Information Technology Committee
Minutes
September 14, 1998
    Present: Alison Baker, Lowell Ballard, Max Bassett (chair), Arnold Bradford, Gen Chu, Neil Reynolds, Dan Riley, Steven Sachs, Judd Sage, John Sener, Lionel Sylvas, Tony Tardd, Charlotte Wilhelmi, Barbara Wyles   Absent: Gail Kettlewell,  Robert McGrory,   Guests: Cathy Simpson
1.  Minutes Approved
    Minutes of the June 8, 1998, ITC meeting were approved.
2.  Meeting Times Selected
    The Committee decided to meet Monday afternoons. The next meeting will be October 5, 1-5 P.M. A meeting will also be scheduled for November 2.
3.  Technology Plan Review The Technology Plan based on the budget and activities approved by the ITC at its June meeting was approved earlier by mail ballot of the Committee and was forwarded to the VCCS for approval. The following clarifications and suggestions were made during the discussion:
    1. The wording on page 8 of the plan that describes the standard for the number of student computers is worded poorly to reflect the actual number required. More accurate wording will be developed.
    2. Dr. Sachs distributed a handout providing guidelines for preparing the campus plans that are required for use of Classroom of the Future funds and for the Application Development Funds included in the Technology Plan.
    3. Dr. Sylvas noted that consumable supplies (such as printer toner cartridges) are not specifically covered in the plan. It was noted that these could be included in the plan each campus has to develop for use of the Application Development Funds specified in the Technology Plan. Some of these costs may be shifted to students through smart card technology, similar to the vend-a-cards used for photo copies in the LRCs. This approach is currently being pilot tested at Annandale and Alexandria. The other campuses chose not to participate in the pilot test at this time. TSS and LRC Directors Working Group are looking into the possibility of tying these printer cards into the next copier contract.
4.  Student E-mail and confidentiality of student information
    The current student e-mail system allows for easy mailing to all students in each class because the mailing lists are automatically set up. However, this also makes it possible for anyone with an NVCC e-mail account to determine a student's e-mail address and class schedule. This is contrary to current College policy governing the release of student addresses and student schedule information.

    Dr. Sage made a motion (seconded by Barbara Wyles) that e-mail addresses not be considered the same as postal addresses for the purposes of College policy, and that this be reflected in the next edition of the Student Handbook. The motion was approved unanimously.

    Dean Baker made a motion (seconded by Arnold Bradford) to refer the issue to the Deans of Student Development and the TLTRs to consider how they want student distribution list information to be presented, and report back to the ITC at its November meeting; and Technical Support Services is to prepare a list of technical options for limiting access to individual student's class schedule information. The motion passed unanimously.

    The Committee decided that the current e-mail system with class distribution lists will remain in place until a decision is made in November.

    Mr. Ballard asked if TSS should create a distribution list that included all students. He indicated that eventually there could be an e-mail address and distribution list for all groups of students (e.g. student clubs, organizations, etc.). This issue was also referred to the Deans of Student Development and TLTRs for consideration.
     

5.  Oracle Training for administrative applications
    The College received communication from the VCCS describing training units allocated to each campus as part of the VCCS purchase of Oracle software. These training units are designed to train staff for use of Oracle in administrative applications. The College will receive enough units to train two individuals in the full 21 programs and several others in the one-day program designed for end-users. It is recommended that one of the two individuals who receive the full training be assigned a trainer role to come back and train others at the College. The training is currently being scheduled at Lord Fairfax and John Tyler Community Colleges. The cost is $50 per day. The cost for training additional staff (beyond those covered by the VCCS training units) will be at least $320/day. The Committee recommended sending one technical staff person. The Provosts will recommend to Dr. Sachs the names of others that could be sent for the 21-day training that begins this Fall.  Ideally, the College would send a faculty member who will be given release time to train others. However, it would be hard to release a faculty member this Fall since classes are already underway. Dr. Sachs will check on the possibility of using some of the training units in the Spring so that a faculty member could be sent.
6.  Network Problems to Ravensworth
Mr. Sener reported that router and bandwidth problems at Ravensworth, which is not on Network Virginia like the campuses, is limiting ELI's ability to share exams electronically with campus Testing Labs and to handle other high bandwidth applications.  It is also affecting Financial Aid's ability to update the campus Kioscs.  There is also concern over the current network's ability to handle the demands that the new People Soft system will place on this link.  The reason for raising the issue at this time is that the existing router must be replaced and the type that is purchased is based on the type of network link between Annandale and Ravensworth.  There is currently a T-1 link between the sites.  According to Mr. Ballard, a full T-3 upgrade would cost $55,000/year more than the current link.  A new router that will handle multiple T-1 links would only cost $10,000, so additional T-1s could be added to try to resolve the bandwidth problem at considerably less cost than upgrading to a T-3 line.  TSS will meet with ELI and Financial Aid within the next few days to resolve technical questions and report to Dean Baker on costs and options.
7.  Dial-up Internet Access
    The SCHEV Technology Survey and VCCS expectations indicate that dial-up Internet Access is becoming an important consideration for colleges--especially with the new emphasis on making the Internet part of courses. Dr. Sachs reported on GMU's dial-up access for faculty, staff and students. Their equipment cost approximately $70,000 with approximately $76,000 in recurring line costs each year. They have a staff of 10 (6 full-time plus 4 part-time students) to support dial-up access. Mr. Sener reported on an informal study he did for the College Senate last Spring that showed no clear pattern of providing free dial-up access. Dean Baker expressed serious concerns about the College's ability to support quality dial-up service and indicated that it would be politically difficult, if not impossible, to quit providing the service in the future if it became desirable because of cost or quality concerns. Mrs. Wilhelmi expressed concern that students would take exception if free dial-up access was provided only for faculty and staff since students are the ones paying a technology fee. The Committee voted 5 to 4 for Dr. Sachs and Mr. Ballard to prepare a plan that provides the actual costs for providing free dial-up access to the Internet for faculty and staff to be presented at the next ITC meeting. The issue will also be referred to the TLTRs to determine whether there is strong support for using technology funds to provide free dial-up access instead of using the funds for other technology needs.
     
8.  Committee to Re-write ASPM Chapter 24
    Dean Baker announced formation of a committee to re-write the chapter of the ASPM that deals with technology services. The chapter will be written to focus on who does what and how users can request the services they need. The chair of the committee will be Alan Sinner (TSS). Members will include: Cathy Simpson or designee (TAC), Sushama Rath (Systems Development), John Sener or other ELI representative, Jamie Reynolds (ITM-AN).
9  Acceptable Use Policy
    Dean Baker handed out copies of the Annandale and Alexandria policies on Acceptable use of Computers. She is preparing a draft of a College-wide policy, consistent across campuses, that can be included in the Student Handbook. In the discussion it was noted that the key questions to be addressed include: what does the College want to accomplish  through the policy, what does it want to discourage, and what can it enforce. Comments and suggestions should be sent to Dean Baker.
10.  Computer Training
    Dr. Sachs gave a report prepared by Mr. McGrory who could not attend the meeting. A new contract with CCS&T has been initiated to provide a single trainer from September 16 to the end of October. A schedule has been established for training on all campuses and is available in the HRD Training folder in the Public Folders section of the Outlook e-mail system. Training will also be promoted in Intercom. The Committee voted to accept Mr. McGrory's recommendation to extend this trainer through December 1, consistent with the training portion of the Technology Plan. Requests for use the Technology Plan training funds provided through the Technology Plan should be sent to Mr. McGrory at HRDTraining@nvcc.edu. As was done last year, he will collect these requests, prioritize them, approve those consistent with the Technology Plan as long as funds are available in the various categories, and report back to the ITC on the use and availability of training funds so they can be reallocated as necessary.
11.  TSS Update Mr. Ballard provided a handout and gave an update on activities of Technical Support Services since the last ITC meeting. Among the items covered were: roll-out of student e-mail for all students; implementation of the college Help Desk; set-up of the new phone system for TSS/Help Desk, Purchasing and Financial Aid as a pilot test for a new College-wide phone system; upgrading of the College virus protection software; upgrading of the College e-mail to the latest version of MS Outlook; roll-out of computer-based training; and hiring of staff to fill all the positions at TSS. Projects currently underway include: removal of the last of the old OS/2 servers--which will allow faculty and staff to change passwords; development of new student policy files; updating the log-on and password process; creating web directories for all College groups; and establishing a web page for resetting lost or forgotten passwords. Later this Fall it is expected that on-line Help Desk tools will be fully implemented and voicemail will be made available for all faculty and staff.

Mr. Ballard also reported that the Help Desk is now responding to 50 calls per day.  He  indicated that the cabling at Alexandria and Manassas was nearly complete; the cable drawings for Loudoun and Woodbridge were done and cabling should be complete in approximately one month; and only Annandale was left to complete.  It was noted that any additional cabling would be done at campus expense since the centrally-funded cabling that was part of the Technology Plan was nearly complete.

12. Report on Alexandria Technology Summit Dr. Wyles reported on the Technology Summit held on the Alexandria campus at the beginning of the semester. The campus held two sessions in which campus staff met with leaders of key technology offices and the two College Deans on issues related to the management and direction of technology. The biggest issue that emerged from the sessions was the need for better communication among all elements involved in technology. Among the other significant issues raised were the need for adequate notification and communication about the justification for technology-related decisions; the need for assessment of technology applications; and the need for different representation on the ITC so all relevant groups and more technology users are represented; better connectivity among various planning efforts; and better cross campus communication. 13. Next Meeting Monday, October 5, 1:00 - 3:00 P.M., Brault Building Board Room.

 

Notes prepared by:

 

___________________________________ Steven G. Sachs

Associate Dean for Information Technology

Committee Chair:

 

___________________________________ Max L. Bassett

Dean Academic and Student Services

pc: Dr. Wheelan



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