Erindale College Council

MINUTES OF THE COMPUTING COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Tuesday, January 13, 2004 3:10 p.m., in Room 3138, South Building.

Erindale College Council


PRESENT: J. Lim (in the Chair), P. Donoghue, J. Seel, A. Vyas, J. Sills, D. Hill, N. Collins, J. Hu, S. Qureshi, S. Kibria, A. Angulo
REGRETS: B. Thompson, P. Michelucci, C. Capewell
GUEST: Simone Laughton, Instructional Technology Librarian

1. Adoption of the Agenda
The Agenda was approved with minor changes in the order of business. (J. Seel /N. Collins)

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting
The minutes of the November 25, 2003 meeting were approved. (A. Vyas / D. Hill)

3. Business Arising from the Minutes
a) White Paper Planning – Joe Lim

J. Lim asked the Committee to provide input on White Paper planning using the Status of Information Technology at UTM document as a basis for discussion. He specifically asked members to provide input on academic and research computing. In reference to progress in this area, he noted the hiring of an instructional technology librarian, a significant upgrade in backup capacity, and extended UNIX support to platforms other than Solaris.

The Chief Administrative Officer commented that departmental plans should be captured to ensure that planning in the computing and information technology area is compatible with and support forthcoming academic plans. In response to a member’s question about the inclusion of a computing section in the development of departmental plans, the Chief Administrative Officer replied that there is a section on resource implications, which may contain such information. He added that it is important to draw on course specific plans, so that teaching resources can be met. He noted that a line item has now been added in the budget to reflect costs associated with equipment upgrades, for classroom renovations or for teaching support of any kind. With respect to the conventional wisdom of updating equipment over a three-year cycle, he noted that UTM is one cycle behind in this respect.

A member commented that there is a need for internet connection in all classrooms for instruction purposes. J. Lim noted that he would need to identify these classrooms and phase in their upgrade. J. Lim noted that he would consult with the Timetabling Officer on the list of classrooms that need upgrading in order to prioritize this task. The cost for these upgrades is estimated to be $350 per classroom.

A member also suggested that the Vice-Principal, Research also be consulted regarding input into research computing needs.

b) Report from the Instructional Technology Liaison – Simone Laughton

Ms. Simone Laughton distributed a report to members on instructional technology programming at the UTM Library, which outlined her primary responsibilities and ongoing activities. She explained that her task is to assist faculty and researchers in their effective use of information technology; organize, market, and deliver workshops and seminars on topics related to instructional technology; and develop strong working relationships with personnel in the Resource Centre for Academic Technology (RCAT), UTM Computing Services, the Academic Skills Centre, and other groups at UTM.

She noted that RCAT sessions are ongoing at UTM, with a large number of staff attending HTML authoring, Dreamweaver and PowerPoint sessions. She is working with Human Resources to ensure her sessions do not duplicate those of RCAT. She is also in the process of conducting a faculty needs assessment, in order to develop appropriate programs. A lunchtime series on instructional technology has also been developed and will begin in the near future.

The student technology assistant program is also in development and is based on the RCAT model in which students help out in group workshops, making classes run more efficiently. These students also work with faculty on specific projects. Ms. Laughton noted that the program will collaborate closely with RCAT and the Faculty of Information Studies and will use some of their teaching materials.

c) Report on the trouble ticket system – Anil Vyas
A. Vyas presented a detailed report on the Micro Electronics trouble ticket system, showing statistics for the last 30 days, in addition to those since the system’s implementation in January of 2002. In the last 30 days, he reported that of the 96 jobs handled, the average response time was approximately one day and 20 hours, with an average repair time of approximately two hours. Examining the system since its inception, of the total 2963 jobs handled, the average response time was one day and 16 hours, while the average completion time was just over three hours.

A. Vyas pointed out that users send email service requests that are not tracked with the trouble ticket system, because these requests are either informational only or have a rapid turnaround time. As well, infrastructure support and long term projects are not tracked through this system, as it is meant for ‘help desk’ type of issues only and their addition would skew the system results.

The Chair opened the floor to questions from members of the Committee.

In response to a member’s question, A. Vyas noted that there had been a marked improvement over the past year as a result of the increased competency of staff with the trouble ticket system.
Another member asked whether there were common characteristics in the nature of jobs that tended to take a long time to address. A. Vyas explained that equipment electronic repairs had the longest repair times, which may reflect the time needed to order replacement parts. He added that the system also reflects longer response times when staff are asked to return later. In response to a member’s question, A. Vyas confirmed that complaints are tracked.

The Chief Administrative Officer asked the Computing and Micro Electronics departments to produce an overall analysis of the trouble ticket system over the past year and distribute it to community members with the goal of seeking input on how to improve services.

4. New Business
a) Report from the Web Master – Jenny Hu
J. Hu reported that the UTM website requires branding for an effective web presence. Currently, the home page and subsequent pages, including academic and administrative department pages all have a different look and organization. A committee consisting of members from the Development, Alumni and Public Affairs office, the Office of the Registrar, Student Services, Human Resources, the Library and Computing Services are reviewing web guidelines and structures and making strategic web related decisions.

She reported that the introduction of content management software (CMS) is also being explored and once implemented, will allow non-technical users to make webpage updates easily. She also noted that the website should have a standard template for the main UTM website, and departmental and course websites to ensure a consistent look and feel and navigational framework. She reported that the introduction of a portal is also being considered, which would provide a single, user-based point of entry to UTM’s website. She added that Computing Services would welcome input into the portal’s development.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to a member’s question, J. Hu replied that the selection of a content management software would be completed by the end of February. A member asked about the planned look of the website. J. Lim explained that the UTM website, while similar to that of the University of Toronto, would have its own unique image, consistent throughout its web pages. Members stressed that there is a need for a consistent institutional image with some flexibility for departmental pages. J. Lim further noted that content management software would allow individuals to manage web pages based on specific parameters, with individual staff assigned responsibility for a specific web page. The Chief Administrative Officer noted that these changes to departmental websites would be implemented on a gradual basis.

5. Other Business

J. Lim announced that UTM has submitted several proposals to present papers at the Tech_Know_File Conference, taking place at the University of Toronto, from May 11 to 12, 2004. More information on the conference can be obtained on the event’s website, at

6. Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Computing Committee will be on Tuesday, February 24, 2004.

7. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m. (D. Hill / J. Seel)