Online Steering Committee

January 11, 2002

The meeting was called to order at 10:05 a.m. in the Carriage House with committee members Mike Russell, Melanie McClellan, Kathy Kral, Matthew Clay, Ara Volkan, Tom Padgett, Janet Gubbins, Melanie Clay, Mary 0'Neill, Elizabeth Bennett, Paul Smith, Diane Williamson, Andrew Luna, and John Fuller in attendance.

  1. Melanie Clay started the meeting and briefly reviewed the Agenda. Clay (Melanie) stated that were two main items on the agenda for today’s committee meeting: 1) review of the SACS recommendations for the DE program and discussion of our responses thus far 2) review of Horizon Live's features and discussion of administrative policies for the new technology. Melanie Clay and Janet Gubbins distributed handouts to all attending. The handouts were the SACS Recommendations and Suggestions our responses thus far to each, Elizabeth Bennett's recommendations for response, a final laminated version of the DL Advisement Sheet, a document including HorizonLive administrative issues and possible policies to be reviewed and decided upon and a brief article on student services from Dr. Melanie McClellan.
  2. Melanie Clay reviewed the SACS Exit Interview Recommendations and our response handout. Clay asked for feedback on each of the items addressed; she stated that the deadline for our official response to SACS is February 28, 2002. Melanie addressed standard 4.2.5 of that handout regarding orientation and advisement for distance programs and its orientation. Then, Clay directed the committee’s attention to the final edition of the laminated Distance & Distributed Learning Advisement sheet (approved by committee at November's meeting). The sheet will be mailed out to all 360 UWG faculty members. Clay asked that the committee review the Advisement sheet and inform her of any possible improvements for next term. Janet Gubbins suggested that the sheet add a brief description clarifying the difference between "off-campus" and "distance" courses. All agreed that this edit should be added for the next Advisement Sheet print. The Advisement sheet will also be placed on the Web, so students will be able to access it as well. McClellan stated that her department is revising their orientations website and will have direct links to resources for Distance Ed students including orientation services and mental health assistance. Melanie Clay said that an idea to host an online bulletin board where students could post questions to a counselor anonymously will be considered later.
  3. Melanie Clay started that the questions that were approved by the committee in last November's meeting were already added to the online course evaluations for Fall 2001. The questions will be added to the GSAMS evaluations, also, for Spring 2002. Melanie Clay also stated that a focus group will be conducted this term, and one per year thereafter, to evaluate student services for distance students.

    Gubbins added that the DE Dept is conducting face-to-face WebCT Orientation for students in each college.

  4. The next item was standard 4.5 of Recommendations made by SACS. It was noted that the academic departments are addressing this recommendation.
  5. Clay next addressed standard 4.8.10. This standard requires that faculty evaluations be used to increase improvement in distance programs. The three-part Evaluation Summary Form introduced in November’s meeting is presently before the Faculty-Senate for consideration.
  6. Melanie Clay discussed SACS standard 5.0 (Scope and Accountability) of the Recommendations. It is required to consistently evaluate student development services and programs for DL programs. In addition to the questions added to the Distance course evaluations and the focus group, Melanie Clay proposed that we set up a sub-committee to continually assess and address other student services such as career services, counseling, and confidentiality issues. Melanie asked for volunteers for the DE Student Services sub-committee. The following members were identified: Paul Smith, Melanie McClellan, John Fuller, and Christy Talley.
  7. Next Melanie reviewed the suggestions from SACS. Volkan clarified that we do not have to write a response to SACS suggestions only to their recommendations, but should address the suggestions internally. Melanie stated that Suggestion 4.1 on learning outcomes, falls under the auspices of faculty. Melanie introduced suggestion 4.3; it concerns comparing learning outcomes of distance students to traditional students, using the same variables. All agreed that this is research that should be undertaken by faculty. Suggestion 5.0, addressing faculty competency levels, is being addressed by the Faculty DE Certification Program which the DE dept and Dr. Elizabeth Bennett are developing, explained Melanie Clay.
  8. Next, Melanie Clay and Janet Gubbins demonstrated the HorizonLive tool that was recently purchased. As the demo was running, Melanie explained the administrative processes that were necessary for a HL production and asked for input on policies for usage and administration. Melanie Clay referred to the "Horizon Live Issues and Policies" document, as she asked the committee to help address the various usage issues. On issue #1, the committee decided that we should go ahead and purchase the upgrade to 50 concurrent users, with the anticipation that many of the College of Ed. Graduate courses would all want to run at the same prime-time from 4:30-9:00pm (based on Elizabeth Bennett's feedback). On the issue of scheduling, Melanie Clay suggested that we honor "first come- first serve" for this term, until we have a better idea of what the scheduling issues, conflicts, and possible solutions are. Melanie Clay stated that Stacey Rowland will be in charge of a master Distance Education calendar. Mathew Clay said that the calendar would best be posted on a website viewable from both on and off-campus, with only Stacey able to update the site.
  9. Melanie Clay presented issue #2: Training and support of HorizonLive. Dianne Williamson suggested that we offer a demo to each college this term. After further discussion, based on Tom Padgett and Melanie Clay's input, the group decided that instead we would offer HL training this term just to a select few early adopters, learn the limitations, and get more acquainted with any usage issues, before we promote usage and training to all faculty. The group also agreed that at least three central computers (one in each college) should be set up for HL usage. Diane Williamson said that she'd look for a suitable room in the College of Business. Matthew Clay said that he would find a location in the College of Education. Janet offered to contact Dale Driver, to find one or more rooms in Arts and Sciences.

Melanie Clay stated that currently the DE Dept has staff available late Tuesday and Thursday evenings for support, however, we anticipate most HL usage at night and will need more evening coverage. Janet Gubbins suggested applying for Technology Fee monies to hire Student Assistants to assist students on Monday and Wednesday evenings.

  1. Melanie Clay presented issue #3: should the length of live broadcast be limited? The group agreed that the length should not be limited at this time, however less than 45 minutes would be suggested.
  2. Melanie Clay presented issue #4: will live video be used? The group decided that live video would not add value as much as it would take away from the quality of delivery and bandwidth. Regarding the bandwidth issue, Mike Russell asked if we could set up a test in a computer lab and hit the HL server all 25 times and monitor the effect on campus bandwidth. Matthew Clay offered one of the COE labs; Janet Gubbins offered to coordinate.
  3. Melanie Clay presented issue #5: how to administrate the addition of courses onto the HL server. The group agreed that courses have a name such as: course#_faculty initials_lastdate needed. The group discussed the pros and cons of allowing faculty administrative access. Melanie stated that one pro is that it allows faculty to upload and edit courses at will without waiting for assistance from the DDEC. Janet Gubbins pointed out that faculty with administrative access could accidentally delete other faculty's work, and that some other universities restrict administrative access. Matthew Clay suggested setting a policy that faculty should not delete anything off of the server but should let the DE dept delete files. Melanie stated that she would check with Horizon Live to see if there is any way to provide limited administrative access.
  4. Melanie asked how long faculty should be allowed to keep "Live" and "Archived" courses on the server. The group agreed that the "Live" files should be deleted by the DE Dept, after the last listed date of use (listed in naming scheme). The group agreed that the Archived courses should remain up the duration of the term, if possible (space permitting).

    Mike Russell asked if the HL server did nightly back-ups, in case we had to recover an accidentally deleted file. Kathy Kral and Janet Gubbins said they would check and find out. Mike Russell also asked Janet to find out what type of file the Portable Archive (PA) feature produced. Russell presented the idea that if the PA option produced a "RealMedia" file, then archived courses could be moved to the institutions' Real streaming server, to save space on the HL server.

  5. Melanie Clay adjourned the meeting at 11:20am.