ITAC Meeting Minutes

September 25, 2014

I. Announcements

Welcome back to the student representatives Robert Ansel, Oren Bukspan, Tanmay Gokhale, and Gavin Ovsak . We also welcome Tim McGeary from the Library.

October is National Cyber Security Month so Richard Biever and his team will be doing a lot of things with the departments so feel free to contact him if you’re interested in participating.

II. Agenda Items

4:05- 4:35 – Special Guest, Sally Kornbluth, Provost

What it is: Each year the Provost attends an ITAC meeting to answer questions and share his perspective as they relate to technology and other topics.

Why it’s relevant: As the university's chief academic officer, Sally Kornbluth will have broad responsibility for leading Duke's schools and institutes, as well as admissions, financial aid, libraries, information technology and all other facets of the university's academic life.

The Provost just met with the Academic Council and is hoping for this year to focus on defining broad themes and next year to begin strategic planning.

  • New online education initiatives will be discussed soon at a meeting of the online advisory group.
  • Defining what a sustainable research computing operation would look like since it is almost considered a basic utility/service.
  • How to address holes in tools or skillsets in research computing? Collaboration among researchers.

Discussion around IT in the University vs. School of Medicine:

  • Shared services and tools to remove duplication of effort
  • Concerns surrounding firewalls with campus researchers dealing with School of Medicine researchers

Questions and Comments:

What is the role of IT in teaching and education? Curriculum group will need to discuss what makes a graduate a “literate” citizen with regards to technology. We should discuss how we teach now as including technology may change that quite drastically. Education may need to be reframed to include the new tools and technologies. Emphasis on how to find out what you need to know, the means to inquire given that the body of knowledge in each discipline is evolving so quickly.

Discussion surrounding interdisciplinary vs. heterogeneous learning and outcomes, including admissions.

What are the biggest concerns or focuses in IT for the new Provost? Big Data and support of research interests throughout the campus, how are we going to secure this data, preserve anonymity, etc. Critical partnership with the School of Medicine.

4:35- 5:15 – Academic Technologies Update, Evan Levine, Chip Bobbert, Jack D’Ardenne, Tom Wilson (25 minute presentation, 15 minute discussion)

What it is: Academic technologies will provide an update on 3D Printing, Innovation CoLab and Digital Signage. We will also discuss other academic technologies and programs at Duke such as Lightboard, a translucent version of the traditional whiteboard. Post presentation demonstrations will also be available.

Why it’s relevant: An increased desire to explore new technologies from students, faculty, and staff has led to a number of newly available products and services. These technologies are being used in courses, extracurricular programs, and clubs, as well as in support of both on-campus and online courses.

3D printing

Cost of 3D printers has decreased significantly which has led to more widespread use and availability. Students were invited to discuss project that they were working on themselves. Multimedia Project Studio (MPS) lab is located in Perkins and Bostock’s basement and a branch in Lilly Library on East Campus. This is a space available to add students, not just engineering students. Duke Makers Club helps to support the printers, but otherwise the students are permitted to do the printing themselves, which isn’t always the case at other institutions.


  • 3 FDM printers (.1mm resolution)
  • 1 SL printer (.01mm resolution)
  • 2 3D scanners
  • 30 lbs. of printing material (8 lbs. used in the last 3 weeks)
  • 120 used served
  • 15 students trained to support the printers (2 to advanced level and 1 to trainer level)
  • 22,000 words of support documentation
  • 6 training videos


The 3D printer was used to print the clips that were used to hold the LED lights on the Lightboard glass. The idea behind the Lightboard would be for the professor to face the audience while writing on it (never having his/her back to the audience), but the problem was that the writing would then be backwards to the audience. The best solution to this was in post-production editing. One of the biggest issues they found was in how to clean it.

Crestron A/V

In 2013, started working with Crestron to develop a standard interface that would be consistent in any room across campus. Trinity is currently working with Crestron and hope to have a solution rolled out by the end of the year.

Digital Signage

Since January 2013, we now have 32 groups and departments using digital signage with 80 signs in production.

Future plans:

  • Currently working with Duke Athletics to put signage in Cameron Stadium.
  • Web-based content management system and approval system.
  • Publishing sign content and feeds to mobile devices
  • Be able to choose locations for where content is displayed
  • Conference room scheduling (sometime next year)
  • Interactive, touch-based signs (will be able to provide statistics on use)

The Service Operations Center (SOC) is currently using digital signage to display maps, alerts, current status of tickets, etc.

Any wide-spread emergency alerts that go across campus are pushed to the digital signs as needed and take precedence over other content.

Questions and Comments:

Is there 3D printing with metal alloys in the near future? These already exist but are very expensive ($1 million+). There is one locally owned by NC State that was donated.

How is the scheduling and management of the Lightboard being done currently? It is available for use to anyone.

Is there any way to capture an image of what is being written on the board? Currently, no.

What is the hardware cost for the Crestron panels? It varies, but highly discounted pricing should be available to anyone at Duke. We are attempting to standardize on hardware as well. Approximately the cost of an iPad.

What is the schedule for rolling Crestron panels out to the various areas? Currently, can’t replace all the rooms at one time due to budgeting constraints so priorities will need to be determined and rolled out as the budget allows. In addition, could have discussions with faculty to see if maybe interim solutions might be acceptable in the meantime.

Will we be able to move to at-home commodity solutions and move away from A/V integrators? We are always looking at this, but in some situations the needs are still too complicated and need an integrator for the best outcome.

Are there any wireless solutions to cut down on the masses of wires? Yes, this has been implemented in some areas, but the experience has been that it is a little “buggy”. Weigh the need of consistent and stable behavior vs. potential inconvenience of faculty.

Are all the signage screens touchscreens? No, but there are some scattered throughout the campus. The trend is moving towards touchscreen. An overlay can be purchased after the fact to make a static screen interactive.

How will authentication be handled with conference scheduling? This will need to be discussed and worked out. The general template is open to anyone, but perhaps we could do card swipes or something like that.

Would students be able to push content to digital signage? Potentially yes, but it’s up to the departments who are running the signs.

5:15- 5:30 – ITAC Group Photo