Area 51 notes – July 8, 2010

Present: Mike Lynch, Mike Roy, Shel Sax, Terry Simpkins (notes), Mary Backus
CurrTech Team: BCarson SDriscoll AChapin JPile joined us for agenda item #1
The CT team met with us and reviewed their recommendations, along with the results of their focus groups surveys, particularly regarding the online discussion component, the audio/video components, and the potential use of MiddMedia to store media files.
Their primary recommendation is the creation of a “course hub” for faculty/students.  Course sites could be automatically created from Banner info., and the hub would provide a single site that provides access to the various components that comprise the materials used in online course management (i.e., whether wiki, blog, LMS, etc.)  It would incorporate easy functionality to add a syllabus, with added capability for functionality such as assignments, course readings, etc.
The hub would based on Drupal, which people already know and LIS already supports.  This would be a minimal level of support, and other platforms (MediaWiki, Moodle, WordPress, etc.) would be readily connectable to (through) the Course Hub.
There was a lot of discussion centering around whether this is basically rebuilding Segue.  The team argued that they are not recommending building a specific LMS (learning management system) such as Segue, but rather building linkages between existing systems.
Ultimately, the ADs requested more info from the CT team:
a) Undertake due diligence about ready-made solutions
b) Talk to SunGard Banner people about their product roadmap and if there are plans to incorporate any of this functionality within Banner directly
c) Sketch out steps to estimate timeline – partially (at least) done – including support requirements & costs.
d) Functional comparison of Moodle/Sakai/Blackboard/GoogleApps
e) Engage BL/LS/MIIS (currently awaiting survey results, etc.)
f) Engage faculty, perhaps involving liaisons or others to assist with gaining feedback.
There was a question from the Security Team.  With the departure of Jeff Rehbach (whom we miss) we are losing our go-to person for policy-related questions. Should the security team be viewed as a group that will be writing the security-related policies? If so, do they need any (legal or other) training?  The ADs thought that, yes, the ST should look at existing security-related policies for deficiencies (as well as thinking about policies that we need to create as part of our efforts to improve security), review other policies at other institutions as needed, and make recommendations for changes.  If they identified professional development opportunities to support those tasks, LIS would do what we can to support that.
We discussed the change management form and process.  Mike R will write a blog post explicating the reasons/thinking behind the process.  The ADs tend to be the ones to call about when the change management process is appropriate and when it’s not.  We reaffirmed that the purpose of the process is not simply to layer bureacracy onto the change process, but to respond and mitigate problems that might (and have) occurred.

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