Center for Information Technology Services

University of Maryland Baltimore
       eLearning Steering Committee Meeting Notes
       July 14, 2005
       Prepared by: Chris Klimas


Attendees: Dave Pitts (SOWK), Vavian Cox (CITS), Kevin So (Nursing), Julie Gilliam (CITS), Jim Leoni (CITS), Fran May (CITS), Lowell Wilson (CITS), Eileen Patton (SOM-DMRT), Jeff Hawk (SOMPTRS), Lila Faulkner (Law), Kevin Brown (SOM OME), Bob Bennett (Dental), James Craig (Dental), Shannon Tucker (PHARM), Chris Klimas (PHARM)

Note that this list may not be definitive. If you attended this meeting and would like your name to appear here, e-mail Chris Klimas.

(Re-)Introducing Lowell Wilson

Lowell will be taking up stewardship of the campus Blackboard servers while Brent transitions to a role with e-UMB. Brent will be helping Lowell learn the ropes.

Blackboard server news

AppPack 3 has been installed on the development server. The question at hand is whether to move to AppPack 3 before the start of the fall semester. People are encouraged to get an account on the dev server, if they do not have one already, and test AppPack 3 to see if switching to it seems feasible.

The archiving process continues. People are encouraged to archive as many courses from the past as possible, to save server space.

The School of Nursing would like to add anti-virus capabilities to the Blackboard server. This would mean that students who uploaded a file infected with a virus to Blackboard would immediately be blocked. There are two potential problems with this approach: first, students submitting work very close to a deadline may run into problems, and handling this would be tricky from a policy point of view. Secondly, anti-virus products for Unix systems are not particularly cheap. More dialogue on this issue is encouraged -- Jim said he would like to meet with a smaller group to discuss this.

There will now be a monthly support call with Blackboard reps to try resolve issues in a more timely manner. If you would like to be part of this call, contact Jim.

Building Blocks Demo

Shannon demoed three building blocks currently deployed on the development server:

  • Link Checker -- provides a list of broken external links in a course site. Marking these links unavailable is simple. This building block is free.
  • Power User Enrollment -- makes enrolling users easier, as you can specify a comma-delimited list of names to search on instead of doing individual searches repeatedly. You can also specify roles at enrollment time instead of in a separate step. This building block is free.
  • Group Management -- makes enrolling students into groups much more straightforward. This building block is not free.

People are encouraged to try these out on the development server to see if they would benefit from their use.

QuestionMark

The School of Pharmacy is doing a test with QuestionMark in coordination with the Office of Medical Education in the School of Medicine, using their facilities. Other schools are looking into piloting the program, potentially buying a campus-wide license for it.

Tegrity

In short, Tegrity's product enables students to capture lectures for later viewing, with students' notes synchronized with the instructor's speech. Instructors may use a digital tape recorder or video camera to capture their lecture, and software can capture PowerPoint presentations as well as an instructor's own notes . Students use a special paper notebook and pen that docks via a USB port that captures their handwriting. Many schools have adopted this technology, including Georgia Tech and Coppin State. In Tegrity's experience, their technology has the most appeal for math and science classes -- partly because students can have trouble grasping concepts in-class and could use the review, and also because the material lends itself well to visual demonstrations.

Tegrity would like to do a one-year pilot that is tightly focused on student achievement.

Next meeting:  August 11, 2005 -- location TBA