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IRC News

Minutes provided by Sue Ellen Richey, Recording Secretary

IRC Regular Voting Members: Judith Adkison, College of Education; Ginny Anderson, Fiscal Affairs; Donna Asher, Administrative Affairs; Sue Byron, Faculty Senate; Carolyn Cunningham, Student Affairs; Jim Curry, Academic Administration; David Griffiths, Student Association, Don Grose, Libraries; Jenny Jopling, Instruction Program Group; Joneel Harris, Administrative Program Group; Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner, Standards and Cooperation Program Group; Allen Livingston,Graduate Student Council; Dan Mauldin, University Planning Council; Ramu Muthiah, School of Community Services, GALMAC; Jon Nelson, College of Music; Robert Nimocks, Director, Information Technology,UNTHSC; Steve Oeffner, UNT Health Science Center; Russ Pensyl , School of Visual Arts; Patrick Pluscht, Distributed Learning Team; Mark Rorvig, Research Program Group; Paul Schlieve, Communications Program Group; Kathleen Swigger, College of Arts and Sciences; Philip Turner, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs for Distance Education and Dean of the School of Library and Information Resources (Chair, IRC);; Virginia Wheeless, Chancellor; John Windsor, College of Business. IRC Ex-officio Nonvoting Members: Leslie Bowden, Telecommunications; Jim Curry, Microcomputer Maintenance Shop; Michael Forster, UNT Health Science Center; Richard Harris, Computing Center; Coy Hoggard, Computing Center; Maurice Leatherbury, Computing Center; Sue Ellen Richey, Computing Center (Recording Secretary). [As of 9/99]

The January 18, 2000 minutes were published in "IRC News" last month.

December 14, 1999

VOTING MEMBERS PRESENT: PHILIP TURNER, CHAIR, JON NELSON, DON GROSE, SUE BYRON, RAMU MUTHIAH, LOU ANN BRADLEY, JONEEL HARRIS, ROBERT NIMOCKS, JUDITH ADKISON, PATRICK PLUSCHT, ALLEN LIVINGSTON, GINI ANDERSON, MARK RORVIG, RUSS PENSYL, KATHLEEN SWIGGER

NON-VOTING MEMBERS PRESENT: MAURICE LEATHERBURY, COY HOGGARD, RICHARD HARRIS, LESLIE BOWDEN, CHARLOTTE RUSSELL (for SUE ELLEN RICHEY, Recording Secretary)

MEMBERS ABSENT: CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM, JOHN WINDSOR, JENNY JOPLING, STEVE OEFFNER, BILL BUNTAIN, ELIZABETH HINKLE-TURNER, JIM CURRY, DONNA ASHER, VIRGINIA WHEELESS, MIKE FORSTER, DAVID GRIFFITHS

Printer Maintenance

Dr. Leatherbury reported that the Distributed Computer Support Management Team is still looking at the Hewlett Packard printer maintenance question.

Instruction Program Group

Dr. Leatherbury reported for the Instruction Program Group that at their last meeting they discussed CBT Software (now called SmartForce software) and possible ways to better utilize that software. A presentation was made by SmartForce where they explained how the software is being utilized and funded at other campuses. The result of the meeting was a plan for Maurice to meet with a small task force in mid-January to work on publicizing the software.

Communications Program Group

Lou Ann Bradley will serve as Chair of the Communications Program Group for the Spring semester, replacing Paul Schlieve. At their last meeting, the program group discussed problems associated with identification of authorized users, especially as that relates to international students who sometimes have more than one social security number assigned to them. The group suggests that a policy and/or procedure be written addressing this issue.

Administration Program Group

Joneel Harris reported for the Administration Program Group that the committee would meet with two consultants from University of Texas at Austin on Friday, December 17, 1999, to hear about their strategies for Web enabling/Web development. UT Austin has developed a document that deals with ID authentication. Joneel also stated that an Educational Technology Coordinating Council has been created to facilitate collaboration and coordination among state agencies and institutions in order to enhance opportunities for Texas students and educators. Joneel has attended two meetings of this council. The Council was established out of a concern by the State about the large amount of money being spent on technological resources in the state, with an eye toward an improvement in the leveraging of those resources. There are three more meetings scheduled for the remainder of this academic year. The URL for the Educational Technology Coordinating Council is www.edb.utexas.edu/etcc, for those interested in reading more about it. The APG is still trying to schedule a meeting with SCT for a demonstration.

Research Program Group

Mark Rorvig reported for the Research Program Group that he is requesting permission to seek new membership for the group. Mark distributed copies of a letter addressed to the IRC Chair.

WebCT Conference and Various Policy Recommendations

Patrick Pluscht reported that the WebCT conference has been postponed to Fall 2000. Patrick stated that the Intellectual Property policy was considered and approved by the Faculty Senate. The policy will now be re-considered by the Deans.

Maurice Leatherbury presented a new draft, as well as a concise version of that draft, of the Student E-mail Policy incorporating suggested revisions, which has been posted on the Faculty Senate Web site. Dr. Pohl asked that IRC approval be obtained for one of these versions. Comments should be sent by E-mail to Dr. Leatherbury prior to the January IRC meeting, at which time a vote will be taken on this policy.

Kathleen Swigger asked for a reiteration of the policy for upgrading faculty/staff computers. The Chair stated that the policy provides that computer upgrades should take place every three years, but funding must come from departmental HEAF budgets. There was some discussion about the ability of departmental budgets to cover the cost of such upgrades. The Chair asked the Standards and Cooperation to gather data from departments on the fulfillment of this upgrade policy. Dr. Swigger suggested that at least the administration be reminded of this policy.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 3:00 p.m.

February 15, 2000

VOTING MEMBERS PRESENT: PHILLIP TURNER, CHAIR, JON NELSON, SUE BYRON, RAMU MUTHIAH, JONEEL HARRIS, ROBERT NIMOCKS, JOHN YOUNG (for JUDITH ADKISON), GINNY ANDERSON, MARK RORVIG, CRAIG BERRY (for RUSS PENSYL), JIM CURRY, KATHLEEN SWIGGER, PATRICK PLUSCHT, PAM HIGHT (for DON GROSE), JOHN WINDSOR

NON-VOTING MEMBERS PRESENT: BRYAN GALLOWAY (for LESLIE BOWDEN), MAURICE LEATHERBURY, BILL BUNTAIN, COY HOGGARD, RICHARD HARRIS, SUE ELLEN RICHEY

MEMBERS ABSENT: DONNA ASHER, ELIZABETH HINKLE-TURNER, JENNY JOPLING, LOU ANN BRADLEY (for PAUL SCHLIEVE), ALLEN LIVINGSTON, CAROLYN CUNNINGHAM, STEVE OEFFNER, VIRGINIA WHEELESS, MIKE FORSTER

GUESTS: JENNIFER JOHNSON

E-mail Policy

The Chair announced that at the last meeting of the IR Steering Committee, the E-mail policy was discussed at length and approved, with some concern being expressed over the implementation of the policy. Maurice Leatherbury proposed that a differentiation be made between "official" and "informational" E-mail. The policy was an item at the Board of Regents meeting and was passed there, as well.

Maurice explained that the basic structure of the student bulk E-mail system is that UNT has software written that extracts mail addresses out of UNT’s address database and puts mail into each student’s mailbox. That mail can be forwarded to any address the student gives. All mail issued as "official UNT E-mail" will go into a special folder marked specifically for that mail. Because there is a need to limit the number of mail messages being sent to students, it was proposed that another folder be created in the E-mail system that would be titled UNT announcements and events (or something similar) where informational messages can be posted. Messages in this folder would not be forwarded to students at alternate addresses; nor can this type of informational message be sent to specific groups of students. Maurice was directed by Dr. Pohl to proceed with this type of E-mail system organization and procedure. Maurice noted that the bulk E-mail system should be ready for campus-wide use very soon.

DCSMT

Maurice Leatherbury reported that DCSMT has completed gathering data about student position wages in the computer support area. The committee continues to investigate the possibility of a campus-wide maintenance agreement with an outside vendor, for the maintenance of Hewlett-Packard printers. One vendor’s bid was for $250 to $400 per year, per printer. Eventually an official request for bid will be issued for pricing on several different maintenance options, from full, on-site coverage, to a "time and materials" arrangement. Microcomputer Maintenance Shop currently supports Apple printers, and since they would like to get out of the printer maintenance business, the final RFB will include Apple printers, as well. The DCSMT is also investigating personal digital assistant devices, such as Palm Pilot’s, REX PROs, etc., with a goal of informing the campus about which devices integrate with GroupWise’s calendar, notes and E-mail, and which devices can be supported by the various computing support units on campus. It is hoped that a campus-wide purchasing arrangement can be set up also.

Instruction Program Group

Maurice Leatherbury reported for the Instruction Program Group that the committee has not met. The Teaching with Technology Grant applications have been received, and a preliminary count indicates there are 41 applications.

Administrative Program Group

Joneel Harris reported for the Administrative Program Group that there has been a discussion with Coy Hoggard regarding long-range planning for additional resources. In addition, contact has been made with a couple of other providers of student systems software packages. A recent report published by the Gartner Group rating providers of higher education software, in which Datatel and SCT are rated the two highest providers of software for higher education, in terms of quality and the ability to do what they advertise they can do. There has been some difficulty scheduling presentations by these software providers. There was some discussion on the subject of Web-based integrated student systems regarding why UNT should consider changing its mainframe based system to a Web-based system. Dr. Turner assured the group that this change is important for UNT to consider in order to continue to be competitive as an institution of higher education. Joneel explained that SCT, one of the best providers, is in the process of re-vamping their student system architecture, which promises a four to five year migration path. Although there is no extreme urgency to change over UNT’s current system, the Administrative Program Group has been charged to look into possible alternatives to the current system.

Research Program Group

Mark Rorvig distributed a draft of a letter he proposes to send to Deans and department chairs requesting the appointment of faculty or staff to the Research Program Group, and changing the focus of the Research Program Group to that of constructing an NSF funding proposal. Following a discussion regarding the change in program group focus, the Chair instructed Mark to go forward with his proposal. It was suggested that a broader base of representation be included on the program group’s membership.

Communications Program Group

Bill Buntain reported for the Communications Program Group that at a recent meeting they discussed policy-based routing, which is a function that is going to be an increasing requirement as UNT moves toward integrated services on its network. Policy-based routing has to do with establishing priorities or different types of traffic on the network. Bill distributed a document concerning Windows 2000 and Active Directory, for which the committee would like the IRC’s endorsement. Besides the program group, this proposal has been considered by the Network Managers group. He explained that Windows 2000 is close to being released and one major feature will be its active directory services. As people move into Windows 2000, it will be possible to integrate server-based platforms. A hierarchical model has to be established, similar to what was established prior to moving into Novell 4.x and Novell Directory Services. The implications of not proceeding with the Active Directory are: 1) that there will be difficulty traversing to other servers that are not on the routed portion of the network; and more significantly, 2) that if a server is set up and then later brought into the integrated environment, it would have to be totally rebuilt. This is an attempt to plan ahead by establishing a framework for Windows 2000 and Active Directory Services. The proposal states that the campus-wide network computing team, which supports Novell Directory Services, would be given the responsibility to establish a high level portion of a directory tree, a framework that subsequently Windows servers could be added to. This will establish an integrated framework for those people who want to have an integrated environment. Bill said that the committee would like an endorsement from the IRC that this is a strategy that should be pursued. Following a discussion, John Windsor moved to endorse the plan; Mark Rorvig seconded and the motion passed.

Standards and Cooperation Program Group

Maurice Leatherbury reported for the Standards and Cooperation Program Group that they last met to deal with inventory of desktop computers by college and department in order to ascertain whether or not there is a disparity in the level of technology among departments. They also are trying to develop a draft of the computer services access policy. Joneel Harris asked to work with the committee on the development of this policy.

Distributed Learning

Patrick Pluscht reported for Distributed Learning that the Intellectual Property Policy has been adopted by the Board of Regents and is now a formal policy. The policy can be found on the Legal Affairs Web site. Related to that, Dr. Turner, Jenny Jopling and he made a presentation on intellectual property policy at a distance education conference in Austin at the end of January. He noted that About.com had published an article about their presentation (see http://distancelearn.about.com/.

At a recent Distributed Learning Steering Committee meeting, three programs were recommended for approval as distance education programs:

  1. A video conference-based Master’s program in SLIS
  2. CECS Web-based program
  3. A Web-based Master’s program in Hospitality Management

All three were a result of the Distributed Learning Strategic Planning workshops. Patrick also mentioned that there is an opportunity to apply for a FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education) -sponsored grant this year, known as the Anytime Anywhere Learning Partnerships grant program; however, they are not prepared to write a proposal in the short time allowed. Therefore, a number of persons decided to meet to determine needs and begin to plan for ways to meet those needs in advance of a future opportunity to apply for a grant. This ad hoc committee, which will be named the Virtual University Group, welcomes input from any IRC members. The IRC Recording Secretary was asked to send out information concerning this group to all IRC members.

The Chair stated that one issue Distributed Learning is dealing with is that the Commissioner of Education for the State of Texas interpreted recent legislation very conservatively, saying that electronically-delivered courses taken by students who are not at UNT, who are out-of-state students, even if they are common-market students, will not earn semester credit hours and therefore will not be entitled to in-state tuition. This is a significant development since UNT currently has 8 or 9 programs in process to deliver on the Web where there is a lot of out-of-state potential. The interpretation of the legislation does say, however, that it is not required that institutions charge out-of-state tuition, but they can charge a fee equal to the cost of the instruction. So, the task at hand is to set the cost the courses that UNT wants to put out on the Web.

Board of Regents

Richard Harris announced that the Board of Regents approved the addition/renovation of the Information Science Building, per the attached Board Agenda Item, which Mr. Harris read to the Council. The target date for occupancy is June of 2002.

IRC Meeting Schedule

The IRC generally meets on the third Tuesday of each month, from 2-4 p.m., in the Administration Building Board Room. Planned exceptions to this schedule are that December meeting was moved to Dec. 14; that the May meeting will be be moved to May 9 and the August will meeting be moved to August 8.

All meetings of the IRC, its program groups, and other committees, are open to all faculty, staff, and students.