Update from the CIO

In this post, I will provide updates on our Identity and Access Management initiative, wireless and other IT infrastructure, the Shanahan Center, Data Privacy Month and the new CIS web site.

Identity and Access Management Project (IAM@HMC)
I wrote to many faculty individually before the break to ask them to synchronize their passwords on our Password and Account Management Portal.  Many thanks to those who took the few minutes needed to update their accounts.  I will be in touch again soon with the remaining 20 or so faculty.

The point of doing this is to allow us to move forward with the next phase of the project without interrupting your work unexpectedly. It is a small step in that it synchronizes passwords between Active Directory and the Fischer Identity Engine, but it sets things up for future improvements. As you are all no doubt aware, we live in an environment where we have multiple sets of credentials. The core goal of the IAM@HMC project is to simplify things so that you use your HMC Credentials for as many systems as possible. Right now, only a few systems are integrated, but with each phase of the project we will add more systems.

Rachel Levy, Chair of the Computing Committee has been urging me to produce an infographic that will explain better what connects to what, and when each system will be included in the single sign on ecology. I am working on it!

Unfortunately, we were not able to bring the next phase of the IAM@HMC initiative into production over the break as we’d planned.  Testing took much longer and did not go as well as we’d hoped. So we continue to test and will let you know about the new date for installation.  Once we do go live, you will have Single Sign On to Google Apps, Office365, Ultipro and, with luck, the Portal.

Wireless
As more and more wireless devices arrive on campus (including a new slew thanks to holiday gift giving), we are doing our best to get ahead of the demand.

In the Fall, more Wireless Access Points were installed in five dorms, greatly increasing the density of coverage. The dorms in question were Case, East, West, South and North. If you’re wondering why those dorms, it is not because we love them more than the others but because there was already conduit and wiring in place to accommodate the new access points, so a much smaller investment was needed. We also added additional wireless access points in and around the Beckman auditorium, to accommodate additional demand from the large CS classes. We have not forgotten the other dorms and the rest of campus; we are working on a plan to improve wireless across the campus outside of the Shanahan Center.

Which brings me to the question of so called “rogue wireless access points”. We have settled on a friendlier phrase to describe them: “wireless access points not managed by CIS”.  Sometimes people set up their own wireless access points, plugging them directly into the HMC network.  Our equipment can detect these access points,  but to date we have not been doing anything about them.  They are problematic because they can interfere with the performance of the main wireless network.  We will need to develop a set of practices and a policy around this issue. We’ll be using new test equipment to identify problematic access points and will be able to provide their owners with information about the impact they are having.  We would welcome hearing from you with any ideas you might have.  You could use the new Computing Committee Feedback form or write directly to me at vaughan@hmc.edu.

Other IT infrastructure
Parsons rewiring. I am happy to report that the Board of Trustees approved additional funding for us to rewire the Parsons building in tandem with the vacated space project that will get underway the day after Commencement.  Parsons is really two structures that were built at different times and the goal of our rewiring project will be to reduce the number of wiring closets down from six to no more than two and to ensure that the building network (wired and wireless) is adequate for the intended usage of the space. We will release more details on this project as they become available.

Shanahan Center.  The  AV systems in the Shanahan Center have been reconfigured.  If you are a faculty member, you can read details in any of Elizabeth Hodas’ emails about this topic. The controls have been greatly simplified, we believe.  So far this semester we have not heard much in the way of feedback.  We interpret that to mean that people like the new controls better.  Right?

We are still working with the vendor, Western AV, to iron out the kinks in the AV installation.  Elizabeth will make sure to keep you informed of progress.

Data Privacy Month
Data Privacy Month started on January 28th, with Data Privacy Day.  Held annually on January 28, Data Privacy Day encourages everyone to make protecting privacy and data a greater priority. DPD is an international effort to empower and educate people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint. It kicks off Data Privacy Month (http://www.educause.edu/focus-areas-and-initiatives/policy-and-security/educause-policy/community-engagement/data-privacy-month).

Last Fall, I promised the Board of Trustees that we would increase our efforts to make people aware of data privacy issues.  The HMC policy on safeguarding of sensitive and confidential information is under development. And during Data Privacy Month we will be offering stories and tips about ways to improve data privacy.  The first instalment covered passwords and the second asked you to check your file permissions on Charlie and Alice.  Watch for a third and fourth instalment this week and next.

New CIS Web Site
We decided to take the launch of the new HMC website on January 21 as an opportunity to revamp the aging CIS web site. Our goal has been to keep things as simple as possible and to focus the pages through the lens of services provided by CIS, what they are and how to access them.  It is a work in progress but please check it out and give us your feedback at http://www.hmc.edu/cis

 

Call for Papers in Digital Humanities

From the digital humanist listserv….
Eiffel Tower by Damien Vassart
Second Call For Papers Human-Computer Interaction, HCI, is a symposium in the 18th International Conference Information Visualisation, 15, 16, 17 and 18 July 2014, University of Paris Descartes, Paris, France. http://www.graphicslink.co.uk/IV2014/ Click on Symposia hypertext

Important Dates: 01 March 2014: Submission of papers 25 April 2014: Notification of Peer Review Result 10 May 2014: Submission of camera-ready 15 May 2014: Early registration closes Paper Format Guide: (Not more than 6 pages – excess pages at 30 GBP per page.) http://www.graphicslink.co.uk/IV2014/INSTRUCTION.htm

The Humanities has enjoyed a renaissance in the last two decades. This has been largely facilitated by the acceptance of digital media as a tool for the critical analysis of scholarly works. This new field, the Digital Humanities, includes applied and theoretical use of digital media. Increasingly, large collections of data are being investigated using digital tools. These tools assist in visualising the information contained in ways that expose new meanings and interpretations of scholarly knowledge. Our host, the International Information Visualisation Conference, provides a uniquely propitious environment for a Digital Humanities symposium. With other symposia spanning Information Visualisation Theory & Practice to Visualisation in Software Engineering, attendees of the Digital Humanities Knowledge Visualisation symposium are well placed to make serendipitous connections with technologists in relevant fields. This symposium seeks short and long papers on original and unpublished work addressing, but not limited to, the following topics: * Culture and Heritage Knowledge Visualisation * Art and Design * Visualization techniques for text corpora * Cartographics * Virtual and built environments * Interactive systems * Infographic design and its associated process * Data mining in the humanities * Information design and modelling * Social Networks * Network graph visualisation of historical precedents * Digital media enabled humanities research * Digital media assisted linguistics research * The digital arts, architecture, music, film, theatre, new media, digital games, and related areas Symposium Digital Humanities Knowledge Visualisation

Liaison: Theodor G Wyeld, Flinders University, Australia Symposium Committee Theodor G Wyeld, Flinders University, Australia (Chair) Sarah Kenderdine, City University of Hong Kong (co-Chair) Francis T. Marchese, Pace University, NY, USA (co-Chair) Advisory, Programme and reviewing committee: Theodor G Wyeld (Flinders University, Aust) Sarah Kenderdine (Museum Victoria, Aust) Francis T. Marchese (Pace University, NY, USA) Ekaterina Prasolova-Førland (NTNU, Trondheim, Norg) Teng-Wen Chang (NYUST, Taiwan) Brett Leavy (CyberDreaming, Aust) Malcolm Pumpa (QUT, Aust) Marinos Ioannides (HTI, Cyprus) Giovanni Issini (DFI, Italy) Special Journal Edition for selected papers: TBA. Supporting Bodies: Flinders Institute for Research in the Humanities, Flinders University, Australia Museum Victoria, Melbourne, Australia City University of Hong Kong Pace University, NY, USA

HOST: http://www.graphicslink.co.uk/IV2014/ All enquiries about Digital Humanities Knowledge Visualization should be addressed to: Theodor Wyeld Screen and Media Flinders University GPO Box 2100 Adelaide 5001 South Australia ph: +06 8 8201 3508 fx: +06 8 8201 3635 em: theodor.wyeld@flinders.edu.au wb: www.flinders.edu.au/people/theodor.wyeld URL: http://www.graphicslink.co.uk/IV2014/DHKV.htm

Data Privacy Month (with a painful story about file permissions)

January 28th kicked off Data Privacy Month.  CIS is marking the month by reminding you that data privacy is everyone’s responsibility. Here is a second true story culled from the vaults of HMC server administrator lore. Some details have been changed. Read it, weep… and then check your folder and file permissions.

Agnes and students-l are not involved.

So there once was a professor, let’s call him Dr. Linus Windonmax. He was a professor of linguistics in the Humanities Division of a large state university. (Not all of the HMC server administrator lore is actually about HMC.  Server admins sometimes talk to other server admins around water coolers or campfires).  LWM, as his students called him, was a careful and detail oriented person who always read every word of every email sent to him by his local IT unit.  This in itself marked him as a rare bird, since not even the IT folk read every word of every email, especially not the ones they wrote.  But I digress.

LWM had read and carefully followed instructions about how to store files on the file server.  He wanted to keep his work for posterity and he knew that files on the file server were backed up and stored off site, unlike things he stored on his local hard drive. So he had gotten into the habit of stashing his stuff on “charlie”, as the file server was affectionately called.  Only hoary server admins knew why, and no one wanted to be considered hoary.

One day, as LWM ambled to class, his colleague Wilma waved and smiled.  “LWM, congratulations on selling the house”.  Linus politely smiled back; in fact he bared his newly polished teeth to hide his mortification.  For he hadn’t told anyone on campus about the house. In class, a few of his students made arch mention of pajamas and champagne. More mortification: it seemed they knew about his little soiree to celebrate the house sale. Hmm. not good, not good.

Later that afternoon, as the still agitated professor sat in front of his widescreen monitor, it suddenly struck LWM  that someone must have been looking at his files. He’d stored copies of all of the house sale documents and the “pajamas and champagne” party photos on Charlie, as was his wont. He sprinted over to the IT Help Desk to demand an explanation.

The friendly folk at the Help Desk had to work hard to explain the situation to LWM, especially since the server admins were still deep in the long dark teatime of the soul, dealing with students-l problems. In a nutshell, it went like this. No one could actually see LWM’s files, except LWM himself and two server admins of high integrity (definitely not hoary).  But everyone who had an account on Charlie could see the names of his files and browse through his folders looking at how they were organized. That, said the helpful help desk staffer, was a result of the “file permissions”, which determine who has access to a file or folder and what kind of access they have (see file names, open files, edit files, delete…). Most users can change their own file permissions, and over time, the result of choices by users and server admins had resulted in the mortification of LWM.

Coming back now to HMC, the file permissions on Charlie and Alice are not very consistent, and we have had situations in which file names were visible in ways that people did not intend.  This is the result of myriad choices over the years by both users and server admins. And the only really safe way for us to be sure that permissions are correct is to ask you to check them.  So, during data privacy month, perhaps you can take a few minutes to do so?  You can double check your file permissions easily enough.from a Windows computer.  Here are instructions (requires HMC Credentials).

It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure data privacy. During Data Privacy Month, please make protecting privacy and data a greater priority. Thanks for reading. Now go forth and check your file permissions.

Data Privacy Month (with a painful story about the students-l list)

Today is Data Privacy Day. See http://www.staysafeonline.org/data-privacy-day/

To celebrate, here is a true story culled from the vaults of HMC server administrator lore. Read it, weep… and then change your passwords.

Once upon a time there was a moderator of the students-l list. She was diligent and hard-working, devoted to the task of saving other students time by only approving messages that she judged to be of interest to students, and collecting together announcements about events at the other Colleges so they could all be included in one message. She worked on this most days, using the students-l list software.

The students-l list system is very old and resides on a Linux machine called Odin. The list system is so old that it may have been created when “GUI” was only a railway code for a station on the Glossop Line and graphical user interfaces were figments of fevered imaginations at Xerox PARC.

Now one day our diligent moderator (let’s call her Agnes) logged in to the system and noticed it was really slow, slower than usual.  At first, Agnes thought that maybe the list system was on the blink or even that Odin was finally giving up the ghost.  She couldn’t moderate messages or send anything out to students-l. Agnes quickly reported it to the CIS Help Desk.

The server admins were soon busy examining Odin as it lay there on its sheets of Irish linen. Little did they know that they were entering their very own long dark teatime of the soul, not working on high priority HMC projects, but just trying to figure out what was going on.

Bit by bit (was that pun intended?), they discovered that Odin was sending out tons of spam and then getting back tons of bounce messages.  So many that poor Odin was choking, unable to give any attention to Agnes’ plaintive login requests. Even worse, Odin was failing to recognize Agnes’ user name and trying to send error messages about that.

“But why?” said the server admins, pulling at their hair (long dark teatimes can have that effect).  “Why Odin?  Why now?  Why spam?  …Why us?”.

Now you just have to sit there and imagine time passing. Slowly.  No students-l messages are getting through.  Spam is spewing.  The server admins are ignoring other things. “Educational Technology?…no time for that”.   Are you imagining that?

OK. In the end, they figured it out.  Another user account on Odin  had been hacked and the hackers were using it to send their spam. And how did they hack it?  You guessed it. A weak password on the user account….  Sigh. Once they figured that out, the server admins had to spend several hours cleaning up the mess and then let Agnes know she was back up and moderating.  Lots of time lost and all because of a weak password.

Data Privacy Day. It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure data privacy. And it can start with a better password. For tips on creating a better one, maybe even creating one that meets HMC requirements, take a quick look at the HMC Password Policy.

Held annually on January 28, Data Privacy Day encourages everyone to make protecting privacy and data a greater priority. DPD is an international effort to empower and educate people to protect their privacy and control their digital footprint. It kicks off Data Privacy Month (http://www.educause.edu/focus-areas-and-initiatives/policy-and-security/educause-policy/community-engagement/data-privacy-month).

Thanks for reading. Now go forth and change your passwords.

November 2013 update from the CIO

thanksgiving

The first time I encountered Thanksgiving was in 1985 at Hershey Hall, then the graduate dorm at UCLA. Neither I, from Ireland, nor my roommate from Korea, were quite sure what to make of it.  But some things stood out. It wasn’t really commercial, there were no cards or gifts. The food was delicious.  And we could eat under the palm trees in the courtyard!  Ever since then, I’ve loved Thanksgiving in California.  And, in the spirit of the feast, here’s the November update from the CIO, focusing on things I’m thankful for in each of CIS’s four strategic areas.

IT Decision Making/Governance
The Portal Advisory Group (PAG), which we set up last year, is under the guidance of Registrar Mark Ashley.  Although the group has not met yet this semester, Mark, Susan Selhorst and I have been working on creating a list of portal projects that we want the PAG to prioritize.  We’re figuring out brief descriptions for each project and a “rough order of magnitude” to indicate our sense of the amount of effort involved.  I anticipate that the group will be able to meet and finalize the priority list before the semester ends.

Computing Committee Chair, Prof. Rachel Levy got the computing committee off to a start for the year.  This year, for the first time, we have a staff member on the committee (other than the CIO) and Tim Hussey, Assistant Vice President of Communications and Marketing has joined the committee. I anticipate that, among other things, the Committee will help CIS with a new survey on our effectiveness, and with feedback on proposed data privacy and security guidelines.  They have already provided excellent suggestions about how we might make better use of infographics in our documentation.

Infrastructure
I wrote in October about the CINE core switch outages that we suffered in September and October.  We replaced the CINE core switch on November 16th and this seems to have stabilized things. I am grateful to Mitch Shacklett, Cindy Abercrombie and Roger Wiechman for their work on this issue. If nothing else, these failures have emphasized the high risk that the Claremont Colleges face by having a single core switch;  we are actively working on this problem.

We are in the final stages of negotiating a 20 year lease of fiber between the CUC Administrative Computing Center on First Street and downtown Los Angeles.  This is a first requirement for the kind of redundancy and diversity we seek in our connections to the internet.  We have also begun working on a location for a second CINE core switch.

CIS the central IT organization
Rick Fisher has been with the User Support area of CIS for some time, although I have omitted to mention him in earlier updates (sorry Rick!).  He started as an intern and is now in a temporary position funded to help with the transition to the Shanahan Center.  We are finding Rick to be a great colleague and a wonderful addition to the team.

So far this month, the CIS staff have worked on a total of 508 tickets in Footprints, our ticket system.  They have closed 407 of them as of this update.  I am sure that these numbers don’t capture all of the service they have given, and I am grateful for all their hard work.

Innovation
The HSA Advising Portlet went into production in time for Spring registration.  Faculty and students gave strong positive feedback about it.  We are delighted to be reducing the paperwork and data entry for the HSA faculty and their students.

Elizabeth Hodas and her team have identified a front runner solution for software based video conferencing from a company named Vidyo.  The primary goal is to find a good video conferencing solution for Board of Trustee meetings, but the licensing on most of these systems will allow us to use it for other purposes.  So if you want your class to conduct a videoconference with the author of a paper (for example), you’ll be able to do it.  Watch for more information on this.

Other
CIS put together the Shanahan Center Feedback form for the President’s Cabinet.  So far we have received 104 submissions and the Cabinet has begun to review them. I am grateful to the folk who submitted comments and suggestions. If you want to join them head on over to http://www.formstack.com/forms/hmc-shanahan_center_feedback 

Don’t forget that the new control design has been set up in Shanahan B460.  If you are interested in how the screen and projector controls function, please try them out in B460 and send feedback to Elizabeth Hodas.

That’s it for the November update. On behalf of everyone at CIS, I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving.

 

XSEDE HPC Workshop on MPI at Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College will be participating in Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center’s XSEDE HPC Workshop about MPI (Message Passing Interface) as a remote site. MPI is a message passing library standard that can be used to parallelize your serial C/Fortran program and algorithm to exploit multi-node, multi-core clusters (or supercomputers) for enhanced performance and/or accuracy. If you are interested in learning MPI, please register for the workshop through XSEDE and come join us in the Learning Studio Classroom on Wednesday, December 4th and Thursday, December 5th.

This is a two-day intensive workshop through which you can learn from the basics to more advanced skills of MPI programming.

The tentative agenda given below is subject to change.

Wednesday, December 4
All times given are PST

  • 08:00 Welcome
  • 08:15 Computing Environment
  • 09:00 Intro to Parallel Computing
  • 10:00 Lunch break
  • 11:00 Introduction to MPI
  • 12:30 Introductory Exercises
  • 01:30 Scalable Programming: Laplace code
  • 02:00 Adjourn/Laplace Exercises

Thursday, December 5
All times given are PST

  • 08:00 Laplace Exercises
  • 09:00 Laplace Solution
  • 09:30 Lunch break
  • 10:30 Advanced MPI
  • 11:30 Outro to Parallel Computing
  • 12:30 MPI Debugging and Profiling
  • 01:30 Adjourn

Please visit the workshop page for more information: https://www.psc.edu/index.php/training/xsede-hpc-workshop-december-2013

For more information about other XSEDE HPC trainings, please visit the course calendar page at https://portal.xsede.org/course-calendar

For any questions, please contact Jeho Park (x79023 or email jepark@hmc.edu) at CIS

XSEDE HPC Workshop about OpenACC GPU Computing

[Online Registration for Harvey Mudd College is open at https://portal.xsede.org/course-calendar/-/training-user/class/152/session/271.]

Harvey Mudd College will be participating in Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center’s XSEDE HPC Workshop about OpenACC. If you are interested in learning GPU programming with OpenACC, please register for the workshop through XSEDE and come join us in Learning Studio Classroom on Tuesday, November 5th. OpenACC is a GPU (Graphics Processor Unit) programming standard for C and Fortran. Using accelerators such as GPUs is a great way to substantially reduce the computational time of computationally-expensive numerical algorithms such as dense linear algebra problems and FFT. And OpenACC is an easy way to enable GPU computing blocks in your program.

(If your schedule is too tight to commit yourselves for the whole five-hour workshop, you can register for the workshop and just participate in the sections for “Intro to OpenACC” from 9:15 am to 10:00 am and/or from 11 am to 1 pm to get an idea how you can use OpenACC for your program.)

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October 2013 Update From the CIO

IMG_20130704_210653What a Fall Semester we are having so far!

Shanahan Center
We love the new Shanahan Center.  As everyone knows, we’ve seen a few issues with the AV systems.  We are developing a list of these issues and their status, which we will share with everyone.   And I thank the people who have given us specific feedback about what’s working or not working for them.

I’d like to provide a little context about some of the issues. The TLB Advisory Committee (8 faculty, 2 students, 5 staff) met with the two AV companies that were bidding for the project in early summer 2012.  Both companies recommended a Crestron system and both anticipated programming the system, receiving feedback from users and then making changes.  That is the phase we are going through at the moment.

Overall, from our perspective, the move into the Shanahan Center has gone rather well. The sheer number of pieces of technology in the building (90 wireless access points, 450+ wired ports, VOIP phone system, networked projectors, lecture capture, document cameras etc) is daunting and, while we acknowledge that some things need fixing, we are glad that so much is working well.

CINE issues
When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions. (OK, so Claudius, in Hamlet, probably didn’t have the Shanahan Center and CINE in mind).  Most of you know “CINE” as one of the wireless networks on campus.  “CINE” also refers to the backbone network between the Claremont Colleges and connectivity beyond the colleges to the internet.  Harvey Mudd College is responsible for that CINE too.  Recently some work being done by a contractor in the CUC phone office on Eighth Street resulted in damage to parts of the CINE core switch.  As a result, we lost internet connectivity, VOIP phones, VPN and other parts of the network for periods of several hours in late September and October.  These incidents emphasized the fact that we have a single point of failure at the CINE core.  We had received approval from the Colleges late last year to place a second redundant switch at a different location and bring new fiber connections from downtown LA to the CUC building on First Street.  The project was approved and we are moving ahead with obtaining the new fiber, as well as looking at ways to get the second CINE switch earlier than we had planned.  Together, these initiatives will remove the single point of failure problem with the CINE core switch.

Identity and Access Management (IAM@HMC)
Our IAM@HMC initiative continues apace. We have begun testing Fischer’s work for phase III of the project, which will bring us automated creation and deletion of accounts on several of our key systems. The CIS Help Desk will soon be sending an email requesting that users synchronize their passwords and configure their security questions.  I mention this now to ensure that all users know that the message is a legitimate request from the IAM project team.  It will instruct users to enter their username and current password at the HMC Credentials kiosk. The request will include a detailed set of instructions,  which you should follow.

HSA Advising Portlet
The HSA Advising portlet, which will replace the HSA department’s standalone Filemaker Pro application, is in final testing.  Using this application on the JICS portal, HSA advisors will be able to work with their students to identify the classes that meet HSA requirements and record student progress.  Students will be able to use the portal to review their progress toward completion of the HSA requirements and will not have to shuttle paper over to the Registrar’s office.  This portlet will be in production for Spring pre-registration in a couple of weeks. It was developed under contract by Lee Jones.  Paul Steinberg, Bill Alves and Susan Selhorst guided the work, which was funded jointly by CIS, HSA and the Dean of Faculty.

Ongoing Infrastructure Upgrades
Thanks to the Information Technology Infrastructure Fund (ITIF), which was established in early 2013, we have a source of funding for infrastructure upgrades. These will be ongoing, and we are steadily building out a project list for 2013-14 and for 2014-15. Generally speaking, we will follow a process similar to that for building renewal and replacement.  If a project is on the ITIF list, we will prioritize it accordingly (eg. improvement to network, high number of people impacted, construction opportunity etc). Departments then have the choice of waiting or of funding the project directly to bring it forward in time.

Among the projects funded by ITIF so far this year were the Core Switch upgrade in March, wireless improvements in three dorms (which took advantage of already existing wiring) and improvements to the network in Olin.

One can never say thanks often enough: I am very grateful to President Klawe, Andrew Dorantes and the Physical Plan committee for their foresight in establishing this fund. There is much work to be done on our IT infrastructure, but we now have a regular source of funding and coherent decision making process that will help us design and build out a more robust infrastructure.

Smartboard Arrival
We recently acquired a new Smartboard, which will be traveling around to a number of classrooms in the Shanahan Center.  Some of our faculty will be testing it out in their classrooms during the rest of the semester. We are looking forward to getting a better understanding of how HMC faculty and students might make use of this technology. Do talk to your colleagues and fellow students and let us know what works (or not) with this technology.  If the boards prove useful, we will plan to purchase more.

Educause Conference
Several CIS staff recently attended the Educause Annual Conference in Anaheim. Educause is the professional organization for IT in higher education and the conference was attended by nearly 8,000 people from 51 countries.  Even a glance at the agenda will probably stoke your curiosity http://www.educause.edu/annual-conference/agenda-and-program/annual-conference-face-face-agenda.  Many of the sessions were recorded and most will have some materials available, so take a look if you are interested in topics like   For thought-provoking points on gaming and its relationship to learning, I recommend the keynote by Jane McGonigal, which will be available in about 90 days.

 

Fall 2013 Bite of Learning series

Bite of Learning logoNow that the crush of the start of classes has eased a bit, we’d like to announce the Fall 2013 schedule for the Bite of Learning Series. A Bite of Learning is an informal series of lunch-time presentations held in the Aviation Room in the Hoch-Shanahan Dining Commons on the HMC Campus. We usually schedule 5 or 6 presentations per semester, with the focus being new or innovative uses of technology in teaching or research. This semester we have an exciting lineup of speakers to announce.

In October we start up with a presentation by Chris Clark from the HMC Engineering department. Prof. Clark will be presenting on “Robotics: Motivation for Learning.” iRubricForSakai_Logo_medLindsay Janssen and Prof. Steven Casper from Keck Graduate Institute will talk about their experiences using iRubric for writing assessment.

In November Allegra Swift from the Claremont Colleges Library will talk about Open Access Online Journal Publishing and Scholarship at the Claremont Colleges. Pitzer College’s experiences with online course evaluations is the topic of Joanne Zhang’s presentation on November 19th.

In December Prof. Katherine Van Heuvelen, Kevin Heath (HMC ’16) and Jeho Park (CIS) will talk about using the XSEDE supercomputing resource and on Jeho’s role as XSEDE Campus Champion.

We’re looking forward to a great semester and hope you can join us at A Bite of Learning. The full schedule can be found on the Bite of Learning web site at http://www.hmc.edu/bol.

Summer 2013 Update from the CIO

Welcome (back) to all!

2013 was one of the busiest summers ever for CIS, with a large number of projects and a summerheavy stream of upgrades and improvements. In this message I will cover some of the things we got done.

Shanahan Center
The Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning is now up and running! We have a high speed network and all digital AV systems.  We have purchased additional laptops (dual boot Macbook Air) for our pool and will be providing laptops to the faculty that requested them for their classes.  On a daily basis, we will have staff in what we’ve been calling the “pop up store” beside the Living Room (in the cafe).  There’s a printer there with a print release station and, as we watch what traffic patterns are like in the new building, we anticipate that we may have more technology and/or more people in that space.

Please note that the wall phones in each classroom can be used to dial the help desk at 77777 (just don’t use the big red emergency button with that intention!).  So if you need quick delivery of a cable or are having difficulty getting something working, don’t hesitate to call us.  The room number is on each phone, so you can quickly tell us where you are.

Rooms 2450 and 2454 are “technology rich classrooms”.  For the moment, that just means that they form part of the suite of classrooms in which simulcasting (high definition between room videoconferencing) can take place.  But we plan to take the same approach with these rooms as we did with the Learning Studio Classroom: they are intended to be experimental spaces where we try out new technologies to see what might work for general deployment.  A great example of this approach is Lecture Capture, where we took time to get experience in the Learning Studio Classroom before making the purchase that Elizabeth Hodas has written about in her article on Lecture Capture in the Teaching and Learning Building.

We look forward to enjoying this wonderful new building with you.

New focus in User Support
We have begun slowly rolling out a new model of support in the User Support Group. The old model was built on the idea of a dedicated person for a department or group of departments. We have now switched to a model in which a team of people provide support as service requests or incident reports come in, independent of the source. We try to match expertise with the need and we are building a common body of knowledge across the really great team of people that make up the user support group: Beverly Kelley, Pete Sanchez, Travis Gomez, Corey LeBlanc and Robert Kingston.  To reflect this change in approach we have dropped “departmental” from their titles: they are now all Technical Analysts (TAs).  The User Support program is being run by Cindy Abercrombie, whom you can contact with feedback or questions.

New faces at CIS
In early August we hired two new people in CIS.  Gerald Reyes came across the street from Scripps College to work in our data services unit, where he will be focusing on the JICS portal.  Robert Kingston came to join the User Support team from a position at Apple Computer, where he managed the Apple brand within a Best Buy store.  I was delighted with the strong applicant pool that we received for both positions and congratulate Susan Selhorst and Cindy Abercrombie on astute hiring decisions.  Susan has written more about Gerald and Cindy has written more about Robert.

This is a good place to include a shout out for the HMC students who took up employment with us over the summer: Cindy Angpraseuth, George Aspesi, Andrew Michaud, James Saindon and Eric Storm.  Between them they tackled 37 projects this summer, leaving us in much better state than they found us.

Identity and Access Management
Over the summer we worked with Fischer International to put the finishing touches to a sixty-two page functional requirements document for the third phase of our Identity and Access Management (IAM@HMC) initiative.  This phase will include improvements to the password management kiosk, and put in place an automated account creation and deletion process for several of the systems we manage.  It will also bring the Portal and Office365 into the single sign on bundle, meaning you will no longer have to login multiple times as you move between the Portal, Ultipro, Google Apps and Office365.  We anticipate moving into the testing phase of this project in the next month or so, with roll out scheduled for the late Fall.  As part of the roll out we will be asking you to use the IAM kiosk to synchronize your passwords and set (or reset) your security questions.  More on that in future updates from the CIO.

Portal Advisory Group
Registrar Mark Ashley has been working with Susan Selhorst over the summer to refine the list of projects that we wish to undertake to improve the Portal. While Susan was conducting the search that resulted in the hire of Gerald Reyes, she was also directing the work of a contractor from Jenzabar, who managed to “take out” a number of the portal issues that we had identified.  Early in the Fall, Mark and Susan will bring a list of projects for prioritization by the Portal Advisory Group.

Network Infrastructure
During the summer months we made a number of changes and upgrades that affected the network:

  • New conduit was laid under Platt boulevard which will enable us to provide network diversity for the Shanahan Center and reduce risk for Kingston, Hoch-Shanahan and points east.
  • As part of the Olin vacated space plan, we put in upgrades to support higher access speeds for the Beckman Server room.
  • We upgraded the network equipment in Olin.
  • We upgraded wireless in Beckman 126.
  • We are in the process of upgrading wireless in Case, North and South dorms.

More to come
The pace of change in technology is, as always, breakneck.  So we anticipate more changes during the Fall.  Our Office365 suite will be upgraded by Microsoft.  The company has notified us that it will happen over the next four weeks and we are gathering more information to get you the details.  This change will primarily affect staff.

We anticipate completing more network upgrades in the Academic Buildings and will be working closely with F&M to plan for the Parsons vacated space activity.

That’s probably enough for now. Everyone in CIS is happy to see you and we wish you a great Fall semester.  As always, we rely on you to give us honest feedback and let us know what is working well, what needs improvement and what’s not working at all.

Best,

Joseph