CIT, September 14, 1998

Present at the meeting: Channing, Cottrell, Dominick, McCray, Matthews, Warren, Wicker, Wilkerson.

The Agenda for the next meeting, September 28, 1998, will address: Tivoli, the Notes Template-Web template interface, students on Notes Mail, and issues related to how and when decisions are made, and time permitting, network difficulties reported by faculty using Macs.

The CIT also plans to review the computer use policy document prepared last year by the subcommittee.

The rest of the meeting was devoted to demos and discussions of 3 course shells by Gordon McCray. McCray attended a conference on courseware at the University of Pittsburgh. Several products are now on the market that might be considered in lieu of the Notes-Web product. McCray sent out a memo with a website comparing shells. The committee saw:Topclass, WebCT and CourseInfo, all of which offer threaded discussions, Chatrooms, Quizzes, etc. These shells require less storage space than Lotus Learning Space, and adhere to an IMS standard (Instructional Management Systems). Prices vary and are very negotiable.

Information on the various programs is currently available at http://www.wfu.edu/~gmccray/citshells.html

CourseInfo was very user friendly, leading the instructor step by step through putting a quiz on the web. This led to a discussion of faculty resisting change, and why stability is important unless real and significant improvements require change.

WebCT, out of the U. of British Columbia, was less pleasing to the eye, but good at tracking student performance. It was also harder to use. TopClass was reviewed very quickly, and Prof. McCray observed that it had many unexplained navigation bars and buttons. A Task Force to look at course shells will be formed, including those who use it and those who seek collaborative writing tools.

One comment about shells was that they are organized by type of content rather than topically.

WIN and its problems were discussed briefly. Jay indicated that WIN depends on Java and our Java server has bugs. He is putting 3 pcs in front of the server to prevent crashes. McCray uses it to send e-mail to his classes, and suggested that mail be set up to handle classes with multiple sections. WIN is getting heavily used and IS is getting many suggestions from users.

Rhoda K. Channing, Director
Z. Smith Reynolds Library