NVCC Information Technology Committee

October 12, 2005


Meeting Notes



Present:  Lowell Ballard, Alison Baker, William Gary, David Lavis, Stacy Pendleton, Steven Sachs, Barbara Saperstone, Monica Sasscer, P.D. Scott


1.         Dr. Sachs welcomed the group to the first committee meeting of this year.  Members present introduced themselves.


2.         Overview of Committee Tasks - Dr. Sachs gave a brief overview of how the College Tech Plan was developed and the approval process. He read the purpose assigned to the committee. Today’s meeting is an organizational one and to give notice of various decisions that will come before the committee. Regular scheduled meetings will be set up. The general belief among the committee members present was that Friday mornings would be the best time.


3.         2005-06 Technology Plan Review - Copies of the NVCC 2005-06 Technology Plan was distributed to members. It is also published on our website. Dr. Sachs briefed the committee on how changes at the VCCS level may impact next year’s technology plan development. The VCCS will be reviewing information on a recently submitted technology inventory and gap analysis against our eventual reporting of outcomes from our technology plan. 


Dr. Sachs pointed out the budget pages in the tech plan that gives narrative and budget amounts for the line items. There is also a best practices report from this year attached to the plan for the first time. The report was first required by the VCCS last year. The ITC needs to give consideration to how data is gathered for that report in the future. The accuracy is important. The next survey will be due June 1, 2006.


Dr. Sachs also reviewed the upcoming calendar for VCCS system upgrades:  next version of Blackboard - possible summer 2006, SIS version 8.9 – October 2006, Administrative Information System (finances) and/or HR – July, 2007. Dr. Sachs and VP Baker described current VCCS review of AIS/HR packages. A final decision is due by March 2006.


4.         Preliminary Results 2005 Technology Inventory and Gap Analysis – A summary of the 18 page inventory of computers and technology equipment that was submitted to the VCCS was provided. Distribution of some equipment funds by the ITC are pending, awaiting review of that report so the committee can determine actual needs. This type of inventory will play a larger role in next year’s VCCS technology funding. Specifics of that are unknown at this time.


There was discussion of the various inventory results and possible ramifications. One positive aspect pointed out is that we do not have a large number of very old computers that need replacement. This is the first time projectors have been considered in technology inventories. The committee will need to consider specifications and plan how we should go about replacing old projectors. The report also looks at IT staffing support time.


Action:  The ITC has tasked the ITMs with devising a standard inventory plan and assigned responsibility to them for maintaining that data. This is needed for providing accurate future reports to the VCCS. It is also requested that the plan include coordination with the college’s present inventory system.


5.         VCCS Minimum PC Specifications – Dr. Sachs reviewed the proposed PC guidelines as developed at the last VCCS Technology Council. It gives specifications for 3 user levels. The ITC agreed to fund the “entry level” computers for Technology Plan funded PCs, once they have been reviewed by the ITIC. Based on recommendations from the ITIC, that may be upgraded to the “Mainstream level.” Campuses always have the option to upgrade a computer where necessary.


6.         Blackboard Communities Portal – Dr. Sachs gave a brief presentation and demo of the new Blackboard portal. Colleges have control over what we include on the portal. A committee is needed at NVCC to manage what is put there. The portal is for current students and employees. Dr. Sachs requested recommendations on the make up of the committee. The ITC approved that it should be a small committee that would solicit input from a broader audience. Dr. Sachs will put a committee together.


7.         Student Anti-virus Software – NVCC presently buys anti-virus software for faculty and staff home use. A VCCS committee is exploring such a purchase for student’s home use. The ITC will consider that purchase at a future meeting.


8.         Remote Office Plan Discussion – We already have some of the pieces in place for remote office access. Staff are currently working on putting the pieces together in a way that will make it easier for users. The ITC will address what we want to support and provide to staff, once options and costs have been investigated.


9.         VCCS Learning Object Repository and Blackboard Content System – Not covered.


10.       Blogs and Wikis Discussion on Whether to Own or Not –There was discussion on these types of applications, and advantages and disadvantages of purchasing and supporting them. The committee decided that we will put together and publish a list of free sites to direct interested faculty, reminding them of present NVCC policies and professional responsibilities that may apply. The information will include information on the pros and cons of using such sites. The decision to own can be reconsidered after we see the interest and use.


11.       Internet Customer Service Chat – We will be implementing internet chat services for interested NVCC offices. One office that might benefit from this is the Help Desk.


12.       Telephone System Enhancements:

            Communication Consultant – The Tech Fund provides for the hiring of a telephone system consultant to help advise offices on their use of our telephone system. This will be for considering the office business processes involving the telephone.

            9-911 Enhancement – Software is being considered that will give more accurate location information for phone emergency calls to 911.