Is anyone successfully using a CMS for academic department pages? We are looking for a base-level service that we can provide for departments with limited resources. Is anyone using Wordpress as a CMS?
William Shewbridge (UMBC)
Kevin Hegg (James Madison University)
Bill Barthelmy posed a series of NMCTAB questions about lecture capture that seemed better collected in a Google Form than a slew of emails. Bill's colleagues at Harvard are trying to get an up-to-date sense of what other universities are currently offering in terms of lecture recording.
We are starting the processing of evaluating our commitment to our current LMS. We have done some informal surveys in the past but would like to do a real needs assessment to determine what system would best serve our needs - be it Blackboard, Moodle or something else.
Has anyone gone through this process recently and how did you go about gathering input - surveys, focus groups, something else? Any advice or examples would be a tremendous help. As an aside, what did your school end up going with?
Jason Mellen (Bowling Green State University)
I wanted to ask the group what their current thinking on an appropriate computer lab/classroom infrastructure was. I am not a big fan of computer labs. They are too fixed and end up tying up vast resources in spaces that spend a lot of time empty. I have toyed with the idea of additional laptop carts but both my technicians and my instructors like to complain about those. The batteries on the laptops tend to die out over the years and the carts are big and cumbersome to lug around. Up to this point we've also only had one cart per campus and so at peak times it can be difficult to reserve them - reducing predictability of resources. Certain instructors also tend to hog them.
What kind of mix works best for the rest of the group? Ideally, I'd have a bunker with a dozen or so laptops per classroom but I work at a community college and, budget-wise, that's not terribly realistic. I would also be concerned about security and non-use by most of the faculty.
Tom Haymes (Houston Community College Northwest)
Hamilton College is about to evaluate text to speech (TTS) and speech recognition software for potential accessibility and academic use. We would like to compile a list of applications that should be considered. Ideally, these applications would be flexible in function and cross-platform. Services such as textbook "cutting" and OCR are also being considered. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.
Carl Rosenfield (Hamilton College)
We would like to know what methods the other schools are using for authenticating or verifying the students taking online programs. What methods are you using to verify the person who registered for the course is the one that’s actually taking the course or the exam online, other than username and password? Does anyone use 360 degree camera/web cam to verify students or something else?
(Indiana University Kelley School of Business)
As another example of gathering data from our NMCTAB listserv without an avalanche of emails, we recently set up another Google Form to collect information in response to a question from Cheryl Schaffer from Emerson College, who has asked:
I would like to get a general sense of what technology other schools are using for Webinars. I am seeing interest in this from Faculty and Staff and would like to offer some solutions to them.
Within four days almost 30 people had responded- see below for the results or view in Google Docs. These individuals reported institutional use of the following webinar technologies (quite a few places have multiple systems in place):
A colleague of mine is putting together a Web 2.0 workshop for an audience comprised of federal, state and local employees, and asked me to suggest some speakers. These might include people who can speak on a macro level, as well as those who can speak to particular aspects of Web 2.0 -- VR, social software, blogs, wikis, podcasting, etc. If anyone on the list has heard someone recently who knocked your socks off, can you send me their names
Chris Hodge (University of Tennessee)
We have recently lost a number of computers from someone cutting through the Kensington lock cables. I was looking for a better way to secure the hardware without inconveniencing the users.
I had a thought that there must be some kind of software that will send out out an e-mail alert if someone disconnects a particular PC from the network. I know that something like this exists for projectors through the Crestron Roomview system. Does anyone know of something like this that can loaded onto CPUs?
Tom Haymes (Houston Community College Northwest)
A few weeks ago we posted Collaborating without Email as an idea how to gather information from NMCTAB withoutn the usual round of long emails needing manual compilation. A member had asked to poll the NMCTAB on use of ePortolio software and whether that as a resource had been used in an accredidation process. We did this by setting up a form in Google docs that populates an online repadsheet.
The results included 25 responses collected in 9 days, without one email filling up the NMCTAB listserv. The results are available at http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=prvl0yLfIeb5nQKy_I253HA