Erindale College Council

REPORT OF THE COMPUTING COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Tuesday, November 25, 2003 at 3:10 p.m., in Room 3138, South Building

Erindale College Council


PRESENT: J. Seel (Chair), J. Lim, A. Vyas, J. Sills, D. Hill, N. Collins, J. Hu, A. Angulo
REGRETS: P. Donoghue, S. Qureshi, B. Thompson, C. Capewell, R. Beck

1. Adoption of the Agenda
The Chair announced The Agenda was approved. (N. Collins /A. Vyas)

2. Minutes of the Previous Meeting
The minutes of the October 28, 2003 meeting were approved. (N. Collins / J. Lim)

3. Election of new Chair
June Seel announced that she would resign her position as Chair due to her increasing responsibilities as the Library Project Coordinator. She called for the nomination of a new Chair. Mr. Joe Lim was nominated. (A. Vyas / D. Hill) There being no other nominations, Joe Lim was acclaimed as the new Chair of the Computing Committee.

4. Business Arising from the Minutes
The new Chair expressed his thanks to Ms. June Seel for her contributions and leadership as Chair of the Computing Committee for the past nine years.

a) White Paper Planning – Report of the Working Group on the status of current technology at UTM – June Seel

A subgroup of the Computing Committee met to look at the state of technology at UTM to aid in future planning. The group consisted of members from MicroElectronics, Computing Services, Library, Instructional Media Services and the Office of the Registrar. These members examined the Plan 2004 Strategic Planning document to provide a good understanding of the current status of information technology at UTM.

The working group produced a document entitled “The State of Information Technology at UTM.” June Seel summarized each section of the document and received feedback from Committee members. The document is treated as an Appendix to this report.

Under the section of Organization Structure, the Committee discussed coordination between various groups having IT responsibilities. J. Lim stated that Computing Services has regular monthly meetings and that Library staff attend to regular weekly meetings with Computing Services. He added that this group has expanded to incorporate Duncan Hill from the Office of the Registrar and Richard Tychansky from the Hitachi Survey Research Centre.

In the Academic Computing section, the report detailed classroom and computing facilities, local storage availability, web server, web development and email, help desk, instructional technology support for faculty and staff, and video conferencing. It was pointed out that a major change had been the hiring of a timetabling officer and a Web Master. Spam Assassin has also been installed to help eliminate countless spam messages. An Instructional Technology Liaison Librarian has also been made available to assist faculty in determining the best approach practices for courseware development, web development and programming support in general. A fully equipped Technology Centre is planned for the new Library.

Regarding Administrative Computing, the Office of the Registrar has hired a Programmer, Analyst and Web Master to increase the reach and efficiency of the services they offer. J. Seel highlighted the online calendar software developed in conjunction with Computing Services and the time tabling software as two of the major Web developments.

In the Research and Faculty Computing section, the Committee heard that hardware and software upgrades for faculty computers are funded by each department. Regarding Network and Communications, it was reported that each student in residence has immediate access to the Internet. It was discussed that many faculty would like to have access to the course specific software on the Novell server so that they can view what their students see, but faculty offices do not currently have this access. As well, residence students have made limited use of this software because of the configuration needed to meet security concerns.

The report listed various locations where wireless technology is available. It was also reported that Computing Services is taking part in a student laptop purchasing program through the Faculty of Arts & Science. Continuing through the report, J. Seel detailed upgrades and developments in the area of the ERINnet and the Intranet. Some of these highlights include upgrading the network cabling and upgrading the intranet and internet to 100MB. It was also pointed out that due to physical security concerns regarding computers and peripherals, additional security and monitoring equipment has been implemented.

In the Library section of the document, J. Seel outlined the many upgrades in terms of increasing access to the Internet, UofT Web catalogue, UofT electronic resources and the MS Office suite. The Library has also extended hours for computer access. The technology throughout the Library features a scanner for student projects and software and hardware available for students with disabilities. The Library has also redesigned its Web site into portals for students, faculty and staff to make it easier for users to find what they need. Wireless access for laptops has been installed on all levels of the Library and students can use their UTORdial account and library bar code to access this service.

J. Seel stated that she would send out a revised version of the report, incorporating discussion at today’s meeting.

b) Report on the Trouble Ticket system – Joe Lim

J. Lim presented a detailed report on the Computing Services trouble ticket system, showing statistics for the last 30 days, in addition to those since the system’s implementation, on January 7, 2002. In the last 30 days, he reported that of the 113 jobs handled, the average response time was approximately one day, with an average repair time of just over one hour. Examining the system since its inception, of the total 1179 jobs handled, the average response time was just over one day, while the average completion time was approximately 10 hours. J. Lim 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, large 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.

c) Critical Updates Email – Joe Lim
J. Lim reported that as a result of being able to impose critical updates on users directly from the Computing department, it is not necessary to ask users to comply in this regard. It is hoped that these updates will be deployed early in the New Year.

d) Specific recommendations regarding the protection of systems in case of power outage – Anil Vyas

A. Vyas reported that in the Tuzo research wing of the South Building, faculty and staff have emergency power within 10 to 15 seconds of a power outage. This service is available to anyone in this location and can be obtained by contacting the department of Facility Resources. If a 15 second delay is not a feasible option, a user can employ a UPS system at a cost of approximately $200. More information on this system is available from the Computing Department.

5. Other Business

A member suggested that the Library’s Instructional Technology Liaison report to this Committee at its next meeting.

6. Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Computing Committee will be on Tuesday, January 13, 2004.

7. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:40 p.m. (D. Hill / J. Seel)