Duke ITAC - September 10, 2009 Minutes

Duke ITAC - September 10, 2009 Minutes

ITAC Meeting Minutes
September 10, 2009 4:00-5:30
RENCI Engagement Center

  • Announcements & meeting minutes
  • Lectopia service directions (Samantha Earp, Steve Toback, Bill Boulding)
  • Back to school and computer sales experiences (Debbie DeYulia, Jim Rigney)
  • Windows 7 support guidance (Kevin Davis)

Announcements & Meeting Minutes

Terry Oas opened by asking ITAC members present at the August 27, 2009 meeting if they had comments on the minutes. Terry encouraged ITAC members who spoke at previous meetings to review the minutes to ensure there contributions are accurately reflected.  Noting no objections to the previous minutes, Terry accepted the minutes and stated that they would be posted on the new ITAC web site.

Terry said the ITAC steering team is working to fill the two vacant student positions, in addition to Michael Ansel who will continue through the academic year. Mark Elstein has been appointed by DSG to serve as the second representative; a third appointee will be unable to join until spring.
Paul Horner said the ITSO web site (http://www.security.duke.edu/services.html) describes a quarterly NetID strength-checking process. This process checks that passwords are sufficiently complex.  Paul worked with Debbie DeYulia to notify account holders whose passwords were deemed insufficiently complex. This process will begin anew in about three weeks.

Terry asked if this meant OIT knew NetID passwords. Tracy Futhey said the algorithm identifies the complexity.  Paul added that the NetID policy states that three successive passes identifying a weak password will result in that NetID being locked.

Alvy Lebeck asked if these strength checks were run when someone changed their NetID password. Klara Jelinkova said the NetID password system now checks for password complexity and that some of the identified accounts may not have changed their passwords in a while. John Board added that the “password dictionaries” get larger and passwords that “passed” in 2009 may fail in the future.  Robert Wolpert added that passwords may not be enough compared with techniques like two-factor authentication.

Lectopia service directions (Samantha Earp, Steve Toback, Bill Boulding)

Terry said Duke University has informed students they should stay home from classes if they have flu-like symptoms. To make this feasible, students need access to class material online for classes they missed. Some of the larger classes are now being recorded with Lectopia.  Terry introduced Steve Toback, Senior Manager of Interactive Technology Services, and Samantha Earp, Director of Academic Technology Services.

Samantha said centrally-provisioned services originated from an ITAC initiative when students raised concerns that their third generation iPods were not adequately capturing lectures.  In addition, some instructors preferred to not have course recorded.  She said this led to an analysis of tools that might address these concerns or formally capture what classroom events. Lectopia was selected at that time. The IT Strategic Plan laid out a mission for capture tied to the different items that came out of the Strategic Plan.

Samantha said that in the three years since Lectopia was deployed, technology has advanced greatly. Currently, Duke has fixed equipment in classrooms; however, activity frequently takes place outside of those classrooms.

Steve Toback said Lectopia has grown to 61 campus devices for approximately 70 venues. OIT funds the central cost of Lectopia including support staff, the servers, and transcoding system that transcodes to various output media types. Tracy added course instructors elect those types they wish recorded for their class. Steve said the recording equipment is split between legacy PCs and appliances and is all generally controlled by Crestron equipment. Steve said 913 courses have used this service.

Robert W. asked who signs up courses. Steve said the faculty do. Tracy added that had changed some this fall. Steve said Fall 2008 had 80 courses, Spring 2009 had 116, and Fall 2009 has 265.  He said the system is scaling well and has handled the increased load.  He noted much of this Fall’s growth is in response to H1N1. Over 2,500 recordings have been made accounting for around 9TB of storage. This is in different formats across a download server and streaming servers. Steve showed a slide demonstrating the service usage across schools with Trinity and Fuqua having the largest percentage.

Steve described the process by which the faculty schedule, execute, and upload a capture. The content is made available by direct links to the Lectopia web site, RSS feeds fed to Blackboard, or through iTunes U. iTunes U provides authentication and authorization (with Grouper) if desired. Michael Ansel asked if students can just visit the main Duke Lectopia site to access their courses, or if it requires a specific link. Steve said the faculty must provide a specific link. Michael asked if students have to ask their professors if the content were available, or if it could be searched for. Samantha said students must go to their professors.

An ITAC member asked if notifications could be provided directly to students. Stephen said the system notifies faculty only. Terry said that faculty have the discretion to determine if they want to share a given recording. Robert suggested the question may actually have been about students being aware that their questions were being recorded.  Samantha said the physical layout of the recording equipment is directed at the presenter and student commentary may not be captured.

Robert W. asked if there is a budget for refreshing the current equipment. Samantha said the local schools make decisions about bringing additional classroom capture equipment online in their environments.

Samantha said one reason the Lectopia system is being examined now is that it has become a legacy solution. The company has been purchased by a company (Echo360) that has a different capture technology. By the end of fiscal year 2011, Duke University will no longer be on Lectopia. Her group is going through a planning process.

Three areas are being examined, she said. First, what are the very specific feature needs. Second, the group is discussing holistic guiding principles across the Duke University environment. For example, the tool should work with other campus solutions and strategies and should support access controls. Third, what are the strategic and academic goals of schools and IT units.  Samantha has begun asking schools, and in addition, the group may reach out directly to faculty. Samantha noted that different teaching styles may lead to different desired capturing solutions.

Samantha noted that as part of the planning process, the group is trying to benchmark existing solutions. They have seen a lot of interest in “self”, that is, non-fixed units. In addition, there is also interest in higher end capture capabilities for capturing highly produced lectures.

Samantha reiterated that OIT provisions the central infrastructure, while local IT staff setup the local configurations and interact with faculty about their needs and options. Students learn from faculty members, and faculty have the discretion as to whether or not content is shared, she said.

Bill Boulding said Fuqua is heavily engaged with lecture capture; Fuqua has historically taped courses and Lectopia made it more efficient and effective, he noted. One issue they have always had is students missing classes as they go on recruiting visits. In addition, Fuqua has had numerous students for whom English was the second language and they benefited from review the lectures. Bill said Fuqua’s has a policy saying the decision to tape a course was at the discretion of the faculty member. Bill said he received feedback from students that the taped recordings were not popular with students because they required a VCR.  Bill said when he switched to iTunesU, he saw many downloads of the content.

This led to discussions among the faculty about what the policy should be. There were different opinions about whether it was a good thing to record lectures. Some faculty felt pressure to capture courses because other faculty were capturing theirs. Therefore, the Fuqua policy became that faculty could elect not to capture courses but should describe rationale.  This led to discussions at Fuqua that surfaced three issues. First, would taping hurt class attendance. Second, might there be inappropriate sharing of course content. Third, faculty wanted to protect their intellectual property. Bill said Fuqua did not notice a negative impact on attendance due to course capture. The honor code issue was one that Fuqua knew they just had to communicate to people that they could not inappropriately share. The intellectual property concern was the thorniest; faculty today are comfortable with the attendance and honor code issues but maintain reservations about the IP concerns. Most Fuqua faculty opt to make use of the streaming option, he said.

Ultimately, Fuqua decided that their policy would be to allow faculty to choose at their own discretion.  Faculty are expected to inform students if courses are being captured. Bill said that in light of H1N1, he submitted to faculty that even if they had opted not to capture courses, they may want to consider it at this time. He has not received negative pushback.

John Board asked if faculty raised concerns about deans using the recordings to evaluate faculty performance. Bill said Fuqua debated who owned the distribution and access rights, so they could elect not to distribute to the dean. One exception to this is to use recordings to demonstrate practices to new faculty, he added.  Mike Ansel asked how long the sessions are stored. Bill said that is at the faculty discretion. However, students generally have access for the duration of the course, faculty have access for one year, and then they receive copies of the recordings on disc. Samantha added that from an IT perspective, there are currently no firm data retention policies. The goal is to have these policies align with the work Paola Mangiafico is leading.

An ITAC member asked if it was clear who owned the asset. Samantha said the faculty owns the intellectual property. Terry asked how OIT enforces that faculty retain full control of the course capture and its IP. Samantha said three factors are involved. First, the faculty worked with site administrators to design their desired boundaries. Second, backup is in line with the security concerns for any University data. Third, if one asked for access to a given captured session, OIT would direct that request to the guiding body because it is not an IT decision but rather a university policy decision.  A discussion ensued about the differences between content ownership, copyright, and physical ownership of the media.

Bill said Fuqua’s multimedia group runs all their recordings and provide the faculty interface. Faculty decisions about course captures are not shared with the Dean’s Office.

Tracy suggested that the discussion indicated a broader policy conversation about faculty access might be appropriate. This was not an IT policy issue, per se. John B. said Appendix P of the Duke Faculty Handbook (http://www.provost.duke.edu/pdfs/fhb/FHB_App_P.pdf) is very clear that the content belongs to the faculty member and requires their signature for use. Alvy asked if this differs from email storage and retrieval. John B. said lecture recording was an issue that was specifically carved out.

David Bowersox said his group was using multiple tools to capture data and asked if other groups had had success consolidating their efforts. Samantha said that is one of the key challenges of their planning process. The goal is to figure out to what degree there are shared needs across units. Robert W. said that a single solution may not be a reasonable goal. Samantha said the goal is to offer a DukeCapture service, that term will encompass more than one single solution.

Ed Gomes noted that the Link has solutions to enable presenters to present their lectures in real time. He said the single solutions will not solve every use case.  Samantha said the planning process is trying to identify what those institutional use cases are.

Dave Richardson described the evolution of projectors to 1024x768 resolution provided a tipping point for him in what he could display for students. He said the planning process should account for larger screen resolutions to ensure you not only capture what is going through the projection system and on what a professor is showing in hand. Ed G. added that the infrastructure needs to be available to support the varied needs and maintain he quality of the video. Robert W. said HD levels are likely to be the minimal target for the next ten years.

Samantha said every single need may not be able to be met. The goal is to provide the best central provisioning service, but pockets may exist with very specific needs. For example, the School of Medicine uses one capture solution that ties into physician accreditation.

One use case that Mike A. suggested was students who might want to preview faculty lecture prior to picking a course. Samantha said that would be a faculty decision. David Richardson confirmed that this would be up to the faculty.  Tracy said that one Engineering course was made publicly available through iTunesU. She added that Duke University overall has been more conservative in the content it makes available publicly.  Robert W. suggested that would be an excellent recruiting tool.  Tracy said that might be the case and that OIT’s role is to provide the technology and capability but not make policy decisions regarding access to academic content -- electronic or otherwise.

Jim Daigle said the Distance MEM program is developing a web site that can display clips of streaming media.  The program can opt for what content they want to post. Tracy added Duke University has collected a large amount of data that schools could opt to review and share in some fashion.


Back to school and computer sales experiences (Debbie DeYulia, Jim Rigney)

Jim Rigney from the Computer Store provided some graphs showing computer sales trends and data. Jim showed TAP computer sales. TAP is the Technology Advantage Program for select notebook sales to first-year students.  The graph showed a trend of TAP sales leveling off at about 750, roughly half the incoming class. Terry asked if this was potentially due to students bringing their own machines. Jim said he thought so. Jim showed ten years of data that included the desktops sold prior to 2003.

Jim showed a comparison of the three major vendors: Apple, Dell, and Lenovo.  Prior to 2007, Dell and Lenovo were the major players. Jim noted Lenovo sales dropped off in 2007. Klara noted that Apple has traditionally had a good educational offering and wondered if that might have contributed to their increasing sales. Tracy asked if, relative to the marketplace, Duke provided a better price on Apple equipment.

Jim suggested that Dell and Lenovo do not have consistent marketing messages to students.

Jim showed that a slide comparing the model distribution. He said his group marketed smaller screens and that four of the nine models were 13” or smaller, four were 14”, and the remaining was 15”. The 13” models were the most popular.  This is the opposite of the trends at Best Buy, he noted.  Duke Computer Store only sold five netbooks.  He suggested parents may not value netbooks and that they are the decision makers.

Jim said the computer distribution model at Lilly Library has been very successful. Jim noted that shipped computer requests have increased dramatically. One impact is that “new” TAP machines shipped home are coming to campus with viruses and other issues. Jim said the Lilly library distribution may be scaled back to one day next year. Terry asked how incoming freshmen are informed of TAP. Jim said that soon after students receive their initial welcome email, they receive a second email from OIT describing technology needs students will have and directs them to the Duke Store catalog they will receive. This year the catalog was sent in May. Jim suggested the catalog might ship without pricing and direct students to the web. Jim said that orders that can wait to be delivered when students arrive on campus are ordered during tax-free weekend which results in about $150 in savings for families.

Klara said there has been an increase in netbook sales across other vendors.  Klara asked if the vendor offering might be expanded. Jim said ITAC should probably make that decision. Debbie DeYulia added that during SWAT they saw many large HP and Toshiba computers who asked for help. She said we may track non-TAP help requests next year.  Jim added that most of the netbook sales are for the Health System for use in clinics. Ginny Cake said another consideration for broadening the TAP program is that the support needs would get more complex with additional product lines.

Joanne Van Tuyl said many of her students have Macs and the language lab was all PC. She added that getting students to learn to type and navigate the web in Cyrillic could be done in the language labs, but two-thirds of the class had Macs.

Jim described a program where students can roll the notebook cost into their tuition. The program has held steady at about 100 students per year. Tracy noted that the number of students participating in the program has remained steady even though overall sales have declined.

Debbie described some support experiences. She said 313 total wired ports being used. Tracy noted that with roughly 5500 students living on campus, less than 10% use the wired network, since surveys show that most students have a computer. Debbie said East Campus wired usage was about 3%, West Campus was about 5.5%, and Central Campus goes up. Robert W. asked if the wired ports were all at 100MB. Debbie said yes.

Debbie described Service Desk call statistics that showed August was the busiest time. However, calls and tickets overall were down from previous years and First Call Resolution had increased. Debbie noted that these numbers were for all Service Desk contact types, not just calls to the Service Desk. Terry asked if the numbers were for all customers, or just students. Debbie said it was for all customers.

Debbie displayed a graph showing that the Link Service Desk contacts had more than doubled from the previous year. Terry suggested the Link may be diverting a lot of those requests thanks to its a very good location. John Board asked if the Link’s load might be a topic for a future ITAC. Kevin Davis added that the Link opened just before school started last year so we have more data this year. Debbie said the top issue request at the Link is for audio-visual equipment. The next top issue was “customer” which is just general questions and information requests. The next three top issues were NetID, laptop, and connectivity.  Mark Goodacre noted that the hours at the Link are also expanded, so that is much more convenient.

Debbie reviewed Service Desk contacts. The top issues at the Service Desk were NetID, Blackboard, connectivity, laptop, and email. Robert W. asked if this included the period of time when we had some known email issues. Debbie said that the numbers were only for August. Terry noted that students who drop a class require a call to the Service Desk to have them removed from Blackboard. Debbie said she would discuss this offline with Terry.

Klara said some of the calls could be avoided by available self-help service tools. Paul H. said we may want to look at what can be done with the website or the knowledgebase to eliminate some of those calls.

Debbie said this year’s SWAT effort had a decrease in contacts.  The largest issue was students needing help with ePrint installations on 64-bit machines. There were a number of users who just wanted to someone to install software for them.

Mike Ansel asked how well e-Print will work with Windows 7.  Kevin D. said it currently will work with similar workaround as 64-bit.  Terry noted that Snow Leopard has similar issues.  Debbie said all the staff have done a great job of knocking out those requests.  Evan Levine asked if anyone had contacted the vendor about 64-bit solutions. Ed said someone is working on it.

Debbie said some of the SWAT numbers were estimates because it got so busy at times that they chose to serve the customers first and make some estimates on the number that were “unrecorded.” Debbie said the first day’s numbers are pretty accurate since Student Affairs has staff on site as well. Debbie noted that Cable TV had some billing changes this year that led to a rise in Cable TV questions. Debbie reviewed some customer service survey information and noted that overall customer positive experiences improved.  Debbie also said they got informational questions about Windows 7. 


Windows 7 support guidance (Kevin Davis)

Kevin D. said an OIT team has been working on a Windows 7 compatibility web site. (http://www.oit.duke.edu/comp-print/recommendations/windows7/index.php) He said a similar effort will take place for Snow Leopard.  The team focused on Windows 7 since many groups are still on XP and plan to skip Vista. Windows 7 has been available to the institution since August which is the same time frame that it was made available to developers for certification.  October 22 is the expected delivery date to consumers.

The current guidance is to hold off on upgrading, he said. Early adopters are the current area of focus, and may want to upgrade but should understand the tradeoffs. Some technical staff are also evaluating for their departments. Kevin said IT units on campus are looking at a mid-year evaluation in preparation for next fall.  For most applications, the vendors are reporting that Windows 7 is not yet fully supported.

The team has posted a chart for popular site license applications. The chart shows “No Issues Reported”, “Requires IE8 Compatibility Mode”, “Requires WinXP Emulation Mode”, and “Known Issues Exist”.


Robert W. asked if the chart broke down by 32 and 64-bit.  Kevin said it did not but that could be added. The site does make recommendations around 32- or 64-bit. The team also recommends that Windows 7 only be installed on newer hardware.

Another question being considered is what OS to select if you are purchasing a computer today. Institutional machines should purchase the least expensive OS since the campus agreement allows for upgrades.

For personal machines, Kevin said the team recommends that only some versions of Windows can be “upgraded” to Windows 7. IT staff generally recommend a clean install. The team recommends that students acquire Windows 7 Professional. Robert W. asked if there are similar issues with Apple.  Kevin said that there have been some Snow Leopard issues noted as well.