New Host For CSC Learning Management System (LMS)
In an effort to increase the capacity, stability, and performance of the Learning Management System (LMS) that supports CSC Online, the College has accepted a proposal from an alternative provider to begin hosting our LMS (Sakai) on a date yet to be determined.
Our contract with Asahi Net International (ANI) concludes June 30, 2015. Switching from ANI presents the following advantages; it
- addresses the latency problems noted in the Sakai gradebook and forum tools
- reduces cost with a 33% decrease in annual costs (from $71,024 to $47,500)
- increases capacity by a 100% increase in capacity through a new license for 800 concurrent users (our current license with ANI is for 400 concurrent users; CSC averages 322 users throughout the course of a normal day, but has, on occasion, peaked to 600)
- increases mass storage by 100% (from a 600 GB allocation to 1200 GB).
During the LMS host migration, users (students, faculty, and staff)) will be able to use the LMS with minimal interruption. Upon migration completion, users will be directed to a new URL (or web address). The new CSC Online hosted site will be identical to CSC Online hosted by ANI.
According to the vendor, approximately four hours of LMS downtime is required to complete the migration. However, as numerous facets may impinge on the success from a user standpoint, a 24-hour period may be necessary. For proper planning and assurance of minimal user impact, the following migration completion dates are being considered:
- Friday, April 3, 2015 – 12:00 AM – Friday begins a three-day weekend; Spring Break occurs Monday, April 6, allowing for an extra “cushion” day. This is one of our earliest windows.
- Sunday, May 31, 2015 – 12:00 AM – May 31st occurs two weeks into the summer term; completing the migration at this time reduces risk in the event there is an unforeseen problem. Currently, only 523 students are
The risk is minimal; test migrations will be thoroughly vetted before the final migration to the new host’s production server. Even if something were to go wrong with the migration process, the College would continue to operate via its old host–until the next migration completion window: Sunday, June 7, 12:00 am. The contingency plan is to use subsequent Sundays in June, if unforeseen problems arise.
The following dates are provided for faculty and staff to obtain feedback on migration completion dates, discuss changes, and/or gain additional information:
- 25 February, Wednesday, 8:00 am, in LLC 111
- 25 February, Wednesday, 3:00 pm, in LLC 111.
If these times are not workable, please let me know, and I will arrange an additional time. In addition, faculty members are invited to the 3 March 2015 (Tuesday, 11:00 am) Faculty Senate meeting in the Student Center to provide feedback about the migration completion dates.
Accreditation and Oversight
The 14 November, 16 January, and 11 February VPAA Updates have outlined various entities of higher education oversight. As first described in the 14 November VPAA Update, within the USA there are three broad kinds of accreditation:
1) Regional: accredits degree-granting institutions
2) Specialized: accredits programs in specific disciplines within the institution
3) National: accredits institutions and programs that are not-for-profit religious or career-focused for-profit.
Likewise, accreditors within each of these categories are accredited. In many ways, the recognition process is analogous to a periodic accreditation process with equally substantive reviews and standards. The Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the United States Department of Education (USDE) are the two bodies that may or may not confer recognition of accrediting organizations such as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). HLC is recognized by USDE and CHEA.
In a nutshell, for a higher education institution such as CSC to obtain access to federal funds (especially student aid), the USDE must recognize the accrediting organization. In our case, HLC is recognized by the USDE as well as by CHEA. CHEA’s recognition is an acknowledgement of academic legitimacy. CHEA and USDE are attentive to academic quality, continuous improvement, and accountability.
Academic Affairs Staff Changes
Faculty and staff feedback indicated a need for addressing a lack of sufficient support in various areas. We have moved forward in two areas. As a result of the thoughtful feedback, the reallocation of staff positions (not individuals) will generate the following staff positions:
- Project Coordinator, Graduate Studies Program. The plan is to have this position filled prior to the beginning the Fall semester 2015. Nevertheless, this will not change the current support for graduate studies for this semester: Kristal Kuhnel assisting the Education (including MAE) and Counseling programs and Marianne Mowry as the point person for MBA and MSOM programs.
- Assessment and Curricula Director. This position fulfills a proposal initially drafted by a 15-member team in March 2014. Subsequent meetings and feedback from others have resulted in this position.
Please note these are not new position lines. These positions are a result of a rearrangement of existing staff positions.
Announcements will be posted for both positions. I greatly appreciate the feedback from many individuals. Both of these positions impact others; crafting a position to meet multiple needs is seldom easy. Thanks for your patience.