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  OIT Home > Committees > ITPG > Meetings > ITPG Meeting Minutes 3/12/04
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ITPG Meeting Minutes March 12, 2004

 

Present: Arlene Allen, Jeffrey Barteet, Ken Bowers, Larry Carver, Chris Dempsey, Bill Doering, Doug Drury, Matt Dunham, George Gregg, Shea Lovan, George Michaels, Stan Nicholson, Bruce Miller, Alan Moses, Linda Moskovits, Joan Murdoch, Mike Oliva, Fuzzy Rogers, Glenn Schiferl, Jan Smith, Chris Sneathen, Jamie Sonsini, Paul Weakliem, Craig Welsh

ITPG PROJECT PROPOSALS

Discussion continued from previous meetings.

Campus Course Management System Alan Moses and Stan Nicholson

Project Summary

Alan Moses distributed an email prior to the meeting, summarized as follows: Faculty who are interested in using the web in support of instruction, but who are not interested in investing their time in learning about the underlying technologies, currently have limited options for incorporating web technologies into their instructional efforts. Resources are scarce, and common issues such as authenticated access and integration of their web site with other student systems are difficult to implement on a site-by-site basis. This proposal has three primary targets:

  • To provide a standard set of web-based tools to accomplish a varied set of common pedagogical goals.
  • To provide a framework for cost-effective development of specific tools.
  • To realize the efficiencies of a centralized implementation of web-based course tools.

This project calls for UCSB's active participation in the SAKAI Educational Partners Program (SEPP) as the means for implementing a campus-wide Course Management System. Although SAKAI should be evaluated with the same scrutiny as any product intended for a production system, the design philosophy and commitments of the current SAKAI participants make this a highly promising solution for UCSB's Course Management System needs. (If evaluation resulted in identifying critical problems with SAKAI, the evaluation process would proceed by looking at alternative products, and the implementation component of this project would be the same, using a different product.) The set of web-based tools currently being designed into SAKAI include: authentication and access control (including provisions for anonymous access and public viewing); schedules/calendar of classes, assignments and events; syllabi and general course info; announcements and notifications; assignments (calendar); drop box; online resources (documents and tools); assessment tools; web-based file storage; webpage creation tools; news feeds (RSS); discussion forums; synopses of active discussions; email lists and archives; chat; site search; and site administration. The creation of additional tools and integration with other information systems would be accomplished using the uPortal portal environment, JSR 168 portlet standards, OKI service interface definitions, and other standards-based tools integrated within the SAKAI environment.

Becoming a member of SEPP requires a three-year commitment of $10,000 per year. The evaluation and implementation of this project will initially require 1.5FTE (permanent). One FTE at the CNT III level will have responsibility for the technical evaluation of SAKAI versus alternative commercial Course Management Systems, the installation, configuration, and testing of SAKAI components, the design and implementation of a production service, and the integration of SAKAI with campus middleware and data sources. Once a production service is in place, the time previously spent on pre-implementation tasks will be shifted to the development and coordination of specific modules within the SAKAI framework. An additional .5 FTE at the CNT III level will have responsibility for coordinating faculty input into the product evaluation process, identifying and supporting pilot projects, establishing metrics for evaluation of instructional impact, and coordinating support for the production service. Hosting will be provided by an existing campus web hosting service provider; training and support will be provided by existing training and support providers. This project could be implemented by Proposal Originators; but would probably be better established as campus-wide instructional infrastructure, for which there is no current responsible organization. This proposal could be implemented within the framework of existing distributed organizations, but a more visionary approach would see it as "instructional infrastructure," a view that would benefit from some campus administration endorsement.

Costs of this proposal are:

  1. Campus participation as Educational Partner in SAKAI ($10K/yr X 3 yrs)
  2. 1 FTE implementation, tool development, and technical coordination ($53.5K = 12% into CNT III)
  3. .5 FTE pedagogical support and faculty coordination and communication ($27K = 12% into CNT III @ 50%)
for a total of $80,500 ongoing plus $30,000 over three years. Hosting, support, and training costs would be absorbed by units currently providing those services.

The SAKAI project has set a target of Fall 2005 for production implementations at the core campuses (U. Mich., Indiana U., MIT, and Stanford), with pilot implementations in place for Fall 2004. A full year of pilot testing of both the application and the necessary support structures seems appropriate for this sort of tool. Allowing for six months of pre-pilot development, the timeline for this project would target a CMS implementation 18 months after the FTE for this purpose have been funded and hired. The development of detailed milestones for this project would be the responsibility of the staff assigned to the project. Timely funding for this project is a requirement for UCSB to be in any way competitive in this area.

Discussion

The actual proposal is to participate in the partnership proposal at $10K/yr; development tools need to be added as well as hosting costs and training and support. These costs are expected to be a wash when the costs of stand-alone systems currently in use and expected to be removed are taken into consideration. There are currently 4 campuses on SAKAI, utilizing 27 FTE. UCSB's estimate of 1.5 FTE is in addition to current FTE that would be shifted; SAKAI indicates that a minimum of 1.5 FTE would be necessary for implementation and support. Again, SAKAI should not be presupposed, but it is a good candidate. It implies the use of UPortal; there is no proposal for broad base campus portal management. This proposal is not meant to be a solution to the campus portal situation; it only indicates that there will be at least one portal.

XML standards for Form Interchange Bruce Miller

After consideration it was decided that XML standards would only be an overlay on departmental systems, and this proposal may be a bit too early and nebulous an undertaking. Proposal was withdrawn.

New Business Architecture - Deborah Scott

Project Summary

The UC New Business Architecture proposes a target for renewal and replacement of administrative systems by the year 2010. In the NBA report it states that the New Business Architecture will create a collaborative environment where staff have ready access to the tools necessary to do their job efficiently and effectively, a workplace that allows University staff to maintain high levels of job satisfaction while providing the highest levels of customer service, and an environment where technology solutions minimize time spent processing mundane, routine transactions. UCSB has lacked consistent and sufficient investment in the Administrative and Student systems which has led to a lack of integration and system inconsistencies and an inability to access data across organizations or with the end-user self-service interfaces that have come to be expected at a Research University. When interfaces are developed between systems, they are complex and time consuming to develop and maintain, and prevent the campus from routine use of institutional information that is strategic for decision making and providing services to faculty, staff, and students. Many campuses throughout California and the United States have invested in current Administrative, Student, and Academic information systems that are integrated and provide secure, simple access to institutional data and information, and have native, internet based self service interfaces. Several software vendors offer integrated administrative and student systems for purchase. The same NBA goals are achievable at UCSB given the right vision, leadership, and funding.

Discussion

None; Deborah could not attend the meeting.

Protection and Use of Valued Electronic Information Bill Doering

Project Summary

UCSB faces numerous issues of digital security, from protecting the network from viruses to allowing access to buildings and sensitive information, from digitally identifying students without compromising privacy to disseminating lectures via the network without compromising the ability to retain UCSBss interest in the information. This proposal address the single basic issue of protecting the integrity of valuable information as it is input, stored and transferred, both within the campus network and beyond, consisting of a study that identifies a high level structure that is capable of meeting campus needs regarding the protection and use of valued electronic information. This study will not define the technical specifications of an integrated hardware and software system, but instead will have three primary objectives:

  1. To understand the complex elements that would provide the needed security and flexibility, including interoperability, adaptability in the filed, location awareness, distributed security, authentication/authorization, user privacy, business model flexibility, time recording, rights management, portability plus communication, utility services, multiplicity of applications, transparency, and transferable.
  2. Stay current with technical developments and institutional issues, achieved through memberships, sponsoring seminars, and/or working with a consultant.
  3. Survey the existing and future digital trust system needs and opportunities, such as Parking Services' TAP smart card, ITP tokens allowing physical access, the UCEN's ACCESS card system.

By identifying the elements that are essential to the campus, staying abreast of developments in the industry, and surveying campus needs we can strategically plan and define an effective distributed digital trust system that will put the campus at the forefront of the secure information issue and prepare us for the eventual investment in a centralized system.

Discussion

This proposal is for the formation of a strategic group to perform a formal study of the protection, use, and sharing of electronic data; there are no hardware or software specifications to consider at this time. The only cost would be participantss time. The implementations of the findings of the study are expected to become a separate proposal in the future. The Trusted Computing Group was founded by manufacturers and suppliers, such as Intel, Microsoft, HP, IBM, AMD, Sun, and Sony. Chips are already coming out embedded in hardware. Updates on developing technologies are available from this group; signing up for a subscription sounded interesting, but the cost is unknown. The level of organizational responsibility needs to be identified in the study's findings, and the study should also recommend an institutional solution robust enough to handle the entire campus's needs without becoming overloaded.

Campus Funding for GUS Support Fuzzy Rogers

Project Summary

Approximately 20 departments use GUS, a relational database which runs on 4D, as a shadow accounting system. Several other departments are waiting to implement GUS, which is currently developed and supported by MSI and the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, fractionally supported by a "buy-in" fee paid by participating departments. As departmental priorities change, development and support could be eliminated by one or both supporting units. Additionally, a departure by either of the current developers would leave only one person on campus with familiarity of the inner working of GUS, leading to minimal support for a crucial system. This proposal is to create a centralized IT position to provide support, basic training, and eventually development to departments for GUS services. Smaller departments will use a centralized database server, also funded in this proposal. The buy-in fees for development will be eliminated in lieu of funding the developers through their home departments. GUS development will continue with Paul Weakliem and Allen Matlick. When Accounting implements a universal accounting system and GUS is no longer needed, funding for development of GUS will cease. At such time the centralized IT position mentioned above will change into a centralized IT position for support and training of the new campus-wide accounting system.

Discussion

Although GUS exists as a result of a genuine need for a campus shadow accounting system and it seems to work well for MSOs, it is very labor intensive on the technical end, and central support may turn out to be more expensive in the long run than reasonable. If this is to be a campus-wide resource, it should be administered by the Accounting office. Donna Carpenter has said that Accounting is not opposed to the idea, but her charge from the Chancellor is to report only down to the Account/Fund/Sub level. This proposal is to define the requirements of a shadow accounting system. An RFQ was designed approximately 4 years ago which should be reviewed and revised. A shadow accounting system is a defined need. GUS is not expected to fall into disuse any time soon, but the possibility exists that support may be withdrawn due to personnel changes or departmental need. It was suggested that there should be both a tactical statement and a strategic statement proposed. GUS will be around for another five to ten years, and support will be needed during that time. Strategically there is a definite need for a shadow accounting system that should most logically be considered as part of the New Business Architecture.

Student Computing: Workstations, Internet Connectivity, and Printing Deborah Scott and Bill Koseluk

Project Summary

"Open Access" computing typically refers to nonspecific and unscheduled computing access provided to students. It has been available in limited amounts since 1986. There has never been any permanent funding for this purpose, and what provisions there have been have come about through the generosity of various providers. Students need access to computers for a variety of reasons: to do coursework, to communicate with faculty, TAs, and other students, to communicate with the university for business matters, and for a variety of academic and personal reasons. Increasingly, the University expects students to utilize computers for core administrative processes. While there are numerous "instructional laboratories" on campus, these are often unavailable, since they are heavily used for teaching purposes. Thus, open access facilities are the only spaces which can provide access at all times and if we are to mandate access, and then we must provide some provision to meet the associated need. Recently students from the Graduate Student Association, the Associated Students and the Student Fee Advisory Committee have identified the following items as essential to conduct research, do their homework, and get access to University systems.

  • Computers with Internet access
  • Computers with basic productivity applications (MS Office)
  • Wireless Network access for student laptops
  • Network access for student laptops
  • Consistent fee for printing service for all open access locations
  • All of the above, in the library, while looking at books and using library research tools
  • All of the above in a 24-hour study hall
Discussion

Although Deborah and Bill were not in attendance, some short discussion took place. Some open access computing is being provided for free; should we fund or discontinue? Wireless should be a separate proposal from Student Computing.

Other Discussion Topics

It was noted that a lot was being folded into the New Business Architecture. It is recognized that we need to determine the direction we need to take, and the NBA is an ongoing process.

Arlene is willing to fund a visit of an OBLIX representative to present a 1-week class to demonstrate coding to identity management (a "how to use" course). General consensus approved with the suggestion that we obtain an agenda and a criteria of necessary skills in advance. Arlene will arrange for the visit.

Next meeting: Monday, March 22, 9:30 am in the Mary Cheadle Room, Davidson Library. All proposals should be complete and ready to be prioritized.

Back to ITPG Meeting Schedule
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