TAG Meeting Notes 2014-04-09

14 04 2014

TAG Meeting April 9, 2014 12:00pm-1:00pm

Jeremy Brees, Teresa Conte, Paul Cutrufello, Kim Daniloski, Dave Dzurec, Tara Fay, Jim Franceschelli, Eugeniu Grigorescu, Katie Iacocca, Andrew LaZella, Lori Nidoh, Sandy Pesavento, Kristen Yarmey

TAG members thanked Eugeniu and the CTLE for sponsoring lunch for our meeting (and for hosting us!).

1. Brief Reports/Updates

Desire2Learn (Eugeniu)

CTLE and IR will jointly host Desire2Learn Day on April 24, 2014 (more details in all-faculty email). The event will include Open Office Hours with D2L staff, workshops on using blogs, social media, Wiggio, and Panopto with D2L, and a presentation by faculty member George Gomez (Biology) on his experiences piloting D2L in Spring 2014. All faculty are invited. Most of the sessions are walk-in, but please register if you plan to attend the luncheon.

Eugeniu also reminded TAG members that faculty should back up any student data (including grades, discussion forms, and dropbox submissions) in Angel that they wish to keep. Step by step instructions have been emailed out, but CTLE staff will also hold workshops on this during Senior Week for anyone who needs assistance (see CTLE’s workshop calendar for dates/times). Student access to Angel will be turned off as of May 30, but faculty will have access until July 31. After that, data stored in Angel will no longer be available.

Identity Finder automated scans (Kristen)

Kristen has been working with Adam Edwards and Scott Finlon in Information Security to answer faculty questions about Identity Finder automated scans. Kristen wrote up an Identity Finder FAQ that she will update after getting final confirmation on a few questions from Information Security.  Kim mentioned that her department also had questions about performance and scheduling. Kristen will accompany Dave to the next Faculty Senate meeting to invite further questions or concerns.

WordPress (Kristen)

Following the discussion of WordPress at our March TAG meeting, Kristen and Dave met with Interim CIO Robyn Dickinson and Jim Franceschelli for a TAG update. Robyn and Jim explained some of the time constraints on IR staff members. TAG, the Library, and CTLE will continue to work with IR on this question. In the meantime, a faculty request for a WordPress blog was approved (thank you!). Jim said that WordPress was not yet an option in the Technology Support Center’s Footprints Service Catalog (tsc.scranton.edu), but he will follow up on this.

PR Department/Program Website Initiative (Dave, Teresa, Sandy, and Lori)

TAG members Dave, Sandy, and Teresa attended a meeting of the Committee on University Image and Promotion (CUIP) on March 17 to discuss PR’s department and program website initiative (see Teresa’s notes from that meeting, with additional comments from Dave).

Vendor Converge Consulting has been hired to assist in the preparation of content of about 50 program and department web pages, selected at that meeting. (See PR’s project announcement letter for a full update and list of departments/programs.) Each program/department has been asked to identify a representative who will meet with Converge during their campus visit on April 23-24. Lori noted that as of April 9, all but 2 representative slots had been filled. Dave emphasized that departments and programs will still have ultimate control over the content on these academic pages.

2. Items for Discussion

TAG Communication with Deans (Dave and Kristen)

At the invitation of Dean of the Library and Information Fluency Charles Kratz, Dave and Kristen met with members of the Provosts’ Advisory Board on April 3 to follow up on recent discussions of WordPress (the Interim Provost herself was not present due to the Kane Competition). Charles proposed that formal lines of communication be established between the Deans and TAG, to keep the Deans informed about academic technology issues. The other Deans in attendance (Conniff, Mensah, and Welch) agreed, noting that they would like to be better prepared for meetings about academic technology with an understanding how the technology could impact their colleges. Charles suggested that TAG meet once a semester with the Provosts’ Advisory Board for information-sharing.

Kristen and Dave shared this proposal with TAG members, with no voiced opposition. Kristen further proposed that TAG invite the Deans to contact a TAG member from their college to accompany them at meetings about academic technology in the future. TAG members agreed; Kristen will pass this invitation back to the Provosts’ Advisory Board.

TAG Membership and Leadership for 2014-2015 (Dave and Kristen)

As previously discussed, Kristen will step down as TAG co-chair at the end of the semester. Teresa Conte (Nursing) volunteered to serve in this slot (thank you!). There were no other candidates, so Teresa will start a two-year term as TAG co-chair in Fall 2014. Kristen will work with Teresa during the Summer to ensure a smooth transition. Dave will continue as co-chair in Fall 2014, and Andrew LaZella (Philosophy) will serve in Spring 2015 while Dave is on sabbatical.

Kristen asked TAG members to let her know if they do not plan to serve in 2014-2015. She also invited new members to join if interested.

Kristen and Dave will nominate Paul Cutrufello (Exercise Science) to serve as TAG’s Senate liaison for 2014-2015.

3. New Business

Royal News feedback (Lori)

PR is seeking feedback on Royal News, the weekly email/web newsletter for University students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. Lori asked TAG how best to solicit feedback from faculty. TAG members suggested coordinating a focus group with the Provost’s Office (perhaps as a Brown Bag session) as well as offering an online survey. Several TAG members noted that they liked Royal News and had no complaints or concerns. If PR puts out an online survey, Kristen will post it to the TAG site. Any faculty members who wish to share thoughts or comments (or participate in a focus group) on Royal News are encouraged to email royalnews@scranton.edu.

Heartbleed (Kristen)

Kristen shared Information Security’s update and recommendations regarding Heartbleed, a major OpenSSL vulnerability that has affected user privacy and security on many websites. The University’s main authentication service (CAS) was not vulnerable to this issue, and other servers and campus services are now all up to date. Information Security recommends, however, that users change their passwords for Internet sites and (especially if you reuse passwords) for my.scranton. Jim warned against reusing passwords and recommended KeePass as a password management tool.

IT Services Updates (Jim)

Jim provided a few brief updates on IT Services projects relevant to faculty:

  • Windows XP — IT Services aims to have all faculty desktop machines upgraded to Windows 7 before the end of the Spring semester. However, some faculty members aren’t returning calls to schedule and update. Kristen asked TAG members to remind their colleagues to respond to IT Services scheduling efforts.
  • Royal Cards — Old Royal Cards will expire on May 1, but there are still many faculty who have not gotten updated cards. TAG members will remind their colleagues to visit the Technology Support Center before the end of April to avoid being locked out of buildings, etc.
  • Internet Explorer 10 will be pushed out via KBOX before the end of the semester (upgrading from IE 8). Chrome and Firefox installations are currently up to date.
  • Java 7 has now been approved. Jim encouraged faculty to complete these updates in order to avoid security vulnerabilities or software incompatibility.
  • Funding for a campus-wide license for Panopto (a hosted lecture capture service) has been approved! IT Services is working with CTLE to integrate Panopto with Desire2Learn. TAG will work with IT Services in 2014-2015 to expand the availability of the service on campus. Kristen suggested that if IT Services knows approximately how much it will cost to add Panopto to a classroom, perhaps faculty members could apply for CTLE Technology Grants (or other funding) to speed implementation in their building/college.

As a follow-up question, Teresa asked Jim if student photographs could be integrated into Desire2Learn (for class rosters, seating charts, etc). Jim promised to look into this request.  [Post-meeting update from Jim (via email): “Unfortunately, I’ve been told this isn’t possible…  D2L does not have a provision to include photos in an automated upload from Banner. The D2L informed us that there was no way to do a bulk load of photos into D2L.  The only way to upload a photo into a student’s profile is for the student to upload it themselves. D2L is coming to campus later this month.  It might be a good question to broach to them… maybe we can get it on D2L’s development list.”]

4. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 1:00pm. TAG’s final meeting for Spring 2014 will be Wednesday, May 7 from 12pm-1pm in WML305. Network Engineer Calvin Krzywiec will join us to discuss IR’s drafted strategy for accommodating the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend. Lunch will be provided (thanks to Library Dean Charles Kratz).

Back Up Angel Student Data

14 04 2014

TAG and CTLE would like to remind faculty members to back up student data (including grades, discussion forums, and dropbox submissions) for their ANGEL courses by May 31, 2014.

Here are step-by-step instructions from CTLE/IR (as emailed to all faculty on 2014-03-31):

As mentioned in previous emails, course content from ANGEL copies over to D2L. However, ANGEL student data does not. We suggest that you backup all grade book, discussion, and dropbox submission data prior to May 31, 2014. There will be several workshops during the week of May 26 [see calendar] to help you backup your ANGEL student data.

Back up student grades:

  • Navigate to the ANGEL Manage tab of each course,
  • Gradebook => Overall Report => Save as PDF or,
  • Gradebook => Export Grades to save as a comma delimited file.

Back up discussion forums:

  • Navigate to the ANGEL Communicate tab of each course,
  • Click on a forum,
  • Select Nested View in drop down menu next to New Post,
  • Click [+] in front of Post Title to turn it into [-],
  • Click the printer icon at top right,
  • Select a pdf printer to save your discussion forum in pdf format.

Back up dropbox submissions:

  • Navigate to the ANGEL Lessons tab of each course,
  • Locate a droppbox,
  • Mouse over the dropbox title and click Submissions,
  • Click on Download Submissions,
  • Select All Submissions from the drop down menu,
  • Click Download to save a zip folder to your computer.

As always, the CTLE and ITDA will be available to help make this transition as smooth as possible. Please do not hesitate to call upon us at any time.

ANGEL to Desire2Learn Transition Update

29 11 2013

All-faculty email sent out by CTLE on 2013-11-26:

Dear Faculty,

The conversion of ANGEL courses to Desire2Learn (D2L) will take place in 2 stages next month.

On December 10, 2013 courses from the following semesters/terms will be converted:

  • Fall 2011
  • Special Fall 2011
  • Intersession 2012
  • Spring 2012
  • Special Spring 2012
  • Summer 2012
  • Special Summer 2012

On December 19, 2013 courses from the following semesters/terms will be converted:

  • Fall 2012
  • Special Fall 2012
  • Intersession 2013
  • Spring 2013
  • Special Spring 2013
  • Summer 2013
  • Special Summer 2013
  • Fall 2013
  • Special Fall 2013

Suggestions for Conversion
The conversion tool is robust and performs well; it transfers all course content from ANGEL to D2L. However, in order to ease the transition from ANGEL to D2L, we suggest that you perform the following steps in your ANGEL courses prior to the conversion dates:

  • Nest all content in folders under the lessons tab,
  • Save all of your original syllabus files in .doc and .pdf,
  • Eliminate any unnecessary syllabus files from syllabus files area. D2L will migrate any file in the ANGEL syllabus files area with the word syllabus in it,
  • Label all content explicitly,
  • Save subtitles in content items in a text document OR move to the Description area for each content item. Content item subtitles will not migrate over to D2L,
  • Move/copy all LOR content back to the course.

Student Data
Course content from ANGEL will copy over to D2L. However, ANGEL student data will not. We suggest that you backup all grade book, discussion, and dropbox submission data prior to May 31, 2014.

Back up student grades:

  • Navigate to the ANGEL Manage tab of each course,
  • Gradebook => Overall Report => Save as PDF or,
  • Gradebook => Export Grades to save as a comma delimited file.

Back up discussion forums:

  • Navigate to the ANGEL Communicate tab of each course,
  • Click on a forum,
  • Select Nested View in drop down menu next to New Post,
  • Click [+] in front of Post Title to turn it into [-],
  • Click the printer icon at top right,
  • Select a pdf printer to save your discussion forum in pdf format.

Back up dropbox submissions:

  • Navigate to the ANGEL Lessons tab of each course,
  • Locate a droppbox,
  • Mouse over the dropbox title and click Submissions,
  • Click on Download Submissions,
  • Select All Submissions from the drop down menu,
  • Click Download to save a zip folder to your computer.

Desire2Learn Workshops
The CTLE will offer numerous workshops in January 2014 to prepare you for the switch to D2L. There will be 2 types of offerings: training hands-on sessions and open migration workshops. The hands-on sessions will cover basic functionality of D2L as well as the grade book, discussion forums, and assessments. The open migration workshops will provide one-on-one assistance in adjusting the converted content from ANGEL into D2L. The workshop schedule is available online.

As always, the CTLE and ITDA will be available to help make this transition as smooth as possible. Please do not hesitate to call upon us at any time.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Best regards,
Connie Wisdo, ITDA
Eugeniu Grigorescu, CTLE

Desire2Learn Conversion Plan

10 10 2013

Reposting from email to all faculty, sent by CTLE Director Eugeniu Grigorescu on 2013-10-10:

Dear Faculty,

After an extensive and in-depth evaluation process by the Learning Management System Evaluation Working Group, the University has chosen Desire2Learn (D2L) as its next Learning Management System (LMS). An email from Dr. Harold Baillie and Dr. Jerry DeSanto regarding this decision was sent on July 1, 2013.

The Evaluation Working Group consisted of faculty members recommended by the Technology Advisory Group (TAG), undergraduate and graduate students, and staff members from several campus departments who will be supporting the new LMS.

D2L will be available for the Spring 2014 semester. ANGEL will be available until May 31, 2014. During the Spring 2014 semester, ANGEL and D2L will run in parallel. You will have the option to choose which system you want to use next spring.

The Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence (CTLE) and the IT Development and Applications (ITDA) are working with a group of pilot faculty this semester to optimize the migration process and prepare “best practices” for teaching and learning in D2L.

Course Conversion – ANGEL to D2L
Over the next 2 months, ANGEL courses will be converted/migrated to D2L. Existing ANGEL courses from fall 2011 through summer 2013 will be converted automatically. Moreover, you will be able to request conversion of additional courses via an online form. The form will be available in early January 2014. The form’s availability will be announced via email.

Access to D2L
D2L will be available for faculty access on Monday, January 6, 2014. At that time, you will be able to view all of your converted courses from ANGEL.

Teaching with D2L
During spring 2014, you may use either ANGEL or D2L, but not both. If you decide to use D2L, you must complete an online form to opt in to teach all of your courses in D2L. The form and instructions will be available in early January. The form’s availability will be announced via email. The deadline to commit to using D2L for Spring 2014 is Friday, January 17, 2014.

In spring 2014, the only courses accessible by students in D2L will be those that you committed (opted in) to teach using D2L.

D2L Showcase
The CTLE will be hosting showcases of the D2L features on Monday, November 11 (3:00 – 4:00 pm) and Tuesday, November 12 (4:00 – 5:00 pm). Both presentations will be in Brennan 228.

D2L Workshops
The CTLE will offer numerous workshops in January 2014 to prepare you for the switch to D2L. There will be 2 types of offerings: training hands-on sessions and open migration workshops. The hands-on sessions will cover basic functionality of D2L as well as the grade book, discussion forums, and assessments. The open migration workshops will provide one-on-one assistance in adjusting the converted content from ANGEL into D2L. The workshop schedule will be announced via email in mid November.

D2L Links

As always, the CTLE and ITDA will be available to help make this transition as smooth as possible. Please do not hesitate to call upon us at any time.

Best regards,
Connie Wisdo, ITDA
Eugeniu Grigorescu, CTLE

IT Matters Fall 2013

3 10 2013

The Fall 2013 issue of IT Matters is out. Highlights for faculty members:

  • Plans for the transition from Angel to Desire2Learn (p. 1, 11)
  • Wireless in outdoor spaces (p. 2)
  • CIO Jerry DeSanto on budget concerns and the BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – strategy (p. 3)
  • Thin client computers in computer labs (p. 4)
  • Windows XP end-of-life (p. 4)
  • R Number logins for desktop computers (p. 4)
  • Office 365 (p. 5)
  • IR Project Pipeline (p. 8)
  • Panopto lecture capture pilot (p. 12)
  • Classroom upgrades (p. 12)

TAG Meeting Notes 2013-10-02

3 10 2013

TAG Meeting October 2, 2013 2:00pm-2:50pm


Jeremy Brees, Tim Cannon, Kim Daniloski, Dave Dzurec, Tara Fay, Jim Franceschelli, Eugeniu Grigorescu, Andrew LaZella, Sandy Pesavento, Kristen Yarmey

Mary Goldschmidt, newly appointed Faculty Development Specialist in CTLE, sat in on our meeting to introduce herself to TAG members and gain familiarity with TAG-related projects.

1. Brief Reports

Desire2Learn (Eugeniu)

Staff members in CTLE and ITDA continue to develop an implementation plan for our switch from Angel to Desire2Learn. More details are forthcoming, but here’s what we know so far:

  • Desire2Learn will be in place in January and available for Spring 2014 teaching
  • By default, 2 years’ worth of past courses will be converted from Angel to Desire2Learn (academic years 2011-2012, 2012-2013). Faculty will be able to request that older courses be converted (e.g., if you’ve used Angel to teach a course that only runs every three years).
  • Desire2Learn support staff will do training for on campus trainers and administrators.
  • In mid-November, there will be 2 introduction sessions for faculty.
  • CTLE will be working with a few faculty members to pilot courses. (Eugeniu will let us know who.)
  • Angel will be “turned off” in May 2014 (that is, it won’t be available for teaching), but it will still be available for content retrieval until September 2014.

Let TAG know if you have questions or requests related to the LMS transition and we’ll pass them along to CTLE and ITDA.

Identity Finder (Kristen)

At our September 2013 meeting, TAG members volunteered to serve as pilot participants for faculty implementation of automated Identity Finder scans (prior to full rollout). Automated scans were to begin at noon on Friday, September 19. TAG members reported no indication that scans had taken place, but Jim explained that users are not necessarily notified by the Identity Finder application when a scan is running and that users cannot see their own scan results. Kristen will contact Adam Edwards in Information Security for clarification on this point.

Kristen continues to work with Adam on preventing Identity Finder scans of confidential human subject research data or client files. Adam met with Joe Dreisbach and University Counsel Rob Farrell for additional discussions about managing sensitive research data. Adam reported that Joe would meet with the IRB.

Automated scans do not apply to faculty members using Mac or Linux machines.

Active Directory – R Number Log in (Jim)

On September 25, Kristen and Dave met with Jim, Jerry DeSanto (VP of Planning and CIO), Robyn Dickinson (AVP of Planning and Information Management), and Lorraine Mancuso (Director of Project Management) to discuss IR’s current and planned projects for this academic year. There were three major projects of particular interest to or impact on faculty: implementation of Active Directory log-in for faculty desktops, phasing out of Windows XP, and a new lecture capture pilot.

Jim reviewed IR’s plan for converting faculty desktop PCs to Active Directory login – which on the user side essentially means that we will log into our desktops using our R numbers, as we do for lab or classroom computers. The conversion just began and will roll out over campus through the rest of Fall 2013, scheduled by department. Users will get email notifications one week prior to their scheduled conversion, as well as an email reminder the day before conversion that will include instructions. Triage teams of IR staff members will be available to assist users.

This change will only apply to Windows PCs (XP and Windows 7). The change does not apply to Macs, laptops, or tablets. Connections to networked printers, copiers, etc will be maintained.

Faculty members in Psychology were scheduled for the first rollout (with IR staff, since they are all in AMH) on September 30, but an unexpected issue delayed the conversion. Tim reported that this was confusing for users who tried to log in with their R numbers as they had been instructed to do and were not able to access their machines.

Windows XP End of Life (Jim)

Microsoft is discontinuing support for Windows XP in April 2014. There are about 1,000 XP machines on campus at this time – about 400 of them in Academic Affairs (including faculty but also adjuncts, academic staff, etc). IR plans to update all remaining XP machines to Windows 7, though not all of them will be completed by April 2014. For faculty desktops with XP, the conversion will involve downtime. Jim said that conversions are being scheduled with the academic calendar in mind, and once the schedule is released, faculty will be able to request alternative dates for conversion if the assigned date conflicts with teaching or research. Training on Windows 7 is available from Jack Williams.

Lecture Capture (Jim)

Last year, MediaSite lecture capture systems were installed in two rooms in LSC. TAG members Jeremy Sepinsky and Tara Fay were among the faculty who piloted the technology. This year, there was increased demand for lecture capture in LSC, but it was not feasible for IR to install MediaSite in additional classrooms, since each MediaSite installation requires its own, local server.

This year, faculty in Nursing and Counseling are piloting a different, cloud-based tool for lecture capture – Panopto. Feedback so far is positive, and installation is much easier and faster. At the end of the semester, IR will seek feedback from the pilot faculty to decide how to extend lecture capture services on campus.  TAG member Sandy Pesavento will keep tabs on faculty feedback. Kristen suggested that CTLE arrange a Faculty-to-Faculty workshop or demonstration for Panopto.

Angel Support (Dave)

The Faculty Senate executive committee reported concerns from at least one faculty member about the availability of support for Angel during off hours (nights and weekends). Jim said that faculty can contact the Technology Support Center over the weekend (9am-5pm Saturday, 12pm-10pm Sunday) for support. On Saturdays, students work the TSC but can escalate a major issue to staff. On Sundays, a staff member is present.

3. Items for Discussion

Budget Priorities – Software and Labs

IR administrators are preparing contingency plans should budget cuts be required for the future. Two areas that may be at risk for cuts are specialized software licenses and computer labs. In order to minimize the impact on teaching and research, IR needs information from faculty about what is most important to us. Dave and Kristen would like TAG to gather faculty feedback in October and November that can be submitted to IR in time for discussions in December. Several points from our discussion:

  • There was general agreement that a survey would be more effective than a faculty forum. We also agreed that we would need to work through department chairs, Faculty Senate, etc to encourage responses. We could especially focus efforts on departments that we know rely heavily on specialized software and labs.
  • Jim will provide a list of specialized software and computer labs currently available. For software, Sandy asked if the list could include prices to give faculty a better understanding of which licenses are most costly. Kristen suggested that we could break the list into pricing ranges or levels if actual costs cannot be shared. Dave suggested that a financial incentive could be explored — for example, the Library’s acquisitions budget is allocated to departments, which then can use that funding for databases, journals, and books.
  • We need to understand how specialized software is used — e.g., whether a faculty member needs one license for his/her research, a handful of licenses for his/her lab, or lots of licenses since the software is a required part of a course.
  • We would also like to understand if faculty would consider alternative software options. For example, Tim suggested that we push faculty and students towards R rather than using SPSS, which is extremely expensive.
  • The Library’s Learning Commons initiative will include providing specialized software at dedicated machines (possibly reservable), so the Library may be able to cushion some of the impact of cuts. Kristen and Jim will work with Learning Commons Coordinator Sheli McHugh to coordinate and share feedback from the faculty survey, such that the Library can anticipate new faculty and student needs.

Kristen will email all TAG members to ask for volunteers (at least one from each college – either a TAG member or another interested faculty member) to assist with developing and disseminating a survey (ideally by the end of the month). Please contact her with suggestions or concerns.


The meeting adjourned at 3:00pm. TAG will reconvene on Wednesday, November 6 at 2:00pm in WML305 (Library instruction classroom).

TAG Meeting Notes – 2013-09-04

5 09 2013

TAG Meeting September 4, 2013 2:00pm-2:50pm


Jeremy Brees, Tim Cannon, Paul Cutrufello, Kim Daniloski, Dave Dzurec, Tara Fay, Jim Franceschelli, Eugeniu Grigorescu, Andrew LaZella, Sandy Pesavento, Kristen Yarmey

1. Introductions

We introduced two new TAG members for this year: Dr. Andrew LaZella (Philosophy, CAS) and Jeremy Brees (Management and Marketing, KSOM). We’re still hoping to recruit an additional faculty representative from PCPS – please let us know if you have any suggestions!

2. Brief Reports

LMS Group (Tara)

The Learning Management System Working Group recommended at the end of Spring 2013 that we switch from Angel to Desire2Learn (see full report for details). TAG members Tara Fay (Biology), Sandy Pesavento (Education), and Teresa Conte (Nursing) all served on the LMS Group, along with fellow faculty members Maureen Carroll (Math) and Julie Nastasi (OT).

The University has since signed on with Desire2Learn. As VP for Planning and CIO Jerry DeSanto announced in July, Desire2Learn will be available for use in Spring 2014, and Angel will be available until June 1, 2014 (so D2L and Angel will run in parallel in Spring 2014).

Staff members in CTLE and ITDA have been working on an implementation plan. We’ve been asked not to share details yet, since the plan hasn’t been finalized, but the LMS Group will be presenting their plans to the Faculty Senate and Deans Conference in the very near future. We’ll post a conversion schedule here when there’s more information available.

Eugeniu noted that CTLE plans to do some pilot course conversions with several faculty members early on in the process – particularly faculty members whose Angel courses have a lot of specialized content.  (Tara has already volunteered to be one of the pilot participants.) There will be trainings and demonstrations available for faculty.  Let TAG know if you have questions or requests related to the LMS transition and we’ll pass them along to CTLE and ITDA.

Website Proposal Group (Dave)

Dave, Jeremy S., Kristen, and Katie met with Hal Baillie, Jerry DeSanto, Gerry Zaboski, and Vince Carilli in May to discuss the Website Maintenance Proposal that members of TAG drafted last year as a solution for the complex issue of maintaining and updating departmental websites. All parties generally agreed that maintaining departmental websites is a serious issue affecting recruitment of students and faculty, but unfortunately a new position (full time or part time) is not an option. TAG will table this issue unless we come up with other options to explore.

On a related note, during the switch to the new responsive design for the University website this summer, some departments were prepared for the conversion and had sized images uploaded in time, but others did not.

Acceptable Use Policy (Dave)

The Acceptable Use Policy drafts are moving forward and will go to the University Governance Council and the Faculty and Staff Senates this semester.

Identity Finder (Kristen)

At our April 2013 meeting, IT Services Director Jim Franceschelli and Information Security Director Adam Edwards brought a proposal for Identity Finder Automated Scans to TAG for faculty feedback. TAG shared two main concerns from faculty:

1) Decreased performance of computers during Identity Finder Scans — Adam had explained that the automated scans would be implemented with IT staff members first, so that he’d be able to smooth out the process before implementing with faculty. Jim noted that the staff rollout had gone smoothly and IT Services had not received any complaints about decreased performance. The *first* Identity Finder scan tends to take the longest, but subsequent scans are quick.

2) IRB data – concerns that Identity Finder scans of machines storing human research subject data or client files would breach subject confidentiality. We were working over the summer on preparing recommendations for faculty members who store IRB data on how to encrypt and password protect their data folders, such that the data would be protected from Identity Finder scans but (perhaps more importantly) also from external malicious attacks. Kristen will check in with Adam to find out the status of the recommendations.

All TAG members in attendance volunteered to serve as pilot participants for faculty implementation of Identity Finder prior to full rollout.

Jim recommended that faculty members run their own Identity Finders scans ASAP due to the increase in malicious attacks on campus computers — IT Services can clean and return faculty desktops much more quickly if a recent Identity Finder scan has confirmed the absence of confidential or sensitive data.

Information Resources Advisory Council (Kristen)

IRAC will meet twice this academic year, in October and March. TAG normally sends two faculty representatives to IRAC meetings. Paul Cutrufello volunteered to continue serving on IRAC this year. Andrew LaZella volunteered to serve as the second representative depending on the schedule for IRAC meetings. Kristen will contact Robyn Dickinson for IRAC meeting dates.

3. Items for Discussion

University Website Changes (Kristen)

During the summer, there were several major changes to the University’s web presence. Kristen opened the floor for feedback or comments on these transitions:

  • Academic server (academic.scranton.edu) decommissioning — Kristen worked with Adam Edwards in Information Security to reach out to faculty members who still had content on academic. CTLE offered support for faculty who needed help moving their content, generally recommending that faculty members use existing templates in the University’s content management system (CMS). While the transition seemed to go smoothly, there is still a need for a place or host for faculty and student web development. At least one faculty member had needs that could not be fulfilled in the CMS.
  • Responsive redesign of www.scranton.edu — There are several reports of templates not quite making a smooth transition – e.g., Faculty/Staff pages like the History Department’s, dropdown links on the Provost’s website, etc.
  • m.scranton.edu takedown — The Library had issues with this, but TAG members hadn’t heard any other concerns. [Update 2014-02-12: Lori Nidoh in PR clarified that m.scranton.edu had not been taken down. Instead, automatic redirects had been implemented.]
  • my.scranton.edu (Luminis) upgrade — TAG members reported several ways in which the new interface unintuitive. Student schedules are difficult (for students) to find, as are the Faculty/Staff directory, class rosters, and course evaluations. However, TAG members agreed that by now most people have figured out where links are, so we don’t want to request changes to the Faculty Tab at this point.

WordPress (Kristen)

The University set up a local WordPress network in late 2011. It now hosts admissions blogs, the Library blog, and the History Department blog. IR staff members had indicated that they were working on developing guidelines for how the WordPress network could be used and creating a process through which sites on the network could be requested.

In the meantime, several faculty members have requested WordPress sites for other uses – internal collaboration, classroom use, etc.  To date, while internal collaboration requests have been accommodated, IR has denied requests for classroom use. Jim explained that IR is working on determining what level of support they can provide. For example, while supporting one faculty member’s WordPress site would not be time intensive, supporting 30-40 classroom sites would be an issue — whose job does this become? There are also other issues IR wants to consider before providing class-based WordPress support – e.g., archiving student work, providing access and security, etc.  IR’s preference would be to provide support for classroom blogs via Desire2Learn once we convert over from Angel. Kristen asked Eugeniu if one of the D2L faculty pilots could include a blogging feature so that faculty members can see what blogging features are or aren’t available in D2L.

IR staff members are meeting to discuss the WordPress service in a few weeks. Kristen asked if faculty members can participate in this conversation, and Jim said that he will let TAG know when faculty input is needed. TAG will expect to see drafted language on service levels for WordPress at our November meeting, in the hopes that the service may be available for use in Spring 2014.

TAG Senate Status (Dave)

Dave (as TAG’s Faculty Senate liaison) reported that Senate president Rebecca Mikesell would like to propose that TAG become a full Senate Committee, (possibly called the Technology Advisory Committee). The membership criteria would be the same as we discussed last year for TAG as a subcommittee of the Academic Support committee — that is, flexible membership aiming for representation from CAS, PCPS, KSOM, and the Library, with at least one faculty Senator, who will serve as TAG’s liaison to the Senate. Dave noted that if TAG is a full Senate committee, TAG’s Senate liaison will serve on the Senate Executive committee.

TAG members had no objections to the proposal, which will likely be brought up for a vote at the September 13 Senate meeting.

4. New Business

Jim gave us some quick updates on changes that will affect or interest faculty:

  • Desktop computer logins — by the end of 2013, logins for desktop computers will change to the user’s R number and my.scranton password – so users will not have to remember a separate desktop password. This is part of the continued implementation of Active Directory authentication.
  • Google Chrome browser — IR will begin providing Google Chrome to University computers via KBOX. There are still some details to be worked out on this – Jim will let us know when it will happen and what will happen for users who already have Chrome installed.
  • Office 365 — We converted to Office 365 from Live@Edu over the summer. We’ve already benefited from increased email storage space and access to “lite” cloud versions of Office software. We will see a few new features later this fall, including Lync instant messaging and SharePoint collaboration software.

Kristen and Dave will meet with Jerry DeSanto, Robyn Dickinson, Lorraine Mancuso, and Jim on September 25 for a full “road map” discussion of what’s coming this year from IR for faculty.

The meeting adjourned at 2:50pm – TAG will reconvene on Wednesday, October 2 at 2:00pm in LSC591 (CTLE Conference Room).

Angel – Issues with Firefox 23 and IE 10

28 08 2013

One of our faculty members (thank you!) gave us a heads up about some issues that come up if you’re using Firefox 23 or IE 10 to work in Angel. Here’s a Penn State post about the issue:

Recent updates in Firefox 23 and Internet Explorer 10 now block mixed content by default, resulting in some content in ANGEL appearing as a broken link or not appearing at all. Many users do not notice this default setting change at the time of the update and this can result in possible confusion during their ANGEL experience. More information about this, along with a description for mixed content, can be found at https://wiki.mozilla.org/Security/Features/Mixed_Content_Blocker.

This issue is not specific to ANGEL and is browser-based. Currently, there are reports on the Mozilla bug tracking site (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/buglist.cgi?quicksearch=mixed+content) for the New York Times, ESPN, and Flickr, just to name a few websites.

Internet Explorer 10 blocks non-secure content and is set to prompt a user by default. This option allows the user to permit that content providing that he/she knows and trusts the source. For details, see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2625928.

As a work-around in ANGEL, instructors and instructional designers can edit “link” content item titles to include HTML, which will launch the links in a separate browser window outside of ANGEL. For more details and step-by-step instructions, see http://kb.its.psu.edu/cms/article/562.

Eugeniu and Brian over in CTLE did some troubleshooting (thank you!) and verified the PSU reports – here’s their summary and recommendation for Scranton faculty (emphasis mine):

We have verified that version 23 is indeed the problem. Firefox 23 provides no warning or prompt for the user to be able to open the mixed content.  We have also verified that this effects links to external sites in ANGEL content items. However, these links work perfectly well in Google Chrome, IE versions prior to 10 and FF versions prior to 23.
This is not an ANGEL problem.

We will advise faculty who call here, for the time being, to use Google Chrome.

Please spread the word!

Announcements from the Office of Planning and Information Resources

12 04 2013

Jerry DeSanto, Vice-President for Planning and CIO of The University of Scranton, recently sent an email to the campus community about changes in Planning and Information Resources (PIR). First, IT Services has undergone a restructuring. There is now a new group responsible for “Field Services” which is responsible for hands-on support for any devices across the university, from mobile to classroom technology. The new organizational chart can be found here.

Second, the PIR Tactical plan for the 2013-2016 timeframe is now avaailble here. Information Resources lists as one of its four major goals “Supporting Innovation in Teaching and Learning”. To this end, IR intends to:

  • Extend lecture capture use and capabilities;
  • Explore next generation learning management tools;
  • Consultation and support for the Rehabilitation Center building project;
  • Refine long-term plan for supporting classroom technologies; and
  • Partner with colleges on unique needs and campus standards.

TAG is looking forward to working the PIR in all the these initiatives and invites all faculty to take an active role and voice in the implementation of these technologies supporting our teaching and learning.

Mobile Apps Group update

13 11 2012

Updated 2012-11-26: Meeting minutes are available.

The University-wide Mobile Apps Group (chaired by Connie Wisdo from IR, with Ben Bishop and me as faculty participants) met yesterday. A few updates:

Blackboard Learn Mobile App for Angel

  • Now available for students and faculty.
  • Available for iOS, Android, and Blackberry devices in their respective app stores.
  • Once you install the app, search for University of Scranton and log in with your my.scranton credentials.

Student Services Mobile Page

  • A mobile web page for student services (m.scranton.edu/studentservices) went up in September.
  • Feedback from students seems to be positive, although we did not have any analytics to review.
  • One of the student representatives in the work group mentioned that the tools currently available on the web page (grades, schedule, channel guide, Library, Aquinas) aren’t compelling at this time of the semester. Grades will be more important as the semester ends.

University App (Straxis)

  • Straxis has scaled back/slowed down their plans to include a Dining Services module in the University app.
  • The next modules Straxis plans to release are Faith & Service module, Enhanced Twitter, and GPA Calculator.
  • Straxis will soon be sending out an update with iPhone 5 graphics and iOS6 enhancements.

Luminis Upgrade

  • We will be upgrading to Luminis 5 over spring break 2013, which will be a major update to the my.scranton portal.
  • Mobile access to my.scranton will likely be improved – testing will begin in January.

Next Steps for Mobile

  • We reviewed the results of last spring’s mobile survey to consider what other mobile functionality should be developed.
  • Ben suggested that mobile access to a list of faculty office hours or faculty schedules would be useful — it doesn’t seem like this data is available via an API, though.
  • Student suggestions (via CTLE) included a GPA calculator and easy access to financial aid information.
  • Students also asked if campus event feeds on mobile web pages could be iCal feeds (i.e., so you could easily add an event to your calendar on your phone.
  • Students were interested in mobile access to course registration, but this is not supported at this time.
  • Computer lab availability is a possibility due to the switch to thin clients in the Library and in Brennan.
  • When the Royal Card system is upgraded, students will be able to use a free (to them) app from Blackboard Transact to add funds and check their balance. There is a university subscription fee, so ITDA has requested funding to support that feature. Transact would interact with Royal Card funds, not Flex or meals.
  • No progress has been made on a LaundryView app.
  • A graduate student in Computing Sciences is doing a project to track usage of the Pilarz Hall gym — so that students could check their phone to see approximately how crowded the gym would be.
  • ITDA staff members met with Aramark to discuss mobile access to dining hall menus. Information from CampusDish (the web service Aramark uses) is not accessible to us via API. Aramark may be working on their own mobile app.
  • The Library is experimenting with a mobile study room reservation system. There will likely be a pilot in January and February using two group study rooms on the 2nd floor. The Student Services mobile page could simply link to this system.

I’ll post full meeting minutes when they come out. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!