Academic Computer Services

CLUG Notes January 21, 2004


Jeff Leveroni, Karl Camozzi, Becky Monroe, Mike Yocom, David Winney, Pat Gales, Kathie Richer, Tim Hunt, Teri Odegard, Jon French, Johnetta Moore, Jerry Huri, Carl Hurley, Tania Kulikov, Peter VanderWeyst, David Chalif, Lorraine Necaise, and Ginny Olson


1.              CAMPUS WIRELESS:         Jeff Leveroni spoke about the new Edmonds Community College campus-wide wireless.  In addition to the administrative and faculty wireless, Information Technology has added student wireless access for laptop computers this quarter.  Handheld devices, such as Palm Pilots are more difficult to use and are not currently supported.  Wireless access ports are now available in all of the major areas on campus where students congregate.  By combining the administrative faculty cloud with the wireless cloud, all those that are associated with Edmonds Community College will have wireless access.  A wireless card provides access to the wireless network to provide access to common resources on campus, such as the library, blackboard, EdCC website, Citrix, Outlook Web access, etc.  If an EdCC student or employee wishes to have additional access, they must authenticate themselves via VPN.  The Wireless has been well received by the students.  There are occasional questions such as, how to do something once they are on the wireless network or requests for recommendations for wireless cards.  Susan Kostick has issued a press release.  Edmonds Community College is one of only three community colleges in Washington State to provide wireless access on campus.  Jeff has recommended that students spread the word.  Greg Van Belle will contact the Review about publishing an article on wireless access at Edmonds Community College.


2.         LAB UNLOCKS/LOCKS:   Some instructors have issues with unlocking and locking of computer labs.  When locking the labs, instructors are not required to power off the PCs beforehand.  Jerry Huri expressed his concerns about loss of instruction time when instructors are required to lock and unlock labs in Snohomish Hall.  With back-to-back classes and students stopping them in the hall to ask questions, instructors are frustrated, because they are losing valuable class time.  Jerry Huri said that the current unlock/lock policy is causing ill will with students and causing them to become angry because they have to wait in the hallway rather than being able to go into a lab, logon, and get ready for a class.  Jeff said that some of this is being addressed in President's Cabinet.  There is no exact answer yet. 

Pat Gales said that in the past there were 120 open and closes during one week.  Previously when the lab assistants were required to open and close the labs, instructors were mad then too because labs weren't opened when the instructors thought that they should be.  When ACS was in charge of the classroom access, it was a logistical nightmare.  Lab assistants had to interrupt helping students to continually run over to Snohomish Hall and do the open and closes.  Jeff said the man hours used to just open and close the labs was between one half and three quarters of a resource just running back and fourth.  With the new card swipe connected to the EdPass cards, instructors can gain access immediately and lock their own classes.  Some of the instructors are happy with this procedure, but not all of them.  David Chalif said that the policy for CWU is to only lock classrooms when there are no more classes in that room that day.  David asked if that could be an interim solution for the computer lab access issue.  Jeff agreed to this.  Becky said that ACS would look into the cost of lost lab equipment due to theft from 1996-2000.


3.         NEW KIOSKS:         ACS now has new student account creating kiosks located in the hallway in Alderwood Hall.  A registered student can enter their student ID number and last name, click on the submit button, and their account is instantly created.  The students are extremely happy because they no longer have to wait until their account is manually created, which could sometimes take 24 hours at the beginning of a quarter.  ACS saves valuable time to help more students, provide more technical support, answer more questions, create service requests, etc.  Johnetta Moore asked about possibly installing one in the library area.  ACS is researching other places on campus where student account creating kiosks can be installed.  Eventually one will probably be placed on the 4th floor of Lynnwood Hall.  Lorraine Neicaise requested that classes in MLT 224 and MLT 225 (DEVED and ABE/GED) be downloaded with the rest of the classes during the break.  Pat Gales agreed to include the requested classes. 


4.         FILE MAKER PRO DATABASE:               ACS and the HelpDesk are integrating all staff and faculty service request information in one central database called File Maker Pro.  Both areas can enter or retrieve service request information from the File Maker Pro database.  After the service request is closed, as long as an email address was entered, you will be emailed a service request survey.  It is a 5,4,3,2,1 rating evaluation system with 5 being an excellent rating.  You are encouraged to send back your rating feedback.  If ACS is doing great, we want to know.  If ACS needs improvement, we want to know how or what can be improved.  The evaluation rating information is forwarded to the IT managers.


5.         SOFTWARE REQUEST VERSION CONFLICTS:         When software requests for specific software and specific versions of software come in to ACS, the ACS technicians install the software that is received and the version requested.  However, there are sometimes conflicts when the publisher sends the most current versions of the textbook and/or study materials.  Even when the instructor specifically requests with the appropriate ISBN number, the publisher still will send more current books and materials without giving the instructor any notice.  The EdCC Bookstore does not notify the instructor if the textbook is delivered in a different edition/version.  And the EdCC Bookstore usually orders the latest-editions because the publisher will not buy back the older versions of textbooks and study materials.  This is creating problems because once the ACS image is built with the requested software, it can't be recreated to match the textbook.  It is a long complicated and extremely intricate process.  Instructors are aware of this problem and for now are trying to work with it.  ACS will look into whether the bookstore could be more accommodating with this issue. 


6.         SURVEYOR:             Surveyor is power management software that will be implemented in the computer labs during the next two to three weeks.  The ACS techs can schedule when computers and monitors turn themselves off.  The enforcement policy is still being evaluated.  After Surveyor is implemented, keyboard inactivity may activate a message on the screen informing the user that this lab is scheduled for a shutdown.  However, if the lab is in use, there will be a skip button.  The idea is when a lab is not in use and not going to be in use in the immediate timeframe the computers will be able to shut themselves down and save power. 


7.         OTHER BUSINESS:           


SPAM SOFTWARE:            Teri Odegard inquired about the SPAM software that Jon Miller was recently testing.  During the testing phase it was determined that over 40% of the campus's email is SPAM according to Jon French.  The need for a SPAM filter has been determined, but the rest of the process is still being researched.  SPAM is generated from email addresses that register at certain websites and when merely viewing websites, cookies can be created that can reveal individual interests.  This information is then harvested for future SPAM ads.  A suggestion was made to funnel them into a specific SPAM folder so SPAM messages will automatically be forwarded into these folders without ever having to view them.  Teri would like to encourage the testers of the SPAM filter software to purchase and install it soon.


SPRING SOFTWARE REQUESTS:          Spring software requests and timeline schedules were sent out in December to Division heads, Department chairs, and Division Secretaries.  They were asked to forward them to the instructors in their departments.  The spring software requests were due on January 12, 2004.  Some instructors reported they never received their software request forms and timelines and were surprised that they were already due.  Becky will post the software request timeline schedule on the ACS website.


MLT REMODEL AND MOVE:       There were inquiries about the moving of the computer labs from Mountlake Terrace Hall and how that would be handled.  Becky explained to BSTEC that ACS is not actually involved in the move process.  However, once BSTEC is physically moved ACS will support the lab and make sure that it is up and running.  For other questions about the logistics contact Suzanne Leveroni at X1980.  Once the new location is determined, it would be beneficial to check out if it has network capability connections and the correct amount of power needed.


SOFTWARE CHANGES AND TESTING:           Tim Hunt inquired about when there are no changes to software from one quarter to the next, why doesn't it work the same as the previous quarter.  Becky explained that every quarter a new image is created that includes all the software required for a specific lab.  When these images are created and installed, ACS will test and try and confirm that everything is working.  However, occasionally something doesn't work right.  Instructors are encouraged to come in to the labs and test their software.  Another suggestion is to create a configuration document checklist of things to check for or that work a specific way.  Then someone from ACS can test and make sure all works the way it should.   The configuration checklist can be kept on file in ACS and each quarter the checklist would be used to help ACS test and make sure all the components of a specific software are there.


PHOTOSHOP:         Tim Hunt mentioned that Photoshop did not get installed in one of the labs.  Becky responded that Photoshop was installed in ALD 101 and SNO 219 and those were the two rooms that were requested.  Becky will research the rooms that it was originally requested in by going through the software request forms.  It is possible that the class got moved out of one of the original rooms, but the software didn't get changed because once classes start ACS has a policy of not changing the images.


CLOCKS:     Clocks in Snohomish Hall are either missing or the wrong time.  It is terribly frustrating for the instructors.  The clocks are in the process of being replaced with battery-operated clocks.  Although, ACS has sent in requests to Facilities to have the clocks fixed previously, all other departments are encouraged to send in requests so the Facilities can see how important the clock issue is.  Jerry Huri suggested an email to Jeff Leveroni so that Jeff could take it to President's Cabinet.  Jerry is terribly upset that the minimal amount of money could solve a huge problem and keep instructors on time.