Office of Learning and Information Technology

UWS CIO Council, October 18, 2007

University of Wisconsin CIO Council

October 18, 2007
Madison, WI

Campus Password Policies
Shared Off-Campus Disaster Recovery Site
Person Data Management Strategy
ePortfolios/D2L Update
Common Systems Review Group/Board of Regents Updates
November ITMC Meeting Update
Procurement Update
HRS Update
Oracle BI Sessions
Business Objects Update
Meeting Dates


CIOs and their Representatives


Nancy Crabb
David Dumke
Ann Marie Durso
Jack Duwe
Chip Eckardt (by teleconference)
Ron Kraemer
John Krogman
David Lois
Bruce Maas
Ed Meachen
Mary Alice Muraski
Kathy Pletcher (by teleconference)
Elena Pokot
Mary Schoeler
Mike Sherer
Ken Splittgerber
David Stack
John Tillman
Doug Wahl

Brian Busby
Lorie Docken
Doug Flee
Alan Foley
Chris Holsman
Peter Mann
Paul Moriarty
Lori Voss

Campus Password Policies

Ed Meachen reminded the Council that in April 2007 all UWS institutions agreed to adopt a common minimum password policy before the rollout of new shared PeopleSoft modules in March 2008. Jim Lowe will do another Credential Assessment Framework (CAF) Level of Assurance 2 (LOA-2) survey in the November 2007 timeframe. This topic will also be discussed at the November ITMC meeting. Internal auditors at the institutions will be engaged in follow-ups.

Shared Off-Campus Disaster Recovery Site

Bruce Maas explained that UW–Milwaukee has one data center of about 3,000 sq. ft. which supports over 29,000 students and the institution's research mission. Mini data centers have been created by academic units that waste space and energy and, most significantly, create security problems. Having all of the institution's eggs in one basket is risky and departments are realizing the vulnerability inherent storing all of their backup data in the same location as their computers.

UWM does not have a cold backup site and wants to move to the Gartner best practice of sharing administrative processing loads across two simultaneous data centers using VMWare and blade computers. A second site is available at a former manufacturing facility about two miles away from the campus. DOA approval is being sought to build a second data center at that facility since there is a need for additional space for research computing equipment.

If successful in getting approval to go forward with the project, UWM would like to offer other UWS institutions the opportunity to place racks of their equipment in the facility. A quid-pro-quo arrangement is under discussion with UW–Madison which currently has two on-campus sites at WARF and the Computer Science Building. New buildings on the UW–Madison campus are coming with data centers, which provides them with additional opportunities.

UW–Whitewater is in discussion with UW–Madison for replicating one rack of communications equipment. UW–Green Bay and UW–Oshkosh are also in mutual discussions.

The first step at UWM is to bring in a consultant to verify the parameters of the project. Assuming the project goes forward, it would take two to three years to complete the design and construction.

Person Data Management Strategy

Chris Holsman explained that there are technical solutions for managing person data across the UW System, but business process decisions have not yet been formulated. There is currently funding from the Common Systems Review Group for identity management software, security products and a person hub.

The procurement of the identity management software is about half finished. The HRS project is just over the horizon. PeopleSoft is about to redesign its products around a data hub architecture. Anther pressure is the lack of operational data, e.g., requests that come to the IAA governance committee for access to data for reporting purposes, etc. There are also concerns regarding how to best secure personally identifiable information. Business intelligence and data warehousing initiatives are also just around the corner.

Help is needed with:

  • a strategic vision and high level architecture for person data
  • a roadmap to implement a suite of technical solutions
  • buy-in from senior management due to changes in the way large applications will source and consume data

The overall business question and requirements need to be formulated. For example, should the primary use be authentication or should the primary use be a data repository? Kathy Pletcher suggested the appointment of an ad hoc group in which those with a technical bent lead the involvement of consumers and custodians of the data in an immediate focus on HRS. UW–Green Bay has gone through this process at a campus level, as has UW–Madison. UW–Milwaukee volunteered the services of Michael Enstrom, their Data Architect. Ann Marie Durso pointed out the distinction between access management and reporting. Managing access is problematic with respect to people who are loosely affiliated with the institution, such as community partners.

The current and desired future campus uses of IAA will be discussed at the ITMC meeting in November.

ePortfolios/D2L Update


Ed Meachen explained that an open source electronic portfolio product has been developed by the University of Minnesota. UW-Stevens Point has piloted an early version of the product across multiple disciplines, which is typically a shortfall for most products that tend to be discipline specific. The most recent versions of the product addresses many of the rough edges that were encountered at UW-Stevens Point. It has been suggested that a systemwide pilot through FASTAR would be worthwhile because it would be easier to begin an eportfolio effort at the system level than to move a local solution to a system level later on. Currently, a number of different products are in use by various academic departments across the UWS, especially in the schools of education.

Doug Flee and Nina Boss have done a technical analysis of the product in conjunction with the University of Minnesota. A pilot would need to proceed along three levels:

  1. infrastructure
  2. java development
  3. outreach to the academic community

Mary Schoeler believes that academic departments will begin to look for a Common System as the commercial vendors gain market share and start to increase their prices. Typically, departments have been passing along the costs of eportfolios to their students. Ed Meachen suggested that an eportfolio product might also be valuable for handling promotion and tenure packets.

Bruce Maas explained that UW–Milwaukee's architecture is designed around Xythos as a non-duplicated store holding as many forms of data as possible. He would be interested in an eportfolio product that could be configured to use Xythos on the back end. Similar issues arise regarding Xythos versus MINDS@UW. He views the latter as an archive of static content that needs to be published.

Mary Schoeler explained that students need a tool that they can continue to use (and perhaps pay for) after they leave the university. The students also need a mechanism for providing access to others to view their portfolios without a lot of system administration overhead.

The CIOs were asked to survey the need for eportfolios at their institutions and to report back to Ed Meachen. A visit from the University of Minnesota will be scheduled. UW–Stevens Point will pilot the newer version at FASTAR so that the support effort can be ascertained.

Learn@UW Teaching and Learning Survey

Alan Foley distributed early results from the spring Learn@UW teaching and learning survey. Overall, there were no major problems and no astounding testimonials. However, the use of D2L is providing a consistent quality across the institutions. There were some 2,400 instructor respondents. Perceptions of satisfaction and user experience didn't appear to vary with class size or the amount of instructor experience with D2L. Instructors believe there is an overall positive effect on student learning. Some 87% of instructors are pleased with the level of support they have received. Some individuals received specific positive comments. The most commonly used CMS product in the UWS other than D2L is Moodle.

D2L Usage

Peter Mann explained that overall usage of D2L is increasing both in terms of courses and active enrollments. Three UWS institutions activate D2L sessions for all of their courses. The hours of lowest usage are between 2:00 am and 6:00 am. Saturdays have the lowest usage.

John Tillman inquired about the security of using D2L for search and screen committees. Peter Mann reported that there are full time administrators and support staff who have access to D2L courses, but they understand the need for confidentiality. They do their testing with a dedicated test course for each institution and only look at a particular course if requested to do so. If institutions re-use credentials, e.g.,, problems could ensue. Bruce Maas will share copies of the confidentiality agreement that UWM IT employees sign.

Disabling Right Click in D2L Quizzes

One of the functions in the quiz tool, "disable right click", is supposed to disable screen captures and the cutting of pasting text. After upgrading to version 8.x, it was discovered that it wasn't possible to disable the right click, A hot fix has been deployed to the Learn@UW beta environment. It disables the copying of text, but bitmap images of the screen can still be captured. This information will be communicated to the institutional site administrators today.

Caching Problems

Faculty and staff are experiencing some errors or slow responses during periods of high demand due to difficulties in caching between the application and database servers using certain versions of the service manager. Automatically restarting the service manager has mitigated the problem somewhat. Another hot fix was deployed by D2L today.

Common Systems Review Group/Board of Regents Updates

The last Common Systems Review Group (CSRG) meeting focused on financial strategies, amortization schedules and scenario planning. Recommendations will be presented at the next meeting on November 29th. Common System project budget proposals need to be submitted in January 2008 rather than March 2008.

It was hoped that a new contract for Oracle/Peoplesoft consulting services would be appropriately priced. However, DOA will not allow vendors to include travel costs which has resulted in no higher education consulting companies responding. Therefore, the contract is not useful for the UWS. It may be problematic for state's IBIS project as well.

The Common Systems roadmap, budget and governance structure were presented by a Provost and CBO to the Board of Regents. There were questions about what the Common Systems have cost over the last few years.

November ITMC Meeting Update

Mike Sherer reported that the next IT Management Council (ITMC) gathering will be on November 12–13 at Green Lake. Registration information and the agenda are available online on the ITMC website.

Procurement Update

Helen McCain, the Director of the DOA Bureau of Procurement, will be at the November ITMC meeting to explain the new cost benefit analysis process for procurements.

The Shared Financial Systems Executive Committee has received a report on the supply management system. There continue to be questions from the CBOs regarding the business case beyond DOA's requirements.

A recruitment is underway for another UWS IT procurement specialist.

Bruce Maas reported that UW-Milwaukee is looking at alternatives to the Microsoft Office Suite.

HRS Update

The CIO Council received a recent memo from Don Mash that contained an executive summary of the Human Resources System (HRS) project charter. Next week, a memo from Ed Meachen and Al Christ will ask the UWS institutions to put together their local HRS teams. The latter memo follows on-campus meetings with high level administrators and the UWS OLIT staff.

Tomorrow, the UWS budget directors will see an overview of the functionality that is delivered with PeopleSoft's HR product.

The first meeting of the HRS Steering Committee will be November 5th. A broader visioning meeting will be held on November 28th. It will focus on the assessment of outcomes, return/value on investment and productivity gains.

There was a lively discussion on the roles of both functional and technology units in the implementation of these types of projects. The critical need for training, especially for functional staff, was stressed.

Integration of the change management processes at the UWS institutions with the overall HRS system will be necessary.

January 7, 2008 is the most likely date for an HRS summit in the Dells that would involve the campus teams and the Steering Committee.

A search committee is almost ready to begin recruiting seven implementation team leads prior to the fit-gap analysis.

Oracle BI Sessions

Lorie Docken reported that she and Brian Busby have done more work on warehousing, reporting and business intelligence (BI) for HRS and Consolidated Data Record (CDR) purposes. Oracle offers an Insight program in which they assist institutions in developing goals, objectives and a roadmap to a desired state. The UWS has licenses for the existing Oracle HR and financial data marts, but those products won't be migrated to the new Fusion level. The Council is willing to explore further with Oracle while still keeping options open.

Business Objects Update

Business Objects, formerly First Logic, was bought by SAP last week. The SIS roadmap recommended assessing where we are with address cleansing. A set of activities has been mapped out for the next six to eight months including a brief survey of how Business Objects is currently used within the UWS. Meanwhile, Business Objects has announced that patch support for our current version will end as of December 31, 2007 and will therefore not support PeopleSoft version 9.

Meeting Dates

The next meeting of the UWS CIO Council will be a teleconference on November 15th from 8:30 - 10:30 am. Meeting dates, the directory of UW CIOs, and CIO Council meeting summaries are available at: