Learning Technology Development Council (LTDC)
Learning Technology Development Council
BadgerNet Issues with David Lois and Ed Meachen
Recent BadgerNet efforts have been focussed on politics and money behind the scenes. Much work has been done but it has not been very visible. The slides from this presentation are at www.uwsa.edu/olit/bdgrnt/present.htm
Numerous SONET sites are physically in place . The Madison/Milwaukee link is both physically and logically in place. Four additional circuits will be installed in the May timeframe.
Cisco BPX-ATM Switches
Its best not to dwell on the SONET services, but rather think of BadgerNet as a systemwide ATM network. Most of the ATM switches are physically in place, some are logically in place as well. The entire network should be up and running in May.
There are over 1,800 requests into DOA for access circuits as a result of the TEACH initiative. TEACH is essentially a subsidization of BadgerNet services, not a separate network. DOA is moving all circuits through the TEACH WI program.
DOA DS3 Video Service
Note that the DS3 video service is a DOA service. DOA is moving all the DS3 circuits for video through their TEACH WI program. There are 100 sites with an additional 75 sites to be connected by Fall semester. The next round of applications will be closed out May 30th for services installed by the Spring semester. The DOA contact for status of the sites is Andy Cote at 608-267-6927.
Enterprise Network Management Center (ENMC)
The network management contract was signed with TDS Telecom on April 16th. Interim management services have been provided through DOA Info Tech, BadgerNet staff and the general service providers of Cisco, WBAA (Wisconsin BadgerNet Access Alliance) and Norlight. The long term service configuration is still being designed. It will likely be some combination of TDS, Infotech and the vendors. The details of the management platform (hardware and software) are still sketchy. The full configuration date is unknown.
WiscNet Connections Project (WCP)
This project is the most important from the UW perspective. The Dimension Enterprises consultant report created a "potential" design that needs to be analyzed from a system, WiscNet and DoIT perspective in terms of need, funding and feasibility. The vested interests of all partners drove this report including, K12s, CESAs, technical colleges, UW System, government, private higher ed, etc. The report talks about how WiscNet will use the BadgerNet ATM Infrastructure, how Internet access will be provided, how UW System will use BadgerNet as an intranet, and how H.320 compressed video will move across the network. Missing from the report is a treatment of full motion DS3 video because that is already being done by DOA. A sticking point is how other ISPs will interface to BdagerNet, which is not specifically designed into the report, but is not prohibitied. Video gateways to other networks are not inlcuded in the report because the DOA/TEACH DS3 piece has not been designed as of yet. The proposed design is a two layer ATM architecture with both a DOA BPX and a WCP ATM switch to allow multiple protocols and services (including things like dedicated compressed video circuits) which only ATM can do today in a production fashion. ATM is also scalable across wide area networks. The two layers will provide switched virtual circuits (SVCs), ease of managment by the WiscNet NOC, a clean demarcation of services for troubleshooting and operations, ease of adding new services (e.g., Internet 2), ease of moving ATM network services onto the campuses, and the best of both worlds: DOA and WiscNet. SVCs are the best ways of utilitzing ATM infrastructure for IP. Its a way to efficiently use bandwidth among multiple users because the bandwidth is freed when its not actually being used. Its the future direction for ATM services and from any point in the state it will only take two routers ("hops") to get to the Internet. H.320 compressed video will be able to be placed directly on the ATM network, perhaps by the Spring 1999 semester. The report recommends that the WCP become an ENMC subordinate, however the ENMC is not defined, there will be minimal overlapping of services and aggregation with the UW-Madison Network Management Center instead would save more resources and becoming a subsidiary of ENMC. The next WCP step is putting high speed routers on all the 4 year campuses. The order for these is ready to go out. The final configuration of the ATM switches as a WAN is being defined. The T1s and the BPX overlay will be done in the June or July timeframe. The configuration of video bridging, which is crucial for delivering courses, has been delayed by budget concerns, but work on it is starting now.
The Push for WiscNet II
WiscNet II is the name for new services beyond the traditional Internet services. Its goal is to positon WiscNet to handle Internet 2 services. The first piece is high speed Internet access with video and voice as future considerations.
UW System Goals
The major system goal is aligning the UW System with Internet 2. Another goal is to align the system with all other education providers in the state. Thirdly, UW System Administration is not in the network operations business and prefers to rely upon WiscNet, along with DoIT as a partner, to do the network management and engineering. System can then go back to concentrating on strategic planning instead of building networks.
Marriage between UW System and WiscNet
The plan is for WiscNet to provide data and video network services to all campuses. DoIT will provide the NOC and network engineering. UW System will send BadgerNet funding to WiscNet to procure BadgerNet services. A memorandum of understanding between UW System and WiscNet is being developed. WiscNet will also have Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with DOA for BadgerNet core services, with DoIT for WiscNet engineering, with Extension ICS for video bridging and with DoIT for NOC services.
A budget spreadsheet was distributed which shows ongoing base funding of $4M in FY98 and $2.8M in succeeding years. The expenses are centered in WiscNet services, DOA equipment (in FY98 only) and UWSA (which includes a significant contingency fund). Today UW System represents 22% of WiscNet's budget, next year it will be 60%. The goal will be to hold steady, or reduce the annual WiscNet fees paid by the campuses.
For further information:
Dave Lois, firstname.lastname@example.org , 608-263-4677
1999-01 IT Budget Initiatives with Bob Jokisch
The top CIO prioritites for the 1999-2001 biennial budget request are to address IT staffing needs and to support desktop computing.
The Student Solution to the IT Staffing Crisis
The primary IT need at the institutions is additional trained IT staff. This is a national problem as well. The need is created by the national shortage of trained IT staff, the inability to receive additional positions from the State of Wisconsin, and private sector salaries that are higher than we can pay. Because of these shortages we lack support for faculty to integrate technology into the curriculum, support for students using technology in their courses, trained staff to maintain campus networks, and knowledgeable personnel for the rapidly developing administrative systems. The proposal will recommend increasing the number of IT student workers at the institutions, providing additional technical training to IT student workers, getting additional positions to hire IT students after graduation, and to retrain existing IT and non-IT staff in things like Oracle and Notes. Students can be trained to work on help desks, in PC maintenance, in network installation, to provide technical support for faculty, etc. Training providers that we can partner with include WTCS for general technical training, the private sector for specialized vendor certifications, e.g., Oracle and Novell, our existing staff for campus specific duties and the providers of computer based training for self study. The plan will be to add 200 IT student workers systemwide, to train 800 IT student workers systemwide and to fund higher wages or other benefits for the students who receive the training to help retain them until they graduate. Ultimately the students could receive a UW System IT certification. The goals of the progam are to address the IT staffing crisis at the insitutions, to provide hands-on IT experience to our students, and to form partnerships with WTCS, the private sector and within the system.
During Summer 1998 a pilot will include 40 IT student workers from 14 institutions. It will run June 15 through 26 at Madison Area Technical College. Food, lodging and wages for the participants will be subsidized. Afterwards the students will receive additional training and mentoring at the campus level. The institutions will be provided with $2,500 to use for student retention incentives. There will also be an assessment component.The curriculum will focus on basic concepts, customer service and desktop support.
Madison's Training programs with Tad Pinkerton
Two training programs are being managed by Judy Caruso who has 6 new COBOL recruits to
help with Y2K programming. She also has 7 non-IT staff members that she is training for
developer 2000 work.
Another program will be run this summer for 22 sophmore level students. It will include summer wages, training and a guaranteed DoIT job if they finish. It is targeted at liberal arts students. The mornings will be for formal training and the afternoons for interning in the help desk, the installation and repair department, and the customer systems group. The students will rotate through the three internships. At the end of the summer they will get a DoIT certificate, and perhaps they will be able to get vendor certification as well. If they can't all be placed within DoIT they will be placed with other campus units.
Milwaukee's Training Programs with Joe Douglas
Four levels of competency have been defined with all students entering at the lowest level and working their way up. Milwaukee hires from any campus discipline with an emphasis on interpersonal skills. The Revere Group has volunteered to help with the soft skills training. The 130 student employees are used in all the usual IT ways, as well as graphic arts and printing services. The goal is to have all of the students receive all of the training. The exposure to this professional development is already appearing very valuable to the students. One student employee told his younger borther that he couldn't got to Minnesota but that he had to come to UWM and work for our organization. This summer approximately half of the student employees will go through the training. Students who are around for more than a year will become trainers for the others. The local K-12 school system is interested in channeling interested high school students to UWM to work in this program. Local CIOs of corporations may be willing to underwrite some of the student wages during training. Local corpoarations know that hiring away students in their junior year is not the best practice and instead they may be willing to pay the students to stay in school, get training, and then work for them after graduation. If a working program can be demonstrated, outside support will come.
Web Based Courseware and Software Licensing with Ron Kraemer and Ruth
Web Based Courseware Development Tools
A working group was formed last year to ensure everyone could purchase the products
they needed for web based software development. The plan was to include First Class,
LearningSpace, TopClass, Web Course in a Box (WCB) and WebCT. Most of these are cheap
enough that they are easy to acquire for single server purchases. There are more
pricing strategies than there are vendors, e.g., there are three different ways to buy
LearningSpace. Therefore price models get very complicated and depend upon the base
The basic picing strategies are:
- no cost unless you want support
- per server and per concurrent user costs
- per server and per server account costs
- per server and per faculty and per student costs
- unlimited use licenses
- purchase costs plus fees for each student
Other important costs to consider are support staff, training, help desk support (7x24) and the necessary hardware, software and networking infrastructure. The cost of the product itself is often eclipsed by these other costs.
Its difficult to compare these products. Interesting comparison criteria can be found
Ron did 6 cost models ranging from 1,000 to 100,000 students. These cost estimates were based upon the currently available academic pricing. Costs ranged from almost nothing for WCB regardless of how many students use it, up to $2M for LearningSpace for 100,000 students. Costs are relatively low and systemwide licenes don't make sense until you get up to about 50,000 students. This has implications regarding the renewal of the Lotus LearningSpace contract. Ed Meachen thinks that perhaps we need to retain the option to buy a systemwide LearningSpacelicense in mid-year if Learning Innovations suddenly has enough students to make a systemwide license economically feasible. Others point out that several colleges bought into LearningSpace with the understandingthat it would be a continuing systemwide license and standard.
A formal benchmarking program for LearningSpace was done by Extension, LI and IBM/Lotus
at the IBM Open Systems Center in Dallas. The goal was to measure LearningSpace
performance on multiple server types and configurations. Actual Extension and LI courses
were used and run via scripts to emulate the courses being taken by different numbers of
students. As the number of concurrent users went up the response time went down to 7.3
seconds for 70 concurrent users taking the course at one time as the CPU usage was
increasing to 100%.
The CPU was the bottleneck. There was very little I/O and very little memory use. The RAM maxed out at 80 Meg. There was minimal network bandwidth used when the CPUs were maxed out at 70 users, only 3% of a 10M ethernet was used. HTTP logging was shown to be very costly and cut performance almost in half. Clustering servers would likely be advantageous.
The next step is for Lotus to complete the tests on different hardware. Its difficult to figure out what 70 concurrent users means in terms of registred students. Its necessary to make estimates of when the students will be actually using the courses, which means analyzing the demographics of who uses it and when. It probably means a maximum of 500 to 1000 students per server. With new versions of LearningSpace coming out there is a need to be cautious with hardware purchases. Other products will probably have similar, or perhaps even more severe, limitations but similar benchmarks haven't been done with them.
Campuses are still deciding at what level they want to particpate in the contract and whether they want to be ship-to locations. The current proposal for training units is to buy 450 training units and combine them with the 200 free units to come up with a lower cost per training unit. The distribution of the units has not been decided yet.
There are now three vendors on the RS6000 contract. The UW colleges contract for compressed video, and the WCP Dimensions contract are system contracts that everyone can use. The Purchasing web site now has a search engine and the State's vendornet web page has been revised, but it doesn't have online access to DOA contracts yet. Future contracts include Microsoft, which expires next spring. Indiana has an enterprise-wide Microsoft contract and we have the same vendor rep. Judy Brown recently got a Microsoft update and the news is not encouraging for a Total Campus Option type of program. A student information system (SIS) contract is also being looked at as a potential systemwide contract.
Emerging Technology and the WTCS with Judy Brown
The driving forces today are E-commerce, webcasting, video conferencing and distance learning. Garnter Group says that every three years the product development cycle time halves. The products that won awards at Comdex are featured at the www.bestofcomdex.com website. The Universal Serial Buss (USB) is the coming interface. Win 98 will have support for it built-in. It supports up to 127 devices, but all the vendors are building terminators into their products so we will wind up buying hubs to put more than one device on a computer. In June there will be a $98 video camera that works under USB at 30 frames per second.
High resolution flat screens are mind boggling and you can buy smaller flat screens than conventional monitors. Right now they cost 3 to 4 times the price of conventional monitors and can only be justified in certain environments where size and heat are major considerations. Prices will come down soon.
The next iteration of WebTV is about to come out and higher ed better keep an eye on
it. There is a $495 PBX coming out for small office/home office (SOHO) use. It can do a
call back to you when you're on the road and then give you a local dialtone, which makes
all calls look like they were dialed from your home with your cheap residential phone
service. Web Easy is a cool $49 web creation tool.
25% of all jobs that exist today will disappear within 10 years and 85% of kids in grade 5 will go into jobs that we don't know about yet. Our challendge in higher ed is that our students are born cable ready and we need to give them mass customization. Industry is already looking for people who are Win 98 trained this July.
81% of fortune 500 companies have a current 1997 objective of implementing a pilot of inhouse online learning- up from 3% last year. For more info see www.maisie.com
Knowledge Universe is a new company on a stealthy quest for universal domination of the educational market. Its buying up educational companies, training companies and K-12s and it could easily become a Fortune 100 company. The Department of Defense has an advanced distributed learning project to get the "right knowledge, at right time to the right person to make the right decision." They are developing metatags for online learning content.
WTCS is working with the CBT Systems cbtCampus product, faculty development grants, choosing university administrative systems, putting out laptop labs for adult based education (ABE) that have 10 laptops and a projector that faculty will cart around for courses. They have a CoursePaq project with Compaq on how to deliver courses online. It runs in LearningSpace and will be available in the June or July timeframe.
They are getting involved in the Cisco Networking Academies for training high school and college students in the first 3 levels of the ISO model. The program runs for 4 semesters and 70 credit hours. It leads to a Cisco networking associates certificate. Each 10 local academies is supported by a regional academy. All 16 tech colleges plus Stout are regional academies. They will try and compress the curriculum into one year and then run a followup advanced curriculum. The governor will do a press rollout on this on April 30th, 1998 with the chairman of Cisco Systems to announce this initiative across the State.
PC Week will have a desktop shootout in Madison the week of May 11th. They will be
testing desktop videoconferencing software, online instruction tools and Multipoint
Control Units (MCUs) for bringing in multiple people on desktop video conferences.
For more information on any of these issues contact http://consortium.tec.wi.us, email@example.com
TEACH from a UW Perspective with Dick Sorensen, Hal Schlais and Ed Meachen
A handout giving the activities of the TEACH board was distributed. TEACH has had a slow start but the interim staff has been hard at work while the new staffing is being put in place. The board was appointed last January and approved the $62M in educational technology block grants for the school districts for the next 2 years. These funds were for any technology related puposes the disticts wanted to do.
At the second meeting the board approved emergency rules for telecommuncations access to data and video circuits for $100 and $250 respectively. At the third meeting in March they established the permanent rules for telecommuncations access. On April 17th they established the wiring loan program for $100M over 2 years, of which only half has to be paid back. Another $10M in wiring loans was made available for Library boards. The TEACH staff has been flooded with applications for data and video lines.
Q: What will the K-12s be expecting of us in regards to TEACH?
A: There are competitve grants available for technical assistance and training. The
universities can be partners in this. University campuses can contribute programming
that's desired by the school districts over the video networks.
Q: Why was the UW excluded from the access discounts?
A: No one is sure,
but perhaps because numerous programs including BadgerNet, the curricular redesign funds
and the infrastrucutre funds were all originally considered part of TEACH. In effect we've
already received our TEACH money.
Q: Will the K-12 curriculums change as a result of these technologies?
A: The assumption is that TEACH will be funded for another 3 years afer the first 2 in order to meet its lofty goals over 5 years. The UW campuses can help with teaching teachers how to use all this technology in their teaching. Training of trainer models are starting between 5 UW campuses and regional training consortia. Next year 5 more campuses will take part. High level talks are going on between TEACH and UW System Administration.
Q: What kinds of assistance are the private universities and colleges getting?
A: They are getting the telco discounts, but not the bock grants.
Q: Some institutions here hope to be supplying classes to K-12. What kind of position will TEACH put us in, especially in regards to the DS-3 codecs?
A: There is a compatibility problem because our video networking is not up to the standards that they will have. The WIDEN institutions figured out that 85% of their use of the network was for K-12 purposes. The main video conferencing desire of the K-12's is connecting to higher education for school to work programs, teacher training, etc., from the university, not communication between themselves.
Ed Meachen hypothesizes that the main political impetus for TEACH was to break down
distance and time barriers. Right now there is a confusion between infrastructure and
content in this program because there is no clear definition of what needs to be delivered
and no definition of the problem that needs to be solved. When money suddenly comes on the
table it distorts the marketplace based upon how the money is offered, e.g., if you
deliver large bandwidth for low price that drives education in a certain direction, but it
may not transform education in the way you hope. If the high subsidies for full motion
video do not continue then you're left high and dry. However others say that the existing
full motion networks were built before TEACH came on the scene, and were built with K12
money based upon their needs analysis. The full motion video is a kind of short term
solution until a full suite of services becomes available over an ATM network.
Q: If the UW is not included as a fully functional partner in these full motion video networks, is it worth the investment now to get there, and if so for how many institutions?
A: If the UW doesn't make this investment, but the private and
techical colleges do we can't afford to ignore it.
Q: Has there been discussion of who in the K-12s will support this technology on site?
A: In some school districts there has been a lot of planning about this,
but not in others. This is a parallel situation to LearningSpace where a new technology is
put forward to transform learning, but no one is planning for all the support needed. The
technical assistance grants can help but no one has been paying much attention to them.
The Technology Literacy Challenge Fund program from the US Department of Education can
help with this as well.
A technology readiness survey has gone out to every school district and every school building in the State. It will ask questions about teacher technology skills, the number of days per year for teacher technical professional development, the amount of hardware and software available, the type of Internet access available, kinds of distance learning being done, etc. Its part of a national survey. The results should be in by June.
Ed Meachen would like to be kept aware of campus activities in going after TEACH funding to make sure that we're not working at cross purposes with each other, or sending mixed messages to DOA.
Staffing Issues with Chuck McConnell
There have been some staff changes at the system HR office. There is a commitment to adding value to the process. Chuck's office has moved to Van Hise, near to Ed Meachen's office. The Civil Service Reform Bill, assembly bill 790, that was germinated out of a Governor's commission, is now on a fast track through the Senate. It will allow flexibility in the number of names certified for vacancies, which will allow us to certify people in groups instead of strict numerical ranking, similar to what we do for academic staff. It will repeal the prohibition against hiring people who are not Wisconsin residents and will allow for advertising outside of Wisconsin. It will allow people to be reinstated up to 5 years, instead of the 3 years that is allowed now. It will allow registers to expire in 3 months instead of 6 so that we won't be working from old lists. It would repeal the requirement that one member of an oral board be from outside state service. It will also eliminate DER's control over the academic staff title structure and leave those responsibilities to the Regents and the UW Personnel office, however it would not eliminate DER oversight regarding what is and isn't considered classified staff.
The system has been pushing for an online application process for entry and intermediate positions. DOA and DER have demonstrated a prototype. It will hopefully be up by the end of May.
The WPEC tentative agreement is being voted on through today. Only about 39% of those represented by WPEC are voting members. If approved through the legislature and the governor's office the economic provisions would probably become effective on May 10th, not last July. There will still be lump sum adjustments to cover people back to July 5th, but it won't be truly retroactive in terms of details like night differential.
The contract allows for broadbanding and discretionary compensation. Range 15 will be a broad range. Once people are in it they can be given up to 4 steps per fiscal year for a variety of reasons such as performace and market factors. Criteria have already been set up within the system for granting discretionary compensation adjustments, DCAs, for the non-represented staff and these criteria will be proposed to DER for the represented as well.
In June/July DER will hold training for broadbanding and the use of market data to make salary adjustments. The January 1998 DER Infomation Systems Labor Market Information and Analysis Summary will be important when making market based compensation decisions. Its available for a nominal price through DER document sales. All can attend the training. In order to get the broadbanding the system agreed that if a WPEC employee is not selected for a transfer they can grieve it, but they have to prove that the employer was acting in a way that was arbitrary and capricious, which is difficult to prove. The IT Advisory board for DER has spent a lot of time in the past working on compensation issues. Now there are three teams working on recruitment processes (to hopefully get it down to 3 weeks after the previous incumbent leaves), identification of non-contractual improvements for recruiting and retaining staff, and the promotion of State service as a career.
Q: Is there any way that jobs can be announced purely at a local level to draw from where the candidates are?
A: No, but the online application processes that
are being developed will help streamline getting local people on the lists, as opposed to
having them wait while their paperwork gets entered in Madison.
Q: Is there any way to put LTEs or student employees in vacancies that open up?
A: Again the new web application process will help these people get on the lists for these
Q: Is there any way to get additional qualifications onto the ELISP questionaire?
A: The ELISP is usually criticized as being too long so adding new questions is not likely. You can however do screening beyond the ELISP after you get a long list of candidates.
Late Breaking News with Ed Meachen
A consulting project has been started to map Peoplesoft data to CDR. System administration will pay for the bulk of the project.
Five institutions in WTCS have signed a Library automation consortium with DRA, as has Minnesota and all of Illinois.
The IT Survey that went out to students and faculty has had a 30% return rate to date.
A second letter will go out soon.
Some of the vice chancellors have asked for CIO training as there are now three openings in the system for CIOs. Ed Meachen has been talking to a couple firms with the idea of putting together a Fall workshop. Snowmass has a program for new directors and CAUSE has programs as well.
Internal Audit did a recent audit of the Lab Mod, Classroom Mod and General Access
programs. After this year Lab Mod plans will no longer need to be submitted to system, but
can be handled on the campuses. A committee will be brought together to take a look at the
general guidelines for the General Access program.