Minutes - May 2015

May 11, 2015

Members present: Mark Pershouse, Matt Riley, Scott Holgate, Judy Fredenberg, Antony Jo, Jess Neidigh, Roger Maclean, Dawn Ressel, Manu Samuela, John Greer, Jennifer Sauer, Allen Szalda-Petree, Karen Moore, Eric Reimer, Mark Grimes

Members excused: Art Held

Members absent: Aaron Heiner, Cale Patenaude, Denise Nelson

Ex-officio members and staff present: Adrian Irish, Barb Seekins, Joe Hickman, Gordy Pace

Call to order

Mark Pershouse called the meeting to order at 3:36 


April meeting minutes were approved by consensus


UM Minute – IT Focus

Mark Pershouse reported that dense wireless coverage in the Skaggs building made it possible for 180 students to take a computer-based pharmacy assessment test at the same time. Mark also mentioned that Mark Grimes was recently featured on the UM homepage for his research about the behavior of cell proteins in childhood cancer which was recently was published by the Public Library of Science Computational Biology. Mark Grimes said the research required him to learn new techniques for data analytics.

CIO communication

Matt Riley said UM is working on a press release about the Internet2 circuit upgrade to 100GB. UM is one of just 14 institutions or regional networks to have the service, giving us some of the best services of any institution for collaboration of research networks.

Matt also talked about the challenge of providing a cybersecurity class an environment where they could do hacking activities. The solution was to join Merit, a Michigan-based network organization that provided the learning environment for the students at about a quarter the cost of building a separate network.

MOOCs discussion

Robert Squires, Director of Instructional Design and Technical Support in SELL

Robert Squires said that MOOCs (massive open online courses) began as an effort by researchers at Vassar College to popularize the notion of connectivism, a learning theory that entails forming peer networks. The original idea was not a top-down model like we see now. Robert said UM has the infrastructure in place to do open online courses, but suggested the need to understand the purpose and value of doing that.

Matt Riley said that Arizona State University just announced a program with edX to deliver a whole first year of general education courses through MOOC called the Global Freshman Academy. ASU accepts students who go through the program as sophomores. He suggested we need to look at that model and see what’s making it possible.

Robert explained that MOOCs have gone through an evolution from being a marketing piece for a campus to one where universities are looking at alternative credentialing models. That’s at the heart of some of the major changes affecting higher education. Coursera has begun to bypass universities completely and work with business partners to certify competencies.

Mark Pershouse asked by MOOCs will not replace the university. Robert suggested that universities still have a strong value for traditional students, giving them a place to leave home and feel safe. But he said the demand for education worldwide far exceeds the capacity of universities. MOOCs serve a different population and are an important aspect in the portfolio of education. 

Matt suggested that we have a chance to innovate around what we already have. Mark Grimes said that the technology used for online learning helps instructors know when students do homework and who’s prepared for class. Even if we don’t use MOOC’s for the massive part, we can still learn a lot from the model.

Mark P. asked about where we might target MOOCs, suggesting that they might be appropriate for things we can’t teach because we don’t have the expertise on campus. He expressed concern that someone like MIT might have a better instructor in his area. Robert responded that they might not approach it the same way, but if we were going to get serious, we need a production studio for the development of animations and other content materials. That’s something we would love to have, but involves a serious production schedule and support.

Mark Grimes suggested that rather on what tools to use, we should identify goals. One goal could be getting students up to speed with math. Another area could be lectures on anatomy—things that aren’t going to change. He suggested that this effort could be tied together with other projects like the classroom of the future, the pedagogy project and accessibility efforts.

Jess Neidigh asked Robert how IT Senate could help. Robert suggested that the idea of a production center is something IT Senate could support, as well as helping to identify what UM Online should look like for the global century.

SELL Dean Roger Maclean pointed out that until there is incentive for faculty to participate, it’s not going to happen. He said that MSU is asking for an online student fee through the Board of Regents that will generate $1 million to incent faculty do develop and deliver online programs. Until our leadership makes a commitment, we’ll have little success in doing this, he said. Allen Szalda-Petree agreed that there is nothing that incentivizes faculty to put courses online. It’s important to get Faculty Senate and the curriculum committee on board. It would be good to get someone from those groups to sit in on the development process.

Action items

Adoption of bylaws changes

Senators discussed bylaws changes that included: 1) updating the list of sectors/organizations represented and how they are appointed in Article III, Section 1; 2) restructuring the leadership of IT Senate to a co-chair model with the CIO as permanent co-chair along with an elected co-chair in Article IV, Section 1; and 3) amending Article V, Section 1.a. regarding frequency of regular meetings.

Judy Fredenburg suggested that the language regarding meetings—“IT Senate will convene six regular meetings per academic year, including three each semester.” may not need to be that prescriptive. She suggested the language: “Will meet as often as appropriate as deemed by the Officers.” Dawn Ressel expressed concern that it gives us an out to be more lax with the meetings. She said she liked having a “minimum” clause to guarantee that the group is meeting. Mark Grimes suggested the language, “regular meetings, at least three per semester.”

With that amendment, Judy Fredenburg moved to accept the proposed changes to the bylaws. Jess Neidigh seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Election of co-chair

Mark Pershouse nominated Allen Szalda-Petree as co-chair. Mark Grimes nominated Mark Pershouse, but Mark declined the nomination. There were no other nominations. Mark Pershouse declared that hearing no opposition, Allen Szalda-Petree is IT Senate’s new co-chair. His term will begin following the June IT Senate meeting.

Adoption of IT Senate annual report

Matt suggested that the report needed to include discussion from this meeting about MOOCs. There was some discussion about whether the report required formal acceptance by the group. Judy Fredenburg suggested that a motion and vote would create buy-in. Mark Grimes moved to accept the document with the proposed addition of discussion about MOOCs. Roger Maclean seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Reports of standing committees, Tech Partners and Mod Squad

Tech Partners

Antony Jo reported that the May Tech Partners meeting included the following:

  • A talk by Scott Holgate about project management
  • An announcement about a licensing roundtable
  • Discussion about forming an IT mentoring group
  • An update on migration to Office 365 for employees
  • An update on the IT notification system
  • An update on a new time management system

Mod Squad

Karen Moore reported that summer projects include focusing on Banner releases and dependencies and creating a sandbox for IT’s Enterprise Information Systems group to test Banner XE modules. Karen was asked about the status of the web for proxy project. She said John McCormick from Business Services would be providing a demo in a couple weeks along with another parent portal option for comparison.

Communications and collaboration committee

Roger Maclean said the IT Senate annual report represented the work of the committee and had already been discussed.

Enterprise applications committee

John Greer said the committee did not meet, but he has met with IT regarding software licensing issues. The committee will be working on a software inventory survey.

Data governance committee

Dawn Ressel reported that the committee has had two meetings since the last IT Senate meeting. The committee has finalized its charge and is working on what they to accomplish in four areas:

  • Scope of the committee and completing an inventory of all data systems on campus.
  • Starting a data dictionary
  • Building a reporting dictionary (how to access data)
  • Building a communication plan

The meeting adjourned at 5:07 p.m. 

Minutes submitted by Gordy Pace