Mark I. Ryder, D.M.D., Chair

Meeting of June 20, 2001

PRESENT: Chair M. Ryder, Vice Chair D. Teitel, K. Topp, P. Sneed

ABSENT: C. Miller, H. Fields, P. Benner, B. Dong

The meeting of the Committee on Educational Policy was called to order by Chair Ryder on June 20, 2001 at 9:13 a.m. in Room MUW-427. A quorum was present.

Announcement from the Chair

The minutes of the Committee’s meeting on April 18, 2001 were approved. The minutes of the May 16, 2001 meeting must still be approved at a future meeting.

Chair Ryder welcomed everyone to the last meeting he would lead as Chair and thanked the members for their work. Chair Ryder announced that the incoming Chair is to be David Teitel and the Vice Chair is to be Patricia Benner. The new Committee Analyst, Christopher Theisen, was also introduced.

Following introductions, Chair Ryder noted that he and D. Teitel would soon meet to discuss the proposal for a fifth school at UCSF. He confirmed that the Committee on Education Policy would have a role in reviewing this proposal next year.


Consideration of Recommendation and Issues Contained in the Report of Distance Learning Task Force

After introductory announcements were concluded, Chair Ryder briefly reintroduced the Report on distance learning as general policy framework for more detailed future work by this and other committees.

In response to a question, it was clarified that the targeted beneficiaries of distance learning included:

  • UCSF students working away from the main campus in remote sites like Fresno
  • Postgraduate students interested in taking courses on statistics or ethics
  • Pre-med students taking advanced placement types of courses

Part II of the Report dealt with principles on resources and facilities. Gail Persily, member of the Distance Learning Task Force and an Associate Director at the UCSF Library, presented information on the role of the UCSF Library in promoting distance learning tools.

G. Persily explained that the UCSF Library’s distance learning efforts are centered within the Center for Instructional Technology (CIT). She oversees the CIT and manages a staff of two. CIT personnel provide the following services:

  • Maintain and administer WebCT, a web-based course management environment used by all UCSF Schools for delivering curricular content.
  • Provide courses and workshops for faculty who are developing WebCT courses.
  • Operate the CIT lab which provides the facilities for digitizing course materials.

The CIT has just completed a yearlong pilot project with a new course management system called WebCT. This system is envisioned as being the main platform for enabling distance learning through Internet access to classes and course materials. WebCT is a flexible system that offers instructors instructional aids such as a calendar, bulletin board, quiz tool, multimedia enhancements to course content and a grade book feature. WebCT can only be accessed with an individual password and faculty can limit access to course materials to selected people. The schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry and Nursing all support the usage of WebCT – the School of Nursing even abandoned a custom built system in favor of the Library managed system. WebCT also replaces a more limited Library system called CHOMP. The library opted to use the off-the-shelf WebCT system because it was a substantially cheaper option than designing a custom system for UCSF. As of May 26, 2001 there were approximately 64 courses available on the WebCT server. Some of these are not courses in the traditional sense. For example, Medicine has three WebCT courses that it is currently using (or testing) for delivering course evaluations. A number of the Medicine courses are also not currently being "taught" but will be in the Fall.

23 total
9 courses currently being used for teaching
3 used for evaluation (under development)
11 courses under development

19 total
17 courses currently being used for teaching
1 used for evaluation (under development)
1 courses under development

12 total
10 courses currently being used for teaching
1 course under development
1 course not currently in use

10 total
2 courses currently being used for teaching
8 courses under development

Currently CIT feels that it basically has the resources to meet the demands currently being placed on WebCT. Fall 2001 is still being approached as a major testing period however.

The UCSF Library is very interested in coordinating distance learning efforts more closely with the Schools and faculty. To a certain extent this is currently achieved through a committee called the WebCT Implementation Group (WIG). Staff representatives from the Schools and the Library use WIG as a forum to prevent redundancy and coordinate support. WIG remains necessary because the four Schools have not been interested in sharing centralized technology resources. The Schools maintain separate in-house technical staff of differing expertise (e.g., a dedicated Web person for the School of Pharmacy while the School of Medicine hires students to help design online coursework).

G. Persily identified the following unresolved concerns as impacting the development of distance learning:

  • Expanding distance learning opportunities will be very resource intensive. It is anticipated that any increase in emphasis on distance education would require an investment in more computer lab space and hardware. Taking exams on a computer might also require designing proctored computer labs.
  • The Library needs an in-house expert on electronic education to help advise faculty on designing effective electronic coursework.
  • Copyright issues are complicated and difficult to resolve simply. Currently the onus for complying with copyright restrictions is entirely on the faculty.
  • CIT is funded entirely out of the UCSF Library budget, but future funding levels are not assured. Theoretically, the Schools could contribute to funding the CIT, but it was noted that some Schools are already struggling to fund their existing in-house Web positions. Reinvesting a portion of distance learning fees into CIT operations should be examined.
  • The four Schools are not currently interested in sharing their separate technical resources and personnel. A possible solution exists in Stanford University’s practice of maintaining a central technology department "hub." This hub assigns technical personnel to provide dedicated support for particular schools.

Chair Ryder recommended that the Committee on Education Policy continue to emphasize a role for itself as a clearinghouse of information regarding technical aids and coordinator for the expansion of UCSF’s distance learning capabilities.

Review of Bylaws

D. Teitel presented to the Committee his opinion that there was no need to submit a rewrite of the Committee bylaws to the Committee on Rules & Jurisdiction. He explained that even though there is no specific mention in the bylaws of the Committee’s interest in technology issues, the bylaws are still adequately broad enough to allow maximum flexibility. The Chair concurred as did the rest of the Committee.


No new business was brought up at the meeting.

The next meeting date and place in the Fall is yet to be determined.

There being no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 10:10 a.m.

Senate Staff:
Christopher Theisen
Administrative Analyst


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