Report: November 24, 2004

UNVERSITY OF TORONTO AT MISSISSAUGA

Erindale College Council
COMPUTING COMMITTEE

REPORT OF THE COMPUTING COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Wednesday, November 24, 2004 at 3:10 p.m., in Room 3138, South Building.

PRESENT: J. Lim (in the Chair), R. deSouza, A. Vyas, J. Hu, B. Thompson, J. Linley, D. Hill, E. Palmitesta
REGRETS: J. Sills
In attendance: Simone Laughton, Rishi Arora

1. Adoption of the Agenda
The agenda was approved. (D. Hill/J. Seel)

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting (October 27, 2004)
The report of the previous meeting was approved. (S. Bancheri/A. Vyas)

3. Business Arising from the Minutes
There was no business arising from the minutes.

4. New Business

a) UTM’s Chief Administrative Officer, Ray deSouza, an introduction

The Chief Administrative Officer was welcomed to the Computing Committee. He expressed his delight in serving on the Committee and his support for issues relating to technology and computing services.

b) Report from the Manager of Computing Services – Joe Lim

i) Microsoft Critical Updates – Rishi Arora, System Administrator, Computer Services

The Chair called on Mr. Rishi Aurora, to talk about the introduction of a new service to the UTM community. Mr. Arora reported that Computing Services and Micro-Electronics will be installing a small client called PatchLink, which would allow for automatic download and installation of Critical Updates from Microsoft, similar to Norton Anti-Virus. The software has been fully implemented in the North Building, Library and CCIT, with users in the South and Kaneff buildings next on the installation list. Each user’s computer can also be monitored to track the status of updates, and in future this may be used to keep an inventory of hardware types used by members.

In response to a member’s question, Mr. Arora explained that installation is not yet completed, but that it only takes approximately two minutes per user, with installation proceeding one area at a time. He added that this service is not available for home usage. He further noted that residence students are not included in this service as only networked computers at UTM have access to the approximately 1400 licenses available.

ii) Spam Assassin or Anti-spam filtering software– Rishi Arora

It was reported that only a small number of UTM community members make use of the spam filter, with only 171 users out of 1227 research accounts enabling the service. Computing Services has increased the effectiveness of the filter by activating its heuristic feature. It was also reported that Computing Services will be promoting the use of Spam Assassin in a more concerted way, to increase the use of this program in the reduction of spam emails. Mr. Lim commented that at future meetings of the Committee, he would report back on the progress of the utilization of this software.

A member commented that any instructions sent out by Computer Services needs to communicate and give instructions in a clear and simple manner on how to use this type of service.

c) The Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre (ALC): a brief overview – June Seel

Ms. Seel began her presentation with noting that the design of the ALC emphasizes ‘people space’ over ‘collections space’. All of the books will be put on high-use compact shelving to allow for more study space for students. In addition, the collections are in the centre of the building allowing for the placement of the study space next to the windows to take advantage of the surrounding green environment. She reported that the building size is approximately 100,000 square feet on four floors, which is approximately twice the size of the current Library. She noted that the construction phase has begun, with completion planned for June 6, 2006, allowing time for moving during the months of June and July, with class readiness for September of 2006.

The total budget for the project is $34 million, with $26.610 million from SuperBuild, $7.176 million from UTM’s Enrolment Growth Fund and $.214 million from the Student Library Enhancement Fund.

Ms. Seel explained that the design concept is based on the opening of a “Puzzle Box”, an architectural metaphor for accessing knowledge by accessing information through our computers and our book collection. Located at the north end of the campus, the ALC is sited on top of Lot 3.

With respect to related technology, there will be ubiquitous computing, both wired and wireless. Also planned are 162 wired public computers including a Learning Commons on the main floor housing the majority of computers, two Research and Instruction Centres with 46 computers, which used for Library instruction but are open the majority of the time for student use. The ALC is fully accessible with adaptive computing and received input from UTM’s AccessAbility Resource Centre & Disabilities manager during the design phase and also had an external Accessibility Review done by Designable Environments. As a result, every 25th computer has adaptive technology software & hardware for accessibility.

Ms. Seel reported that the ALC would feature GIS and Data and Instructional Technology for both faculty and students, with high end computers, specialty software, digitizers, printer plotters, in addition to the expertise of an Instruction Technology Librarian, and a GIS/Data Librarian.

Smart and safe study space has been maximized and placed where possible in attractive areas next to windows to take advantage of the surrounding environment. The ALC will have approximately 1132 study spaces that include 369 study carrels, 127 lounge seats, 324 seats at 4-person study tables, 16 six-person group study rooms and 3 four-person group study rooms, 162 computers, two smart classrooms with another 46 computers, and 12 additional express computers spread throughout. 42 seats will also be available at a counter next to a window along with additional seating at window benches on the 3rd and 4th floors. The Academic Skills Centre will be housed on the third floor, allowing for a closer partnering on instruction classes.

Ms. Seel continued her report with the ALC’s high potential to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED standards. This system is a voluntary, consensus‑based international standard for the development of buildings that clearly demonstrate energy efficiency and environmental sensitivity. She noted that the ALC should receive a basic certification, but the aim is for the silver level, which no other building at the University of Toronto has accomplished. There are many LEED Scorecard checks, among them are measures associatied with sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design.

For more detailed information about the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning, Ms. Seel referred members to the new HMALC comprehensive Web site at: http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/~w3newlib/newlibrary.html

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s question about the availability of Library services to the Mississauga Community, Ms. Seel explained that some of these services would be available and that currently the members from the surrounding community can sign out books, but not journals or short term loan materials.

d) Instructional Technology Report – Simone Laughton, Instructional Technology Library Liaison

Ms. Laughton presented results from a Student Technology Needs Assessment, which was completed in March and April of 2004. A total of 233 students participated in the survey. Based on the needs assessments completed to date for faculty and students, workshops were developed in partnership with RCAT on technology-related topics including: HTML/XHTML, Dreamweaver, and Microsoft Office Applications. In August of 2004, presentations were made to 200 prospective UTM students as part of a Head Start Program, which provided an excellent opportunity to learn more about student needs regarding technology.

Ms. Laughton reported that prior to the start of the current term, seven workshops were provided, primarily targeted to first year students, with the goal of upgrading or refreshing their technology skills. For the Fall 2004 term Simone is providing 17 technology workshops (such as MSA, HTML/XHTML, Dreamweaver) to students and faculty at UTM Library urls: http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/~w3itl/workshops.html (<-- broken link) and http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/~w3itl/workshops2.html

An online workshop registration system has been developed (Oracle database with CGI Perl scripts), in cooperation with UTM Computing Services so that students and faculty can register for workshops continuously. Online pre-assessments have been created and implemented to help learners self-assess their skills to determine which UTM Library technology-related workshops might be useful for them. In addition, online web tutorials are being developed to support students and faculty in the development of technology skills.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

A member asked whether these on-line services are coordinated with that of the Staff Development System of Human Resources. Ms. Laughton explained that while these workshops are provided to staff, such activity is not logged and no certification is given. The member suggested that this option be investigated in the future similar to the system employed at the St. George campus where this type of course activity is logged and is then linked to the SAP Human Resource Information System.

In response to a member’s questions about a needs analysis for faculty, Ms. Laughton confirmed that such as survey had been completed and is available on the web.

5. Other Business

a) Mr. Lim reported that a Xerox presentation on document management will take place on November 25, 2004, from 2:00 until 3:30 p.m. in room 2100 in the CCIT building. In addition, IntelliResponse, is providing a presentation on an on-line query system based on key word searches on Thursday, December 2, 2004 from 1:00 until 2:00 p.m. in room 2110 of the CCIT building.

b) A member reported that the Office of the Registrar has acquired a document management system by Ricoh, which will allow for the elimination of most of the paper files taking up a substantial amount of the physical space in the office and their replacement by digital files. The system is a server, which will house all of the digital documents in either .tif or .pdf formats, and will have optical character recognition enabling full-text searches. Every document will also be tagged with a Meta data, allowing for the retrieval of all documents related to a student by entering the appropriate student identification number.

6. Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Computing Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, January 12, 2005.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:05 p.m. (J. Linley/ D. Hill)

Secretary of Council _______________________ Chair ___________________

December 20 , 2004