Minutes of the September 24, 2008 meeting of the
Committee on Information Technology
Present: Jonathan Christman, Pat Moran, Hugh Howards, Kenneth Hoglund, Rick Mathews, Jolie Tingen, Jeff Muday, Mark Anderson, Susan Smith, Elizabeth Armstrong, Delphine Masse
Brief Introductions were made by all present.
The following meeting times for the committee for the fall semester.
Wednesday, October 22 at 3:00
Wednesday, November 19 at 3:00
Wednesday, December 3 at 3:00
Rick Mathews presented a report on developments in IS over the summer. He outlined the development of the IS Partnership Council and the current members, Paul Heinrichs, chair, Rick Matthews, Tim Snyder, Mike Tesh, Mary Gerardy, Jim Alty, Adam Holyfield and Jon Christman. This is an organization that compliments the CIT on the administrative side of the University. This group is to assist IS with setting priorities and being change agents to assist the entire Reynolda Campus run effectively. The Banner remediation has been the principle concern of this group and over the summer has brought in consultants to meet with each operating unit using banner and have engaged in an extensive PIA process.
Over the next nine months, WFU will work on implementing recommendations from the PIA process, and deploying other Banner functionality and initiating training. As part of this process, we will be planning and implanting a Banner upgrade in the fall of 2009.
Rick also gave us an update on the Security Policy Framework developed by the Partners Council and will be presented to the cabinet.
Rick also discussed the IS funding landscape, flat or declining budget, the increases of software and service needs.
We discussed the pricing of Adobe software. The committee is in favor of providing software to the University community at the lowest pricing structure. In particular, Dreamweaver seems to be the most expensive component. If we key serve the Adobe suite, which would include Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver etc. we would probably save on license fees over the individual key serve license for each product. The consensus was that Adobe Acrobat Pro, should be purchased as a standalone license and although most users do not employ the power of the program, it was essential to many users.
The ITG group was going to be polled to determine the class uses so that we might be able to determine the proper number of licenses for the Adobe suite. This decision needs to be made in the next ten days to take advantage of the Pricing and Upgrade schedule.
Discussion of tablet laptops option for Thinkpad. Last spring, Lenovo did not have a tablet option and some faculty opted for retaining their tablet. Rick Mathews said that Departments should put the request of Tablet ThinkPad’s into their capital requests.
Tommy Murphy and Jeff Muday will be presenting a report about the faculty application of the tablets at a future meeting.
Pat Moran brought up concerns about the need for encryption in email. Jeff Muday and Rick Mathews gave us a bit background on encryption for mail as well as hard disk partitions. While there greater security is good, encryption can make data recovery impossible and this would need to be considered before deploying this technology on the Thinkpad load. This seems to be a topic for future committee discussion.
There was some discussion of the issues arising out of the new Microsoft.docx format and compatibility with older versions of office.
Jolie Tingen and Jeff Muday reported on the Sakai pilot as an alternative for Blackboard. There are nine classes and 400 students enrolled. The response has been quite positive so far. Elizabeth Armstrong commented that her experience from another institution was very positive about Sakai from a student’s perspective. Jeff Muday will continue to host the Sakai pilot on his server in the spring.
In addition, we should run a pilot on the Moodle version in the spring as well. Delphine was identified as a person with Moodle knowledge.
The consensus was that this Sakai program should be expanded in the fall of 2008 (100 classes?) and we need to make a capital request and investigate the resources for moving this program to IS and expanding the Sakai option.
Jeff Muday is working with Chris McLaughlin to study and pilot studies for alternatives for student email and calendars. (Google & Microsoft products). The student email capacity is at a critical point and we should determine the cost of these alternatives so those resources can be requested in this capital budget cycle.
Mark Anderson from Creative Services discussed plans for the University website. We are working with Big Bad, a web consultant, to consider and implement a new CMS (content management system) this would assist all departments with fitting into the University Identity initiative. Mark stressed that content would be not mandated from the top but continue to reflect the Departmental content. We entered a discussion of web audience or multiple audiences for our website. There seemed to be general interest in development or greater use of focus groups to help departments reach their intended audience. These ideas seem to be an important item for us to consider as Creative services continues to develop the direction of the website.
Summary of Action required from this meeting:
Notifications to Department Chairs about budgeting for Tablet PC alternative
Development of a Sakai proposal to enter the IS priority list.
Development of a Sakai capital budget request.
Develop a pilot for Moodle for the spring 2009 semester.
Development of a mail- calendar capital budget request.
ITG’s to survey their departments for class use of adobe products as a class and report back so that we can determine the number of licenses in the next ten days.