ESC Report 2005.doc.doc


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

ESC Report 2005.doc.doc

  1. 1. Digital Content and Learning: Issues in Development, Storage, and Management Within Ball State University by Environmental Scanning Committee Information Technology Ball State University 2004-2005
  2. 2. Table of Contents Executive Summary ------------------------------------------------------------ 4 Committee Members ----------------------------------------------------------- 6 Committee Charge -------------------------------------------------------------- 6 Chapter One: Digital Content Development and Support I. Digital Content Development ------------------------------------- 8 Figure A --------------------------------------------------------10 Table 1 ----------------------------------------------------------11 Figure B --------------------------------------------------------14 Figure C --------------------------------------------------------14 Video ------------------------------------------------------------15 Case Studies ---------------------------------------------------15 Simulations ----------------------------------------------------16 Gaming ---------------------------------------------------------17 Animation ------------------------------------------------------18 Virtual Reality ------------------------------------------------19 Futuristic Tools -----------------------------------------------19 Recommendations --------------------------------------------20 II. Digital Content Development Support ------------------------21 Instructional Designer ---------------------------------------21 Local Service Provider --------------------------------------22 Support for Content Development ------------------------25 Recommendations --------------------------------------------28 Chapter Two: Digital Content Storage and Management III. Digital Content Storage -----------------------------------------29 Present Data Storage and Digital Asset Management-29 Presumptions --------------------------------------------------30 Recommendations --------------------------------------------31 2
  3. 3. Criteria for Recommendations -------------------------------32 Storages -----------------------------------------------------------32 Centralized or Distributed Storage -------------------------33 Scalability --------------------------------------------------------33 Manageability—Backup and Recovery Analysis --------34 Data Availability and Integrity ------------------------------34 Summary ---------------------------------------------------------35 IV. Digital Content Management ------------------------------------35 Presumptions ----------------------------------------------------36 Recommendations ----------------------------------------------36 Digital Content Import ----------------------------------------39 Digital Content Search and Retrieval ----------------------42 User Interface/Display -----------------------------------------43 Security and Rights Management ---------------------------45 Technical Aspects and Maintenance ------------------------46 Acknowledgements ---------------------------------------------------------------49 3
  4. 4. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY More a leader than a follower, Ball State University has been in the forefront of implementing technological solutions and has been proactive in advancing many technology initiatives in support of teaching, learning, and research. The rapid growth in data intensive applications and the proliferation of repositories that store and retrieve continuous media data types (e.g., audio and video objects, animation, etc.) continue to fuel the demand for new data storage architecture. Continuous media storage and access and networked multimedia applications, including video-on-demand (VOD), interactive TV (ITV), and interactive hypermedia courseware, are the kinds of applications that are created, developed, and used in the university environment. Another emerging area is application integration, which will let users access video, audio, images, and text within many applications. At the same time, growth experienced in the University’s computing infrastructure utilization over the past few years requires Ball State to reconsider its server/storage environment in the context of disaster recovery, backup and recovery efficiencies, constituent services (especially email), costs, and operational objectives. The University needs a comprehensive strategy that includes a plan for infrastructure and other improvements and that specifically addresses the concerns for faculty knowledge about digital content development, digital content development tools, integration of digital content in teaching and learning, delivery of online instruction, and consolidation of storage and digital asset management. The university’s enrollment has been accelerating for the past few years. With over 100 percent storage growth expected over the next three years, the University will require infrastructure to support disk storage growth plus the backup and recovery systems, server resources, staff, and operational procedures to manage and administer the additional storage. In order to address these issues Dr. O’Neal Smitherman, Vice President for Information Technology, assembled an Environmental Scanning Committee (ESC) with representatives from the seven colleges and three Information Technology units to examine and assess the alternatives for 1) digital content development and support and 2) 4
  5. 5. digital content storage and management. Eventually, the ESC split into two subcommittees to consider these two disparate topics. Responding to faculty needs in information technology has never been more challenging or rewarding. The role and contribution of technology in teaching, learning, and research has emerged as one of the main trends and issues in higher education institutions. Based on its assessment, the Digital Content Development and Support Subcommittee explains the development of static applications such as vector and bitmap graphics, dynamic applications such as video/audio and motion graphics, interaction applications such as simulation and case studies, and immersive virtual reality applications. The group then defines needed support on three levels: resource, personnel, and implementation. The support system is divided into 1) on-demand and problem-based support by Local Service Providers at each college without limitation of time and place, 2) consultative support, provided by Instructional Designers to help faculty integrate technology in teaching and learning and by teams assembled to help faculty with development and delivery needs, and 3) a dedicated team in the University Teleplex with expertise to help faculty in development of digital assets and their deployment in the classroom. The growing use of digital technologies in instruction and learning and the great proliferation of digital content require careful consideration of digital asset storage and delivery systems. After gathering information on the current campus storage infrastructure and viewing reports and demonstrations by digital storage/management vendors, the Digital Content Storage and Management Subcommittee recommends a combination of Network Attached Storage (NAS) and Storage Area Networks (SAN) for digital storage needs at Ball State University. The Subcommittee then describes the features of an ideal digital content management and delivery system for use by faculty and students. While the ideal model does not represent any specific product, the CONTENTdm digital management system currently being implemented by University Libraries informed much of the Subcommittee’s discussions. Several issues relating to digital content management that require further discussion are also identified. 5
  6. 6. COMMITTEE MEMBERS Mr. John Fillwalk, Faculty, Department of Art Dr. Ron Cosby, Faculty, Department of Physics & Astronomy Dr. Gail Ring, Faculty, Department of Educational Studies Mr. Rick Johnson, Faculty, Department of Industry and Technology Dr. David Keuhl, Faculty, Department of Urban Planning Dr. Sushil Sharma, Faculty, Department of Information Systems and Operations Management Mr. Stanley Sollars, Faculty, Department of Telecommunications Ms. Sharon Roberts, Assistant Dean, University Libraries Mr. Alan Gordon, Production Manager, University Teleplex Mr. Alex Chalmers, Lead System Manager/Security Engineer, University Computing Services Dr. Bizhan Nasseh, Assistant to Vice President for Information Technology, Office of Information Technology, ESC Chair COMMITTEE CHARGE In order to address the issues of digital content development and support as well as digital content storage and management, Dr. O’Neal Smitherman, Vice President for Information Technology, and Dr. Bizhan Nasseh, Assistant to Vice President, for Information Technology and chair of the ESC, assembled an Environmental Scanning Committee, consisting of representatives from the seven colleges and three Information Technology units in order to examine and assess the alternatives for digital content development and support and for digital content storage and management. Terms of reference given to the Committee were: • Scan the environment for digital content development and support methods, procedures, and technologies and propose new solutions for digital content development and support at Ball State University. 6
  7. 7. • Scan the environment for digital content storage and management technologies and propose new solutions for digital content storage and management at Ball State University. Since digital content development and support and digital content storage and management are two distinct subjects, it was decided to divide the committee members into two subcommittees. A subcommittee, consisting of Ron Cosby, John Fillwalk, Patrick Gordon, David Keuhl, Bizhan Nasseh, and Gail Ring, was charged with working on digital content development and support. This subcommittee was further divided into two subgroups: Cosby, Ring and Fillwalk worked on content development, while Nasseh, Gordon, and Keuhl worked on development support and services. The other subcommittee, composed of Rick Johnson, Sharon Roberts, Sushil Sharma, Alex Chalmers, Stan Sollars, and Bizhan Nasseh, was charged with investigating digital content storage and management. This subcommittee was also divided into two subgroups: Johnson, Roberts, and Nasseh worked on digital content management, while Sharma, Chalmers, and Sollars worked on digital content storage. The ESC met for the first time on September 15, 2004, at which time Dr. O’Neal Smitherman spelled out the objectives and the scope of the Committee’s assignment. After that, the groups met separately every second week to investigate and discuss the issues. Since there were two subcommittees, this report is divided in two chapters to reflect each committee’s work: Chapter One, Digital Content Development and Support and Chapter Two, Digital Content Storage and Management. 7
  8. 8. CHAPTER ONE: DIGITAL CONTENT DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT I. Digital Content Development This section begins with an evaluation of the various tools that may be used in the development of digital content and concludes with recommendations on how to support the use of these tools. A three-tiered approach to the development and support of digital content is proposed: 1. Faculty centric 2. Blended 3. Teleplex centric At the faculty centric level there is the expectation that a baseline of understanding and use at the faculty level can be assumed. That is, there is the belief that there are core tools with which faculty should be proficient and to which they should have access on office computers, such as PowerPoint for building presentations, a web editor for developing web pages, or Adobe PDF writer for completing university reports. The second tier, the blended approach to the use of tools, may be more of a just-in-time approach where faculty have an idea of an innovative use of technology in their courses, but do not quite know how to complete the task. At the blended tier the faculty work with an instructional technology person to develop the digital content. The third tier, the Teleplex centric tier, involves high-end tasks only supported at the university level. For these tasks the faculty hires out the development of the digital content to instructional technology specialists in the Teleplex. This is high-end development, such as virtual reality, where it is cost prohibitive to have the tools in each college or on faculty computers. Identifying and organizing software applications helps in understanding the variety of tools needed for digital content development. The block diagram in Figure A depicts one possible organizational structure for software applications for digital content creation. 8
  9. 9. Applications are categorized as static, dynamic, and interactive. Within each category, application types are identified and examples are given for each type. Hyperlinks for these examples are given in Table 1. These lists are not exhaustive and will grow as new digital media and software applications are introduced for use in instruction. Figure B contains the various tools that might be used in the development of digital content and represents the process of adding new instructional tools to a core set. In general, the perceived state of maturity of the tool or application decreases as the radial distance increases from the diagram center. Clearly, there are connections among the layers, with multiple tools likely used for an application. Figure C illustrates the overlap that occurs in the development of much digital content; for example, in the development of a case study one might employ video, simulations, and animation simultaneously. The general applicability of artificial intelligence tools is indicated by the shaded areas stretching across much of the tool hierarchy. 9
  14. 14. Figure B. Categories of tools for digital content development represented as spherical layers, with the tool maturity highest at the core. Figure C. Illustration of multiple tools used in the creation of an instructional application. 14
  15. 15. Video There are many uses of video in education such as the use of video conferencing for tutoring, mentoring, distance education, and virtual field trips; the development of video segments used in problem-based learning activities, the assessment of student teachers, and presentation development; or the use of video in research for conducting qualitative video interview or video observation, to name a few. Faculty centric tasks may be done in the professor’s office using a desktop or laptop computer, video camera, and basic software such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. For example, with simply a video camera and a computer with a FireWire port, faculty in Teachers College can videotape their teacher candidates teaching a lesson or researchers can videotape interviews of study participants for analysis. Blended tasks may require support from instructional technology specialists or assistants. For example, a project currently being conducted in an educational technology class includes the use of University Teleplex video services to videotape student instruction; the digitized video will then be given to the students so that they can edit the content themselves using iMovie. Teleplex centric tasks are completely outsourced to a university expert. These types of video projects will require more expertise or higher-end equipment than the faculty has understanding of or access to. The electronic field trips project at Ball State University is one example of a Teleplex centric video project. Case Studies With increased integration of technology in education as well as the push for more inquiry-based teaching, the use of case studies is becoming more prevalent. By definition, case studies are real world problems which allow students to construct knowledge in an authentic environment using a variety of tools. Case studies are highly student centered and their design often involves the use of multiple forms of media, such as video or 15
  16. 16. animation. Consequently, the learning activities should also allow for multiple representations of content. Case studies are simply stories in which students work to identify a problem, gather information pertinent to solving the problem, identify a number of possible solutions, and make recommendations for action. The format of cases may vary, some using the internet, a newspaper, or a video clip. Because case studies usually involve learning by doing, the technology utilized may tend to be more faculty, or even, student centric. However, some cases may be presented that involve more elaborate tools such as simulations or virtual reality. Whatever the format, case studies engage students in critical thinking, decision making, creativity, and collaboration with others. Faculty centric tasks may require faculty to prepare a brief video clip or simulation to present the problem and faculty may need assistance in creating these materials. Depending on the complexity of the case, it is feasible to predict that multiple levels of support will be required for the use of case studies at Ball State University. Simulations A simulation predicts the behavior of a system under a user-defined set of conditions. Computer simulations are based on system models (often represented mathematically) and provide flexibility and rapid response to “what-if” questions. If the model is accurate, the design and functioning of a new system may be studied and optimized prior to fabrication. In higher education, simulations are used for the enhancement of learning in many disciplines. With the current emphasis on student-centered instruction models, computer simulations can play an increasing role in student learning at Ball State University, both for on-campus students and those enrolled in distance learning courses. In addition to visual, auditory, and text presentations, the student is engaged in learning the process of data collection, modeling, and cause and effect, i.e., the functional relationships that form the core knowledge of a topic of study. Posing “what-if” inquiries can potentially stimulate the desired creativity and critical thinking in our students. 16
  17. 17. Faculty will use commercially-available simulation software specific to their disciplines. Resources for the purchase of discipline-specific simulation software will be needed for an expansion of the use of simulations in instruction. Faculty centric tasks may simply involve learning to use the software and devising instructional exercises based on the simulation capabilities. Faculty may also create and use their own simulations employing available computer tools on office-accessible computers. Assistance from instructional design and software development staff may be needed or desired at all or any stages, depending on the simulation complexity, faculty expertise, and time. General simulation tools for the desktop will likely be needed for an expanded development and use of simulations by faculty. For the development of complex new simulations useful in their instruction, the Teleplex centric level of support may be required, with the faculty member detailing the idea, need, and desired functions while development is completely by the support staff using sophisticated, perhaps limited-copy simulation tools. Gaming Electronic and computer gaming continues to engage the attention of a significant segment of our youth. Gaming is now being tested and used as a vehicle for instruction and is likely to become an important pedagogical element in student learning at all levels. A game generally has an objective to be reached while a prescribed set of rules is followed. By their very nature, games are interactive and engage the participants in performing individual activities. Computer games may therefore be used as interactive learning or student-centered learning resources. Simulations, high performance graphics, and case studies are integral to instructional gaming. The setting, goals, and tasks in a particular game constitute a case study. “What-if” questions are now asked in the context of a defined objective or target. Feedback is immediate and dynamic. The skill and speed with which an objective or target can be reached is made dependent on the user’s understanding of the model behind the simulation. The user is then motivated to learn the principles, laws, and features of the model. High performance graphics assist the learning process through visual representations and therefore visual learning by the user. 17
  18. 18. Digital content development for instructional gaming may also require a three-tiered approach, for faculty will need assistance in all aspects of instructional gaming. The relative immaturity of the field and lack of faculty experience in instructional gaming likely indicate a higher need for support at the Teleplex centric and blended tier levels. Gaming development tools for the faculty desktop combined with assistance from instructional designers will allow faculty generation of simple game courseware. For the on-campus creation of sophisticated computer gaming, generic tools must be identified, acquired, used, and maintained at the Teleplex level. Animation Computer animation is often integrated into a wide variety of projects in an academic environment. Two-dimensional animation can be used in web design, multimedia, DVD production, games, simulations, and video. Software tools that are used to produce two- dimensional vector-based and bitmapped animation include Flash, Live Motion, and After Effects. Three-dimensional animation is used in visualization, simulation, virtual reality, video, games, and various aspects of interactive interface design. Software tools that enable 3D animation include 3D Studio Max and Lightwave 3D for general work to Softimage XSI and Maya for demanding productions. Although off-the-shelf products, these tools require a significant commitment in learning appropriate workflow. Industry-standard 3D software tends to have the steepest learning curves of any application type, intended, as it is, to be used by highly trained specialists in a professional production facility. Unless a faculty member would require constant need or a unique approach to the work through the filter of a specialization, in most cases, animation would normally be produced in a blended or Teleplex centric mode. This would allow the faculty member to produce the desired product with a discipline-specific approach without the enormous commitment to develop entirely new skill sets. Web- based animations produced by Flash or Image Ready are less demanding to acquire the necessary skill sets. 18
  19. 19. Virtual Reality Projects that incorporate virtual reality can be either non-immersive or immersive. Examples of non-immersive virtual reality technologies would be QuickTime VR Panoramas or Objects that allow for real-time screen-based manipulations and interactions. Immersive environments typically require wearable input devices, such as goggles and a data glove, to interact with a navigable world that is represented in visual stereo imaging. Of all of the modalities referred to in this report, the conception and execution of a project involving immersive virtual reality would be at the apex of the design, skill sets, testing, and resources required to develop in this mode of production. Immersive virtual environments typically involve all aspects of digital production from imaging, sound, animation, programming, physical computing, and video and are on the cutting-edge of visual digital research requiring high-level skills, design, and resources, as well as a dedicated space. The production of the virtual environment is essentially an exploration of innovative interface design that functions on an immersive physical, human-scaled level. This type of project requires a collaborative model of production and project management where artists, technicians, and programmers contribute to the development of the project. Due to the scale and complexity of the many skills and technologies, a faculty member pursuing an immersive virtual project would work primarily in the Teleplex centric mode of production. Futuristic Tools Information technology continues to progress at a rapid pace. Student learning using information technology will evolve with new capabilities, new and enhanced tools, and even new paradigms for assisting students. Ball State University must continually evaluate frontier information technologies for application to student learning. Sufficient resources must be devoted to efforts at the three activity tiers, described as faculty, blended, and Teleplex, to research, acquire, evaluate, and test these frontier technologies. 19
  20. 20. Recommendations In order to make the progress that Ball State University hopes to achieve technologically, there are steps that must be taken today. The Digital Content Development subgroup identifies two basic levels or areas involving resource issues and personnel issues. In addition, we suggest an implementation approach that targets faculty willing and eager to introduce new instructional technologies. The following are recommendations we feel are necessary in order to accomplish our goals. Resource Level • Three levels of support must be available, with personnel hired to staff these support structures. • Funding the purchase of the tools. • Faculty buyout. • Mini-grants for digital asset development. • Faculty Technology Fellowships. • Faculty remuneration for the development of digital assets. Personnel Level • Hiring practices should be written to ensure that new faculty are proficient in the use of core tools. • Faculty must be rewarded for the development of digital instructional tools. • Digital asset development should be recognized in the tenure and promotion process. Implementation Level • Target the early majority, i.e., faculty who embrace change. In order for any type of innovation to be successful we must remember that the time it takes for individuals to adopt innovations (new technology tools in our case) is predictable based on "personal characteristics, salient values, communications behaviors and social relationships" of faculty. (Rogers, 1985). In his book Diffusion of Innovations Rogers classifies individuals into five adopter groups: innovators, representing 2.5% of 20
  21. 21. the population; early adopters, the opinion leaders representing 13.5%; early majority, 34% who follow the opinion leaders moving toward change; the late majority, also 34%, who take more time to carefully examine the innovation and look for the benefits associated with the change; and finally the laggards, 16% of the population who are resistant to change and may even try to subvert the innovation. The groups he identified describe the innovativeness of the group members. Based on the research of Rogers and others, we suggest that focus be paid to the faculty that embrace change and possess the characteristics which correlate positively with change, such as venturesomeness, cosmopolitism, greater achievement, positive attitude toward change, and those that are less fatalistic. II. Digital Content Development Support The enhancement of student learning through the instructional use of digital technology is a goal of the University. Faculty in the classroom identify specific needs, recognize opportunities, and seek technological solutions. Realizing these technological solutions requires the assistance of trained staff. The three-tiered approach to digital content development for instructional applications described in a previous section will require the active involvement of Instructional Designers, Local Service Providers, and digital technology specialists. In general, faculty will require support by a team of staff with some or all of these capabilities. The expertise and the role played in digital content development by the Instructional Designer, the Local Service Provider, and the digital content support team are described below. Instructional Designer Instructional Design is the art and science of creating a detailed specification for processes that enhance teaching and learning using technology. An Instructional Designer is an expert that will assist faculty to design, develop and integrate effective uses of technology, resources, and digital assets in the classroom. Instructional Designers will assist the faculty member to develop a pedagogy that takes advantage of possibilities created by technology. In addition, the Instructional Designer will seek out additional media resources and design tools to incorporate and evaluate the development of projects 21
  22. 22. and their effectiveness in the classroom. The Instructional Designer can also assemble needed experts, tools, and assets for development of digital instructional resources and their delivery. In many cases, selection and the use of various web-based media such as graphics, text, audio, video, animation, applets, and scripts are related to 1) knowledge of those digital assets and how to assemble and use them and 2) the need to accomplish a defined set of goals and strategies related to the instructional goals, while also considering faculty and student competencies. Instructional Designers can help faculty members in the selection and utilization of web-based media and digital assets. Following are some of the needed contributions from Instructional Designers: • Define instructional goals of both teacher and student. • Assist the faculty to select resources that satisfy instructional goals. • Define/understand the target audience’s needs, competencies, and skills. • Analyze the teaching and learning environment. • Define needed support and training. • Assemble needed experts for development and delivery. • Address specific technology-related teaching needs as applied to instruction. • Design additional material, such as workbooks, instructor guides, and user manuals. It is clear that faculty members require additional support and consultation beyond that currently offered in order to understand and exploit technology and its uses. Developing an effective process for integration of technology in teaching and learning and developing pedagogy to benefit from technology are essential. An Instructional Designer is the needed ingredient for effective utilization of technology in teaching and learning. Local Service Providers According to the Campus Computing Survey, “Assisting faculty efforts to integrate information technology into instruction remains the single most important information 22
  23. 23. technology issue confronting American colleges and universities,” while “ providing adequate user support” ranks second. Faculty members are highly autonomous and they have different levels of skills, styles, needs, and talents. In addition, faculty prefer to receive consultation, help, and needed assistance in their own private office environments rather than in group training or open lab. Information Technology is fully aware that in the complex environment of information technology, faculty members need support, services, and consultation in many areas such as multimedia tools utilization, digital asset development, network access, Internet-based activities, web development, and hardware and software problem solving. In addition to the above needs, hassle-free and on-demand support and problem solving were key reasons for development of the Local Service Providers and their assignments in colleges at Ball State University. Each college has a Local Service Provider (LSP) that serves that college. In the present assignments, the LSP in each college handles questions and problems about computer hardware and software, digital communication and collaboration tools, Internet connection, and other related problem solving topics. The LSP in each college has valuable knowledge about most of the faculty members’ technology skills, needs, and experiences in the college and also has some level of knowledge about the college’s discipline-based technology needs and utilization. In addition, faculty members in each college have worked with the LSPs and developed a personal and professional comfort level. These mutual relationships and knowledge will make the LSP a perfect first level contact, consultant, and in some cases partner in digital asset development and delivery in each college. In addition, all the LSPs in Information Technology have strong basic skills in technology and development tools, and some level of knowledge about asset development and delivery. The above experience, relationships, and knowledge are good reasons to expand current responsibilities of the LSP in each college in order to help faculty in learning more about development and delivery tools, integration of technology in instruction, and development of digital assets and presentations. LSPs’ contributions 23
  24. 24. are at the basic level of development and delivery, but a majority of faculty needs are also at the basic level and instantaneous. The following steps can help to develop new functions and support LSPs’ new activities: 1. Define clearly what is the first level on-demand support and services in digital asset development. 2. Continue on-demand support and services for consultation and problem solving. 3. Provide on-demand and hassle-free technical support and assistance in the development of digital assets and digital presentations. 4. Assist faculty in integrating technology into their teaching and learning activities and digital resource preparation. 5. Offer hands-on, problem-based training for faculty in using technology and tools without limitation of time and place. 6. Evaluate faculty needs in learning and share this information with the training team for more training. 7. Facilitate access to experts in development and delivery for the LSPs. 8. Prepare the LSPs for the new assignments and provide continuous training for them. This model not only provides first level support and services in digital asset development, but also offers opportunities for one-on-one and problem-based training for faculty members in the use of development tools, development of digital assets, integration of technology in instruction, and delivery of technology-based instruction. To help LSPs with the additional responsibilities, each LSP should be assigned one or two student helpers. This additional help can free some of the LSP’s time to focus on learning new skills and contributing in the new capacity. The assigned students can help the LSP in the following support and services: 1. Installation of new hardware and software 24
  25. 25. 2. Upgrading current hardware and software 3. Connection to Network and access to different storages 4. Problem solving in daily operations and support for software and tools such as Outlook and MS Word This change in the LSPs’ assignments is essential for faculty technology fluency in digital asset development and for encouraging/facilitating faculty’s use of the technology in teaching, learning, and research. The key is for the needed support and service to be on demand and hassle free without limitation of time and place. The shift to a new paradigm is not simple, but the results can be huge for faculty, students, and the University. Support for Digital Content Development The potential of technology is extraordinary, but so are the challenges of developing quality technology-enabled programs and digital resources for teaching, learning, and research. Technology in the classroom is a rapidly changing dynamic. With the growth of this technology in today’s society, it is imperative that we begin to look at the needs of our students, the way that they learn, and how we can benefit from the possibilities created by technology in advancing our teaching, learning, and research. Fortunately, every discipline has rich events, concepts, examples, models, and knowledge bases. The conversion of them into appropriate hands-on and interactive digital resources in the form of computer case studies, simulations, applications, and intelligent systems can be a difficult task for most faculty members. To assist faculty in digital content development, a support system must be provided for them. Some guiding principles for the development of a support system are: • Assist faculty to develop skills and knowledge about the power and possibilities of technology and their contributions essential for the development of quality digital content. 25
  26. 26. • Develop a team with needed technical and methodological skills that can support faculty application development and delivery needs in teaching, learning, and research. • Assist faculty members in using instructional technology and tools such as Blackboard, FrontPage, iWeb, Gradebook, and InQsit. • Assist faculty members in the development of digital assets for presentation and learning activities. • Assist faculty members to select tools, technologies, and methodologies that are most appropriate to their instructional and pedagogical goals. • Arrange a development team from broad interdisciplinary groups from IT and the Office of Teaching and Learning Advancement. • Assist the faculty with new technologies and methodologies and share new knowledge and skills with the campus community. The primary objective of the digital content development team is to provide support for production and/or consultation on development tools and methodologies and to partner in the development of digital assets and instructional delivery. The following examples of digital asset development activities can help in the development of the support team. The usual digital asset produced takes the form of a multimedia project. During the initial design process the formats for delivering the product will be identified. These projects may comprise text, audio, animation, video, and graphics, or various combinations of these. Besides the faculty member as the project director, the required design/production team may include a production manager, multimedia project manager, producer/director, graphic artist, videographer, video editor, and an animator. The typical digital content development project might take one to twelve months to complete and can take hundreds of person hours from the support team, not counting the many hours that the faculty member will have invested. Unless faculty load time (buyout) is provided, these large undertakings by the faculty member will be on top of their normal day-to-day responsibilities. To assist faculty members on campus with the development of digital 26
  27. 27. assets for their classrooms, a number of services must be provided. Below are the types of services that can be offered: • Video production • Single or multiple camera documentation of events, lectures, guest speakers, interviews, b-roll, studio and remote production services • Videotaping of classroom lectures and student presentations • Editing of electronic field productions, streaming for web, CD-ROM, DVD, and archival purposes • Script writing • Production design • Video consultation services • Studio productions • Satellite uplink and downlink services • Duplication services • Format assistance, including MII, D-5, C-3, DVC-Pro 25mb, DVC-Pro 50mb, MiniDV, DVC, VHS, SVHS, CD-Rom, DVD-Rom • Multimedia • Instructional design for learning modules • Blackboard creation and design development • Interactive CD-ROM and DVD design and development • Video digitizing • WWW design and development • Interactive training modules • Multimedia authoring • Electronic graphic production for video, print, CD-ROM, DVD, WWW • Computer generated images to 35mm film transfers • Print and WWW publications, including design, graphics, and video 27
  28. 28. The faculty member’s concept will be the determining factor in the composition of the development team. The complexities of the concept and the faculty member’s level of understanding in technology are just two of several factors that will be taken into consideration when putting the team together. We need to remember that pedagogy is the driving factor for digital asset development, not technology. It is important to find new ways to get faculty involved in producing these types of materials and in learning new technologies that they can use in the classroom to enhance their teaching. Recommendations • Evaluate the possibility of having one to three Instructional Designers who can advise faculty on technology-based pedagogical issues and assist them to use technologies, tools, and new methodologies more effectively and to integrate technology and digital resources to satisfy instructional goals of teaching and learning. • Expand the responsibilities of Local Service Providers to encompass basic, first level support and services for using technology in the development of online presentations and resources and the delivery of online instruction. • Develop/organize team(s) with needed skills to support faculty with digital asset and course content development. In addition, these groups can help faculty with innovative ideas in digital content development and can develop migration paths for new technologies and methodologies at Ball State University. CHAPTER TWO: 28
  29. 29. DIGITAL CONTENT STORAGE AND MANAGEMENT III. Digital Content Storage Ball State University has almost 19,000 students and its data is on target to double every three years. Data storage requirements are expanding in every direction. Faculty and students are more dependent on computer systems and applications. Even basic email, which once consisted of a few paragraphs of text, now consumes multiple megabytes of presentations, graphics, and video. New applications from e-learning to audio and video editing and online streaming can now not only fill whole disk drives but also need a different approach for consolidating data storage and digital asset management. Traditional storage solutions directly attached to computer systems may not be effective or accessible or scalable in meeting growing storage requirements. Greater flexibility is needed, enabling multiple computer systems to access any storage devices regardless of location. Scattered data storages across campus result in inefficient use and at times replication of storage resources. Each year, departments are demanding more storage capacity. University Computing Services must not only house and manage these departmental servers but also provide backup and data restoration to protect against loss or corruption, all to ensure uninterrupted services to faculty, staff, and students. Increasing storage management and administration costs have resulted in significant interest in moving from a direct-attached storage model to a more scalable and manageable networked storage model. Present Data Storage and Digital Asset Management Data-storage requirements are continually increasing for Ball State University as a result of trends such as increasing numbers of new administrative IT applications in the higher education environment (e.g., student information systems and Web-based self-service applications for students) and video- and audio-based applications that generate large amounts of data. A growing population of students and faculty using computers is demanding more storage space for data. In the future, the rise of distance learning, broadcasted instructional programming, and e-learning will generate an increasing amount of online content to be stored and distributed. The nearly universal adoption of 29
  30. 30. online communication technologies, especially email, also drives increased storage requirements. University Libraries, University Computing Services, and all the departments combined have around 27 terabytes of storage in use today, spread across many server systems using Unix, Windows, and Macintosh. In the last two years Computing Services has seen 100% growth in the number of server systems and their associated storage that it manages and there is every sign that this expansion will continue. As well as new services, existing services' requirement for storage continues to increase. Some departments, such as Telecommunications and Music, have significant storage needs and already have multi- terabyte, network-attached storage solutions that go some way toward satisfying their present requirements but may not be adequate in the future. One major area of expansion in coming years will be e-learning. An essential requirement of e-learning is that uptimes need to be closer and closer to 100%. E-learning may also be a major driver for increased storage, as media-rich content within the University grows. A 24/7 learning environment will require as close to 100% availability as we can achieve. In general, resilient services need to be built on resilient hardware, and resilient storage is a key factor in achieving this goal. Presumptions In determining the right numbers for storage, the Digital Content Storage subgroup did not have data input estimations (real data needs) from all departments. To estimate the volume of data requiring storage, we got some input from a few departments and made approximations for the rest of it. Estimation of data storage needs: Present total data storage = 27 TB Future projection: Music Technology/School of Music = 15TB 30
  31. 31. TCOM = 30TB video and 15TB audio University Libraries = 5 terabytes We also used past growth of data storage as a rule of thumb. In the past three years data storage has exhibited a fourfold growth rate.. Using that same growth rate, storage requirements would easily be above 100 terabytes in the next three years. Since real data storage requirements from all departments were not available, the group had the following presumptions: • Lack of firm usage/capacity planning data • Lack of knowledge of data management software for storage implementation design • Lack of data use classifications (high-end video, text, etc.) and their total use Consequently, the recommendations that follow should be treated as more of a philosophy of storage architecture. Real storage volume will be calculated based on storage requirement input from all departments. Recommendations Storage networking has been around since the early 1990s, but the deployment of storage networks is just starting to build momentum. Industry analysts are predicting that storage networks, such as network attached storage and storage area networks, will flourish over direct-attached storage due to lower cost of ownership and better reliability. Storage networks enable new ways to store, access, and share data that are more reliable and cost effective. Storage networking provides a standards-based infrastructure that allows colleges and universities to better utilize and share storage resources, thereby reducing total cost of ownership and improving data availability and integrity. There are two dominant storage networking technologies: Storage Area Networks (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS). Both SAN and NAS technologies allow storage and computing devices to be 31
  32. 32. attached over a network. Storage devices are no longer isolated behind a single computer. This allows data access from across the campus, city, or even country. It also allows for storage consolidation, increasing efficiency and reducing costs. This consolidation of data simplifies storage administration and data backup and recovery; it also allows for easy scaling to meet growing storage requirements. Storage area networking is well suited for campus-based applications for real-time transactions and database access, including data mirroring, backup, and restoration via fiber channel interconnections. A combination of SAN and NAS technologies can be a very effective solution for digital assets storage and management. By implementing NAS and SAN, Ball State University can consolidate its storage resources. Storage consolidation enables organizations to avoid purchases of additional storage because space can be allocated where it is needed. Centralized fiber channel storage (SAN) and network attached storage (NAS) support growth, increase scalability and availability, improve disaster recovery, enable more efficient use of server resources, and provide greater utilization of virtual technologies for application consolidation. Consolidated email enables delivery of more enhanced services, eliminates several servers, and is easier to administer. Centralized backup and recovery increases recoverability and reduces server, network, and backup resources and network-based backup time. Criteria for our Recommendations The Digital Content Storage group considered the following factors in recommending for NAS and SAN solutions: Storages When storage is required for many services spread across many servers, oftentimes one service needs more disk storage which is difficult or expensive to add, while on another service the needed capacity already exists but cannot be accessed. Centralized storage will help to resolve this situation. All the software packages, various databases, unified messaging, and central campus calendaring can be offered to the entire campus through the central setup. A centralized 32
  33. 33. storage environment utilizes resources more efficiently and allows for the development of a central recovery procedure. Centralized or Distributed Storage Another key decision is how to architect a system with multiple servers. There are several options: centralized storage, distributed storage, or a combination of both. In the Ball State University environment where many people may need access to the same data such as specific video clips, a centralized storage environment allows fast and easy access for all to a single clip. For example, a fast breaking story may have six or more editors working on the same video clip. In a tape- based environment, it would need to be copied at least 6 times. With centralized storage, it is loaded onto the server and all have immediate access. In a distributed environment, it is loaded onto one server and the file is transferred to the other servers, generally at faster than real-time speeds. And if the server supports streaming, editors can start working on the clip seconds after it has started to be received without waiting for the whole clip to be transferred. A good solution is a combination of centralized and distributed storage. The Department of Telecommunications may have a centralized storage system for editing and production. When the clip is done, it is transferred to a playout server (probably mirrored). Thus the playout portion is isolated from the production area. Playout is protected from single failures or from someone in production editing a clip targeted to air. This architecture enables those who really need common access to video centralized storage, while playout is totally protected from a catastrophic failure. Therefore, a combination of both solutions is recommended. Scalability A NAS and SAN solution is essentially a consolidation of storage into a virtual storage pool where the storage requirements of any service can be built and reconfigured as needed. The service host is connected to the SAN in essentially the same way that a desktop system is connected to the network, providing a logical separation of service host and storage. NAS and SAN technologies 33
  34. 34. provide a central location for shared data and simplify the process of attaching, expanding, and reallocating storage among multiple servers. Using SCSI and fiber channel switches and hubs for redundant access paths, NAS and SANs also increase overall availability. Any node on the SAN can be connected or disconnected without disrupting service to other nodes. If the host computer breaks or needs to be upgraded, a new one can be attached almost seamlessly without changing the storage. As a service's storage requirements grow, the virtual disk space associated with the service can be easily increased with minimal disruption. Consolidation will also result in more effective use of this storage. Manageability—Backup and Recovery Analysis Backing up many disparate storage pools is a major problem. Either one backs up each server with its own backup device, typically some jukebox device, or one backs up over the network. A great deal of effort goes into managing backups. With so many different types of devices, software, and procedures, backup and recovery of systems depends on dedicated individuals. Many different skill sets are required, and some procedures are at times not documented. There should be a centralized enterprise backup environment to encompass software and library. For critical University services, NAS and SAN hardware will provide faster, highly resilient data storage. Data Availability and Integrity Storage downtime can have a serious adverse effect on daily operations. Today’s diverse student population includes on-campus students, distance learners, and prospective students. All require 24-hour access to information on the network. Also audio and video applications may need editing or display as the data streams during classroom demonstrations. Downtime can also severely affect university teaching and research activities, reducing productivity and even losing data. Redundant, multiple paths of NAS and SANs from servers to storage provide 34
  35. 35. scalable support for automated failover across all storage systems. Servers can connect to remote storage even over vast distances, bypassing traditional cable limitations. By bypassing the geographical limitations of direct-attached environments, NAS and SANs enable remote replication of not just one storage subsystem but, potentially, entire data centers. Summary The technical arguments in favor of moving to a storage solution based on NAS and SAN technologies for the data intensive parts of the University is compelling, but not surprisingly, they come at a cost. NAS and SANs are easier to manage than direct attached storage (DAS) because they offer a simplified, central point of control for monitoring, backup, replication, and provisioning. A recent study by McKinsey and Merrill Lynch shows that the total cost outlays of SAN solutions typically are less than half that of DAS solutions, primarily because of management cost savings. Many other universities have already installed NAS and SANs and many others are looking at them presently. IV. Digital Content Management: Computer literacy and use has increased dramatically among Ball State faculty and students over the past decade, in line with the University’s emphasis on bringing the latest technologies to bear in classroom instruction and learning, study and research, and product development. The result has been an increase in the production of digital assets, many of which now reside on personal or departmental computer hard drives, laptops, PDA’s, and networked but localized drives and servers across campus. This trend has resulted in the need not only for vastly increased storage capacity and some type of centralized repository for digital assets but also for an institutional content management system that will facilitate deposit, retrieval, use, and sharing of digital assets on an anytime/anywhere basis and that will ensure the preservation of digital content, manifested in a variety of formats, for as long as needed. It has been the focus of the ESC Content Management subgroup, through a process of discussions and readings, to 35
  36. 36. identify and describe key features and functions of a content management system intended for use by faculty and students. Presumptions The group began with the following presumptions: • The system described will be an ideal system, not a specific product or software. • The University does not have the time or resources to develop a content management system in-house. We perceived our task to be the identification of those attributes in a content management system that would best enable faculty and students with varying skill levels and purposes to create, access, and use digital assets anytime and anywhere. The list of desired features that follows represents an ideal system. There may be no system currently available that has all of the attributes listed. Since some features are of greater importance than others, the points under each heading are ordered from most to least important. The overarching concern in describing a digital content management system for faculty and students has been ease of use and flexibility, accompanied by the need for a strong security component and low system maintenance. Early in its discussions the group also concluded that a product of the sophistication and complexity required would have to be vendor-developed. The University does not have the human or financial resources or the time to devote to developing its own system or customizing open source products. Recommendations The following recommendations with respect to digital content management are offered: • University Libraries evaluate the content management section of the ESC report and its recommendations. • Develop policies and procedures regarding implementation and use of the content management system. 36
  37. 37. • Develop a plan for including digital resources outside of Ball State in the system. • Centralize responsibility for administration of the system in Bracken Library. • Develop an ongoing program for training Ball State faculty and students in use of the system and application of its policies and procedures. • Develop an ongoing support service for content developers in such areas as proxy submission, batch importing/exporting, and metadata enrichment. Collecting, organizing, preserving and providing assess to all types of information in support of the University’s instructional and research programs is at the core of University Libraries’ mission. In recent years, University Libraries has incorporated an increasing number of electronic and digital resources into its collections. Library personnel are developing expertise with the special challenges associated with digital media access and management, including the technologies, metadata creation, and digital rights issues. The Libraries’ current experience implementing a digital content management system (i.e., CONTENTdm) will inform and provide a practical basis against which to evaluate the ideas and recommendations in the content management section of this report. Successful implementation and development of any content management system requires careful planning and policy development. This process will be especially crucial for an undertaking of the scope and purposes outlined in this paper. With multiple contributors and users of the system, clear understanding of rights and privileges, what types of materials will be included and how they are to be submitted, who may have access and under what circumstances, what metadata and other standards will be used, and many other such matters must be established and documented. For the content management system to be of maximum benefit to the Ball State community, a plan should be developed to identify and include, when permitted, digital 37
  38. 38. content from entities outside Ball State. This could be material of interest which other institutions make freely available or resources and collections acquired or accessed through partnerships with other universities, cultural heritage organizations, or commercial firms. Inclusion of resources developed outside the University would give faculty and students a central place to search and access needed materials. Although many areas of campus will utilize the content management system and contribute to its successful development, responsibility for overall administration will need to be centralized in one area charged with coordinating all activities, functions, and development, overseeing smooth and efficient operation, and assuring consistent application of established policies, procedures, and standards. Given University Libraries’ intrinsic role as a repository for information and its experience to date with digital content management, University Libraries is the logical choice within Information Technology to assign this responsibility. Good training will be essential to the successful implementation and development of any content management system intended for faculty and student use. A program, customizable to different needs and skill levels, should be established to instruct participants in system functions, policies, and procedures and to provide individual assistance with special applications and projects. The program will need to be ongoing not only to meet the needs of new first-time users but also to update user skills periodically as the system and new digital technologies evolve. Lastly, a support service should be developed to assist content developers with system operations that they may be unable or unwilling to perform themselves. For example, users may not be authorized to perform batch loading or exporting, or they simply may not have the time to do it. Faculty may have valuable content they would like to share but not the rich metadata that will enable other scholars to locate it easily. Assistance with such operations as content submission or metadata creation may be the difference between a robust digital repository with many active contributors and a repository that is slow to attract new collections. 38
  39. 39. The list that follows describes suggested features of a digital content management system, arranged under five major topics: digital content import, digital content search and retrieval, user interface/display, security and rights management, and technical aspects and maintenance. Digital Content Import 1. Faculty/students or designated proxy can easily add, modify, save, and remove digital assets A digital content management system designed for broad-based faculty and student use must accommodate varying levels of technical expertise and diverse functional needs and workflows. It must ensure ease of import for digital objects and the ability to manipulate or remove them from the system as needed. Recognizing that some content creators will not have the time, ability, or interest in entering and managing their own collections, the system should also accept submissions and modifications by designated proxies, such as department secretaries, graduate assistants, librarians, archivists, or technical staff. 2. Ability to handle a variety of media types and file formats Since the educational and research needs of the faculty and students will vary widely, the types of digital content they produce also will be diverse. The content management system must be suitable for a variety of different media types, including text, still image (photographs, slides), maps, audio, video, and three- dimensional objects. Consequently, it must be capable of handling a variety of digital file formats, such as pdf, jpeg, tiff, gif, wav, mp3, avi, mpeg, and url. Ideally, the system will also accommodate, through periodic software upgrades, future file formats as they are developed. 3. Single item or batch import/export capability To facilitate digital collection building, the system should allow objects to be added manually, one-at-a-time, or in groups through automatic batch processing. 39
  40. 40. This flexibility will enable efficient processing of collections, whether they consist of a few objects or a few thousand, completed at one point in time or developed gradually over a period of time. 4. Adherence to a standards-based, metadata scheme (or schemas) that can be customized to accommodate specific disciplines The importance of adhering to standard metadata schemas, such as Dublin Core, VRA, or EAD, in an institution-wide repository with many potential contributors cannot be overemphasized. Without standardized metadata, discovery of digital content may be impossible for all but a select few or may be, at best, serendipitous. Use of nonstandard metadata systems may also limit the effectiveness of metadata harvesters in providing information on the University’s digital collections to researchers at other institutions. Nonstandard metadata, or even standard metadata systems if too many are employed, can make system administration more difficult. Ideally, a single, standards-based metadata schema that can be modified to the needs of specific disciplines or collections will be utilized. If multiple systems are used or if the content management system is to integrate with other systems, such as the library catalog, the metadata schemas must be compatible through crosswalks. 5. Customizable templates for metadata input To facilitate metadata input, the content management system should provide submission screens that prompt the user to supply data relevant to the specific discipline/collection using terminology that is appropriate (e.g., author/title/date of publication for a published text; instructor/course/semester and year for a course web page; creator/name/place/medium/date for an artifact). To accomplish this, the screen or template must be customizable as to name, number, and use of fields. It should also require that information deemed essential be supplied prior to successful submission. 40
  41. 41. 6. Ability to handle multi-file deposits The content management system should permit single submission of multifile deposits, sometimes called compound digital objects. These are digital works consisting of multiple files that together form the intellectual entity and are intended to be used together. An example is an electronic dissertation consisting of text (PDF), drawings or photographs (jpeg’s), and a video clip (avi). A series of digital photographs (six jpeg’s) which together show a three-dimensional artifact from top, bottom, and all four sides is another example. The system should also store the objects in such a way that inherent relationships and interactions are preserved. It is not enough, for example, to deposit the various files that constitute an instructor’s course web page if the links that constitute the page are not preserved. 7. Versioning/prototyping capability Versioning would allow works in progress to be included in the content management system, either by replacing the older version with the newest version or by retaining all versions in a manner that makes clear the relationships between the various manifestations of the work. Either way, versioning could be of great assistance to faculty and students engaged in ongoing research or collaborative endeavors across campus or across institutions. Similarly, prototyping would enable students and faculty to construct and store reusable digital models for work that reoccurs or is similar to previous projects. For example, a professor who teaches the same course over time might retain a prototype of his/her course web page so that he or she need only update the page the next time the course is taught. 8. Automatic format conversion between product lines To facilitate preservation of the digital object while saving operator time, it may be desirable to have the system automatically convert from one format to another (e.g. from Microsoft Word to PDF or HTML) upon submission. 41
  42. 42. 9. Option for format conversion within product lines Likewise, automatic conversion of files from older to newer versions of the same software product (e.g., Microsoft Word 2000 to Word. 2003) would be useful. Digital Content Search and Retrieval 1. Faculty/students can easily retrieve and display/play digital content A content management system intended for faculty and student use should facilitate successful discovery and retrieval by searchers who will possess varying skill levels. Ideally, the system will interact with the computer’s browser to launch automatically applications (such as Acrobat, Quicktime, Windows Media Player) needed to view documents or play video or audio clips. The number and names of metadata fields that display to the user should be customizable by collection or discipline. 2. Powerful search engine that allows keyword and known text searches by single collection or across multiple collections The system’s search engine should be robust enough to support searching both by natural language keywords and known text phrases employing standardized usage (e.g., for personal, corporate, or geographic names) or controlled vocabularies (e.g., Library of Congress Subject Headings, Art and Architecture Thesaurus). It should support Boolean operators. The ideal system should be capable of searching few or many metadata fields, as specified by the collection manager. The system should also enable the user to limit searching to specific collections, whether one or many. 3. Ability to search and retrieve items on campus or globally across institutions Except where security limitations have been imposed, the system should permit users to access other collections besides their own, whether all the unrestricted collections in one department or college or throughout the institution. When desirable, the system should also permit sharing of metadata and related files with other systems, such as the institution’s library online catalog. Ideally, the system 42
  43. 43. will support federated searching of collections at partner institutions or of open access collections. 4. Ability to browse within collections/disciplines A researcher unfamiliar with the content or simply wanting to get a broad overview of a specific collection or discipline should be able to look through all the items in the collection, one by one. 5. Like item searching The system should permit retrieval of items in or across collections that have some common characteristic. For example, the researcher may only be interested in streaming audio clips, not text or video files, on his/her topic, or only black and white photographs, not color. User Interface/Display 1. Easy-to-use, web-based interface Easy point-and-click access to resources, clear feedback, on-line help, orientation of activities, and user control of the process are a few of the important characteristics of the web-based interface. As a work environment for users, the interface should be appropriate to the specific discipline, have all the needed tools, and be enjoyable to navigate and to use. In addition, the user interface should provide a navigation map to orient users and allow them to move easily to other interesting resources in the map. The interface should provide clear directions for search, access, and save. 2. Ability to create multiple personal collections in the asset management system for later use Many users will need to collect various digital objects for use in classroom presentations or research projects. These personal collections may consist of one type of material or of many types, such as text, graphic, animation, audio, and/or video; they may be from one collection or several. It is important that the digital 43
  44. 44. assets management system provide users the opportunity to mark all distributed pieces and collect them as a whole at the time of the instructional delivery and presentation without limitation of time and place. 3. Options to display search results and digital objects in a variety of ways It is helpful if the system gives users flexibility in the display of search results through easily set and changeable preferences. For example, users may want to see results displayed one at a time or together with other results, as thumbnail images with accompanying metadata, or as metadata alone. For manuscripts, documents in foreign language or different scripts, or audio files users may wish to see transcriptions or translations along with the object itself. The user may want to arrange results alphabetically, chronologically, or by type of media. The ability to zoom and pan objects is also desirable. 4. Ability to customize templates The system’s display interface should be adaptable to specific user needs and purposes through template customization. Template customization should help each user to select and edit templates, to change styles/colors, to add links, and to create a unique looking web site that fits with the individual’s needs and tasks. 5. Good tutorials help screens and training before and during activities Without limitation of time and place, on-demand and problem-based training is essential if faculty and students are to use the assets management system with ease and confidence. Likewise, on-line feedback with clear explanation and on- line help screens are important for effective use of the system by users with varying skill levels. Complete on-line tutorials should also be available to users. 6. Print and possible download options Most accessed digital assets will be part of presentation, instructional, or research content which users will need to save for later use or as a backup or combine with other pieces to create larger projects. It is important that a user can save selected 44
  45. 45. assets to his/her hard drive, a central storage area, and/or to portable storage, such as a Flash (USB) drive or a CD/DVD, and can access them later from classroom, office, or dormitory. The system should also allow users to print paper copies if desired. Security and Rights Management 1. Sophisticated, multilevel security structure for authentication, access control, protection of digital object integrity The asset management system should provide the digital content owner with an extensive multilevel protection system. The protection system should have a series of tests and evaluations to determine the user’s eligibility to access particular assets. In this protection system, the asset owner should have the option to grant or restrict permission to others to display, print, save, and manipulate the owner’s assets. When a faculty or student creates new digital content and transfers it to the asset management system, the protection system should award all protection options to the asset owner. Ideally the content management system’s security structure will be compatible with security and authentication systems already in place at the institution. 2. Faculty/student can restrict digital assets access to individual, group, or world The asset management system’s security structure should allow the digital content owner, either directly or through the system administrator, to assign different levels of access privileges to other users. Some possible access levels include individual (only the content owner has access), group (two or more people, such as students in a specific class, a dissertation committee, members of a particular department), or world (universal access on the web). 3. Digital rights management component Digital Rights Management (DRM) limits the use of digital assets in order to protect the interests of copyright holders. Digital Rights Management should 45
  46. 46. protect digital assets for delivery and playback on a computer. There are three approaches to protect digital assets: 1) encryption, so that the asset can only be accessed by authorized users; 2) branding or watermarking, to signify that an asset is copyright protected; and 3) stipulating terms and conditions for use. The latter approach can take a number of forms, including free access and use without permission, direct permission from the owner, subscription charge for usage, or purchase and download. 4. Role-based delegation of privileges The asset management system should support role-based delegation of privileges. For example, some users may be able to display/play digital content, but not print or download; others may be allowed to do all these functions. The system should allow only the digital content owner or his/her designee to add, update, or remove objects or assign privileges to a collection. Systemic additions or modifications should only be possible at the systems administration level. Technical Aspects and Maintenance 1. Vendor-developed system The University has developed excellent in-house academic support software; however the functional requirements for the content management system outlined in this document are quite extensive. The system should be purchased from an established vendor that specializes in this type of application software. Digital asset management is a growing field that will require extensive long-term support. 2. Good documentation and technical support from the vendor One important aspect of purchasing a content management system is to reduce the support costs to the University. Good technical documentation for the operation and maintenance of such a system is mandatory. It is expected that upgrades to the content management system will be routine. Strong documentation and planning will reduce the time needed by the technical support staff to implement system updates. When system problems occur good technical documentation will 46
  47. 47. allow the technical support staff to isolate errors quickly and correct the problem directly or convey problem details to the vendor technical support staff. 3. Sufficient infrastructure to support large files, rapid retrieval and display, etc. The system must have a high performance data retrieval infrastructure. A well- designed content management product must accommodate high speed access to numerous and large files in a single user request. High quality audio and video digital assets can easily reach into the gigabyte range and high resolution photographs/images in the megabyte range are common. Product evaluation must ensure that the system will perform under “heavily loaded” conditions. 4. Support for persistent url’s Ideally, the url assigned to a digital asset at the time it is added to the content management system will remain associated with the digital file throughout its lifetime; however, a linking methodology, such as CNRI Handles or PURLs, needs to be in place to insure that links are not lost over time as files are moved from one storage network to another. Without persistent url’s, objects may be lost, leading to user frustration and lack of confidence in the system. 5. Interoperability at the system level The system must be compatible with the University’s existing and planned data processing infrastructure; fortunately, the University has a diverse data processing infrastructure that is supported. Strong compatibility with existing operating systems should increase system dependability and decrease implementation and maintenance costs. Compatibility at the hardware level should also be considered for cost reduction and dependability. However, if a foreign system is introduced, implementation and maintenance cost should be carefully evaluated. Technical support staff will need additional training; the learning curve for technical support staff will need to be considered when developing an implementation timeline. 47
  48. 48. 6. Interoperability with other user programs and systems Digital assets are currently created with a wide variety of application software programs and more programs will undoubtedly be added over time. Interoperability with these application programs is important for the smooth operation of the content management system. An author must be able to develop materials with a variety of application programs and seamlessly integrate them into the content management system. 7. Reliable system backup component Since substantial digital assets potentially will be stored in this system, a dependable backup process is an absolute requirement. The system must directly or indirectly provide for at least two copies of backup media to be produced, one copy being stored in a secure location away from the data center. Additionally, the system should allow the user to backup his/her own digital content to a local device; this would permit the user to transport digital assets to another site or operate on a non-networked device. 8. Low overall system maintenance A low level of required system maintenance should keep the operating overhead at a minimum. The less time spent on routine system maintenance, the more time will be available for system enhancements and performance tuning. Also, low system maintenance requirements imply a well designed system. 9. Ability at the system level to purge inactive or little used objects and to provide for long-term preservation of these objects if desired: There is the potential for massive amounts of data to be stored in the content management system. A simple and automatic method of removing inactive assets is needed; otherwise storage requirements for the system will grow to an unmanageable level. Optionally, purged assets could be moved to some form of off-line storage for long term archiving. 48
  49. 49. 10. System level tracking and usage logging capability Evaluating system usage is necessary for performance tuning and cost containment. The vendor will provide general operating parameters for the system; however, we will want to “tune” the system for our distinctive needs. The tracking of system usage levels can provide important information for optimizing system performance. Tracking system usage levels can assist in avoiding serious performance problems by allowing the adjustment of the system before a condition becomes serious. 11. Potential for improvement with needs and changes in technology Any content management product must clearly demonstrate the ability to accommodate future advancements in technology. An evaluation of how a vendor has handled recent technology advancements can be used as a guide to how well the vendor is prepared to deal with future changes. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Higher education institutions are moving beyond the initial investment in tools and infrastructure to find ways for effective utilization of technology in teaching, learning, research, and business operations. The Environmental Scanning Committee assignments illustrate the hallmark of what higher education can do beyond the initial investment in infrastructure to deal with the key issues of the utilization of technology in education. The Environmental Scanning team members were selected by their deans as the best experts from academic units to help Information Technology in scanning and evaluating the environment for recommendations on content development, delivery, storage, and asset management. The valuable contributions of the committee members in evaluation, assessment, research, and writing this report are greatly appreciated by Information Technology. It was a great privilege to work with these seven faculty members from the colleges and the three members from Information Technology units. Their hard work and knowledge sharing will help Ball State University in effective utilization of technology in education and will provide needed direction for successful integration of technology in research, learning, and classroom instruction. 49