March 29, 2006


Erindale College

Report of the COMPUTING COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Wednesday, March 29, 2006 at 3:10 p.m. in Room 3138, South Building.

Present: J. Lim (in the Chair), A. Wensley, A. Vyas, C .Mejia, J. Seel, J. Sills, J. Tran, J. Hu, N. Collins
Regrets: R. deSouza, S. Bancheri
In attendance: D. Carson (Computing and Networking Services, UofT), A. Wang, R. Arora

1. Adoption of the Agenda

The agenda was approved. (J. Seel/C. Mejia)

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting (March 1, 2006)

The report of the previous meeting was approved (J. Tran/C. Mejia)

3. New Business

i. Computing Services Survey Results – Jenny Hu, Webmaster

Ms. Hu reported that an online survey was conducted over a period of two weeks, between February 27, and March 10, 2006 to gage the UTM community’s use of computing technology and satisfaction with computing services. Announcements about the survey were sent to the UTM community via the erincomm email mailing list, web site postings, bulletin boards and displays on machines in the computing labs.

Ms. Hu distributed a document that detailed survey results to members; it is attached hereto as Appendix A.

She proceeded to discuss some of the highlights of the survey.

Of the 163 faculty and staff who responded to such questions, 81% used university provided antivirus software, 47% owned a laptop with a wireless card, and 60% did not know about the University of Toronto’s computer program, which is intended to assist faculty, staff and students in purchasing a computer or a laptop. In addition, only 27% used UTORwin, the university’s wireless network and 11% did not know it was provided. The results also showed that a significant percentage of respondents were not planning to purchase new computer applications for their courses (94.5%) or their research (89 %.)

Ms. Hu further noted that the average level of satisfaction with the quality of computing services was very good at 4.1 on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being extremely satisfied.) Similarly, response time to service requests was also rated very well, at 4.0. UTM email and UTORwin were rated at the lowest levels with 3.3 and 3.5 respectively on the same scale.

Ms. Hu proceeded to summarize the student survey. Of the 1015 students who responded to the survey, 81% were residence students. A significant percentage of respondents 70% said that they used their own anti-virus software, while at the same time 39% said that they did not know about the university provided Symantec anti-virus software. A majority of the respondents (84%) did not know about the university’s computer purchase program. Regarding satisfaction levels, respondents rated the wireless network system at 3.6, computing facilities at 3.4 and help desk services at 3.5 (on the same scale as above.)

The results also showed that 84% of respondents used computer labs for academic purposes and that among computer labs, the library computer lab on the lower level and the library NetPCs on the upper level were used most frequently, at 50% and 38% respectively.

Respondents also made some suggestions for improvements including increased wireless coverage, computer lab space and network storage space and faster web mail.

ii. UTORid migration – Andrew Wang, Systems & Security Administrator

Mr. Wang reported that by the end of May students would be migrated to the UTORid system from the UTMid system. This would allow current services offered by the St. George campus to be utilized by local users and it would allow for the use of one password per user. He noted that emails would be moved to a downtown server to accomplish this.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s question, Mr. Wang explained that the login id of a user will change but through an alias system the email would remain the same. He added that phase two of this change would see it implemented for faculty and staff.

iii. Voice Recognition Project - Rishi Arora, LAN Administrator

Mr. Arora reported that a pilot project on a phone directory auto attendant, which is on loan from Bell Canada, would be introduced. The directory, which is referred to as a speech attendant, allows users to call in and access voice recognition by stating the first and last name or the title of the individual being sought. The advantage of such a system is that users do not need to know exact phone number to be directed to the correct mailbox. He added that over time, the system would reduce or eliminate the need for a hardcopy phone book.

Mr. Arora noted that implementation was scheduled for next week and that trials would begin in early April. The test number for this new system could be reached at: 905-569-4455. Initially, the main number of the Office of the Registrar would be forwarded to the speech attendant system for testing, because of the numerous incoming calls received by that office.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s question, Mr. Arora explained that the system would be bilingual, and once a two-month testing phase was successfully completed, it would be implemented throughout the campus.

He further explained that the system could handle 8 calls at one time.

In response to a query about the reasons for introducing such a system, Mr. Arora explained that it mainly stemmed from UTM not having a main contact telephone number similar to the UofT as a whole, in addition to the Office of the Registrar receiving a large volume of calls, which were unrelated to registrarial matters.

In response to a member’s question, Mr. Arora explained that testing feedback will be collected through the system itself and an email address has also been established to receive further comments or complaints.

4. Other Business

There was no other business.

The meeting adjourned at 3:40 (A. Vyas/J. Seel)

Secretary _______________________________ Chair ___________________________________