Summer Project Updates

When school lets out for summer,  the pace quickens at Computing and Information Services. The academic break means time to work on projects that may otherwise disrupt the academic schedule. It also means we have our summer interns to work closely with us on projects and tasks. Here’s a brief look into some of the assignments our team is working on.

Introduction to Engineering Design and Manufacturing Communication Platform

CIS interns have been working to improve the feedback systems used in Introduction to Engineering Design and Manufacturing, often known as E4. Throughout the semester, student teams produce prototypes that solve professor-curated problems, and formative feedback is critical to this process. The professors want to create easy avenues for students to give feedback to their teammates weekly and at the end of the semester so the professors can understand the team’s working environment and so the students see areas for improvement. The intern team is using Google App Maker (available to the all members of the HMC community through our G Suite for Education) to build an administrative hub that will allow professors to send out the feedback surveys, collect the data, and manage the entire process from one place, improving the ease of students rapidly adapting projects and professors changing the class in light of feedback.

The E4 Feedback System Administrative Hub makes the power of the system accessible with just a few quick clicks

Sakai Upgrade Testing

Each summer, the IT staff across The Claremont Colleges set out to upgrade the consortium’s instance of the Sakai Learning Management System. Guided by the Sakai Administration Team based out of Pomona College (the lead college for Sakai), each college thoroughly tests the proposed version of Sakai to make sure that every tool used by faculty at the Colleges works properly. This year, our summer interns and the Academic and Research Computing Services team have been testing integral features such as Lessons and Forums as well as new ones like iClicker and MediaSite Lecture Capture integration on each supported platform (Windows and  Mac OS) and browser (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer) to make sure you have the best experience come fall semester.

Printing Upgrades

Mudd students love their unlimited free printing, but they don’t necessarily enjoy long waits and occasional missing letters. Reliability upgrades on both the software side (updated versions of our printing software) and hardware side (a new printer) mean that when our students come back in the fall, their printers will be faster, more reliable, and more accurate. Stay tuned for even more exciting news on printing!

Mudders Mentoring Mudders (M3) Website Migration

Mudders Mentoring Mudders (M3) is a program that allows for HMC staff, faculty and alumni to mentor current students. The Wikispaces platform, which is shutting down, hosted the program’s website (which features mentor profiles and mentee applications), so program director and Professor of Mathematics Darryl Yong ‘96 worked with the CIS team to help find a new platform for the site and migrate all of its content. The CIS intern team has worked hard to migrate the site and all of its content to its current home, Google Sites.

 

Charlie & Alice to the cloud

One of CIS goals for 2018 is to move material currently stored on our Windows file servers (called “Charlie” and “Alice”) to a cloud storage option.

We are beginning an initiative to move most of the files on Alice and Charlie to Google Drive. There are a number reasons we would like to move stored files to the cloud as soon as possible. Cost, security concerns, compliance with the College’s records retention policy, and convenience are all factors. On Google Drive you will have unlimited storage space for files of any kind at no financial cost to the College.

We will be proceeding in a phased fashion, similar to our Duo implementation process. As with Duo, we will start with a group of early adopters in order to identify issues and concerns. Although CIS has done preliminary tests, we believe that our usage of cloud file storage may be different from how it is used by other departments.

Academic and Research Computing Services: A New Name for ETS

The ARCS teamWe are thrilled to announce our new group name, Academic and Research Computing Services or ARCS for short. Our new name reflects the expanded services that we now offer to the HMC community. This includes more support for research computing, as well as instructional design services. The arrival of our new instructional designer, Dr. Yi Luo, and our new Research Computing Intern, Chu Oguejiofor, makes this a good time to introduce our new group name. Academic and Research Computing Services (ARCS), will be used in all of our communications with the community starting today.

You can read more about Yi and Chu in these separate news articles:

In connection with our new name, we’re also happy to announce our new website at http://www.hmc.edu/cis/cis-arcs/. Our new website describes the services that we offer with examples of pilots and projects that we’ve worked on with faculty, staff and students. Please take a look and send us your feedback.

The services ARCS offers are:

  • Projects: The Academic and Research Computing team sends out a request for educational technology projects three times a year. Our goal is to work with groups across campus to expand the use of educational technology and instructional design throughout the college.
  • Pilots: The Academic and Research Computing Services (ARCS) team regularly performs trials of new technology in “real world” situations within HMC. By this we typically select a few faculty members to test out new technology in their course, and then ask for feedback about how it worked for them. We then investigate the practicality of implementing that new technology either across campus, or for select courses/classrooms.
  • Instructional Design: Instructional Design is the process of developing learning experiences and course content. It’s a sort of “learning engineering,” using research, technology, and design thinking to build effective learning experiences.
  • Research Computing: Academic and Research Computing Services (ARCS) provides research computing services including high-performance computing (HPC), high-throughput computing (HTC), data intensive computing, Big Data analytics, large scale data storage resources, and other advanced digital services related to research activities.

Prof. Bill Daub Awarded XSEDE Research Allocation

Harvey Mudd College’s computational chemistry lab has been awarded supercomputing resources to support two senior thesis studies on density functional theory (DFT) calculations applied to ketal and ortho ester Claisen rearrangements. The award (165K core hours + 2 TB disk space) is worth about $8,000 for the first year and renewable based on the needs and progress.

Chemistry Professor Bill Daub was awarded startup allocations from the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) in 2016 and his students (Gabriel Phun ‘18 and Kareesa Kron ‘18) used the allocations for their summer research, producing a significant amount of results. One of his students, Gabriel Phun ‘18 told us the story of his summer research.

Based on the results, Prof. Daub (PI) and CIS’ Dr. Jeho Park (Co-PI) worked together and requested a substantial amount of computing time from two supercomputer centers (San Diego Supercomputing Center and Texas Advanced Computing Center). The proposal went through a competitive process, designed in a similar fashion to the NSF peer-review system. The committee notified us of its approval on December 15, 2017. The new research allocation, which is good until the end of 2018, will provide enough computing power for the students’ senior thesis studies. Unlike the startup allocations, which have some limitations like the project term being only one year, the research computing allocations can be renewed after the first year and more computing time may be added as needed based on the project progress. If you would like to know more about supercomputer resources through XSEDE, please contact Jeho Park at jepark@hmc.edu.

[Some useful links]

CIS Welcomes Chu Oguejiofor in the Research Computing Internship Position

Chu OguejioforAcademic and Research Computing Services is delighted to introduce our new Research Computing Intern, Chu Oguejiofor. Chu is a Ph.D. student at CGU, studying data science and analytics. He holds a M.S. degree in Business Analytics from Kent State University and B.S. in Computer Science from California Lutheran University. Chu has an excellent background in data visualization and analytics using Tableau and R. He also has a keen interest in machine learning and computer programming.

The research computing internship position was created to meet the growing demands for research computing services at Harvey Mudd. Chu will work with Dr. Jeho Park (the Associate Director of Research Computing at CIS) to provide workshops and one-on-one consultations for research projects and education that utilize data analytics tools and advanced high performance computing resources.

CIS Welcomes Dr. Yi Luo in the Instructional Designer Position

Dr. Yi LuoAcademic and Research Computing Services is very happy to introduce our new Instructional Designer, Dr. Yi Luo. Dr. Luo has a PhD in Learning, Design and Technology from Purdue University. Before coming to HMC, Dr. Luo was an Instructional Designer at the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (CITL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she worked with faculty to design both online and blended courses in Learning Management Systems such as Blackboard Learn and Moodle. She was also the instructional designer for a number of Illinois MOOCs on Coursera.

Dr. Luo has many research interests, including:

  • Technology integration in teaching and learning, especially in science/technology/engineering/math (STEM) disciplines
  • Online learning and learning analytics
  • Emerging technologies in education (e.g. Web 2.0 technologies,mobile technologies)
  • Methodology issues, such as assessment and measurement issues (e.g. the development of valid and reliable instruments to measure various constructs), program evaluation (e.g. formative and summative), and the effectiveness of various types of programs on students’ perception, motivation, attitudes and behaviors

In Dr. Luo’s spare time, she enjoys cooking, watching movies, and exploring the parks and museums of Los Angeles with her husband and 1.5-year-old son.

Service Reminders for Spring 2018 Courses

Sakai:

Spring 2018 Sakai course sites have been populated with faculty and students. If you’re having trouble finding and organizing your sites in the new Home site, please read our Tips and Tricks for Organizing Your Sakai Sites.

As part of the College’s website accessibility initiative, we have added a link to the HMC Accessibility web page on all HMC Spring 2018 Sakai course sites. This is one of the requirements for compliance with accessibility requirements. If you’re using a web site other than Sakai to host course materials, we’d appreciate it if you would add a link to https://www.hmc.edu/website-accessibility/ to your site as well. If you’d like to learn more about how to make your course materials more accessible, please contact us at the  CIS Help Desk (helpdesk@hmc.edu or 909 607 7777).

Mudd Shots:

Course Mudd Shots are now available only on the HMC Portal. The HMC Portal version includes photos of non-HMC students. The HMC web site version has been retired and is no longer available. More information and links are available in the Mudd Shots Service Catalog Page.

Google Groups:

Course mailing lists have been created in Google Groups. You can see them in your My Groups list or get a full list of all course mailing lists at: Spring 2018 Course Mailing Lists on Google Groups.

With additional feedback from the HMC Computing Committee we have created a “master” Google Group for all courses that have multiple sections. For example, bio-23@g.hmc.edu contains all faculty and students associated with all 5 sections of Bio 23. Master lists will be automatically maintained just like the other Google Groups for courses.

Classroom technology:

In addition to the video projectors, LCD TVs (in the 12-person classrooms), speakers and screens, many classrooms have resident document cameras, Blu-Ray/DVD or DVD/VHS players. You can find a full list of which rooms have what equipment in this document: AV Equipment in HMC Class/Meeting Rooms.

Other technology available for use in the Shanahan Center and other classroom  includes:

  1. Laptop carts
  2. Lecture capture
  3. iClickers
  4. Smartboard
  5. Video cameras for displaying experiments

More details on these other technologies can be found below:

  1. We have three carts with 15 laptops each, which are stored on the second floor of the Shanahan Center for use throughout the building. Laptops are made available on a first come, first served basis so please let us know as soon as you can if you need laptops for your class. Also, consider carefully how many laptops you need or if at some point you realize that your class is using fewer laptops than you requested, please update your requests so that the systems can be made available for other classes. If you’d like more information about the laptops and how to reserve them, please visit  the Laptop Cart Reservation Service Catalog Page.You can find a full list of the software that is included on the laptops and the CIS lab computers in this document: Lab Software in CIS Managed Labs and Carts.
  2. 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. Each of the Galileo Auditoria also now have lecture capture available. You can visit the CIS web site for more information at the Lecture Capture Service Catalog Page.
  3. Clickers (personal response systems) are also available for loan. Faculty can borrow sets of 50 iClickers and a wireless receiver from CIS. We can also help install the iClicker software on your computer and provide training on how to use the system. More information about the iClickers can be found at the iClicker Service Catalog Page.
  4. 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 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.
  5. 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 lecture capture 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 the CIS AV Request Form or send us an email at helpdesk@hmc.edu.

We ask that you give us at least 48 hours notice when submitting a request. If possible, please do not wait until the last minute to submit your requests.

Have a great Spring semester!

Update from the CIO November 2017

Picture of a pumpkin which evokes thoughts of FallIt has been quite some time since I managed to get out an update from the CIO.  Now I have a backlog of things to write about.  So here goes…

As usual, the team at CIS worked hard over the summer to prepare for the new academic year and to complete projects.  Every summer we share our top goals with Cabinet and that helps to map out our work for the year.  This year’s full list is in our article on  CIS goals for 2017-2018, but in this update I’d like to highlight:

  • Secure computing
  • Transition of services to TCC IT
  • Accessibility

Secure Computing

It is a cliche, but worth repeating, that secure computing is a constantly evolving journey rather than a fixed state.  The topic seems to grow more important by the year, and once again, security was the number one IT issue in the Educause annual top ten. In CIS we are constantly discussing how to achieve a balance between security and convenience. This year, we have a number of initiatives going that will enhance overall security, without being too much of an imposition on your daily workflow.  For example, we have some user training available through LawRoom and, to guide the roll out of this training, we are using the results of a data mapping project we did a couple of years ago.  That way, we hope to ensure that those who handle sensitive data have access to the training first.  Other security efforts include deploying two factor authentication and ensuring that hard drives are encrypted. You can read in more detail about this in our article here.

 

Transition of services to TCC IT

In January I wrote about the the changing landscape of IT at the Claremont Colleges and talked about a number of initiatives aimed at appropriate centralization.  We have since moved both CINE networking and HMC networking over to CUC under the auspices of TCC IT, which is led by Chuck Thompson, CIO at CUC.   The Computing Committee met with Chuck in October and learned about the governance structure and operations at TCC IT.  The transition was successfully completed in August.  HMC users should still contact the CIS Help Desk as always, and CIS staff will work directly with TCC IT.  This is basically the arrangement we always had internally in CIS.   If you’d like to read more about the transition and some of the achievements of TCC IT, please see our article on the Networking Services transfer to TCC IT.

Accessibility

The College’s accessibility taskforce worked continuously over the summer and into the Fall on many parts of the accessibility initiative.  A team of students at CIS converted many PDFs from the main college website into native WordPress format (WordPress is the software on which the HMC website is built).  CIS is working closely with the Marketing and Communications to implement the provisions in the College’s accessibility policy and to ensure that web content editors have all the training and resources they need.  If you are interested in creating accessible content, CIS provides consulting services to support you.  Details about that are on our service catalog page.

 

There are  some other articles to you may be interested in:

  • There are some new faces in User Services at CIS: Meet our User Services Team
  • And we have just welcomed a new Instructional Designer, Dr. Yi Luo, in our Educational Technology Services unit.  Watch for an article introducing her.
  • If you are interested in getting free access to Autodesk products, you’ll want to read Autodesk and HMC

At this time of year, I’m thankful for the great team at CIS and we at CIS are thankful for the great HMC community.  With that, it only remains for me to wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving!

CIS Goals: Enhancing Security at HMC

CIS has numerous goals we work on throughout the year and security has been a priority. It’s a multi-faceted topic with a number of areas to consider and we’ve addressed it through the following:

  1. Duo Security Two-Factor Authentication: Many of you have already heard about two-factor authentication. Duo Security provides an extra layer of security for users. Rather than relying on a password alone, users can verify their identity through their mobile phone or a hardware token. This greatly enhances security and helps us protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII), both your own and that of others. Duo Security is being rolled out in waves across campus to different departments and will eventually be utilized by the entire HMC campus.
  2. Trend Micro: We’ve been rolling out Trend Micro Antivirus protection to all staff and faculty systems on campus. Trend Micro automatically runs by default every day at 12pm to ensure systems are protected. Currently, we have the software available for both PCs and Macs, with the option to have either a CIS staff member help you install it, or instructions on how you can do this yourself here.
  3. Encryption: We’ve also been working with all faculty and staff on campus to encrypt user systems. By encrypting users’ systems, we are better able to securely protect data and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. If a system is stolen or lost, encryption keeps the data on the machine safe.
  4. User training: Those who have access to sensitive data are often targeted through phishing scams and other methods. We’ve implemented more in-depth user training to minimize the likelihood of a data breach.  This training is offered through LawRoom, the company that provides annual training regarding sexual harassment. If you are interested in early access to the IT security training, please get in touch with the Help Desk.
  5. OpenDNS Umbrella: The rollout of OpenDNS Umbrella has helped us reduce the likelihood of a user visiting a malicious site. If someone were to attempt to visit a known malicious site, they are automatically redirected to a benign webpage. If for any reason a website is improperly listed as malicious through OpenDNS, we are able to work directly with them to address it accordingly. You can learn more about OpenDNS Umbrella in our Services Catalog.

Although we are implementing all of these changes to enhance security at HMC, phishing scams and other malicious attempts at accessing PII will continue to evolve. We are continuing efforts to stay ahead of these changing trends to ensure our students, staff, and faculty are outfitted with the latest security technology and tools to keep their data protected.

Think you can spot the difference between a legitimate site and a phishing scam? You can take the Phishing Quiz from OpenDNS to put your skills to the test. Let us know how you did!

Computing Committee update

This Fall the HMC Computing Committee has been meeting monthly to discuss CIS services and strategy. The Committee’s purpose is to represent the interests of faculty and students, advise college leadership about technology needs and policies, and advise the Chief Information Officer (CIO) on computer policies. The committee membership changes every year, with members appointed by the Faculty Executive Committee. This year, the members include:

  • David Money-Harris (2019), Chair
  • Weiqing Gu (2020)
  • Jessica Wu (2020)
  • Raissa Diamante (staff representative, ex officio)
  • Joseph Vaughan (CIO, ex officio)
  • Nick Draper ‘19 (ASHMC rep, ex officio)

This year so far the Committee has met with Chuck Thompson, CUC CIO to discuss the transition of networking to TCC IT, and also with the three CIS senior directors to discuss CIS accomplishments and challenges to come.   

You can contact the HMC Computing Committee at any time by writing to computing-committee-l@g.hmc.edu or by filling out the form here.