Duke ITAC - January 29, 2001 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - January 29, 2001 Minutes


January 29, 2001

Attending: Ben Allen, Ed Anapol, Landen Bain, Pakis Bessias, John Board, Dick Danner, David Ferriero, Nevin Fouts, Ed Gomes, Mike Gower, Alan Halachmi, Molly Tamarkin for Patrick Halpin, Donna Hewitt, Ken Knoerr, Betty Leydon, Roger Loyd, Melissa Mills, Kyle Johnson for Caroline Nisbet, George Oberlander, Lynne O'Brien, Mike Pickett, Rafael Rodriguez, Edward Shanken, Robert Wolpert

Guests: Chris Meyer, Kathy Pfeiffer, Matt Young, Billy Herndon, Chris Cramer, Howard Shang, Carl Ross, Al Haacke, Debbie DeYulia, Bob Currier, Ken Hirsh

Call to Order: Meeting called to order by Robert Wolpert at 4:02 p.m.
Minutes taken by Lynne O'Brien

Review of Minutes and Announcements:

The minutes from the previous meeting were approved as submitted.

CITIE proposal - overview and discussion of ITAC's role

Betty Leydon/Mike Pickett: Mike Pickett gave an overview of the proposal for CITIE - Computer and Information Technology Intensive Environment. A draft of this document was circulated in advance. The document sets out general ideas, which ultimately must be translated into a plan.

Goal is to enhance teaching and research by utilizing technology more widely. Technology should follow the academic goals. Plan addresses whole university, not just undergrads.

Student and faculty technology devices should be portable and have wireless capabilities, but this is not necessarily a laptop proposal. Might include PDA's, other current technologies.

Provost wants input, especially from faculty who are not already intensive technology users. We will ask Provost to come to ITAC and discuss the proposal and ITAC's role.

J. Board: ITAC could have a role in advising schools on appropriate technology to adopt, but the schools should make the decision about whether or not to require computers. Law, Business and Medicine already require their students to have laptops.

Kyle Johnson: Document addresses traditional teacher-student learning and interaction. Doesn't address non-curricular learning or student life outside of classroom.

George Oberlander: The ISIS program seems to be a central piece. What is the status of that program?
Mike P. - ISIS has web site (http://www.duke.edu/web/isis/) with current plans and request for feedback. IRIS could help pilot test some of the ideas in the CITIE proposal.

Roger Loyd: Need to clarify the timeline and the milestones between now and the Fall 2002 implementation.

SISS Issues and troubleshooting process

    2. Start with OIT help desk
    3. Contact SISS office directly if serious problems
    4. Kathy Pfeiffer regularly reports problems, issues to the SISS users listserv. Faculty can join the listserv if they want.
    5. There is a link on the OIT status page that has a web page with bulletins and current news. The top SISS web page should have a link directly to the SISS system status page.
  • Chris Meyer and Kathy Pfeiffer: Chris read a statement citing accomplishments and acknowledging performance problems, especially around registration and advising periods. Making changes is challenging because they are working in a live system and don't want to create new problems when updating software or applying fixes. Described improvements that have been made including increased hardware capacity, moving course listing to a static rather that dynamic page, working with PeopleSoft to improve performance and moving to a Java rather that Hot environment.

    They have a number of plans for monitoring and improving performance including upgrading to Oracle 8i, getting PeopleSoft and Oracle to review the system for optimal configuration, reviewing performance requirements, using a true table reporting table base and setting up a test system that mirrors production.

    There are 15,000 regular users of the system.

    They are trying to schedule some processes for evening. There are very few days in the business year where business is slow across all areas. From now on they will put in upgrades on Saturday mornings to test.

    The process for reporting problems is:

    Wolpert: There have been dramatic performance problems not related to upgrades. What can be done?

    J. Board: Have we figured out where the problem is?

    Meyer: The system is very complex. They have made adjustments to the system that have improved performance in some areas. Also, they are bringing in professionals from PeopleSoft and Oracle to help tune the system.

    K. Johnson: Are bad queries part of the problem?

    Kathy Pfeiffer: Probably not. Only a few people can directly request reports. They will soon be able to move all queries to a separate server.

    Chris Meyer: We are one of the few schools that have actually implemented all 4 PeopleSoft mods. We are pressing PeopleSoft to fix the bugs.

    Betty Leydon: We need to push PeopleSoft harder to understand that their software is creating problems that affect the academic mission of the university.

Modem Pool update and discussion

    • How do we help people who travel?
    • Should grad students have to pay for access?
    • The proxy server is hard to use and discourages use of ISP.
    • Backlog of people waiting for ADSL installation; makes it harder for people to switch.
    • There may be specific groups of people who need help in making the transition.
    • Instead of thinking about the modem pool users as single group, divide it into people who need local access versus people who need mobile/travel access.
  • Betty Leydon and Bob Currier: We lost 3 terminal servers and 96 modems, a third of the modem pool. Duke is not going to upgrade the modem pool and is encouraging people to get an ISP. However, we are facing the possibility that the modem pool could completely fail. Should we turn it off or let it die a natural death?

    Bob Currier: showed slides, which illustrated that the modem pool traffic has declined dramatically in the last 12 months.

    Alan Halachmi: The natural death could come pretty soon. Give a date after which we will no longer fix the modem pool if it dies.


Overview of the Law School's policies in the context of the ethics discussion in the last meeting

Dick Danner/Ken Hirsch: Dick Danner distributed and reviewed the Law School's network use policy. Several people liked this policy. Others mentioned that it does not reflect actual practice and needs. Doesn't address the general issue of what workers can assume is private. Discussion of university's ability to insist on access to individual's files. Different perspectives regarding staff privacy of computer files. Some departments assume all files are private unless university can show they have a right to access them. Arts & Sciences requires staff to put files needed for university work in specific folders, which are understood to be public and accessible, by other staff. A&S staff can have private folders as well. DCRI assumes that all computers and files on their network are public, not private. CLAC would like a general policy that departments could modify and tailor to their specific needs.