This Week in LIS - 21 November 2012

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Headline of the Week: Online Courses “AND” Liberal Arts Colleges

This past summer Luther College experimented with online courses. Recently there was a readout on that experience shared at a faculty meeting. The ACM (Associated Colleges of the Midwest), of which Luther College is a member, is also planning on experimenting with online classes. In particular they are developing and planning to hold a summer Calculus course.

Last Thursday brought news of yet another group of selective colleges joining together to offer online courses. What is interesting here is that the courses are targeted to undergraduate students (vs. graduate/continuing education courses). Also interesting is the discussion on some of the motivations.

One idea is that it expands the range of offerings available to students. This seems a very good idea that could enable advanced and esoteric courses that might not be pragmatic at any one school due to limited enrollment. Aggregating the interests of students to reach reasonable class enrollments could lead to more offerings for all. Such arrangements might enable one to get a degree from Luther College AND take some additional courses that complement that work that are not offered.

Another interesting motivation had to do with study or service work abroad. Online courses can be taken from anywhere there is sufficient Internet service. Being able to take courses and continue to make academic progress while at the same time participating in an off-campus opportunity might reduce either/or choices.

At Luther College “AND” is a very strong distinguishing feature. One can participate in extraordinary music AND be a student preparing for medical school. One can participate in sports at a high level AND study religion. One can be in theatre productions AND study abroad AND be in a choir.

Is it useful to think of online courses as a tool for amplifying and extending the opportunities for “AND”ing?

For LIS the topic is interesting because of the role we can play in enablement and support. I note in the Chronicle article that they plan to use 2U software (formally 2tor). There are a number of these platforms that are being developed. Some of them will be open and some will be for fee. It will be important over time for us to develop a level of familiarity with these platforms so we are ready to enable and support through study and experimentation. Fast following depends on early experimentation.

Suggested Reading/Viewing:

10 Highly Selective Colleges Form Consortium to Offer Online Courses

Faculty Receive Funds for Projects to Leverage Resources and Connections Across ACM

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LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

The following articles are sampled from those available on the LIS Blog:

Notes from LIS Council

LIS Council is the leadership team within LIS. Among the topics discussed this past week were:

  • LIS Operational Agenda
    • Council members will be reporting on LIS operational views (metrics for processes and status of projects) regularly at LIS Council meetings. This week’s reports included the following:
    • Archives
      • Recent conference sessions and ideas on the use of primary source materials with K-16 students suggested ideas for improving Archives approach to instruction sessions.
      • We discussed the security of our confidential destruction service. Locked bins leave Luther, materials are brought to a county facility, materials are shredded while the courier waits and then the bins are returned empty.
      • Next week is the final week of the collaboration with Vesterheim on the Journeys to America project.
    • Network & Systems
      • We reviewed weekly wireless connection activity as well as a multi-week view of internet bandwidth usage.
      • We discussed wireless usage at recent events including Luther wrestling meet and Fun. concert. Participants bring wireless devices (e.g. smart phones and pads) that naturally want to connect to our wireless systems. At events the concern is the number of the devices. At this point, in these two cases even though there were many connected devices their bandwidth demand was modest. Some interesting and unexpected connected to access point connection patterns need to be investigated.
      • We reviewed request volumes and most requested histograms for the Open DNS server.
      • Adam attended an online class last week that included some information on Active Directory. It was titled Configuring & Troubleshooting a Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure.
      • Adam will follow up to make sure we are on for security audit in January and will lead coordination of necessary updates.
    • User Services
      • Veterans Kiosk was dedicated Nov. 10.
      • A number of classroom and checkout projectors have been replaced.
      • The curriculum classroom has been outfitted with a flatscreen TV and cart.
      • Diane and Jennifer R. are leading a project to evaluate the study room crunch in the library.
      • Changes to the format for the Music digital sign have been completed and well received. The key change is making more pronounced the day’s events.
      • Software Development is the next group for new or updated workstations.
      • Phase 2 data collection meetings have begun for the digital media assessment. 20 meetings are scheduled with groups known to leverage digital media. The goal is to quantify their current inventory of equipment and projects and to get an understanding of what they might anticipate for the future.
      • Remedial procedures continue to restore application update ability on Windows based Luther workstations from the Sophos problem. New instances of key applications are being pushed via the Kbox.
      • Google (Norse) Docs training has been scheduled to complement the new Katie system which encourages and presumes extensive use of Norse Docs with which faculty and staff may not have heretofore had deep experience.
      • It was reported that the LIS Technology Help Desk team has helped deactivate 30-40 wireless printers thought to be contributing to wireless performance issues. Discussion continued on how to get reliable data and reproducible wireless performance problems so further diagnosis and resolution can occur.
  • New Items
    • Oct. 25 First-Year Advising and Use of Datatel
      • All first year students were told to bring their laptops to their Oct. 25 advising session so they could look at what registration on their own might look like. Faculty reported difficulty logging in and performance issues during the 9:40 to 10:30 am timeframe. We discussed how we might come to understand ex poste what the problems might have been and how we might prepare to handle such a load in the future.
    • Assessment Data – Project to make visible to community for additional research
      • Jon Christy is requesting help from LIS to make web visible in an easy to use interface data from a number of surveys. The goal of the project is to make the data accessible to those within the Luther community that might want to use the information for further research and analysis. Currently the data is in a spreadsheet. The timeframe is January. Marcia suggested using students for the project especially given other priority projects underway.
    • Katie System Testing Plan
      • Next meeting to discuss and organize a collective effort is Nov. 26 @ 9 a.m.
    • Program Support Coordinator
      • Human Resources (either Lora S. or Masha W.) wants to have 30 min. interviews for those candidates we choose to bring onto campus.
  • Returning Items
    • Document Imaging
      • Marcia has started a conversation with document imaging vendor to get current pricing.

Upcoming LIS Training, Instruction, and Professional Development Opportunities

Click on the event below for specific information and for a link to register. More information on training and development events is available.

Course Format Date Location Enrollment
LIS Summer Faculty Workshop Brown Bag Workshop Nov 26 2012 – 12:15pm 1:15pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Google (Norse) Docs Workshop Nov 28 2012 – 11:00am 11:30am Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
Google (Norse) Docs Workshop Nov 29 2012 – 1:00pm 1:30pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
Remote Access Options Product Demonstration Dec 3 2012 – 12:15pm 1:15pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Google (Norse) Docs Workshop Dec 4 2012 – 8:15am 8:45am Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
Google (Norse) Docs for Nursing Workshop Dec 4 2012 – 12:30pm 1:00pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Closed
Google (Norse) Docs Workshop Dec 5 2012 – 11:00am 11:30am Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
ZOTERO Workshop Workshop Dec 5 2012 – 7:00pm 8:00pm Preus Library – Hovde Lounge Open
Remote Access Options Product Demonstration Dec 6 2012 – 11:15am 12:15pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Google (Norse) Docs Workshop Dec 6 2012 – 1:00pm 1:30pm Main 114 Open
Google (Norse) Docs Workshop Dec 6 2012 – 2:45pm 3:15pm Main 114 Open

Training and instruction is provided to the Luther Community through Faculty Development Sessions, Library Instruction Sessions, Product Demonstrations, Skills Training, Workshops, 1-on-1 Sessions, and Online Materials. To schedule a session, contact the LIS Technology Help Desk at x1000 or enter your request online at

This Week in LIS is published most Fridays by Paul Mattson, Executive Director of LIS at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

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