ITAC Meeting Minutes

April 26, 2012,  4:00 - 5:00

Allen Board Room



  • Announcements
  • Future of Duke Card (Laurie Cousart, Kevin Davis)
  • DSG Feedback Update - OIT's Response (Evan Levin, Tracy Futhey)
  • End of Term Reception



Alvy Lebeck began the final announcements for the spring semester by acknowledging Daniel Foster and Jeff Taekman as faculty members whose terms will end at the end of the summer.  Mark Goodacre and JoAnn Van Tuyl have agreed to stay and serve another term. 

Alvy's term has also ended as chair and a member of ITAC. 

As for the students, Jonathan Zhang, Oren Bukspan and Robert Ansel all served terms and were thanked for their service.  It was noted that Robert is planning to be around for the remainder of the summer.

A special thanks was given to Kevin Davis for his 3 years of service in the role of coordinator which ended last fall.

Evan announced a replacement for the Remedy ticketing service called Service Now, with a planned rollout for May 6th


Future of Duke Cards - Laurie Cousart & Kevin Davis

Kevin began the presentation by talking about the Duke Card's integration in many of our enterprise systems, and the goal for moving forward.  He then introduced Laurie Davis who then delivered the rest of the presentation.

Laurie began by explaining the Duke Card and pointing out its many services.  The most familiar are the ID badge function that it provides, access control, supports financial transactions, and merchants on points which is a deliver service for off campus markets bringing products on campus.  Other services such as ePrint, rec center membership and event attendance are used broadly across campus.  There are variety of mechanisms that are attached to the system such as door readers/cash registers and other devices that are used to read these cards.

Laurie displayed the eco system diagram of the Duke Card touch points.  The diagram displays a complex network of Duke Card devices/transactions such as printing, dining, and parking that are controlled by the Blackboard system, (which is not the same as the eLearning version of Blackboard used in the past).

Kevin mentioned that the architecture diagram of the touch point structure; though impressive at first glance, can also be scary.  There is a single point of failure, with no built in redundancies.  One of the things they are looking at as the Duke Card system comes in to OIT is to work with third party vendors and to treat this as an enterprise IT system.

Laurie stated that the Duke Card now has a new home with OIT and will now operate in a matrix structure where customer service and support functions are being run by Debbie Deluya and the OIT support group.  The IT systems and Apps support will be managed by Bart Lawyer, and the field technical support will be managed by Jim Phillips and his team.  The finance operations are being overseen by the finance division.  Laurie's role will be to pull all of the pieces together functionally.  She will serve as a point of contact for the many different groups involved and will be the front end of the Duke Card.

Laurie's plan is to do a lot of documentation and process mapping to get ready for the transition and to make sure that the services that are being provided are clear and consistent. 

Kevin added that there is a services team that plays a much larger role around the external finances that Laurie referred to.  The service team is also struggling with the idea of trying to leverage enterprise best practices and also things like identity management.  Most campuses with card systems have very little interaction with university identity data and card system data.  However, a lot of the innovation that has been done with Duke and with our partners through various other projects is to link services.  Data needs to be made accessible in campus card world.  One of Laurie's projects going forward is to recheck the assumptions of what customers really want. 

The Duke Card has a very proud history.  Kevin joked about things being stolen from Duke because "Duke" is the place where the "one card" concept really took off. 

There's a business idea of "the card" that might be going away.  Smart phone integration is a very hot topic.  There is a lot of experimentation in this area and in the next few years, this will grow to an even greater extent. 

Kevin stated that we should get away from the idea of a single card system, and more toward a card eco-system.  The card data that we have is the value.

Laurie mentioned that they have done a lot of work with campus police as they have taken on the alarms monitoring process and they can respond immediately.  The Duke Card went from being a 24/7 operation to not being 24/7, by shifting those calls directly over to the campus police.  They get the alarms now and they respond.  She also mentioned that Kevin has been working with the parking as they look at the next generation parking system.  Laurie has also begun working with the hospitals and nurses to get cards quicker for new employees without disrupting their orientation process.   

Laurie also talked about the change in the process of responding to customers that need after hour card replacement.  The Link is now in charge of servicing those types of requests.

Q:  John Board asked, how is traffic at the link, now that we have a semester's worth of experience?

A:  Kevin mentioned that the first few weeks, the student traffic was larger than expected.  But at last look they were averaging 5.9 or 6.1 cards per night.  This was consistent with what was seen during the old process. 

Q:  Robert Wolpert asked, whether without a DukeCard a student can get into the Link at night to get the replacement DukeCard?

A:  Kevin mentioned that is an area where we would like to make some improvements and that is aiding individuals getting into the building.  However, since there is so much traffic coming and going, we have not experienced a large number of complaints from students.

Q:  Robert asked, going forward there are some things that we don't use duke card for that much like limiting access to wiring closets, and making decisions on whether we should even have these or not?

A:  Kevin replied by stating that there have been some ongoing process reviews that are looking at access control in various locations with cards, keys, push button locks and other devices.  This type of question requires a more institutional answer from Duke Police and/or other departments like Access Control.

Laurie continued with the need to replace or upgrade Blackboard in 2014.  This spring the key vision discussions will take place:

  • Police - Security/building access
  • Student affairs
  • Technology futures

Over the summer we will be doing a much more detailed analysis with departments, schools, and centers to find out:

  • What are the specific things you have that you want to keep?
  • Things that you have never been able to get, but you really want?
  • Things you like but don't know that you can ask for...?

We're going to take all of those and put them together, combine them with peer data / information and have a list of requirements that we present to a hand full of vendors that can meet these needs.  Based on the responses, we would then recommend a vendor and a direction and present that to senior management for approval in the fall. 

Kevin added that there are a very limited scope of vendors who do what you would think is a unified campus card system.  There are pieces that you need a campus card system for today that may be better suited in other systems.   

Q:  John Board asks, is it two vendors, three vendors...?

A:  Kevin / Laurie both answered, it's a very small universe. 

Kevin also stated in today's world the swipes you see on doors that have the Blackboard logo on them are fairly closed and can only be controlled by the Blackboard system.  The trend in the industry is toward open standard door readers with swipe or proximity sensors that all work well with any backend system.  Supposedly we were moving toward more open standards with the broadest reach possible. 

Tracy Futhey mentioned that people think about need to have smart connections among our systems.  So not only does the swipe open the door for me, but somewhere a photo needs to be taken to capture who came in, or make sure no one was tailgating so the discussion of requirements will also likely lead us to other systems that may well create a much better environment for us overall.

John Board mentioned that student's ideas need to be brought back into the mix.


DSG Feedback Update - OIT's Response - Evan Levine & Tracy Futhey


Evan began by stating that earlier this semester the DSG appointed undergrads did the annual IT perspectives and brought forth a list of requests.  Students said that given the importance of ePrint and the lack of backup printers, periods of ePrint unavailability are highly detrimental.  Since then, the following has been performed:


  • Server upgrade (ram and storage)
  • Implementation of reliability metrics
  • Annual usage report for trending
  • Trial of express lane option


  • Evaluating additional print servers
  • Working with DSG to better meet needs and reduce unnecessary printing
  • Relocation of under-utilized printers
  • Custom firmware update.



Q:  A question was ask, how are you going to print them...? 

A:  Evan clarified that he was referring to corrupt files.  Jobs that actually hang in the queue will be spotted and the actual printer will remove the file.  The next step is automating the printing to keep users from attempting to reprint corrupt files.

Q:  Terry asked, if these happen quite frequently, is there a way to get communication back to the student to prevent multiple attempts at reprinting? 

A:  Evan suggested maybe having a popup window that will alert students in this case.   Perhaps even a display on the printer windows.

Evan continued with the second topic mentioned by students the Link schedule and reservations better integrated into Duke Mobile in addition the 25 Live system entirely needs a full innovation or replacement since it has a reputation of being slow and difficulty to use:


  • Transition of service ownership to student affairs over the past year


  • Student Affairs will oversee an evaluation of this tool


Duke Mobile

Students express that there is a general feeling that they should be able to do more.  Students would like to see the news section contain Chronicle articles with the ability to report problems through the application and easy access to emergency phone numbers:


  • News section updated to include Chronicle stories
  • Aliases incorporated into map search
  • Problem reporting available by clicking the "lightning bolt"





Events Calendar

Students said this tool needs to be publicized and it would help to have a more dynamic interface with better integration with other Duke services.


  • Integration of with iGoolge using OIT widget


Terry Oas shared the comment made by students he too noticed the obscure calendar feeds.  They're hard to find, and it's not very clear from a user perspective.


Duke Maps

Students expressed that the new maps are much improved, but they would like to see more information available for ePrint locations.


  • The duke maps team has been given spreadsheet with all ePrint location listed.


Sakai Templates

Students said they have difficulty in Sakai at times in the layout of the courses when professors are not using consistent looking templates.  Students felt this could have easily been done in Sakai if skeleton templates had been provided to faculty.


  • The Sakai team would like to continue this discussion.
  • One of the great features of Sakai is the ability to give the professors freedom to do what they choose.

Q:  Robert Wolpert asked, is there just one template available and they're proposing we have several?

A:  Evan answered several different templates for faculty to use.

Q:  John Board asked, if they were referring to the template in the sense of look and feel or module and applications which enable specifics in the course? 

A:  Evan stated that they were referring to the applications and the usability of the tools.

 Dick Danner mentioned that at the law school they have created a list of tools to be displayed in customized templates.  These templates don't change much but faculty members like to have the flexibility.

DSG rep mentioned that the courses in Sakai have extra modules that are never used.  The default interface may need to be more scaled back and not very advanced.


Knowledge Base

Students said it was difficult to find information, the interface is not intuitive.  OIT offers great services but can be sometimes difficult for students to find.  Something like a simple resource list would be helpful.


  • The transition to Service Now will largely address this issue
  • The OIT's News and Information group will work with Duke Web service to evaluate this and better organize the services. The problem is, there are so many services. Even if you make a list, you will need to break things up, and eventually you will end up with exactly what you currently have with the OIT website.


Cloud Email

Students have expressed that the want this service.  They see it being to friends at other schools and would like to know what we're Duke is planning to do. 


  • More evaluation will need to take place with a number of vendors and other institutions before a final decision has been made.

Tracy added, that she does not expect that we will have a "must only go with this option" scenario.  What remains to be nuanced is this question of the extent to which we have two fully supported options versus primary and default and then another option for how we can use other things.  So that's what we're in the process of working out, we're also trying to stay close to the Health System in this as well so that we're not going off in a direction that makes it difficult to do the everyday things.  There are pros and cons to that choice and options as well.  Everyone knows the downside to one size fits all and there is complexity introduced with multiple options.  We have not fully vetted things at the institution in a way that we need to in order to make a grand call.

Tracy, mentioned that Alvy's term has ended and presented him with a very nice crystal award.