Report: September 28, 2005

UNVERSITY OF TORONTO AT MISSISSAUGA

Erindale College Council
COMPUTING COMMITTEE

REPORT OF THE COMPUTING COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 at 3:10 p.m., in Room 3138, South Building.

PRESENT: J. Lim (in the Chair), A. Vyas, J. Seel, D. Hill, N. Collins, S. Bancheri, J. Hu, R. deSouza, J. Tran, C. Mejia, J. Sills, Z. Baig
Regrets: R. Beck

1. Adoption of the Agenda

The agenda was approved. (N. Collins/J. Seel)

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting (March 23, 2005)

The report of the previous meeting was approved. (N. Collins/A. Vyas)

3. Business Arising from the Minutes

There was no business arising from the minutes.

4. New Business

a) Updates of summer projects from Computing Services – Joe Lim

Mr. Lim reported that several major projects had been launched by Computing Services during the summer, including the following: hardware upgrades, software projects, upgrading the voice messaging system, extending wireless coverage and introducing a new food services transaction system and a new network policy, with an 8-port switch and extended wiring into labs and offices. He proceeded to provide some details regarding some of these projects.

Regarding hardware upgrades, Mr. Lim reported that the following areas had been upgraded: the web server, the oracle server, the application server, as well as storage and network equipment. Software projects included UTMResource, UTMSubmit (turnitin.com) and a new editor for UTMBlog, a discussion board for courses, which is UTORid enabled and is already being used by computer science and biology courses.

Regarding wireless coverage, he noted that UTM received a matching grant from the St. George campus for its implementation, which is expected to be completed by the end of October in public areas on campus.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s question, Mr. Lim stated that the wireless coverage map for the campus is posted on the computer services web site.

b) Updates of summer projects from Micro-Electronics – Anil Vyas

Mr. Vyas reported that regarding media, the following upgrades were accomplished over the summer.

  • 12 portable notebook carts
  • 4 new classrooms were setup (North 172, 201, 224 & South 1143)
  • Document Camera for the North Building (room 134)
  • Tablet for CCIT
  • Web - Equipment inventory list
  • CCIT rooms (including 1080 & 1140) and other rooms deficiency list

For the MMPA program, maintenance was performed on case room PC’s and K132-130 classrooms.

Mr. Vyas reported that in the teaching labs, electronic instruments were calibrated and in the Athletics area the PC systems for the Fit Stop was reorganized, and the class software was upgraded for all systems.

Regarding work in the research lab, Mr. Vyas reported that a video editing system and booth setup was accomplished in the Human Communication Lab, a new PC setup, networking and image processing was introduced in the lab of Professor Fleming and that a new field testing system was setup for neuropsychological testing in Psychology.

In addition, several new faculty were set up with new PC’s and laptops.

Mr. Vyas concluded his report by noting that work regarding installing security systems was done in the e-gallery area of the CCIT building and research labs.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s request about the installation of a security system for certain research labs, Mr. Vyas undertook to research the problem and report back to the Committee’s next meeting.

c) Update from the Webmaster – Jenny Hu

Ms. Hu reported the following web use statistics:

· 55 public websites on TYPO3
· There are over 100 TYPO3 users
· There were approximately 300,000 views per month for the UTM homepage between Jan – Sept 2005
· According to Alexa web site traffic ranking, the results for the UofT website are as follows: 18% go to utm.utoronto.ca, 15% go to library.utoronto.ca, 12% go to utoronto.ca, 7% go to osie.utoronto.ca, and 4% go to fis.utoronto.ca.
· These same traffic rankings for the UTM web site provide the following top ten UTM web pages for the number of ‘hits’:

1. UTM homepage
2. UTM Library homepage
3. Registrar’s timetable
4. List of Academic Departments
5. Office of Registrar homepage
6. Current Students homepage
7. UTM Course Calendar
8. UTM Library’s Student Portal page
9. Events Calendar
10. Career Centre

Ms. Hu reported that the web server was upgraded over the summer to run on the SAN (Storage Area Network). In addition, she noted that Computing Services reconstructed its web site and will continue to populate the FAQ part of its database.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

A member noted that the home page in the language lab is msn.com and needs to be reset. Mr. Lim undertook to look into this problem.

Another member suggested that the link to the timetable be added into the drop-down menu under “Current Students” because currently it was very difficult to locate. Mr. Lim will flag this to the Student Affairs office.

d) Update from the Library – June Seel

Ms. Seel reported that the influx of new students had impacted computer use in the Library. Although has over 100 computers, lineups still exist. She distributed a report on library technology activities to members of the committee.

She explained that the library’s systems needs have grown and in response to this and in anticipation of future needs for the new Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre, the library hired new systems staff in the spring.

She reported that over the last several months, library services had been enhanced by the following additions:

  • Room Booking Service: online booking service for 11 study rooms, available 7 days a week from 9 until 2:00 a.m.
  • Colour Printer
  • Second Scanner, with capability to scan 11” x 17” format
  • Laptop Loan Service, which has now grown to 9 laptops with funding from SLEF; these laptops circulated over 4000 times during the past year.

Ms. Seel reported that the library’s instructional technology service has not only increased in size but in business over the last few months. In addition, a second instructional technology liaison librarian was hired. They provide one-to-one consultations with faculty, and have noted an increase in requests for information regarding CCNet and UTM Submit. New resource instructions for using CCNet and UTM Submit have been created and are available to students on the web at (http://www.erin.utoronto.ca/~w3itl/resources.html#course (<-- broken link)), and to faculty and staff at (http://www.erin.utoronto.ca/~w3itl/resources2.html#course. For further information regarding Instructional Technology Lunchtime series of workshops upcoming sessions, she directed committee members to http://www.erin.utoronto.ca/~w3itl/lunchtime2.html.

Ms. Seel provided the following information about workshops offered through the Library:

· The UTM Library online workshop registration system with dynamic HTML pages continues to be refined and provides UTM students, faculty and staff with online access to workshop registration.

· Prior to the fall 2005 term, 21 workshops were offered to students, faculty, and staff covering a variety of topics such as: Introduction to UTM Computing Resources, PowerPoint Presentations, Desktop Essentials, Webify Your Documents, Webpage Fundamentals, Webpage Productivity, and Webpage Interactivity.

· Several new workshops have been developed and offered including: Classroom Tech Review (an opportunity for faculty to explore the use of technology options available within the classroom); Typo3 for Course Websites using UTM’s content management system; Using UTM Submit and Turnitin.com for faculty and TAs. A new student workshop entitled ‘UTM Submit, Turnitin, CCNet, and WebCT’, is intended to assist UTM students in learning how to submit papers to UTM Submit and Turnitin, and to use CCNet or WebCT in order to access class resources. Three sessions of this new workshop for students will be held in the UTM Library Lab next week on October 4th from 1 – 2 pm, October 5th from 3 – 4 pm, and October 7th from 10 – 11 am.

· Beginning in the Winter 2006 session, the UTM Library will be preparing for the implementation of a new ‘Workshops-on-Demand’ pilot project.

Ms. Seel concluded her report by noting that along with others at UTM, the Library is exploring the use of a tool developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to measure student ICT (Information and Communication Technology) proficiency.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s question regarding one on one group training sessions, Ms. Seel explained that at these types of classes need at least 5 interested parties and that instruction can be tailored to individual needs in a group study room using wireless computers.

e) UtorId Migration – Joe Lim

Mr. Lim reported that UTM is moving from the current two or more university system identities for faculty, staff and students to a single unique identity, called UTORid, with one userid and one password. It would be used in all centrally provided services such as UTORmail, wireless and UTORSchedule and would possibly pave the way for the introduction of one email address: userid@utoronto.ca. This will be a staged implementation, with first -year students receiving UTORid this year. He explained that UTMid was UTM’s version of the UTORid and was unique to UTM and only provides access to UTM services. So far, the implementation had encountered one problem regarding the use of Novell in student computer labs, which is not compatible with UTORid. The expected completion of this project is the summer of 2006, with periodic reports back to this committee on the project’s progress.

f) Reorganization of Computing Services – Joe Lim

Mr. Lim reported that stemming from discussions that began in 2003, Computing Services had been restructured in order to address its very large and flat structure. With the creation of other IT units, computing services had to identify the key role of this group, making sure that better service would be provided through the inclusion of more experts versus generalists. As a result within Computing Services, three groups have been created as follows:

1) Web technology services
2) Network Services (security, lan administration)
3) Client services (erinconnect, residence net)

Mr. Lim added that a closer link will be established between this group and the Library and the instructional technology services (RCAT). In addition, the group that was called instructional media services will now be reporting to Computing Services.

In addition, Mr. Lim reported that Computing Services has been separated from Micro-Electronics. The new Technology Resource Centre (formerly Micro-Electronics) has a very tight mandate and is responsible for all aspects of instrumentation, the undergraduate laboratory infrastructure, classroom infrastructure and related support services, and security and access control systems – all related to providing resources for instruction. Audio Visual services group has also been moved to this new cluster. Anil Vyas will act as Director of the new Technology Resource Centre and Joe Lim as the Director of Computing Services.

The above transition is expected to be complete by the end of November.

5. Other Business

a) Mr. Lim reported that a committee through the Office of the Provost was investigating the implementation of a Google search application. They have researched a number of search engines and have selected Google, with a plan to implement it by late October. A communiqué about this is planned and will provide information on the necessary guidelines to making sites ‘Google searchable.’ UTM’s web committee will also be discussing this.

b) In response to a member’s question, Mr. Lim explained that the course management software has not been selected as of yet and that the official decision will be made by December.

c) In response to a member’s suggestion, an update report on spam will be added to the next meeting of the committee.

d) In response to a member’s question about upgrading the computer systems in the North Building, Mr. Lim explained that no current plans existed because of space constraints, but that support services existed.

6. Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Computing Committee is scheduled for Wednesday, October 26, 2005.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:31 p.m. (A. Vyas/D. Hill)

Secretary of Council _______________________ Chair ___________________

October 25, 2005