JANUARY 21, 2000


The January 21, 2000, meeting of the Education Telecommunications Council was held at Iowa Public Television and the following members were present: Robert Barak (Regents); Al Bode (ISEA); Dean Borg (IASB); Merv Cronbaugh (IACCT); Mary Gannon (IASB); Connie Maxson (SAI); Kathryn O'Shaughnessy (ISEA); Pam Pfitzenmaier (IPTV); Mick Starcevich (SAI); Gail Sullivan (DE); Mary Travillian (AEA Boards); and Rich Gross (DE/exofficio). Paul Bowers (IAICU); Gene Gardner (IACCT); John Hartung (IAICU); Gary Hayden (AEA Boards); David Montgomery (DE/CIANS); Kay Runge (DE/Libraries); and Emmett Vaughan (Regents) were absent.

The following guests were also present:John Haack (RTC 10); Julie Thomas, Pam Swarts, and Deb Hawks (RTC 6); Bruce McKee (RTC 2); Mike Bacino and Kathy Williams (ICN); Jim Sutton (ISEA); Kathy Guilgot (RTC 1); Chuck Chrisman (RTC 16); Karen Lombard and Marlene McComas (RTC 5); Dennis Eitmann (RTC 13); Roger Rezabek (RTC 7); John O'Connell (Dept. of Ed); Kathy Borlin, Wayne Bruns, Dick Stufflebeem, Lisa Albers, Gwen Nagel, Paul Ollinger, and Debbie Fiscus (IPTV); Winston Black and Jane Herrmann (RTC 11); Stacy Rockhold and Julie Burrell (RTC 14); and Rich Varn (ITS).


II.A. Technical Information Exchange (TIE) Committee Appointees

Paul Ollinger updated the members concerning a TIE sub-committee that has been asked to review the MPEG2 codecs with ICN and IPTV personnel. The TIE group is composed of approximately 75 technical personnel from CCs, universities, admin sites, AEAs and independent colleges who are responsible for the technical issues in the ICN video classrooms. Volunteers that form the MPEG2 sub-committee are Randy Meeker (IANG); Orv Thein (Kirkwood CC, Area 10); Dave Ludwig (IWCC, Area 13); Terry Edmonds (U of IA); Chuck Chrisman (SECC, Area 16); Dave Martinson (Western Hills AEA, Area 12); Don Yoho (Indian Hills CC, Area 15); Al Trickey (DMACC, Area 11); Gary Henrickson (EICCD, Area 9); Greg Husovo (IVCCD, Area 6); and Paul Ollinger (IPTV). An email listserv has been established for this sub-committee and also includes Bill Hayes (IPTV Director of Engineering); Dick Stufflebeem (IPTV Asst. Dir. of Engineering), Pam Pfitzenmaier and Rich Gross (IPTV), Kathy Williams, Joel Meinders, Mark Dayton, and Kip Ferguson (ICN).

In order to "track down" other existing video software problems, there will be a weekly meeting involving personnel from IPTV and ICN. The TIE members will be kept informed about progress in resolving on-going video issues. Discussion followed.

II.B. ETC Core Group Meeting of January 10, 2000

Rich Gross opened the discussion with information about the ETC Core Group (members of the ETC, RTCs, educational schedulers and ICN staff). The Core Group meets on a monthly basis in an attempt to continue to work through and improve communication issues. He previewed a draft document of notes from the January 10 meeting that will be the foundation for the monthly tech update newsletter. While Rich cautioned that the document was still in draft form and needed to have some errors corrected, he requested for feedback from RTC and ETC members concerning the monthly newsletter. Discussion followed.

II.C. Update from ICN Staff


Kathy Williams provided an update concerning the VOSS software as it relates to the scheduling and the network video switching platform situations. Software features for in advance scheduling have been developed and are being tested at this time. The in-advance software has been put on a test server so as not to disrupt the live day-to-day operating platform. A group of 5 educational schedulers are doing the testing and have been doing so for approximately 2 weeks with daily phone conference calls with the ICN staff. Some of the issues/problems found in the in-advance software features are directly related to the current scheduling software. It is hoped that many of the modifications/changes being made to the existing scheduling software will be helpful in the future as well as in-advance scheduling.

It was the preliminary recommendation of the test schedulers to the rest of the educational schedulers that the goal would be to use the VOSS platform for the summer in-advance scheduling since this is a "light" scheduling semester. It was acknowledged that there are existing problems with the in advance scheduling features and that Todd will need to work out these problems before the heavy in-advance scheduling for fall begins in February.

On Tuesday, January 25, there will be two ICN demonstrations sessions set up for educational schedulers. These are intended to go over the in-advance scheduling process using the new software.

Kathy also shared that due to the expectations about the in advance scheduling features, some of the punch list of 20 "open items" that TODD was to have completed on January 15 have not been resolved yet. Any modifications with the "list of 20" that have been completed were put on the test server rather than the live platform. The test schedulers have been testing some of the punch list.

Kathy communicated that Todd staff have completed a version 3 of the software. However, she stated that this version will not be implemented on the live platform until all "bugs" have been worked out.

Discussion followed.


Kathy Williams stated that there has been no further deployment of the MPEG2 codecs. Modifications to the codecs are still in the "white board" stage. Actual testing of the modified codecs with the TIE subcommittee (see item II A above) is tentatively scheduled for summer.

II.C.3. Billing

Mike Bacino provided an update on ICN billing. A billing resolution strategy was implemented in December to address a backlog of issues, problems, complaints and inquiries. At this time, the majority of those issues have been handled, with approximately 35 to complete. The ICN goal for the future is to allow a 5-day turn around for each inquiry about a billing issue (from initial contact to final resolution).

Discussion followed.

II.D. Information on Governor's Budget Recommendation for ICN.

Gail Sullivan, John O'Connell, Pam Pfitzenmaier, and Rich Varn shared information concerning ICN and education technology related budget information for the current legislative session. John O'Connell updated members on the status of the RFP for Internet filtering service for K-12 schools, legislation that was initiated by two members of the Iowa House during last year's legislative session. It was emphasized that the filtering legislation and appropriation was not an Iowa Department of Education initiative but rather was developed by legislators.

Discussion followed.

Rich Varn updated members concerning the $27.2 million dollar technology related budget recommendation from the Governor. The Governor has requested that an Information Technology Infrastructure advisory committee be created to review state government technology applications. A ranking/prioritization process was implemented by this advisory committee and approved by the Governor. There were four items of the $27.2 million that were specially selected by the Governor for recommended funding: a).$7 million for the ATM/MPEG2 upgrade; b). $7 million for IPTV for high definition TV upgrade; c). $1 million for Iowa ACCESS (additional dollars); d). and $2 million for the 21st Century Learning Infrastructure. The Governor recommended that the remaining $10.2 million to be stretched across about $35 million in requests in the best way possible (electronic government, welfare reform, information systems, redesigning of the State's budget system, etc.).

Discussion followed.

Pam Pfitzenmaier informed members of the budget recommendation by the Governor for RTCs--current level of funding for RTCs with no increase. The Governor has also recommended continued subsidy of ICN interactive video.

II.E. New and Emerging Technologies

Paula Yalpani and Lisa Albers of IPTV provided a preview of the new "look" of the Iowa Database web site and highlighted the new addition of the on-line distance learning catalog that will be available soon. The url for the Iowa Distance Learning Database remains at

II.F. E-Rate Update

Due to time constraints, there was no update for this item.


The January 21, 2000, meeting of the Education Telecommunications Council adjourned at 11:00 a.m. The next meeting of the ETC will be February 17, 2000, at Iowa Public Television. The ETC Ad Hoc Committee on telecommunication and technology needs for elementary and middle schools meet from 11:00am-12:00pm. Members of the Ad Hoc Committee are: Al Bode, Kathryn O'Shaughnessy, David Montgomery, Gail Sullivan, Pam Pfitzenmaier, Gary Hayden, and Rich Gross. Other guests who were in this meeting are: Gwen Nagel, Kathy Guilgot, Gwen Nagel, John O'Connell and Rich Varn.


Education Telecommunications Council Minutes
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