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IRC News

Minutes provided by Sue Ellen Richey, Recording Secretary*

Committee Graphic

January 17, 2006

VOTING MEMBERS PRESENT:   PHILIP TURNER, PAUL HONS (for JUDITH ADKISON), PATRICK PLUSCHT, JENNIFER LAFLEUR (for GUILLERMO OYARCE), TIM CHRISTIAN, CHUCK FULLER, JONEEL HARRIS, LOU ANN BRADLEY, JIM CURRY, TOBYE RAE NELSON NON-VOTING MEMBERS PRESENT:  MAURICE LEATHERBURY, JAMES STRAWN, PHILIP BACZEWSKI, SUE ELLEN RICHEY (Recording Secretary) MEMBERS ABSENT:  JOE ADAMO, MARGARET AMBUEHL, RAMU MUTHIAH, ROBERT NIMOCKS, MAX KAZEMZADEH, UWE ROSSBACH, CENGIZ CAPAN, ELIZABETH HINKLE-TURNER, JOHN HOOPER, BRUCE HUNTER, CHRISTY CRUTSINGER, DON GROSE, RAY BANKS, JON NELSON, ABRAHAM JOHN, DOUG MAINS, BOBBY CARTER

Because there was not a quorum present, the minutes of the December 20, 2005 meeting were not approved.

IR Steering Committee

The Chair reported that there has not been an IR Steering Committee meeting but one is scheduled for Friday, January 20th.

Distributed Computing Support Management Team** 

Philip Baczewski reported for the Distributed Computing Support Management Team that the group has not met since the last IRC meeting, but plans to meet on Friday, January 20th.

Learning Enhancement Planning Group

Patrick Pluscht reported for the Learning Enhancement Planning Group that the group has not met; however, a group of CDL representatives met with the learning enhancement grant recipients in a retreat to orient them to the process, to CDL’s services, and to get their accounts set up.

Communications Planning Group

Lou Ann Bradley reported for the Communications Planning Group that the group has not met.

EIS Planning Group

Joneel Harris reported for the EIS Planning Group that at a meeting on Thursday, January 12, Robert Jones demonstrated a product that has been developed using the Cognos business intelligence tools to make the account balance reports more user friendly. The new reports will have drill-down capabilities. They will distribute the new reporting tool to the 20 people who were involved in the development and let them test it before rolling it out to the rest of the campus. Joneel also reported that Catherine Gonzalez has reported that she is successfully using WebCT to incorporate the existing online documentation to develop courses for EIS training.  The courses are helpful not only for new users of EIS but as refresher courses for existing users. In addition, the Planning Group is proceeding with the initiative of talking with vendors, related to the CRM modules, to replace the advance recruitment functionality and initiate new advance recruitment functionality, particularly in the areas of graduate and international admissions to make better use of the electronic means of communicating with students through the internet and through email. We have obtained a revised list of the software upgrade and maintenance schedules and that will be very important when many of the group attend the Aliance Users Group meeting to be held in March. This is also important in planning upgrades to the PeopleSoft software in talking about what can be accomplished around those upgrades in the next several years.

Standards & Policy Planning Group

Tim Christian reported for the Standards & Policy Planning Group that the group has not met and asked for input of any new issues they should consider at their February meeting.

WebCT and QEP

Dr. Turner reported that this is the last semester for the use of the Campus Edition of WebCT; as of May 31st no courses will be on that version.  During the break they installed the Vista Service Pack 5 and will now begin to test 6.  There were problems in the upload of Campus edition courses for the spring but someone is working on that now.

Dr. Turner also reported on the QEP (Quality Enhancement Plan), which is the accreditation effort by UNT in the redesign of its large enrollment undergraduate classes.  For the five classes that have been identified, Dr. LaBrecque is putting together a proposal from all of the different groups and the IRC will have a draft of that proposal by next month’s meeting. 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 2:15 pm.

February 21, 2006

VOTING MEMBERS PRESENT:   PHILIP TURNER, JUDITH ADKISON, PATRICK PLUSCHT, GUILLERMO OYARCE, TIM CHRISTIAN, SCOTT JOYCE (for CHUCK FULLER), LOU ANN BRADLEY, JIM CURRY, TOBYE RAE NELSON, RAMU MUTHIAH, ROBERT NIMOCKS, ELIZABETH HINKLE-TURNER, JOHN HOOPER (for JONEEL HARRIS), BRUCE HUNTER, CHRISTY CRUTSINGER, UWE ROSSBACH, RAY BANKS, JON NELSON, WIL CLARK (for JOHN PRICE) NON-VOTING MEMBERS PRESENT:  MAURICE LEATHERBURY, JAMES STRAWN, PHILIP BACZEWSKI, JOE ADAMO, SUE ELLEN RICHEY (Recording Secretary) MEMBERS ABSENT:  MARGARET AMBUEHL, MAX KAZEMZADEH, CENGIZ CAPAN, DON GROSE, ABRAHAM JOHN, DOUG MAINS, BOBBY CARTER GUESTS:  TOM MCELWEE, CHARLOTTE RUSSELL, JENNIFER LAFLEUR

Minutes Approved 

Lou Ann Bradley moved for approval of the minutes of the December, 2005 meeting; the motion was seconded, and the minutes were approved as distributed.  Judith Adkison moved for approval of the minutes of the January, 2006 meeting; the motion was seconded, and the minutes were approved as distributed.

IR Steering Committee  

The Chair announced that the IR Steering Committee has met since the last IRC meeting.  Maurice Leatherbury reported that at that meeting there was a review of the Information Security Policy and the Web Publishing Policy.  The Security Policy was approved with one change which changed the idea of “immediate” penalties for violations to “possible” penalties for violations.  A matching change was made to a similar clause in the Web Publishing Policy.  There was some discussion regarding corporate websites being linked to the UNT website without approval by University Relations, Communications and Marketing; therefore, the policy was sent back to the IRC for further review.  The Standards & Policy Planning Group has been advised and will re-work the policy for presentation at a later IRC meeting.

Distributed Computing Support Management Team** 

Philip Baczewski reported for the Distributed Computing Support Management Team that they have has met three times since the last IRC meeting. On January 20, the main topic of discussion was the expected dramatic 60% increase in the cost of licensing McAfee anti-virus software. This was caused by McAfee's desire to move from the current annual lease license model to a fixed permanent license model. A subcommittee of DCSMT was formed to evaluate alternatives to McAfee products should it be financially necessary to drop support. However, at the February 3 meeting of DCSMT, Richard Anderson reported that UNT has been offered a renewal of the 2 year lease license agreement on McAfee software that is affordable under the CITC budget. The group appointed from the last meeting will remain in operation, but now has additional time to look into other software products, if necessary to anticipate future license changes. Also discussed at the February 3 meeting were ways to improve management of GroupWise archives and issues surrounding Dell on-site printer maintenance, in advance of a meeting with Dell to address their processes for obtaining support.

DCSMT met again on February 17. Bahram Paiani provided an overview of top-level unt.edu mail routing. Currently, we are seeing as many as 750,000 messages per day pass through the top-level mail hosts. Although there are multiple machines handling this load, a large volume message being processed by one of these may delay messages queued after it. Bahram provided an overview of measures he is taking to improve e-mail processing. Also discussed at that meeting was a report generated to show terminations and retirement among staff that would help network managers withdraw services for ex-employees. A demo of the Cognos/Reportnet system was given by Robert Jones in anticipation of its use for distributing budget reports, and Maurice Leatherbury gave an overview of server hardware support by the CITC and possibilities for changes in the current model of support. The CITC may no longer stock spare parts for newly purchased HP servers.

Learning Enhancement Planning Group 

Patrick Pluscht reported for the Learning Enhancement Planning Group that there is a new initiative by Apple called iTunes University and he has asked for information on that. This is an offer by Apple to extend free hosting space for our educational materials, lectures, etc. What Apple would get out of it is traffic to their iTunes music store. Students would have to log in but there would be no cost. It can be downloaded to an iPod, but also to any computer.  The Planning Group has also looking at a product called Intelligent Essay Assessor which can be used by students and faculty to submit papers for content analysis and grading, etc. They plan to have this technology demonstrated soon. Dr. Turner pointed out that Florida Gulf Coast University already uses this product. Another product the Planning Group has looked at is called Grade Mark, produced by “Turn It In.”  This product is used for grading papers and in addition to grades, provides analytical comments about the paper. This product can produce an analytical report of errors, etc. The cost is approximately $.50 per student. The English Department has expressed an interest in the product so the Planning Group is looking into the possibility of getting the software company to do a 2-month pilot program with the English Dept.  The product integrates with WebCt Vista, also.

Patrick also mentioned that he had been sent an article from Philip Baczewski that there has been some negative feedback from students about the clicker technology being used in some classes at other institutions. There was some discussion about this and Patrick stated that, in addition to the two student response system vendors currently under consideration, his committee would look into other technologies that would utilize tools that students already have rather than asking them to purchase new or different technological tools unnecessarily. Jon Nelson commented that the College of Music already uses iTunes for audio content of classes. Ray Banks commented that he is able to use pod casting to export lectures on his iPod so that he can listen to them away from campus.  Tobye Rae Nelson commented that the SGA has podcast now, as well.

Communications Planning Group  

Lou Ann Bradley reported for the Communications Planning Group that their committee now has a faculty member who has agreed to serve on it.  At their most recent meeting they heard an update on the status of the firewall and telephones, LEARN, and the National Lambda Rail.

EIS Planning Group 

John Hooper reported for the EIS Planning Group that the new budget reporting system is being presented to the Budget Committee and so far is being received well. They plan to roll out a pilot group and work out bugs, then in April distribute it more widely across campus. They also plan a portal upgrade in April, which he said should be transparent. In addition, the Learning Solutions upgrade is being planned with a target of next Spring to go to version 8.9.

Standards & Policy Planning Group 

Tim Christian reported for the Standards & Policy Planning Group that he is presenting a draft of a Computing General Policy for a first reading.   Basically, the policy states that in the future, computing policies will be referred to the Vice President of the affected area for approval, rather than to the IR Steering Committee. He asked for suggestions and comments to be sent to him prior to the next IRC meeting. He will also get the Planning Group together to work on a revision of the Web Publishing Policy, as requested by the IR Steering Committee. Tim said that he has been made aware of an issue regarding photo ID cards for distance learning students who may only come to campus one time in a semester and they are here after normal operating hours of the ID card office and therefore cannot get a photo ID card made. Dr. Turner commented that up to now, this type of student could just send an email to UNT and request a non-photo UNT ID. He questioned how, under the new ID card system, this type of student might obtain a photoless ID and secondly how can this type of student be assured of access when using a photoless ID. There was some discussion and it was pointed out that there is already an ID policy in existence so there would be no need for a new policy; however, Tim Christian stated that he and his committee would take it upon themselves to address this issue and take some steps to generate some understanding in the campus community about it. 

Student Computing Planning Group

Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner reported for the Student Computing Planning Group that she has written an article for Benchmarks regarding the new mapping project for the General Access Labs, wherein she gives a link to a PDF file of the campus map of all the labs as well as bus stops to the Research Park. Elizabeth has visited the various colleges to see where the maps are being displayed there.

WebCT and QEP

Dr. Turner reported that on February 13th some campus courses were inadvertently deleted from WebCT Vista and he plans to post a statement to faculty on WebCT listservs to summarize what happened and to apologize. Dr. Turner distributed a draft  that has been developed  with the assistance of DLS (WebCT Admin) of a WebCT Problems Communication Protocol which will be distributed to faculty and students to facilitate prompt notification when there are problems with the WebCT system (see Attachment #2). He plans to publish this Protocol by March 7th and asked for comments or suggestions to be sent to either himself or Tom McElwee before that date.  Discussion followed. 

Dr. Turner reminded the council that all courses on WebCT Campus Edition will have been switched over to Vista by May 31st, 2006.  It was pointed out that the merger between WebCT and Blackboard has been completed.  Dr. Turner stated that over the next 2 years, they plan to investigate alternatives to the Vista product and will form a learning management advisory group to assist with this in the near future.

Dr. Turner reported that an 11-member team will soon be here to conduct the accreditation review.  In anticipation of this, a Quality Enhancement Plan has been developed which will be in place for 5 years, the goal of which is to make large enrollment classes better.  Five large classes have been re-designed with this goal in mind.  He encouraged everyone to go to the web site to read about the plan.  Dr. Turner made a presentation to SGA last week, and according to Ray Banks, the IRC SGA representative, the President of SGA is quite excited about the plan.

 There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.


* For a list of IRC Regular and Ex-officio Members click here.

**DCSMT Minutes can be found here.

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. From time to time there are planned exceptions to this schedule. The schedule can be found here. All meetings of the IRC, its program groups, and other committees, are open to all faculty, staff, and students.

 

 

 


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