Office of Learning and Information Technology
UW System CIO Council
June 12, 2003
|CIOs and their Representatives||Guests|
Al Crist is now attending the CIO Council meetings on behalf of UW-Parkside.
Yesterday, David Wirth sent the CIO Council a progress report on the UW System's implementation of Desire2Learn (D2L). He is pleased with the progress, which is on target. Installation will occur the week of June 23rd, and the goal is to be up and running in July after appropriate testing. The UW System institutions have expressed interest in support for converting classes from Blackboard, Prometheus and WebCT. The lions' share of the work can be done by the institutions themselves because the D2L conversion tools are very good. D2L can provide contract conversion services, but those are not included in the project's base budget. If institutions are interested in purchasing conversion services, they should contact David Wirth (email@example.com). Some institutions are interested in knowing how courses residing at Learning Innovations will be converted. The question will be raised with David Wirth. Meanwhile, UW Colleges has been successfully converting their own.
The LTDCs and site administrations will use the Shareable Content Object (SCO) model for developing training modules for D2L (see http://partners.academiccolab.org/events/scodays/). Kathy Christoph reported that 70 enhancements to D2L will be finished by July 18th. She also encouraged the UWM institutions to ensure that converted courses supply the correct functionality and, if not, to report it according to the established process.
David Hart has offered funding from MILER to help develop the interoperability and integration with other UWS Common Systems. In the first year, the integration steps will be:
- integration of student administration systems (including PeopleSoft, DataTel and legacy) with D2L by populating class rosters on a nightly basis
- integration with campus authentication systems
D2L feels that it would be preferable to get one campus working on both of the above functions, before moving onto the next campus. A timeline is under development. Generally speaking, a joint venture between the D2L Integration Subcommittee and MILER/FASTAR will endeavor to accomplish a baseline of functionality for course rosters and authentication by August 1 for UW-Madison, UW-Superior and UW-Milwaukee. The next tier of institutions will be UW-Stout (using the DataTel student administrative system), UW-River Falls and UW-Eau Claire (using a legacy student administrative system). D2L recommended starting with the UW-Madison campus to accomplish the LDAP integration and course integration in the most complex and challenging environment first. If the institutions decide that they need more interoperability than the baseline, they may have to find both the financial and staff resources to accomplish it. Every possible resource from D2L and PeopleSoft will be leveraged to lower the workload on the UW System resources.
UW-Superior provided D2L an XML extract from their student administrative system that was generated by the PeopleSoft IMS tool with a few local modifications. D2L reported that it mapped very well.
The first phase of authentication will be to accomplish integration at the campus level, with production integration via IAA anticipated in the future. Ed Meachen reported that the IAA project is over budget, with little likelihood of an increase, because of unanticipated issues over fringe benefit costs. However, the registry portion of the IAA project will definitely be completed. Subsequent IAA developments are not clear. Perhaps the other Common Systems projects that will benefit from IAA can supply some additional funding. Dick Cleek announced that Dave Alerie is now in charge of the IAA implementation. Ken Ebbe reported that IAA can be ready for production in as little as two weeks if the majority of the campuses provide their data. UW-Milwaukee can supply a batch SQR that works well for PeopleSoft campuses. The systemwide whitepages will be publicly available soon. Kronos developers will be testing the use of IAA for authentication for students in early July. This will enable students to authenticate using their current campus IDs.
Mark Anderson expressed the need for the UW-Madison utility to have a certificate. Kathy Christoph said it was her understanding that it will.
Until now, the only campus that is currently using a LMS grade integration is UW-Madison, and their faculty are aware that D2L grade integration will not be available in the fall semester. Kathy Christoph recommended that interested campuses begin looking at the grade integration process now.
Four CIOs, three Provosts, a business dean, David Wirth and Ed Meachen are on the D2L Steering Committee. Kathy Pletcher is chair. The group has met twice. Its charge is to provide guidance and advocacy. It is responsible for communication with all the stakeholder groups in four areas:
- establishing and monitoring Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
- overseeing the project scope, budget and timeline
- reviewing issues and policy implementations
- resolving any conflicts that arise
At the first meeting, the charge for the group was reviewed. At the second meeting, there was a discussion of the location of the UW-Milwaukee D2L database. UW-Milwaukee is interested in having dot.edu host their database since they are on short timeline. After considerable discussion, it appeared that there were not any compelling reasons against dot.edu hosting the UW-Milwaukee courses, so long as costs, complexity and resource conflicts don't arise.
The committee also began reviewing the Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which outline what the utility at UW-Madison will provide based upon the available funding. An early draft was discussed, and Jim Lowe and Ron Kraemer will shepherd the development of the next draft. Ed Meachen noted that the SLA will provide, at no direct cost to the campuses, everything needed to run D2L. Meanwhile, David Wirth will develop an interim SLA for the summer.
The committee reviewed the budget proposed by the UW-Madison utility, which needs a bit more review.
At the Steering Committee meeting, Annie Stunden suggested that reports be distributed in the form of executive summaries. If there are problems or concerns, then more voluminous information will be distributed. The committee has been pleased with D2L's responsiveness. It will meet again in mid July.
The current ESRI contract expires on August 11, 2003. Over three years, the funding has shifted away from UW System Administration and onto the institutions. The contract provides for a changing suite of products and the appointment of 25 ESRI specialists from the UW System institutions and 25 passes to the ESRI user conference, which are mostly unused. Kathy Pletcher suggested that the conference passes be distributed around the UW System to faculty who would use them.
The next round of contract negotiations is underway. The product suite needs to be revisited because ESRI's product line has changed. The online training benefits have been widely used and are worth continuing. Training workshops for new users and new user communities will be pursued as well. Explicit permission to use the product for K12 teachers, distance education students and continuing education classes would also be valuable.
The UW System will begin a bid process for a SELECT reseller agreement, even as institutions analyze their options. Institutions will need to make decisions regarding how they want to go forward as of August 1. There might be a subsequent 90 day window to roll current products over to SELECT with Software Assurance. Software Assurance is a three year commitment to making annual payments.
Some institutions are interested in deeper discounts on the SQL Cals. Meanwhile, there is still an unlimited systemwide site license for ORACLE servers.
The CIO Council acknowledged all of the hard work and analysis that has been done by David Kieper of UW-Green Bay.
Most UW System institutions are planning to drop home use coverage for students. WISC (http://wiscweb5.wisc.edu/wisc/) will begin selling ownership licenses to students at all of these institutions.
A bid for Verisign is underway. Hopefully, prices will drop for the institutions that are already using their services.
Since headway wasn't being made in regard to recalibrating the Department of Electronic Government's (DEG) RFI for a statewide educational video/data network, the issue was brought to the attention of President Lyall and the Secretary of DOA. About a week and a half ago, the Department of Administration recognized that the UWS was very concerned about conscription of a well functioning network and turning it over to a common carrier. E-rate money and interactive video have been the driving forces, not the results from the statewide focus groups. Meanwhile, TEACH subsidies to replace the aging interactive video equipment are going away. A hold was temporarily placed on the RFI, but it will be reconsidered next week Tuesday. Since no one directly associated with WiscNet, or its board, can participate in discussions of the RFI, Dick Cleek has agreed to help Ed Meachen. The RFI will not be released until after another round of high level discussions between the top administration of UWS and DOA.
Meanwhile, WiscNet is working on initiatives for robust IP video alternatives in terms of bandwidth and quality of service (QoS). However, many K-12's may not have sufficient WiscNet bandwidth via their T1 connections for full motion video. The H.264 standard offers promise for equivalent quality to MPEG 2, but with lower bandwidth requirements.
According to DEG, no state agency can move to voice over IP (VoIP) because of the Centrex contract. However, pending budgetary language may ease these restrictions.
Lorie Docken distributed information about Joint Finance motion #605 regarding the issuing of RFPs for several ERP systems for executive branch agencies, which could potentially include the UW System. Language from the motion is in the final budget that will be considered by the two houses of the legislature.
UW Colleges - The PeopleSoft 8 implementation is being finished ahead of schedule. Network security is an important consideration as 14 Exchange sites replicate with central servers behind firewalls. A consultant is being brought in to advise the situation. Talks are going on in various communities to gain access to installed fiber to provide additional bandwidth.
UW-Eau Claire - A consulting engagement focused on the modernization of the administrative systems is winding up. Afterwards, there will be an internal process to review the recommendations. A nine mile citywide fiber optic network has been created in three months through the city's procurement authority. It connects the city with the technical colleges, the county, the university and the Norlight POP with future connections planned to Qwest and Sprint. Luther Hospitals and AT&T were major contributors to the project. A campuswide wireless project gives complete wireless coverage using 802.11b. A local mobile company offers the wireless equivalent of DSL access. The modem pool will be eliminated as part of the budget process. Local vendors may offer modem, DSL and wireless services at discounted rates. A small number of VoIP phones are running in their shop on a pilot project. Video classes are being offered eight hours per day to their satellite campus in Marshfield via MPEG 2 and Polycom codecs. The help desk customer service model is being reorganized. Content management systems are being investigated to push responsibility for content out to the departments. A strategic planning process will be wound up in about a month. A new data warehouse is about to come online.
UW Extension - Digital asset management systems are being researched because of the institution's public television and radio interests (see http://www.uwex.edu/dam/). A national interconnect is under development for exchanging programming using Virage and other media content management systems. Professors are being encouraged to use these systems as a place to keep their content.
The outcome of the state government debates on the shared revenue issue will impact the funding for the UW Extension staff. Learning Innovations (LI) has decided that they are not going to have a CIO any longer. The new LI dean is moving to re-engage with UW Extension.
About 40% of the UW-Extension staff that need to be included in their directory structure aren't payrolled through the UWS. A new IT advisory council has been formed to get input from UW-Extension staff across the state. Various web services around the state are being consolidated into networked attached storage.
UW-Green Bay - Conversion to PeopleSoft version 8 will happen at the end of June and early July. Staff documentation has been borrowed from UW-Milwaukee. The PeopleSoft help desk has been moved away from the Registrar and into IT. The PeopleSoft portal is under consideration. A few faculty are piloting use of the PeopleSoft electronic gradebook. Networking is being installed in new residence halls. The academic web site will be reworked next summer.
UW-La Crosse - The process of migrating off of the mainframe is underway, which has necessitated repurposing the voice registration system to the web. As a result, a new web security plan was created and more policy work is in the offing. The migration to D2L is going okay, although most faculty are not yet interested. Additional wireless access points are being added. Strides are being made in centrally and automatically managing technology enhanced classrooms. A DFD fiber and wiring project will take place over the summer. Web accessibility is being improved with strong support from the provost.
UW-Madison - The five-year 21st century network project is underway, replacing electronics, fiber and copper wiring. It will be a five year project. Funding will be switched from telephone chargebacks to a combination of a campus subsidy and direct charges. A security audit is underway with heavy emphasis on disaster recovery and business continuation, especially in light of September 11th. A plan is under consideration to put servers at two sites with mirrored disks. HIPPA security policies have been formed with a two year implementation process. The web accessibility policies have also been updated.
UW-Milwaukee - A campuswide strategic planning effort for IT is underway. The campus is redefining how how to deliver technology through some three dozen "core services". Campuswide teams are being formed to define and/or refine the services and set up a governance structure for each. Hopefully this will eliminate the finger pointing between central and distributed IT. Four teams are currently underway: campuswide desktop computer purchasing, core electronic mail, core file storage and core printing.
PeopleSoft version 8.0 came up smoothly yesterday, and integration testing is currently underway. Much of the credit goes to MILER.
UWM's Blackboard courses need to be converted by the end of December because UWM's contract ends in January. On Monday and Tuesday, three instances of D2L were installed for dot.edu, UW-Milwaukee and Milwaukee Public Schools. The campus is actively participating in the D2L/PeopleSoft integration project.
The implementation of a portal based upon PeopleSoft is targeted for early spring. A campuswide set of focus groups is doing the design. It is time to replace the campus web site, and the goal is to bring in a content management system (CMS) instead of using hand-coded html. A new storage area network (SAN) for the campus data center is under development. A campuswide Active Directory tied to Windows XP and Macintosh OS X is under construction.
The first go around of the "Oshkosh Process" is underway to standardize the software in the general access computer labs based upon broad campus input.
Wireless networking via 802.11g will be pursued in the fall timeframe.
UW-Oshkosh - Email filtering has been implemented and an integrated calendar and webmail solution is being designed. The upgrade to PeopleSoft version 8 will happen in mid July. A few D2L introductory sessions have been offered. The first live D2L courses will be in the spring. A group is working towards a single signon environment. The PeopleSoft portal will be implemented after the upgrade to the PeopleSoft student administration system. Wireless network coverage is being expanded. Computer replacement cycles are being lengthened as a result of the budget situation.
UW-Parkside - The implementation of PeopleSoft version 8.0 will continue through September of 2004. In addition to his CIO duties, Al Christ will also remain in charge of enrollment management.
UW-Platteville - During the first two weeks in June, the PeopleSoft student system is being upgraded to version 8. Also, the IT staff are being moved to another building and significant changes have been made to the campus network. In the upcoming year, the campus farm will be connected to the campus network. The link will be made via fiber that the campus previously donated to the public school district.
UW-River Falls - The focus this summer is on implementing PeopleSoft version 8.0. Students are currently being registered for the fall. The legacy system and mainframe will be wrapped up by the end of the calendar year. LDAP campus directory services are being implemented and interfaced with PeopleSoft, which is not straightforward. A modified version of UW-Madison's netreg process may be used. A migration is underway towards open source email and the ORACLE calendar platform and away from Groupwise. Eudora Pro will be the PC client and Outlook Express the Macintosh client. Squirrel Mail will be the web email interface. Spam and virus filtering is being accomplished with SpamAssassin and a local blacklist. Executable attachments are being stripped out automatically, and people have to ftp the attachments they truly want.
UW-Stevens Point - Desktop are being upgraded to Windows XP this summer. Exchange 2003 may be in place in time for the fall semester. Wireless networking is being put into the library, the university center and the main administration building this summer. The responsiveness of the help desk is being improved. The main computer room is being upgraded. Hybrid courses are being developed using D2L. Span filtering is under investigation. A bid for long distance services has been let. All students will have free voicemail in the fall.
UW-Stout - Release 18 of the DataTel student administration system will be implemented soon. Half of the network edge devices will be upgraded. The second year of the laptop program will see an additional 2,100 laptops and one technician. Software licenses will be managed through Keyserver. Additional wireless capability will be added. The UW-Stout homebuilt student portal just won an ACUTA prize (see https://portal.uwstout.edu/escholar.cfm) and the faculty portal has a course delivery system that is linked to the student portal. An advisement module has recently been added.
UW-Superior - The provost has been raising the visibility of the University Technology Committee for the last few years. It has done significant work on policy development, however, it is challenging to make people aware of the policies. The committee has also recommended leasing computers from Dell. If this happens there will be a 25% discount and a 3 year replacement cycle for standard configurations. Centralizing the funds will be a major challenge. A campuswide functional committee is evaluating the PeopleSoft portal with an eye towards implementation in spring 2004. Telephone chargebacks are now being used to also fund digital switches. A new faculty development person will report to computing and media services. A financial management spreadsheet that covers three fiscal years has been developed. The campus network has been subnetted, with a firewall on the edge. A transition to Active Directory will occur over the summer. Servers are being consolidated in response to the changes in the Microsoft contract. Wireless access points are being put in the areas of highest student concentration. More PeopleSoft extracts are being developed for IAA, SEVIS, account creation, D2L, etc.
UW System Administration - UWSA is moving to ORACLE version 9i and upgrading the servers. Numerous application projects for various groups are also underway.
UW-Whitewater - PeopleSoft is being integrated with D2L. A small reorganization based upon customer needs is underway. A new project will attempt to deploy computer lab software more widely over the web. A wireless network and a concomitant security plan is under development.
Ron Kraemer has a Gartner analyst seat via the UWS Gartner contract. He has sat in on several conference calls regarding the ORACLE/PeopleSoft controversy. He reported that Gartner won't say if they think that ORACLE's attempt to buy PeopleSoft will succeed, but they are describing the consequences of both alternatives as they see them. As of this morning, ORACLE has said that PeopleSoft will not seek a restraining order to stop ORACLE's bid. ORACLE is saying that they will be selective regarding which vertical markets they will take over, which means they could stop development on the Student Administration System. Version 7.x of PeopleSoft Financials has a published life of March 2004, but ORACLE has indicated that it would not go forward to version 8.0. Several of the Gartner analysts think that the issue will play out within weeks, not months. If the acquisition goes through, they think that institutions might be better served by looking at all products in the marketplace, not automatically converting from PeopleSoft to ORACLE.
Ron Kramer is now the current, past and future Information Technology Management Council (ITMC) chair (see http://www.uwsa.edu/olit/itmc/itmcinfo.htm). UW Extension has engaged a company that conducts online elections. If a slate of candidates can be nominated, the election could be accomplished at no cost. The biggest workload for the chair is the semi-annual conference. A good administrative assistant can do it smoothly, especially at a previous venue like the Heidel House. Ron Kraemer will send out a communication to the ITMC calling for nominations.
The Regents will commence a long range planning exercise in September. The CBOs are also in the midst of a process of envisioning the future. The chancellors and vice chancellors have similar exercises scheduled. The CBOs are very interested in using technology for distance and online education as a way of reaching non-traditional students, which they see as increasingly important. They are also interested in reducing overhead costs for business processes with technology. Gary Smith recommended that the CIO Council craft a plan, or a response, that is built upon the thinking of the other groups by the end of the summer. Much of the material from the other groups should be available in time for the July 17, 2003 CIO meeting.
Ron Yates sent the chancellors a letter regarding the need for policies for cleansing hard disks before disposal. The responses are to be coordinated through the CBOs.
Two more UWS institutions need to finish EDUCAUSE's Core Data survey (http://www.educause.edu/coredata/) in order for the UWS to share the data. Four UWS institutions have completed it to date. The Council felt that it would be a good idea for more UWS institutions to complete the survey.