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Nebraska Information Technology Commission
Friday, August 16, 2002
Educational Service Unit 5
900 West Court Street, Beatrice, Nebraska



Mr. Keith Bartels, Nebraska Association of School Boards
Mr. Con Dietz, Creighton University
Ms. Linda Engel, Nebraska City Public Schools
Mr. Wayne Fisher, (Alt. representing ESU’s)
Dr. Jack Huck, Southeast Community College
Dr. Kent Hendrickson, University of Nebraska–Lincoln (Alt. for Dr. Harvey Perlman)
Dr. Robert Manzer (Alt. for Thomas O’Neill, Jr., Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Nebraska)
Mr. Al Schneider, ESU 5


Mr. Bob Huber, Nebraska Education Telecommunications Commission
Dr. Carna Pfeil (Alt. Dr. David Powers, CCPE)

MEMBERS AND LIAISONS NOT PRESENT: Ms. Brenda Decker, DAS Division of Communications; Ms. Yvette Holly, University of Nebraska Medical Center (Alt. for UNMC); Mr. Jeff Johnson, Centennial Public Schools; Mr. Joe LeDuc, Catholic Diocese of Lincoln; Dr. Tom Krepel, Chadron State College; Dr. Ed Rastovski, Wahoo Public Schools; Mr. Al Schneider, ESU 5; Dr. Sheila Stearns, Wayne State College; and Mr. Alan Wibbels, ESU 10


Co-chair, Dr. Huck, called the meeting to order at 9:11 a.m. There were 8 voting members present at the time of roll call. A quorum existed to conduct official business. Dr. Huck stated that the meeting notice was posted to the NITC and the Nebraska Public Meeting Calendar Web sites on July 22, 2002 and that the meeting agenda was posted to the NITC Web site on August 13, 2002.


Mr. Bartels and Mr. Dietz requested an additional agenda item regarding membership recognition of new alternates be added to the agenda. It will be added after Public Comment.

Mr. Bartels moved to approve the August 16, 2002 meeting agenda with the additional agenda item. Mr. Dietz seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Fisher-Yes, Schneider-Yes, Hendrickson-Yes, Manzer-Yes, Huck-Yes, Engel-Yes, Dietz-Yes, and Bartels-Yes. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.


Mr. Dietz moved to approve the July 19, 2002 meeting minutes as presented. Dr. Hendrickson seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Bartels-Yes, Dietz-Yes, Engel-Yes, Huck-Yes, Manzer-Yes, Hendrickson-Yes, Schneider-Yes, and Fisher-Yes. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.


There was no public comment.


Mr. Bartels moved to approve the nomination of Don Mayhew, representing school boards, as his alternate. Dr. Hendrickson seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Engel-Yes, Huck-Yes, Manzer-Yes, Hendrickson-Yes, Schneider-Yes, Fisher-Yes, Bartels-Yes, and Dietz-Yes. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Mr. Dietz moved to approve the nomination of Jerry Harnisch, representing independent colleges and universities as his alternate. Dr. Hendrickson seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Manzer-Yes, Hendrickson-Yes, Schneider-Yes, Fisher-Yes, Bartels-Yes, Dietz-Yes, Engel-Yes, and Huck-Yes. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Tom Rolfes, Education Information Technology Manager

The special legislative session passed LB2 that discontinued the $130,000 funding for NETC distance learning grants. Immediate future funding is unlikely. Project coordinators had received a letter informing them that special session recommendations may reduce or discontinue funding. The council will need to evaluate the ongoing roles of the Training Advisory Work Group.

Mr. Huber arrived to the meeting at 9:20 a.m.

Bob Huber, NET

An updated report was distributed to members and briefly reviewed by Mr. Huber. Discussion followed regarding budget cuts, the provision of services, long-term contracts, and management of bandwidth. The council has no authority regarding the management of bandwidth but the council could make recommendations regarding bandwidth as part of one of the Action Items. This, in turn, would be communicated to the NETC and other policy makers.

Rod Armstrong, Tim Erickson, and Doug Gibbs

Nebraska On-Line developed the business portal for the State of Nebraska. The concept of the education portal was brought to the Education Council for discussion at the April 19, 2002 meeting. At that meeting, the Council voted to proceed with the State Records Board Grant for an Education Portal. The grant has since been awarded. The Education Portal would present a gateway for a variety of choices for citizens to access information on all types of educational information. The protocol has been developed and input was requested from the Council members and its constituents.

Members had questions regarding the links utilized on the web site and who would be responsible for maintaining current information. After discussion, the following steps would occur:

  • NOL will provide the Education Council a list of links currently used on the web site.
  • NOL will survey institutions for key contact persons to provide updates and/or changes as to links for the Education Portal.
  • NOL will send the Education Council members an electronic copy of the PowerPoint presentation along with a brief history and explanation of the development of the Education Portal. Members will send this information to their key contact person(s) at their educational institutions.

Mr. Gibbs provided a brief overview of the research done on Education Portals of twelve other states. California’s web site was the most user friendly and comprehensive Council members requested that the web site addresses to these states be included in the information that will be sent to Council members.


Mr. Rolfes distributed copies of the most recent draft copy. The Work Group had discussed the issue of governance in length. After several meeting discussions, the work group emphasized the need to have the stakeholders be involved in the management model.

Mr. Dietz moved to endorse the Nebraska Network Draft Document to be forwarded to the NITC for its consideration and action. Ms. Engel seconded the motion. Mr. Dietz commended the Nebraska Network Work Group for their efforts.

Discussion followed. For Recommendation #2, in the first sentence it was suggested to change the wording “should aggregate” to “should consider aggregating”.

Mr. Schneider stated that institutions might read the Fiscal Impact section of the document and determine that they are being mandated to centralize. Centralization of purchasing may be an issue for some of the Educational Service Units and/or for the distance learning consortia across the state. Members of the Work Group attempted to explain that this is not the intent of the document but that “centralization” is an option that is available. If it is determined that the Network is in the best interest of the institution financially and for providing services, then that institution can choose to become involved.

Mr. Bartels offered a friendly amendment to the motion to clarify the second bullet “Central telecommunications purchasing entity” on page 8 that it is an optional or if needed. Mr. Dietz and Ms. Engel accepted the friendly amendment. More discussion followed and it was agreed to not include this section in the motion but to have staff further develop this section to clarify that this is optional to institution. It was also suggested to change the bullet to read Purchasing Processes, list and explain the options for a “centralized telecommunications purchasing entity” and “de-centralized telecommunications purchasing”.

More discussion followed regarding the “Recommendations” section. Under Recommendation #9, it was suggested that in the first sentence, omit the word “new” and in the second sentence change the wording “This workgroup” to “This group”.

Mr. Dietz offered to change the wording of this original motion. Ms. Engel accepted.

Mr. Dietz moved that the Education Council endorse the Nebraska Network Work Group’s Recommendations 1-13” on pages 4-7 of the document to be forwarded to the NITC with the following changes made to Recommendation #9, omit the word “new” in the first sentence of Recommendation 9; and in the second sentence, change the wording of “The workgroup” to “This group”. Roll call vote: Dietz-Yes, Bartels-Yes, Fisher-Abstained, Schneider-No, Hendrickson-Yes, Manzer-Yes, Huck-Yes, Engel-Yes. Voting results: Yes-6, No-1, Abstain-1. The motion was carried by majority vote.


Today at 1:30 p.m. in UNL’s East Campus Union there will be a demonstration on Blackboard Version 5 Level 3. A spreadsheet of the survey results collected thus far is on the NITC Education Council web site.


Mr. Rolfes suggested that previous discussions indicated there are revisions that need to be made to the action items. For example, EC 2.1 involves the NETC training grants and a new action item may involve distribution of distance education services. Dr. Huck proposed that a small group meet to work with Mr. Rolfes and then send their revised action item recommendations to members for next month’s meeting. The following members agreed to assist Mr. Rolfes: Ms. Engel, Dr. Manzer, and Dr. Bergman was also recommended.


It is being proposed that the budget deadline be extended from September 15th to October 15th. The proposed timeline to get budget reviews completed was distributed to members. If the extended deadline is approved, this may require a special Education Council meeting. Mr. Rolfes will know more by the September 20th Education Council meeting.


There was no other business.


The next meeting of the NITC Education Council will be held on Friday, September 20th, tentatively in Lincoln. The exact location will be determined at a later date. The October 18th meeting will be held in Lincoln due to the budget request deadline. Mr. Huck will look into availability at Southeast Community College. With no further business, Dr. Huck adjourned the meeting at 11:45 a.m.

Meeting minutes were taken by Lori Lopez Urdiales and reviewed by Tom Rolfes of the Office of the CIO/NITC.

Meeting Minutes