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Minutes provided by Sue Ellen Richey, Recording Secretary*

Committee Graphic

September 18, 2007

VOTING MEMBERS PRESENT:   PHILIP TURNER, CHAIR, PATRICK PLUSCHT, TIM CHRISTIAN, ELIZABETH HINKLE-TURNER, JOHN HOOPER, LOU ANN BRADLEY, PAUL HONS (for JUDITH ADKISON), ROBERT NIMOCKS,  JON NELSON, CENGIZ CAPAN, BRUCE HUNTER, DONNA KEENER, GARY MATTHEWS, YUNFEI DU, NOREEN GOGGIN, FRANCES MAY NON-VOTING MEMBERS PRESENT:   JOE ADAMO, MAURICE LEATHERBURY, SUE ELLEN RICHEY (Recording Secretary) MEMBERS ABSENT:  SCOTT WINDHAM, RAMU MUTHIAH, SEAN-MIKEL FLOWERS, DON GROSE, JOHN PRICE, ABRAHAM JOHN, UWE ROSSBACH, PHILIP BACZEWSKI GUESTS PRESENT: CHRISTY CRUTSINGER, CHARLOTTE RUSSELL, TROY JOHNSON, TOM MCELWEE

Distributed Computing Support Management Team** 

Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner reported for the Distributed Computing Support Management Team that they met on August 17, 2007, at which time Maurice Leatherbury reported that the GroupWise to Exchange migration project is on indefinite hold while work is continuing to stabilize the hardware infrastructure and do extensive testing by the CITC Network Computing Services Staff. He related that the original three-month summer conversion schedule may have been too optimistic and that because they chose to adopt Outlook/Exchange 2007, the specific knowledge of that new version was not readily available. Plans remain to drop most Novell products by August of 2008, but no firm date will be provided for the GroupWise to Exchange migration until CITC staff are confident that a reliable Exchange system can be provided to campus.

Philip Baczewski reported that progress had been made to provide Office 2007 in CSS Classrooms along with Office 2003, with Office 2003 remaining the default application for opening documents. Jim Curry's CSS group has tested the configuration with the most commonly used classroom response systems and found no problems. DCSMT will reexamine this issue before the Spring semester to determine if it is still appropriate.

Steve Vocelka discussed the power outage that occurred on Sunday, 8/12/2007.

The GAB generator came on and supplied backup power, but shut itself down after a time because of over heating. UNT Facilities have developed plans to better exhaust the heat from the generator.

DCSMT next met on September 7.  Mike Wright provided an overview of the new Adobe licensing plan and provided managers with a spreadsheet showing the contents and prices of various bundles.  The spreadsheet illustrated how buying bundles may be less expensive in the long run than licensing individual products from Adobe.

Philip Baczewski briefly summarized some organizational changes within the CITC. Support for some infrastructure areas such as enterprise storage and enterprise backup will now be part of an EIS Infrastructure group within CITC Administrative Information Systems.  Network Computing Services has been organized into an e-mail messaging group managed by Jason Myre and a directory and operating systems group managed by Craig Terrell.  The organizational changes were made to better align services with CITC management responsibilities.

Craig Terrell provided a status report on the Microsoft Active Directory implementation for campus.  Active Directory is ready for use and the plan is to delegate full control to distributed organizational units.  One issue remaining to coordinate is the choice of software to control metering of software with concurrent execution limitations.  Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner agreed to convene a group to determine a strategy for serving central applications while accommodating distributed needs for software metering.  The next DCSMT meeting is scheduled for September 21.

Learning Enhancement Planning Group

Patrick Pluscht reported for the Learning Enhancement Planning Group.  He noted that in order to address ongoing stability problems with Vista 3.0, they will begin an upgrade to Blackboard (formerly WebCT) Vista 4.2 during the Fall semester 2007.  All courses will be offered, as planned, on Vista 3.0 for Fall 2007 with the exception of a few courses that have been volunteered by instructors to pilot the upgraded system version.  The upgrade to Vista 4.2 does not mean that the learning management system evaluation project which began last spring has been abandoned or that Vista will be used indefinitely.  Rather they are taking immediate action to resolve an existing problem while the LEPG continues its work to evaluate a recommended system that will best fit the UNT community’s needs in the future.  Something else that happened this spring was that two of the other learning management systems they were looking at had new versions released, so more information had to be gathered on the new products.  Early in Fall 2007 system administrators will copy the existing course database to the upgraded 4.2 server.  Instructors will be given access to the upgraded server as soon as their course has been copied so they can prepare for the Spring 2008 semester.  Although Vista 4.2 interface and tool functions are very similar to those in Vista 3.0, the Center is scheduling both on-line and face-to-face training for faculty this semester to assist with the transition.  Patrick said that faculty volunteers are needed for testing scripts in the LMS products being evaluated and asked that Council members to let him know if they know of anyone who might be interested. 

The Learning Enhancement Planning Group requests that they be given an extension from August 31, 2007 to April 30, 2008 to make a decision on either keeping Vista or switching to a new system.  A vote on this request will be taken at the October IRC meeting. Cengiz Capan asked that if Vista 4.2 turns out to be a stable product, would the committee consider keeping it, rather than switching to a new system?  Patrick replied that it is the hope of everyone involved that no switch would have to be made.  It is believed that after using 4.2 for a semester, they will have a lot of answers about that.

Dr. Turner noted that there were more than 50,000 seats (duplicated user count) in Blackboard Vista this Fall semester. 

EIS Planning Group

John Hooper reported for the EIS Planning Group that the upgrade of the Learning Solutions module to 8.9, which includes HR, Payroll, and Contributor Relations, has been going very well.  They will test the HR part with a complete semester’s activities in October; they also plan to do load testing in late October, and expect to be ready to go live with the upgrade in November.   John announced that CITC has done some reorganization of its staff to consolidate some resources and functions.  Dorothy Flores will head up Finance and Administration; resources in CITC working on portal will be together so that they can go forward with portal development more quickly.  The infrastructure team increased in size, and tools and applications staff were rearranged into one organization under Robert Jones.  There are new organization charts on the CITC website for anyone interested in seeing the details of the reorganization.  John announced that they are planning for an upgrade to the Financial system November 2008.  In response to a question from Robert Nimocks, John said they have not scheduled an upgrade to Version 9.0 yet. 

Cengiz Capan asked about the issue of security in using the DARS system for advising. Troy Johnson said that he would look into the issues Cengiz alluded to.

In further discussion about the upgrade of the Learning Solutions module, Troy Johnson stated that meetings have been held with groups in the testing phase and it was found that there are security issues to be expected (not security breeches – just access issues).  He explained that it is difficult to check every access point of every person so he just asked that everyone warn staff about the possibilities.  In addition, Troy stated that the search mechanism is a positive addition to the new system, and there will be some user-friendly attributes that will help.  Training in the use of the upgraded system will be held in late October.

Patrick Pluscht asked if the upgraded system will provide students with course information and the fees associated with them. Troy said he would get the details on that for Patrick, and added that after the upgrade is completed, they will have the time to address some of the projects that have been on hold.

Standards & Policy Planning Group

Tim Christian reported for the Standards & Policy Planning Group by introducing a revised Computer Use Policy, which was previously reviewed by the IRC in May.  The committee deleted many sections that are covered by other existing policies.  Discussion will be held on this policy at the next IRC meeting.  Tim also distributed a revised Email Usage & Retention Policy, explaining that the policy was initiated by Maurice Leatherbury in an attempt to deal with retention issues relating to email.  IRC members were encouraged to send Tim any comments or suggestions regarding these two policies prior to the October meeting, at which time there will be a discussion and vote on both.

Student Computing Planning Group

Elizabeth Hinkle-Turner reported for the Student Computing Planning Group that she and several student representatives held over 50 student orientation events this summer, culminating in the Mean Green Fling that was held on the Sunday evening before school started.  They are finishing up a pod cast based on presentations that were given and when it is final, she will share the url with IRC members.  The Planning Group will continue to work on ways to get more information out to students effectively.  In addition, Elizabeth has asked the Help Desk to track the types of questions and issues they get called about, to see if orientation sessions have a positive effect, and actually cut down on the number of calls to the Help Desk.

Migration to Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory

Maurice Leatherbury made a presentation regarding the Migration to Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory, and distributed notes from his Power Point presentation.  Due to the complexity of the migration and the problems encountered, Maurice did not want to set a date for the completion of the migration.  Discussion followed, which included questions about the life expectancy of the Compellent back-up system drives, labor costs, and other associated software projects.  Cengiz Capan expressed his disappointment in the way the project was planned and carried out, stressing that the distributed areas should have been consulted, as well as used in the actual migration effort, rather than outside consultants.  It was noted that additional training for network managers will be needed, closer to the actual time the migration is completed.

Maurice stated that CITC is trying to get an Imaging system funded from University reserves, to replace the current system which does not interface with PeopleSoft.  The imaging system might provide access to files by faculty and students who travel to anyplace in the world and he solicited input from faculty members when the imaging systems under consideration are demonstrated on campus.   Joe Adamo reported that they have had an RFP out for an emergency notification system, and are now moving forward to acquire the product that looks the best for enabling immediate communication to all types of media in an emergency situation.


* 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.

 

 


Originally published, October 2007 -- Please note that information published in Benchmarks Online is likely to degrade over time, especially links to various Websites. To make sure you have the most current information on a specific topic, it may be best to search the UNT Website - http://www.unt.edu . You can also search Benchmarks Online - http://www.unt.edu/benchmarks/archives/back.htm as well as consult the UNT Helpdesk - http://www.unt.edu/helpdesk/ Questions and comments should be directed to
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