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Advisory Council Instructional Excellence
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Advisory Council on Instructional Excellence Meeting

October 13, 2008


826 Cathedral of Learning




Present: A. Blair (Chair),  P. Brusilovsky, J. Camillus, N. Day, S. Engberg, J. Erlen, J. McGrath, M. Ripoll, C. Singh, C. Wilcox, and D. Davis (Staff Liaison)



Approval of Minutes (A.Blair):

  Dr. Blair welcomed several new members of the Advisory Council, who were unable to attend last month’s meeting.  He then asked for a motion from Council members for approval of the September 11, 2008 meeting minutes, which was offered, seconded, and accepted with one typographical error to be corrected before posting to the ACIE website.

Report of the Chair (A. Blair):  


At last month’s meeting, Dr. Blair requested that new members select one of the two Council Committees (Best Practices and Faculty Development) on which they would like to serve.  Members made selections and the committees are now complete.  Committee meetings are scheduled by Dr. Davis and meet on a monthly basis.

            Dr. Blair then reported on changes to the RFP 2009 which was distributed in draft form to members prior to the meeting.  He noted that changes from 2008 are very minor, (mainly deadline dates) and none substantive.  One Council member suggested that the previous submitters be invited to resubmit proposals that were not funded previously; a second member agreed and suggested that additional wording be added to the RFP that accommodates this suggestion.  Council members agreed, and this will be added to the Eligibility section.  Dr. Blair then asked members to encourage faculty colleagues to consider submitting a proposal this year.

Reports of the Committee Chairs


a.           Best Practices (C. Singh, Chair):  Prof. Singh reported that the Committee was unable to meet thus far.  She expects that this committee will conduct a review of CIDDE’s testing services.  The committee will meet soon to discuss how to undertake this effort.  Dr. Davis added that the testing services component was created to serve Pitt’s distance learning programs.  A supervised, computer-based system was developed and is still in use.  Our testing services is also part of a larger network that shares services with other universities.  CIDDE now has been asked to provide testing support for on-campus courses; for example, practice exams and ways to accommodate students who have missed an exam for legitimate reasons, conditional on a space-available basis.  CIDDE is also investigating ways for students to take online exams off-site, but security is a major problem.  Currently, the services are extended as far as possible, but CIDDE is at a point where advice is needed for future direction. 

b.          Faculty Development Committee (D. Davis for K. Kearns):  The Faculty Development Committee met.  In addition to the Teaching Excellence Fair, it reviewed the faculty book and article discussion sessions, a quite successful program implemented by Council initially for three years.  Based on its success, the Committee will resubmit a recommendation in the near future to Council for a continuation of this program.   

Teaching Excellence Fair (D. Davis):

Dr. Davis distributed copies of the program for the November 5 Teaching Excellence Fair.  Profs. Peter Brusilovsky and Chandra Singh will conduct a new session, “From ACIE Award to External Funding.”  This is in response to the suggestion at last month’s meeting that previous award winners with nationally-funded grants awarded as a result of their projects be invited make a presentation and discuss how to obtain further funding.  Other efforts to increase faculty attendance at the Fair, as well as how to encourage colleagues to submit proposals to the Innovation in Education awards program, were offered by Council members, and some may be incorporated in future communications and promotional materials.

Dr. Davis also briefly summarized the fall Learning Technology Consortium meeting held at the University of Florida-Gainesville on September 24-26.  The group discussed current trends and use of instructional technology:  web-conferencing—not new but growing and becoming mainstream; interest in Sakai (an open source course management system as an alternative to systems such as Blackboard)—is growing dramatically; and the use of mobile devices for creative teaching.

  With no further business, the Advisory Council adjourned at 4:00 pm.  The next Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 11, 11:00 am, 826 CL.

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