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IT-DISCUSS  December 1999

IT-DISCUSS December 1999

Subject:

Collaboration and dissent in CS 148

From:

Wesley Alan Wright <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Departmental Technology Coordinators <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 14 Dec 1999 15:24:46 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (103 lines)

While we our airing issues regarding standards, collaboration, and a
"group framework for decision-making," I would like to bring forth
(or whine about -- take your pick) an issue that has been caught my
attention.

Consider it a thought experiment. There are many complex issues of
collaboration, support, standards, funding, and pedagogy involved. My
poisition on the issue is probably apparent, but not necessarily
correct.

In reply to my synopsis of the "Recommended Web Development Tools"
decision, Rob Rohr of the Business School wrote on ADVOCATS:

>We will be installing [Microsoft Server] office extensions on a new
>server that is to be used in a web development course offered by the folks
>in CS next semester, but we can do so only because there is no legacy
>information to interfere with the installation.

This class is Computer Science 148, "World Wide Web:"

        Design and implementation of web pages to support forms, queries,
        active server pages, authentication, and security. Electronic
        commerce on the web. Prerequisites: 14 or 16 or 21 or
        Business Administration 141 or instructor's permission.
        Three hours

 From what I understand, this course has been taught for a couple of
years now using a small personal web server (a PC on somebody's desk)
and has focused on Microsoft technologies. As the popularity of the
course has increased, the demands of the course have exceeded the
capacity of the hardware. There apparently were complaints that
EMBA-CF (Engineering and Math Computing Facility) was not providing
the instructor with much support. Recently, a request was made by the
instructor for funds to purchase new server hardware so that more
sections could be taught.

At this juncture, the opinion of certain CIT staff members was
solicited. To summarize:

o Both CIT and EMBA-CF have considerable existing server capacity

o Both CIT and EMBA-CF offer "lifetime" accounts: student work doesn't
   disappear when their class account on cs148.emba.uvm.edu expires

o Both CIT and EMBA-CF use non-Microsoft "open" technologies
   (Apache/perl/php/mysql) that provide equivalent functionality
(forms, queries,
   dynamic scripted server pages, authentication, and security.
   Electronic commerce on the web.).

o The EMBA-CF "Web Design" service employs php/perl/mySQL in their design
   work. They use these technologies extensively on College of Engineering
   and Mathematics web pages -- even the CS Department site.

o the UVM Web Team employs php/perl/mySQL in their design work. They
   use these technologies extensively on University of Vermont web pages.

Thus, there could be multiple employment and internship opportunities
for php/perl/mySQL trained CS 148 students within the CS Department,
within EMBA-CF, here at CIT. "Service Learning," if you will.

For the record, it should be noted that the course can be taught
equally well using either Microsoft or "open" technologies; that the
Business School employs Microsoft technologies in their web design
work, and there could be multiple employment and internship
opportunities for Microsoft trained CS 148 students within the
Business School, too.

This ties in with the concerns voiced by Lynne Cummings:

> 2. Creating and updating departmental Web pages -
>who is/should be doing this? How this is/should be funded? How much are we
>currently spending at UVM on this? Are there more efficient/less expensive
>ways of doing this? 3. Electronic data and creating databases for
>electronic forms.... There is no central support to do this, and for many
>of the people whose work life this affects, these are not necessary simple,
>fast skills to learn.

This case study raises numerous questions:

o Should this course be taught using Microsoft Technologies or Open
Technologies?
o How much technology support does one course need (both personnel and dollars)
o Who should provide that support (CIT? BSAD? EM-CF?)
o Who should teach the course?
o How much should they be paid?
o Should UVM's academic curriculum match UVM's business practices?
o The UVM Catalouge lists over 3000 courses. How many of those serve any
   Training and Development needs?

and a bonus question

o The UVM Catalouge lists over 3000 courses. How many are specifically
   "Web Development" oriented.


| Wesley Alan Wright <mailto:[log in to unmask]> |
| Academic Computing Services __0__ |
| Room 238 Waterman Building / \ | \ |
| University of Vermont \77 http://cit.uvm.edu/~waw/ |
| Burlington, Vermont 05405-0160 USA. \\ http://www.uvm.edu/skivt-l |
| Voice:802-656-1254 FAX:802-656-0872 vv |

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