Important ITAC Update for Faculty
The worldwide health crisis caused by the pandemic has upended nearly everything about our personal and professional lives, and we have all been forced to adapt for better or worse in ways we would have declared impossible in the before times.
The Instructional Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC) was also forced to grapple with a sudden and dramatic shift from in-person to remote instruction, mothballing of nearly all computer labs and smart classrooms, and distancing those the few that remain open.
When the pandemic erupted in March 2020, ITAC was close to finishing our normal Proposal and funding allocation process and making our recommendation to the Provost for 2020-21 ITAC initiatives. Unfortunately all of those proposals had to be permanently set aside – we had to deal with the crisis and our sudden pivot to remote learning.
Instead, 2020-21 ITAC funding was used to support everything from Zoom seats for all faculty to laptops for resource-challenged students, additional laptops for faculty, and for items that that Directors of the academic programs identified as critical for the delivery classes during the 20-21 academic year - “Lab Kits” for Theater and Natural Science students, proctoring and accessibility software, expenses for shipping equipment to remote students, and a variety of discipline-specific software and hardware. And like every other budget across the College, ITAC also suffered a 25% budget cut for 2021. ITAC is currently preparing a more detailed report on its activities over the past year that should be released shortly.
The good news is that it all worked – and probably better than we all expected. Our classes, programs and performances continue to run, and we can even begin to see opportunities for long-term benefits in bringing remote experts into the classroom and broadening audiences through streaming events.
Throughout this time, ITAC maintained its regular meeting schedule. It has been a very busy year, and the committee has been more engaged than ever before in its long history. We are looking at everything we do from supporting resource-challenged students to software licensing to labs and laptops. We are also looking hard at how we can improve communication to the community, how we can improve the use of ITAC resources, and at improving the proposal/allocation/assessment process going forward.
It seems that 2021-22 is likely to be a transitional year as more and more people are vaccinated and we begin to be able to gather in person on campus once again.
For the coming 2021-22 academic year, ITAC will once again look to and work with the Academic Directors to identify their essential technology needs for the coming year. Faculty should communicate their critical technology needs to their Director as soon as possible.
Starting fall 2021 ITAC hopes to continue working with academic leaders, and with faculty and students from across the college to redesign and improve the proposal and allocation process, implement a formal communication plan, and implement an assessment process. ITAC will also continue looking at lab utilization, laptop use, and the intentional use of Dual-Delivery, Hybrid and other alternate course delivery models.We also need to recruit students to serve on ITAC – we cannot continue to talk about student needs without them at the table.
As always, we encourage faculty to visit the ITAC Committee Website to view ITAC materials including Agendas and Meeting Notes, studies and proposals, as well as materials from previous years.
Members of ITAC for 2020-2021 are:
• Peter Denenberg (COM)
• Elizabeth Middleton (NSS)
• Carrie Marten (Library)
• Megan Rossman (School of Liberal Studies)
• Robin Lynch (A+D)
• John Taylor - ITAC Chair - (Registrar)
• Scott Meshnick (Disability Resources)
• Odile Delgado (Humanities)
• Dir TLTC Keith Landa
• CIO Bill Junor