IN BRIEF: Parking Forum, Wine Sales, MU Flags

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Transportation Services will hold a forum this week in search of ideas on “Maintaining Operations During an Uncertain Time,” asking the question, “During a long-term crisis, what does a campus parking system look like to you?”

The program is the first of three Transportation Tomorrow Forums scheduled monthly through December.

The long-term crisis, at this time, is the pandemic, when many employees continue to work from home, cutting into parking revenue. “We must find ways to fund ourselves,” officials said, noting that Transportation Services is a self-sustaining unit. “Revenue earned goes back to pay for deferred maintenance as well as upkeep of campus roads, pathways and funding for commuting programs (goClub).”

The forum is scheduled from 3:30 to 5 p.m. this Thursday (Oct. 8). The discussion will be led by Perry Eggelston, executive director of Transportation Services, and Ramon Zavala, transportation demand manager.

Register here. People are welcome to submit questions when registering or by sending them via email.

Upcoming forums: “Introducing License Plate Recognition Technology,” Nov. 12; and “Building Tomorrow’s Commuting Program,” Dec. 9.

Paying our respects

The campus has resumed paying its respects to UC Davis affiliates who have died, not only by flying the University of California flag at half-staff on the Memorial Union’s South Patio but also by posting their names on the MU website.

Flag-flying had been suspended when the Memorial Union closed in March, due to the pandemic. The MU reopened last week, with restrictions, and the U.S., California and UC flags are up again.

The staff is now playing catch-up: lowering the UC flag to half-staff for people who, because of the MU’s closure, did not receive the honor at the time they died. A listing of those being honored is posted daily in the right-hand column of the MU’s homepage.

Wine-sale bill signed into law

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed legislation that allows UC Davis to sell student-produced wine starting Jan. 1.

The Legislature approved the measure Aug. 30, and Newsom gave it his signature on Sept. 30, the last day he could sign or veto legislation from the 2020 session.

Senate Bill 918, by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa), allows the sale of up to 20,000 gallons of wine annually. Heretofore, the university has been obligated to dump all student-produced wine, a process that Professor David Block, chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology, called “neither environmentally nor fiscally sustainable.”

“For the most sustainable winery in the world, this [legislation] would be a big and important change,” he said.

Welcome from President Drake

The University of California’s new president, Michael V. Drake, issued a fall welcome letter for a year that is “clearly different,” considering the global pandemic, wildfires and associated air pollution across California, and the nation’s struggle with racism and inequity.

“I am doing everything I can to ensure that UC students, faculty and staff can continue their work, achieve their goals, and stay healthy and safe,” he wrote. “I am grateful to our faculty members for their extraordinary efforts to transform the way we teach, and I am impressed by our students and staff for their adaptability, patience and grace in the face of obstacles none of us have ever confronted before.”

Read President Drake’s letter.

1 website, 3.28 million views

Here’s an icebreaker you can use when waiting for your next Zoom meeting to begin: What core part of UC Davis was viewed 3.28 million times on the first day of classes fall term?

Answer: UC Davis Canvas. The learning management system, or LMS, logged that many page views on Sept. 30, a volume more than twice as large as last year’s.

Since 2016, UC Davis faculty and students have used Canvas to teach and learn — to deliver course materials, turn in homework, team up on projects, communicate information about tests or classwork, and more. UC Davis is one of thousands of universities, colleges and schools that use Canvas, an LMS provided by Instructure, an educational technology company in Salt Lake City.

“The system seems to be running smoothly,” Todd Van Zandt, manager of Teaching and Learning Technology Services for in UC Davis Information and Educational Technology, said Oct. 1. “Canvas really did a good job meeting the new demands.”

When problems do occur, Canvas operates a service desk that’s open 24/7, including live chat and a hot line.

The sudden switch to remote instruction last March made Canvas even more essential to UC Davis and kicked off this year’s growth surge. On the first day of spring term, UC Davis Canvas logged 2.33 million views. The numbers usually peak in fall, which tends to be the busiest term on campus. The busiest day for UC Davis Canvas last fall recorded 1.49 million views.

As of the morning of Oct. 1, UC Davis instructors had published 2,354 courses in Canvas, up from 2,059 a year earlier.

— Bill Buchanan, a writer-editor in IET, wrote this article for TechNews

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