Duke ITAC - October 19, 2017 Minutes

Duke ITAC - October 19, 2017 Minutes

4:00 - 4:05 – Announcements

  1. Minutes were approved without comment.
  2. The new student representatives joining ITAC were introduced.

4:05 - 4:55 – Blended attack involving web servers/endpoints, Nick Tripp (40 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is:  To continue the IT Security Office’s Halloween tradition as part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October, Nick will demonstrate the scary possibilities of a blended attack targeting two risks common in our environment: vulnerable web servers and endpoints.

Why it’s relevant: This demo highlights the importance of two campus-wide initiatives to improve IT security: new security requirements for Duke-owned computers, and updated standards and tools to protect Duke’s broad web presence.

Nick Trip (University Security) reported that "phishing" is still the main source of vulnerability when it comes to Duke infrastructure and the office continues to educate users on how to recognize and respond to these attempts. But another type of risk is a computer that has not had security patches applied. Nick gave a demonstration of how one unpatched host could be compromised without alerting the user. This allowed the operative to gain access to other hosts on the network and ultimately exfiltrate information from a secure student information database. 

4:55 - 5:25 – Faculty/Instructor/Researcher TechFair Preview, Jeannine Sato, Michael Green, Terry Lonergan, Mark McCahill, Debrah Suggs (20 minute presentation, 10 minute discussion)

What it is:  The first-ever Faculty/Instructor/Researcher TechFair will be held on Friday, November 3, and will feature academic-focused technologies and tools offered by OIT, CIT, and other academic technology groups on campus. We will test drive selected demos and advice on how to get and use Duke's most important technology services for teaching and learning.

Why it’s relevant:  The earlier Staff TechFair piloted this open house-style concept, and now the focus is shifting to more academic tools and tips for the faculty, instructor, and researcher audiences. We will particularly be looking for ITAC’s feedback on this event preview, to help polish plans for November 3 and tailor offerings to best meet the needs of our faculty and researchers.

Jeannine Sato began the presentation with a brief overview of the well-received "Staff TechFair" held earlier this year. A second TechFair geared toward the faculty, instructor, and researcher will be held on November 3 in the Technology Engagement Center. The intent is to provide a fun and relaxed atmosphere with food, prizes, and short demonstrations that raise awareness about technology services available to the Duke academic community. The TechFair comes at the end of the NextEd Fest which is held during the month of October and is organized by the Learning Innovation group (formerly CIT).

Each station will be set up for demonstrations and handouts will be available for the faculty to take with them. There will also be opportunities to experience virtual reality interactions using Google maps and museums. And the Sakai team and the OIT Service Desk staff will be there to provide on-site assistance. One challenge with this event is finding ways to promote it during this busy fall semester and Jeannine welcomed any feedback for the most effective ways to reach the intended audience. The TechFair has been publicized using Duke Flyer and is on the Duke calendar and Jeannine has been interacting with the Duke Communicators community. Jeannine report that most of the participants in the Staff TechFair learned about the event through departmental channels. The TechFair organizers had representatives from a few of the groups who are taking part give brief overviews of the material they plan to cover with a goal of making sure the content will resonate with the academic community at Duke.

Tools (WebEx, Jabber, Office 365, Box) presentation

The WebEx topics include:

- Starting a meeting in a personal room with WebEx

- Making a call or chatting using the Jabber client

- Using a work number on a personal device with Jabber

Office 365 topics are focused on the Outlook on the Web experience and include:

- Getting an Office 365 account

- Recovering deleted items

- Setting an out-of-office response

- Changing the theme of the client

Box topics include:

- Sharing a file with a link

- Collaborating within folders

- Updating email addresses

Q: Are you going to mention Toolkits?

A: As regarding Box, we can add that information to the flyer.

Q: Will you be covering how to get a Jabber account?

A: We will be including information for contacting the Service Desk when it comes to using Jabber for chat and phone calls. This includes creating a ticket for adding a mobile device to make and receive phone calls using Jabber.

Virtual Computing presentation

We can provide a variety of virtual computing environments for classes. These include dedicated virtual machines (VMs) running Windows or Linux that the students manage and which can be reserved for the semester. There are also zero-install applications that run via web browser. These types of VMs are available on a large scale and we currently have over 1000 VMs and over 1800 zero-install web applications in use the fall semester. The benefit of using these virtual environments is that instructors no longer have to walk students through installing software on a computer. The students can use the remote access options instead. Faculty who are interested in this should reach out to OIT at least two weeks before the start of the semester so the virtual machines can be provisioned and templates created.

Virtual computing services are also available to researchers using Research Toolkits. These include larger on-demand custom sized virtual machines running a variety of operating systems including Linux (Ubuntu and Redhat) and Windows (client and server). Expanded storage options are also available. The differences between these two services are that classroom-based VMs are more standardized and in large quantities while the Research VMs offer a lot more customization and specialization.

Feedback

Regarding the Research Virtual Computing service, there are faculty who are not aware of the entitlement level of computing available to them. This may need to be one of the first topics covered. There should be some information about this at https://rtoolkits.web.duke.edu which provides information about this service.

There should be general information about what a virtual machine is and how it differs from what other departments like SSRI offer.

PlayPosit: Learning Innovation group (formerly CIT)

One of the tools this group will feature is "PlayPosit". This utility allows you to take existing media content on services such as Youtube, Vimeo, and Warpwire and overlay engagement activities with the content. You can add multiple choice questions on top of the video that the user must answer. There are other interaction types that support rich text editing and open-ended "essay" questions. PlayPosit also supports adding media and audio responses. You can embed websites relative to the content as an overlay. And there is a "self-reflective" feature where the video is paused allowing for immediate reflection on the video. PlayPosit also features a discussion thread option that supports communication while users are watching the video.

In addition to PlayPosit, this group will be demonstrating PebblePad and covering Sakai.

Feedback

It is an interesting way to increase immediate engagement with students as they watch required video content rather than waiting to have a class discussion.

Software Licensing

OIT offers software either free or "at cost" at https://software.duke.edu. This table will provide basic software information that is more faculty-focused. They plan to demonstrate signing in and installing a few Adobe applications such as Acrobat and Creative Cloud. These applications are more difficult to install and require a different process which includes dealing with URL redirects before the user is able to complete installation. They are also going to answer general questions about the process for getting software evaluated for inclusion on the software download site.

Q: Will TechFair attendees be able to ask you questions about any of the software available?

A: Yes, the staff running the table are happy to provide assistance about the software Duke offers. They plan to have a computer available that contains most if not all of the software that is offered.

There does seem to be some synergy between the Software and the Virtual Computing tables in that some of this software is often installed in a virtual environment.

Conclusion

In addition to the tables, there will be 3D printing jobs running live and the wall of printers are a fun backdrop to the event. The organizers are hoping for a good turn-out. Each service representative knows the topics that generate questions and which should provide practical information for attendees.

5:25 – 5:30 – ITAC Annual Photo