September 10, 2015

I.    Announcements

AFS Retirement:  The Andrew File System (AFS) which has been in production since the early 1990’s was retired on July 31st.

IT Strategic Planning:  IT Strategic Planning will run in parallel with Duke University Strategic Planning.  Several working groups will be established by topic and scope to support this endeavor. We would like to have representatives from ITAC and at least one faculty member on each working group.  The names of working groups and participants will be identified over the next two weeks. 

Approval of Minutes:  The June 18th, July 30th and August 27th minutes were approved.

II.     Agenda Items

4:05- 4:30 – Autism Project - Ricky Bloomfield, Director Mobile Technology Strategy (DHTS) and Associate Professor of Pediatrics & Helen Egger, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

What it is:  Pratt School of Engineering professor Guillermo Sapiro, and professor Geraldine Dawson and associate professor Helen Egger from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, are developing ways to use commonly available technology to analyze children’s visual attention, emotional behavior, and vital signs in response to stimuli designed to elicit early behaviors indicating risk for autism or a child mental health condition.

Why it’s relevant:  These programs are using commonly available technology to automatically analyze children’s visual attention, emotional behavior, and vital signs in response to stimuli designed to elicit early behaviors indicating risk for autism or a child mental health condition.

Risk and Diagnosis:  One in sixty-four children is diagnosed with Autism.  Children can be diagnosed with Autism as young as 18 months; however, the average age is 5.3 years.  The earlier the diagnosis and intervention, the better chances of improved IQ, language skills and social interaction.  The process of diagnosing Autism can be time-consuming, expensive and challenging.  Currently, the M-CHAT paper questionnaire which has just over 20 questions is the standard screening tool for helping families and trained professionals identify which children are most at risk.  Unfortunately, this screening tool has a false positive rate of approximately 50% which results in unnecessary lengthy and expensive follow-up diagnostics requiring trained professionals.   

Research and Development at Duke:  The high rate of false positives along with the low number of diagnostic centers nationwide is driving a multi-disciplinary collaboration between the Pratt School of Engineering (University) and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science (Medical Center).  They are developing a supplemental screening tool which incorporates the work of Professor Guillermo Sapiro in the area of computational tools in the early diagnosis of psychiatric disorders.  The tool provides analysis of children’s visual attention, emotional behavior and vital signs in response to video stimuli.  Ricky Bloomfield presented a demonstration of the tool.  A project update is planned for January. 

4:30 - 4:35–Introduce New Student Representatives 

What it is:  Kavita Jain (Biology - Evolutionary Anthropology) and Jared Katzen (Environmental Science and Policy; Economics) have been appointed by Duke Student Government (DSG) as undergraduate ITAC representatives for the 2015-2016 academic year.  

Why it’s relevant:  One of ITAC’s goals is to ensure that the Duke Community is kept informed about information technology issues and initiatives and provide a channel to bring into the university’s planning and evaluation processes the concerns and suggestions of Duke University faculty, students, and staff. 

Introductions:  ITAC welcomed two new undergraduate representatives for the 2015-2016 academic year.  Jared Katzen and Kavita Jain were nominated by the Duke Student Government (DSG).  Jared is a representative of the Facilities and Environment Committee (DSG) studying Environmental Science and Policy and Economics.  Kavita is a representative on the Academic Affairs Committee (DSG) and is studying Biology -Evolutionary Anthropology.

4:35-4:45–New Registrar Introduction, Jim Roberts, Executive Vice Provost for Finance and Administration

What it is:  ITAC would like to welcome Frank Blalark, the new Duke University Registrar

Why it’s relevant: With the digital revolution, the registrar’s office at Duke and nationally has automated what were once cumbersome, manual processes, serving as a data hub to meet a variety of institutional needs, and working to develop a more comprehensive vision of student records beyond the traditional transcript.  Blalark states “The registrar’s office is the hub for data going out.  Students want more access to student records.  We want to provide more creative and innovative ways for students to access them and use them in planning their education.”

Introduction:  Dr. Frank Blalark began working as Duke University Registrar on August 31st, succeeding Bruce Cunningham who was Registrar for 18 years.  Dr. Blalark most recently worked as Registrar at Purdue University and prior to that the University of Minnesota.  He has special interest in data analytics and process design.  In the coming spring, Dr. Blalark will be leading a full scale review of our registration process including evaluation of current policies and techniques.

4:45-5:05–SISS (Student Information Services and Systems) Interaction Hub - Kathy Bader, Assistant Vice Provost and Director of SISS & John Campbell, Senior Associate Director

What it is:  The PeopleSoft Interaction HUB will serve as a gateway to our Campus Solution enterprise application (STORM and ACES). The SISS Hub will provide a seamless and simple integration for all SISS users: Students, Applicants, Faculty, Guests and Staff.

Why it’s relevant: Implementing the SISS Hub will lay the foundation for a richer user experience, more robust navigation and consistent branding across the PeopleSoft Application. The SISS team have engaged with students and have a prototype that we are working to implement for the initial phase of the SISS Hub. We will review this prototype with ITAC and discuss how to best engage with faculty to ensure we address their needs and challenges with the new design of STORM.

Current SISS Environment:  The last large-scale upgrade for SISS was in 2008.  Since then, new functionality has been added and support for additional populations such as alumni and applicants has been added.  Integration of this new functionality into the current environment has resulted in: 

    • an outdated look and feel within the user interface - navigational issues,
    • no easy way to present critical information at critical times, and
    • no easy way to shift roles within the user interface for users having multiple roles or affiliations.

Future Improvements:  Over the next few years, we will be looking at ways to improve the SISS user experience.

    • We’ve started working on a prototype web wrapper called SISS Interaction HUB which uses HTML5, CSS3, XSL and other technologies to give ACES and STORM a more modern look and feel.  John Campbell presented a demo of the initial development. 
    • PeopleSoft will be providing the ability to make individual pages more fluid and adaptable to mobile devices and other devices.
    • We will be evaluating current business processes like the registration process.  We will also be evaluating current presentation designs like the advisor view for faculty.

Feedback:  Last semester, 5 students were selected from DSG to participate in a focus group to help identify the most important ACES functionality.  The focus group assisted in surveying students to ascertain what functions are intuitive/not intuitive and to rank their most used ACES functionality.

We will continue to involve students (including graduate students that teach), faculty and advisors to help us determine what is most important to access and when.  ITAC will revisit this topic a couple times throughout the fall semester.

Questions and Comments: 

(Q) Did the survey take into account performance issues?  (A) No, it was more about the systems side.

(C) There needs to be a feedback button.  Currently, there is no way to give feedback when something is not working.

(Q) Can we track the pages people are going to rather than have people self-report? (A) There is no navigational tracking but there are tools out there that can help get this information. 

(Q) Will the wrapper code have to be re-written whenever there is a change to the application?  (A) The bootstrap code has been incorporated into PeopleSoft.  We’ll use the same coders we currently have. 

(C) The wrapper doesn’t use APIs.  It uses the same security layer.

(C) If multiple themes are available per page, we could have a student competition for a theme that works best for them.

(C) The new look will encourage students to use it more. 

(Q) Are there more steps to get to ACES?  (A) You can use a URL to bookmark pages. We can provide a list of commonly used student and faculty links in a central location.

(C) The URLs are not exposed.  It would be nice if we could bookmark, for example class roster.  It would be nice if there were a stable URL.

(C) It would be useful to have an easy way to switch back and forth between semesters and to have a highly visible header stating which semester you are in.

(C) The single most important feature to one of the faculty is a Sakai to STORM gradebook interface.

(Q) Why is Duke developing a new user interface on its own when there are other Universities using PeopleSoft?  Should we be doing it collectively in user groups to get economies of scale? (A) We should discuss this at the Common Solutions Group.

(C) Work with a Graduate School focus group to get as much of the application management functionality into PeopleSoft as possible and out of applications such as ImageNow.  The search functionality for graduate student applications is difficult. 

(C) Evaluate Sakai and PeopleSoft integration.

Questions and Comments: 

(Q) Is there an advantage to moving to private (local) IP addresses?  (A) Not really.  Attackers are getting smart.  They convince you to click on a link and once the malware is installed, it calls home.  Also, it only takes one compromised machine using a public IP to compromise the entire network. 

(Q) How do we guard against intrusions from the inside?  (A) We have to be careful about impacting everyone.  We have to assume the internal network is compromised. 

(C) Use Multi-factor authentication (MFA).