University of Pittsburgh

Council on Academic Computing (CAC)

1999-2000 Activities Report



The CAC was established in December 1999 to provide guidance to the Provost regarding academic computing issues; specifically by recommending priorities and policies, and reviewing proposals in the areas of network services, acquisition of instructional software, and development of specialized facilities.





Distance Education


A subcommittee, comprised of Cohn, Draus, Duck, and Friedman, was formed to assess what measures could be taken to enhance distance education.  In general, the group reported that University’s practices are keeping in touch with distance learning developments and that keeping a small but active endeavor was the path to follow.  Reports that have recently surfaced from the University of Illinois at Chicago point to similar strategies at other institutions.


Preliminary observations/recommendations:

·         Increased stability of the CourseInfo product is desirable.

·         More extensive faculty beta testing before new version release is key, with new versions or “fixes” introduced at non-critical times in the semester.

·         Full staffing is needed to support busy times in the semester (e.g., 3 weeks before a new semester, and 3 weeks into the semester), as well as accurate projections of future staffing needed to accommodate increased CourseInfo use.

·         Increased communication concerning CourseInfo to faculty users is desirable (i.e., prompt communication of unexpected problems; sharing of user solutions; Academic calendar; Web-based “tech tips” file).

·         Online new course and course cloning requests.  Faculty input into CourseInfo calendaring, policy and operational changes to provide ongoing user input is desirable.  A CourseInfo advisory group is a possibility.

·         More frequent administrative communication concerning CourseInfo may be helpful.

·         It is unlikely individual academic units, or student users will be charged for CourseInfo use.


It was suggested that Dean Susan Kinsey be invited to address Council regarding CGS’s efforts in distance education.


Internet2 Opportunities


A number of different news items were presented to CAC involving opportunities to use high-speed Internet2 connections.  In order to get a more complete picture of the opportunities, David Brienza of SHRS was asked to report back after attending the Spring Internet2 meeting.  He summarized the uses of I2, funding for applications, and gaining access to I2.


CAC members will poll their units regarding potential Internet2 applications and submit summaries by September 2000.


A program announcement to solicit proposals for development of Internet2 applications was discussed.




Gordon reported on the current bandwidth status and the plans to upgrade.  Council will discuss the demands on the network and acceptable use policies in the next academic year.  This is a complex topic that will require further discussion.  Some tradeoffs and compromises may be in order.


Laptop Program


Frank Miller of the Katz Graduate School of Business provided CAC with an overview of the student computer initiative (IBM Leasing Program) in place at KGSB.  Klinzing is to probe the possibility of interactive transmission with David Brown at Wake Forest University on using laptops for instruction.



Information Sessions


CAC met with Diane Davis to assess the current climate for distance education and toured CIDDE’s new site in the Masonic Temple.


Michael Arenth of CIDDE presented an overview of the technological capabilities available in B75 Mervis Hall.


Rush Miller, Fern Brody, and Tim Deliyannides gave a presentation of ULS electronic capabilities.



1999-2000 CAC Members


Melanie Anderson



Siddharth Chandra


Ellen Cohn


Andrew Connolly

FAS/Physics & Astronomy

Gregory Dick


Peter Draus


Marek Druzdzel


Patricia Duck


Charles Friedman


Irene Frieze

FAS/Psychology representing SCUC

Dennis Galletta


Arthur Hellman


Ronald Hoelzeman


Norman Hummon


Kenneth Jordan


Susan Sereika

Nursing representing SCUC

Clement Stone


Michael Zemaitis




Chair:                    George E. Klinzing, Office of the Provost

Staff Liaisons:        Maurice Gordon, Network Services

                   Jinx Walton, Computing Services & Systems Development

Observer:              Thalia Jones, Office of the Provost


Guests:                 Michael Arenth, CIDDE

                             David Brienza, SHRS

                             Fern Brody, ULS

Diane Davis, CIDDE

                             Tim Deliyannides, ULS

Frank Miller, KGSB

Rush Miller, ULS