Information Technology Committee
Minutes
January 25, 1999
Present: Alison Baker, Alan Sinner for Lowell Ballard, Arnold Bradford, Tom Butler, Gen Chu, Gail Kettlewell, Robert McGrory, Dan Riley, Steven Sachs (chair), John Sener, Lionel Sylvas, Charlotte Wilhelmi, Barbara Wyles

Absent: Max Bassett, Neil Reynolds

  Guests: Cathy Simpson
 
1.  Minutes Approved

Minutes of the November 2, 1998, ITC Meeting were approved.

2.  Technology Planning Process for 1999 - 2001

Dr. Sachs gave an overview of the process that will be used to prepare the College-wide Technology Plan for 1999 -2000. A draft plan will be distributed to the campuses and College staff in early February for review and discussion. It will be considered at the March ITC meeting. Following the March ITC meeting, campuses and staff offices will have until May to develop campus plans based on the College Technology Plan. The campus plans will detail their strategies and spending plans for meeting the objectives specified in the College-wide Technology Plan. By May, the College should have received the final list of VCCS technology mandates/expectations and the final technology budget figures. The College-wide plan will be finalized and amended, as necessary, at the May ITC meeting. The final draft of the plan will be ready to submit to the VCCS for approval by July 1. The plan will cover two years, with the understanding that there are likely to be modifications to the second year of the plan.

3.  Acceptable Use Policy

Dean Baker discussed the draft of an acceptable computer use policy that was distributed earlier. The new policy, when approved, will be printed in the Student Handbook and available for review on-line. The VCCS Information Technology Ethics and Use Agreement will also be printed in the Student Handbook. Students will agree to the NVCC policy as part of the sign-on process. A set of summary statements will be presented on the screen. Dr. Kettlewell and Dr. Wyles agreed to work with Dean Baker on developing the summary statements and on developing a publicity campaign. Committee members are to send comments and suggestions on the policy or publicity within two weeks. The plan will be considered at the next ITC meeting.

4.  Voice Mail Update

Dr. Sachs and Mr. Sinner gave an update on College voice mail. The voice mail server is in place at Woodbridge for testing, and will be installed at Manassas by next week. Data bases are being prepared and loaded. The equipment for the other three campuses is expected to be delivered and installed in the very near future. The system will not be implemented until everyone is satisfied with the data bases of names and phone numbers, and with the set-up of the system. It will then be implemented campus by campus. All the hardware should be installed within 1-2 months, and data base confirmation can begin at each campus as soon as the hardware is installed. Full implementation at Manassas and Woodbridge can take place as soon as the system is approved. It will take an extra week at the other campuses since the phone company has to make changes to allow the voice mail system to pick up automatically. During that extra week, phones can be manually transferred to the voice mail system. There was discussion on the number of rings before the voice mail system would answer. It was decided that the default would be three rings (followed by the two rings required by the voice mail system). However, individual functions/offices can design the system to allow more rings if necessary.

5.  Ethernet vs. Token Ring

Dr. Sachs and Mr. Sinner briefly discussed the need to begin upgrading the College infrastructure to a switched environment. The VCCS is mandating changes to accommodate the new People Soft SIS/AIS software, additional web, multimedia and video applications. The College can choose to install token ring switches or Ethernet switches; however, manufacturers are dropping their token ring products, and little new equipment is being developed for token ring networks. Converting to Ethernet (or ATM) switches would not require replacing cabling. Wall connections and network cards would have to be replaced. Dr. Kettlewell moved and Sue Hintz seconded, a motion to develop a multi-year plan to convert the infrastructure from token ring to switched Ethernet. The motion was approved.

6.  Certification Training

Mr. McGrory presented a memo from the Learning Resource Service Working Group requesting development of a plan for MCSE certification training spread over several years. This led to discussion of several issues related to certification training in a variety of technical areas including CISCO equipment, Oracle, and A+. While technical staff may use tuition assistance, professional development, and information technology training funds to pay for courses, the cost often exceeds the funding limits. Dean Baker indicated that Mr. McGrory is developing a service agreement similar to the one used with educational leave that would require payback to the College if the employee receiving advanced technical training was to resign prior to a specified length of time. It was agreed that a plan should be developed for ITC consideration. Dr. Wyles suggested four considerations: (a) do we want the staff trained to full certification or just in specific areas, (b) does the College, campus or individual decide who is eligible for the training, (c) where do the funds come from, (d) how should accountability and payback be handled (for the campus and trainee)? Dr. Sachs will appoint a subcommittee to develop a plan, recommend any necessary policy changes. The subcommittee will include representatives of the LRS staff, technical staff, and ITC.

7.  Student Email Accounts

Mr. Sinner explained that the current version of Microsoft software only allows 40,000 student mailboxes. This Fall there were over 39,000. As a result, TSS waits until just before the end of registration to delete mailboxes for students who do not re-enroll and create mailboxes for new students. This insures that the mailbox limit is not exceeded. There is also no continuous updating of the student mailboxes, so students from ELI or campus sessions that begin after the mailboxes are created do not get mailboxes automatically. Increasing the number of mailboxes beyond 40,000 would require adding additional servers and would be very complex. A new release of the software that removes the 40,000 mailbox limit is expected in about 6 months. This would make it available for Spring 2000.

There was concern with the current TSS practice because of the increasing number of web courses and campus courses that require students to go on line through email during the first week of classes, and the need to support email for students who register after the initial mailboxes are created. It was proposed that TSS make more frequent deletes of students who withdraw from all courses during the semester to free up mailboxes. It was also noted that there should not be a problem for Summer since enrollments are lower. However, there is concern for Fall 1999.

The ITC voted to direct TSS to work with Cathy Simpson from the Technical Applications Center and John Sener to develop a plan that will: (1) have student mailboxes ready for new students prior to the first day of classes, (2) update mailboxes throughout the semester to capture students who register after the initial mailboxes are created, (3) keep student mailboxes for students with no grade yet assigned or I grades. Mrs. Sushama Rath from Systems Development will need to be involved in preparing the downloads from the SIS.

8.  Training

Mr. MrGrory presented a spreadsheet listing requested technical training, and proposed a plan based on the available budget. Dr. Kettlewell moved, and Dr. Wyles seconded, approval of the plan as presented. Mr. McGrory is to insure supervisor agreement with the requested training before final approval. The motion was approved. It is expected that some additional funds will become available after bids are received for the training. This will allow additional training requests to be filled.

9.  TSS Update

Mr. Sinner reported that TSS now has technical support for faculty on Saturdays, 9-5. On weekdays support is available 8 A.M. to 9 P.M.

10.  TAC Update

Mrs. Simpson reported that 35 people participated in the Winter Institute. There is continued support for extended training programs for faculty to help them build technology into their courses.

11.  New Business

A question was raised about lost e-mail and lost calendars. This has become important as more students participate in on-line courses or submit assignments to regular classes by e-mail. Mr. Sinner reported that there is a back-up server that backs up the main server every night so any lost mail or calendars can easily be restored.

There was discussion of appropriate back-up strategies for faculty and staff files. TSS was directed to work with the Technical Applications Center on back-up options and procedures, and a plan for training/informing faculty and staff on what to do and how to do it.

Mr. Sener announced that ELI has converted their CITG to a TLTR.

          12.  Next Meeting
The proposed date for the next meeting of the ITC (March 12 at 1 P.M) conflicts with the College Planning Committee and will have to be changed.
 

 

  Notes prepared by:

 

                                                                                                            ___________________________________                                                                                                   Steven G. Sachs
                                                                                                  Acting Dean of Academic and Student Services
                                                                                                  And Acting Committee Chair:
 

        pc: Dr. Wheelan