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Committee on Information Technology

Committee on Information Technology
Annual Report for the 2005-2006 Academic Year
April 18, 2006

The CIT met 10 times during this academic year.

  1. WFU dial-up modem problems: A problem was noted regarding dropped connections, and Information Systems worked with Cisco, IBM, and Microsoft to try to resolve this problem. In the meantime, I-Rove accounts were made available to people who experience this problem with their off-campus connection.
  1. R52 screen resolution: Some faculty members found the high resolution screens on the R52 to be counterproductive, and Information Systems was able to switch to a lower resolution screen on those computers, at the request of individual faculty members. Information Systems replaced the screens on 12 R52s.
  1. University web site redesign: Representatives form Creative Services attended most of our meetings, and gave us an update on revisions to the University’s web sites. Web site content will be managed with Macromedia Contribute. After some initial concern, the channels of communication between Creative Services and the CIT are wide open, and progress is being made on web site redesign, with sensitivity to the needs of faculty, students, and Departments. Members of the CIT attended a meeting of the Integrated Marketing Committee, and voiced our opinions regarding this process. Creative Services has been eager to hear faculty input on web design issues, and stressed repeatedly that the web site redesign will be about consistency of presentation, but matters of content will be left with departments and users.
  1. Pure Message virus and spam filter: An improved filter system was put in place to protect us from nasty folks in the outside world.
  1. Passwords: A common password system was implemented for access to DEACNET and WIN, so that a user has the same password for both.
  1. Open Document Standard: We discussed the possibility of the University adopting an open document standard since Microsoft and other software providers are making their document software more proprietary. We decided that we need more information before making any decision or recommendation.
  1. We discussed the current pilot program MobileU which provides Smart Phones/PDAs to some students and faculty. Issues include the cost of the devices and the cost of the wireless carrier service.
  1. Board of Visitors: We were asked to send representatives to the spring meeting of the Board of Visitors, and they were eager to hear about various Information technology issues on campus, from all constituents of the CIT.
  1. Policy on Responsible and Ethical Use of Computing Resources: We were contacted by Information Systems regarding the need to update the aforementioned document by making two slight wording changes. “Social rules and responsibilities” was changed to “Social Regulations and Policies” in two locations, to be consistent with other documents.
  1. Banner problems:  The committee discussed issues with Banner, many of which are design problems on the “virtual campus” page on WIN. For example, the long list of options that are sometimes counterintuitive, and the fact that the default semester is not the current one. Information Systems is working on solutions in consultation with the Banner team. Information Systems was told that most of the interface problems with Banner are inherent to the software, but that a new version is due in October when, hopefully, some of the issues will be resolved.
  1. Guests from Lenovo:  We met with two marketing representatives from Lenovo, the makers of our ThinkPad computers. They brought with them several current laptops for us to look at, including the ThinkPad X41 Tablet, ThinkPad Z Series, and a  ThinkPad T Series. There was considerable conversation about the pros and cons of each. For example, the X41 Tablet is light weight and has text recognition, but has no optical drive a smaller hard drive, and slower processor. The  Z series is a wide screen version, which is good for watching DVDs but would limit the height of viewable area, which could be a problem for viewing and editing standard 8.5 x 11” pages. The Tablet will not be available until October.
  1. Next Year’s Computer:  We considered two options, the T60 and the R60. The differences between the two are: Hard drive speed is 5400rpm on the T60 and 7200rpm on the R60; the T60 has no firewire port (although Information Systems told us that external connectors can be made available on request; the T60 weighs 5.9 lbs, whereas the R 60 weighs 6.6 lbs; the T60 is much more durable, better able to withstand bumps and rough treatment; most importantly, the T60 is available now, and the R60 could not be placed into faculty hands until after the fall semester has started.
  1. The Standard Load for next year’s computers was discussed and approved.  Mozilla Thunderbird will be the standard email client and Mozilla Firefox will be the web browser.

Respectfully submitted by
Terry Blumenthal, Chair, CIT


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