DRAFT

ITC  MEETING

2/23/04

 

Present:       Jan Fox, Allen Taylor, Frances Hensley, Gary Anderson, Karen McComas, Matt Christian, Don Combs, Monica Brooks, Arnold Miller, Donna Spindel,

 

REVIEW OF MINUTES:        Approved As Amended

 

Jan

Fox:            Updates:  We are submitting the NSF Grant tomorrow.  The grants focus is to provide a statewide repository of online dual credit courses in math and science and would be available all institutions and K12.  It would have public domain learning objects and tagged metadata; all meeting the state standards.  It is a 4 million dollar proposal. 

 

I will send each of you an invitation to the State Technology Conference.  Historically, we had WVNet and the State IT Expo, however, due to financial issues there will be a single conference this summer.  I encourage all of you to present and attend.  The conference is in August.  I would like to see Marshall to have a good showing both from a presentation perspective as well as attendance.

 

There is strange legislation in the state.  Evidentially, we had a student who created Bill as a class project.  The bill was designed to block universities from selling email lists.  The problem isn’t us selling the lists; the problem is students selling lists.  I think we may want to look at creating a policy against anyone selling lists.

 

There is a lot of privacy legislation out there right now.  The legislation would make all IT workers non-classified in the state.  House Bill 4072 would create a Planning Technology Committee that includes all aspects of K12, higher education, community, and business.  As funds become available, it will be collaborative planning. 

 

I have been reporting on the State turning on QOS that would influence our video networks and voice over IP.  The State has been having problem doing that and it has not happened.  We are still concerned about the affects it will have on us when it is turned on.

Monica

Brooks:       We were disappointed that The Copyright seminars were not well 

                   attended.   David and I now plan to take the show on the road and have offered to do seminars for various departmental meetings.

 

Arnold

Miller          :         We are well underway for the Disaster Recovery Plan.  Because we

will be fitting it inside a graduate student's Capstone project, we have

tailored it as a pilot program focusing on Banner and not the entire business process.  We expect to be able to have that done by the May time frame.  This will give us a good idea of how long will take to do a full business resumption plan for the entire campus. 

 

We are in the process of evaluating the MUinfo machine that houses the principal part of Banner, for any possibilities to upgrade it this year.  The machine is now 5 years old so we need to look at the replacement cycle for that particular machine.

 

There are various upgrades to take place this Spring.  I will keep you informed of what those are.

 

MASS VOICE MAIL DISTRIBUTION POLICY

FIRST READING

 

Jan

Fox:            Layton feels we should have a formal policy dealing with mass voice mail messages.

 

Arnold

Miller:         This has been an issue since we installed the phone system in the late 1980s.  We have used the system to get out urgent messages to the entire campus.  We find that we now need a policy that gives us some guidelines to say yes or no to distribution of mass messages via Audix.  We need to know what constitutes the group that could request that it be done.

 

Jan

Fox:            In the past we’ve had two types of broadcasts:  One was a University broadcast and the other was a broadcast list that people could sign up for to get general information.  There is concern that there are too many broadcasts now and we are afraid people will automatically delete the message without listening to it.  Do we need something on the front of the message that indicates that it is an emergency?  Should we only do emergency broadcasts?  If we really have an emergency, we don’t want people to be in the habit of automatically deleting it.

The other issue we need to address is that when the Medical School pulled out from our phone system and set up their own phone system, they no longer receive our broadcast messages.  We have the same problem with the other remote campuses.  We need a formal process and procedure.  What we have is the first draft from Mike Adkins for review.  We will open the floor for comments.

 

Number 4 is vague.  It is felt that general broadcasts for tickets, meetings, etc. take away from the purpose of announcements.

Frances Hensley feels that the actual announcement should say “emergency” or “informational”.

 

It is the current policy is that any message should be cleared through the Communications Office.

 

Allen

Taylor:        There is another issue with a new product in the standard faculty/staff PC interface to the voice mail system.  Under this system a faculty member could create and maintain their own voice mail list.  It will make it much easier for faculty to do mass broadcasts which will create more broadcast messages.  We need to be able to limit who can do messages.  The policy needs to address the issue of misuse of service.  Gary Anderson recommends a limit on the number of members in a voice mail list.

 

It is recommended that Emergency messages say “emergency” and cover items 1, 2, and 3 of the policy.  Number 4 would be moved to the list serve of voluntary “information list members” for general announcements.  We need to avoid “voice spam”.  We need to revisit this to discuss “general” announcements once Allen has had time to look into the limitations that can be placed on the new software.

 

It is recommended that we should remove the terminology referring to “Audix” in the policy because we may change systems on the main campus and Audix is not used on the remote campuses.  

 

                   We need to determine what constitutes an emergency.  

 

Jan             

Fox:            We want to make sure we don't leave out groups or sub-phone systems at the remote sites.  It is suggested that there be two people at each site that would get message and forward on to that site. 

 

WEBCT/VISTA UPDATE

 

Allen

Taylor:        Handout – This is a duplicate of the update I did to the Vista implementation planning group.  It gives an overall idea of the scope of the project.  The project timeline gives an overview of the project. 

 

We wanted to convert online courses from WebCT to

Vista.  We are on target with our original goal of Fall 2004.  We are now looking at whether it makes sense to create presence for all university courses in Vista for Fall semester of 2004.  It would be easier to create a presence to allow faculty to have access if they want it.  It would provide communication for students and faculty, bulletin boards, grades, etc.  The grade book in Vista is easier for faculty to report and for students to obtain grades.  Overall undergraduate level information would be immediately available to students.  The presence would be an available option whether the faculty chooses to use it or not.  One of the things listed is an Academic Affairs issue is Vista offers opportunities for collecting things like syllabi and other class information. 

 

The myMU portal does offer us an overlapping function with Vista.  The portal will allow us to integrate to Banner and provide certain content available in the portal.  The portal provides a back up communication stream if the Vista system is down for some reason.    Vista allows the sharing of content modules and other content that can be shared among courses.

 

Jan worked with the Chancellor's Office for funding through the HEPC.   We have a 5 year agreement with the HEPC.  They used money, which was money reverted to Higher Education after the dissolution of SATNET, to purchase equipment in year one.  In addition, they paid for the software and at the end of the 5 years, we can make a decision about the product.

 

We started with a pilot faculty last summer offering a small handful of courses this Fall.  We have now extended beyond the initial pilot faculty and are now open to any faculty member who wants to put courses in Vista.  This has lessened the load on the CE server and provides an opportunity for a larger sampling of problems with Vista.

 

We now have 376 courses in Vista with over 6000 students using Vista Courses.  We have 285 students in WebCT Campus Edition.

 

In March, 2004 we will implement Vista in preproduction.  We will put it into production in August.

WebCT has committed to making releases and changes in March for release in August to be considerate to the academic calendar.  Hot fixes come along as needed. They are committed to come out with service packs every two months to make changes needed from hot fixes or other problems found.  3.0.1 (.1 is service pack)

 

Another major thing we have to accomplish is the integration of Vista with SCT Banner.  In April we will be working with SCT and WebCT on a new automatic interface called Luminus Message Broker (LMB).   There will be significant changes, including a huge improvement in the myMU portal. 

Right now CIT and the Database Group are manually batch integrating both the CE and the Vista product.  We want to move to back to full integration.  We will have to look at how solid it is in April and May before moving forward with Version 3.

We will have continual training and ongoing sessions for faculty on the Vista product.

 

In some of the feedback from the pilot faculty, we are seeing a huge increase in the amount of Malwear, (malicious software, spyware).    This something the user puts on their computer as a free download. 

Some of the figures I will be presenting to the IT Strat Committee this Friday are that in  1998 there were zero known spyware products; in 1999 and 2000 there were 10 products; in 2002 the number went to almost 600; and in 2003 there were 1300 products identified as malware.    The latest update is checking for 12,900+ known sources.

The first place we really saw this as a problem was with a number of users in Old Main using Banner, typically on older machines, who had downloaded these things and suddenly Banner would not work for them.  We are now seeing it mostly in student use machines.  In the faculty/staff images and the UCF images we have implemented products like Spybox, and Adaware as products that check for and eliminate malware. 

 

We are trying to work with WebCT to identify these things and are working with help the desk to identify malware and assist students in removing them.  We are trying to come up with a list of those products that take up space on machines.

 

We are finding that WebCT is leading market in doctoral and masters level institution.  Blackboard is leading the market in Community Colleges and undergraduate degrees.  

 

Overall feedback has been generally that the product is easier to use and easier to learn. 

 

There is a project underway to change the student I.D. over from the Social Security Number to a university generated number.  Hopefully the switchover to the new number will occur in the May service window to coincide with the switchover to Vista. 

 

One of the things that has become a real issue and I think this group needs to look at, is the use of commercial hosting services for course content.  These services require students to register to an outside website.  Textbook publishers are offering registration as a service; students are paying for it with the cost of the textbook, etc.  Many times students are required to go out to the website and “register”.  Often times the registration will require the student to supply personal information that is covered under FERPA.   There probably ought to be someone in the academic community who is looking at textbook adoption that involves web hosting to make sure we are in compliance with standards.  There are also issues in terms of standards.  One advantage of moving to Vista, is a common interface to content. 

 

Gary

Anderson:   For e-course approval, we have insisted that if faculty members want to use publisher material, it has to be on our server so that we have control and accessibility for the students during the semester.

 

Allen

Taylor:        The English Department had adopted a hosted service for their English 101 courses.  English faulty were trained on it over the summer.  Use of the service eventually fell apart due to poor service. 

 

Another question we need to ask is: Should there be a requirement for course syllabi for online courses in Vista?

 

We have requirements under policy right now that official university e-mail to delivered to a student should go to the Marshall e-mail addresses only.  Should that extend to course related e-mail?  We are seeing an increase in abuses of the e-mail services. It is not that hard to falsify an e-mail from a professor to a student.  It is harder to do on an authenticated source, such as within Vista.  We need to look at the policies.

 

We need a review of the funding model.  We have a 5 year reprieve of costs.  Over the next four years we need to look at our funding model.  Since Marshall, WVU and Fairmont will become a hosting service for smaller schools, we need to make some decisions on rates and priorities.

 

More personnel will be needed to support Vista for MU alone, plus the hosting for other schools.  We are in a pilot program with Southern Community College to help us answer some of our financial and support questions.  We have agreed to do the pilot for 10 faculty members in the fall to determine costs.  There is an issue in that they have no money and there is no funding agreement in place.  The HEPC is handling it for them for a period of time.  We need to look at the costs for bandwidth, support, and be sure to charge them back.

 

STATE IT PLANNING

 

Allen

Taylor:        The handout is an extract from my report to the Governor’s Office of Technology.  We began reporting this information in 1997.  We are now up to 130 pages.  There is a pdf on the ITC website if you want to look at the entire document.  I have listed our goals in the first few pages.  The list of accomplishments is centered on IT accomplishments done by year.  Most of the information is from general reports to Sarah or the President.  The project information is also from within IT.

 

We were asked special questions this year that were specific to financials.  The CTO’s office was set up with the power to move any IT personnel from any state agency to any other state agency. 

 

Imaging (scanning) systems are big in the State.  The School of Medicine and the Graduate College Admissions Office are doing imaging.  Academic Affairs is working on a project using a product called Sharepoint Portal Services document management system.  There is interest from the CTO's Office in identifying what people are doing around the state.

 

Another interest is in Voiceover IP.  We have been doing this longer than any other agency in the state. 

 

They are also looking at lifecycle replacement of servers. 

 

Please look over this document.  The survey tends to be focused on state agencies.  We are only reporting IT staff that are Computing and Telecommunications based.  Other institutions do not include Libraries and other IT staff.   We also did not give details of financials because of our use of mixed dollars. 

 

Jan:             The three policies we approved at the last meeting have been approved by the President.

 

ADJOURNED.