4:00 – 4:05 p.m. – Announcements (5 minutes)


- Welcome to Varunram Ganesh from the Graduate professional student council.



4:05 – 4:35 – COVID-19 updates Charley Kneifel, Richard Biever, Mary McKee (15 minutes presentation, 15 minutes discussion)


What it is: Duke University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to focus on the safety of our health care providers, our staff, our faculty and students, and the public we serve. During this session, we will focus the discussion on the measures put in place last fall to support symptom reporting, testing, contact tracing, and data reporting needs, and how we have adjusted to support the upcoming spring semester and added needs for vaccine distribution. 


Why it's relevant: On January 14, students living on campus returned from Winter break and participated in entry testing. Surveillance testing began this week, and symptom reporting continues. Additionally, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced the criteria for priority distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, which directly impacts our health system and hospitals as well as Duke faculty, students, and staff.


Richard Biever kicked off the presentation by giving the audience an overview of the talk ahead. Some of the points Richard mentioned, a recap of what was done during the fall regarding the COVID response, what changed for the spring semester, and lastly talk about how the usage of the Grouper tool has helped with vaccine rollout. 


Next, Charley talked about the SymMon app. The symptom monitoring is an application where a person reports their symptoms daily. Charley also talked about the stability improvements made to the app. Charley shared a stat regarding the symptom app. Of 15k people using the app, there was only one complaint. Charley believes this app is getting to a stable tool. 


There was also a mention of the REDCap 2.0 web interface rollout in December. The web interface received a few improvements along with now behind shibboleth. The rollout in December was a combination of two REDCap systems. One for student health and one for employee health and wellness. Charley also touched on a few points regarding turning off access to those that don’t complete the daily symptom monitoring. This means that if one does not complete the symptom monitoring when coming to campus, one will not be allowed in buildings. When the symptom monitoring is completed, an SMS message is sent to let the person know that their Duke card has been reactivated. Lastly, Charley touched on a new requirement for staying active which is having your flu shot.


Richard also mentioned that from a data perspective, we are using institutional data. With the primary data there being card access, wireless data, financial transactions. The data is being used as Charley mentioned for activating/deactivating card data. Data collected also being used for contact tracing. For instance, if someone at Duke contracts COVID, we can be proactive in trying to stop the spread by doing contact tracing. The contact tracing effort will continue through the spring, said Richard. 


Next, Richard set up the stage for Mary McKee to talk about the Grouper Technology and how this has helped with the COVID vaccine rollout. 


As an introduction, Mary started with some background information for the group as to where the Identity Management group sits within Duke and where Grouper sits within identity management as well as how the identity management likes to think about these problems.

Mary mentioned that the identity management group work is based on three things. 


1. Identity and directory information: Merge identity data from many sources, provide a centralized inventory. Grant and revoke Duke accounts.

2. One single sign-on experience for all of Duke. Provide useful information to integral Duke services.

3. Authorization + Groups: Support units with segmentation for authorization, reporting, communications, licensing, and more. 


Mary mentioned that the mission of Identity Management is to normalize personal data, amplify domain authorities on user data and segmentation, provide infrastructure for collaboration. Mary continued to talk about the current modern access controls approach in the identity management world. One of those approaches is role-based access controls (RBAC) and the other approach Policy-based access controls (PBAC). At Duke and within Identity Management, Mary mentioned that the PBAC approach has proven to be more expressive, modular, and more orthogonal than role-based access controls.


As an example of PBAC, Mary showed a graphic explaining how this process is implemented. For example, a system of record (PeopleSoft, HR, Alumni office, etc) provides a query that defines a population of people within that system of record. Once that population of people is known, a group can be created which will contain all those people defined by the system of record. In turn, this is helpful because this group can be used for authorization purposes, group membership can be pulled by an API, synced to an email list, reporting, or a basis for automation. All this is an early view as to how the COVID vaccine roll-out problem is being solved. 


Mary then continued to talk about how using this approach helped with the COVID vaccine Tracking. 


The usage of these groups allows for:

- Automated groups based on automated and manually managed components

- Stakeholders divide and conquer

- Manual inclusions/exclusions – e.g., ad hoc list

- Auditing: action, point-in-time

- reusable component. – these groups can be reusable


Mary also mentioned that due to the state changing guidelines regarding the criteria of vaccine prioritization, with the help of grouper, we were able to regroup (pun intended), said Mary. At this point, the new list of people that met the state's vaccine prioritization criteria was sent to VaxTrack with minimal effort. 


Richard chimed in on the conversation and mentioned that the initial vaccine planning/brainstorming that happened talked about using spreadsheets by getting SAP data and trying to massage the data. This can possibly work at a small scale, said Richard, but at a larger scale, it can be a lot of manual work. One idea that floated was to put all the needed SAP data in a database and work from that. However, these two ideas didn’t allow for rapid scaling compared to what Grouper can offer.


Charley Kneifel and Shamyla Lando praised the solution that Grouper offered.


Q: How does the addition of new systems of record ripple through policies that predate them? And the removal of systems of record?


A: What we do is we have this idea of a reference group and then we have policy groups. reference groups are context-agnostic and policy groups are context-specific. the idea is if somebody and it doesn't have to be a system of record, it could just be any authority. What we do is we create the group; we make sure that anybody who uses that group sets up a policy group that consumes that group but allows them to make their manual adjustment. One important thing is we don't need everyone to agree who on what the additions or subtraction is our that's very important for a lot of security reasons. We also note on the generic groups who we are currently considering to be the owner.


Charley Kneifel highlighted two uses of how grouper has been helpful with the symptom monitoring app. Charley said that when one completes the daily symptom monitoring survey, one gets put into a group, and then along with group math says whether your duke card is activated/inactivated. Along with that, all of Duke card access to different buildings is managed through Grouper. 


4:35– 4:55 p.m. – 5G and CBRS planning updates Bob Johnson (10 minutes presentation, 10 minutes discussion)


What it is: 5G refers to the next generation of high-bandwidth cellular technology and is already being deployed in many locales, although 5G often refers more generically to “next-generation” and therefore can encompass many variations and vendor-specific implementations rather than referring to a very specific industry standard. CBRS or Citizens Broadband Radio Service operates in a distinct wireless spectrum and likewise provides the high-bandwidth potential for mobile and other uses. With the advancements of 5G, CBRS, and similar technologies in the wireless space, Bob will discuss what's next for both in-building and outdoor connectivity at Duke.


Why it's relevant: As the access to top-of-the-line technology becomes increasingly critical to Duke’s academic mission, getting and staying connected is of the utmost importance, and Duke continues to evolve its services to meet this need.


The purpose of Bob Johnson’s presentation is to get ITAC up-to-date on future initiatives for 5G and NextGen RF (Radio Frequency) on the Duke campus. NextGen RF refers to anything Wi-Fi or cellular that does not need a wire. He also wants use cases and feedback from the audience on 5G in the Duke community.

There are multiple next generation cellular implementations referred to as 5G:


Super 5G


5G NR (New Radio)

Many commercials would make you believe that 5G is readily available but that is not the reality right now. Many current 5G deployments are 4G with enhanced bandwidth. Carriers are also cherry-picking venues for 5G such as stadiums and lucrative city areas, but it has been expensive to deploy. True 5G is standards-based and must meet a bunch of criteria such as having at least one GB throughput. 4G download speeds are approximately 100MB. Cat 7 supports 100 GB.

Carriers are also offering LTE (Long Term Evolution) which allows enterprises to build their carrier-grade networks and own the data. Carriers are also investing in millimeter-wave which is in the 35-42 GH spectrum (as opposed to megahertz which is what we’ve been working with) but the signals do not travel far. 


Bob outlined the current RF connectivity at Duke as follows:

· DAS – Distributed Antenna System 

· Capable of serving spectrum from 700-2500mhz

· Fully deployed for carrier 4G/LTE

· Upgrade in progress for 5G-NR capability, 30% complete

· Once carriers upgrade their RAN (Radio Access Network) Duke’s DAS will be 5G; both Verizon and AT&T have proposed 5G millimeter wave on West Campus

· Bob’s teams recently completed upgrading Duke’s WiFi network so Duke should be solid for the next 5-7 years. 


Bob is planning for a strategic evaluation review of need and infrastructure to form a long-term plan for both wired and NextGen wireless. Currently, there is no neutral host solution for 5G. Also, there is concern about hanging 142 structures around campus. Bob envisions taking 6 to 9 months starting in March and putting together a group of stakeholders, carriers, and infrastructure experts to determine Duke’s next steps. Considerations include:


• Location

• Don’t want little islands of 5G

• Consider research areas

• GIS mapping of cabling and ductwork

• Future RF connectivity needs

• Already have a robust wired network

• Private 5G/LTE vs WiFi 6 basically for outdoors

• Funding plan – carriers say they will pay

• Internet 2 CBRS offering under development

• Emerging neutral host solutions for 5G; look at something like DAS so do not need nodes on all NAS


Bob concludes by asking participants for the evaluation committee, whether 5G is needed for the Duke community, and is there something outdoors where 5G is needed.

Ed Gomes - Outdoor academic/research facilities like Lemur Outdoor academic/research facilities like Lemur


Q. Shamyla: We use 5G at Duke Health?

A. Bob: No, you use 4G. Shamyla: Do some medical devices work only on 5G? Bob: Most systems are backward compatible with 4G. Shamyla: LaDonna is the one to talk to. Tracy: As we get some 5G in the NAS, DHTS will be included.

A. Bob: 5-7 years from now, it would be good to move to one network; We will look at whether 5G can do this. Also, 5G is one-to-one all the way through the network so there is increased security as the middle space is better protected.


Q. John Board: The challenge is understanding the carriers charging model.

 A. Bob: Duke could build a private network and the carriers can have their networks. Bob is working with the carriers to understand their position. Bob is also looking at neutral host 5G solutions.

A. John: This will not help with personal devices.

A. Bob: Bob’s team is testing dual sim cards; Will Brockelsby will have a fun time.


4:55 – 5:20 p.m. – Labster Amy Kenyon, Michael Greene, Jonathan Holt, Evan Levine (15 minutes presentation, 10 minutes discussion) 


What it is: Labster is a virtual lab simulator that offers immersive digital experiences across a wide variety of science and engineering disciplines. Within the simulations, students guide an avatar through virtual experimental procedures. Tasks include data collection, instrumentation, analysis and even putting on a lab coat and gloves.


Why it’s relevant: Now piloting at Duke and integrated into Sakai, this is a tool that Duke faculty can use to provide virtual simulations in a variety of topics in lieu of access to physical labs. Labster also provides helpful content and experiences to augment course work in the future as physical spaces again become available and help students practice lab skills independently.


Evan Levine started the conversation about how Labster came out and why the usage of it now. Evan said that this was proposed by some faculty and a few working groups. Labster has been priced negotiated for one year. Labster was integrated with Sakai and is available for the spring. Evan said that Labster aims to help with Virtual Lab simulations since physical labs at the moment are hard to do. Labster is not new, it has been around since 2012, and that this is not a pandemic crunch, but certainly the necessity for Labster has increased. Lastly, Evan said that when things go back to “normal”, this tool can be seen as an augmentation of learning later.

Jonathan Holt started a Demo of what can be done within Labster.

Jonathan started to show a tool he used during his high school teaching years. Jonathan showed a PhET simulator from the University of Colorado where one can run different Math and science simulations. The Difference between the PhET simulation tool and Labster is that Labster is a comprehensive simulation where you have an avatar, you walk into the lab, then you put your gloves on and you put your coat on, and you do the experiments. There are quiz questions and it's interactive. Also, it is integrated with Sakai.


Jonathan then showed a catalog of lab simulations that a student can do from chemistry, biochemistry, and biology. The Students can play different games and also a Lab manual is included for teachers to see what students will be doing.


From the instructor’s perspective, the instructor can select the different labs that they want to assign to students and on the Labster website, they can upload those labs to LMS which will be available through Sakai. There is also a video resource on the site to add that complements the lab simulations. 


Once in Sakai, from an instructor’s perspective, there is a view called “Labster Simulations” that shows the different lab simulations the instructor has downloaded. Clicking on one of the labs will redirect you to the Labster site for completing the assigned lab simulation. When in the Labster interface, the instructor can see metrics regarding those students who have completed the lab and their scores.


To learn more about Labster at Duke, here are some useful links:




To continue the conversation Amy Kenyon gave an overview of the type of outreach that has been done. Amy said that she wanted for faculty to be more aware of the tool, have included Labster as a new resource for teaching in different newsletters, messages in the Sakai message of the day banner, learning innovation blogpost, have created documentation, hosted training by Labster for faculty who are interested, and provide 1-1 help when requested.

Lastly, Evan emphasized to the ITAC group that he is looking for ideas of who to contact regarding how this tool can be known a lot more.


5:20 – 5:30 p.m. – Ivy+ - Classroom and Learning Space Technologies Paul Zylowski, Richard Mitchell (10 minutes)


What it is: Representatives from top-tier schools meet semi-annually to discuss and share information in various areas. Topics include overall university directions, budgets, projects, online tools, and daily operations.


Why it’s relevant: Sharing experiences and discussing challenges with our peers helps provide a collaborative environment where ideas are formed and problems are solved. Paul and Richard will share their experience at the 2020 Fall conference for the Classroom and Learning Space Technologies group.


Richard Mitchell provides an update on Ivy+Classroom and Learning Space Technologies Group initiatives. The Ivy+ Classroom took place for 3 hours on Halloween and included 14 people and 9 universities. Topics included exciting hardware and projectors and there was much discussion on how to best document technologies and interact with users.

Richard, then, covered 4 topics:


1. Full Employees and Budgets Duke runs the lean team with a lot of bang for the buck; other universities depend on external vendors for their installs making their expenditures higher. $223,000 is budgeted to Trinity Technology Spaces. Other institutions are also RCM (Responsibility Center Management) schools but Duke’s approach is more collaborative and reduces the price. Some groups like Duke manage tier 1,2, and 3 support, consulting, classroom installs, special projects, and programming; Duke is unique in owning the entire stack; only events are excluded. And Richard underscores that the team has done all of this while not expanding the footprint of employees who are doing this work.

2. Spring Classroom Planning Richard’s team saw issues in the fall term due to changes made in response to the Covid pandemic and took on installing more AV to address this. Both in person and virtual teaching and presentation capacity and capabilities were expanded.

3. Duke Zoom Room Carts and Classroom Installs Richard’s team created 50 Zoom carts. It takes a couple of hours per cart so it took a lot of time. They must set up hardware, the OS, iPads, and integrate each cart with Zoom and calendaring. Each cart is a fully integrated learning platform and therefore, simple to use. The hope is to recycle the equipment in the future for small learning spaces; what is on each cart is what is in OIT conference rooms. Richard also mentioned that metrics and alerts are included in the project. Finally, the team did some large projects at Fuqua School of Business including transforming the Ford library into a dual-purpose teaching and studying space.

4. Hardware Manufacturers Richard again underscored how Duke is doing the full stack:

a. Has command of all the hardware; selects equipment, installs the equipment.

b. Operates, supports, adjust, and innovates.



Q. David MacAlpine: Will the plans and designs be available to departments who may want to implement these for remote meetings in the future?

A: Richard: Yes. The team has helped the Durham Public Schools and is happy to make these available.