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).

(Another) Update on Department/Program Websites

14 04 2014

Earlier this month, we posted notes from a joint meeting of TAG and the Committee on University Image and Promotion (CUIP) about department and program websites. To fill in some additional information, here’s a project announcement letter (PDF) PR put together for the Deans. The announcement includes a list of departments and programs selected for the pilot as well as a questionnaire that will be used to help elicit information from faculty members about departments/programs.

Many thanks to the faculty members who have volunteered to work on this joint initiative! Please let a CUIP or TAG member know if you have questions or suggestions — TAG members Dave Dzurec, Sandy Pesavento, and Teresa Conte are each serving as their department’s representative (History, Education, and Nursing, respectively).

Update on Department/Program Websites

2 04 2014

TAG member Teresa Conte attended the March 17 meeting of the Committee on University Image and Promotion (CUIP) for a discussion of PR’s Department and Program Website initiative (introduced in the notes from TAG’s February meeting). Here are some notes from Teresa about the project:

University of Scranton Website – Project Information and Update:

  • The University updated its general website in 2012-2013
  • The Committee on University Image and Promotion (CUIP) is overseeing the next phase of updating which is focusing on Department and Program webpages.
  • Because TAG had identified the older Department webpages as an issue that affects enrollment and program images, we have partnered with CUIP on this project and have been represented at CUIP meetings.
  • CUIP has secured a company (Converge) to write the updated web content.
  • CUIP met in March and the first 50 Programs were identified to be revised and updated. Eventually, every Department/Program will have their webpages updated. The goal for completion for the first part of the project (first 50 programs) is the Fall of 2014.
  • Once the content is written and approved, another company (search being conducted) will format and publish the content to the web.
  • Converge has developed a survey that departments will complete that will assist them in using the most updated information for this project. Departments/Programs are able to individualize their web content and select what they would like highlighted, and suggest media content and other pertinent information to be included in the update.
  • This project is of vital importance to the members of the University as there is a wealth of research that shows that more and more prospective students visit websites before committing to a campus visit. This makes the website the first impression for thousands of prospective students.


Update 2014-04-03: Dave Dzurec (who also attended the CUIP meeting) provided some notes to answer questions about the project:

Departments and programs still have ultimate control of the content. The hiring of the consulting firm came in part from a larger TAG discussion about the maintenance of department and program pages–and a request for greater support from the administration in maintaining these sites.  The consulting firm is aiding in the redesign of a number of program pages (initially 50 different programs selected by a joint TAG/CUIP committee). The redesign will be done in consultation with the program faculty (TAG has already reviewed a draft of the questionnaire that will be sent to the program directors/chairs) and then overseen by each department. At this point once the update is complete the program/department site update process will continue to function as it does now–that is individual staff and faculty members in each department will be responsible for updating the sites. The longer term hope is that the administration will hire someone to more actively assist department faculty and staff in keeping the sites up to date and navigating the joy that is the CMS.



TAG Meeting Notes 2014-03-12

12 03 2014

TAG Meeting March 12, 2014 12:00pm-1:00pm

Tim Cannon, Paul Cutrufello, Kim Daniloski, Dave Dzurec, Tara Fay, Jim Franceschelli, Eugeniu Grigorescu, Katie Iacocca, Charles Kratz (guest), Sandy Pesavento, Kristen Yarmey

1. Lunch

TAG members thanked CAS Dean Brian Conniff for sponsoring lunch for our meeting. Dave thanked Mary Ann Maslar in the CAS Dean’s office for making the arrangements. Charles noted that he is willing to sponsor lunch at one of TAG’s remaining Spring 2014 meetings.

2. Items for Discussion


Dean of the Library and Information Fluency Charles Kratz asked to come to a TAG meeting to speak about the campus WordPress network (sites.scranton.edu), which has been a topic of TAG discussion since 2011. (In preparation for today’s meeting, Kristen emailed TAG members notes summarizing the history of the campus WordPress network as well as a justification for the academic use of WordPress that former TAG co-chair Jeremy Sepinsky had composed for IR in Spring 2013.)

At our last meeting in February 2014, we received word from Jim that IR would not be expanding support for sites on the campus WordPress network until at least 2015. Subsequently, at the February 14 Faculty Senate meeting, Senator Terry Sweeney expressed concerns about access to the campus WordPress network. There was seemingly some confusion at the Senate meeting about CTLE’s role in the WordPress network and a misunderstanding that CTLE staff were responsible for determining which requests for WordPress sites would be approved, when this decision actually rests with IR staff.

Charles (who oversees both the Library and CTLE) has since met with IR and CTLE staff in order to seek clarification on the criteria and process for WordPress site requests, as well as to ascertain whether there might be a middle ground for supporting faculty use of the campus WordPress network. Charles noted that the CTLE, while currently very busy with the Desire2Learn transition, is interested in supporting faculty use of WordPress and would be willing to support a few pilot sites in fall 2014. He suggested that TAG might identify faculty who would be interested in a WordPress pilot in the near future, and advocated for transparency for faculty regarding the criteria and process for site requests.

Prior to today’s meeting, Kristen had asked Jim for IR’s criteria for reviewing requests for WordPress sites, which she then emailed to TAG members. These are as follows:

Blogs are available to the University community to provide an area for discussion and collaboration. The following criteria will be applied to these requests:

  • Blogs can augment University web sites on www.scranton.edu which are built in the Web Content Management System (CMS). They cannot be used as a replacement for a department or organization’s www.scranton.edu site.
  • Blogs are only for University-related purposes, not personal interests.
  • Only faculty & staff members of the University community can be given access to post to the blog site.
  • All blogs will be accessible for public view access.
  • The URL for the blogs will be in the form of http://sites.scranton.edu/blogname/
  • No redirects of the form www.scranton.edu/xxxx will be set up for blogs so they are not confused with University web site(s).

Related information:

  • Desire 2 Learn (D2L), the University’s Learning Management System, has blogging functionality that can be used as part of a course offering.
  • Faculty & staff desiring to use wordpress.com for other blogging services should refer to our policy website (www.scranton.edu/pir/policies.shtml) for the Guidelines for the Use of Cloud Computing Services.

Jim noted that IR has limited resources and has to weigh what services they can support. He also explained that since this is a new service, it has taken some time to develop the criteria for what requests could or could not be accommodated. For example, individual student blogs (as one faculty member requested) could not be accommodated due to the difficulty of maintaining an accurate user list for that class within WordPress – while the campus network is integrated with Active Directory authentication, it is not integrated with Angel or Desire2Learn, so class lists must be manually added and maintained for WordPress sites. (As a side note, Charles mentioned that CTLE is working with a few faculty members to test Desire2Learn’s blogging function for student blogs. Results have not been encouraging so far, but testing continues.)

Charles and Kristen asked for clarification on the site request and decision-making process. Jim said that WordPress site requests could be submitted via Footprints (tsc.scranton.edu) and promised to add a request to the service menu within Footprints. He said that Connie Wisdo, director of IT Development & Applications (ITDA), will review the requests and make a decision based on the above criteria. If the decision is clear-cut, the response will be immediate, but if a request falls along the edge of the criteria, there might be some delay to allow IT staff members to discuss it first. Charles asked if there would be an appeal process for a faculty member whose request was denied. Jim answered that appeals could be directed to him.

Sandy asked if faculty could use third-party (external) blogging or web development sites (e.g., Blogger or WordPress.com). Jim said that faculty were free to use whatever tools they liked, on the condition that they review IR’s Guidelines for the Use of Cloud Computing Services and consider potential threats to privacy or security of students or other participants. Kristen said that as a librarian she had significant concerns about the privacy implications of requiring students to use third-party cloud services for class projects. An advantage to the on-campus WordPress network is that site data remains on campus and under University administration rather than entering the commercial data tracking and aggregation marketplace.

Tangentially, IR now offers server space to faculty and academic departments, with roles and support responsibilities enumerated in a service-level agreement. IR provides the server environment, while the faculty member/department is responsible for installing/maintaining the applications they wish to use on the server. There is a one-time licensing fee charge for this service. Kristen asked Jim for more information about this service, as TAG had been previously unaware of it.

Discussions about WordPress and related service offerings will continue. Kristen and Dave will meet with Jim and Robyn Dickinson (Interim VP for Planning and Information Resources) on Monday, March 17, and separately will meet with Interim Provost Pat Harrington and the academic Deans (date TBD). Charles suggested that, in addition to working with Jim and IR directly and reporting to the Faculty Senate,  TAG should also communicate with the Deans and Provost to keep them informed of technology needs on campus.

To further facilitate communication among all stakeholders, Katie suggested that TAG remind the Faculty Senate and the rest of the faculty to share their concerns about academic technology with TAG, such that TAG members can continue to work constructively with IR staff. Dave will include this reminder (as well as an update and clarification on WordPress) in his report to the Faculty Senate this week.

Faculty Specialized Software/Computer Lab Questionnaire

Back in November, TAG sent out a questionnaire to all faculty to ask for input on their use of specialized software, computer labs, lecture capture, and learning management systems (Angel/Desire2Learn).

Kristen apologized for the delay in sharing results, but has finally finished a qualitative summary of faculty responses, shared here for preliminary review by TAG members. Only 52 responses were received, and respondents tended to be faculty interested in software/lab issues, so the sample did not seem representative. The summary is almost entirely qualitative, so anyone interested in performing a quantitative analysis should contact Kristen for access to the full data set.

Kristen asked that TAG members review the results and identify any action steps or areas for further research. 

3. Brief Updates

Identity Finder Automated Scans

Back in April 2013, Information Security Officer Adam Edwards brought a proposal for automated Identity Finder scans to TAG for consideration. At our February meeting, Adam Edwards and Scott Finlon from Information Security came to the second half of the TAG meeting to demonstrate the administrative side of Identity Finder automated scans, which non-Mac-using TAG members have been piloting since September. They also demonstrated TrueCrypt as their recommended tool for encrypting sensitive data (including confidential human subject research data, as Adam has discussed with the IRB).  Scott has since shared step-by-step instructions for TrueCrypt, which Kristen posted to the TAG site. Update 2014-07-02: Support for TrueCrypt has been discontinued, so Information Security now recommends using 7Zip for encrypting sensitive or confidential data.

Adam and Scott would like to begin the roll-out of automated Identity Finder scans for faculty desktops, starting with departments that would be unlikely to have confidential subject data stored on their computers. Scott sent Kristen a list of departments as they appear in Identity Finder (based on Active Directory groups) as a starting point. Kristen asked at today’s meeting for TAG member volunteers who were willing to confirm their department’s readiness to begin automated scans. Dave has already spoken to the History Department, and Kristen will speak with Library faculty at their next department meeting. Kim and Paul were willing to speak with their departments (Management/Marketing and Exercise Science) but asked for some additional information that they could refer colleagues to. Kristen will write up a summary/FAQ on Identity Finder for faculty and post to the TAG site for reference.

Kristen suggested that faculty members run their own Identity Finder scans  to understand the software and results (the software is already on all faculty PCs, via KBOX). Any sensitive data can and should be encrypted with TrueCrypt. Jim reminded the group that Identity Finder also helps IT Services deal with faculty computers that have been infected by malware — a recent scan confirming the absence of confidential data makes it much easier and faster for them to clean and return the machine.

There were a few remaining questions about the automated scan process, which Kristen and Jim will review with Adam:

  • Who exactly is included in a department group? Full time faculty, adjuncts, department staff (e.g., departmental administrative assistants)? Jim believes that the groups include *only* faculty members (including part time/adjuncts), but we will confirm this with Adam.
  • Automated scans are currently scheduled in batch for Fridays at noon. What happens for faculty members who are never/rarely on campus, with their laptop, at that time? (Katie noted that this is common among KSOM faculty.) Could an alternative scan time be scheduled? Or do scans begin the next time you turn on your computer?
  • What happens if you turn off your computer during a scheduled scan? Does it pick up where it left off when you turn your computer back on?

Departments that are ready to begin automated scans should contact Kristen and/or Adam. Adam and Scott are also available to answer questions about Identity Finder, TrueCrypt, or other information security issues.

Lecture Capture – Panopto Pilot

On Wednesday, March 5, Dave and Kristen attended a meeting with Jason Wimmer, Jason Oakey, Jim and Eugeniu for an update on lecture capture and the pilots taking place in PCPS this semester with Panopto. (Full notes from that meeting, summarized here, are on the TAG site.) 

IT Services began piloting lecture capture back in Fall 2012 with two installations of MediaSite (LSC334 and LSC433). TAG members Jeremy Sepinsky and Tara Fay tested out the technology in their classes. While there were some good things about MediaSite, IT Services discovered lots of complications that would make it difficult to scale and expand across campus (see Jason’s article in the Winter 2013-2014 IT Matters for more details).

As of Fall 2013, IT Services has been working with faculty in PCPS (Counseling, Nursing, and Education – including TAG member Sandy Pesavento) to pilot a different lecture capture technology – Panopto.  Panopto is a hosted service, which makes installation faster and easier in comparison to MediaSite. IT Services set up 13 rooms in McGurrin, and already over 790 sessions/interviews/classroom scenarios/nursing simulations have been recorded. Feedback to date from faculty and students has been very positive – even enthusiastic. Sandy has been using Panopto in her education classes to record students teaching sample lessons. She invited interested faculty to visit one of her class if they would like to see it in action. (As a reminder, on last spring’s ECAR survey on undergraduate students and information technology, 63% of our student respondents said they wanted their professors to use lecture capture.)

Our current license for Panopto only covers PCPS (where the pilots were taking place), but IT Services has put in a request to the FMC for a full campus license. IT Services plans to expand access to lecture capture across campus (potentially enabling 5-6 additional classrooms next year) and to integrate Panopto with Desire2Learn. Jason Wimmer will be giving a presentation on Panopto at an IT Forum on March 27 at 11:30am – all faculty and staff are welcome to attend (please register).

PR Department/Program Website Initiative

This project is on the agenda for the next meeting of the Committee on University Image and Promotion (CUIP), scheduled for Monday, March 17 from 2pm-3pm. In addition to regular CUIP faculty representatives Terry Sweeney, Abi Roy, Jack Beidler, and George Gomez, PR has also invited TAG to send representatives — Dave, Teresa, and Sandy will be there (and maybe Kristen).

It is not yet clear which department/program pages will be in the first wave of updates, nor is it clear who will make that decision. Katie noted that from KSOM, OIM department chair Nabil Tamimi was interested in participating in a department website update, particularly since OIM is a growing program and the home of the E-Commerce major.

TAG Leadership for 2014-2015

Kristen will be rotating off as TAG co-chair at the end of Spring 2014. Dave will continue as co-chair for 2014-2015, but will be on a Fulbright sabbatical in Slovakia (congratulations!) in Spring 2015. Andrew LaZella has volunteered to serve in Spring 2015 while Dave is away, but we are still looking for someone to begin a full two-year term as co-chair. Please contact Kristen or Dave if you are interested/willing. Dave noted that, pending the results of the Faculty Senate election, we should make sure that we have a Senate liaison for 2014-2015 as well.


The meeting adjourned at 1:10pm. TAG’s next meeting will be Wednesday, April 9 from 12pm-1pm, location TBA.

TAG Meeting Notes 2014-02-12

14 02 2014

TAG Meeting February 12, 2014 12:00pm-1:00pm

Jeremy Brees, Tim Cannon, Paul Cutrufello, Kim Daniloski, Dave Dzurec, Eugeniu Grigorescu, Katie Iacocca, Andrew LaZella, Lori Nidoh, Kristen Yarmey

1. Brief Reports

Acceptable Use Policy

CIO Jerry DeSanto announced on February 6 that the new Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources Policy had been approved by the President’s Cabinet. The new policy is an update to the old Code of Responsible Computing. Many thanks to Jim Franceschelli and Dave Dzurec for co-chairing the committee charged with revision.

PR Department/Program Website initiative

Back in late November, Dave, Kim, and Kristen (along with Hal Baillie, Darla Germeroth, and Ray Schwenk) met with Gerry Zaboski and Lori Nidoh in PR to discuss department and program websites. Also in on the meeting (phoning in from Cedar Rapids) were representatives from Converge, a vendor that PR has hired to help us with initial planning and updates for departmental websites and academic program pages (note: *not* course catalog content/program descriptions, which require formal review).

The main goal from a faculty perspective is to develop content for department/program pages that is consistent across the University website and does a better job of communicating what it is that we do — reflecting the quality of our programs/departments, “telling the story” of the student educational experience, etc. (In 2012-2013 TAG had prepared a proposal for improving and maintaining department/program websites that advocated for additional support for this task.)

Briefly, Converge plans to 1) outline/inventory needed content, 2) do some search engine optimization research (e.g., what terms do users type in to Google when they’re looking for nursing programs?), 3) develop a draft template for page content, 4) get faculty feedback via a campus visit and questionnaire, 5) draft some copy, and 6) help us prepare a long term strategy. Their main output would be a consistent template for department/program pages, and they will create content for up to 50 department/program pages (though the institution has the final say on content). Gerry explained that this way we can get a lot of updates done quickly.

PR and Academic Affairs would like to bring together a steering committee or task force to coordinate this project, with work beginning in March. Gerry has broached this topic with the Committee on University Image and Promotion (CUIP), which includes faculty representatives.  After the November meeting, Kristen and Dave had asked TAG members to identify faculty who might be interested in serving on such a steering committee. Teresa, Sandy, and Dave then volunteered.  However, Lori noted that it has not yet been decided which program/department pages will be selected as the focus of the project, and she was not sure who will make that decision. We agreed that once these programs/departments have been selected, TAG will support the faculty representatives on CUIP in trying to recruit faculty volunteers to participate.


Desire2Learn went live in January, and so far the transition seems to be going smoothly (see the LMS transition page for details). About 30 faculty members opted to begin teaching in Desire2Learn in Spring 2014. Courses that are being taught in Desire2Learn have been disabled in ANGEL so that students don’t see them in both places.  Workshops and video tutorials are available for faculty.

Eugeniu reported that there was an issue with merging courses that CTLE wasn’t able to resolve in time for this semester, but it will be resolved in time for summer and fall courses. Another issue has been reported with links – Firefox and Chrome are problematic when trying to display unsecure pages within secure frames.

Mobile Apps

IR’s Mobile Apps feedback group met in December (pptx). Sandy attended as a faculty representative. The group reviewed the University’s current apps — ANGEL Mobile, eAccounts (for RoyalCard), the Straxis app, Student Services app, RoyalSync, and Desire2Learn (which also has two special purpose apps – Binder and Grader) — and discussed what additional features should be mobile accessible.  The Straxis app will be retired at the end of the year and replaced by a locally developed web app for the fall 2014 semester.

Royal Card

Faculty are reminded to visit the TSC to get a new RoyalCard. Take your old RoyalCard or a driver’s license, and you will be photographed.

Windows XP to 7 Conversions

(Jim was unable to attend the meeting but sent an update on this via email.) IT Services is continuing to work on converting all remaining Windows XP machines to Windows 7. Faculty machines are the current priority, with a goal of finishing all faculty conversions by the end of May.  IT Services will contact users to schedule a time and date for conversion — the process takes about two hours.  Dave noted that the history department was almost entirely converted and had no issues.

II. Items for Discussion

Specialized Software/Computer Lab Survey Results

Kristen is still working on putting together the survey results and apologized to TAG members for the delay.

WordPress Network

Kristen reported that at least one additional faculty request for a site on the campus WordPress network (sites.scranton.edu) had been turned down. There seems to be a continuing need among faculty and students for academic web space, particularly since the academic server (academic.scranton.edu) was decommissioned.

At our September 2013 meeting, TAG had requested that IR draft language on service levels for WordPress. Kristen asked Jim for an update on this issue. Jim was unable to attend this meeting but sent an update via email, excerpted here:

We met this past fall and have consulted with the CTLE on various support issues.  Unfortunately at this time, we cannot extend the wordpress offerings.  Looking at the current issues at hand – especially with the CTLE and the conversion to D2L – extending support won’t happen until January 2015 at the earliest. I know there is growing demand and many faculty want to use wordpress as an alternative web site.  Unfortunately the supported options are within the CMS.  D2L does have options for blogging and discussion boards.  I think TAG had offered to look at it from a faculty perspective – any news back on that?

Eugeniu explained that CTLE was unable to provide assistance to IR on support for WordPress at the same time as they are supporting faculty and students during the transition to Desire2Learn.

Kristen asked TAG members for their reactions. The majority agreed that we would like to keep advocating for WordPress but acknowledge that Desire2Learn should take priority at this time. Dave suggested that we revisit the question again in January 2015 as Jim indicated.

III. New Business

Vice President for Planning/CIO

Fr. Quinn announced in December 2013 that Jerry DeSanto would be stepping down as Vice President for Planning/CIO. Associate Vice President Robyn Dickinson will serve as Interim. While the search for a new Provost is taking priority, Dave and Kristen noted that they planned to volunteer TAG’s input (either formal or informal) in any upcoming search for the CIO position.

TAG Leadership for 2014-2015

Kristen will be rotating off as TAG co-chair at the end of Spring 2014. Dave will continue as co-chair for 2014-2015, but will be on sabbatical in Spring 2015.  They asked for one or two volunteers (preferably but not necessarily including a Senator) to serve a two-year term as co-chair. Andrew volunteered to serve in Spring 2015 while Dave is away. We are still in need of another volunteer to serve the full year.

IV. Demonstrations

Adam Edwards and Scott Finlon from Information Security came to the second half of the TAG meeting for two demonstrations.

Firstly, they demonstrated the administrative side of Identity Finder. TAG members have been piloting automated Identity Finder scans, which are running each Friday at noon. Identify Finder scans the user’s computer for any personally identifiable information (PII) in unprotected files. The Information Security Office receives reports that indicate the level of risk for that machine. Anticipating concerns about privacy and confidentiality, Adam and Scott showed a sample report. The report shows the number of hits and the location of each file with hits, but the actual information is obscured. Based off of these reports, Adam then works one-on-one with users to either delete the files or move them to a more secure location. Adam said that he is working with staff with the most risk first (e.g., people with 1,000 hits or more).

Secondly, Adam and Scott demonstrated using TrueCrypt (free open-source disk encryption software) to encrypt files or folders that contain confidential information (such as human subject research data). They have already shown this tool (along with another encryption tool in Identity Finder) to the IRB and would like to make it a recommended standard for campus use. [Update 2014-07-02: Support for TrueCrypt has been discontinued, so Information Security now recommends using 7Zip for encrypting sensitive or confidential data.] TAG members did not bring up any concerns, so we will move forward on this. Adam will share brief written instructions, and we will share them with the faculty as a recommended practice for confidential data.

Adam and Scott would like to start automated Identity Finder scans on faculty computers beginning with departments that would *not* have any confidential subject data stored no faculty desktops. We were not sure that such a distinction could be easily made, but TAG will try to work with department chairs to determine which departments might be willing to begin scans. Scott will send Kristen a list of departments as they appear in Identity Finder (based on Active Directory groups) as a starting point.


The meeting adjourned at 1:10pm. TAG’s next meeting will be Wednesday, March 12 from 12pm-1pm in WML305.

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).

University Website – Responsive Redesign

16 08 2013

So you’ve probably noticed that the University website is different – we’ve switched to a new responsive design. (Full, official announcement from PR below.)

In case you missed it, here’s the email address where you can report issues: cms@scranton.edu. You can also reminisce about the old website in the Library’s web archive.


2013-08-14 email from External Affairs:

Later this evening we will launch a major update to the University’s website (scranton.edu), including a new homepage and section pages (e.g. About Us and Academics). Designed and developed in collaboration with nationally recognized partners, the enhanced site provides a fresher look that incorporates larger images, and new fonts, colors and graphics. The enhancements to our overall website follow the successful implementation last week of a substantial microsite to serve undergraduate admissions (admissions.scranton.edu).

Both scranton.edu and admissions.scranton.edu reflect our first use of “responsive Web design,” which adapts the presentation of images, links, forms and other content to match the screen size of the viewer (e.g. desktop, tablet or smartphone).

The overall project is the culmination of more than a year of collaboration between Marketing Communications and Information Technology Development and Applications. Given the breadth of work involved with this project and the complexity of accommodating such a wide variety of browsers and devices, you may encounter issues or concerns with pages on our site. If you should come across something, then please let us know by sending a link to the page and an explanation of the issue to cms@scranton.edu

Special thanks to all those who have worked so hard to put these improvements in place.

Scranton.edu 3.0 – Responsive Design

23 05 2013

At Tuesday’s IT Forum, staff members Lori Nidoh, Val Clark, and Matt Wren from PR and Joe Casabona from IR gave a joint presentation on the new design templates for the University website, which will go live in July.

The new designs are responsive, meaning that they’ll automatically adjust to the screen size of whatever device you’re using to view them. See slides (.ppsx) from the Forum presentation for a comparison of old vs new.

More specific information will be coming out for CMS users, but one of the more immediate changes that will need to be made is to banner images (e.g., on department pages or on faculty pages in the CMS that use the standard templates). The new designs are wider than the old (1280 x 361 pixels vs. 780 x 180 pixels), so properly sized images will be needed. You can pick a photo from the Photo Gallery, but you can also use your own image as long as it’s sized – see instructions in the slides (.ppsx).

We’ll post more information as we get it – in the meantime, please let TAG know if you have questions about the redesign.

TAG Departmental Website Proposal at the Faculty Senate

12 04 2013

Today, Jeremy presented the TAG proposal for the upkeep and maintenance of the departmental websites to the faculty senate for feedback. The proposal was briefly overviewed by Jeremy, who then opened the floor for comments and responses from the faculty to such a proposal. A brief summary of the comments follows.

  • Many of the faculty were in support of the proposal, agreeing that the time involved in updating the website is a barrier to frequent updates. Often mentioned was the idea that we faculty are often not experts in the display of such information. Thus, a number of faculty were in support of the document.
  • The provost, Hal Baille, commented that the Committee for University Image and Promotion is aware of this proposal and in support of such a position. He emphasized the fact that, more than a public relations issue, the departmental websites are an admissions issue. Getting quality students, especially in a time when universities are competing for good students, means having a standout webpage. More than half of the incoming students use the university webpage as a very important criterion for determining which university they attend. Thus, it is very valuable, from an admissions perspective, to attract quality students, and the website is an important tool in the process.
  • A comment was made about the University’s web infrastructure, and that spending money on such a position may only be a small bandage on a problematic, and potentially outdated infrastructure. One Senator commented that the webservers run software that is costly run when there are cheaper, more-secure options that may be available, which can allow webpages to run more common web software packages, such as WordPress, PhP, or MySQL.
  • Another Senator questioned the necessity of such a position and the frequency of needed updates. Certain departments and programs, the Senator stated, simply may not have updates that can or should be implemented on a regular basis. If this is a consistent event across many of the departments, forcing updates may not make for a better website. Another Senator disagreed, stating that certain national accrediting bodies require yearly updates of programatic content on websites, so, at a minimum, such updates can an should be made. In addition, it was stated that such updates are not “easy” for faculty and staff to implement.
  • In terms of the staffing of the position, it was suggested to explore the current employees of the university before requesting an external hire. There may be current employees and/or positions with the appropriate skill set that can be re-purposed to fill this role. It is important to mention here, that the website proposal group did not feel that it was within its purview to make financial or administrative recommendations about this position. We simply request that such a position exist, and that it should be within the administrative sections of the University to decide the specifics of such a position. This group does recommend, and will make explicit in future versions of the proposal, that due to the extensive collaboration with faculty that this position should be housed within Academic Affairs.
  • Other faculty expressed concerns that this position could be used as a tool for Public Relations as opposed to a vehicle for expression of the faculty and their departments. It is not the intention of the sub-group that this position interfere in any way with the web-based expression of any faculty member. Our group intends that this position be a tool for faculty to assist them in presenting content in the form desired by the faculty of that department. This position should assist faculty, not remove them from the process. Faculty and departments will not be required to use this position, but this subgroup feels that it should exist as an option for those that do. Furthermore, we feel that there are sufficient departments and faculty that will make use of such a position to make it worthwhile.

TAG is currently working on implementing all the above suggestions into the next version of this proposal and thanks everyone at the Senate meeting for their participation and lively discussion. As always, anyone with comments, questions, or feedback of any kind is encouraged to email us at tag-members@royallists.scranton.edu, or email the chair or the subgroup responsible for the creation of this document at jeremy.sepinsky@scranton.edu.

World of WordPress

14 02 2013

If you haven’t yet heard of WordPress, it’s an open-source blogging and content management system that’s starting to dominate the world of web development. Three items of WordPress-related news from TAG today —

1) sites.scranton.edu/tag

We’ve migrated TAG’s website from uofstechadvisory.wordpress.com to the University’s new, local WordPress instance — you can find us at sites.scranton.edu/tag. For right now, the site is publicly accessible, but like the old site it asks search engines not to index the content (so it’s not easily Googleable).

Moving to a local instance doesn’t just give us a scranton.edu URL – it also allows us to integrate with the University’s existing Active Directory authentication system, which means (among other things) that you don’t have to set up a separate WordPress account to log in. University community members can just log in with their R number and my.scranton password rather than creating a separate wordpress.com account.

Huge thanks to Phil Erb in IR for migrating our old content and for helping us set up the new site!

2) WordPress on Campus

So… did we mention that there’s a WordPress instance on campus now? We’ve already heard from a few faculty members who’d like to use WordPress pages for class projects, travel courses, and/or department news. Blog sites have already been set up for Admissions, the Library, and now TAG. Next up is possibly a site for the History Department, which would feed news stories onto their existing department website.

It’s not yet totally clear what level of access/service faculty will be able to get related to WordPress, but we’re excited about the possibilities. If you might be interested in using WordPress on campus, give TAG a heads-up so we’ll have a better grasp of faculty interest and needs.

3) WordPress off Campus

In their off hours, IR staff members and WordPress enthusiasts Phil Erb and Joe Casabona are organizing meetups for local WordPress users. The first one is scheduled for next Tuesday, February 19 from 7 to 8pm at the Vintage Theater on Spruce Street.  Any users in Northeastern Pennsylvania, at any level of experience, are welcome (the meetup isn’t a University-affiliated event).  If you’re interested, sign up at their Meetup.com page and/or follow the NEPA WordPress Facebook page.