Office of Learning and Information Technology
UW System CIO Council, January 15, 2004
UW System CIO Council
January 15, 2004
DOA Network Procurement/WENCC
Office of Procurement Update
Desktop Procurement Whitepaper
Administrative Issues in Collaborative Degree Programs
IAA Governance Group
ECAR Student Survey
Meeting with Don Norris
CIOs and their Representatives
The phase three D2L hardware is in place for the spring 2004 semester. The fourth application server is being dedicated to conversion of courses from Blackboard because those licenses expire in the summer. Performance testing will take place in the summer.
The IAA hub is being used for authentication at five UWS institutions for the spring 2004 semester. This will allow students and faculty to use their regular campus network IDs to log into D2L. Authentication for remaining UW System institutions will be added to the IAA authentication hub for the fall 2004 semester. The MILER representatives will be the campus contacts for connections to the IAA hub and to the SIS systems for importing student rosters into D2L.
Learn@UW is working with D2L to improve the support processes. Many people at the campuses helped with the beta testing of version 7.2. There are about 200 prioritized requests for functional enhancements to D2L. The beta test for the summer release will begin at the end of February.
The SLA between DoIT and UW System Administration will be updated in the spring to provide greater definition in the terms of support.
Training is being done via Placeware including weekly Monday training sessions for the site administrators, as well as a monthly training opportunity. Learning objects are being created at the UWS institutions for students, staff training and faculty development.
Some consulting has been provided by Microsoft for the clustering of the application and file servers because Learn@UW represents a large Windows 2000 environment.
The CIO Council reported that there has been good feedback overall from students and faculty, except for some software bugs and the refinement of the support process. The contract currently allows for 5,000 annual "non-student" users of D2L. Meanwhile, the UW Colleges have begun using D2L as a portal and widespread training of UWS staff for APBS is anticipated. A group will be set up to survey the use and to define and clarify the issues.
A memo was distributed that originally went to the financial aid directors and registrars to lay out the principles for transactions that are subject to the federal e-sign act. The overall advice is to follow the guidance of the Department of Education for financial aid and other transactions under their purview. For other types of transactions, the situation is less clear. The law is primarily intended for retail and commercial applications, which would apply to entities such as campus bookstores. However, it is not clear whether emailing a student their grades, billing statements, etc. are transactions that are covered by the law. The rule of thumb is to ask whether a signature would be required for an equivalent paper process. For example, a loan application would require a signature, but distributing grades typically would typically. The law takes a positive stance in helping entities make their electronic transactions the equivalent of paper transactions.
The federal law is not about many matters of concern to IT professionals, such as security, encryption, etc. It gives the UWS institutions a lot of latitude in defining what constitutes an e-signature under the law. A good e-signature has four attributes:
- authentication - is the person signing the document in fact the person identified, e.g., via a password or PIN?
- attribution/non-repudiation - can the parties prove, if necessary, that the sender of the document intended to be bound by the terms of the document?
- integrity - is the document the recipient received the same as the document the sender sent?
- confidentiality - is the document protected from access by unauthorized persons to the extent necessary?
If the document is required to have a legal signature, then the customer needs to know certain things up front:
- they can conduct the transaction in paper form if desired
- they can have the relevant documents provided or made available in paper form
- they have the right to withdraw consent to an electronic transaction and must know the procedure for doing so
- a summary of the consequences of withdrawing their consent to electronic transactions
- the scope of their consent
- the procedure for obtaining paper copies of electronic records
- the hardware and software requirement for access to, and the printing and retention of, electronic records used in the transaction.
The Wisconsin law for valid signatures is based upon PKI, but that is probably trumped by the federal law which does not require particular technologies. In Wisconsin, no student has to submit their application online. If electronic applications became mandatory, the consent requirements would probably kick in.
DOA Network Procurement/WENCC (Ed Meachen, David Lois, Michael Schlicht, Brian Remer, Annie Stunden)
The DOA network procurement was recently cancelled. Consequently, both DOA and UWSA will appoint working groups of three to four people to partner to create a plan for an education and government network. Several names have been proposed to President Lyall. Yesterday, DOA told the WADEN group that, in effect, WiscNet will be the state's backbone. The WENCC partners have already provided input regarding the needs for video, data and voice through an extensive survey and focus group process. Right now there is a lot of rumor and uncertainty in the K-12 arena regarding the future of their video connectivity. However, the timeline hasn't changed, so they should proceed along whatever paths they were intending before this development. WiscNet's business model and structure could ultimately change significantly as a result of these developments, but it is too soon to tell how. It would be good to affirm these developments with our legislators.
IT Services Contract
The IT Services contract RFP has been refined. DOA will send it to the Gartner Group for feedback. DOA is intending to hire someone to handle the contract. Normally in these circumstances there is a vendor conference to validate the RFP and ascertain their interest, perhaps in the middle of February. The intent is to have the contract in place by July 1, 2004. One outstanding issue is a grandfather clause for existing contractual relationships. Since the current contract only has six months left, it would be best for UWS institutions to not enter into new long term contracts in the meantime. This contract may serve as a model for other types of professional services, so it is important that it be a good relationship with appropriate safety valves. The language and terms for liquidated damages is important because the contract will be used extensively by UWS institutions and state agencies. Comments regarding the contract's make or break issues should be sent to Helen McCain (email@example.com). When hiring the consultants, the UWS institutions will be able to see the resumes and choose their hires. It will not simply be a case of solely getting the lowest cost vendor. The IT staff who have seen the demonstration of the system, have been very impressed with it.
Oracle Maintenance Costs
The campus allocations for the Oracle maintenance contract were distributed. Payment is due in February. The increases were less than the 6.5% that could have been charged. Still at issue is how Oracle interprets the UWS rights to use their Internet application server products.
In the past, PBX requests were sent to DOA for an analysis, and they usually declined any consolidation below their one line per desktop standard. The statutes have since changed, and the UWS is technically not required to submit to DOA review, although there has been long standing precedent. Recently, three requests from UWS institutions have been turned down. Ed Meachen will have another conversation with Matt Miszewski because, even if the UWS doesn't submit POs to DOA for review, the vendors typically do.
Microsoft Work at Home Rights
Dana Bunner distributed a document clarifying Microsoft's work at home rights. The rights exist for faculty and staff throughout the term of the contract for:
- Campus Agreement institutions that have signed up for Work at Home rights
- Select institutions that have enrolled an enterprise license in Software Assurance
- Customers who have purchased a new Office license during the contract term
However, Microsoft has declared that is illegal to use the standard campus media at home. Instead, people need to get a copy protected Office Registration Wizard (ORW) CD to install on their personally owned machines at home. Currently, faculty and staff are not in the WISC database, so the ORW media can't be sold directly to them unless the UWS institutions supply WISC their names. Or, departments can buy media from WISC in five packs or from CDRW in 25 packs, which is the cheapest option. Meanwhile, WISC will look into using IAA to authenticate individual WISC customers.
The conversion testing from the legacy systems to Lawson went well. Three complete rounds of 750,000 records apiece were completed. There were virtually no errors by the third round, although there was varying participation by the UWS institutions. Some CIOs were concerned that their HR staff were not understanding or participating adequately in the conversion testing. The CIOs asked to be notified if there appeared to be inadequate participation from their campus representatives. Another conversion will be done for the system test.
A large, new 16-CPU IBM 670 has been delivered. Installation will begin next week. It will be used for both production and the system test which will include three months of rigorous performance monitoring and tuning by Lawson. The goal is to assure everyone that the capacity is adequate and the processing of employee hires, in particular, will proceed quickly. Any campus network aspects that affect performance will be included in the system test. The system test will help define the processes that each institution will need in order to use Lawson, e.g., date of birth is a required field to create a new employee. The full system test document is available at: http://systemwide.uwsa.edu/apbs/systemtest.html.
The initial security access in Lawson will likely be role based, not departmental or campus based. A Lawson consultant with extensive security expertise is now on the team to help set up the authorization and meet with user groups in the March/April time frame.
Generally speaking, everything that is generally available in the IADS central core is accounted for in Lawson, but not necessarily the campus-specific enhancements.
A major focus of the entire effort, is to be able to get useful data out of the system at the go live date. One of major Lawson functions is drill around, which enables easy lookup of everything to do with an employee in the HR, Payroll and Benefits arenas. It is also possible to drill around from the APBS data mart, which was built by FASTAR, to the live Lawson tables.
Training will begin with the Lawson toolset, data warehouse, etc., before endusers learn the actual transactions. Three help, support and training people have been hired. E-learning training modules are being created by Learning Innovations and the ADL Co-Lab. The first round of reporting will be for legal and contractual requirements, e.g., to the government, insurance agencies, ETF, etc.
An external consultant assessed the state of the Kronos project to date and identify any potential roadblocks. She did several site visits and talked with the Kronos project staff. Her recommendation is before the APBS Steering Committee and Common Systems Review Group. She recommended the hiring of a true project manager who would create a realistic timeline so that an ongoing funding mechanism for Kronos can be determined. In response, the Common System group has decided to submit additional questions to the consultant.
At the last CIO meeting, a group volunteered to work on a whitepaper that examined efficiencies in the purchasing of desktop computers. The draft that was circulated by email before the meeting had three case studies at UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee. A fourth from UW-Whitewater was circulated at the meeting.
DoIT and UWS Purchasing have had promising discussions regarding discount programs with Apple based upon shipments of different configurations of computers three or four times per year. The computers could be shipped to individual addresses.
UW-Madison has a process whereby departments can buy from Dell, create an onscreen invoice, and place the order immediately. The departments are automatically debited. Delivery has been as short as two days. The emphasis is on speed, not on maximizing discounts in aggregated orders.
Ed Meachen would like to deliver extracts of the whitepaper to the UWS Regents Efficiencies committee next month. Meanwhile, Helen McCain will look at which campuses have which standards and use which procurement options as a starting point for considering periodic systemwide volume purchases.
Two questions that are coming up more often, are:
- Is there anything that can be done to facilitate the work of other UW students who happen to be on a particular campus?
- How can we facilitate the work of a student who is in a collaborative program with another campus?
The major issue is probably giving network access, which may be non-trivial. It is a problem for the libraries as well. Often, the requests come from students who are visiting on evenings and weekends. The IAA authentication hub could contain role information about students in collaborative programs and thus allow them to automatically authenticate against their home systems. Or, it could be used to simply confirm that people are affiliated with another UWS institution.
UW-Madison has a new pilot program for providing services to individuals affiliated with the institution in various ways.
In general, the CIOs agreed that their institutions typically give guest accounts to visiting students and faculty, or they could use public workstations in the libraries.
Dick Cleek will draft a response to the UWS task force and circulate it to the CIO Council.
Ed Meachen invited people to participate in a systemwide IAA governance group that is chaired by Carrie Regenstein.It will begin meeting next week and propose policies for IAA governance.
Glenda Morgan is working with EDUCAUSE ECAR on a research project to assess student information technology skills with personal electronic devices such as laptops, hand-held computers, cell phones, etc. Already participating are the UW Colleges, UW-Stout, UW-Whitewater and UW-Milwaukee. Other UWS institutions that want to participate should contact her (firstname.lastname@example.org). EDUCAUSE is supporting the costs of the survey and raffling gift certificates among the student participants. The results should be available in June.
Don Norris of Strategic Initiatives (http://www.strategicinitiatives.com/people/norris.html) met with many UWSA staff to talk about the issues of value on investment and technology transformation. He will help conduct an assessment of the Common Systems approach and the development of IT objectives for UWS. He has already submitted the initial draft of a scope of work for the assessment.
A technology presentation will be given to the Board of Regents in March. Alan Guskin will be at the February Board of Regent's meeting. DoIT will host a colloquium with him.
A CIO retreat is being planned from noon, March 18th until noon March 19th in the Dells.