November 2010 IT Activity Report

September-October 2010

IT Helps UD “Shine” in Major Debates

On Oct. 16, Ralph Begleiter, director of UD's Center for Political Communication and Rosenberg Professor of Communication, sent a letter thanking the departments and units that helped UD stage the Delaware House debate (Oct. 6) and the Delaware Senate debate (Oct. 13). UD hosted national media for the Carney/Urquhart House debate and welcomed international media for the Coons/O’Donnell Senate debate.

According to Begleiter, all parts of the University that contributed to these events’ success “made [UD] shine.” He said that people from all over the globe saw that “this was a prepared University, ready, willing and able to seize the moment.”

Information Technologies (IT) was among the units Begleiter praised in his letter. Members of University Media Services (IT-UMS), Network and System Services (IT-NSS), and Client Support & Services (IT-CS&S) worked behind the scenes to contribute to the events’ success.

IT-NSS and IT-CS&S staff assisted the international press corps. IT-NSS staff installed new wired network connections, wireless access points, and phone lines to meet the needs of CNN and other media outlets. IT-CS&S staff coordinated press access to the Internet and assisted reporters with online credentials and any connection issues.

IT-UMS provided technical support for the actual telecasts:

  • The Video Production group provided all cameras, stage lighting, audio, projection, engineering, and cabling for both telecasts. They also acted as camera operators, techs, and production staff for both events. On cue from the debate moderators, they displayed video recordings of UD student questions to the candidates, the Mitchell Hall audience, press in overflow rooms, and home viewers.
  • Bob DiIorio was the director for the telecast of the Oct. 6 debate.
  • Steve Mausolf provided titles and animations for both debates.
  • The Classroom Technology group provided network and video support for reporters and spectators in overflow rooms in Hullihen and Wolf Halls.
  • IT-UMS provided the satellite uplink time and feeds for the Oct. 6 debate. Even though CNN handled this task for the Oct. 13 debate, they borrowed some of IT-UMS’s equipment. In fact, CNN used much of the new HD equipment that IT-UMS has acquired in the past year.

IT is proud to have participated in these events that, as Begleiter wrote, helped “the University of Delaware [take] a sweet step forward on its path to prominence.”

UD Mobile Access Available for iPhone and Android

You can now launch an Android or iPhone app to access UD information on your phone. To download the app, search for “Delaware” in the Android Market or the iPhone App Store. Your iPhone must have iOS 3.2 or higher.

The new mobile service includes links to athletics, a real-time bus schedule, an interactive campus map, events from both academic and administrative calendars, UD people search, and the UD home page. New services will be added to UD Mobile Web as the project develops. Go to the UD Mobile Web site for more information.

IT Tech Fair Provides Answers to Participants

From 3D video to Microsoft Office, high-speed camera applications to online content development, the IT Tech Fair was the place to get technology questions answered. At the event, held Tues., Oct. 19 in the Trabant University Center, over 200 faculty and staff members asked in-depth questions about existing and emerging technologies.

The fair emphasized hands-on technology stations for participants to become familiar with technology available for them to use inside and outside the classroom.

Stations were set up to demonstrate technologies such as UD Capture; the UD Mobile Web; E-portfolio tools; Web creation tools; UD in Second Life; and social media and Web 2.0.

Many campus units were present to provide assistance:

  • IT Academic Technology Services (IT-ATS);
  • IT Client Support & Services (IT-CS&S);
  • IT University Media Services (IT-UMS);
  • IT Web Development (IT-WD);
  • Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL);
  • Office of Educational Assessment (OEA);
  • Student Multimedia Design Center (SMDC); and
  • UD Online (UDOL).

To view a short video about the Tech Fair, visit the IT-ATS Web site.

Planned Outages

Upcoming UDSIS Outages

UDSIS is scheduled for an outage over the Christmas break to upgrade from PeopleTools version 8.48 to 8.50.12. The exact dates will be announced on the login page as they come closer. However, the system could be unavailable for up to 3 days.

UDSIS is scheduled for an outage on the Jan. 8 weekend to apply the latest round of patches and fixes from PeopleSoft. The system is expected to be unavailable for most of the day on Jan. 8, 2011.

Security, Privacy, and Safety

National Cyber Security Month

Since 2004, EDUCAUSE, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), and other national organizations have declared October to be National Cyber Security Awareness month, and the University has joined in the annual effort to promote cyber security to the campus community.

This October, IT promoted the message that cyber security is a responsibility we all share:

  • Presenting at the IT Tech Fair on Oct. 19;
  • Updating security posters in campus computing sites;
  • Publishing a series of UDaily articles about cyber security;
  • Publishing tips via the @UDelCOTW twitter feed; and
  • Offering training classes on security topics for IT professionals.

For more information, contact Scott Sweren, the University’s Information Security Officer, or review these UDaily articles:

Constituent Groups and Feedback

IT Customer Satisfaction Survey Released

The annual IT Customer Satisfaction Survey was sent to all faculty and staff on Nov. 1. Information Technologies is committed to providing the best service possible to the University community, and your feedback helps us improve our services. So, please take the time to complete the survey before Nov. 24. We will report on the survey results in our next Activity Report.

Research Support

NSF TeraGrid Program

Using high-performance network connections and open infrastructure services, the NSF-funded TeraGrid integrates high-performance computers, data resources and tools, and high-end experimental facilities around the country. These resources are often accessible, at no charge, for UD research and instructional purposes. TeraGrid staff members have reduced many organizational and learning barriers to these resources by creating Web portals and online training. Accounts can now be provided for non-funded research projects and class projects involving parallel programming on clusters.

IT's Research & Data Management Services group has just joined the TeraGrid Campus Champion (TGCC) program. Our TGCC representative, Dean Nairn, will provide the campus with information about TeraGrid's high performance computing resources. In this role, he can provide quick access to TeraGrid computing allocations and information on training and new service offerings. Dean will also be able to expedite technical problem resolution by involving TeraGrid specialist staff and other universities' TGCCs.

GIS and Image Analysis Software News

ENVI EX License: IT has expanded the suite of software we license from ITT Visual Information Solutions Inc. ENVI EX, a new product from the makers of ENVI and IDL, is now available to you through our cost-shared license for faculty and staff. ENVI EX simplifies and speeds up common workflows for image processing including feature extraction, classification, orthorectification, and change detection.

ENVI EX and the ENVI/IDL bundle for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux are each considered separate products, and the annual cost of each faculty/staff license is $75. For further details, send email to gis-info@udel.edu.

ESRI (ArcGIS) License: For the remainder of this academic year, faculty, staff, and students may install ESRI software on their own systems without paying a license fee. Each year, many UD departments contribute to the substantial license renewal fee. Through their generosity, we have covered this year's fee and are opening access to the remainder of the campus for instructional and research use until July 1, 2011.

By tracking who is downloading the software, we hope to develop a more equitable cost-sharing arrangement for 2011-2012. In addition to the software, the UD GIS community can take ESRI Virtual Campus online training courses at no charge. You can register for a course by sending email to gis-info@udel.edu.

Teaching and Learning

Call for Participation: Sakai@UD Advisory Committee

Over the past 2 years, IT has collected many feature requests from faculty and student users. Now, we would like campus-wide input to help prioritize those requests.

Faculty and staff are invited to volunteer for the new Sakai@UD Advisory Committee to be launched in spring 2011. This small group will review the list of requests submitted by our users and the upcoming new tools developed in the Sakai community to advise IT about which solutions would benefit the UD community. We are looking for individuals with an interest in improving Sakai@UD for teaching and learning as well as experience using Sakai@UD.

If you are interested in working on the advisory committee or want to nominate a colleague, please contact Mathieu Plourde.

“Do clickers improve learning?” Seminar, Dec. 10

Roger Freedman, University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of Physics, along with faculty from the University of Delaware will share insights about the pedagogy behind clicker use during this faculty luncheon-workshop. Below is a sampling of faculty responses to the use of clickers at UD:

  • Fostered more effective classes. “It has enabled me to discover conceptual sticking points of which I had previously been unaware.”
  • Inspired introspection. “i>clickers have allowed my students to examine their modes of thinking about astronomy and to identify their misconceptions about the subject.”
  • Created memorable demonstrations. “Using i>clickers has also made the lecture demonstrations more memorable and meaningful by forcing students to think about these demonstrations before seeing them in action.”
  • Increased participation. “Most importantly, it has transformed my students from passive spectators in the lecture hall to active participants in their own learning.”
  • Increased attendance. “As a side benefit, making clickers a required part of the class has increased attendance in the lectures.”

A buffet lunch will be available at 11:45 a.m., and the presentation will begin promptly at 12:10 p.m. Optional round-table clicker conversations about teaching strategies, Web access, i>grader integration with Sakai@UD, and new-adopter orientations will continue from 2-3 p.m.

You can register for this seminar online.

Winter Faculty Institute

“Impactful Learning” will be the theme of the University of Delaware's 2011 Winter Faculty Institute. The institute will begin Thur., Jan. 6, from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at the Clayton Hall Conference Center.

With the primary focus on UD's approach to e-portfolios as a teaching, learning, and assessment tool, faculty will gain new insights into melding reflection, assessment, and technology to create impactful learning experiences for students.

Randall Bass, associate professor of English, assistant provost for teaching and learning initiatives, executive director of the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, and director of the Visible Knowledge Project at Georgetown University, will be the keynote speaker.

Well known for his candid and humorous insights about the interconnections among student engagement, teaching effectiveness, technologies, and assessment of student learning, Bass will address the potential of e-portfolios as evidence-based documents that create rich portraits of impactful learning at the student, program, and institutional levels.

The Winter Faculty Institute is a month-long series of events designed to enhance teaching, learning, and assessment using technology. The event is free and open to the University community. Register online at the LearnIT calendar.

The Winter Faculty Institute is coordinated by Information Technologies and is co-sponsored by the University of Delaware Library, Center for Teaching and Learning, Office of Educational Assessment, Institute for Transforming Undergraduate Education, UD Online, Office of Service Learning, Office of Educational Technology, and Undergraduate Research.

Sign Up Now for Winter and Spring UD Capture

Student interest is high for accessing UD Capture classroom recordings as one form of reviewable content. To request having a course recorded during winter session, faculty should register by Dec. 17. For spring semester recording, faculty should register by Feb. 3, 2011. After the recordings are scheduled, faculty members recieve email containing the link to their online recordings. At that point, faculty can decide how they might want to use this service for their course. Additional classrooms are being outfitted with UD Capture systems, with the current installation base totaling over 120 classrooms. For more information and the sign-up form, visit the UD Capture Web site.

Business Systems

PeopleSoft Upgrade

Management Information Services (IT-MIS) is working on upgrading PeopleSoft (to version 9.1 [HR] and 9.0 with continuous upgrade [UDSIS]) and the hardware on which our different PeopleSoft applications run. This project is ongoing and will extend into 2011. We are moving the PeopleSoft application and databases to new, faster hardware; at the same time, in conjunction with outside consultants, we are preparing the PeopleSoft applications for upgrade. We successfully upgraded the PeopleTools software to version 8.50.12 for the Human Resource (HR) area and began the larger HR software upgrade in late October. The Student System upgrade is scheduled to start in mid-November. In preparation for the UDSIS upgrade, a PeopleTools upgrade in the test UDSIS system is available for users to test. The UDSIS PeopleTools upgrade on the production system is scheduled for the December holiday break.

Tuition Exchange Program (TEP) Web Form Available

Recently, Human Resources (HR) and IT Web Development (IT-WD) added the Tuition Exchange Program (TEP) to the list of Educational Benefits forms now available in Web Forms. The TEP is for dependent children of full-time employees who have a minimum of two years of eligible University service. While not a guaranteed benefit, TEP provides an opportunity for a scholarship toward full-time study at another college or university. More information is available in this UDaily article.

Payment to Vendor, Payment to Individual, Payment to Vendor Amendment Web Forms

Significant updates to Procurement's Payment to Vendor and Payment to Individual Web forms were recently deployed. Highlights include an enhancement to vendor selection and the addition of predefined form routing based on speedchart and form amount. The Payment to Vendor Amendment, a companion form for the Payment to Vendor, provides the ability to notify when the amendment or cancellation of a Payment to Vendor is required. These changes went live on Oct. 25 and were outlined in this UDaily announcement.

Course Permit Web Form

IT-WD and the Registrar's office have developed a new Web form for students to request permission to make changes to their semester schedule that otherwise cannot be done through WebReg. The Course Permit Drop/Add Web form replaces the former “pink” paper form that required students to physically obtain signatures from department and deans’ offices. The form contains conditional messages, input fields, and routing based on both the drop/add status for the term and the course ID. For more information on this form, contact Lynn Richmond in the Registrar's office.

Course Inventory System Enhanced

The Registrar’s Office and IT-WD have released a newly re-written Course Inventory system. The new system provides more interactivity. In addition, the course search feature has been improved. The Registrar's Office has been further empowered to manage the course change requests via an admin tool that they use to keep proposed course change requests moving through the approval process and the challenge list. The system is now being used to collect proposed changes to courses for approval for fall 2011.

1743 Holdings Business Processes

IT-MIS has been adapting University business systems to include the funding and business processes of the 1743 Holdings LLC. For example, before we released a recent revision to the Request to Pay Vendor form, we modified the Web form, modified PeopleSoft data to create a business unit for 1743’s transactions, modified the vendor data so that the new form can offer a choice of paying a UD vendor or a 1743 vendor, and modified back end processing of purchase orders and payments.

Event Production and Media Services

“Dare to be First” Video Spots

In September, IT-UMS finished production work on OCM’s new “Dare to be First” video spots. The videos began airing during regional television broadcasts of UD events, including the Sept. 25 telecast of Blue Hen football, and have been used at alumni and admissions events this fall. For more information, see this UDaily article.

Training Opportunities

So far this fall, we have offered nearly 50 instructor-led classes. For a complete listing of classes being offered in November and December, go to the LearnIT training calendar.

Any session available on our calendar can be customized to meet the needs of your unit or department, at your location or ours. For example, if your group uses MS Excel to summarize data downloaded from UD Financials, we can offer a session using your data. To request custom training, use the Contact us form available on our Web site.

Don’t forget to check out our online subscription training resources linked from the LearnIT@UD home page. Both Lynda.com and VTC.com offer hundreds of different training topics. For example, VTC.com offers online training on MS Office, project management, and Web design.

IT Help Center

The IT Help Center is now part of IT-CS&S and is undergoing major changes. Cecilia Kerlin is the acting Help Center Coordinator and is working to streamline our response to your questions. By merging with CS&S, we plan to better coordinate our responses from first contact through any needed desk-side assistance. We are also in the process of evaluating the tools we use to respond to your questions, with an eye to replacing our current ticket-tracking software, Remedy.

Help Center support is available online at http://www.udel.edu/help, and you can contact us using our Help Ticket Request form, sending email to consult@udel.edu, or by calling (302) 831-6000.

Personnel

Christopher Martin has accepted a position as Performance Events Technician III in IT-UMS—a joint position with the Department of Music. He comes to the University from PSAV Presentation Services where, for over 2 years, he provided technical expertise for a variety of large- and small-scale live events in the Philadelphia area. Christopher will oversee the audio and performance technical operations for the Amy E. du Pont music building.

Christopher McCurdy became a member of the IT-WD unit as a Programmer/Analyst I. Christopher is a UD alumnus and brings 4 years of experience as a software engineer in industry. He will work as a Java programmer in the Technology Resource Group and will work on Web applications.

Stacy Weile joined IT-ATS in October and is working in the ITV and Conferencing Support group. Stacy brings her expertise in ITV studio support to IT after working as a Campus Information Technology Associate II for the College of Health Sciences for 10 years.

The IT Activity Report is published 4-6 times a year. You can view archived reports online. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions for future articles, contact the IT Communication Group at it-commgroup@udel.edu.