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Information Technology Committee

Committee Members
Elected Members: Michelle Habeck, Loukas F. Kallivokas, Desiderio Kovar (chair), Mia K. Markey, Vijaya Ramachandran, Mary L. Rice-Lively (vice elect), Clay Spinuzzi, Margaret A. Syverson
Faculty Council Appointees: Luis Francisco-Revilla (chair elect), Jon E. Olson
Staff: Ryan S. Baldwin, Wayne M. Butler, Angela M. Svoboda, Sakena Sounny-Slitine
Students: Ryan Jordan, Russell D. Kraayenburg, Angela M. Newell
Administrative Advisers (without vote): Jeffrey A. Brumfield, Shan W. Evans, Athena H. Reynolds, Brian E. Roberts

Executive Summary
After an informational first meeting, the next five meetings dealt with two issues that the committee deemed pressing.

The first issue was Blackboard, the course management software that is currently licensed by UT. At our first meeting on this subject, Shan Evans from DIAA gave us some background, and we learned that almost every student on campus and a significant number of faculty use this software throughout the semester so this is an issue that has widespread importance to the campus community. We also learned that Blackboard is not designed to allow for easy customization. This means that changes and improvements to Blackboard are difficult to implement. Potential methods include 1) making requests for new/improved features directly to Blackboard and 2) having ITS/DIIA staff write modules that can be incorporated into Blackboard. After discussion, the committee made three recommendations:
1. Additional resources be made available for staff support that can be used to develop online documentation
2. Additional resources be made available to provide appropriate staffing for conducting usability and customization studies
3. Changes be made to the Blackboard main page so that the User Input page can be directly accessed from the main Blackboard web page

Of these three, we found that item three was implemented within a month. We did not follow up to determine if the other two items were implemented.

The second issue dealt with site licensing. After receiving an overview of some of the site licensing issues from L.B. Brady, associate vice president in charge of Business Services, she presented some of the challenges to increasing the number of site licenses that UT has. Numerous issue were discussed including a lack of coordination between UT departments, colleges/schools, ITS, and UT system for identifying potential targets for site licensing, inability to identify number of users for a particular software, identifying sources of funding to support site licenses, and others. In the end, we did not make significant progress on this issue, and it is one that should be addressed again after the various parties have had time to think more about this.

Another item that was suggested for future meetings include a laptop requirement for incoming freshman.

Desiderio Kovar, chair