December 5, 2014

In attendance: Chris Alexandre, James Estrada, Edward Iglesias, Laura Jacobson, Kevin Kean, Sean McNickle, Charles Menoche (chair), Gustavo Mejia, Jason Melnyk (vice-chair), Pankaj Nagpal, Clayton Penniman, Jen Piatek (secretary), Tina Rivera (guest), Heather Rodriguez, Henry Rudzinski, Krishna Saha, Rob Schumaker, Lisa Washko (guest), and Shuju Wu.

1. Meeting called to order at 1:15 PM.

2. Meeting minutes from November were approved.

3. Announcements

The 2015 Tech Showcase will be on April 10th at Middlesex Community College: expect an email with a call for presentations. Note that this overlaps with the shared governance conference at Manchester Community College (same day).

4. ITS Updates

Update on the proposals submitted to CCSU for the 21st Century Classroom initiative by James Estrada. Initial funds were planned to be $60k, but was able to leverage additional funds (up to $105K) due to CCSU’s size.

The Provost’s proposal (separate from the IT proposal discussed at the last meeting) involves creation of prototype classrooms based on models used at other universities: in particular, the TEAL project (used at MIT and Yale) and the SCALE-UP projects at NC State and University of Minnesota. The classrooms in these projects were large-scale classrooms designed with technology located at circular tables (“pods”) placed around the room. The room has no front/back, but instead a series of projectors that can be accessed from the pods. These classrooms were utilized by physics and statistics labs and were designed for large enrollment classes (100+ students): faculty and TA’s would circulate amongst the tables and facilitate student work on lab exercises/problem sets, with the option for students to share their work with the class using the projectors.

It was not clear how this model would be translated to smaller classes at CCSU, or how it might be expanded to classes outside the lab models used at other universities. It wouldn’t be possible to build such a room for each department: instead, interested departments are encouaged to develop a consortium to propose for a single shared classroom. Interested faculty should discuss possibilities for proposing a prototype classroom to their department chairs and deans.

Right now there are no official guidelines for spending the 21st Century Classroom funds: it is critical that the ITC advocate for being involved and to encourage faculty input into the design and implementation of prototype classrooms.

These new prototype classrooms are different from the new classrooms on the 4th floor of the Library: this construction includes a video conferencing classroom to be used by Modern Languages for courses taught in partnership with Southern (combining classes that otherwise would not fill at both campuses). A 24 seat computer lab will be adjacent to this new classroom.

Updates to the campus wireless network are forthcoming (McNickle): there are issues with the CleanAccess software used to control network authentication, and the vendor has not been helpful in assisting with solving these problems. Once a replacement product is located, it will be implemented. Those using the campus wireless are encouraged to use the CCSU-SECURE network rather than the open networks (Voyager and Student). The goal is to reduce the number of times a device must be authenticated to once per term (rather than once per week). Ideally the solution will be located by the end of December and rolled out after that.

5. Old Business

Lisa Washko tabulated the results from Software Request Form. Most renewals were ongoing updates, but there were a few requests for renewals that were previously funded by departments (Engineering and Modern Languages): the addition of these renewals to those funded by IT was approved.

Included in the “new” renewals is an upgrade for the Mathematica license, which currently has only 50 seats and can only be used off campus by faculty. The license will be upgraded to an unlimited seat license that allows students and faculty both to request licenses for off campus access (the application can also be added to the Citrix system with this license).

Renewal/upgrade requests (including the changes above) total $172K.

Although in the past acquisition of new software has not been funded, there were multiple requests for new software packages totaling $44K. The list was prioritized based on the number of students affected. Although expensive, the highest ranked purchase request is from Modern Languages for a plugin that would allow students/facutly to use the currently owned Sony Virtuoso software for instruction in American Sign Language (ASL): this would complement the program that will let students complete their foreign language requirement in ASL, and would allow for creation of a minor in ASL.

A number of freeware packages were requested via the online form: although specifics were not discussed in the meeting, this is important for maintaining software through updates and keeping track of usage.

The list of priorities for software renewals and new purchases was approved.

The results from the Hardware Requests Form will be discussed at the sub-committee meeting next week (second week of December). There was a large number of requests, most for teaching stations in classrooms that are not equipped (such as labs in Copernicus, and additional audio and projection in Welte).

Jim Grupp from Facilities will be attending the sub-committee meeting to discuss what improvements can be completed through Facilties. The remaining requests will be prioritized and discussed (particularly regarding those that can be funded via the $50K classroom improvement line item from the IT budget). Requests that need to be included in budget discussions for the next fiscal year will be reviewed at the February ITC meeting so that recommendations can be forwarded to the UPBC meeting on February 17.

There will be one more reminder for hardware requests with a deadline of December 15 to be considered for funding in the next fiscal year.

6. New Business

Wharton Research Data Services provides access to databases that would be extremely valuable for students in Finance, in addition to MIS, Accounting, and Data Mining. Access to the databases requires a yearly domain-based license that is too expensive for a single department budget. A motion was made to include this database in the new software requests as the second priority (below the ASL plugin discussed earlier): the motion was approved.

Some faculty have expressed feeling discouraged about requesting new software purchases, as these requests are rejected year after year due to lack of funding. Committee members are asked to solicit feedback about the requests from their departments for discussion next term: it may be worthwhile to consider additional calls for new software requests to quantify the need for new software that is not being met.

Meeting adjourned 2:20 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Jennifer Piatek (secretary)

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