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).

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 2013-10-02

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).

Viewfinity roll out with Windows 7

21 11 2012

IT Services is going to start rolling out Windows 7 to faculty on *new systems* (that is, you’ll get it when you get a new computer or rebuild). That means it’s time to spread the word about Viewfinity and standard user accounts.

Here’s the official statement from Jim Franceschelli, director of IT Services:

Viewfinity Privilege Management is currently being installed on all University office computers in an effort to better secure endpoints and reduce vulnerabilities to hackers, malware and embarrassing security breaches that could prove costly to The University of Scranton’s reputation. Viewfinity allows all Windows 7 users to run as standard users further reducing computer vulnerability to viruses and other malicious attacks.

Please be aware that attempting to install applications or printers or attempting to change some settings will require administrative privileges. Viewfinity will elevate your privileges and allow you to install applications or change settings as necessary. When you receive a Viewfinity prompt requesting your justification for an installation or system change, simply enter the information requested and click OK. Your installation will proceed immediately.

Just to repeat from a faculty member perspective: when you get a new computer, you’ll get Windows 7, and your account on your desktop/laptop will change from being an administrator account to a standard user account. By default, standard users can’t install or delete applications, as administrators can. That’s where Viewfinity comes in — when you try to install software, it will automatically and temporarily elevate you to administrator status. In other words, we can install whatever software we need when we need it. (Note – this only applies to faculty members. Staff have to go through an approval process when requesting new software.)

I’ve been piloting Viewfinity as a faculty user since the middle of the summer, with excellent results and no disruption to my work or research. To give you an idea of what it looks like —  let’s say I want to play around with some visualization software, like Edraw Mind Map. I download the .exe file for Edraw as usual. When I try to run the .exe to install the software, I get a small popup window from Viewfinity that asks for a “business justification”:


IT Services isn’t monitoring business justifications for faculty members, so you can simply say you are using the program for teaching, research, incidental use, etc – no lengthy explanation required:

When you click OK, you are automatically bumped up to administrator. I get a little notification at the bottom of my screen:


The software installation begins right away, and I can go through the installation steps like I normally would. Once the installation is complete, I’m automatically bumped back down to a standard user account.

Overall, the process is smooth and seamless – it adds maybe 5-10 seconds to my normal installation time. Commonly used software (Skype, iTunes, Spotify, etc) has been whitelisted to speed things up, so you don’t even need to click through the business justification step for things like that. I’m running all the software I had on my old Windows XP machine (Dropbox, Google Calendar Sync, Tweetdeck, Google Earth, etc etc etc) on my new Windows 7 machine with no issues or disruptions.

While I know some of us would prefer to still be admins, I think this solution is a good balance between freedom and security. Jim and the IT Services staff put in a lot of work to figure out a way to accommodate faculty needs, which I truly appreciate. Any issues with Viewfinity can be reported to the Technology Support Center by phone (x4357), email, or Footprints.

Last couple of points:

  • Viewfinity is not supported on Mac or Linux, so faculty using Mac or Linux machines are not affected by any of these changes.
  • Viewfinity has another big feature – Remote Desktop assistance! When you call the Technology Support Center, you’ll be able to share your desktop with the support staff so that they can help you easily from a distance. This service is in development and will be available soon. It will always have a prompt – your desktop won’t be shared without your approval.
  • Faculty members with XP machines will get Viewfinity via KBOX, so you’ll have Remote Desktop capability, but you will still maintain an administrator account (and XP) until you get a new computer.
  • Classroom and lab computers are all Windows 7 now, but they do *not* run Viewfinity — they have Deep Freeze instead. So you can install programs on classroom and lab computers, but those installations will disappear each time the machine shuts down. If you need to install software in a classroom or lab that you need to use frequently, submit a request to the Technology Support Center via Footprints.

TAG Meeting 2012-11-07

8 11 2012

On November 7, TAG held its third and final Fall 2012 meeting.

1. Code of Responsible Computing Committee update

Dave Dzurec (History) and Jim Franceschelli (IT Services) are co-chairing a committee charged with drafting an update to the Code of Responsible Computing. The goal of the committee is to create a single policy for faculty, staff, and students that will define responsible use of information technology at the University.

Dave and Jim have been reviewing acceptable use policies from other universities  and have almost finished a draft for the rest of the committee to review.  After review by the committee, the policy will go to VP/CIO Jerry DeSanto, and then it will enter the University governance system for full approval (probably in 2013-2014).

Faculty representatives on the committee (as appointed by the Faculty Senate) are Dave, Wesley Wang (Economics/Finance), and Bob Spinelli (Health Administration and Human Resources). The Staff and Student Senates also have two representatives each.

We discussed briefly how the new policy should be disseminated and shared with students and faculty after it is approved. Sandy asked whether new students/faculty/staff will need to sign off on the policy when they begin using University services to make sure they are aware of it. Kristen suggested incorporating a mention of the policy into the New Faculty Orientation. She will also suggest to the Associate Dean of the Library, Bonnie Strohl, that public patrons using Library computers would be informed of the policy in some way.

2. CTLE Technology Liaison

The Center for Teaching and Learning has two faculty liaisons (currently Anthony Ferzola and Marian Farrell) who provide an interface between faculty teaching and the CTLE’s resources. Faculty can reach out to the liaisons for support (e.g., teaching observations), and the CTLE can reach out to the liaisons for input on needed resources. The liaisons also run the faculty mentor/mentee program.

The CTLE wants to establish a similar faculty liaison who would specifically address academic technology questions and needs. They did a pilot project last year, with Sandy Pesavento (Education) serving as the faculty technology liaison, to see what role(s) a liaison should fill. Eugeniu asked TAG (including Sandy) for feedback on what a technology liaison’s “job description” should look like.

During the pilot year, Sandy did some technology trainings (higher order thinking, student response systems, smartboards, etc) and teaching observations (e.g., coming to a class to suggest technology tools that might be helpful to the instructor). One of the difficulties during the pilot year was that few faculty members outside of PCPS were aware that Sandy was available for consultation on technology issues, though, so a challenge for the future will be finding ways to promote the services the liaison provides.

We discussed other needs that a liaison could address. Several TAG members suggested a repository or database of some kind that would identify 1) educationally relevant technologies and 2) if/how faculty at Scranton and other universities have implemented them.  Katie noted that sometimes faculty don’t necessarily know what tools are available to them. Jeremy and Dave expressed interest in hearing from faculty members who have been doing pedagogical research with technology in the classroom – e.g., via Friday presentations like the Office of Research Services seminar series.

We also discussed the difficulty of knowing who to call for help – that is, CTLE supports faculty use of technology for pedagogy, but IT Services supports the actual hardware and software that faculty use in the classroom. Teresa suggested a flow chart to indicate who to call and when.

3. Windows 7 and Viewfinity

As Windows 7 is rolled out with new University computers, your account on your desktop/laptop will change from being an administrator account to a standard user account. This is a security measure to try to prevent users from downloading and installing malicious software. By default, standard users can’t install or delete applications, as administrators can.

We were concerned about this limitation when TAG first learned about it, but IT Services has put in a lot of work to figure out a good solution for faculty members so that this change doesn’t affect our work. Using Viewfinity privilege management software, faculty users can be automatically and temporarily elevated to administrators so we can install whatever software we need when we need it.

Kristen has been piloting Viewfinity as a faculty user since the middle of the summer, with excellent results.  There’s a small popup window that comes up each time you begin to install a program that asks for a “business justification,” but you can simply say you are using the program for teaching, research, etc – no lengthy explanation required. When you click OK, you are automatically bumped up to administrator while the program installs, and you are automatically bumped back down to standard user once the installation is complete. Commonly used software (Skype, iTunes, etc) is whitelisted to speed things up. Overall, the process is smooth and seamless — many thanks to Jim and the IT Services staff for finding a way to accommodate faculty needs.

Viewfinity has another big feature – Remote Desktop assistance! When you call the Technology Support Center, you’ll be able to share your desktop with the support staff so that they can help you easily from a distance. This service is in development and will be available soon. It will always have a prompt – your desktop won’t be shared without your approval.

Faculty members with XP machines will get Viewfinity via KBOX, so you’ll have Remote Desktop capability, but you will still maintain an administrator account (and XP) until you get a new computer.  Faculty members receiving new machines will have Windows 7 and a standard user account, with Viewfinity.

Viewfinity is not supported on Mac or Linux, so faculty using Mac or Linux machines are not affected by any of these changes.

Classroom and lab computers are all Windows 7 now, but they do *not* run Viewfinity — they have Deep Freeze instead. So you can install programs on classroom and lab computers, but those installations will disappear each time the machine shuts down. If you need to install software in a classroom or lab that you need to use frequently, submit a request to the TSC via Footprints.

4. Infrastructure for Computerized Testing

We were running out of time, so we didn’t get to discuss this agenda item. Jim suggested that a work group form to work on some possible solutions, since we haven’t made much progress on this issue. Jim, Teresa, Sandy, and Eugeniu will start to work on this.

5. & 6. WordPress Site Organization & Luminis Tab

No time for these agenda items either – Kristen will be in touch with TAG members via email.

TAG will not be meeting in December, so our next formal meeting will be in Spring 2013. TAG members will still be communicating and working throughout December and January, though, so as always please feel free to contact us with questions, concerns, or suggestions.

TAG Meeting Notes 9/29/11

29 09 2011

We had our first TAG meeting of 2011-2012 this morning.  We had a lot to catch up on from the summer, so apologies for the long notes! As always, post a comment if there are any questions or concerns.

  • New members. Teresa Conte joined us from Nursing as a replacement for Cathy Lovecchio. Ben Bishop (Computing Sciences) joined us late last spring, as did Lori Nidoh (representing Public Relations). S.P. Chattopadhyay is currently on sabbatical, and Kevin Wilkerson has returned from his.
  • Novel Pedagogy Cohort. Jeremy and a few other CAS faculty members have formed a small group to explore and implement new pedagogy techniques in their classes – some of which involve technology while others don’t.  Tools to be explored include lecture capture and clicker systems. If any other faculty are interested in innovative pedagogy, let Jeremy know.
  • Lecture capture.  A team of stakeholders (including TAG members Jeremy, Kristen, Sandy, and Eugeniu) met several times in the spring and summer to review possible products for lecture capture.  The final recommendation was a hybrid solution of Media Site (as a back end) and Crestron HD appliances for the actual capture. Implementation will start in the Science Center and then spread to other departments. Right now, IR is working on setting up the back end servers while VistaComm is implementing the front end capture devices. The goal is to have LSC lecture capture ready to go by Spring 2011, and then expand to other departments next year as funding allows. Sandy and Teresa noted that Education and Nursing would be very interested in implementing lecture capture in their classrooms. Thanks to Jason Oakey over in Instructional Technology for taking the lead on this project!
  • Office 2010.  The upgrade to Office 2010 for faculty and staff is tied to the email conversion (see below) due to the incorporation of Outlook.
  • Windows 7. The upgrade to Windows 7 for faculty and staff machines currently running Windows XP is held up due to a security issue. XP users are currently admin users on their computers. While this gives us a lot of flexibility and control over our own machines, it also introduces security risks – users can accidentally install malicious code.  When we move to Windows 7, IR will change XP users’ roles from admin to standard user accounts. By default, standard users wouldn’t be able to install or delete applications, but ideally there will be a way for users to obtain temporary admin status when they need to install programs. IR is currently working out these privilege management issues, so Windows 7 deployment is pushed back to (tentatively) Spring 2011.   Wesley asked about 64 bit vs 32 bit machines – Jim said that by default new machines will be 32 bit, but faculty who need 64 bit should let him know.
  • Email conversion. The Microsoft Live @ Edu email transition has been delayed by issues with identity management (e.g., automatically assigning set permissions to new hires, and removing permissions from retirees, departing employees, etc). IR is working on a workaround plan that would let us go forward with the email conversion while temporarily skipping over identity management. IR is aware of “crunch times” in faculty schedules, so faculty email conversion will probably wait until intersession or beyond.
  • Personally identifiable information.  Ben asked about security concerns for faculty members who don’t use University email.  Jim recommends that any University business, and especially any University business that involves confidential information, be done using University services (like Angel and Royal Drive). The Identity Finder tool is available to help faculty and staff find any PII that might be on their machines. IR also has security training videos that faculty can watch to get an entry-level awareness of PII.
  • Information Resources Advisory Committee.  IRAC had been inactive for a year but is now reconstituted. IRAC members will be providing input on IR’s service portfolio. TAG members Dave, Paul, Eugeniu, and Lori will be on it as CAS faculty, PCPS faculty, CTLE, and PR representatives, respectively.
  • TechQual. IR ran this customer service survey over the summer. Preliminary results just came in, but IR is still processing them and will present them to IRAC next month.
  • Loyola Science Center. Most of the IT work in LSC is done, but there are still a few equipment issues popping up in classrooms. IR will continue working on this. Remaining projects include lecture capture, the auditorium, and RoomView, a tool that will allow Instructional Technology to monitor and maintain classroom equipment (e.g., whether or not a projector has been left on).
  • Wireless. The wireless upgrade project was approved.  Phase I (freshmen residences, the new Mulberry Street residences, and the LSC) is complete and adds 350 new WiFi points to the campus. Phase II is currently underway and will add 252 WiFi points in 21 buildings (residences, St. Thomas, and the Long Center). Phase III is scheduled for summer 2012 and will include the remaining academic and administrative buildings as well as outdoor coverage.  This is a big improvement – many thanks to the Network Infrastructure staff!
  • CTLE liaison. CTLE used to have two faculty liaisons who focused teaching and pedagogy. They have now added a third faculty liaison, TAG member Sandy Pesavento, to provide input on faculty interests and needs regarding pedagogical uses of technology.
  • Mobile access to Angel. CTLE and IR experimented with Blackboard’s iOS app for Angel, but found it to be a very limited tool, particularly for teachers (e.g., faculty can’t enter grades or interact with Angel dropboxes).  So mobile access to Angel still isn’t conveniently available at this time.
  • LMS review. Our contract with Angel expires in 2013, so a review committee will begin exploring other learning management system (LMS) options in January. Connie Wisdo in ITDA will lead the group. Eugeniu said that we might have an opportunity to use a “free” installation of Blackboard temporarily (on top of our existing Angel installation) so that faculty could try it out. Dave asked whether or not we would be able to migrate courses from Angel into a new LMS. Eugeniu said that from our current version of Angel (7.4), we could export/import single courses into Blackboard, with some imperfections. If we upgraded to v8 of Angel, we’d be able to batch migrate courses. Blackboard would also complement our Royal Card and emergency notification systems, since they’re Blackboard products (Transact and Connect), but it might not be easily tied into Banner.
  • Academic Technology Plan. The Provost’s office has no updates on the Academic Technology Plan.
  • Mobile website and app. Lori shared some analytics to give us an idea of how the mobile website and mobile app are being used. The app has been downloaded 7,604 times (mostly by iOS rather than Android devices). An in-app poll asked about the user’s identity, and 57% of the poll-takers were current students, 28% were alumni, 10% were prospective students, with faculty, staff, and other community members making up only 6%.  New app modules include Admissions and the Library (live but still being tweaked), with an Alumni module on the way. An iPad version is also on the timeline for this year, and hopefully mobile authentication is on the horizon.  The m.scranton mobile site is getting plenty of traffic. The most commonly viewed mobile pages are the home page and the admissions and academics home pages. [Note: Stats on the mobile app are here (in PDF). Stats on the mobile site are here (also in PDF).] PR is also setting up automatic redirects from the full site to the mobile site for recognized mobile devices – right now, the only active redirect is from the full site home page to the m.scranton home page.
  • Faculty websites. We’ve figured out a good workflow for faculty websites with CTLE. Any faculty member who wants to create a new website in the CMS should contact Aileen McHale in the CTLE. The CTLE TechCons will set up the faculty member’s web space, and then can help him or her as needed with templates or other support.  Sandy and Anne Marie would like to encourage faculty members (and any other page admins) to keep their websites current.
  • Continuing education. TAG members interested in learning more about academic uses of technology should keep an eye out for continuing education opportunities, since funding may be available. Jeremy and Sandy will each attend a day of the EDUCAUSE conference, courtesy of the Provost’s office.  Anne Marie and a few representatives from IR will also attend. TAG members who do participate in continuing education are asked to report back and share conference highlights.
  • Computerized testing. Teresa reported on concerns from the Nursing department. Nursing licensing exams are all online, so the department uses computerized testing to help their students prepare for the licensing environment.  Nursing faculty have run into trouble finding places to conduct their computer tests – there isn’t enough space to accommodate large classes, and classrooms that do accommodate that many students have been booked for other courses.  An ideal solution would be a large “shared resource” lab (possibly run by CTLE/Library) that faculty could schedule for tests, with computers set up to restrict access to the testing environment. Anne Marie suggested that we look at how other schools have solved this problem. Teresa will get more details on Nursing needs. Jim asked if other departments have this need, and for what class sizes. Once we have more information, we can agree on a good solution and then seek funding.
  • Our next meeting will be October 27. TAG members are asked to keep collecting (specific!) feedback from other faculty members on technology concerns or issues, and we’ll keep sharing information here as projects continue.


Note: Updated 10/24/11 with PDF docs of mobile app and website statistics shared during the meeting.

IT Matters Spring 2011

5 04 2011

The latest edition of IT Matters came out today and is available for download.  A few faculty-relevant highlights:

  • Security Manager Tony Maszeroski explains what the Identity and Access Management (IAM) initiative is all about.  The IAM initiative is the reason behind a lot of the smaller changes you’ll see happening on campus – e.g., your R number becoming your user ID, etc.
  • University of Scranton faculty and staff can get serious discounts on Microsoft Software like Office 2010 and a Windows 7 upgrade if they need the software on their home computers for work-related purposes.  Check out http://www.journeyed.com/select/go/CAUSCRANTON for pricing – just know that you’ll have to fax or email a copy of your Royal ID in order to complete your order.
  • There will be some major outages this summer from 7/28/11 through 8/2/11 as we go through an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) upgrade to a new operating system.  More details when we get closer to the migration date.
  • Three rooms in the Unified Science Center will have lecture capture capability.  If you’re interested in lecture capture, let TAG know – we need your input!
  • Deployment of Microsoft Forefront as a replacement for McAfee continues.  All campus PCs should be switched over by the end of May.  All faculty should get two warning emails with instructions in the week before their computer is scheduled for Forefront deployment.
  • Should funding be secured, campus wireless will be upgraded within the next six to ten months, starting with the dorms and followed by academic and administrative spaces.


Note: Post updated 4/5 at 3pm with a clarification on campus wireless from Network Infrastructure.

More IT Forum updates

19 10 2010

I’ll post the slides from today’s IT Forum when they’re available, but in the meantime here’s what I thought was the most important news from Jim Franceschelli’s talk on “Desktops of the Future”:

  • Windows 7 will be rolling out around November, since Windows XP Extended Support is ending.  IR computers will get the rollout first (probably this month).
  • IR will be setting up standard user accounts on University-owned computers.  These user accounts will limit what applications users can install, in order to make the campus more secure.  MOST applications will be blocked, but some whitelisted applications (e.g., iTunes) will be allowed.  This has me a little concerned – it seems like an area where we’ll need a lot of communication between IR and faculty to make sure that faculty can download and install the applications they need on their desktops.
  • IR will also soon be rolling out Active Directory, a tool that will sync your Windows account – so that you’ll be able to access to mapped drives, etc from any computer on campus.
  • IR is encouraging everyone to delete any personally identifiable information (PII) from their computers.  A tool called Identity Finder will be rolled out soon that will try to locate what it thinks is PII on your desktop and then give you the option to delete or encrypt it.
  • Remote desktop assistance will be available soon – this will allow IR staff members to remotely connect to your system, making repairs faster and making the TSC more efficient.
  • The University is heading towards a virtual desktop environment (where all data is stored on Royal Drive and access to your “desktop” is via a thin client on a terminal).  IR already has the thin client and will be testing it later this month.  The current plan is to set up a prototype lab in January to be tested by users in Spring 2011.

Desktops of the Future: IT Forum 10/19

6 10 2010

IT Services has scheduled the next IT Forum for Tuesday, October 19th.  I’ll be there and will try to post slides or notes for any who are interested but can’t make it.

Here’s the announcement:

Would you like to know more about the desktops of the future?

Come to the IT Forum on October 19th from 11:30 am to 1:00pm in BRN 509 and learn about Desktops of the future. Topics discussed include Windows 7, Office Productivity Suites, Anti-virus options, storage in the cloud, the desktop & additional applications.

Lunch will be served and there will be prizes!!  All members of our community are encouraged to attend.  Registration is required by October 15th, by emailing  ITServices@scranton.edu.

IT Matters Fall 2010 Issue

16 09 2010

The new issue of IR’s IT Matters newsletter is available in PDF format.

Many of the articles deal with issues we’ve already been discussing here on the TAG site, but there are a few important items relevant to faculty.  Some quick highlights (take a look at the newsletter for more details) —


  • Big news for Mac users — the U is now an Authorized Apple Service Center!  Glen Pace is our first Apple Certified Macintosh Technician.  The Laptop Support Center can now service University-owned faculty and staff Macs.
  • During the summer, over 58 faculty/staff computers were quarantined due to infections.  Make sure you’re browsing safely and that you’re backing up your files!
  • New antivirus software is on the way – Microsoft Forefront Client Security has been chosen as the replacement for McAfee.
  • Windows 7 deployment is in the works.
  • There’s a reminder about the new network authentication (aka CNAC deployment) that will be taking place.  See Jeremy’s post on this for all the details.
  • Files stored on Royal Drive are now encrypted so they’re more secure – but this is a back end change. As a user you won’t notice anything different.
  • We’ll soon be upgrading Royal Drive to a new Xythos server (before the end of fall semester).
  • You can use a tool called KeePass in Royal Drive to securely store a list of usernames and passwords.  Find a PDF of instructions here.
  • The Project Tracking system will slowly be streamlined with the use of Numara’s Change Management software.
  • IR is encouraging the campus to use Firefox instead of IE, except for accessing University systems.

Classroom Mediation:

  • OIT is slowly updating classroom technology.  Hyland 305, Leahy 1011, McGurrin 302, St. Thomas 209, and St. Thomas 563A were done over the summer.  You’ll notice a new control panel (that you can use to freeze images and mute sound).  You might also notice that any video you’re displaying from your laptop, smartphone, or iPad will be automatically formatted to accommodate the projector’s resolution.

Computer Labs:

  • OpenOffice is now on lab computers (along with Microsoft Office 2007).
  • Lab machines are now equipped with Deep Freeze, a program that restores the machine to a “fresh state” each time it’s rebooted.  Several labs got new equipment over the summer.
  • In addition to the standard software found in all computer labs, KSOM lab computers have the following software:  Eviews 7, Maple 14, MATLAB R2010, MS Office Pro, Minitab, MPL, MyITLab, Crystal Ball, Oracle SQL Plus, Peachtree Complete Accounting 2010, ProSeries 2009, Research Insight, SAP, PASW 18.0, Visual Studio, XLMiner, EconoMagic, Weka2, WireShark, and FrontPage.