Minutes: September 24, 2008


Report of the meeting of the COMPUTING COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 3:10 p.m. in the Ante Room, #3129, S.B.

Present: J. Lim (in the Chair), C. Mejia; J. Lim; T. Al-Sarraj; J. Sills; A. Vyas; D. O’Day; J. Hu; S. Senese; A. Akers;

Regrets: A. Wensley

In attendance: D. Kreuger; C. DeMarco

Welcome to members

  1. Minutes of the Previous Meeting (March 26, 2008)
    The minutes of the last meeting was approved as they stand.
  2. Report of officers:

a) Computing Services updates and projects, Joe Lim (CIO)

A client satisfaction survey was conducted over the spring and summer.

Satisfaction of staff, faculty and graduate students with the services offered by Computing Services is very positive. The HelpDesk, however, was noted as slightly problematic, since the level of expertise of the staff there can be inconsistent. Computing Services is establishing a more permanent position there to rectify this. This client group also identified network reliability as an issue.

Undergraduate students had a low satisfaction with printing on campus, and identified a lack of cash-2-card locations on campus. To deal with this, Computing Services has added new cash-2-card locations, and has replaced many printers. Student laptop use continues to grow, so the campus wireless coverage plan needs to be re-examined.

Computing Services has seen some staff changes recently—A. Wang is going to SIS; J. Hu is assuming the Acting Supervisor role; and two new staff have also been added to the system administration team.

Over the summer, there was a network backbone upgrade, and soon the dedicated Sheridan link will be removed and replaced with an 100MB Orion link as a dedicated link to the Medical Sciences Building.

Wireless infrastructure has been redesigned for the library, and is now running well, and wireless has been deployed to the Research Wing. The Graduate student lounge, MMPA lounge & case room are next in line for wireless access points.

Computing Services has begun some green initiatives, working with the Environmental Officer to promote double-sided printing and e-cycling, and internally they are using server virtualization & consolidation to reduce energy consumption.

UofT’s agreement with Bell for telephone service has been extended to 2012. A task force is currently engaged in a review of telecommunication needs in order to formulate a strategy for future directions of voice communication.

The floor was opened up to questions:

  • A member asked about the plans for ‘thin-client’ technology to be introduced to classrooms. Lim responded that it requires less maintenance, and would prevent the need to upgrade hardware as often. Thin-client is just a ‘terminal’ where the processing power is centralized.
  • A member asked about the small e-mail quota, and whether it might be increased soon. Lim explained that when Exchange is introduced, the quota will go up. The new UofT CIO is also investigating ways to increase e-mail storage.
  • A member inquired about e-mail mechanics, as to why some messages take so long to work their way to computers. Lim explained that UTORmail has a tiered delivery system, so e-mails received from list-serves may be delayed, as priority is granted to one-to-one e-mails. Lim also explained that phishing attacks are increasing that take advantage of ‘utoronto’ addresses, which has created issues with G-Mail, Hotmail, Yahoo-mail, etc.

b) Updates to classroom technologies, Anil Vyas

Classroom upgrades were done for 100 rooms across campus (This was Phase II of the upgrade; Phase I was completed last year over the holiday break)

Video-conferencing unit was moved from portables to old library

New CNC Tool Room mill machine for machine shop

There are still rooms in progress in the South Building (classrooms, teaching and research labs)

The floor was opened to questions:

  • A member asked when Kaneff podiums will be connected to ClassNet. Vyas reported that testing will begin in the next few weeks to set up VOIP and network connectivity to the podiums in Kaneff.
  • Another faculty member asked about the challenges with booking A/V equipment. Vyas informed the committee that the on-line booking system was designed a long time ago, and he agreed that it was problematic. He explained that he is looking to set up a new system that complements the room booking system in the registrar’s office.
  • A member remarked that room bookings are done long before equipment needs are known. Vyas responded that he wants to see room listings that include a list of the equipment that is already available in the room.

3. New business

No new business was addressed

4. Next meeting

Members will convene at the next meeting, October 22nd, 2008.

5. Adjournment

Meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.