Minutes of the Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence
Thursday, December 10, 1998
3 PM, 817 CL

In attendance: Albrecht, Bean, Beckman, Bell-Loncella, Beratan, Greenberg, Lillie, Maher, Manfredi, Schor, VanLehn, Whitney

Absent: Bartholomae, Flechtner, Harris-Schenz, Lesgold, Marsh, Scaglion, Wilkins

Handouts: Spring term availability schedule; Some Lessons from ECAC/ITWG

1. Funded Instructional Technology Projects

 Dr. Beratan distributed a handout describing various aspects of previously funded technology projects and reviewed its contents with Council members.  In response to a question from Provost Maher, Dr. Beratan explained there had been some reluctance to use student computer fees for laptop computers so faculty could work at home.  Dr. Bell-Loncella said that uniform interface of equipment had not been a problem at the UPJ campus, where she could develop a presentation in her office and use it in her classroom.  Dr. Manfredi said that a transparent, uniform system would be most challenging to develop in an environment with 30,000 users.  Dr. Beratan agreed, adding that an overly standardized system would lack flexibility.  There was general agreement that sufficient support infrastructure for computing must be incorporated into the planning and budgeting system.

2. Technology Training for Faculty: What Other State Schools are Doing

 Provost Maher reported on what other state schools were doing to provide technology training for faculty members, a topic at a recent provosts' NASULGC meeting.  At Iowa, the legislature set aside $500,000 for ongoing faculty training consisting of 3.5 days of summer instruction, 2 hours of personal follow up, and $3,000 for new equipment and software.  They discovered they had to speed up their classroom upgrades as faculty gained computing proficiency.  At Kansas, a Quest for the Best program provided small grants for instructional innovation, which included three intensive weeks' of training for the development of course materials on the web.  At Virginia Tech, faculty were being trained on a four year cycle and provided new equipment and software.  The university learned it had to offer four different levels of training to accommodate differences in faculty computing sophistication.  At Pitt, ULS, CIS, and CIDDE had collaborated to offer training last summer in placing course materials on the web for instructors of large classes of freshmen.  He added that $200,000 had been set aside for faculty training and small grants, which the Council would recommend how to use for both technology-based and non-technology-based instructional development.

 The Provost explained that while Penn State had made great claims in offering courses on the web, Pitt had not thus far presented itself as doing a great deal, although many University faculty members were using web-based materials to enhance instruction.  Dr. Manfredi explained how calculus lectures, quizzes, exams, and related materials were now available on the web; he said that technology had provided the opportunity to revise the calculus curriculum.

 The Provost said that intellectual property was an important issue and that faculty and students must be educated in the requirements of the new law.  He added that the next meeting would be oriented toward what other schools were doing to provide faculty support for instructional development.