ISIT Report February 2008
Issues impacting students and teaching
- Our campus bookstore website---hosted on the MBS server
(3rd-party off-campus) should not ask for the student's campus ID in its
registration process. Since creating an account is not required to browse
what books are available at the bookstore and purchasing of books
via the website is not possible yet, the whole account registration section
has been turned off for now. Unfortunately, if the e-Commerce module (account
registration) is re-enabled it will ask for the student's campus ID despite
assurances from MBS that we would be able to customize the information asked
Students polled by S.G.A. have found the bookstore website helpful in
finding out what textbooks are needed for their classes. Faculty who have
students that got the incorrect textbook after using the bookstore website
should let the ISIT chairs know.
- Student email will be outsourced—to Google sometime
in the near future to improve service and reliability. The student email address
will have the "gmail.bakersfieldcollege.edu" and students won't
have the advertisements as long as they are registered students. There is
the question of how the 3rd party will be notified of the registration status
of the students that needs to be worked out. Every student who registers will
be automatically given an account for free. The username will be of the form
"firstnamelastnameXXXX", where XXXX is a number that will distinguish
one "Juan Lopez" from another "Juan Lopez".
- Posting of student-produced educational videos to "iTunes U"
for free—will be possible as soon as the LSC (district office)
signs the contract. If you have students creating media products for your
class, then check out the Apple
iTunes U service. It is a great way for students to get exposure (and
for the college and your course to get positive publicity if the media products
are high quality!).
- Grade histograms (distributions) and drop rates for individual faculty
are freely available to anyone—on a 3rd-party, commercial website
called "Pick a Prof". For some courses,
users of the site can get past grading histories as detailed as individual
CRNs, while others give a combined histogram for all the sections of a course
taught by a faculty member in a given semester. One of the UC's (UC Davis?)
lost a lawsuit brought against them when they resisted making the grading
histories public, so now all of the schools have been advised by the CCCCO
to make their data available to Pick a Prof (and others sites that ask). BC
data are coming from our Institutional Research office.
The concern, of course, is that looking at just grading histories and
drop histories will give a misleading impression of what learning is going
on in the course and the quality of the course. There is also the concern
that the grading histories might be used inappropriately in the faculty
evaluation process or to force an instructor to be an easier grader at the
expense of quality/academic rigor. Faculty can enter information about themselves
and the courses they teach on the site. Faculty are encouraged to investigate
the site and give what information they can to provide a more accurate view
of what is happening with their courses.
- Assistive Workstation stickers—are now on all computer
lab workstations that have assistive technology (screen readers, magnifiers,
Other items of note
Wireless access for students on campus—is now available
in the Library and all conference rooms. The wireless access is straight
to the internet, NOT to the campus network and campus fileservers (so no
network drives or network directories). Once campus I.S. has experience
with that, other access points around campus to the internet (NOT to the
campus network and fileservers) will be installed. Eventually, we may have
wireless access to our campus network. The wireless acceptable use policy
will be incorporated into the computer use policy. Employees + students
will use their campus network username/password to get access to the wireless
service (but not the campus network drives + directories or have I already
mentioned that?). Instructions for how to connect to the wireless service
will be available on the I.S.
website and on the main
campus site (probably in the "Student Services" section). Technical
problems with the wireless service should be directed to Dean
Serabian (X4077) for the time being. Eventually, all of the I.S. techs
will be brought up to speed on the wireless network.
After some experience with the library and conference room wireless service,
access points will be added by the S.G.A. to their area. As funding becomes
available and after a plan is put into place, we hope to add access points
to the computer labs and classrooms (probably Computer Studies ones first).
Eventually, the entire campus will have wireless service.
Office 2007 compatibility module—will be automatically downloaded
and installed on campus computers starting the week of February 11th. Campus-owned
laptops configured to access the campus internal network will get the Office
2007 compatibility module the first time the user of the laptop plugs into
the campus network during and after the week of February 11th.
- Internet Explorer 7 will not work with our version of Internet Native
Banner—until after June 2008 when Banner is upgraded.
There are no known issues with BanWeb—the only problems are with INB.
- Microsoft's Vista new operating system—is still
several months away at least from being installed on campus computers. Vista
not interact well with our virus checker from Trend Micro. Also, Vista on
machines with 2 Gig or less RAM are "sluggish" (and inoperable
on machines with 1 Gig or less RAM). Upgrading all computers to sufficient
and memory to run Vista will take funding and time that we do not have. The
earliest we could possibly expect for Vista coming is Fall 2008. [Mac users:
the new OS X.5 "Leopard" is snappy on machines with just 1 Gig
RAM and rock-solid, secure and is available right now.]
The LSC will have a server for Vista licensing sometime in Fall 2008.
Currently, Vista machines connect to Microsoft to verify that the installed
Vista OS is a legitimate copy every time Vista boots up or the user logs
in. The Vista licensing server at the LSC will ease the bottleneck from
everyone trying to get onto the Microsoft Vista licensing server. The
Vista licensing server will work with computers plugged into the campus
network; it will not work for using Vista at home (on a campus-owned laptop).
March 4, 2008
Document author: Nick Strobel
Math-Science 101 (Planetarium), 395-4526