Information Technology Committee
October 4, 1999
Present: Lowell Ballard, Arnold Bradford, Sue Hintz, Jeff Howlett for Tom Butler and Gen Chu, Gail Kettlewell, Alison Baker (chair), Robert McGrory, Neil Reynolds, Dan Riley, Steven Sachs, Judd Sage, John Sener, Lionel Sylvas, Charlotte Wilhelmi, Barbara Wyles
Absent: Max Bassett   Visitors: Evelyn Potts, Sushama Rath, Cathy Simpson  
  1. Minutes Approved

  2. Minutes of the June 14, 1999, ITC Meeting were approved.

  3. VCCS Technology Survey

  4. Dr. Sachs reminded Provosts to submit their VCCS Technology Surveys to him if they had not already done so.

  5. Technology Planning for 2000-2001

  6. Dr. Sachs will send out a request to all campuses and administrative units asking that they bring to the November ITC meeting issues they would like addressed in the 2000-2001 College Technology Plan. These will be discussed at the meeting. At a later time we will also be receiving a list of VCCS Technology Expectations the plan will have to address. The ITC will set priorities for the plan.

  7. Voice Mail
John Sener introduced a list of concerns about voice mail and a discussion of campus experiences followed. Two of the biggest issues of concern were the long download time due to large files for faculty retrieving messages from home, and the lack of privacy for individuals listening to messages over PC speakers. Mr. Ballard suggested several possible solutions: (1) all messages could be retrieved by phone with no use of email. Our phones do not give notifications that a message was waiting, however, and so people have to call in to check to see if there are messages; (2) the current service using email to retrieve of messages; (3) notification that a message was waiting by email with retrieval by phone. If the third option were to be chosen, the message would have to be deleted twice-once on email and once on the phone. (Note: the new email system due next year should eliminate all of these problems.) TSS will pursue several solutions. It will distribute additional headphones to help with the privacy issue. They will look at ways to reduce the file size, putting all voice mail in a separate folder to speed up retrieval from home. They will also verify that the third option (notification by email with retrieval by phone) is feasible, since this appears to be the preferred choice of many. Mr. Ballard will report back to the Deans and Provosts or ITC by the next meeting.     5.    Web Policy Issues
    Mrs. Simpson reported that the Web Steering Committee will meet next week and will bring any issues to the ITC for a final decision.
    6.    Base Technology Infrastructure
    Dean Baker briefly discussed the need for the TLTRs to look at what we want in facilities to support new technology as part of the planning process. This is very important in planning new buildings and major renovations.
    7.    Updates
    Dr Sachs reported that Resource 25 facilities-scheduling software should be ready for use by early Spring 2000. The new People Soft SIS will be delivered to the colleges in February 2000 so they can begin implementation. Actual implementation should begin in Spring 2001 with full conversion to the new system by Fall 2001. Information about upcoming VCCS Technology Council issues was distributed.

    Dean Baker reported that the new VCCS Administrative Information System will be implemented at about the same time as the new Student Information System. The new financial system will need to be fully implemented for the start of the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2001.

    Mr. Ballard reported for Technical Support Services. Reliability enhancements to the email server are due to be installed this month to eliminate the problems from the lightening strike and electrical problems at the computer center. The new cluster servers will provide backup and replace the servers that were damaged. Current problems with computer lock-ups may be related to conflicts between the new version of SMS and other network or college software. TSS is attempting to resolve the problem. TSS has new network monitoring software that will also improve reliability. This will also be available to the campuses to help diagnose network problems within campuses. There continue to be problems with the pagers provided through state contract, though it looks like a solution is imminent. The College web site now has all the college forms available for completion on-line. Forms must still be printed out and submitted on paper, whenever an original signature is required. Digital signatures may be available later this year, which will then allow electronic submission. TSS is working with Annandale A&R and with Human Resources on a prototype scanning, document management, and workflow project to streamline the flow of paper within these offices. Jami Reynolds from TSS is working on these projects. In the near future it will be necessary to require everyone to use longer passwords. Computer hackers now have software that makes it too easy to break into our systems with the current "shorter" passwords. The VCCS is mandating security training for all users. We will need to review and clarify our policies and procedures for dealing with inappropriate use of computers. TSS is currently looking for and correcting security problems within the college network.. The ASPM revisions dealing with technology are almost ready for ITC review. Mr. Ballard has also implemented a new project management plan to improve project completion so he can give users firm dates for when projects will be done.

    Mrs. Simpson reported for the Technical Applications Center. She reported that the new compressed video equipment has been installed and is working fairly well for point to point uses. When more than two points are involved, there have been significant problems that the VCCS is trying to resolve. Virginia Ward has been given release time to assist with compressed video training. There is now a new web site linked from the VCCS home page that lists all synchronous and asynchronous distance learning courses throughout the system. TAC has also been involved with the campuses in a variety of ways to assist faculty to make use of new technologies. TAC will sponsor a Winter Institute for faculty and have a workshop scheduled for October 29 in using publisher developed web sites. This will be held at Annandale and at one other campus. She reported that the Blackboard software-that will ultimately replace Web Course in a Box as an easy to use template for creating web courses-will be run on a central server so it is accessible to all faculty. A committee is currently deciding on some set-up options and issues. Though primarily for distance education courses, this software will also be used to support the College Self-Study Committees. Faculty teaching traditional courses who want to use various web communication tools will also have access to Blackboard.

    Mrs. Rath reported for Systems Development. The Systems Development Group will lead the implementation of Resource 25 for facilities scheduling. Systems Development is now producing the Schedule of Classes in MS Word for the typesetter. In the past, they sent tapes to a contractor who converted it to MS Word for the College. They have implemented a new feature on the Web that allows students to search for an open section of a class. The student can then go to the phone to register over NOVANet. This feature can be found with the Schedule of Classes. It is now the most popular page on the College Web site. From now on, the telephone directory on the web will now be updated weekly. In the past it was only updated annually. Any corrections, additions or changes must be made by the affected department through the TU01 mainframe screen. The Systems Development Staff will look at ways to include P-14 staff and adjunct faculty in the directory. It is not automatic since they are not part of the human resources data base used to create the directory. It is this data base that is updated by the TU01 screen.

    Mr. McGrory reported on technology training for Human Resources. He distributed the tentative plan for the coming year. It represents a slight change in approach from past years. In past years, dollars were targeted to specific staff groups (e.g. Information Technology staff). This year the funds are targeted to specific needs as identified in the Technology Plan (e.g. Resource 25 training, Oracle Training, People Soft training, etc.). Committee members should review the plan and direct questions to Evelyn Potts who will be taking over Mr. McGrory's technology training duties until a replacement for him can be found. The Committee will take action on the training proposal at its next meeting.

    8.    Next Meeting The next meeting will be November 1 at 2:00 p.m. Notes prepared by: ___________________________________ Steven G. Sachs
Dean of Information Technology
Chair: ____________________________________
Alison Baker
Dean of Financial and Administrative Services

pc: Dr. Wheelan