Minutes, October 19, 2016 (Approved)

A meeting of the Committee on Information Systems (CIS) was held Wednesday, October 19, 2016 from 4:00-5:00 PM in Library Room 115. The nine attendees were:

1. Stefano Costanzi (CAS)
2. Terry Fernandez (OIT)
3. Nancy Davenport (LIB)
4. Joseph Mortati (KSB)
5. Lindsay Murphy (CTRL)
6. Sonja Walti (SPA)
7. Stef Woods (CAS)

Co-chair Joseph Mortati brought the meeting to order and the following business was conducted:

1. Meeting minutes from the September 28, 2016 meeting were approved.

2. AU Experience (AUx) Courses

The latest draft (http://www.american.edu/provost/gened/upload/Reimagining-General-Education-5-4-16.pdf) raised two issues for which this committee has an interest – one in a general sense and one specific to Information Services.

1. Some core courses, which are designed to integrate students into the AU experience, are not academic courses but are for-credit. They use a hybrid delivery system where video lectures are standard across sections but are not necessarily taught by full-time faculty. There are some concerns that these courses border on advocacy and threaten academic freedom, which is tied to critical thinking. This is not a CIS-specific question but a broader one.

2. Some courses have Learning Objectives for information literacy; the Reimagining Education draft states (page 2) that, “We also seek to address current deficits in quantitative literacy and writing and information literacy training that were identified by recent campus task forces.” Two of the courses that address are Information Literacy I and II, the former’s description including, “This course sequence focuses on learning how to make effective writing choices, including formulating original theses and well-supported, effectively organized arguments. Students will learn how to write in several academic genres and how to produce error-free prose. In addition, they will acquire the conceptual knowledge needed to negotiate a complex information ecosystem, which includes web sites, social media, databases, visual media and other sources of information.” Information Literacy II states, “Students will learn to recognize the role of research and information in creating new disciplinary knowledge, thinking critically about how information is created, valued, stored and shared in specific disciplinary conversations. W2 courses need not be in the English language.”

One of the questions relevant to CIS is, are these objectives adequate? This question was tabled till the next meeting.

3. Mobile Devices in the Classroom

The discussion centered around whether mobile devices in the classroom are a distraction or an opportunity and what the committee (this is to be sensitive to reservations expressed by Chenyang Xiao in the September 2016 meeting about promoting best practices or “how to” approaches not being under the purview of this body). The idea of a process flow guide to assist faculty was discussed and Lindsay Murphy (CTRL) mentioned her organization is working on a set of guidelines faculty should consider when developing policies for their classes. Discussion on this issue will continue during our next meeting.

4. Who will attend ATSC Meetings?

The last scheduled piece of business on the agenda is, who from CIS will attend ATSC Meetings, which meet on the third Wednesday of each month from 3:00-4:00 PM? Sonja Walti attends representing SPA but there should be a CIS member attending to represent this committee. Joseph Mortati agreed to poll the AUINFOTECH distribution list to see who can attend.

5. There being no other business for the good of the order, the meeting was adjourned.