Along with Angie Hammons, I, too, had the opportunity to attend the Information Technology & Computing Committee (ITCC) Retreat, held in the Southwestern Bell Cultural Center on Wednesday, December 10, 2008.
In case you were unaware, the ITCC is composed of faculty members and students who are actively engaged with Information Technology (IT) to provide advice, guidance, and feedback to IT on the support and services we provide. As I understand it, we (IT) like to have a two-way communication channel between the faculty, students, and IT staff so that we can come together to find the best solutions for the campus’ computing needs that further the university’s academic mission.
The annual ITCC retreat is an all-day affair in which various groups within IT report to the ITCC progress on various projects that IT is involved in. This year, we updated the ITCC on several new projects IT will be implementing in the near future, such as a campus-wide desktop management system to help IT better manage the deployment and support of campus Windows desktops (though hopefully we can offer similar desktop support for Mac/Linux boxes in the not-to-distant future–one step at a time, though!).
EdTech is heavily involved with the various computer learning centers (CLCs) scattered around campus and we are working hard to make sure the right resources are allocated to support the campus educational mission. We had hoped to have the members of the ITCC collaborate with IT staff during the retreat to comment on various possible case scenarios that we (EdTech) posted on our blog. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, the servers that power our blog refused to cooperate (despite the fact our blog was working fine in my office). This is just one more case of how technology works perfectly right up to the point where you actually need to use it for something productive.
Of course, the nice thing about having the case scenarios posted on our blog is that ITCC members can comment on the scenarios whenever or wherever they like, and are not limited to doing so at a particular time and place. We also had paper backup copies that the ITCC members could use to write their comments on.
Later during the retreat, I shared the results of the CDW-G survey that we asked students, faculty, and IT staff to take. We also asked the ITCC members and IT staff members in the room to participate in the survey through the use of clickers to see how their responses stacked up against the survey results. In most cases, their responses aligned nicely with the survey results, but there were a few divergences (I can’t remember which questions diverged at the moment).
Also at the ITCC retreat were three poster presentations created by IT Staff. Eric Sigler, manager of the Server team on campus demonstrated virtual desktops. Brooke Durbin, who is in charge of web site support & development through Documentum, shared her poster on how our campus converted our web sites from UMR to Missouri S&T in less than a day (though there were a few “aftershocks”, they weren’t terribly disruptive and were quickly resolved–without Documentum Web Publisher, the process would have been much, much more painful). Finally, Lauren Oswald, EdTech’s resident learning space designer, and Angie Hammons, our educational technology specialist, shared their presentation on transforming learning spaces, highlighting the changes made to Computer Science 212/213 and Engineering Management 222.