Duke ITAC - April 6, 2017 Minutes

Duke ITAC - April 6, 2017 Minutes

I. Announcements

TechExpo:  TechExpo is tomorrow, April 7th

DataFest 2017:  DataFest 2017 was held at the The Edge March 31st – April 2nd.  Over 340 individuals who enjoy statistics and analyzing data registered for the event.  Participants were asked to analyze a surprise dataset that they received the first night.  They were given a variety of tools to help in their analyses including Jupyter (also known as IPython Notebook) and Rstudio.

II. Agenda Items

4:05- 4:30 – Innovation Co-Lab & Co-Lab Studio Cool Projects/Bluesmith 3D Printing Service: Chip Bobbert, Sally Hall (15 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is:   The Innovation Co-Lab is described as a creativity incubator connecting student pioneers with the human and technological resources necessary to jumpstart their success.

Why it’s relevant: The Co-Lab focuses on how new and emerging technologies can fundamentally reshape the research, academic, and service missions of the university.  The goal is to build a model program that will elevate and inspire Duke students who are solving problems, big and small, through the ever-changing technological environment.  Bluesmith provides 3D printing services for a fee on dedicated printers, run by expert staff at the Innovation Co-Lab.  Sally and Chip will provide an overview of what the Co-Lab offers, along with upcoming projects and initiatives for the summer.

Co-Lab Studio:   Roots Studio Sessions are held in the evening, 1-3 nights per week, in the Innovation Co-Lab Studio in The Technology Engagement Center.  The sessions cover a wide variety of high demand topics.  Since July 1, 2016, there have been 39 Roots classes with a total of 393 attendees.  Approximately 50% of the attendees are staff and 50% are students, mostly engineering and computer science students.

The next session on April 7th will cover creating circuits with conductive thread.  The class will sew a battery and LED light into a piece of fabric and create a circuit between them using conductive thread.  A sewing machine and supplies are available to anyone that would like to make wearable tech.

Sally demonstrated a jacket that uses conductive thread to display printer status.  The jacket displays a light for every printer in the Co-Lab along with its status (green – available, blue – in use, red – offline/reserved).  Conductive thread is used to create a circuit between LED lights and a photon.  The photon talks to an API (Application Program Interface) to retrieve printer status and sets the LEDs accordingly. 

New Class Formats:  There are 3 new class formats.  They inlcude:

    1. Flipped Class:  Roots is in its second round of offering a flipped class on Fundamentals of Programming in which all content is available online in Coursera.  There are weekly meetups in case additional help is needed.  There were 200 people that signed up for the first round.  An additional 150 signed up for the waitlist.  Between 100 - 150 people signed up for the second round which is still in session, with 10-15 participants coming each week to meetups.
    2. Online Class:  Roots completed its first on-line class, Introduction to Linux.  All course content is available on Lynda.com and custom assessments are available in Duke Extend.  Staff worked with engineering and computer science professors to develop the content so that it would help the students be better prepared for their classes.  The next on-line class will be Intro to Git.  It should be done before the summer session starts.
    3. Track Classes:  Roots completed 2 Webdev Basics tracks this semester.  The track consists of 4 courses:  Introduction to HTML and CSS, Introduction to Programming Fundamentals,  Introduction to JavaScript, Introduction to Git.  The track is designed to help individuals create an entire basic web project.  Participants can take all four classes or just the ones that they need. One person has taken all 4 classes. 

Question:  Are any of these classes coordinated with “What you need to know before you start your summer internship”?

Answer:  A meeting has been set up to discuss having this coordinated.   Roots offered a “Get a Job in Tech” class in January that covered resumes and preparing for a tech interview.

Question:  Does Webdev Basics have the same demographics (engineering/computer science) as other classes?

Answer:  We didn’t see the demographics as heavily weighted toward engineering and computer science.  Course attendees also included staff responsible for their department’s website along with students that wanted to develop websites for reasons other than for class. 

Question:  Has the participation increased among staff recently?  How do you reach out to staff? 

Answer:  The trend is not known.  However, basic classes tend to draw more staff.  The advanced classes tend to draw more students.  Since we are offering more basic classes this semester, we may have seen an increase in the number of staff attending. 

Comment:  It would be beneficial to tie Roots offerings to Research Computing communications.

Innovation Grants:  Students that have an innovative idea using technology that has benefit to the Duke community can apply for a grant.  The program provides funding and mentorship for approved projects.  Some of the recent projects include:

  • Iam ROBOT –  A portable robotic platform that can autonomously navigate itself in an indoor environment using the information gathered from its 3D sensors.   It is designed to be helpful in a variety of settings, one being at the Innovation Co-Lab, where it can wirelessly connect to databases to report relevant information to Co-Lab patrons such as available 3D printers, or bring a visitor to the room where a seminar is being held. Users will be able to interact with it through its speakers, microphone, tablet display, and portable projector.  It will be able to sense indoor environment like air quality and temperature. 

Question:  When will the robot be completed? 

Answer:  It might be ready by the fall.  The students are making progress but are still working on motion.

    • Brainbuild  –  A software program that automates nutrition planning so that collegiate and professional athletes know precisely when to eat what types of foods based on their training schedule & performance needs.  This is accomplished through a mobile app that provides real-time reminders and food suggestions all backed by a board certified sports dietitian. The founder came to the Co-Lab because he wasn’t a developer.  Thru the Co-lab he was able to find a technical co-founder to help him carry out his idea. 
    • AKIN  –  A software project with the mission of providing a productive space to foster open, honest communication and understanding.  It is a mix between a curated newsfeed and online forum. The project team attended technical consultant office hours to help with the technical aspects of the project such as how to host a website and how to create database backups.  The project launched in February.  
    • Rowing Machine Sensor:  A device that senses the orientation of the handles of a rowing machine.  An LED on the device displays instant feedback to the rower, letting the rower know if the handles are straight.  The project was started in January.  A working prototype is mostly complete.

Co-Lab Innovation Studio Usage: The Innovation Studio has been very successful over the past year.  Since August there have been over 60,000 hours of 3D print time, over 800 kg. of 3D printing material, 1,037 unique users, and 20,679 print jobs (not including laser cutters and CNC use).  The level and complexity of the projects has increased significantly.  In addition to light savers, wearable helmets and swords, there are more complex and innovative objects that have been 3D printed, some that provide significant cost savings (thousands of dollars).  They include:

    • hyper polarized gas chamber for lab rats
    • custom models to help glass blowing masters build devices
    • animal beds for CT scans
    • research lab equipment and general supplies (tube racks, microscope slide boxes, pipette holders, staining chambers for immunohistochemistry, forceps, etc.)
    • recreated broken and destroyed artifacts
    • parts for a heavy-lift drone
    • steering paddle shift device
    • endoscope case (a cover to keep endoscopes sanitary)
    • props for an Indian dance competition

The Innovation Studio is seeing an increase in creative projects also.  A student created an artistic structure for her architecture class using laser cutting.  

Question:  Are we happy with the capacity level?

Answer:  Yes.  We have not seen a plateau in usage.  We are looking at ways of distributing the technology around campus in pockets that are less accessible.

Bluesmith:  Bluesmith is a new high-resolution, research and clinical grade 3D printing service that was launched last month.  Students, staff and faculty can print a project for a fee by submitting a job on the bluesmith.oit.duke.edu site.  Customers upload their .STL files of their models and staff take care of the printing.  Several high grade 3D printers have been placed in the Multimedia Project Studio (MPS) which is located in Bostock Library next to The Link.  There is significant opportunity for cost savings to Duke, especially for research organizations.  Duke researchers recently needed a part that would’ve cost $747 per part, and they needed 6 of them.  They were able to 3D print all six for only $47, saving $4,435 for the entire project. 

To date, the Bluesmith service has cost recovered approximately $1,000. 

4:30- 4:45 – Construct 3D:  Chip Bobbert, Sally Hall (10 minute presentation, 5 minute discussion)

What it is:   Construct 3D is a national conference on digital fabrication focused on 3D printing for higher education, K-12, and community education.

Why it’s relevant: Construct 3D is an inaugural conference to be held at Duke University May 5-7, 2017 and will rotate to various institutions annually.  Construct 3D aims to bring together educators from a broad range of educational contexts to exchange ideas and innovation to accelerate adoption and exploration of 3D printing.  Construction 3D offers educational pioneers opportunities to shape the implementation of 3D printing in education in years to come.

Construct 3D:  The Construct 3D conference which is scheduled to take place May 5th - 7th at the new JB Duke Hotel will bring people together from the 3D community that are either doing interesting things with 3D printing or could benefit from hearing what others are doing with 3D printing.  There are 222 people registered for the conference. 

4:45- 5:30 – Undergraduate Presentation – State of IT, Sean Bissell, Kavita Jain, Hal Lin (30 minute presentation, 15 minute discussion)

What it is:  ITAC Student Representatives from Duke Student Government will present on the state of IT from their perspective

Why it’s relevant:  Feedback from the students allows IT administrators to hear firsthand the challenges that students face on a regular basis.  This information can help set goals and priorities for various IT projects and initiatives.

Survey Results:  A summary of the results of the 2017 undergraduate perspective on the state of IT was presented by Sean Bissell and Hal Lin.  There were 70 surveys returned (freshman: 31, sophomore: 17, junior: 5 and senior: 17).  There were more seniors that responded this year compared to last year. 

IT service-specific key findings include:

Operating Systems:  A majority of respondents, 61%, use Macintosh computer operating system.  34% use Windows.  For mobile operating systems, 76% use Apple iOS and 24% use Android.  Apple devices are very popular with students.

Sakai: Recommendations to improve the service include:  extend login times, improve mobile navigation tools - make them easier to use and improve visibility of screen, automatically removing unused tabs in sidebar and allow the attachment of multiple files. 

DukeHub:  Most students were either indifferent to the DukeHub upgrade that took place last year or unware of changes because they were first-year students.  Recommendations for improvement include fixing the Shibboleth login error and reducing loading times.  It was also noted that there are still many pages that look and feel like the old ACES.

Online Learning:  33% of the respondents said they have used Warpwire in Sakai, 27% have used Coursera, 27% have used Panopto and 1% have used iTunesU.  The general consensus from respondents is that online services work well, however, 34% have not used them mainly because they don’t know about them or their professors don’t use them.  An area for improvement is having a better way to organize Warpwire videos within Sakai. 

ePrint:  Most of the respondents are satisfied with the service (98.6% rated it 3 or higher out of a 5 pt. scale).  Recommendations for improving the service include automatic Pharos updates, more stations and more color stations, better maintenance and instructions explaining how to fix common problems on each printer, decreasing the Pharos software response time when printing, and fixing the freeze issue when pressing submit.  Overall, the service has improved significantly over the years and students are very happy with it.

Online Storage:  Only 47% of the respondents use Box online storage, but this is higher than last year which was 28%.  Most respondents are using Google Drive which is sometimes slow to load on our network.  Those that use Box are generally happy with the service (82% rated it 3 or higher out of a 5 pt. scale).   All of the respondents use some type of cloud storage. 

DukeMail:  Of the 40% of respondents that use mail.duke.edu, most are generally happy with the service. 84% get their email on their phone.  Apple Mail is the preferred app for mobile email.  Recommendations to improve the service include the ability to load Duke email on the Gmail app, improving accessibility/visibility of the junk email folder, reducing frequency of cache clearing for on-line version, adding functionality to create automatic folders to separate Sakai/class emails from others (similar to Gmail Primary Updates & Social Folders). 

Question:  Do students use the clutter feature which takes bulk mail and puts it in another folder? 

Answer:  They don’t know how to use it on the Office app.

Internet/mobile Service:  77% of respondents prefer Google Chrome over other browsers.  21% prefer Safari.  91% of respondents use Dukeblue to access the internet which is up from 40% last year. Some are using visitor when they aren’t able to access Dukeblue and Eduroam.  80% of respondents know that Visitor isn’t secure and that they can ‘forget’ the network.  Many respondents are generally very dissatisfied with the service (25% rated it a 1 and 30% rated it a 2 out of a 5 pt. scale).  Recommendations to improve the service include improving connection speeds, increasing reliability – especially Dukeblue and for mobile devices, increasing availability on bus routes/stops, increase notifications when the network will be down, improve service in dorm rooms – address “dead zones” on campus and expand Dukeblue to the Medical Center.

Question:  Are the problems with internet connections location specific?

Answer:  No, the problems are widespread.  Connections are a problem both in academic areas and dorms.  One of the questions on the survey asked if there were specific places that could be improved.  That list will be circulated back to ITAC.

Question:  We have found a number of rogue access points in the residence halls that may cause connections issues for the general population.  Will we be able to get rid of these rogue access points?

Answer:  The policy is not well known that rouge access points are not allowed. We might see a reduction if that policy is better communicated.  

Cellphone Service:  Most of the respondents use AT&T (47%) and Verizon (37%).  80% of respondents rated the average cell signal strength on campus a 3 or higher and 83% rated that overall cell experience on campus a 3 or higher out of a 5 pt. scale.  Recommendations to improve the service include improving 4G/LTE signal strength, adding boosters for T-Mobile and improving service on bus routes – most respondents said that they do not have reliable cell service on the entire C1 route.

Communication:  A majority of respondents use iMessage, Facebook Messenger and GroupMe for casual communication.  None of the respondents use Jabber.

DukeMobile:  54% of respondents don’t use DukeMobile.  It is not user friendly because you have to log in every time because of Sakai and navigation is confusing.  Recommendations to improve the service include improving speed – the web browser is faster than the app especially with Sakai, extending login time/adding fingerprint unlock, improving the general design, and being more mobile-friendly. 

Rider:  63% of respondents rated Rider (the new TransLoc) a 3 or higher out of a 5 pt scale.  More respondents rated it a 4 and 5 this year than last.  Recommendations to improve the service include improving the accuracy of tracking buses especially on arrival times to stops, adding notification for “last  bus of the night” and improving app reliability – reduce frequency of app crashes.  Some problems have to do with buses not having their tracker turned on rather than problems with the app itself.

Roku:  44% of respondents don’t use Roku boxes, 14% rated their experience with Roku boxes a 1.  46% of respondents use Roku less than 1 time per week.  Recommendations to improve the service include better instructions - user manual, adding volume control on remotes, reducing issues with the system and reducing lag time during peak usage – basketball games.  Some prefer cable TV. 

The Link (OIT Service Desk):  56% of respondents haven’t used the service.  Of those that have used the The Link, most are satisfied.  Those that used the service used it for laptop malfunctions, software downloads/issues, ePrint, Link equipment, setting up DukeMail, renting laptop chargers, DukeCard and reconnecting to Dukeblue.  Recommendations to improve the service include posting accurate hours online/in the library and providing more information on the service and what is available – especially for first year students. 

25Live:  57% of respondents don’t use 25Live.  Recommendations to improve the service include expanding accessibility for student groups, making it more user friendly and switching to a different service.

Duke Desktop Computers:  64% of the respondents have used a Duke desktop computer.  Of those that use them, 51% use them less than once per month and are generally satisfied.  Recommendations to improve their experience include improving speed and updating the computers.

Innovation CoLab:  56% of respondents haven’t heard of the Innovation CoLab down from 81% last year.  Those that have used the service have been very satisfied.  Recommendations to improve the service include extending office hours with staff knowledgeable about APIs and other online resources and adding tutorials/beginner projects.

NetID:  73% of respondents don’t change their NetID password.

MFA:  Only 19% of respondents have used multifactor authentication.

Software Services:  94% of respondents said they know about the service.  The most downloaded software by respondents has been Microsoft Office and Adobe.   Recommendations to improve the service include better communicating initiatives to student body especially at the beginning of the semester and better communicating free services.  Overall, students want to know which software is most commonly used/popular and want to know a description of what the software can do.

Adblockers:  71% of respondents said they use adblockers, up from 57% last year.

Question:  Do you know why this has increased?

Answer:  It’s become more popular through social media and word of mouth.

Antivirus Software:  57% of respondents are using antivirus software.  The two most popular programs that respondents use are Symantec and Norton 360.  49% said they didn’t know Symantec is provided free of charge, this is down from 74% last year.  It should be pushed for Mac users 

OIT Engagement:  Most respondents engage with OIT either once a month or never.  Engagement includes flyers, emails and basically anything that has an OIT logo on it.  Increasing communication would be valuable. 

General Conclusions/Comments:   

  • Improve speed and reliability for WiFi (most important), Sakai/ACES login, mobile service, etc.
  • Make services more user-friendly including mobile apps, 25Live and DukeMail on Android devices.
  • Increase awareness and notification of changes and/or new initiatives and programs.
  • Shorten OIT surveys. [This refers to the annual surveys sent by the ITAC student reps to produce this presentation.]
    • Break the survey into a couple smaller surveys - beginning of fall semester, beginning of spring semester and end of spring semester.
    • Use a slider bar for our most critical/popular services and use a pop up comment box if the slider went in a negative direction.  Year-to-year trends are most important. 
    • Use skip logic to make the surveys shorter.
    • Look into other ways of collecting user metadata.  We have resources in OIT that could help with this including Susan Starnes and Sean Dildo. They along with a Qualtrics expert might be able to assist in pulling metadata from OIT systems rather than using surveys.

Question:  Do the students get the results of the survey?

Answer:  We didn’t share it last year but we can share it this year.  We can share it thru the Duke Student Government page and on class pages.

Comment:  Tell them at the conclusion of the presentation that OIT is now working to improve WiFi in residence halls over the summer.