Motions and Recommendations passed by the

Academic Technology Committee 2012-13

(from Minutes) 

Derek Yip Hoi, Chair






ATC recommendations on General University Lab Usage Report

Motion (moved by Doug Clark, second Chris Sandvig):  ATC Approves the, ‘Recommendations Regarding ATUS Computer Lab Usage’.    Motion passed unanimously.


ATC approved the following text as their official recommendations in respect to the ATUS General University Lab Usage Study report (Appendix A).

Approved Text:

Recommendations Regarding ATUS Computer Lab Usage
ATUS was tasked by the Provost with evaluating student and faculty use of 20 WWU general university computer labs and to explore changes in their numbers and distributions. Based on the results of the General University Lab (GUL) Usage Study, the CIO identified several of the apparently lower-use labs to evaluate their value to faculty and students as computing facilities.

Members of ATC visited each of these labs at various times to evaluate their usage and to solicit feedback from on-site users (both students and faculty). Based our review, ATC does not endorse closure of these labs at this time for the following reasons:

1. The current GUL usage study considers only the utilization of individual labs rather than the labs as part of an integrated system. There are no data that show whether the GUL system as a whole adequately satisfies faculty and student demand either on a weekly basis or at peak demand times (dead week).  In the absence of a more systematic study, it is unclear how much redundancy is needed in the system to protect against downtime in the event of an unforeseen lab failure during a peak usage time. Without this information it is unclear as to whether the less utilized labs really represent overcapacity or rather, an opportunity to better balance use throughout the lab system and provide backup capacity.
2. Existing labs can be used more efficiently. Classes requiring computers for instruction should be scheduled in less utilized labs in order to (a) balance utilization, (b) minimize disruption from students looking for open computer labs, and (c) free up space in the more heavily-utilized labs.
3. If the need for increased non-computing space in the University is sufficiently demonstrated, ATC recognizes that there are certain labs which could possibly be repurposed. At present, no such need has been demonstrated, whereas all computer labs (even those that are less utilized) have clear value to the instructors and students who do use them.  Closure of any lab should be driven by the needs of a specific repurposing proposal that might utilize the space that becomes available. Endorsing recommendations to create “generic” space through lab closures feeds into concerns that these studies are purely driven by undefined space needs rather than by specific efforts to improve the quality of Western’s computing capabilities. A repurposing proposal would allow a proper cost-benefit analysis on the loss of the lab to be performed.  This effort would provide a more open and transparent process where stakeholders can present their concerns and seek redress as needed.

The ATC strongly endorses the GUL usage study recommendations on creating technology-enabled collaboration spaces for students. This would also be an economical way to enhance student access to computer resources and support technology-integrated collaborative learning.

E-Form to request continued Blackboard Usage

Motion:  Approve E-form content to request Blackboard usage in Fall Quarter 2013 (moved by Derek Yip-Hoi, second by Doug Clark).   Motion passed unanimously


ATC approved the following text to become the official e-form that faculty can use in order to request Blackboard usage in the coming Fall Quarter.  ATC will allow any syntactical or grammatical changes to be made provided that they are inconsequential to the overall meaning of the document.  The e-form will be submitted directly to John Farquhar; requests that Farquhar is unsure of will be submitted to ATC for consideration. 

Approved text:
Blackboard Request for Fall 2013
This form is to request the use of Blackboard for the Fall term of 2013
Following positive results from a pilot study of the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS), Western has decided to migrate from Blackboard to Canvas over the 2013 calendar year. Canvas became available to all faculty beginning with the Spring term of 2013. Given that it is in the best interest of students and the university to support a single LMS system, all faculty should migrate to Canvas by the Fall 2013 term. Access to archival materials from Blackboard will remain available until June 2014.
In support of this move, ATUS offers frequent workshops on the use of Canvas, has available online tutorials, and can provide direct assistance in migrating content from Blackboard to Canvas. Nevertheless, there may remain special circumstances which prevent faculty from moving to Canvas for the fall term.
By submitting this form, I understand that it is the university’s intention to support Canvas as the only Learning Management System for the Fall 2013 term and that assistance in learning Canvas and in migrating content is available from ATUS. However, I am not yet prepared to use Canvas and request that I use Blackboard with my students for the fall term only.
Name: ______________
Username: _______________
I am requesting use of Blackboard for the Fall 2013 term because:
_ I have recently been on sabbatical.
_ I was not on contract for the Spring & Summer 2013 terms.
_ I am retiring immediately following the Fall 2013 term.
_ Other. Explain ___________________
Please submit to:

Recommended Plan to Switch from Blackboard to Canvas

A  Motion was made by Doug Clark, seconded by Gary Bornzin to recommend to the Faculty Senate that:
“Full access to Blackboard be maintained through the end of summer quarter (2013).  Beginning fall quarter (2013), the default Learning Management System (LMS) will be Canvas; afterwards, limited access to BB will be maintained for a full year through an archive in order to aid the transition to Canvas.  Faculty are encouraged to switch to canvas immediately.”   Motion passed unanimously.

Recommend the Switch to Canvas from Blackboard

A Motion was made by Doug Clark, seconded by Craig Moyer to recommend to the Faculty Senate that the University switch our Learning Management System (LMS) to Canvas from Blackboard

Motion to Change ATC Membership

A Motion was made by Derek Yip-Hoi, seconded by Elizabeth Stephan to revise the Academic Technology Committee charge in the Constitution of the Faculty Handbook to add a representative from Extended Education, as follows:

BL7.6.1.c..   One representative from Extended Education (ex officio, non-voting)”

The Motion Passed Unanimously.

Approval of Survey and Cover Letter

The ATC passed a motion to approve the survey and cover letter contingent on the addition of a sentence in the cover letter emphasizing the importance of addressing future technological needs. (Gary Bornzin moved, Craig Moyer second).  Motion Passed.