Duke ITAC - March 8, 2007 Minutes
March 8, 2007
Attending: Pakis Bessias, John Board, Tammy Closs, Ken Hirsh for Dick Danner, Nevin Fouts, Tracy Futhey, Christopher Gelpi, Susan Gerbeth-Jones, Daron Gunn, John Pormann for Craig Henriquez, David Jamieson-Drake, David Jarmul, Roger Loyd, Dan Murphy, Tim Bounds for Caroline Nisbet, Lynne O’Brien, Mike Pickett, Molly Tamarkin, Christopher Timmons, Trey Turner III, Tom Wall
Guests: Elliott Wolf, DSG; Kevin Davis, OIT; Ed Gomes, Library; Kevin Witte, OIT; Deb Johnson, Student Service Center; Kevin Smith, Scholarly Communications
Start time : 4:06
Announcements: John Pormann – CSEM is hosting a seminar on open MP, parallel computing, on Wednesday, March 21, from 1-5. There’s some lecture, some lab. I can give you more information if you need it.
I. Conversation with Provost Peter Lange
John Board – We’re happy to have the provost here to talk about IT matters, especially those involving instructional matters, but broader topics as well.
Peter Lange – I think things are going quite well. One of the pieces everyone should be pleased about is that we have recently been prioritizing our capital projects in order to ensure that they are within a window of modest prudence, so we don’t make ourselves house-poor if markets turn against us.
We have a list of 12 or 15 projects, including Central Campus. As you recognize, if you took the whole bill, Central Campus is half. Prudent resources are a little over half, so that’s a problem if you want to do all the projects.
We have identified a way of prioritizing so that most of the programmatic things on Central Campus can be done first and other projects pushed off until later. Renovation of all classrooms on West will be part of the first phase, as well as building the Teaching and Learning Center in Perkins.
We can’t do all classrooms in one summer and we can’t take rooms out of service in the year, so it’ll probably take us two to three years to get them all done.
That raises questions. We obviously want to do more than paint and put in the right tables and chairs. There’s AV and IT issues. We have had a consultant help us with the West Campus space issues because there are so many. That’s Bill Wilson. They gave us a thorough study, so we’ll probably invite them back to give us detailed advice on the classroom project. We’ll have some IT decisions to make as we move forward.
John – Does Wilson have experience in classroom layouts themselves? Does he understand 21st century classrooms?
Peter – Yes. Everyone wants 21st century classrooms. We’ve already had this discussion with respect to the Teaching and Learning Center. It’s not true with faculty that if you build it they will come. It is possible to overbuild. If we build the 21st century classroom, we can’t forget the 20th century classroom or that people have different instructional techniques.
John – Actually, I was going to be cautionary the other way. We have 21st century classrooms in CIEMAS where we discovered that we can’t use the projector and the chalkboard at the same time. I wonder if we have a way of capturing these experiences to inform the people who do the design.
Peter – We sometimes forget that instruction is also about theater. Things like PowerPoint take the theater out unless you’re really good at it. The chalkboard – you can put a lot of theater into it. That’s why it’s important to keep that.
John – Classrooms in the past have been owned by particular units. As we start talking about these more novel spaces, like the one in Perkins now, will they still be set up that way?
Peter – Since the school’s not paying for them, then the schools don’t own them. If I’m paying for them, the registrar owns them.
John – The question occurring to IT people is, who supports them?
Peter – The schools whose space they’re in. We’re separating support from the schools. There’s no reason Molly’s support shouldn’t be for an engineering course if it’s in an A&S space.
Molly Tamarkin – Part of the IT plan at Duke is a classroom goal of greater consistency of resources and centralized scheduling. One of the points is to get everyone on the same page, to make sure all information is centralized.
Lynne O’Brien – I wanted to stress that as these new spaces come online the Center for Instructional Technology is going to offer a wide variety of things for faculty who want to do something different. Faculty wouldn’t have to be thrown into some alien space and not have a clue what to do there.
Peter – We’re providing lots of good services. The median on using them is moving, but we don’t want to forget the median.
From the registrar’s point of view, he doesn’t want classrooms that can only hold certain kinds of classes. We have purposely not built instructional space to peak, but if you don’t do that then you need to manage what you have well.
Susan Gerbeth-Jones – Will there be a person in your office who will be in charge of AV equipment as far as if you need something additional or something replaced? In A&S, people go to Carlisle for stuff.
Peter – That’ll still be true. If you’re teaching a class in an A&S building, you’ll still go to Carlisle if the equipment breaks down.
Susan – Will you have an AV specialist working with the team?
Peter – Yes. The difference now is when you’re doing a large number of classrooms at a time you’ll put together a team, just the way we have for the Teaching and Learning Center. At least that’ll be my goal.
John – We have periodically revisited that computers are so intrinsic everyone should have one. Anecdotally, almost all students do. Those that don’t are mildly disadvantaged, in my view. What are your thoughts on how that plays out?
Peter – I think I’m still not in favor of requiring one. I’m perfectly happy to have some subgroup of ITAC work with the freshman registration group to see what the materials we send to students look like in terms of whether we are recommending the right things.
I don’t know what the recommendation for computer vs. laptop is. It probably should be a laptop. We still have students who have very, very marginal resources come to Duke and I think that would add to that problem.
I would welcome your group getting in touch with Larry. Find out what’s being told to students.
Tracy Futhey – We tell them to bring a laptop and last year 95 percent brought one, so the word is getting them.
John – In some courses, access to a laptop is helpful. It is impossible for a student to complete some assignments. I have wondered about establishing a loaner pool for some courses, for those few students who are in that situation.
Peter – We could think about it. What appropriate group would get together to discuss that issue? It wouldn’t be a huge thing. I don’t want to create bureaucracies and pools and management for a very, very small number of people.
Tom Wall – We have a loaner program in the library. So there is that. I was wondering, Peter, when you mentioned the students with marginal means, why can’t this be folded into the financial aid package?
Peter – It’s all a tradeoff.
Tracy – You can’t fold it in for some students and not others.
Peter – We do about as much testing as we need for financial aid. People start thinking, I have a laptop but it’s not as good as we need.
Tom – The Teaching and Learning Center will be mostly wireless, with very little direct connectivity, so we may need more loaners.
Peter – Laptops aren’t as expensive as they used to be, so more students can afford them.
John – We have run into some courses in Pratt where we want them to have a specific computer with specific software. We’re doing that with tablet PCs where we control them. We can envision DDI 3.0 where there’s tablet PCs, but they’re more expensive. We’re also relying on corporate funds.
Peter – I don’t think we’re going to dedicate large chunks of DDI funds for high-end equipment.
David Jamieson-Drake – Has Tracy gotten information from other institutions about what they’re doing about requiring laptops or other technology?
Tracy – We’re pretty much right in the norm.
Molly – Some schools that used to require laptops aren’t doing it anymore.
Tracy – I don’t even know if someone like Wake Forest is requiring it. It seems like some people got way out in front on that and those of us who didn’t do that missed the chance. We did that to some extent with iPods, where we gave them out then pulled off fast enough. Why give students something they already have?
David – If we required them, they would have to offer aid.
Nevin Fouts – For some of those course, like in Pratt, they may need a computer but not that computer. Maybe we could approach this from virtualization, where they could get access to what they need from some other computer.
John – The Perkins project, we thought it was a prototype.
Peter – In these areas we do better not to mess with much. It’s working. Leave it alone.
Tracy – Are you comfortable with how things are?
Peter – Well, we’re going to get to ePrint.
Susan – One more question. Are you going to accept priority requests for certain classrooms? There are some classrooms in the LSRC that don’t have projectors at all.
Peter – I don’t think Nicholas is in that classroom project. We could add it, but I don’t think it’s in there now. The ones I was talking about are in the main West quad. Email me and remind me.
III. Update on ePrint Quota Discussions – Audrey Ellerbe, Elliott Wolf and ePrint committee members
Mike Pickett – We have been working with GPSC, DSG and other student groups to come up with an approach to ePrint that will work for all of us. The first year we had ePrint, we had 12,392,000 pages printed. Last year, it was 27 million. The growth is pretty rampant. We’re up about 15 percent from last year. We’ve engaged students for several months to talk about options. I’ll summarize our last meeting.
Audrey Ellerbe, who’s been working with this group, took a proposal to the graduate and professional group and did a straw poll. The results were, 60 to 70 percent said yes they would support a quota, but they varied on the amount that would be appropriate. Ten of 70 said no they don’t. So there’s a basic endorsement from the grad students. There was an interest until fairly recently for not having any limit for undergrads because it might put them at a disadvantage.
The library is looking down the barrel of $100,000 hole in terms of the printing vs. the budget. We’ll be forced to cut back on the service we provide. OIT has been absorbing these increases without any additional funds. There are also the environmental issues to consider.
We came up with a soft quota, similar to what we’ve done with email. You have a quota, when you near it you get a message that says you are running out. If you need more you can go ask for it.
You swipe your card and get information on how much you’re printing. By the time you reach the end you’ve been warned several times. We believe that just having a quota will help.
We also want to implement duplex printing as the norm so it encourages people to be better on the green side.
All of this would be proposed for the fall term. We may have a trial run on some over the summer, but we’d start in the fall, simply to not confuse things for professors.
These are the basic proposals we’re dealing with.
Elliott Wolf – From the undergraduate perspective, because we live on campus and because eReserves or course packs are requirements for classes, it’s saved money. We don’t have to buy books to read single chapters. It’s important for students to be able to pass out flyers, etc., for student groups.
The other thing is we’ve seen growth in ePrint but it’s also happening at the same time as a growth in the number of undergraduates who are using the system. It’s not like for any individual ePrint user the number is increasing that much. It’s a collective thing.
Peter Lange – Do you have data that supports that?
Elliott – Kevin can speak to that. I think in fall 2006 97 percent of all undergrads used it. Fall of ’05 it was 94 percent.
Kevin Davis – I think the data are as you’re presenting them. I would expect to see the growth, but the growth has been faster than the year-to-year growth of the number of students who are using it.
Tom Wall – Most people are now using eReserves and we load them automatically into the main library system and embed them in the Blackboard site. We find that almost every student who loads an eReserve prints it. Professors have become much more selective in what they choose to ask the students to read. We’ve also made it easier for people to print things.
Peter – If eReserves are being used more, what’s being used less?
Elliott – The question of course packs vs. eReserves – in the context of environmental issues, if you only need one part of the course pack, printing the rest is wasteful.
Peter – I think it needs to be recognized. The library came to me and said give us an extra hundred thousand for ePrint and I said no. That money means some other academic program isn’t being served.
It’s also the case that there are trade-offs in the system and there is cost-shifting going on from the buyers of books to the university. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say at some level, that’s enough cost-shifting.
Anybody who’s taken Public Policy says that free goods are notoriously inefficient. It’s hard to believe that some quota with a price that follows the quota won’t increase the efficiency. From theory or practical numbers. Somewhere in there is a price that will make it more efficient and will mean less money shifting.
Daron Gunn – We’re also seeing an increase in the number of materials available for students.
Peter – I think eReserves and ePrint are great. It’s just not unlimited and the reason is that at some point, putting the money there means I can’t put it somewhere else.
Elliott – I think the top 10 users are history grad students. Given that you have these instances where the highest users are in departments where there are a lot of printing and reading involved, that’s what you’d expect. If it were chemistry there might be a question. But when you’re finding people in history or public policy and in student organizations, it’s not surprising. I know that in DSG we print a lot just to function as government.
Audrey Ellerbe – I guess one question I have and one of the concerns of grad students is to make sure printing is still available for academic needs. I have a semi-rhetorical question: If it were proven that all printing is for academic purposes, would the budget be there?
Peter – What I just answered is that because of the structure, I don’t think people are making any choice at the margin about whether or not to print something. I don’t think the system is educationally efficient. I’m not convinced a soft quota is such a great idea, but I’ll try it out in order to get everyone to buy in.
Audrey – Another concern for grad students is that we’re in the role of student and teachers. If the personal quota is the same for grads and undergrads, does that take into account grad students in their roles as teachers?
Peter – There are lots of ways to solve that problem. There could be a TA code, you could swipe two things. I’m not getting into the details. All I’m saying is that we need to put in some constraints. This is soft, let’s try it. If it doesn’t work, I’m prepared to put in a harder constraint.
Vanessa Barnett-Loro – I was just thinking that it was clear to me that no one’s trying to limit legitimate academic use. Just because paper’s being used for academic reasons, doesn’t mean it’s being used intelligently. How can we do it more intelligently?
Elliott – We might not need the quota if double-sided printing has a certain impact.
Peter – No, no, no. It might become less of a problem, but it’ll still be a problem.
Ken Hirsh – The only point I wanted to address was the time impact on the end user of duplex printing.
David Jamieson-Drake – Are all the 27 million pages student printing?
Kevin Davis – 75 percent is undergrad. 15 percent is graduate and professional.
David – Of the 15 percent growth last year, which of those groups was it in? Is one group growing at a faster rate?
Kevin – The utilization of undergrads tends to have the largest growth.
David – Of the top 1% of printers, are they distributed evenly?
Kevin – I don’t have that data.
Mike – I believe the graduate students actually had a large proportion of the printing. There was a larger tail out on that end of the printing stats.
Daron – Out of the top 20 users, I think six were undergrads.
Mike – The people we’re thinking about, some were printing over 20,000 sheets a year. Something’s going on there. Those are the people whom we’re going to have to impact.
Christopher Timmins – One reason we have a cost shift instead of a cost savings is that people print all the eReserves. Students do that because there’s no price attached to printing it. If there were a price, people would say they would just read it on the computer. I don’t think this will affect anyone’s educational experience. Students will download the PowerPoints and everything they were printing it out.
Elliott – Again speaking from the history department, in order to print out source material, you have to highlight and make marks in the margins. That’s a major component of being able to reduce thousands of pages into a research paper.
Audrey – From a personal anecdote, I can’t do all my reading online. It tires my eyes. And I’m always mobile. I don’t always have my laptop with me, but I always have something to read.
Daron – We’re tech savvy. But people are making the choice to print things. Going to a hard quota will mean we’re going to make it less convenient for people who like to print.
Christopher – If there’s a cost, people will ask, is it worth it for me to do this. The cost should be low, it shouldn’t be zero.
Elliott – You don’t want a cost associated with having to go to the library to get a book, which is kind of what you’re doing if there’s a cost for ePrinting eReserves.
Nevin Fouts – It seems like there are two issues: How green are we? Then there’s the cost management aspect of it. If you were a student getting ready to start here as an undergrad, if you think about the environmental impact you’re going to have. The library already has stuff. You’re going to get some course packs. You’re going to print some course materials. You’re going to have assignments and projects. If you look at all of the trees you’re going to take down, that’s the whole issue. And trying to deal with cost management of all those dimensions.
Ken – We’ve gone through all these discussions in the Law School. It’s a combination of recognizing cost-shifting and deciding if the generation that’s getting it for free should have to go back to paying for it. Then the university has to decide if we are going to saddle everyone at once or should we just get the new people coming in to pay so there’s no real “change.”
Christopher – The shift has been photocopying – you had to be discriminating in what you paid to copy. That’s the skill you have to develop. When those two converge, you make discernment in what you print, what you take time to print. We’ve created a culture of excess. Printing is too easy so there’s no discriminating.
Vanesa – I think you’re doing students a disservice if you don’t train them. That lack of consciousness about the resources we’re consuming is not something Duke wants to instill.
Ken – That’s an illuminated point of view.
Audrey – Graduate students had support for the idea of quota, even a hard one. They recognize they should be paying. This and other fee discussions, when a legitimate argument has been made, there hasn’t really been a lot of argument. The opposition is from people who are being impacted because they don’t have the money. We want to support academic needs and those students don’t have the funding themselves.
Tom Wall – I’ve been at two universities. At the first, students who did not want to pay were more judicious with their printing and those who didn’t mind just printed. Printing went down.
Kevin – In terms of a soft quota, part of the discussion is having it be incremental. One of the pieces I’d like to see integrated is data collection. What courses, what majors are requiring extra printing?
Nevin – I think that gets at your whole point. If a course needs a certain amount of printed pages, then give credits for that course.
Elliott – I think that would be more accurate, we don’t believe that there is any one hard number that should be stated as the expected maximum for all students. We have to take into account extracurricular activities, majors. We’re reluctant to agree to a hard quota. The soft quota, as long as it doesn’t involve some outward hard and fast number, we’re fine. We thought about putting the costs and services out to the students themselves and asking them if they will implement the quota on themselves.
John – So the soft quota will be implemented this fall?
Mike. – Yes, and duplexing.
Elliott – We have no idea what effect that will have.
Ken Hirsh – Has there been a change in the amount of money involved in book purchases as far as financial aid has gone?
David – There’s been an increase.
Elliott – One question is, should you take the money from all the users who are using a service, or should you take the money from the financially disadvantaged users? If we’re going to assess costs we should assess them to everyone.
And just so you know, everyone really appreciates this service.
IV. DukePass Portal update, Kevin Witte and Deb Johnson
Deb Johnson – Last Thursday we launched a new look for DukePass and some new functionality. It was a while in coming but we had heard from our student advisory groups last summer and this summer. For those who remember what it looked like, it needed to look like some of the other sites people are using.
They also wanted a good events calendar, which we don’t have control over, and they wanted to add Flex and bursar accounts to their page and do some other things.
This is what we launched (shows demonstration). This is the public site. We have created three columns. On the left it’s always the same. We’ve done some things structurally to make this more of a framework that we can build on. On the announcements, the portal planning and advisory committee is looking at updating some guidelines that were set three years ago. We’re going to look at overhauling that process. Announcements are in the CMS, so they can appear on other sites.
We put the weather on the right side and added the Google search at the top. The directory search is just for the directory. We put Duke news in one channel and added a DukeTips channel in response to students’ statements that customizing the portal isn’t intuitive. So we created the tips part to help students learn how to do it.
We also can put nuggets of information in front of students, like the Daylight Saving Time information or student events.
Kevin Witte – Deb has been doing a lot of demonstrations to student groups and we’ve been getting a lot of good feedback. It’s built uportal, which was developed by a consortium of universities. It’s also on beefier hardware, so it’s snappier, more reliable, and scalable.
Students wanted us to integrate with Duke sites plus stuff they use day in and day out, so we set out to find ways to add that integration in terms of mail, news, even a connection to Facebook. It also shows unread messages, number of pokes, etc., that are on Facebook. We’re hoping to add more of that in the next couple of months.
There’s also the new ability to add to your Flex account from the bursar’s account. Students in the week since we’ve been live have already done that to the tune of thousands of dollars, so this is already well-used.
We also consolidated a lot of channels that used to be individual into a single channel with tabs that anyone who’s used the Web is used to, and added ability to use mail accounts other than just DukeMail. We now do Law School mail and AOL, and we’re working on gmail. On the right we’re pulling in photos from flickr, also as a placeholder to show folks what could work here. In the next generation it will be configurable.
Deb – We still have the academic tab. The Dashboard still has a connection to Blackboard, ACES, recent announcements from Blackboard, from one to seven days old. It has course titles and information. We still have the library that lists things checked out and has a renew function.
The directory search, Internet Framework Services folks have added some nice touches to the way things get highlighted. It displays the directory right there, but also allows the ability to add files
Audrey Ellerbe – Does it only show contact information, or does it give program information for students?
Deb – The directory search at the top is the same one that’s on the Duke website. This other search is just a directory search.
John – Does it give departmental information?
Kevin – For faculty and staff yes, for students it just says student.
Audrey – That’s helpful when it gives many names and I want to distinguish between them.
Deb – There are tabs that only groups of students will see. The law tab only law students will see. And we can have GPSC news showing for those who need it.
We have some projects we think we can get done by the end of the month that can help students learn to customize more, add Duke blue, add stuff for the entering freshmen to make the checklist better for them.
Login statistics continue on the same trajectory. Freshmen are staying about 1,200 per month, out of the 1,600; then about 850 sophomores; 400 juniors; and 260-300 seniors. We knew it was going to be a culture change and that if students were using DukePass before they got here they would use it more. They had done some customizing so we want to put that customizing ability back out there for them.
John – Is there a major thing that’s going to be in Rev. 3.0?
Deb – We had a favorite bookmarks channel. Students want a channel with a link to the del.icio.us website, so those kinds of things we’re looking at.
There’s also a separate event calendar coordinating tech team. Fortunately, Kevin and I are on that team, so we’re looking at needs and functional requirements we’re figuring out how to get them into the portal.
John – dCal?
Kevin – We’re working on that. We’re not sure how many students are using it.
Chris Timmins – Are there any plans for a DukePass type portal targeted to faculty? It would be nice to have a portal like that that could get into STORM. I basically create it for myself now with a series of bookmarks but it would be neat to get all my Duke teaching business put together on a portal site.
Deb – Not at this time.