Subject: Re: [selfstudy][responses] 4. Problems in implementation of technology plan and general grousing by Dana
From: Dana Lee Ling
Date: Sat, 08 Nov 2003 15:05:50 +1100

I read the section, then I read the technology plan, then I took this morning and did my own self study of the plan, a line by line analysis that I feel was never actually done. As we have said in the self study team meetings, we never did the study of self that is required.

I must preface this monotribe with the words of donkey in Shrek as he rode on the head of the dragon through the stained glass windows of the Doolock cathedral, "I am a donkey on the edge, I have a dragon here and I'm not afraid to use it!"

I am attached the OpenOffice spreadsheet I built, along with a copy in Excel format.

I used the College of Micronesia-FSM Strategic Plan 2001-2006 pages 80 to 84. In order to better analyze whether or not ITS, as the plan calls our IS unit, could have accomplished the given outcome, I rewrote all outcomes so that they would read like unto a student learning outcome. I rewrote the outcomes using the prefix, "The ITS program will..." Each outcome now begins with a verb that says what ITS is supposed to do. This then let me understand if they have done, or could have done it. I changed none of the plan, I just made it actionable.

One really has to lay my spreadsheet next to the actual plan to understand what I did and how I proceeded.

When I was done the ITS unit has implemented only 24.2% of the plan, most of which was due 15 December 2001. Over 75% of the plan has never been implemented. Either ITS is a dismal failure or the plan is irrelevant. The later is largely true with 30.3% of the plan not outcomes which the technology division can implement even if they wanted to do so. I call these "non-applicable" and comment on each in my spreadsheet using magenta (purple) text.

Another 21.2% of the outcomes are ones for which I do not know the status. Gordon, Norleen, Peter, and Mark may be able to clear up some of these and resort them into implemented, non-applicable, or not implemented.

I list 24.2% of the outcomes as outright failures to implement. If one tosses out the non-applicable outcomes, then failure to implement rises to 34.8% of the outcomes while an equal number are implemented (34.8%). That is a 0.500 batting average, beyond excellent in baseball, but an "F" in the college catalog.

The timelines were unrealistic, and some unattained outcomes were linked to financing. But to say that we are following the plan or even using the plan effectively is contradicted by the implementation rate. The reality is that Gordon, Mark, and Peter are bogged down fighting viral fires and keeping equipment up and running. There is precious little time to think about running workshops to train people or expansion into new technologies.

There are some areas that the fire fighting has coupled with turf issues to lead to non-progress. A master plan for the integration of information resources - MITC, LRC, and ITS has never been drafted. Ultimately each unit is about making data available, and data is reduceable in this day and age to bits and bytes. The storage, accessibility, transport, and ability to receive bits and bytes is ITS and it is also MITC and LRC.

I would apologize for being so grouchy, but I am spending yet another long weekend working at a computer. I have simply lost all touch with my humanity, I touch a keyboard far more often than I touch my wife and kids. We failed to do the study of self, and any prognostications that we are on track to a successful self study are simply delusional. Sorry, but the tech plan is but one of hundreds of areas that were not looked at in the detail they needed to be examined. We do not know ourself. Yes we have a tech plan, no we do not use it. Heck, no one seems to have it in IT: no ding against them, but I asked Norleen and Peter for a copy of the plan and they did not have it. Jeff says the only plan is the strategic plan, so that is what I used.

By the way, I am not blaming Gregg nor Jeff for the lack of the study of self - that was never their job. There is no one at fault for that other than the ALO. Sorry, but it is the ALO's job facilitate the self study and see that it gets done right. So I inherit the fault with the position.

Stepping back for a moment and looking at the meta-picture, note that I did not attempt to craft student learning outcomes as per the learning paradigm for ITS. The longer I think about it, the more I reject the thinking in Barr and Tagg (From Teaching to Learning: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education, 1995) that "payroll clerks... empower student learning." No, they do not. They issue paychecks. No, we will not rewrite every outcome in every division and unit in terms of student learning.

I opted for saying, "The program will..." rather than "the students will be able to..." This is important, we talk about finding student learning outcomes for student services and the LRC, and we might find some, but there will be more that are not student learning outcomes. As long as they are outcomes in the sense of producing an observable result or behaviour, then they will be valid. Some will likely be indicators or student achievement data, some will be tied to learning, and some will be beasts of a completely different make up. Thus ITS has outcomes such as "The ITS program will produce a report on..." This is not a student learning outcome nor a reflection of student achievement. It is simply an internal metric, an outcome towards achieving program outcomes.

I know from Honolulu that this is in variance with current ACCJC thinking, but hey, WASC is always last in the nation. So they are last on the outcomes bandwagon while other regionals are swinging their pendulum back in other directions. Sorry, not the way an ALO should talk, but I want an organization that strives for excellence. Not an organization that spends endless hours in meetings trying to figure out how a payroll clerk impacts student learning.

Do not misread me: I am a big proponent of defining learning in the classroom using student learning outcomes. I was raised on them at the University of Illinois. That's near Missouri, you know, the "show me" state. Show me what your students can do, what they know, or what they value.

Enough said. Read the attachments, throw rocks at me, or simply resolve never to talk to me ever again.

Jeff Steel wrote:

Please reread the following emails. The Plan is with Norma. It was passed by the Board in December 2001. The Technology Plan is embedded with the Strategic Plan of the College 2001-06, Pages 86-92. Norma said there are minutes of the meeting to substantiate that. I think IIIC states that the Director of Research and Planning was responsible??? That could be confirmed???
----- Original Message -----
From: Dana Lee Ling
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2003 9:43 PM
Subject: Re: [selfstudy][responses] 4. Formalize Research and Finalize Technology Plan

I reread IIIC and I will still need to see the actual [IIIC1(2)] COM-FSM Technology plan referred in that document. Who actually has a copy of this, or is it online? I will also need to determine who approved it, when it was approved... I'll try to swing by and see Mark, Peter, or Norleen on this one.

Jonathan Gourlay wrote:
Yes, standard IIIC makes reference to a tech. plan. We'll have to snag it for evidence!

Dana Lee Ling wrote:

Thanks, Jeff. I have not read IIIC in a while. I will see it again when Jonathan finishes with it. I guess I was belaboring under the impression that the plan had been updated since the 2000 production of the 2001-2006 tech plan.
----- Original Message -----
*From:* Jeff Steel
*To:* Dana Lee Ling
*Sent:* Monday, November 03, 2003 3:26 PM
*Subject:* Re: [selfstudy][responses] 4. Formalize Research and Finalize Technology Plan

Norma has a copy of the Technology Plan that was embedded in the College Strategic Plan 2001-06, pages 86-92. Norma has a copy of minutes from the board meeting December 2001, stating the acceptance of that Plan, for evidence. It apparently was developed by the Director of Research and Planning. See page one of the IIIC document.
Hope that helps. That maybe where you can also find a VOCED plan ???? I'm not sure about the octopus' though.

----- Original Message -----
*From:* Dana Lee Ling
*To:* Spensin James
*Sent:* Monday, November 03, 2003 3:00 PM
*Subject:* [selfstudy][responses] 4. Formalize Research and
Finalize Technology Plan

Gordon, Peter, or Norleen: I know we have a technology policy
online, is there also a strategic technology plan in place? I am
still in need of information to update the following 1998 ACCJC
Institutional Research and Planning Director:
I need an update on your research plan... whoops - we have no IRPD
at present. I thought I might try to cobble something together on
this. I know Dayle has tried to update a list Marie Abram made,
and she has a calendar. I've misplaced my copy of her research
calendar, so Dayle, when you get back please send me another copy
of that calendar. I will also decorate this section with my
flowery prose on how assessment is being decentralized and handled
by the division chairs... I know this is true for Robert, Richard,
and I. Are the other princes of New England also ready to take on
learning assessment? ;-) I will have to note that in lieu of
formalized processes we have evolving processes... The text
below is a cut and paste from the 2000 focused self study. I need
to abbreviate and extend this. Please, anyone who wants to chime
in on this please do so. The lack of a IRPD or DRP or whatever is
really hurting us now. I may also need a voced plan from Anwar:
the AAS feels at time like a resource sucking octopus expanding
willy nilly without a plan...

4. Formalize Research and Finalize Technology Plan

The visiting team recommends that COM-FSM formalize its
institutional research process utilizing surveys and other
research methods to measure student outcomes, assess institutional
effectiveness, and deliver quality instruction and student support
services. In addition, institutional research should be used to
finalize a technology plan and assist in the acquisition of
equipment to support instructional and student services

a) Response:

To formalize its institutional research efforts, the College's
Institutional Effectiveness Committee was re-established on
January 20, 1999. with the first meeting held on

January 21, 1999. At this meeting the President stressed the
importance of the work of this committee in establishing a
"climate" in which the College reviews its programs by looking at
surveys and other data to improve its efficiency and for continual
program and process improvement. At this meeting members reviewed
highlights from the institutional Self Study from December 1997,
the ACCJC Evaluation report of May 1998, The College of
Micronesia-FSM/Community College of Micronesia: Progress and
Programs During the Compact Years, Standard 3 of the Accreditation
Handbook, materials from the 1998 conference on institutional
assessment, and materials regarding the Program Health Indicators
system. The Office of Institutional Research and Planning collects
survey data each year from students on their perceived
satisfaction regarding residence life, registration, and
orientation programs. It also conducts a Graduate Survey at each
graduation and submits annual IPEDS reports on Institutional
Characteristics, Completions, Finance, Faculty Salaries,
Graduation Rate, and Enrollment. A Core Planning Group was
appointed by the President in January 2000 which also collected
data on Key Course and Program Completion Rates to assist in the
use of Program Health Indicators to evaluate all academic programs
(with the data available since 1996). Program Health Indicators
are included in the Strategic Plan and are also documented as
outputs in the annual performance-based budget which is submitted
to the COM-FSM Board of Regents and the FSM Congress. In addition,
consulting services from Pacific Resources for Education and
Learning are assisting the institution to identify the steps
necessary to implement the networking of an internal database to
electronically share data within and among departments and campuses.

The College's Technology Plan was approved by the Board of Regents
at its May 1999 meeting. A Technology Fee was implemented in May
1998. The funds generated by this fee are used to upgrade the
computer labs used by students on a revolving basis.

b) Assessment of progress made:

While data has been collected more frequently and comprehensively
through manual methods, the collection, sharing, and dissemination
of this data has been hampered by lack of a uniform institutional
database within the COM-FSM system.

c) Planned activities:

Implementation of both a Wide Area Computer Network (WAN) and a
uniform electronic institutional database system during 2001 will
greatly assist in data collection, analysis, and dissemination.

5. Learning Resources

Dana Lee Ling

Go Sharks!
Historically diverse, uniquely Micronesian, and globally
connected, the College of Micronesia-FSM is the national
institution of higher education of the Federated States of
Micronesia. Originally established to develop teacher education,
its current mission is to provide educational opportunity --
academic, vocational and technical -- for all people. Aimed at
nourishing individual growth and national unity, scholarship and
service, COM-FSM is dedicated to developing integrity, critical
thinking skills, a breadth of vision, and the habit of reflection
in an educational environment enriched by cultural traditions.