Duke ITAC - September 1, 2005 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - September 1, 2005 Minutes


September 1, 2005

Members present : Owen Astrachan, John Board, John Board, Dick Danner represented by Ken Hirsh, Shailesh Chandrasekharan, Paul Harrod represented by Alfred Trozzo, Kyle Johnson, Greg McCarthy, Lynne O'Brien, George Oberlander, Mike Pickett, Rafael Rodriquez, Dalene Stangl, Molly Tamarkin, Trey Turner, Robert Wolpert

Guests: Ginny Cake, OIT; Chris Cramer, OIT; Dan McCarriar, OIT; Tammy Closs, OIT; Kevin Davis, OIT

Start time : 4:07 p.m.


I. Review of Minutes and Announcements:

  • John Board says today in the Pratt School the discs finally came online, so people who have not had their data in seven weeks finally got it back. Specifically, we got back about 99.99% of the files.

II. Introduction, Early Observations and Discussion - Tammy Closs, Assistant Vice President, Communications & Systems Infrastructure

Tammy Closs says it has been an interesting week starting with Monday, and certainly no lack of activity. I think there is a lot of work to be done. I've been very impressed with everyone I've met and their level of commitment to moving forward and building bridges for customers as well as between departments. At this point I look forward to getting to know you all better and working with you on projects.

John Board asks what are the most exciting and frightening things that informed your decision to come here?

Tammy says the excitement is working with the staff. I was very impressed with everyone really trying to improve, making the academic life more vital using technology as well as improving the administrative end of thing. I enjoy the challenge and expect that I'll participate in it.

John Board asks what does Communication and Systems Infrastructure mean?

Tammy says Communication and Systems Infrastructure involves voice technology, networking, cable TV, and also systems infrastructure, the administrative systems, enterprise systems, and infrastructure involved in keeping those running.

Tracy Futhey clarifies that the administrative and enterprise systems work revolves around maintaining the boxes, not running the applications (which continues to reside under Billy Herndon).

Tammy says yes. I should thank the people who keep these things going. This process continues to flow forward.

III. Duke Digital Initiative: Projects Update - Lynne O'Brien, Ginny Cake

Lynne O'Brien says we tried to summarize just things that are happening in the fall in terms of delivering or planning services in the five areas we had discussed. At this point we have closer to 28 courses using iPods during the fall semester. The two academic non-course projects are things where we have groups of faculty to explore uses they have pursued in classes, but not with students at this time. One of the large group ones is several departments in Romance Studies having instructors using iPods. A total of somewhere between 600 and 800 students will get iPods, and they will get them after the add/drop period.

People at ISIS have been working to put together an exciting symposium on podcasting, and in conjunction OIT has developed a beta version of a podcasting tool that we hope to have tested by some groups at the same time the symposium going on.

Ginny Cake says when we say “test,” it is something that is being developed right now and people will be hitting it hard to see what we can do with it to be ready by the spring semester.

Lynne for the PRI collaboration says we have at least eight courses using material from “The World” or “This American Life.”

Tracy asks is the PRI content available in a variety of formats?

Lynne says it is available in mp3 format, so it isn't device specific.

Tracy says so this is getting us at a position where we supply content rather than devices.

Lynne says the University of Western Australia (UWA) recording system is installed in six places and there are two portable units. The goal here is to find out how people might use a recorded lecture in a variety of ways. One feature of they system that has been touted is there is very little faculty intervention in making a recording, it just happens for you and is ready to be accessed a couple of hours after the lecture. In the medical school, however, they say “It takes two hours to get to our desktop?” They think that's a lot. They have 95% of people using the lectures. They want it in slow and fast formats: slow for those who miss a lecture, fast for those who want to skip through.

We have two courses using the photo features of iPods. One is a digital photo course, and one is run by a faculty member who has determined how to have an image, an audio file, and a text file appear together. He's willing to share that. We're not sure it's ready for prime time, but we're checking it out.

There is a tool that works with Blackboard we may make available later this fall or spring for wikis, and we're also hoping we can make blog and wiki tools available outside of Blackboard not just for courses but for other uses at the university.

Owen Astrachan asks about making a blog available, is that because you need to track what people are doing?

Lynne says some people want it associated within the course and not accessible outside of it; others want it as a portfolio of work progress within the course. These are for coursework only, we don't want it to be publicly viewable or pitch it as something for a student to maintain and keep going when a course is over.

Molly Tamarkin says we also have an interest in people using Duke-provided tools when there are already tools out there because it allows us to know what people are doing and keep track of how people choose to do things.

Chris Cramer asks when they leave Duke will they be able to access it?

Lynne says my idea is no, because of storage and access issues. There are still some policy issues that need to be worked out.

John Board asks how is the lecture recording system going to be used in Arts & Sciences?

Lynne says you have your choice of formats.

John says so you can configure it for a course as you see fit.

Lynne says yes. It is in a pilot mode because there are some issues about access that need to be worked out.

Shailesh Chandrasekharan asks is this something that takes place at Duke?

Lynne says now it is set up to record lectures or special events that people want to record for reuse at a later time.

Shailesh asks how easy is it to send it out? We have a lot of foreign students who have trouble with the English accents of lecturers who like to go through the lecture again.

ynne says this came directly out of people using iPods for this very reason.

IV. Updates From School Startup - Debbie DeYulia, Chris Cramer, Dan McCarriar, Kevin Davis

Chris Cramer says from the security standpoint things have been very quiet. I think a lot of that is luck, and a lot is because of the scanning system in the new NetReg. For the dorms and for wireless we have a registration system when you first get online. That registration system got updated for the dorms recently, and one of things we did a year ago was write a scanning system for it. Now what happens is when you bring a new computer onto the network, the computer is scanned. If it's found that your computer is vulnerable, we present patches; people have to install those patches before they can get online. There were about 600 to 800 machines that needed patches of the 3800 that came in.

Robert Wolpert asks do you check for vulnerable or infected machines?

Chris says unfortunately we can't easily check for infected machines.

Robert asks is it more than just Service Pack 2 it checks for?

Chris says it is more than just Service Pack 2. There are still some vulnerabilities to machines with Service Pack 2.

Dan McCarriar says we only scan at registration now. There is no ongoing scanning, but we're looking into that. One thing the new NetReg will let us do is determine how long it's been since a person has been online.

One thing we do during the academic year is traffic ticketing for exceeding bandwidth limits. Today we've issued approximately 75 traffic tickets since the start of the academic year, across 6,000 registered users. Only two users have been rate-limited so far. Our top offender was issued a ticket for 47 gigs in one day.

At the Bell Tower Dorm we have seen 145 unique users on the network. We have seen about 20 registrations on the wired network, and soon we'll follow up with those users to see if we can get them USB wireless adapters. We've seen peaks of over 100 simultaneous users, and a total number of now over 6,000 individual unique logins.

Robert Wolpert asks do we have a guest policy yet?

Dan says at the Bell Tower we have fantastic guest policy that we hope to be the prototype for the rest of campus. In general the way we have gotten around the problem of guest access is a Duke affiliate can call up to get the guest password of the week, which is changed every Monday. In the Bell Tower we have an actual Duke guest network, all it requires is someone to go to the Help Desk and get a token, then they just go to a Web page on Duke to start on the network. Each token has specified duration for that token.

Kyle Johnson says there are some restrictions, they can't do everything.

Dan says this also entails using an entirely new product line from Cisco. It looks like it's doing really well, so the question is how to roll out in an elegant way everywhere else where we have a different network.

Kevin Davis says in terms of customer support, we've been very active getting students back online. One of biggest areas is the SWAT efforts each fall for which we make student employees and fulltime staff available in a campus area to help. This was thankfully less busy than the last couple years; this is in line with what other schools reporting, that less troubleshooting is required. One reason seems to be built-in firewalls in Service Pack 2. Between better registration and better products we have seen a reduction in volume at SWAT. In the first two days we saw 270 student computers. That tapered to about 40 per day over the weekend, and we were only seeing 30 per day out on West Campus. Although our case number has dropped, the machines have been more troubled.

Besides Service Pack 2, the staff noticed greater familiarity with issues of security. Students are more familiar with these concepts, both from a general knowledge increase and from efforts of Chris' group. We did pass out brochures for students who seemed unfamiliar with these ideas. There were a lot of students wanting to know why they were not getting a wireless signal in their room. It's interesting to note that that is an expectation. In terms of the Bell Tower , especially through CDSS and the Help Desk staff, we helped about 40 students with configuration. Once configured, the students seemed to have a stable experience with the network.

Mike Pickett asks how many desktops did you see as opposed to laptops?

Kevin says saw a very small number of desktops. I don't have that figure off the top of my head, but it was not more than 20-25 desktops total.

John Board asks do we have a sense that traffic to the Help Desk is lighter?

Ginny Cake says from August 22-30, there were over 5,000 contacts to the Help Desk via e-mail, phone calls, Web submittals, and walk up. This is pretty indicative of what we saw last year; there was not a large increase in volume. The biggest thing was people coming to ask about cell phones, such as what coverage was like for different plans. We have seen an increase in sign-up for cell phones. More students are buying them through Duke.

Tracy Futhey says to clarify, students previously went separately to Telcom to get telephone service. We have tried to consolidate the process so students only have to go to one place.

Ginny says now we have two sanctioned vendor reps available to help so students could actually walk out with the phones. The next biggest questions were about NetID, and the next biggest was Blackboard. Nothing changed this year as far as Debbie was concerned. We've had 417 people sign up for land phone service, and cable TV requests are about the same as this time last year.