FTC meeting, Dec. 14, 2011


1.  "Tablet" (iPad and ASUS) Pilot – handed out a Tablet Pilot Progress Report.  The document is an internal document to summarize the plan internally.   There is an iPad2 cohort (17)

Smaller cohort of 3 who are using Asus.  Document not included in these minutes.


The iPads and other tablets have been distributed for trials over the holiday break – this group is set for spring semester only.  $25K budgeted this year – money distributed for more people and fewer apps.  Stylus-based apps avoided.  Not to push the group into production.  The deal with the group is not goal of projection, but varieties of classroom use.  End of semester in the spring the group will come back to ATAB and this committee with a report.


Rita reported that no volunteers for the pilot were refused.  But, Law School attorneys  (criminel justice) asked about giving these to students and were turned down.  There have been two drop outs, likely because of the commitment to blog and attend meetings….


Evan Kantrowitz question:  how long before students can use iPad on campus instead of computer.  Rita answer – flash is still a problem.   Michael Connolly added that he does 60% of his own activity through iPad.  CICS/registrar faster on iPad than on a computer, according the M.C.  Rita Owens commenting on trends, pointed out software development is being driven to tablet devices. Textbooks are next.   Apple has gone ahead by looking for Intro Text books (InkLink) used at various large places;  Cookbooks are another big area of interest for publishers.  The next step will require textbooks to be written in a way to use hyperlinks within the textbooks.


Rita commented on her use of tablet in "business writing" course:  "Good Reader". She uses her iPad to add verbal comments on papers.


2.  Citrix Project (chair, Kit Baum):  Barry Schaudt is designated Mr. Citrix on this, i.e. point man.  Calls with problems in the second version are down to zero because it is now stable.  O'Dwyer uses SPSS on Citrix more effectively than students buying their own.   Citrix now includes only Stata, Mathematica, MATLAB, SPSS and the like.  Photoshop and Dreamweaver of the old system currently out.


Evan Kantrowitz query:  Does Citrix work with iPad.  K. Baum indicates Citrix can be accessed via Safari?


Kit Baum:  There is a required course in Econometrics with 200 students;  in which this large number make heavy use of Citrix app server.  Report from Data user, grad students do not like it because they are kicked off in 15 minutes;  Citrix believes it is two hours.    Solution?:  Much heavier grad student users need to move to Linux.  The goal is to remove software from individual computers in classrooms to central applications Center – one major reason:  updates are a one-time process.


Stephanie , Mandy, Chris Brewer are on this committee;  Linda McIntosh from Management.  Barry wants to know whatfaculty want on such an app server.  Committee starts with Citrix implementation;  but should discuss direction in the future – more for research? more for classroom use.  Applications to be added?  Can departments use departmental technology funds to buy software for the app – a department will need an application expert to walk Barry through the details on any individual department app expert.  Funding for software comes from departments – bring together departments to jointly fund.  Restrictions can be built in; purchaser can restrict use?


Some software has a site license  (SPSS); others require purchase of individual licenses;  vendors are still trying to figure out how to make money. 

Janet Helms in LSOE is running a pilot this winter.


3.  IT wants a volunteer for a hiring committee for the director of Support Services.  Three ATAB people already on the committee.  This person will see the finalists – one faculty meeting with a group.  Bill Stanwood volunteered.


4.  Microsoft Exchange problems – Barry S. provided a handout.  The handout explains a raft of problems;  most problems are calendaring issues.  Everybody fed up with it; but no short term solutions; only negative things…. (see handout).   Michael Connolly recommends not using Exchange.  Personal calendaring is not affected.  Another big problem is synchronization.  Using multiple devices, avoid doing the same things on multiple devices.  IT is doing more training sessions with TCs to anticipate HELP needs. 


Evan Kantrowitz pointed out that the number of events stored in Exchange can be a problem – moving events to folders alleviated his problem.


4a – long term solutions – new support from Apple….;  University is considering Google a possibility: once/if students and then faculty move to email on Google.  Costs?  Exchange or Google? 


5.  Blackboard Vista replacement Process


Coursekit.com.  Came out last semester – Ellen Winner in Psychology adopted.  Coursekit is an off campus unsupported alternative to Blackboard Vista.  Its model is entirely new. The company works directly with faculty members, not with institutions.   Michael Connoly set up two courses for this spring.  Off campus Learning Management System which is FreeWare and very simple.


Rita Owens: 3 students from Penn developed Coursekit; Facebook look and feel.


Coursekit is but one approach to the demise of Blackboard Visit (end of contract).    University has put out a request for proposals for BbV replacement; this group has looked at Course Kit.  Sakai is an Open Source alternative, too.  Open Source links to Learning Management system will allow tapping into new apps.  One vendor/one way is a problem in this regard.  CourseKit.com will be considered among options.


Next meeting January 24,  2012.  Minutes respectfully submitted by Tim Duket