Erindale College Council

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

Erindale College Council


PRESENT: J. Lim (in the Chair), A. Vyas, D. Hill, J. Hu, B. Thompson, F. Montealegre, P. Michelucci, N. Shams
REGRETS: P. Donoghue, J. Seel, J. Sills, S. Qureshi
In attendance: D. Mesch

1. Adoption of the Agenda
The Agenda was approved (D. Hill / B. Thompson)

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting
The report of the January 13, 2004 meeting was approved. (D. Hill / A. Vyas)

3. Business Arising from the Minutes

There was no business arising from the Minutes.

4. New Business

a) Report on the student residence network – D. Mesch

The Chair called on Ms. Diane Mesch, Erinconnect Administrator to report on the challenges recently faced by the student residence network. Ms. Mesch reported that the network has experienced slow periods and disconnections in recent weeks, which are being attributed to viruses and spam.

Although continuously advocating the use of Norton anti-virus software (NAV), offered free of charge, UTM computing staff have seen no significant change in the software’s utilization, at 160 out of a total of 1019 users. A notice was sent to students advising them of network disconnection if they fail to install the software. As of February 10th, 500 students installed NAV. After issuing a warning, 377 machines were disconnected on February 17. Ms. Mesch noted that as of February 24, 180 remain disconnected from the network, but that the above strategy seems to have encouraged compliance. As well, the Central computing department due to ‘abnormal’ activity on the UTM network is no longer disconnecting the network. She added that students are also being encouraged to install an anti-spy ware system on their machines. Although this type of software is not offered free of charge, the university is investigating this possibility. She noted that spy ware can also pose dangers and must be acquired from a trusted source.

Ms. Mesch announced that effective immediately no machines would be allowed connection to the residence network without UTM’s version of the Norton Anti-Virus Program.

b) Mail and spam – J. Lim

Mr. Lim reported that since the propagation of the “Mydoom” virus, Computing Services has undertaken a number of measures to address the problem. These measures include the blockade of many known viruses so they are not circulated and renaming virus file extensions so that they are not automatically downloaded. He reported that the antivirus gateway is at 80% effectiveness. Computing staff are also in the process of testing a version of spam assassin that allows a user to train the software to recognize the difference between real mail and spam. Implementation of this software is anticipated by the end of March.

c) Survey on Services by Computing Services and Micro Electronics – A. Vyas

Mr. Vyas reported that a survey is being developed to gather input from the UTM community on the types of services and response times that are expected from Computing Services and Micro Electronics. Questions will be targeted at obtaining information about the needs of users and best practices for response. The survey is currently being designed and will be distributed to Committee members for input.

A member suggested investigating the possibility of incorporating an option from the user’s side, which would indicate whether the job was urgent.

d) Computer Lab inventories and the CCIT building – J. Lim

Mr. Lim reported on the planned computing equipment in the Communication, Culture and Information Technology building, scheduled for completion in August of 2004. The building includes a 500-seat, a 150-seat and 2, 75 seat lecture halls, and 6 computer classrooms with 50 seats each featuring both MACs and PCs. There are also several different sized seminar rooms and small classrooms. These classrooms and lecture halls are all wireless and their configuration is suitable for laptop users. There are also other specialized rooms, including multimedia editing suites, sound data and information capture rooms and a dry photo lab, which is used for image production. Faculty and TA class preparation areas will also be equipped with MACs, scanners, and networked printers.

Mr. Lim noted that the CCIT building would add approximately 400 computers for student use to UTM’s existing 300. He added that the main computer centre, room 2045, would be moved to the CCIT building. In addition, all lecture halls and computer classrooms in the CCIT building would be incorporated into central booking through the Office of the Registrar.

Mr. Lim noted that there are ongoing negotiations for the needed computing equipment and software with vendors. Delivery of the equipment is scheduled for the end of July.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s question, Mr. Lim explained that the CCIT building would be open all day, seven days a week, with access to the computer labs being granted through T-cards. Also in response to a member’s query, Mr. Lim stated that room 1158, the computing centre in the Library, and the computing centre associated with the Hitachi Survey Research Centre are staying in the South building. A member asked whether upgrading software was built into the budget. Mr. Lim noted that UTM would be developing a strategy regarding the upgrading of software in its response to the White Paper. As well, there are ongoing negotiations with vendors to allow for a set fee with respect to software updates.

5. Other Business

There was no other business.

6. Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Computing Committee is scheduled for Tuesday, March 23, 2004.

The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

Secretary of Council_____________ Chair________________

March 15, 2004