the newer Blackboard version, but we could retain our licensing cost schedule during those three years. We have just entered our second year of those three years. Andreas Brockhaus and I have been communicating with the campus about the need to evaluate our options once the contract expires.
The State Board of Community and Technical Colleges recently completed a lengthy evaluation of learning management systems, and they selected Canvas as the apparent winner of a statewide contract that includes all community colleges in the state. At the same time, UW Seattle has been conducting a separate evaluation that included running a pilot project with Canvas. Several UW Bothell faculty members have participated in that pilot: Khushroo Daruwala, Martha Groom, Karen Gourd, Bruce Kochis, Mark Kochanski, and Joe McCarthy.
In the meantime, the UW Board of Deans and Chancellors has given their support to a UW-wide adoption of Canvas. Additionally, David Goldstein serves on a Teaching and Learning Oversight Committee at UW Seattle that has been providing recommendations about adoption.
It is looking very likely that UW Seattle will be moving to a centralized offering of Canvas, available to all three campuses at no cost beyond what is already paid for UW technology services. We are preparing to launch a project to assess our learning management systems options as soon as Seattle’s decision regarding Canvas is final.
The committee discussed the decision-making process, and generally agreed that if UW Seattle offered a central learning management system at no cost (beyond what UW Bothell already pays to Seattle for technology services) then it would be difficult to argue against a transition to Canvas, as long as Canvas offers the same basic functionality of Blackboard.
IT is working on a project to upgrade the email server environment to a newer version of Exchange. This upgrade has two main purposes:
1. It addresses performance issues related to slowness, archiving problems, and mailbox size limitations.
2. It prepares us for a possible eventual move to UW Seattle supported email.
At last month’s meeting we briefly described the role of IT liaisons – positions that live organizationally within IT but work for particular units. Work priorities are set within the units, but supervision, training, and backup take place within IT. The School of Business and CSS program each have a liaison now. In Business, this person provides technology support in the Eastside Leadership Center. The CSS liaison works closely with CSS faculty to set up and support non-standard computer classrooms and to help support faculty research. More IT liaisons are being proposed in this year’s budget process.
We are working on a template that provides structure and description for how these positions can work for any unit. An initial draft of the template was handed out. There was general support for the idea of liaisons as a way to grow IT support.
Strategic Planning Process
The committee ran out of time before this agenda item could be addressed. Prior to the next meeting, Betsy will send committee members some discussion prompts around strategic planning topics that can be addressed next time we meet. The initial conversation will center around how to build a successful process or approach to strategic planning by drawing on members’ past experiences with other strategic planning processes.