HMC Scientific Computing Workshop and Digital Badge

We are pleased to announce the HMC Scientific Computing Workshop schedule in October.  The workshops will be held on Wednesdays from 5:30 pm to 7 pm in Aviation Room in Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons.

  • October 8th: Essential MATLAB for Beginners — Learn the basics of MATLAB programming and plotting through hands-on examples of simple script m-file and function m-file.
  • October 15th: Advanced MATLAB — Learn more about MATLAB’s advanced programming skills: data structures, advanced use of functions, debugging and profiling, and parallel computing techniques.
  • October 22nd: R for Statistical Computing — Know R for statistical data analysis and graphs.
  • October 29th: OpenMP Multithreaded Programming — an easy way to parallelize and speed up your iterative calculations on multi-core machines.

All these workshops are digital badge-earning opportunities. All participants who finish their required work in and out of the workshop will be awarded a digital badge through CIS Digital Badge Pilot program. For more information about digital badges, please see https://www.hmc.edu/cis/digital-badge/.

Please reserve your seat by signing up at http://bit.ly/scicompworshops-Oct2014

 

CIS Digital Badge Pilot – Fall 2014

digital-badge-design-03-yellow-master1If you or your children have ever participated in a Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts program, then you’re probably already familiar with the idea of earning badges for learning a new skill or for participating in some sort of activity. Digital badges are very similar. Many educational institutions are using digital badges to recognize activities that are not part of the regular curriculum. For example, at the University of Alaska Anchorage, they have developed a program called EduPass for faculty professional development (http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/academicinnovations/develop/edupass.cfm). The University of Central Florida has a badge program for their student information literacy program (http://infolit.ucf.edu/faculty/badges/).

Digital badges are portable and sharable and function a bit like an electronic portfolio. Badges can be displayed on a variety of platforms, including Credly, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Mozilla Backpack. The Educational Technology Services Group (ETS) has accumulated a number of digital badges this year through attending various Educause and ELI events, as well as through completing an online MOOC on blended learning design. You can view our badges by going to http://www.credly.com/u/jeho and http://www.credly.com/u/elizabeth_hodas.

This Fall the ETS group will be launching a small pilot program where we will begin awarding digital badges to students who attend our Scientific Computing and High Performance Computing workshops. In addition to participating in the workshop, students will need to complete tasks such as completing a short quiz and then writing a program outside of the workshop in order to qualify for a badge. We will be using Credly to create and issue badges. The digital badges are a way to recognize that students have achieved certain levels of competency in areas such as programming with Matlab, Mathematica and R, as well as in using the OpenMP multi-thread programming technique. Students will need to create an account on Credly in order to accept the badge, and can then display the badge on the platforms mentioned above.

Who will want to see these digital badges? Faculty, peers and even prospective employers can look at a student’s digital badges and get a sense of a student’s accomplishments outside the classroom. Each badge contains a description of what criteria the student had to meet in order to earn the badge as well as a link back to the evidence submitted by the student.

While we’re starting out on a small scale with this pilot, we can imagine many other areas where digital badges could be used, such as in our faculty development program and possibly in other administrative departments on campus.

Summer 2014 update from the CIO

beanoWhen I was a kid growing up in Ireland, I loved reading the Beano and the Dandy.  Every summer, they would announce a “bumper edition”, which was packed with extra stuff for those long summer days out of school.  This is the bumper edition of updates from the CIO!

Infrastructure
The summer was a very busy one in the realm of IT infrastructure. We oversaw a major rewiring of the Parsons structure; which set the building up to host a modern wired and wireless network that should serve us well for the foreseeable future.  The major points of emphasis in the architecture of the new network are:

  • Assume an increase in the use of wireless devices (to support this we increased the number of wireless access points from nine to sixty seven).
  • Build a high capacity wired network that requires fewer physical cables (cat 6A throughout the building, fewer physical ports, but higher capacity)
  • Improve switching closets and reduce their number (from six to two).

I am very grateful to our partners in Facilities and Maintenance who worked with us to make the wiring project a success, and were supportive of our idea of carrying out our project in parallel with the vacated space project.  The new Clinic space in the basement is just beautiful!

We planned the new dorm wired and wireless network and, taking advantage of the construction work, have laid the groundwork for a “north campus loop” that will enhance the resilience of The Claremont Colleges network by providing alternate (redundant and diverse) networking routes to the second CINE core switch.

We bought new switches for east and south dorms, as well as the Linde Activity Center. We placed a new UPS in Kingston and new wireless access points in the LAC.

A new fiber run from Claremont to downtown Los Angeles is about to be completed, connecting with the Claremont network at the CUC building on First Street. This will increase the resilience of our connections to the internet.  As you can imagine, this is ever more important with the increased use of software services that are hosted elsewhere.

IAM@HMC (Identity and Access management)
We worked closely and intensely with our project partners from Fischer Identity during the summer, meeting every day for many weeks.  This let us push through to get several big wins:

  • We eliminated the distinction between LDAP passwords and Active Directory passwords — it’s all HMC Credentials from now on.
  • Automatic Account Creation (“provisioning”) went live. This meant that we could bring all the new students on board in record time, without manual account creation.
  • We brought the portal (portal.hmc.edu) into the Single Sign On environment. It uses HMC credentials now and you won’t be challenged to log in if you have already logged in and established a session in another application that is part of Single Sign On.
  • We added payors to the HMC portal so that they can view and pay bills on line.
  • We worked with other consortium members to bring up CAS, which will provide single sign on for other systems and, in our case, increases the usefulness of your HMC Credentials. In a new phase of the IAM@HMC project we hope to integrate CAS with Fischer Identity and get even more single sign on in place.

IT Assessment by BerryDunn
During the summer, representatives from consulting firm BerryDunn were in Claremont working on a Claremont-wide IT Assessment at the request of the Presidents Council. Some of you took the opportunity to meet or talk with them and give your views on the quality of IT overall at the Colleges.  I understand that the BerryDunn folk will be coming back again in the Fall, so there will be additional opportunities to meet with them.  I will try to send a bit more advanced notice, so please keep an eye out.  If you are particularly keen on talking with them, please just get in touch with me and we can set up a telephone call. They are very eager to provide the Colleges with a high quality actionable report and would greatly appreciate your input.

IT Policy
During the summer, I completed updates to the HMC Password Policy and finalized the policy on incidental personal use of IT, both of which are now linked on our IT policies page on the HMC website.  Both are the result of extensive discussion with various instances of the Computing Committee, the Presidents Cabinet and other stakeholders.  I believe that policies should be realistic and should interfere as little as possible with your day to day experience, while at the same time achieving institutional goals.  I have found that a good way to achieve that is to have extensive discussion with stakeholders, including college counsel and to be willing to wait until the policy is well cooked before releasing it.

Next up is a policy on safeguarding confidential and sensitive information.

Speaking of passwords, on October 27th we plan to turn on the password expiration function in the Fischer system.  If your password is over 365 days old, you will need to reset it. The prompt at login will just say “invalid credentials”, as we don’t want to give hackers any clues.  But you will receive a notice via email when your password is seven days away from expiring. When we first released the HMC Password Policy, the advice of the Computing Committee at the time was that August would be a good time to remind people to reset passwords, since everyone is coming back and doing housekeeping tasks for the new year.  The timing of your annual reset is up to you though, since you can change your password at any time by visiting the Password and Account Management Kiosk.  If your password is getting old, now might be a good time to change it.

Websites
When we moved to the new HMC website last January, we vowed that we would work hard to ensure that only accurate and relevant information would appear on our pages. We continue to work on that goal and have been enhancing our Service Catalog page and keeping on top of updates to the IT Projects page.  Our goal is to make it valuable and effective to turn to the CIS web page whenever you are looking for a solution or are curious to know what we’re up to.

We have also set up pages.hmc.edu for people who wish to host static html pages outside of any of our content or learning management systems.  I wrote about this in the April update, but it is worth mentioning again as we work towards decommissioning older systems such as thuban (www2), odin (www3) and www5.  www4 has already been decommissioned and replaced by pages.hmc.edu

Educational Technology
Thanks to our restructuring that placed AV operations under the wing of User Support,  Educational Technology Services had become even more focused and productive under Elizabeth Hodas’  leadership. Elizabeth is paying special attention to the question of how to relate technology tools to the goals of faculty and students.  I hope you will notice this emphasis in the roster of workshops available during our Week of Workshops, which started on Monday.

Over the summer, there was a surprising amount of interest in trying out Google Glass. Jeho Park described our experiments in his article OK Glass,shoot a laser beam!.  I found the star mapping app really compelling, even though the night on which I had Glass was a cloudy one!  It was the first time I really felt for myself the potential of augmented reality applications and I will never forget my daughter’s exclamation “oh wow” when she donned the Glass and went outside to conquer her fear of the dark.

Also over the summer, Deb Mashek set up a Google Apps Learning Community that several of us participated in.  It was a quiet success and I heard from a number of the participants about how they liked the hands on and interactive approach of these sessions, so we’re thinking of other possibilities.   We are also exploring the possibility of subscribing to lynda.com campus edition through a Claremont wide agreement. This would give faculty, students and staff a large number of online professional development and learning opportunities.

People
Unfortunately, Corey LeBlanc left us for Pomona College, where he is now the Computer Science Dept System Administrator. We wish him the best of luck, and were very sorry to see him leave us.

Taylor Calderone will be helping to fill in as we search for a new DTA. Taylor has been with us for a while in a temporary capacity, particularly with AV support for events, so he knows the ropes.

In other hiring news, we are having more success in the search for a Sr. Network Engineer and have interviewed a couple of really promising candidates in recent weeks.  Stay tuned for news on that front.

As I completed writing this update, I had a feeling of exhilaration.  It is just so pleasing to see so much progress in so many areas!  And, once again, my hat is off to the hardworking staff at CIS who just keep on working at a very high level.

Welcome back every one (and welcome, first years).  At CIS, we missed you and are looking forward to supporting you for yet another great year at Mudd.

 

 

 

Fall Semester 2014 Reminders

Here are a few reminders about IT services for the Fall 2014 Semester.http://www.dreamstime.com/-image21831106

CIS Help Desk
The Help Desk is located in the Learning Studio on the ground floor of Sprague. The hours are 8am-5pm, including lunch hour. Please send a support request via our request form or send us email at helpdesk@hmc.edu or call us at (909) 607 7777.
Password Resets
The HMC password policy (available at http://goo.gl/pKiHd ) requires a password change once a year and this might be a good time to do it. You can click the “Forgot your password?” link to change your password anytime you are logging in to the HMC Portal or Google Apps. Or you can visit the HMC Password and Account Management Kiosk at https://iam.hmc.edu/identity/self-service/HMC/kiosk.jsf.
Course Mailing Lists
MajorDomo course mailing lists have been set up. You can find instructions on how to send email to a course mailing list at http://goo.gl/8ZvhMw as well as a list of all of the Fall 2014 course mailing lists at http://goo.gl/MBFfcK (you must be logged into the HMC Google Apps for Education domain to access these pages). More information about all of the ways to email the students in your courses can be found on our Course Mailing Lists page in the CIS Service Catalog.
Course Mudd Shots
Course Mudd Shots have been updated for the semester. They are available at http://www.internal.hmc.edu/dir/courses/. The pages are restricted to the HMC network only, so if you are off-campus or on wireless, please connect to the VPN first.
VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Remember the VPN! It is software that allows you to connect to the HMC network as if you were located on campus. Visit http://vpn.claremont.edu and select the group HMC-LDAP.  Log in with your HMC Credentials.
Sakai Updates
Fall 2014 courses have been created and populated with students and faculty. The courses are synchronized with the Jenzabar CX student information system three times per day at 2:30 am, 12:30 pm and 5:30 pm. Sakai has also been upgraded to version 2.9.
Google Apps for Education
Everyone at HMC is entitled to a Google Apps for Education account in our g.hmc.edu domain. Many people have started using the system for email, to share documents or work on them collaboratively.  As a reminder, here are the URLs that will take you directly to the HMC single sign in page and then on to the g.hmc.edu domain (without an intermediate Google login page):
http://docs.g.hmc.edu will take you to your google drive document store.
http://mail.g.hmc.edu will take you to email.
http://calendar.g.hmc.edu will take you to the calendar.
http://sites.g.hmc.edu will take you to google sites.
Technology in the Shanahan Learning Center
A separate email has been sent to faculty about technology available in the Shanahan Learning Center and how to request special setups. You can find the text of this information in this news item as well.
Have a great Fall 2014 semester!

Technology in the Shanahan Learning Center – Fall 2014

Short version:

Shanahan Learning CenterIf you are planning to use  only the video projectors or LCD screens in the Shanahan Center this Fall, then read no further. If you are planning to use any other technology you should read on. To request the use of any of the technologies described below please send an email to the CIS Help Desk at helpdesk@hmc.edu or use the AV Request form at http://www.formstack.com/forms/hmc-avrequest. We ask that you give us at least 48 hours notice when submitting a request.

Long version:

In addition to the video projectors, LCD TVs (in the 12-person classrooms), speakers and screens, many rooms have resident document cameras, Blu-Ray/DVD or DVD/VHS players. You can find a full list of which rooms have what equipment at this link: http://goo.gl/4Mj1Nx.

Other technology available for use in the Shanahan Center includes:

  • Laptop carts
  • iClickers
  • Lecture capture
  • Video cameras for displaying experiments
  • Smartboard

More details on these other technologies can be found below:

We have three carts with 44 laptops, which are stored on the second floor of the Shanahan Center for use throughout the building. If you’d like more information about the laptops and how to reserve them, please visit https://www.hmc.edu/cis/services/laptop-cart-reservation/.

There are six rooms in the Shanahan Center that are lecture capture-ready, including the Lecture Hall (1430), the Recital Hall (B480), the 85 person classroom (B460) and three rooms on the 2nd floor (2450, 2454 and 2460). All of those rooms have a video camera and microphone. You can visit the CIS web site for more information at https://www.hmc.edu/cis/services/classroom-recording-mediasite-lecture-capture/.

Clickers (personal response systems) are also available for loan. At this point all students have purchased iClickers so all you need is a wireless receiver and the iClicker software installed on your computer.  We have extra iClickers if you have non-HMC students in your class. More information about the iClickers can be found at https://www.hmc.edu/cis/services/iclickers/.

We have one Smartboard (interactive whiteboard) for faculty to try out. While the Smartboard is on a mobile stand, it is too big and heavy to move between classrooms, so we are currently keeping it in one of the technology-rich classrooms (Shanahan 2450, 2454 or 2460). Use of the Smartboard is on a first come, first served basis so please let us know right away if you would like to try it out in your class, as we may need time to work with the Registrar to reschedule classrooms.

Many faculty also like to be able to project a demonstration or experiment from the front of the room to one of the big screens. The document camera is capable of doing this or you can use a video camera, either one of the built-in video cameras available in the 6 rooms listed above, or CIS can set up one for you.

If you’re interested in using one of these technology services in a class, please submit a request to the CIS Help Desk. You can use our AV request form at http://www.formstack.com/forms/hmc-avrequest or send us an email at helpdesk@hmc.edu. We ask that you give us at least 48 hours notice when submitting a request.

OK Glass, shoot a laser beam!

Google GlassHave you tried it on?

Glass is Google’s wearable computer that sits on your right ear and displays its contents through a tiny prism projector screen over your right eye. (duh)

During this summer break, CIS had a test-out event of a Google Glass loaned from the Claremont Library for two weeks. Soon after the announcement for the event, several people (six faculty, seven staff, and six students) with exceptional curiosity jumped right in. At Harvey Mudd, we like scientific experiments. So in this case, the hypothesis to accept (or otherwise sadly reject) was “Google Glass helps teaching and learning (in a way).” (Hey Google, isn’t Harvey Mudd a perfect place for testing such an emerging technology in higher ed? Contact us if you want to donate a Google Glass or two. ;))

Anyway, those 18 enthusiastic experimentalists came back with their personal opinions after trying Glass out for two to three hours. Two common responses were “It’s cool!” and, interestingly, “It made my head and eyes hurt.” A group of MyCS students tried it for a scavenger hunt using Glass apps like Word Lens for a group of teachers and reported that it went really well–this was actually a great use case for Glass in an educational setting. In addition, a couple of faculty members noted that the usefulness in teaching and learning would be dependent on the Glassware you use.

In fact, the default functions of Glass are pretty basic: google something, take a photo, record a video, get directions to, and send a message to, etc. But my 13-year-old son’s first command for Glass was “OK Glass, shoot a laser beam!” Unfortunately (and fortunately to me) it didn’t shoot a laser beam on me. It, however, could’ve done that if he had installed a Glass app doing it (at least on its screen). And it could’ve been educational (in a way) like showing how to calculate the power density of different laser beams depending on parameters like the beam diameter and the distance from the object. So as our faculty members noted in their feedback, with the right Glassware, it may be useful for education in near future.

P.S. We couldn’t accept or reject the hypothesis due to the small sample size. Google, we are eager to do more experiments and you know what to do. ;)

Changes to Audiovisual and Educational Technology Support

The Educational Technology and Media Services group has been in existence for a little over 5 years, having been created in 2009 when the group split off from the User Support Group. CIS was able to make this change thanks to a generous grant from the Fletcher Jones Foundation which made it possible to create two new positions: Director of Educational Technology (Elizabeth Hodas) and Scientific Computing Specialist (Jeho Park). When the group was created we decided to combine educational technology with audiovisual services and both Michael Meyka and James Sadler left the User Support Group and joined ETMS.

The CIS department has seen a lot of changes since then. The User Support Group has grown to five permanent, full-time staff and is now under the leadership of Cindy Abercrombie. The campus has seen some big changes too, especially with the opening of the Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning. We have seen a sharp increase in demand for audiovisual support. At the same time, there is more interest in incorporating technology in teaching and research. This spring we took the opportunity to consider how best to continue providing support for audiovisual services while increasing the scope of educational technology support.

As a result we have moved Michael Meyka, our Multimedia Support Manager, back into the User Support Group where he will have access to more operational resources. He will continue to lead the provision of audiovisual support for classes, meetings and large events with assistance from the User Support Group. James Sadler has been promoted and has a new title, Instructional Media Specialist, and will remain in the Educational Technology Services Group. We’ve changed our group name to reflect our new emphasis on technology in the classroom, high performance computing and exploration of new technologies. In his new position, James will focus on providing support to faculty and students in their use of educational technology in the classroom. His first big project has been implementing and supporting our new lecture capture system in the Shanahan Center. This summer the ETS group will be re-evaluating our faculty development program and preparing for some exciting new technology pilots in the fall. We look forward to being able to expand our services in support of educational technology at HMC.

May 2014 update from the CIO

We made it!  Commencement was great, congratulations to all new graduates.caps

Summer is a time for projects for CIS and we went full steam ahead starting on Monday May 19th.

Electronic Billing
We plan to roll out paperless billing starting July 1.  Bills will be presented via the Portal, where the College already accepts payments. This Portal improvement has many beneficial side effects, and not just for those paying bills.  It removes a lot of tedious printing and scanning of paper bills (which were the hybrid by product of a pre-printed form and an electronic source) and eliminates the cost of mailing out the bills.  I’d like to thank Patricia Wang and Scott Martin for their patient help with reaching this goal.

IAM@HMC
Last week, we took a step in the IAM@HMC project that had the effect of synchronizing people’s passwords over a number of systems. This passed unnoticed for most people, but is a prerequisite for steps we are taking over the next few weeks.  In preparation for paperless billing which starts on July 1, we are adding people to the JICS portal this week and bringing portal single sign on live.  Next week, we’ll be creating accounts for incoming students.  There is a lot of complexity to single sign on, but hopefully most of it is hidden from your view.  One thing to note is that the interaction between systems and the identity provider will often have the result that the only way to fully log out of a particular application is to close your browser.  We look forward to hearing and reading your reaction to this stage of the IAM@HMC project.  For more information, see the new IT Mattters section of our website.

Parsons Rewiring
The work began on time May 19th. As I mentioned last time, in tandem with the vacated space project we are rewiring all of Parsons (east and west). The contractors will be pulling 1,900 cables out of the conduit, and we’ll rewire with less than half that number. We’re setting things up for a high traffic  “converged network” that can carry video, VOIP phone traffic and all the traditional network traffic. We are placing more than 70 wireless access points in the building (before there were 9) and are consolidating the distribution switches. The cabling infrastructure will be capable of supporting 10Gb to the desktop, should the College want to do that in the future.

Engineering Department VDI Project
We’ve begun a fascinating exploration of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) with an Engineering Department Project that contemplates replacing the Engineering Computing Facility (ECF) with a central service that can be reached from anywhere but provides the same tools, such as SolidWorks and ModelSim. Two of our summer employees, Graham Gordon and Minh Triet Nguyen, are helping Prof David Money Harris to examine solutions like Citrix XenDesktop, VMWare, Apache VCL and Microsoft DV. We hope to have an extended pilot available for testing by students in the Fall. 

Reorganization in CIS
We have made a small reorganization within CIS, which allows us to achieve two goals: first, broaden the base of audiovisual support for classes and events; second, focus more on Educational Technology.  We’ve moved support for AV back into the User Support Group, led by Cindy Abercrombie, and sharpened the focus in the newly named Educational Technology Services, led by Elizabeth Hodas. Elizabeth has written a more detailed article about these changes to Audiovisual and Educational Technology Support.

CMC Course Schedule Discontinued
Many faculty and students were used to using the CMC “Classic” Course Schedule, which was linked from our Portal.  It used some older Jenzabar technology, but many liked how it laid out the course areas. In mid-May, a security problem came to light.  It had to do with scripts that were potentially subject to SQL injection.  Among other things, this meant that CMC had to remove the old course schedule from their site.  It won’t be coming back, as it was built on a version of the portal technology for which Jenzabar discontinued support some time ago.  The newer course search has the same course areas, but they are listed in a drop down box. CMC and Pomona conveyed their apologies for these sudden changes, but the security issues overrode other concerns.

Employee Anniversaries
At the annual staff lunch on May 19th, three CIS staff received service awards:

  • Jeho Park, Scientific Computing Specialist (5 years)
  •  Pete Sanchez, Technical Analyst (15 years)
  • Roger Wiechman, Network Manager (20 years)

Collectively, that’s 40 years of service to the HMC Community.  Thank you, Jeho, Pete and Roger.

Summer Learning Community: Google Apps for Education.
When Debra Mashek proposed setting up a learning community on the topic of Google Apps in Education, we were delighted at CIS.  We have regularly received feedback and requests for additional information about the many features of Google Apps for Education that are available via g.hmc.edu.  We do not see ourselves as the experts on this complex topic, but as “accomplished novices” who want to learn alongside you. “Learning Community” seems like exactly the right way to go. Fourteen people have signed up and the groups start meeting this week on Thursday and Friday at 11am.  It’s not too late to join us.

Learn a little more about this, and reach the sign up form, in the article on the Google Apps Learning Community.

That’s it for the May 2014 update. Make sure you’re enjoying the summer, and gather ye rosebuds while ye may, old time is still a flyin.

Changes to Sakai Authentication on May 27, 2014

On May 27th, Pomona will be switching to a new authentication system for The Claremont Colleges instance of Sakai. We will be using a system called CAS (Central Authentication Service) for logging in to Sakai. While there will be a different user interface for logging in, you will still be using the same username and password.

The first difference you will see is that there will be two login buttons (“Login” and “Guest Login”) on the top right page.

Sakai login

Guest account users who don’t have a college username and password will need to click the “Guest Login” button. The login process will be the same as before for guest users after this point. Claremont Sakai users who have a college username and password should click the “Login” button for the new login system. This will redirect you to the new CAS login page as shown below:

CAS login

On that screen, you will need to “select your college” and then enter your college username and password. If you select “Remember My College”, you will not need to select your college on subsequent logins. You can enter either your full Sakai username (i.e. ehodas@hmc) or your shortened username (i.e. ehodas) once you have selected your college.

Once CAS authenticates you, you will see your Sakai homepage as usual. To sign out, press the logout button and close the browser. You must exit the browser to fully log out from CAS when you have finished.

If you have any questions about the migration or about CAS, please contact the HMC Help Desk.

April 2014 Update from the CIO

As we round the corner into the home stretch and everyone’s focus is on those last few weeks of the Spring Semester, I hope you can take a moment to read the news from CIS.

New CIS Web Site
The new College website was launched in January. In line with that effort, Elizabeth Hodas led a team within CIS that developed a new CIS site. It emphasizes simplicity and is designed to help us keep information accurate and up to date.  Since January we have made a couple of important additions.  We now have a “top IT Projects” page, which lists the status of our most important projects and will receive at least quarterly updates. And we also have a rapidly developing “service catalog” page which will list all of the services we provide, with information about how to request them.  Take a look at http://www.hmc.edu/cis

Top IT Projects
Our Top IT Projects page https://www.hmc.edu/cis/it-projects/ is intended to give you an overview of our top projects, even though it is a subset of the 50 or so projects that we have in the pipeline at any time.  The CIS Management Team (CIO + four Directors) chose these projects as the “top” ones by considering such things as importance to the community, impact and cost & effort required.  We review this list on a regular basis, with each project owner giving an update on status at least once per quarter.  Early feedback has been positive; it included suggestions that we avoid acronyms and be more specific in places. We’d love to hear  your feedback too.

Educational Technology
We have reorganized a little in CIS in order to focus even more on Educational Technology, shifting the responsibility for everyday AV operations to the User Support Team.  This is a natural progression from the creation of an Educational Technology Group in 2009, originally funded by the Fletcher Jones Foundation.  Elizabeth Hodas has been taking the group through some online professional development experiences, which will help shape future work.  In the coming year, we anticipate a collaboration with the Claremont Libraries around digital badges; we are looking at video over IP solutions and there is rumor that we will have access to a Perceptive Pixel.  If there is an area of Educational Technology in which you are particularly interested, please make sure to contact Elizabeth about it (ehodas@hmc.edu).

The Computing Committee
The Computing Committee got off to a slow start this year, with only one or two meetings in the Fall, due to some issues with membership and faculty assignments.  But under the intrepid leadership of Rachel Levy, the committee made important contributions in what remained of the year. This year’s committee was Rachel Levy (Chair), Deb Mashek, Weiqing Gu, Tim Hussey, Jacob Bandes-Storch and myself. In the policy arena, the committee reviewed and made significant changes to a draft policy on safeguarding private information and suggested a new statement on incidental personal use. Both are currently under review by Campus Counsel.  The committee sent out a survey requesting feedback and created a mechanism for ongoing feedback to the committee (https://www.formstack.com/forms/hmc-computingcommittee).  It cautioned against asking faculty to complete a long survey to benchmark IT services and provided strong feedback about ways in which we at CIS could improve communications and the quality of service provided through the Footprints Ticket System.  The committee was also instrumental in the design of our efforts for Data Privacy Month (https://www.hmc.edu/cis/dpm/).  We also engaged in vigorus conversation about the role of the committee in IT Governance, which will benefit future instances of the committee. I would like to publicly thank Rachel and the other committee members for a really great year.

Consolidation of web servers
We have started consolidating older web servers such as www2, www3, www4 and www5.  The number of servers proliferated over time to meet different needs, but they have proved somewhat difficult to maintain.  For example, when www4 crashed as part of the Charlie issues we dealt with in January, we were not able to revive it.  So we worked with the seven or so faculty who had material on that server and moved it all.  One of the new destinations is the new Charlie, but in a new, more secure manner that is easier to maintain.  Tad Beckman was one of the people affected by this and the result was some adventures in self publishing.  Read about them at http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/?p=2779.

Network Infrastructure work during the summer
At the January Board meeting, the Budget and Financial Planning Committee approved additional IT Infrastructure Funds (ITIF) to undertake a complete rewiring of the two structures that make up the Parsons building (Parsons East and Parsons West).  We will be removing a large amount of unused cable, and recabling the whole building.  We will reduce the number of network closets down to two from six, and make serious improvements in the wireless network, increasing the number of access points from nine to seventy three.  This work will come with some disruption and network downtime unfortunately, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.  We are working closely with the building occupants on this project.

The summer will also see work on the network in preparation for the new dorm; we will bring online a new fiber connection from Claremont to downtown Los Angeles; and we are researching solutions for more wireless capacity on campus, particularly in the residential areas.

Other topics
People have been asking for more support for Google Apps for Education (g.hmc.edu). So we were delighted by Debra Mashek’s note.  Read more …

Elizabeth Hodas wrote that Sakai will be upgraded to version 2.9 this summer, with a new look and feel being planned.

Several faculty have told me that they were surprised by some of the things they learned when they took the FERPA quiz. Take a few minutes and see how you do yourself.

The CIS staff and I wish you the very best for a busy, but at last celebratory, end of semester.