ACEC Meeting Minutes November 18, 2021

Attending: Philip Wedge, English (Chair); Zsolt Talata, Mathematics; Andi Back, Libraries; Hong Vu, Journalism; Jila Niknejad, Mathematics; Scott Cossel, Libraries; Adam Mansfield, Legal Aid for Students; Mary Walsh, CIO IT Services; David Day, KU IT; John Rinnert, Director of KU IT; Jennifer Anderson, Director of Policy and Compliance; Tom Roderick, IT Associate Director

Wedge opened the meeting by asking for approval of the minutes for the Oct. 28 meeting. Unanimously approved. Wedge then invited John Rinnert to discuss the survey results on the transition from Blackboard to Canvas from Spring 2021. Rinnert observed that the main area of frustration, based on faculty feedback, was that those who had put a lot of time into building their Blackboard course platforms found it difficult to transition to Canvas’s different platform, because they would need to build them in a different way.  From the student side, the overwhelming frustration (37%) was with having courses in two different LMS’s. Rinnert then asked for questions or comments from the committee

Niknejad raised the question of the difficulty of creating “Calculated Columns” in the gradebook on Canvas. Rinnert said most of their discussion with tech support is with the gradebook functions in Canvas. He encouraged faculty to work with the Ed Techs on workarounds with quizzes and gradebook to try and improve this area of Canvas. Talata said he had less difficulty in his experience with Canvas’s Gradebook. Discussion ensued. Rinnert said Canvas has a “speed grading” application that has become popular with those grading big classes because it takes fewer steps to grade a set of tests/assignments.

Wedge observed that the survey results seemed to show a fair amount of student disapproval of instructors who didn’t understand Canvas very well. He wondered if IT was ready to handle the projected 60% of instructors who need to switch to Canvas with instructional classes, since the messaging we’re getting is that space is limited for those instructional classes. Rinnert responded that a lot of their training has been individualized for departments to transition together. These are usually one-hour courses. Canvas has 24-hour support and KU has a self-paced course as well. They also are running daily workshops. Wedge proposed the Committee meet again with Rinnert in the spring once Fall survey results on the transition to Canvas are in, so that they can finish addressing that specific charge for the Committee.

Mary Walsh then introduced Tom Roderick to the Committee. He shared with us a PowerPoint presentation on how IT Governance is structured at KU. Roderick pointed out the main benefit for IT Governance is communicating the benefits of IT to the community but also the ability to use feedback from the community to improve IT systems and services. Roderick estimates 75-80% of university campuses in the U.S. have formalized some form of IT Governance. K-State and Wichita State are a little ahead of KU in establishing their IT Governance structures. IT Governance is usually three-tiered: Executive Level, Strategic Level, and Operational Level, with the Operational Level having several committees that recommend changes to the Strategic Level. The Executive Level (Chancellor, Provost, etc., make the decisions and allocate funds for IT projects), Roderick described different three-tier IT structures at North Carolina State, Washington State, and Texas A & M. At Texas A& M, University and Student Government committees make recommendations to the Operational level committees.

Roderick reports KU IT processes are beginning to be adapted. There is a formalized annual review process, utilizing service councils for campus-wide feedback. Any changes to policies eventually go through the KU Policy Office. An IT Service Review is also in place. On the Operational level, they are focusing on 6 potential councils, including the ASSC (Academic Services Steering Committee), Administrative and Business Service Council, Infrastructure Service Council (launching in 2022), and Research (plan to implement in 2022). Currently, they have a Research Technology Working Group which they hope to adapt into a governance group at the Operational Level.

At the Strategic Level, IT Operations meet weekly, to oversee security, feasibility and procurement issues at KU. The Executive Level has not yet been firmly established as, but according to Roderick, the Provost, CFO, and Provost Council “are very interested” in establishing the Executive Level of IT Governance.

After going through this PowerPoint presentation, Broderick then gave the committee a quick run-through of the KU IT Governance Website:

After Roderick completed his presentation, Wedge asked what faculty representation existed on the four committees IT Governance has established. Roderick reported that currently one faculty rep is on the Administrative and Business Service Council at the moment as well as one graduate student representative. Wedge then thanked Roderick for his comprehensive condensed presentation.

Walsh said IT has a Strategic Council that they have convened which meets about three times per semester—a group that is outside IT Governance which includes faculty and staff—where IT can present its current project plans and get feedback from the Council. Walsh welcomed members of the ACEC to take part in the Council’s virtual meetings if they are interested.  Some discussion of faculty representation ensued. Scott Cossel expressed an interest in taking part.

Wedge then reported that he contacted the Chair of the Libraries Committee regarding the charge—third bullet point—that the ACEC collaborate with the Libraries Committee regarding the Excessive Downloads policy. She reported her committee had not been given a charge by University governance regarding this issue, so we may not be able to proceed with this charge.

Wedge also contacted Angela Rathman, chair of the ACEC last year, regarding the Excessive Downloading policy. Rathman reported that the Library does not actually determine the policy. Walsh reported that she has talked with Scott Hanrath, Assoc. Dean of the Libraries, regarding this. Wedge pointed out that some aspects of the Excessive Download are probably determined by the publishers of the databases themselves, so the ACEC may not be able to help shape policy very much if that is the case. Librarian Andi Back then confirmed Scott Hanrath would be the person to talk with because he oversees the Content Development Department and the It Department at the KU Libraries. She pointed out the policy primarily has to do with copyright.

Wedge suggested the committee invite Scott Hanrath to talk with the ACEC Committee in the spring semester regarding the charges to do with Excessive Downloading and that we could also meet with John Rinnert for an update on the survey results regarding transitioning to Canvas. He also suggested we might want to meet with Walsh to ask for any updates that relate to the Committee’s Standing Charge.

The meeting then adjourned with a plan to meet again in February 2022,

Respectfully submitted,

Philip Wedge, Chair ACEC