Center for Information Technology Services

University of Maryland Baltimore
Blackboard Steering Committee Meeting Notes
July 10, 2003
Prepared by: Buzz Merrick

Attendees:  Dave Pitts (SOWK), Cynthia Boyle (PHARM), Buzz Merrick (CITS), Shannon Tucker (PHARM), Nola Stair (SON), Shelley Jordan (SON), Bob Bennett (SOD), Brent Nickles (CITS), Jeff Hawk (SOM), Sarita Sanjoy (SOM), Fran Huber (SOM), Chris Phillips (CITS)
1. Update from CITS
2. Blackboard 6 Update
3. Blackboard Course Protocol (Creation, Maintenance, Archiving)
4. Users or e-Education Group/ sharing of Information on course development
5. Chair, Minute taker
6. New Issues, Discussion

1.  Update from CITS
 Bret reported that there will be a new UMNET – a new front end and Web Mail at the beginning of or during this Fall Semester.

2.  Blackboard 6 Update
• Because of the new UMNET project and the recent reorganization of CITS project resources and priorities, the migration to Blackboard version 6 will be delayed.  There was discussion on how this impacts schools.  Questions were raised about whether Faculty/Instructors are using the current version to its capacity and what enhancements (or fixes) the new version has to offer.  More research will have to be done on these issues. 
• There is a need to have a “development box” dedicated to Blackboard and that the move to version 6 would be an opportune time to have this occur.  How this can be funded is in question.  Dave brought up the idea of the schools pitching in toward the cost.  It was noted that Blackboard is a “two box” configuration, so we’d actually need two boxes. Estimates are from $20-30K. 
• There was discussion on how long we could/should stay on ver 5.  Development testing, faculty acceptance of change during the year, importing gradebooks and other issues led to a “sense” of consensus that implementing the upgrade for the Fall of 2004 (next academic year) might be best course of action.  There was no vote on this.  Bret noted that listserv “chatter” indicates there may be some good enhancements with the upgrade to ver 6.  Others noted that it wouldn’t hurt to wait and see what modifications come out (6.1, 6.2, etc.) as version upgrades to software packages always seem to arrive with their own set of issues to be ironed out.   There did seem to be consensus that waiting is the better course of action for now.   It was also noted that instructors have found the current assessment tool inadequate.

3.  Blackboard Course Protocols
• Archiving of courses was discussed.  How to best accomplish this?  Should instructors be required to archive their own?  Each school be responsible?  A central (CITS) archive system?  A “snapshot” on a given date?  A “mirror” image centrally or locally or departmentally?
• There was consensus on the need to develop a protocol (policy?) that instructors should NOT create a new course by wiping out the students from the prior course and using it as a “shell” for the current course.  This brought up a lengthy discussion on the legal and/or campus requirements for having an archive policy or protocol.
• The question was raised of whether there has ever been a cost-benefit analysis done of Blackboard’s use on campus?  Are enough of the school’s using it?  It was noted that over 300 courses were taught last semester.  Fran volunteered to develop a brief survey of Steering Committee members regarding Blackboard’s use and report the findings at the next meeting in September.  Things like number of faculty using it, courses, students, etc.
• A number of Campus-wide policies/protocols were discussed at length.  How long to keep archives? Are there legal requirements?  UM requirements?  Copyright issues?  Is it three years that a student can request information about a Blackboard course?  And, what does that entail? The TEACH Act and how its requirements are disseminated and lived up to?  How to work with instructors who are with other Universities (co-teaching)? How do we work with/treat students from other Universities (in the Blackboard context)?  Do/should students who take courses solely on Blackboard have to adhere to the same policies (i.e., Immunization) as those who attend courses in person?  Preceptors who are practitioners who teach students at their practices sites, need Blackboard and UMnet access expedited in order to fully participate in experiential courses, as well as potentially in CE devoted to preceptor development.  Mechanism to accredit CE from multiple disciplines?  Additional Blackboard training post Intro?  Forums for users to discuss and share tools, techniques, etc.  The Wireless Campus?  New User FAQ’s – who writes them?  Publishes them?  Deletes them?  Semi-annual conferences/seminars for educators or others to present what users and schools are doing with Blackboard.  Cheat sheets/user aids that could be generic for campus wide distribution.  Continuing Education issues, UMNET issues, Web development issues were all discussed as they relate to Blackboard.

4.  Users or e-Education Group
This discussion led to a consensus that the Blackboard Steering Committee may be evolving to encompass more e-Education type concerns than ones associated strictly with the course delivery tool – Blackboard. After much debate it was decided that the group will change its name to the E-Learning Committee and expand its vision to include the areas listed above.  We would start each meeting with a Blackboard update (hardware and software, just as we do now), but that the group would spend some time looking at these other, related issues to explore their ramifications to the campus (as opposed to individual schools) and invite speakers or subject matter experts to advise the group when needed (Student Health, or Legal for instance).  We would then make recommendations, where applicable, to the appropriate campus department, VP, etc.  It is understood that not all these issues will remain the concern of this committee – there may be other committees on campus that are working on those issues – this group would then be updated on the work of the other committees. 

5.  Chair, Minute taker
Dave asked the group for volunteers to chair the group.  Sarita said she’d volunteer to co-chair, Nola volunteered to chair a subcommittee.  It was discussed and agreed (I think!) that note taking would be performed on a rotating basis.  

Decisions Reached:
1. There is a need to have a separate development box(s) for Blackboard testing and development
2. There is a need to develop consensus on campus wide policies/protocols that are driven by our use of Blackboard
3. There is a need to identify and uniformly adhere to legal issues/requirements of using Blackboard as a course delivery vehicle (copyright laws, archiving, etc.)
4. We will use the next meeting to get the usual update from CITS on Blackboard hardware and software issues, plans, etc. and then discuss the range of issues the group identified in this meeting and how they may be incorporated (or not) into this new groups mission
5. We will change the name of the group to the e-Education Committee
6. Note taking will be shared on a rotation basis for each meeting
7. Sarita will co-chair with Dave Pitts

Action Items Assigned:
Action Items Date Due Resp.
1. Send notes to attendees for review  07/17/03  Buzz
2. Send Survey to committee members  ????  Fran
3. Develop a list of issues/concerns/topics the group can explore  09/11/03  Nola
4. Develop a matrix (cheat sheet) comparing version 5 and 6 capabilities  ????  ????

Next Meeting: Thursday, September 11th from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the HSL “Family” Room