Information Technologies Activity Report Exchange 2010 Service Coming in November

Information Technologies Activity Report
SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER 2011
Exchange 2010 Service Coming in November
IT Network & Systems Services (IT-NSS) has announced that Exchange 2010 will be available to all
campus faculty and staff starting November 18. Microsoft Exchange is the server platform used to
manage email, calendars, contacts and tasks. Exchange 2010 works with Microsoft Outlook, which is part
of the Microsoft Office suite.
The Exchange 2010 service is fully integrated into UD's Windows Active Directory and offers several
advantages over the existing Exchange 2007 service, including password synchronization with other UD
systems, improved Web access via various browsers, quotas that can match those offered by external
mail providers like Google, and a higher level of availability and reliability. IT-CS&S will be presenting an
overview of the new Exchange 2010 service on December 2. Watch for more information coming soon!
UD's High Performance Computing Cluster
Our deployment of the UD Community Cluster, a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster funded by IT
and a group of 50 faculty and researcher stakeholders, is on schedule.
Penguin Computing, Inc. delivered the cluster (more than 5,000 cores) and the Lustre file system, with a
usable storage capacity of approximately 200 Terabytes, to the Data Center. (PDF of presentation with
images).
The Community Cluster planning team surveyed faculty stakeholders about their specific software needs.
Their responses are helping us to determine installation priorities. In addition to compilers and scientific
and graphics libraries, researchers asked for a broad range of application software.
IT is currently installing application software and compiler suites. The vendor has just enhanced the
recommended compiler collection to exploit the Interlagos processor's architecture.
We are on target for public deployment on January 3, 2012.
For additional information on the Cluster, visit the IT Research Computing Web site or contact Dick
Sacher, IT-CS&S at (302) 831-1466 or dsacher@udel.edu.
Tech Fair Participants Learn About IT Services
"I learned about some really valuable applications and programs that UD IT offers to faculty and staff for
free."
That sentiment was echoed by most of the participants at the IT Tech Fair: Over 200 faculty and staff
members asked in-depth questions about existing and emerging technologies at the fair, which was held
October 19 in the Trabant University Center.
The fair emphasized hands-on technology stations to familiarize participants with technology available for
them to use inside and outside the classroom.
Stations were set up to demonstrate technologies such as UD Capture, the UD Mobile Web, the new UD
high-performance computing cluster, and hosting and virtual servers.
1
Information Technologies Activity Report
September–October 2011
Many campus units were present to provide assistance:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
IT Academic Technology Services (IT-ATS);
IT Client Support & Services (IT-CS&S);
IT University Media Services (IT-UMS);
IT Web Development (IT-WD);
Student Multimedia Design Center;
University Bookstore; and
UD Online.
To review information available at the fair or to view pictures from the event, visit the Tech Fair Web site.
Planned Outages
UD Financials will be unavailable from 5:00 p.m. Friday, November 18 through Saturday, November 19 at
noon as IT Management Information Services (IT-MIS) moves the data to new hardware.
Security, Privacy, and Safety
IT publishes advice about storing UD data in the cloud
In response to a request from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, IT released a document
that offers advice to UD faculty and staff about using off-campus cloud service providers to store UD
information. Storing information in the cloud makes sense in many situations; however, we urge faculty
and staff to consider the sensitivity and critical nature of the information—and any applicable privacy and
security policies, laws, regulations, or other restrictions—before storing University information on any nonUD server. For more information, see Advice about using Dropbox.com and other cloud services.
IT launches phishing education blog
We've created a new blog to help educate the University community about phishing scams—email or
Web scams designed to trick people into providing personal information for fraudulent purposes: Phishing
scams seen at UD. The new blog supplements our main phishing information Web page, contains links to
other phishing resources, and includes information about reporting phishing scams.
Information about your UDelNet password
The UD Network page has been updated so that you can see if your UDelNet password conforms to the
current UD password requirements. Log in to www.udel.edu/network and look at the "Your Account
Information" section. If your current UDelNet password does not meet UD's password requirements, we
urge you to change it to a longer password. New UDelNet passwords must contain eight to 30 characters.
You can use the UD password checker to assist you in creating a more secure password. For more
information about secure passwords, see the recent UDaily article Is your password the weak link?
Current UDelNet password guidelines and other resources are listed on our Use secure passwords Web
page.
Constituent Groups and Feedback
Each year, IT prepares a customer satisfaction survey to obtain campus feedback on central IT services.
On November 1, 2011, an email message was sent to all faculty and staff inviting them to complete this
year’s survey. The survey will close on November 23, 2011. We'll compile the results of the survey and
report on them in the next Activity Report. Feedback from the University community is important to us and
helps us improve our services. If you missed the email about the survey, you can access the survey at
www.udel.edu/001084.
2
Information Technologies Activity Report
September–October 2011
Infrastructure
Upgrade to power at Data Center
To prepare the Chapel Street Data Center for the high-performance computing cluster (UD Community
Cluster), server virtualization, and anticipated load increases, significant upgrades to the power and
cooling systems were completed in October. The upgraded power plant now features a new 2-megawatt
generator, 800 KVA/720 KW UPS, and transformers. New HVAC units were also installed, increasing the
cooling capacity to 180 tons.
New features for WordPress service
IT-CS&S has added new functionality to sites.udel.edu, IT's WordPress service. Faculty, professionals,
and small departments are finding sites.udel.edu now has many of the features needed to create a highly
functional, nice looking, and manageable site. Some of the new features in WordPress are:
•
•
•
•
New themes with customizable theme options (e.g., Twenty-Ten, Twenty-Eleven, and Clear
Line).
Enhanced “Udelizer” plugin that allows for custom CSS in any theme and the choice of all three
UD header color choices.
Google Analytics is now supported using any theme.
WPTouch plugin is now enabled so that sites can be altered quickly for presentation on a mobile
device.
Research Support
Position announcement: HPC systems programmer
To support our HPC offerings, IT is seeking an HPC systems programmer. Help us find the best
candidates by spreading the word. The position description and application are online; closing date for
submissions is November 18, 2011.
New version of Mathematica
You can download the newest version of Mathematica (v. 8.0.4) for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux from
UDeploy. IT's campus site license allows UD faculty, staff, and students to install it on UD-owned or
personally owned systems. To help you learn the software, Wolfram Research, Inc. provides many free
online webinars on Mathematica.
Research computing workshops
About 50 faculty and students registered for scientific computing workshops offered at the beginning of
November. Instructors from the Texas Advanced Computing Center and Mathworks offered training in C,
C++, Fortran, and Matlab's Parallelization tools. IT research support staff assisted with hands-on lab
sessions after the lectures. We offer these workshops periodically throughout the semester. We
complement the workshops with Web-accessible archive sites such as Mathwork's MATLAB training site
and XSEDE (formerly TeraGrid) member sites such as TACC.
We are offering two new workshops on geographic information systems (GIS) and GIS in the cloud this
month. In addition, ESRI has created several new online Virtual Campus Courses on ArcGIS applications
and made them available to UD under our ESRI site license.
Follow our research computing training offerings by visiting the Research Computing site and through IT's
LearnIT@UD calendar. Or let us know of your needs for custom classes by contacting our IT Training &
Education Coordinator, Jean Neff, IT-CS&S at (302) 831-8813 or neff@udel.edu.
3
Information Technologies Activity Report
September–October 2011
Hosted GIS services
We're extending IT's regular virtual system hosting services to provide virtual ArcGIS server service. This
service is a quick, cost-effective way to serve your map applications and services and geodatabases on
the Web. Contact our GIS specialist, Ben Mearns, IT-CS&S, at (302) 831-1978 or mearns@udel.edu for
further information.
Improved output for test scoring
You can now obtain the output generated by scan form processing as a PDF file format through UD’s
Dropbox service. When you submit forms for test scoring, you will now receive email containing a link to
your files, providing you with immediate access to scanned results. The PDF file will replace the currently
printed form, resulting in a greener process. Any additional files you requested using “extra options” on
the control form will be included as part of the files provided through the Dropbox service.
Teaching and Learning
Winter Faculty Institute 2012: Save the date
Winter Faculty Institute 2012 will be a hands-on, experiential program by and for UD faculty. The facultyled sessions will be short and focused, often using a panel to explore different approaches to a single
teaching issue. So save the date for an engaging and educational experience: January 9, 2012. For more
information, visit the Institute Web site.
Sakai@UD mobile portal
A link to Sakai@UD's mobile portal has been added to UD's Mobile Web and to the apps for Android and
iPhone. This portal provides a simplified interface for navigating to Sakai@UD tools on smaller mobile
screens, which is suitable for checking for new or updated content on the go. Due to the wide range of
browsers and capabilities provided by mobile devices, we recommend that you continue to use a nonmobile version of a supported browser to create content or submit assignments. To access Sakai@UD's
mobile portal from either the Mobile Web or app, choose "For Students" then "Sakai@UD." Sakai will also
default to the mobile portal if you access it directly from most mobile devices.
New Sakai@UD blog
IT-CS&S now publishes a Sakai@UD blog. This new blog is intended to be a central communication and
client education home base, hosting articles related to training, faculty practices worth replicating, tips and
tricks, and much more!
Tim Stelzer on campus for two presentations
Lecturer and research associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Tim
Stelzer has been heavily involved with the Physics Education Group at Illinois, where he has led the
development and implementation of tools for assessing the effectiveness of educational innovations in
introductory courses and expanding the use of Web technology in physics pedagogy. He was also
instrumental in the development of the i>clicker™. Dr. Stelzer will be on campus in December for two
presentations. Find out more about Tim Stelzer.
•
Session 1: Using Web-based activities before lecture to transform student learning in lecture
December 9, 10:00–11:30 a.m.
Students' unprecedented access to content on the Web provides a unique opportunity to
transform the role of lectures in education, moving the focus from content delivery to helping
students synthesize content into knowledge. Stelzer will discuss the pedagogical motivation for
introducing Web-based activities and the impact they have had at the University of Illinois,
including published outcomes data that demonstrate the effectiveness of using Web-based
activities to enhance learning.
Register for Using Web-based activities before lecture to transform student learning in lecture.
4
Information Technologies Activity Report
•
September–October 2011
Session 2: Models and best practices for using clickers in your classroom
December 9, 1:30–3:00 p.m.
This session will promote ideas for engaging students during lecture and best practices for using
clickers in class. Conversation about the pedagogical strengths regarding the original i>clicker's
simplistic design compared to enhancements available in the newest version of the technology
will be promoted. Several UD faculty members will share their insights, and we encourage your
active participation.
Register for Models and best practices for using clickers in your classroom.
Business Systems
PeopleSoft upgrade
IT-MIS successfully upgraded the Student Administration PeopleSoft (UDSIS) application from version
8.9 to 9.0 and moved to a new database as well as new, faster hardware. The upgrade started in the
evening of October 13 and was completed on October 16. We implemented a new configuration setup
that harnesses the power of new and faster servers. We also added a front-end load balancer and four
separate application servers to increase the speed and reliability of the application.
The Financial PeopleSoft application (UD Financials) upgrade is on target to go live in spring 2012 as
scheduled.
Web Registration enhancements
IT-WD and the Registrar's Office completed several enhancements to UD's WebReg system
(www.udel.edu/webreg) and will roll them out in November for spring semester registration. To help
gauge demand for courses, the Registrar's office will test a wait list for select departments. Students will
be able to join a wait list for courses in a participating department even if the enrollment is full.
We have also upgraded WebReg to allow administrators to override normal restrictions on adding
courses, allowing the Registrar's Office to directly sign up more students through WebReg instead of
falling back on traditional UDSIS processes. In particular, appointment overrides will reduce the daily
workload on the New Student Orientation (NSO) Office, the Registrar's Office, and the Production Control
staff during the summer NSO period. Finally, the display of co-requisites and pre-requisites for courses
has been fine-tuned to provide a more informative and accurate experience for students. WebReg is
available to students in UDSIS or at UD Mobile Web.
Enhancements to the Effort Reporting System
The Effort Reporting System is a federally required process that assures government sponsors that the
University is spending funds appropriately. In response to the recommendations of an external audit, the
effort reporting and certification system now includes a third period that separately tracks the summer pay
of faculty on academic contracts. Since summer research activity is outside of a faculty member’s normal
contract requirements, isolating the activity in a third period will make the effort reporting process more
intuitive, clearer, and transparent. More information and training about the effort certification process can
be found at www.udel.edu/research/training/efforttraining.html.
Links to graduate student contract and funding forms in UDataGlance
UDataGlance has clickable links for many Web Forms to allow for easy reference by users. As requested
by UDataGlance users, the Student Funding Account Form (SFAF) and Student Account Credit Form
(SACR) have been added to the list of Web Forms available for direct UDataGlance viewing. This change
was put into production in mid-October.
Cancellation of SACR, GSCRF, and SFAF forms
The Student Account Credit Form (SACR) and the Graduate Student Contract Form (GSCRF) with
associated Student Funding Account Form (SFAF) have been available to campus clients for some time.
5
Information Technologies Activity Report
September–October 2011
However, the ability to cancel these Web Forms was limited. IT-WD and the offices of Graduate and
Professional Education and Student Financial Services have created a cancellation process and related
procedures for these Forms. To simplify the process, you can originate a cancellation with a click of a
radio button. The cancellation form is then automatically routed to appropriate approvers and copies are
sent to all individuals listed in the original form. Associated course, billing, and financial changes due to a
cancellation will automatically be processed to reverse the previous transaction. The final phase of testing
is nearly complete; we anticipate that these Forms will be available to campus clients during November.
Purchase orders through email
A long-range goal of the Procurement Office has been to implement the PeopleSoft function of
dispatching purchase orders not just by fax or printer but also by email. This month, IT-MIS implemented
two fixes to PeopleSoft programs that allow the email dispatch to work, thereby providing a new option to
clients.
Graduate student contract processing
In September and October, graduate contract processing was updated to better handle students that
were accepted, charged, and then dropped out or did not attend. Those students were being dropped
from student records, and the academic plan was being lost for the credit due to the department. IT-MIS
added programming to retrieve the academic plan from charges earlier in the semester. This process
improvement eliminates manual journal vouchers by departments and the Budget Office.
Oracle Data Guard Standby database implemented for Web Forms database
IT-MIS implemented a "standby" database instance for the Web Forms applications in a process similar to
how the PeopleSoft production databases are handled. The standby resides in the Disaster Recovery
area and provides an additional layer of data protection and backup. It also provides for a formal process
to re-establish access to critical Web Form data in the event of an emergency. We have established a
reporting instance for non-critical data reporting to alleviate query requirements against the transactional
production database.
Database for CCEI
Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI) requested a database on research informatics and
personnel/finances. CCEI needed this database for reports required by the Department of Energy (DOE).
Currently, the reporting is handled manually. IT-MIS created a page within PeopleSoft financials and
provided access to CCEI staff, so they can use it to generate reports as well as to maintain their data.
Event Production and Media Services
National and local programs produced in East Hall
In August, the UD and Foreign Policy Association signed a second 3-year agreement to produce the
nationally distributed PBS Great Decisions political television series in the IT-UMS East Hall production
studio. UMS video production equipment and staff were once again at work in late September producing
the 8-part series for 2012.
Comcast continued to utilize IT-UMS video production equipment and crew to produce their local News
Makers series in both English and Spanish. Prominent political and business leaders from the region
were recorded in the East Hall studio during full-day productions in September and October. Comcast will
return for additional full-day shoots over the next 2 months and has already signed on for 10 more
recording sessions in 2012.
Room View monitoring upgrade
IT-UMS Classroom Technology will expand and upgrade their Room View monitoring system. With the
planned expansion of new classroom spaces due to the renovation of Alison Hall as well as the
6
Information Technologies Activity Report
September–October 2011
construction of the new ISE building, IT-UMS will have the necessary monitoring/response capabilities as
the spaces come on line.
Training Opportunities
Screen capture tool options
We've offered over 40 training sessions this fall, including several new topics. One new session, Screen
Capture Tools for Teaching and Learning, provides an overview of several screen capture tools (some
free) that are valuable tools for teaching, training, and communicating information. During this session, we
demonstrate how easy it is to record the keystrokes on your computer (you can add narration with some
tools) then quickly send your recording to someone or save it for future use. Featured tools include built-in
Windows and Mac screen capture options, Jing, Camtasia, and UD Capture. Some examples of how
participants said they plan to use screen capture tools include:
•
•
•
•
Record directions or steps for tasks new employees need to perform;
Set reminders for tasks performed infrequently;
Add comments to student papers; and
Capture details instead of, or in addition to, written documentation.
View the Web site created for this session.
Custom training
Requests for custom training increased this fall. Our approach is to meet with staff, assess what the
group needs, match those needs with the best IT tool(s), and then provide the necessary training.
If you’d like to request customized training sessions, please contact the IT Support Center. To browse
through the sessions on the fall calendar or view our recorded sessions, visit our LearnIT@UD Web site.
IT Support Center
We would like to remind you of the various ways to get help with your IT questions. You may find your
answer on our Web page: Just click the IT Support Center link on the IT home page.
However, if you don't find your answer there, it's always best to contact the Support Center rather than an
individual IT staff member.
When you contact the Support Center directly, you will ensure that the appropriate IT expert will answer
your question quickly.
For 24/7 service, use one of the following options; both will enter your question directly into our tracking
system:
•
•
Submit a request for help via our Help Request form, or
Send an email message with your request to consult@udel.edu.
Or you can contact us, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.:
•
•
Call us at (302) 831-6000, or
Text us at (302) 722-6820.
The IT Activity Report is published 4-6 times a year. Archived reports are located at http://www.udel.edu/it/activityreports.html. If you have comments, questions, or suggestions for future articles, contact the IT Communication
Group at it-commgroup@udel.edu.
7