Erindale College Council

REPORT OF THE COMPUTING COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Tuesday, March 23, 2004 3:10 p.m., in Room 3138, South Building.

Erindale College Council

PRESENT: J. Lim (in the Chair), A. Vyas, J. Hu, B. Thompson, F. Montealegre, J. Sills, N. Collins, S. Kibria
REGRETS: P. Donoghue, D. Smith, P. Michelucci, S. Qureshi
In attendance: S. Laughton

1. Adoption of the Agenda

The Agenda was approved (J. Seel / A. Vyas)

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting

The report of the February 24, 2004 meeting was approved. (A. Vyas / N. Collins)

3. Business Arising from the Minutes

a) Computing Services and Micro Electronics Service survey – Anil Vyas

Mr. Vyas distributed a draft copy of a survey to Committee members, which was designed to gather input from the UTM community on the level of service and response times that are expected from the Computing Services and Micro Electronics areas. He explained that this survey is part of an ongoing effort to determine user satisfaction and to continue to tailor services to the needs of users. Mr. Vyas sought the Committee’s feedback on the questions outlined in the web-based survey, before its intended distribution to the UTM community. Survey questions were developed based on the issues of nature of service, overall satisfaction, response times, and service experience. The survey was also designed to gather additional user information including the type of email used, antivirus software used, connection from home, and use of the backup storage device and other services offered by UTM.

Mr. Vyas proceeded to discuss each section of the proposed survey in detail and asked for detailed input from Committee members.

Members made several suggestions, including reducing the length of the survey, introducing a numbered scale for measuring satisfaction levels and making a distinction between response times and problem resolution times. Members also suggested that the survey measure the most recent service experience of users.

In response to a member’s question, Mr. Vyas responded that that the survey is meant to solicit information from faculty and staff.

Mr. Vyas informed members that he would incorporate their suggestions and send them the revised survey for final comment before distribution to the UTM community.

b) Virus and spam update – Joe Lim

Mr. Lim reported that five users remain disconnected from the network for not installing Norton Antivirus software on their computers. He noted that this strategy of disconnecting those without the proper virus protection software seemed to be functioning effectively, producing a high rate of compliance.

He added that Computing Services is focusing on a strategic plan for managing virus and spam attacks. One of the strategies being considered is separate servers for the delivery and receipt of emails, so that no one server performs all of the processing. The plans also call for incorporating an antivirus comb, before emails are relayed to users throughout the UTM community. Mr. Lim noted that these measures are still in the planning stages.

He also reported that Computing Services is in the process of testing the heuristic feature of Spam Assassin, which allows it to learn from users whether a message is spam. He noted that results so far are encouraging and that the software reduces spam messages substantially. He added that the system requires user interaction to train the system on what is and what is not a spam message using approximately 200 email messages per user to do so.

4. New Business

a) Results of the Faculty Needs Assessment Survey – Simone Laughton

Ms. Laughton distributed a summary of the faculty needs assessment survey she conducted during December of 2003 and January of 2004. The survey, consisting of seven questions, was undertaken to learn more about faculty use of technology at UTM and had a 17% participation rate. It found that approximately one third of those who responded do not use technology in their teaching. Regarding courseware technologies, while 13 respondents indicated that they use a course website, WebCT was the most often-cited course management software used. The survey also showed that 34% of the respondents were planning of incorporating some type of technology within their teaching in the near future. Among the most common of these technologies were PowerPoint, 3-D models/simulations, audio and video, WebCT, and, Dreamweaver.

Ms. Laughton commented that although only 35 faculty participated in the survey, the results indicate that a large diversity of technologies are being used.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

Members discussed different ways of soliciting more participation in future surveys of this kind. It was suggested that changing the time of the survey’s distribution to April and sending the survey through the offices of the departmental Chairs, might produce more participation from faculty.

A member commented that some faculty do not use technology because it may not be suitable for their teaching. Mr. Lim commented that a student survey is also in development and has already been submitted to residence dons before its distribution it to the larger student community.

5. Other Business

In response to a member’s comment about recent problems associated logging into credit, Mr. Lim undertook to look into the matter and explained that the St. George campus was recently experiencing serious problems with network switches.

6. Next Meeting

The Chair noted that the Committee would resume its work at the start of the next governance cycle in the Fall of 2004.

The meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.

Secretary of Council___________________Chair__________________________

April 19, 2004