MINUTES OF THE COMPUTING
AND DATA COMMUNICATIONS COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on
Monday, January 20, 2003 at 3:10 p.m., in Room 3129.
PRESENT: J. Seel (Chair), J. Lim, A. Vyas, I. Murray, P. Michelucci,
N. Collins, J. Sills, S. Qureshi, D. Hill, C. Ferencz Hammond
REGRETS: P. Donoghue, R. Baker, J. Poë, F. Brown/C. Capewell, T.
Mann/K. Nugent, S. Kibria
VISITOR: P. King (Library)
Adoption of the Agenda
The Agenda was approved by all present.
Minutes of the Previous Meeting
The minutes were approved. (N. Collins/I. Murray)
Business Arising from the Minutes
a) Overview of Backup system: Mechanisms Now Utilized and Future Plans–
J. Lim reported that currently Computing Services does the backup
of servers using a tape backup unit, but this has space limitations.
The department is planning to introduce a centralized backup system
for faculty and staff by March of this year, which will be free of
charge. Currently, staff and faculty share storage unit space with
students – the new system will separate these two users. This
system will appear as a network drive on each PC and will be set up
so that faculty and staff can ‘drag and drop’ to back
up data that is on the local hard drive. This system is free of charge
and has a limit of 650 megabytes. This network storage drive should
be accessible over the Internet by the end of the summer.
J. Lim announced that for larger items, in excess of 1 gigabyte, Computing
Services is planning the installation of the Legato system, which
is used by the St. George Campus. Due to software license charges,
there will be a one time only fee of $500 associated with this system.
The planned launch of Legato will be the end of April. Backup will
be automatic and will be done on a nightly, weekly and monthly cycle.
In addition, J. Lim reported that this system requires a minimum number
of users; at present, Computing Services is purchasing 25 licenses,
but in future there is a possibility of partnering with the St. George
Campus on the use of Legato. J. Lim explained to the committee that
because this system would be accessible from the network, it was ideal
for classroom use.
Responding to a query regarding the prohibitive cost of this system,
J. Lim explained that although the UTM community has 650 megabytes
of regular backup availability, many faculty would wish to back up
their entire research files with a system like Legato which has unlimited
b) New Mail Server – J. Lim
J. Lim reported that the switch to a new mail server proceeded with
quite well, with the exception of a few problems with the Pine system.
Responding to a query regarding the difficulty of accessing newsgroups
through the Pine system, J. Lim explained that gaining access through
Netscape has security concerns, due to users having to continually
log out before the next user.
c) Accessibility Issues and the UTM website – D. Hill
D. Hill, UTM webmaster reported on the accessibility or any given
user’s ability to navigate the World Wide Web in general and
more specifically, the UTM website. He gave details of guidelines
that are endorsed by the World Wide Web Consortium (WC3). He described
Priority Three level as being a website that is the most accessible
by all groups, meaning that users are able to control most features
of a website through keyboard strokes. UTM main Web sites are currently
at Level 1.
D. Hill reported that he has developed templates which make the main
page of the UTM website and its Student Services links accessible.
Other connected sites on the UTM website do not as yet have this feature,
however this is planned in the future as work on this project continues.
To validate accessibility, D. Hill used the A-Prompt system, which
enables users to check a website’s accessibility and point to
potential problem areas. He explained that not all UTM sites are accessible
because when a site is updated with new content, it degenerates. P.
King commented that a new provincial law was in the process of being
enacted regarding website accessibility as part of the Disabilities
Act. D. Hill promised to investigate this for the next Committee meeting
and added that he was also working on a text only version of the UTM
website, which would be highly accessible.
At the end of his presentation, D. Hill asked for input from the Committee
on the issue of browsers. He explained that Netscape 4.7 had been
the cause of problems and that his view is that UTM should not limit
itself in its use of a lower browser version. Several committee members
suggested that a message be put on the UTM front page advising users
to download updated browsers for proper site display. D. Hill commented
that this type of display message will be implemented and added that
to be standards compliant, the UTM website should be accessed through
Internet Explorer 5 or Netscape 6.
A member sought advice on several issues from the committee. There
was discussion of the student software “Stella” and it
was recommended that to avoid potential problems, all student passwords
must be synchronized. Regarding a feasibility of a student web directory,
it was suggested that this would be available towards the end of the
summer, 2003. On the subject of the availability of thumbnail photos
of students for classroom use by faculty, it was suggested that perhaps
the new Registrar and Director of Enrolment Management consider this
issue. Finally, the committee was informed about the rash of thefts
of computers and related equipment, and it was suggested that everyone
back up their systems and keep these in a separate, secure area.\
The next meeting of the Computing and Data Communications Committee
will be on Monday, February 24, 2003.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m. (N. Collins / D. Hill)