ITAC Meeting Minutes
June 5, 2014 Minutes

I. Announcements

5-year agreement ended with Microsoft last month.  We’ve been able to extend that agreement for another 3 years which will also include all Office applications for mobile devices.

II. Agenda Items

4:05- 4:20 – CIT Update, Shawn Miller, (10 minute presentation, 5 minute discussion)

What it is:  The Duke Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) supports the academic mission of Duke University by helping instructors find innovative ways to use technology to achieve their teaching goals.

Why it’s relevant:  CIT will provide an update on current projects, upcoming initiatives and plans for the Fall CIT Showcase event.

CIT staffing is growing due to massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other online initiatives.

Accomplishments in the last year:


  • MOOCs
    • 1.6 million enrollment in Duke courses (17% of overall Coursera enrollment)
    • 40,000 statements of accomplishment
    • Over 80% of respondents would take another Duke course.
  • Teaching Innovation
    • Flipped Classes, fellowship wrapped up in May
    • Online synchronous and collaborative teaching
    • Collaborating with Graduate School on Bass Online Apprenticeship Program
    • Learning Analytics discussion group
    • Teaching Thursdays workshop series
  • E-Learning Infrastructure
    • Sakai 2.9 upgrade in May of 2013
    • 1700-1800 courses per semester


Future Plans:

  • Online Initiatives
    • Specializations (verified certificates with capstone).  First course of this kind at Duke will be “Critical Thinking”.
    • Global and K-12 collaborations (Parasitology course with Tanzania)
    • Exploring other platforms
    • Course flexibility (4-6 week courses)
    • Sharing experiences with departments and faculty
  • E-Learning Infrastructure
    • New integrations for Sakai
    • Peer review tool
    • Better video streaming tools
    • Exploratory programs in DDI
    • Digital Asset Management tool co-developed with Library to house MOOC
  • Teaching Innovation
    • Continue flipped class study, new fellowship
    • Teaching Triangles grants
    • CIT Showcase that is normally in April will now be in October at Washington Duke Inn

Questions and Comments:

Any support for Articulate Storyline?  No current plans.

How are MOOCs impacting education of students on campus?  Faculty who are building these courses are spending a lot of time reflecting how they teach their courses and typically make 2-3 changes in their in-person classes as a result.  Increase in the use of video and other online materials for course content.

Positive feedback was shared by flipped class fellow.

Sakai Media Gallery feedback:  students having trouble.  It’s currently a plug-in to Sakai.  They are currently looking into better solutions.

4:20- 4:40 – Ivy+ Update, Shawn Miller – CIT, Ryn Nasser – Web Applications (10 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is:  Representatives from Ivy League schools meet on an annual basis to discuss and share information in various areas. Topics range from overall university directions, budgets, projects, online learning tools and daily operations.

Why it’s relevant:  Sharing experiences and discussing challenges with our peers helps to provide a collaborative environment where ideas are formed and problems are solved. CIT and OIT recently participated in the Ivy+ meetings for and would like to provide an update on those meetings.

Directors of Academic Computing @ MIT

  • A lot of schools that hadn’t decided on a learning management system have since gone to Canvas.
  • Building of new flexible learning spaces for team-based learning (big classrooms)
  • Most schools using Kaltura for video production
  • Makerspaces are currently still primarily tied to academic departments and there isn’t much for centrally-supported spaces.

Web Roundtable @ Brown University

  • 13 schools represented, 22 attendees (1 from IT and 1 from Communications)
  • Other Duke representative was Blyth Morrell from Office of Marketing & Strategic Communications in Public Affairs
  • Focus Areas:  Web Design, Development, Service Support Models, Scalable Services, User Experience Strategy, Social Media Strategy, Home Page Redesign Processes
  • Content Management System trends
    • Interface to a website that allows you to easily add and update content
    • Most using Drupal (3 schools use Drupal only while others supplement with additional CMS tools like WordPress)
  • Most schools have central web services groups, about half using cost-recovery model (40-70% cost recovery)
  • Most schools using ServiceNow for support
  • About half of the schools have  a “Do It Yourself” option
  • Homepage Redesign trends
    • Full-width images
    • Responsive Design (one site for all devices, flexible to device used to view content)
    • Longer scrolling pages with more whitespace
    • Incorporating social media
    • Fat Footer serves as an anchor to the bottom of the page

Questions and Comments:

What is the impact on web design in individual departments and laboratories?  Anyone is free to use Sites@Duke without contracting with Duke Web Services for websites.  Users are able to choose from over 80 themes, layouts and plugins.  Several are Duke-specific but many are not.

Can you use CMS and still use HTML to do your own coding?  Yes, there is an option to edit the HTML or CSS.  Drupal is mostly PHP.

4:40- 5:00 – Research Computing, Mark DeLong, Julian Lombardi, Jim Siedow (10 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is:  Research Computing connects Duke University researchers to computational resources that match research requirements, to education and training opportunities, and to expertise in high-performance/high-throughput computing and visualization.

Why it’s relevant: Research Computing has been studied in recent months to lay out directions useful to Duke researchers. We will provide and update on the current projects and future plans of Research Computing.


  • Duke Shared Cluster Resource
    • Schedulers:  Sun Grid Engine (SGE)/Oracle Grid Engine (OGE) vs. Simple Linux Utility for Resource Management (SLURM)
    • Increase in core count (CPUs per server), decrease in nodes (servers)
    • Containerization gives researchers more control over software
  • Open Science Grid
    • Harvesting CPU hours from others
    • Partnership with CI Connect[1] through University of Chicago
  • Educational Programs
    • 2 multi-session courses, 2 workshops, 1 co-sponsored seminar with Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
    • 128 attendees with large waiting lists, very fast enrollment (36 hours for the multi-session courses)
    • Summer session on Docker, SLURM office hours

Faculty Report on the Future of Research Computing at Duke

  • Delivered to the Provost and Tracy in December
  • Goal of 80% of researchers compute and storage needs met through institutional resources
  • VM Cloud (Clockworks) would serve 80% of researchers needs
  • Small co-lo for hardware (provision of space, cooling, networking, system administration)
  • Large co-lo for specialized equipment
  • Expertise
    • Making sure the products and services that are provided are well managed
    • Educating the broader public on how to use these resources
  • Storage (Pratt model of 80%)
    • Needs after grants expire and data needs to be retained
    • Special and large data producing projects
  • Sensitive data
    • ITSO protected network
  • Recommended return of pre-recession DSCR business model
  • Continuing engagement with faculty to ensure their needs are being met
  • Research Computing Advisory Council will be revitalized
  • Facilitate broader discussion of storage on campus

5:00- 5:20 – Shared Services – converging networks with the Medical Center, Billy Willis, Charley Kneifel, Bob Johnson (10 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is:  Sharing core services between the University and the Health System provides an opportunity for more effective collaboration and cost savings across the university and health system, reducing the need to manage redundant infrastructure.

Why it’s relevant: We will provide an update on the progress towards converging the University and Medical Center networks.

Health System has been moving forward on the G4 network (MPLS enabled) which enables creation of virtual networks. 

Outstanding Items:

  • G4 network needs to be extended to other buildings and areas
  • Private address space confusion led to need for firewall in between networks and routing problems.

Pilot targeted for this calendar year.


  • 2 community hospitals have been upgraded
  • North hospital in progress
  • Rolling out networks to 4 of the basic sciences buildings

School of Medicine and School of Nursing will be the largest challenge.

New data center by DHTS.

Goal of non-campus centric connection to the internet (all clinics and hospitals will work even if the campus goes offline).

Campus Integration:

  • Working toward one mail system for the entire organization 
  • Have already implemented a single identity management system

Services used primarily by the hospital (e.g. paging, e-faxing) will be hosted and supported by the hospital.

Questions and Comments:

Timetable?  Over a year for the full network rollout, but a pilot within the year.  Shared VRFs will be up in the next few months.  Hospital systems should be in the new data center in December.

IPv6 conversion?  Not a problem of address exhaustion but rather a problem of securing machines from the internet which may result in a reduction of addresses used.  This trend is not unique to Duke.  The network fully supports IPv6 but implementing it introduces possible problems such as support by legacy applications, devices and network scanning tools.


5:20- 5:30 – Network Upgrade, Bob Johnson, Joe Lopez, Charley Kneifel (5 minute presentation, 5 minute discussion)

What it is:  There is a planned network upgrade planned for the two main datacenters, Fitz East and North building. This upgrade is necessary to support the every growing demands on Duke resources.

Why it’s relevant: The network team will provide an overview of this change, including the benefits, impact and risk associated with this project.

Current status:

  • 2 networks running in parallel
  • Moving sites over to the new network one at a time starting with research buildings
  • Summer Phase 2 is in progress
  • Most traffic is now on the new, upgraded core
  • Next step is moving the data centers to new core
  • Some issues during initial moves but those problems were identified and the last few upgrades have had no outages
  • Perkins will be the next big move following the data center

Plans for upgrade:

  • WebEx for communication during upgrade
  • Fail over the North Building (backup data center) to the new network
  • Expecting 10-15 second outage
  • Paging will not be affected
  • VOIP will be done prior
  • All staff will be on-site
  • Starting at 5:30pm with approximately 30 minutes worth of changes
  • Application owners will test and verify
  • Fail over Fitz
  • No address changes

Questions and Comments:

What was involved in the building migrations?  Each one is different.  Some had new switches put in place, others didn’t need this.  The goal was to protect the core network from issues that pop up in smaller areas of the network.  A lot of the changes cascaded such that the first migrations had many more changes involved and the further along