Report to the Fredericton Senate of the Senate Technology Services Committee

Report to the Fredericton Senate of the Senate Technology Services Committee
Report to the Fredericton Senate of the
Senate Technology Services Committee
2004 March
This is the 2004 annual report to the Fredericton Senate of the Senate Technology
Services Committee. At the present time our committee consists of Senate members
Larry Bezeau, Janet Moss, Eric Aubanel, and Saba Mattar; faculty representatives James
Murray and Hossam Kishawy; Integrated Technology Services representatives Steve
Rosenfeld and Peter Ruddock; Level One representative Kris McGrath; undergraduate
representative Shawn Martin; and graduate representative Jason Myers. This committee
has its own web site at http://www.unb.ca/secretariat/technology/index.html. It is also
accessible through "UNB A to Z" under the full committee name. The site contains many
committee materials including this report.
Annual technology user survey and report
For several years, the Senate Technology Services Committee has conducted a
survey of technology users and issued a report on the survey. The report on the 2003
survey was prepared by committee members Eric Aubanel and Saba Mattar and can be
found at http://www.unb.ca/secretariat/technology/surveyreport2003.html.
The 2004 survey was prepared by committee members Kris McGrath and Jim
Murray with the help of Peter Ruddock of Integrated Technology Services. This year the
survey was administered over the world wide web in mid March and was completed by
180 faculty and staff and 536 students.
The Wordperfect Issue
The Senate Technology Services Committee spent considerable time this year on the
Wordperfect issue. The issue arose as the result of a decision by Integrated Technology
Services in 2001 to phase out Corel Wordperfect and replace it with Microsoft Office, a
decision that has been resisted by many within the University community. In November
of last year, the Senate received a report outlining the various facets of this issue. Since
then Integrated Technology Services has gone ahead with its plan to replace Wordperfect
in university offices with Microsoft Word and has a committee in place to facilitate this.
The main argument in favour of Microsoft Word, other than the fact that it has been
donated to us, is that it is the most widely used word processor and that our students will
likely encounter it upon graduating from UNB.
Supporters of Wordperfect claim that it is easier to learn, more intuitive to use, and
more tolerant of cultural variations. It is felt by many to be a superior choice for
handicapped students, particularly for those with learning disabilities.
It is generally agreed that support for a word processor is a more important issue
than the actual purchase simply because support is potentially much more expensive,
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depending on the level of support provided. The current ITS plan is to support Microsoft
Office but to phase out support for Wordperfect by 2006.
At the March 11 meeting of the Senate Technology Services Committee, the
following motion was passed by a vote of three to two.
That the Fredericton Senate Technology Services Committee recommend to
the Fredericton Senate that the latest version of WordPerfect be made
available under a university-wide licensing agreement to faculty, staff, and
student facilities that request it. The Committee recognizes that the issue of
the cost of support is not spoken to in this motion.
Given the likelihood that many offices will continue to purchase and use Wordperfect, it
seems reasonable to purchase it in the manner that is the most financially advantageous to
the University. The support issue was explicitly excluded from the motion for a variety
of reasons including the question of cost and the fact that Integrated Technology Services
has not budgeted support for Wordperfect beyond 2006.
The support issue is also much broader than Wordperfect or Microsoft Word. Users
almost unanimously expect that Integrated Technology Services will provide a high level
of support for common centralized services that cannot be supported by individual users.
Thus, the priority in ITS support must be directed to the email system, the web server
including WebCT and the common gateway interface, DataTel, and various servers
providing common software and services. There is less unanimity over the support of
applications that exist entirely on the user's desktop or that are not used collectively.
Most of these are not now supported by ITS and most users do not expect such support.
Many users feel that the helpdesk model used by Integrated Technology Services is not
appropriate for word processors. When they encounter a problem they are most likely to
ask a nearby colleague for advice or to refer the problem to their Level One support
person. Thus costs are borne by the individual faculties and departments. With word
processors there is an advantage to receiving help from someone who can look at your
display and manipulate your keyboard.
Email and Spam Issues
The Senate Technology Services Committee has been active in dealing with the
issue of email spam and email more generally. Our concern in this area arises from
important issues of academic freedom and freedom of speech related to email.
The 2003 survey of technology users showed a high level of satisfaction with our
email service and an appreciation of the efforts of Integrated Technology Services to
control spam. Users acknowledged that spam is a major problem and that a concerted
effort is needed to control it. Unfortunately, this concerted effort is also an expensive
effort for the University and a broader solution is highly desirable.
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Since our last report, the client software for webmail has been replaced with a new
program that allows filtering based on the SpamAssassin scoring used by Integrated
Technology Services. SpamAssassin itself is being updated on a regular basis to keep up
with the increasingly ingenious efforts of spammers to disguise their work. One change
approved by this committee, that of blocking email addressed in a way that bypasses the
university's virus and spam filtering, has not yet been implemented for technical reasons.
Thus some UNB email users will be receiving email that could contain viruses and that
has not been scored for spam.
One area of concern for the Senate Technology Services Committee is the use realtime black-hole lists (RBLs) to block spam. These are lists of known sites that distribute
or relay email containing spam or viruses. The term "real-time" indicates that the lists
change continuously as sites are compromised by spammers and then cleaned-up by
network personnel. This is an important characteristic given that, on several occasions,
the University of New Brunswick has found itself on such lists because of compromised
computers within the University. On such occasions, ITS moves quickly to shut down the
compromised computers and remove the University from the lists. This example
illustrates the central problem with these real-time black-hole lists, that sites on these lists
transmit legitimate email along with spam and viruses.
Until recently ITS has used the RBLs to classify email as spam independently of
SpamAssassin. The appearance in an email of a listed site would result in the email
being classified as spam independently of the SpamAssassin score. Within the last few
weeks RBL analysis has been integrated into the SpamAssassin scoring and information
from some RBLs has been used to delay or block email. This creates a very real
possibility that legitimate email will not reach recipients at the University of New
Brunswick and that there will be no notification of this to the recipients. The practice of
delaying email but not of blocking email based on RBLs has been approved by the Senate
Technology Services Committee.
In 2002 the Senate Technology Services Committee passed a resolution, at the
request of Integrated Technology Services, approving the replacement of the mailto
protocol on the U.N.B. web site with forms-based email. Integrated Technology Services
felt that the mailto protocol represents a security opening is certain contexts and this
committee was concerned about poor support for the mailto protocol in some web
clients. To date, little progress has been made in implementing this policy.
The U.N.B web site
In the 2003 survey of technology users, respondents noted an improvement in the
UNB web site over previous years. Satisfaction with the site has been slowly improving
year by year although there are still concerns. Many users continue to experience
difficulty in finding what they are looking for on the web site and others expressed
various accessibility concerns.
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The Senate Technology Services Committee first expressed concerns in our annual
report to Senate about the handicapped accessibility of the University of New Brunswick
web site two years ago, as the result of the human rights case of "Maguire v. SOCOG"
(http://www.contenu.nu/socog.html). Based on this case we concluded that the
University of New Brunswick web site does not meet the minimum requirements for
accessibility and is therefore probably in violation of the New Brunswick Human Rights
Act. Attached as the last four pages of this report is an analysis of the University of New
Brunswick home page by the Bobby system, a system widely used to judge the
accessibility of web sites and the standard used in the Maguire case. What we see is a
large number of accessibility violations in a relatively short web page.
We have received accessibility complaints about the upper level web pages from
persons with no particular handicaps. A common one is that the print size is too small
even for persons with normal vision. It has been pointed out that in some upper level
web pages, most notably in "My UNB e-Services", there will be a select box with all but
one choice hidden and with the choices in a small type face even though the page consists
largely of empty space.
Larry Bezeau, Chairperson
Senate Technology Services Committee
Fredericton
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Skip to report
URL tested: http://www.unb.ca, March 24, 2004 11:49:29 AM EST
Watchfire Bobby Core v4.0.1, WAI Content Accessibility Guidelines 1999/05/05, Support Level: AAA
Note: To ensure that the marked up report is readable, all stylesheets and scripts are removed. The page may not
appear as expected.
The President's Pages
Welcome
Our Campuses
Admissions & Financial
Aid
Calendars & Timetables
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Opportunities
News & Events
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Learning
Graduate Studies
Libraries
Prospective Students
Research & Innovation
Technology & Help Desk
- Quick Links -
Mar 24, 2004
UNB News
> UNB, STU Holding Transition
To Learning Workshop For Adult
Learners
MORE NEWS >>>
Events @ UNB
F> Transition to Learning
Workshop for ...
SJ> Step'n Tone Class with Deb
MacLatchy
F> Adolescents and Tobacco Use
Topic of ...
Go
MORE EVENTS >>>
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About this report
This page does not yet meet the requirements for Bobby AAA Approved status. To be Bobby AAA
Approved, a page must pass all of the Priority 1,2 and 3 accessibility checkpoints established in W3C
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. For more information on the report, please read "How to Read the
Bobby Report".
Priority 2 Accessibility | Priority 3 Accessibility
Follow the links in guideline titles for detailed information about the error.
Priority 1 Accessibility
Priority 1 User Checks
User checks are triggered by something specific on the page; however, you need to determine manually whether
they apply and, if applicable, whether your page meets the requirements. Bobby A Approval requires that all user
checks pass. Even if your page does conform to these guidelines they appear in the report. Please review these 6
item(s):
1. If you can't make a page accessible, construct an alternate accessible version.
2. If style sheets are ignored or unsupported, are pages still readable and usable?
3. If this is a data table (not used for layout only), identify headers for the table rows and columns. (7
instances)
Lines 42, 51, 147, 140, 168, 159, 25
4. If you use color to convey information, make sure the information is also represented another way. (57
instances)
Lines 21, 22, 29-30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 44, 47, 48, 51, 53, 56, 65, 68, 71, 74, 77, 81, 138,
138-139, 140, 142, 143, 144, 147, 149, 153, 159, 161, 162, 167, 170, 176, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195,
196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 205, 210
5. If an image conveys important information beyond what is in its alternative text, provide an extended
description. (34 instances)
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Lines 22, 29-30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 44, 47, 48, 51, 53, 56, 65, 68, 71, 74, 77, 190, 191, 192,
193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 210
6. If a table has two or more rows or columns that serve as headers, use structural markup to identify their
hierarchy and relationship. (12 instances)
Lines 19, 27, 42, 51, 78, 147, 140, 168, 159, 188, 25, 205
The following 2 item(s) are not triggered by any specific feature on your page, but are still important for
accessibility and are required for Bobby A Approved status.
7. Identify any changes in the document's language.
8. Use the simplest and most straightforward language that is possible.
Priority 2 Accessibility
This page does not meet the requirements for Bobby AA Approved status. Below is a list of 4 Priority 2
accessibility error(s) found:
1. Use relative sizing and positioning (% values) rather than absolute (pixels). (41 instances)
Lines 19, 25, 27, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 42, 47, 51, 74, 77, 78, 137, 138, 140, 159, 188, 190,
191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 205, 210
2. Create link phrases that make sense when read out of context. (3 instances)
Lines 65, 71, 207
3. Make sure event handlers do not require use of a mouse. (11 instances)
Lines 32, 34, 36, 38, 47, 190, 192, 194, 196, 198, 200
4. Provide an explicit label for each form control. (1 instance)
Line 99-100
Priority 2 User Checks
User checks are triggered by something specific on the page; however, you need to determine manually whether
they apply and, if applicable, whether your page meets the requirements. Bobby AA Approval requires that all user
checks pass. Even if your page does conform to these guidelines they appear in the report. Please review these 10
item(s):
1. Consider grouping long lists of selections into a hierarchy. (1 instance)
Line 99-100
2. Check that the foreground and background colors contrast sufficiently with each other. (58 instances)
Lines 16, 21, 22, 29-30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 44, 47, 48, 51, 53, 56, 65, 68, 71, 74, 77, 81, 138,
138-139, 140, 142, 143, 144, 147, 149, 153, 159, 161, 162, 167, 170, 176, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195,
196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 205, 210
3. If there are logical groupings of form controls, use FIELDSET with LEGEND on each group. (1 instance)
Line 17
4. Avoid use of obsolete language features if possible. (3 instances)
Lines 18, 143, 162
5. Is the user made aware that there will be pop-up windows or changes in the active window? (1 instance)
Line 194
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6. Make sure that labels of all form controls are properly placed.
7. Do not create a blinking effect with animated gif images. (31 instances)
Lines 29-30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 47, 48, 51, 53, 56, 68, 74, 77, 138-139, 190, 191, 192, 193,
194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 210
8. If programmatic objects create pop-up windows or change the active window, make sure that the user is
aware this is happening. (2 instances)
Lines 14, 217
9. Add a descriptive title to links when needed.
10. Mark up any quotations with the Q and BLOCKQUOTE elements.
The following 7 item(s) are not triggered by any specific feature on your page, but are still important for
accessibility and are required for Bobby AA Approved status.
11. Make sure that all link phrases make sense when read out of context.
12. Group related elements when possible.
13. Make sure your document validates to formal published grammars.
14. Is there a site map or table of contents, a description of the general layout of the site, the access features
used, and how to use them?
15. Is there a clear, consistent navigation structure?
16. Use the latest technology specification available whenever possible.
17. Where it's possible to mark up content (for example mathematical equations) instead of using images, use a
markup language (such as MathML).
Priority 3 Accessibility
This page does not meet the requirements for Bobby AAA Approved status. Below is a list of 3 Priority 3
accessibility error(s) found:
1. Provide a summary for tables. (12 instances)
Lines 19, 27, 42, 51, 78, 147, 140, 168, 159, 188, 25, 205
2. Identify the language of the text. (1 instance)
Line 3
3. Separate adjacent links with more than whitespace. (15 instances)
Lines 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 172, 173
Priority 3 User Checks
User checks are triggered by something specific on the page; however, you need to determine manually whether
they apply and, if applicable, whether your page meets the requirements. Bobby AAA Approval requires that all
user checks pass. Even if your page does conform to these guidelines they appear in the report. Please review these
8 item(s):
1. Consider furnishing keyboard shortcuts for form elements.
2. If this document is part of a collection, provide metadata that identifies this document's location in the
collection.
3. If this is a data table (not used for layout only), provide a caption. (12 instances)
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4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Lines 19, 27, 42, 51, 78, 147, 140, 168, 159, 188, 25, 205
Consider specifying a logical tab order among form controls, links and objects.
Use the ABBR and ACRONYM elements to denote and expand any abbreviations and acronyms that are
present.
If you have grouped links, is there a link at the beginning to bypass the group?
If there are logical groups of links, have they been identified and a link to skip the group provided?
Consider adding keyboard shortcuts to frequently used links.
The following 5 item(s) are not triggered by any specific feature on your page, but are still important for
accessibility and are required for Bobby AAA Approved status.
9. Is there distinguishing information at the beginning of headings, paragraphs, lists, etc.?
10. If there is a search feature, are there different types of searches for different skill levels and preferences?
11. Are there navigation bars for easy access to the navigation structure?
12. Do you allow users to customize their experience of the web page?
13. Is there a consistent style of presentation between pages?
Copyright © 2002 Watchfire Corporation. All rights reserved. Use of this software is subject to the Bobby
Software License Agreement.
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