Office of Learning and Information Technology
UW System CIO Council
Thursday, May 20, 2010
HRS Project - Testing Update
Service Center Transition Planning
CIC Leadership Program
HRS Project Update
Executive Videoconferencing Update
SIS Executive Committee
|CIOs and their Representatives||Guests|
Ed Meachen announced that John Tillman is retiring as the CIO of
UW-La Crosse in August and that Lorna Wong now has a permanent
position as director of academic technology.
Jeanne Blochwitz reported that the planning for the upgrade to version 9 of the D2L learning management system is going well. The major issue is that the authentication code has been changed from the current version. Other issues are changes to the middleware for interfacing with the identity, authentication and authorization (IAA) hub and Shibboleth. Performance issues are being addressed in concert with MNSCU in Minnesota. Regular meetings are being held with the D2L account manager, MNSCU and partners from multi-state collaborations. The decision date will be June 1 with the earliest production date for UW–Milwaukee in late June and the rest of the UW System (UWS) institutions in early July.
A proposal was approved by the Common Systems Review Group (CSRG) for a pilot program to use Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise Student Administration Integration Pack (SAIP) to improve the integration with D2L. Oracle will provide a test harness for developing the integration in concert with the D2L company by mid July. If the system-wide upgrade to version 9 is complete, the three pilot campuses, UW–Stout, UW–River Falls and UW–Green Bay, will assist with testing in the fall and spring. Once the SAIP solution is in place, e-grading will be made available to all of the UWS institutions. The current e-grading solution will not be rolled out to additional institutions if SAIP is not in place.
Lorna Wong reported that five UWS institutions, encompassing 45 courses and 600 students, have concluded a one year pilot of the D2L eportfolio product. Feedback from the participants is being collected. Generally speaking, faculty are getting more interested and knowledgeable about the product. Both UW–Stevens Point and UW–Milwaukee report that their colleges of education are interested in more extensive use. UW–Green Bay recently signed onto the pilot for their adult degree program. Additional desired features will be available after the upgrade to version 9. It is not yet known what will happen to the eportfolios after the pilot is over. Wong has begun discussing options with the D2L company. Meanwhile, the student life offices at some UWS institutions have adopted OrgSync for tracking student co-curriciular activities. The OrgSync product also has email and calendar capabilities and produces a transcript. Students could ultimately wind up having two separate co-curricular documents.
A free pilot of the Elluminate web conferencing service was conducted during the spring semester for 1,000 users. A limited number of faculty at twelve different UWS institutions participated. Early responses from the faculty have been positive because of the product's integration with D2L and its ease of use. Wong is talking with Elluminate about extending the pilot. Meanwhile, UW–Milwaukee is initiating a web conferencing pilot for purposes other than teaching that will integrate with their Zimbra email/calendaring collaboration suite. Ruth Ginsberg reported that the Midwest Higher Education Consortium (MHEC) has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for web conferencing products which will be open to the UWS institutions because there is not a mandatory corresponding state contract. The Council members expressed concern that faculty members be aware that the Elluminate effort is currently a pilot project and there is no guarantee that it will be available long term.
Anand Vangipuram, the leader of testing for the Human Resources System (HRS) project, described the plans for testing. The phases are:
- July–September; system/regression testing within the various modules using mocked-up data
- September–November; integration testing of end-to-end business processes from recruitment through the Shared Financial System (SFS) and 3rd party vendors
- November-January; performance testing and payroll reconciliation testing using a subset of employees from each UWS institution
- December–February; user testing at the UWS institutions
The current build phase runs through June 30th and the delivery of the final test scripts and loading of the seed data. A JIRA dashboard is used to track the development of the 1,000+ test scripts. Some scripts have hundreds of steps. Many will be automated, e.g., the script for adding a person to the HRS system.
Performance testing will verify the stability, scalability and response time of the HRS application when it is in production. Tests will include a realistic mix of both heavy and light online transaction loads in conjunction with batch processes. UW–Superior, UW–Milwaukee and UW–Waukesha will be involved in the effort.
John Krogman reported that for several months UW–Madison has been interested in defining what the HRS Service Center will look like after go live. The project is now two weeks into a consulting engagement that will yield recommended models for the Service Center structure. In addition, Bruce Maas, the CIO of UW–Milwaukee, has agreed to coordinate the effort to define the Service Center on a half-time basis for the next 18-24 months so that no one would be pulled off of the implementation team.
Given the visibility of the HRS project, Maas explained that the
consulting engagement is necessary to independently validate the need
for sufficient resources. He will be working with George Watson from the
UW–Madison Office of Quality Improvement to engage the complex
network of stakeholders. Success will largely depend upon what happens
at each of the UWS institutions. Krogman noted that a number of staff at
the UW–Milwaukee campus have had to step up and backfill for Maas.
Ed Meachen will be collecting the names and positions of the staff from the UWS institutions who will be attending the CIC leadership program so that the curriculum can be customized. The UWSA OLIT office will cover half the cost of the attendees. The time commitment necessary to attend the sessions and also complete the work between sessions needs to be considered, especially for attendees who don't report to the CIOs. Most institutions are targeting staff members who have leadership potential, however some are too busy to attend this season.
FY11 Work Plan and Budget
Lorie Docken explained that during fiscal year 2010–2011 (FY11) the HRS project will be in the test, deploy and support phases. Meanwhile data conversion and user education activities will be underway. The FY11 budget was initially developed in 2009 with the assistance of consultants. The work plan and budget are now being refined in conjunction with the HRS Executive Sponsors, the Service Center Executive Committee and the HRS Steering Committee in preparation for the June meeting of the Business, Finance and Audit Committee of the Board of Regents.
Data Level Access Decision
PeopleSoft has both role security (at the page level) and row level security that grants access to the various levels of data that people can see and possibly update on each screen, i.e., the department, division, campus or system level. Today, employees can be granted needed access to see certain data fields across the entire UW System. This functionality will not be readily available within HRS. Data will also be available through the data warehouse which may not be sufficiently robust or up-to-date during periods of intense transactions.
The possible solutions are to:
- build data queries within the data warehouse which is not subject to the PeopleSoft row level security
- build data queries within the HRS transaction system that function outside of the PeopleSoft row level security
Currently, the HRS Decision Council is leaning toward the first option.
Person Hub to Campus Interface
A possible new Person Hub interface to campus systems has been discussed at several past meetings of the CIO Council. As of today, it is not clear whether the interface will be available for the phase one testing timeframe.
Ed Meachen reported that the HRS Decision Council and Steering Committee are considering two questions related to shadow and supplementary systems:
- - What is the process for knowing that HR shadow systems at the UWS institutions have been retired?
- - What is the process for knowing the plans for cutting over to the data warehouse the supplementary systems that require HR data?
It is important that no supplementary system at a UWS institution break when HRS goes live, e.g., the parking system at the UW–Madison campus. Once a campus has identified its supplementary systems, a methodology is needed to identify someone in the HRS Service Committee to work with the institution for the cut over to the data warehouse. By June 11th, the HRS project teams at the UWS institutions are to enter their updates into the posted list of supplementary systems.
Ruth Ginzberg reported that, after 18 months of negotiation, the UWS is on the verge of finalizing a Campus Agreement with Microsoft. It will include remote access to student lab computers for a minimal cost for each desired machine. Chip Eckardt, Dave Kieper, David Dumke and Kolleen Apelgren have been very helpful during the negotiations.
The state peripherals contract will not be renewed.
There have been requests for cloud software from student and academic affairs offices to consolidate licenses that are held by multiple institutions, e.g., RecruitmentPlus and Turnitin. If the combined price goes beyond the usual threshold, engagement by the state Department of Administration (DOA) is needed. Some of these systems may require integration with other campus systems. Some of the smaller applications could potentially be hosted at one UWS institution for use by all at a cheaper price than continually renewing software as a service (SaaS) contracts.
Waivers for hardware and software maintenance have not yet been processed by DOA and signed by the governor.
Dave Lois announced that Ed Meachen is replacing Kathy Pletcher on the WiscNet Board. Membership is growing across a spectrum of institutions including: county government, health care and school districts. There are currently some 450 members. Recent initiatives include fostering community area networks (CANS,) working with BOREAS-Net and the Northern Tier network from Chicago to Seattle, implementing the Grow Smart business model that has brought bandwidth insensitive fixed price costing, rolling out new MasStore services in July 2010, promoting the Go-Gig vision for stimulus funding and supporting the two-fold grant proposal that was submitted by UW Extension for supporting CANS. The UW Extension proposal is going through the federal due diligence process this week.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Unified Community Anchor Network (US UCAN) proposal endeavors to build out the national optical backbone, including upgrades to the Northern Tier path, which would bring a 100G national backbone through Wisconsin.
The national broadband strategy has three fronts:
- determining the roll of the government in fostering competition, research and development
- connecting more people for the public good, even in areas in where demand is modest and commercial providers have little business incentive
- defining the national purpose of broadband
The future of broadband networking includes additional CANS supported by both the public and private sectors. For example, to be successful in an NTIA proposal, a private partner is necessary. Networking initiatives need to be sufficiently flexible to add and release partners as it makes sense. Ad hoc approaches to CANS are more likely to gain traction than comprehensive designs.
Ed Meachen reported on efforts to address the chancellors' request to use videoconferencing to cut down on driving to meetings. The current proposal is for the UWS institutions to buy whatever brand of equipment they choose with the aid of a stipend from UW System Administration (UWSA) provided that the equipment is 1080 HD capable and can inter operate with existing equipment at standard definition. An HD-capable multipoint control unit (MCU) will be installed at Instructional Communications Systems (ICS) at UW Extension. It will inter operate with the Polycom equipment already installed at many UWS institutions. A system for reserving equipment and scheduling meetings will be managed by ICS. Ideally, the ensuing business model will enable no cost use by the UW System institutions for both business and instructional purposes.
Chip Eckardt is interested in expediting the adoption of two factor authentication technologies in the UW System. Jim Lowe explained that Credential Assessment Framework (CAF) Level of Assurance (LOA) level 2 is recommended for accessing institutional resources and LOA 3 for accessing data at other institutions. The purpose of the CAF exercise is to get all of the UWS institutions to LOA 2. Nevertheless, if a person gives up their password, which is something only they are supposed to know, they've given up their credential. Two factor authentication relies on both something a person knows as well as something they have. The proposal to the CSRG for a strong authentication initiative has been partially funded for next year.
David Dumke recommended consideration of campus-based certification rather than Internet-recognized certification authorities which are much more expensive. Jim Lowe noted how the scope of individuals, and the associated costs, increases as one moves from just those who access information about other employees to those who access student FERPA information and beyond. The larger the pool the greater the challenge to manage credentials for employees who come, go and change roles. Melissa Woo recommended building the UWS infrastructure in such a fashion that it doesn't preclude a broad implementation at a future date because that may become absolutely necessary. Stephen Reed's reported that the security working group will be looking at the issues later today.
Ken Splittgerber reported that the last meeting of the Student Information System (SIS) Executive Committee discussed:
- revitalizing the communication plan
- hosting a campus solutions forum (possibly on July 22nd) that would be similar to the old collaterals meetings to discuss such topics as Peopletools version 8, Runner technologies, data feeds, Identity and Access Management and the Central Data Request (CDR)
- expanding the membership of the committee
- finding an alternative to the general ledger interface for the five institutions that are currently using the Perkins product
- redesigning the CDR interface and transferring the knowledge to additional individuals
- determining whether the the Higher Education User Group (HEUG) membership fee is paid by UW System Administration or the individual institutions.
The MILER team is pushing for a firm cut over from First Logic to the use of Runner technologies for data cleansing by the end of August. The necessary documentation has been written. Splittgerber will solicit whether institutions are able to meet this deadline. UW–River Falls has already finished, UW–Whitewater is close to finishing and UW-Milwaukee is on track.
The next CIO Council Meeting will be Thursday, June 17, 2010 in Madison.
Meeting dates, the directory of the UWS CIOs and meeting summaries are available at www.uwsa.edu/olit/cio.