Office of Learning and Information Technology
University of Wisconsin CIO Council
May 15, 2008
Green Lake, WI
CIOs and their Representatives
* by teleconference
Lisa Wheeler will become the interim Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance at UW–River Falls in October. A recruitment for a new CIO will begin shortly.
Alan Foley will be leaving the UW System Administration for a faculty position at Syracuse University at the end of June.
David Hart is putting together a summary of campus observations about the May 1 collaterals meeting concerning the PeopleSoft Campus Solutions upgrade. The meeting and teleconference was held in lieu of the ability for staff to travel to the Alliance conference. John Wilson was responsible for spearheading the development of the agenda. Oracle was very responsive in providing Powerpoints before the conference.
There was a thorough technical walk through of the equipment in both the main and overflow rooms a couple days before the conference for the 130 attendees in Madison, but not for the remote campuses. As it turned out, there were significant problems with the video feeds. High quality audio and video recordings of the various sessions will be made available shortly.
Several UWS institutions have expressed interest in follow-up conferences on technical issues, student financials and financial aid. It would be good for the upgrade leaders from the various institutions to meet each other. There is also interest in having more feedback from Northwestern University and from an institution that has recently moved from version 8.9 to 9.0.
Although the meeting was very valuable, it was not a substitute for sending staff to the Alliance conference because there were only a few sessions instead of a broad array from which people could individually choose. There were also not opportunities for the people at the remote video conference sites to interact directly with each other.
Ann Marie Durso did attend the Alliance conference and learned a lot of details from other institutions that can't be gathered from a generic presentation by a vendor. Ron Kraemer noted that the important issue is not the total number of attendees at a conference, but sending the right people who can help leverage the expertise of other institutions to avoid re-inventing solutions.
Dave Lois and Craig Stephenson introduced the concept of providing centralized, multipurpose, virtual, IP-accessible disk storage, similar to Amazon's S3 storage system. Amazon's charges are based upon the amount of disk space and bandwidth used. WiscNet has been taking a preliminary look at the Open Filer product, but other alternatives, including outsourcing, will also be considered. Such a service could be part of an institution's backup, business continuity and disaster recovery strategies. The K-12 institutions are especially interested in Critical Data Backup and Recovery (CDBR).
Those that are interested in participating in a summer "Grow Smart" conference for the entire WiscNet membership to discuss the concept with various vendors should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the Council expressed the view that the WiscNet Future Technology Conference that was held earlier in the week was the best yet.
Kathy Pletcher reported that Learn@UW is in good shape for handling the end of the semester load. The participation by the D2L company in the Performance Improvement Project was heartening. Upgrades to version 8.3 are scheduled for late May and early June. The Blackboard injunction has been stayed through June 11th. UW System Administration has sent a letter to D2L reminding them of the escrow clause in the contract in the event that they can't support the product. It is presumed that Blackboard will challenge the patent compliance of the 8.3 version at some point in the future. Meanwhile, the validity of Blackboard's patents is in flux. D2L is a Canadian company with an international market and the patent lawsuit only applies to the United States.
Elena Pokot suggested D2L's large customers should make a point of how Blackboard's actions have negatively impacted higher education institutions. Kathy Pletcher replied that the lawyers of these institutions have not felt an action is appropriate at this time. A public discussion may be held at the EDUCAUSE 2008 CIO Constituent Group meeting.
The procurement authority on the current D2L contract allows for annual renewals. The D2L steering committee set up a Learning Support Infrastructure Work Group a year ago. A draft report has been generated that will be received by the steering committee in July followed by the generation of action steps. Meanwhile, Blackboard has offered the UWS the opportunity to migrate to their product within the year.
Ron Kraemer reported that UW–Madison governance is aware of the issues and will approach the faculty senate at some point if necessary. The idea behind the Learn@UW branding was to make the UWS utility as product independent as feasible. DoIT is seriously considering stepping up Moodle development as a due diligence effort even though the product is not ready for an enterprise deployment.
Alan Foley reported that the UW System Learning Support Infrastructure Work Group has provided nine technology-agnostic recommendations as a result of their work over the last year:
- Provide support for a diversified approach to access to high quality content
- Implement federated identity management
- Have an exit strategy
- Create and maintain a centrally managed instructional technology sandbox environment
- Charter a task force to formally review the Utility model
- Charter a task force to develop a structure or process by which individuals can identify, locate and connect with peers and colleagues
- Invest in the expansion and utilization of student technology employees
- Regularly reevaluate learning technology support resources to ensure that adequate support is available as the technology solutions on each campus increase
- Develop an online support community
These recommendations will be cross-referenced with the recommendations from the UW System's Advantage Wisconsin framework.
The development of an eportfolio system and a learning object repository would be highly supported by the above recommendations. The need for federated identity management became very clear to the working group. The UWS institutions are very uneven in their abilities to experiment with new learning technologies, hence the need for a collaborative sandbox environment. The mission of the central utility as it moves from a simple service provider toward other less tangible functions should be defined. The working group felt strongly about the engagement of student technology employees to provide adequate support resources at the UWS institutions.
There is a large amount of background information available for each of the recommendations. An extensive literature review was conducted and the UWS elearning architecture was redrawn. The 60 page draft should be completed by the end of next week.
Ed Meachen reported that there have been conversations with the president of Ex Libris. They intend to continue to support the Voyager library system with the goal using Web 2.0 services with open APIs to dovetail with learning management systems. The new dean of outreach and continuing education at UW-Extension is focusing on building faculty/student communities with Web 2.0 applications rather than simply putting courses online.
Elena Pokot suggested there be an agenda item at the next CIO meeting to discuss institutional arrangements for overall support of teaching and learning vis-a-vis learning technology centers vis-a-vis campus IT support.
Julie Gordon made a report to the Board of Regents (BOR) on the UWS staffing, policies and procedures for protecting computer data. The report recommended that each UWS institution:
- appoint a privacy officer
- classify the types of data
- develop incident response procedures
- conduct vulnerability testing
- conduct education programs
About two weeks after the BOR meeting, the Governor's Privacy Assessment that was prepared by Metavante was released. Chris Ashley complemented the CIO Council for the work that has already been done at the UWS institutions. There is a need to make it clear that the UWS has an overall strategy or policy.
Nancy Crabb reminded the group of the existing 25-3 Policy on Use of University Information Technology Resources. Most if not all of the UWS institutions also have their own individual policies and practices as authorized by 25-3. John Krogman noted that the CIOs have been trying to raise these issues at their institutions and greater awareness and a sense of urgency on the part campus administrations would be welcome.
Privacy is a rather vague legal term and there are different understandings of the terms privacy officer (typically business related) versus security officer (typically IT related). At most UWS institutions, the security officer has a number of other responsibilities. Ken Splittgerber suggested that ultimately the CIOs are responsible for IT security and the HR directors are responsible for privacy because those authorities cannot be delegated to someone lower in the organization. Kathy Pletcher agreed, but stressed the need for delegating specific responsibilities to staff who have the requisite training and expertise.
Each UWS institution probably already has a student privacy officer who is responsible for FERPA compliance. What might be lacking is someone with similar responsibilities for HR or research data.
Ed Meachen gave a preview of the strategic planning discussion that will take place at the June Board of Regents meeting.
1. At the April BOR meeting, reporting requirements for large or vital IT projects were approved. At the June meeting, a request will be made to append the nine strategic planning objectives that were approved by the CIO Council in March. If approved, the UWS institutions will need to submit IT plans in the requisite format to the BOR in time for their March 2009 meeting.
2. A chart will be presented that documents how the UW System's approach to reporting required documentation for all high-profile IT projects is in full compliance with the strategy of the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA).
3. A high level dashboard of the top six UWS IT projects, none of which are currently in the implementation phase, will also be presented.
Lori Voss is undertaking an effort to develop a plan for anticipating the efforts required for software and service contracts and would appreciate recommendations. Sustainability will be a major procurement theme for next year. There is already strong interest on the part of paper and printing procurement. One theme of sustainability is buying local, which is sometimes not feasible with mandatory contracts.
HRS Implementation Contract
Both the state's IT Services contract and Oracle's sole-source contracting services are probably inappropriate for staffing the Human Resource System (HRS) implementation. Therefore, Ruth Ginzberg will put together an RFP during the summer that may be sufficiently broad to include projects beyond HRS. The goal will be to generate a rate card for qualified individuals. A waiver to not use Comsys for hiring the consultants will be pursued.
There will be a meeting with representatives from vendor CDWG next week. There is no new information on when vouchers might be received from the anti-trust settlement.
Other Procurement Items
Ruth Ginzberg is putting together a spreadsheet of D2L's contract proposals.
Several new network hardware contracts will be available on the procurement website shortly.
A compromise has been reached with DOA to enable the buying of Sun services in conjunction with new hardware purchases, but not services for legacy hardware which are supposed to go through the Comsys contract.
Ruth Anderson reported that the supply management steering committee has met a number of times to scope the project. CIBER consultants explained the functionality of the various modules. In mid June, Oracle will demonstrate the functionality of the most interesting modules before the modules are taken to fit-gap analysis.
Lorie Docken reported that this is week nine of the 22 week fit-gap process. Next week, the team will host a payroll and time/labor meeting at UW-Eau Claire. There is growing concern among the project team that the requisite level of detail is not being uncovered to adequately scope the project due to its complexity. The team is working with the CIBER consultants to adjust the approach for the next level of fit-gap.
A few examples of potential business process changes have surfaced. The future use of Kronos is still to be determined. Elise Barho has suggested conducting an exercise to model how the application can be configured to address some of the known gaps.
Monthly Wisline Web sessions will be scheduled to keep the UWS institutions up-to-date. Additional in-person sessions will also be held.
Ed Meachen reminded the group that the one of the Growth Agenda Action Steps in the Advantage Wisconsin Strategic Framework is to create a student engagement portfolio, formerly known as a "dual transcript". The original thrust was to create a second transcript of co-curricular activities for each student, which would have considerable implementation challenges and not address the issue of whether or not students are competent in their field. Since then, the effort has morphed into creating portfolios which can store whatever artifacts are appropriate for a given student.
The effort is being led by UWS assistant vice president Larry Rubin. Representatives from each campus have been named to a discussion group that will look at the efforts of various working groups as well as current campus activities. A status report will be issued by the end of summer.
Ed Meachen has communicated to Larry Rubin that the CIO Council is looking at eportfolio products and will possibly have a pilot in the fall timeframe at UW–Stevens Point using the D2L and/or the University of Minnesota eportfolio products. The scope of the pilot will be some 17 faculty and 200 students. The next version of the University of Minnesota product will come out in July and be more flexible in terms of local branding.
Surrounding this effort are a number of policy issues, e.g., should there be any form of standards and should faculty members evaluate or certify the contents.
Ed Meachen announced that the September UWS CIO Council meeting will be held via telepresence. The three sites will be in Waukesha, Madison and Bloomington, MN.
The next meeting of the UWS CIO Council will be on June 19, 2008 in Madison. The August 14, 2008 CIO Council meeting will be cancelled. Meeting dates, the directory of UW CIOs, and CIO Council meeting summaries are available at: www.uwsa.edu/olit/cio/.