Report of October 27, 2004 meeting

UNVERSITY OF TORONTO AT MISSISSAUGA

COMPUTING COMMITTEE
REPORT OF THE COMPUTING COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Wednesday, October 27, 2004 at 3:10 p.m., in Room 3138, South Building.

PRESENT: J. Lim (in the Chair), A. Vyas, J. Hu, B. Thompson, N. Collins, S. Kibria, J. Linley, K. Krupica, S. O’Connell, S. Bancheri, D. Hill
REGRETS: J. Tran, J. Sills

1. Adoption of the Agenda

The agenda was approved. The Chair informed the Committee that with their approval, the report from the Library would be moved to the next meeting of the Committee. (A. Vyas / B. Thompson)

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting (March 23, 2004)

The report of the previous meeting was approved. (B. Thompson / A. Vyas)

3. Business Arising from the Minutes

There was no business arising from the minutes.

4. New Business

a) Review of the terms of reference of the Computing Committee

The Chair explained that due to computing services related items being removed from the terms of reference of the Academic Affairs Committee, the Executive Committee of Erindale College Council has suggested that these items be included in the terms of reference of the Computing Committee.

Be it resolved,

THAT consistent with recent changes made to the terms of reference of the Academic Affairs Committee in which these items were removed, sections c, d, and e be added to the terms of reference of the Computing Committee as follows: c. Instructional Media, d. Technical Services, and e. Computer Services. (N. Collins / B. Thompson)

The Chair opened the floor to discussion.

In response to a member’s question, it was clarified that the item ‘technical services’ was not a historical reference to the department in question, but a general topic related to services in that area.

A member suggested that to clarify a possible misunderstanding, ‘technical services’ should be replaced by ‘micro electronics’, to bring it up to date with current department terminology. After some discussion, members agreed to amend item d of the motion to read ‘microelectronics’.

The motion as amended was approved.

b) Updates from Computing Services and Micro-Electronics – Joe Lim and Anil Vyas

On behalf of Micro Electronics, Mr. Vyas provided members with an update on summer activities. He detailed much of work involved with the set up of Psychology laboratories, offices and other networking and systems with respect to the new Communication, Culture and Information Technology (CCIT) building. In particular, he highlighted the work involved in setting up the technical and administrative infrastructure for the Centre for Biological Communication Systems, which is a new state-of-the-art interdisciplinary research environment in the CCIT building. The new building also involved much security work during the temporary staging area, which included the Sniffy Lab, the computing services lab, and new research laboratories on the fifth floor.

In addition, Mr. Vyas described various work involving the research and laboratory of faculty in Biology, Psychology and Chemical and Physical Sciences. These various projects included the set up of PC labs and networking, field equipment, image processing, camera systems and the establishment of servers for micro array laboratories.

Mr. Vyas reported that much of the work during the summer months involved office moves and set up of equipment in response to the arrival of new faculty. There was also regular repair and maintenance of teaching labs for Biology and Chemistry. For the Master in Management and Professional Accounting (MMPA), micro electronics staff upgraded their podium systems in room K 130 and 132. In addition, in the Athletics area, a new system for scheduling, financial management and team management was installed.

On behalf of Computing Services, Mr. Lim provided members with an update on summer activities. He described many of the projects related to the new CCIT building, including the installation of 8 new computer labs. Containing both PCs and MACs, these computer labs offer a 7-day, 24-hour laboratory environment to students, with some rooms that can be partitioned into two 24-seat areas. In addition, work has been done regarding developing and testing a card system that would enable students to use their T-card to obtain access into different areas of the building during off hours.

Mr. Lim reported that much time was spent on moving labs and faculty offices, for example, the psychology laboratory was moved from the Kaneff Centre to room 1151 in order to make room for faculty office space.

On the topic procurement processes, he reported that UTM is examining its contract with Dell as a tier 1 vendor and submitting a request for proposal (RFP) with the hope of attracting multiple vendors. This RFP will encompass many different devices such as servers, printers, PDAs and laptops. The University of Toronto as a whole is investigating the implementation of a student portal, spearheaded by student services (similar to my MSN or my Yahoo.com) and a learning management system, spearheaded by RCAT, which are web CT and courseware type programs. He added that there would be RFP related to these projects in the near future.

Mr. Lim reported that a new web application has been developed, which allows for electronic submission of assignments and that this program can be access through Computing Services. He added that the application is currently being used by Psychology 100 and computer science courses.

Mr. Lim concluded his report by discussing UTM’s new content management system and noting that Computing Services is working with the Office of Advancement on branding issues and how this might relate to developing a consistent look on all UTM web sites.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s comment about increased spam, Mr. Lim suggested the member contact computing services to have access to a tailored approach using spam filters as part of a learning module.

In response to members’ comments, Mr. Lim noted that the point of contact for computing related problems in the CCIT building is Andrew Wang and for immediate concerns, cited the student help desk in room 0160.

In response to a member’s question, Mr. Lim explained that a new network storage device has been purchased and that the size of email inboxes will be increased by December.

c) Update from the Webmaster on typo3 implementation – Jenny Hu

Ms. Hu reported that the new UTM web site went on line on August 24, 2004 and all primary and secondary web pages have been migrated to the new content management system. UTM has a Web Committee that endorsed the adoption of Typo3. Responsibility is assigned to users: home page is now under the Office of Advancement, so if have any request to post information there, contact Tracy Moniz, Communications officer. Ms. Hu proceeded to list which department or administrative area was responsible for different sections of web pages. She noted that Typo3 training sessions were conducted in July and last week, with a select group of administrative staff attending. Upcoming training notices will be sent out in the near future to all faculty and staff for January sessions.

She proceeded to list converted Typo3 web sites and those currently under development for members.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s question, Ms. Hu explained that the new content management system was not yet available to student groups. She also explained that the headers and footers would remain static, but that work done through the Dreamweaver software could be linked to Typo3 web sites.

She added that users can preview changes to their web sites immediately after making them, but that these changes would be updated each day at midnight. If users need changes to be visible immediately, or to tailor solutions to specific user groups, such as CCIT students, they should contact the web master.

5. Other Business

A member asked whether students would be able to have access to the multiple vendor offerings as a result of the work of the procurement group. Mr. Lim answered that he would report back to the Committee on this issue, but emphasized that the university would ask these vendors to make the same products and services available to all students as well.

In response to a member’s comment about a new storage device and the amount of email space and secure network drive space available, Mr. Lim noted that these issues would be assessed by early December and that he would report back to members of the committee.

A member asked whether the speed of web mail could be increased. Mr. Lim explained that computing staff are working on solutions to this problem and an announcement would be made on this topic in the near future.

6. Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Computing Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, November 24, 2004.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:25 p.m. (S. O’Connell / A. Vyas)

Secretary of Council _______________________ Chair ___________________

November 17, 2004