UC Davis Information & Educational Technology

IET Report : Campuswide Technology


This section focuses on the development and implementation of overarching campuswide computing and technology initiatives and policies. Some examples of these initiatives and policies include the development of an IT planning framework for UC Davis as well as major IT projects for the campus.

Dr. Peter Yellowlees Appointed Interim Vice Provost-IET

On April 15, Peter Yellowlees, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Academic Information Systems at the UC Davis Health System, was named Interim Vice Provost-Information and Educational Technology. He will serve while a national search is conducted for a permanent vice provost to replace John Bruno, who is returning to teaching and research in the Department of Computer Science after overseeing the campus technology operation since August 1999. Dr. Yellowlees, an international expert in telemedicine and the long-distance electronic delivery of health care and education, will provide leadership in managing the myriad forms of information technology used throughout the campus, including instructional technology, computing systems, data, voice, and video communication services.

In his first few weeks, Dr. Yellowlees has laid out a preliminary roadmap for IT priorities at UC Davis. The roadmap focuses on three main themes: establishing a more standardized approach to information technology infrastructure, driving the campus' educational technology program, and supporting the campus' research mission (see vpiet.ucdavis.edu).

UC Davis Prepares for New Course Management Tools

Under the guidance of the UC Davis Sakai Oversight Committee, chaired by Dr. Yellowlees, UC Davis is preparing for the launch of several Sakai pilot implementations over the next few months. The Sakai Project is part of a much larger consortium that originated from the University of Michigan and Indiana University and is committed to delivering a complete learning management system to higher education.

The UC Davis project team, composed of representatives from the School of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Medicine, and IET, expects to roll out a production version of Sakai for the School of Medicine this fall and a pilot version for Veterinary Medicine in Spring 2006. The third pilot, including quiz and assessment modules, will be conducted by IET in the fall with select faculty. In addition, IET is working to integrate authentication and authorization capabilities into the local version of Sakai. In parallel efforts, a subcommittee of the Campus Council for Information Technology is preparing migration and functional recommendations to guide the implementation of the next generation of course management tools at UC Davis. Included in this effort are consultations (held jointly with the UC Davis technical team) with other campuses (e.g., Indiana University, Stanford, and UC Berkeley). The recommendations are expected to be ready by mid-June.

Faculty Merit and Promotion Project Gaining Momentum

The Faculty Merit and Promotion project, led by Academic Personnel with support from IET, is gaining momentum. The feedback from the pilot (involving forty-five campus departments) has been very positive, and several other units have already expressed interest in joining this effort. The MyInfoVault application was originally developed by the Center for Health and Technology in the School of Medicine, with the goals of simplifying the assembly and review of faculty merit and promotion portfolios and building a repository to support re-use of the data (e.g., for grant applications, curriculum vitae).

The pilot, designed to evaluate the possible campuswide implementation of MyInfoVault, focuses on four types of actions: re-delegated merit actions, building packets, curriculum vitae, and use of the NIH BioSketch form. Recent statistics indicate a high level of usage (e.g., over 330 administrative/clerical accounts and 1220 faculty records created as of early March, and 53000 publications entered into the system). The next big milestone for the pilot will come in July when a go/no go decision for a broader campus deployment will be made (see http://media.ucdavis.edu:8080/ramgen/IET/MyInfoVault.rm).

Lifetime Email Forwarding Service Planned for UC Davis Affiliates

IET has announced plans to provide a lifetime email forwarding service for UC Davis affiliates. With this service, faculty, students, staff and other campus affiliates will have the option of retaining their "ucdavis.edu" email addresses for as long as they desire. Rather than being discontinued upon separation from the university, these addresses will remain active, and email sent to them will be automatically forwarded to another email account of their designation (typically an external Internet Service Provider, or ISP, such as Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc.). The service is expected to be available by Fall 2005.

Contract Signed for Electronic Research Administration System

The system, called InfoEd, will enable electronic submission, review, approval, and tracking of research grant proposals. A contract has been signed with InfoEd International Inc. This initiative has been conceived and organized as a multi-stage project, with new systems and processes being implemented at phased intervals based upon the three InfoEd Contract & Grant modules: Proposal Tracking, Proposal Development, and Project Management.

Implementation has begun on the first phase, the Proposal Tracking module, which will replace the existing campus Contracts and Grants database. Completion of this phase is scheduled for January 2006. Implementation of the Proposal Development module, which will enable the lead faculty member to create and manage proposals online and route them electronically for approval, is scheduled for 2007. Implementation of the Project Management module, which will allow information stored in the InfoEd system to be linked to various campus systems (i.e., DaFIS, Faculty Merit & Promotion system, Cost Sharing and Effort Reporting systems), is scheduled for 2008.

Office of Administration First to Centralize Exchange Servers

The Office of Administration (OOA) is collaborating with IET to consolidate their existing decentralized Microsoft Exchange servers into a centralized service provided through the campus Data Center. Microsoft Exchange and Outlook are the primary tools used for email and calendaring in the OOA organization, and message stores are maintained on several discreet departmental servers. With the evolution of technology and increased need for business collaboration, the strategy of discrete servers has become more difficult to manage. A centralized, consolidated Active Directory and Exchange service throughout OOA has the potential to accomplish the following goals:

  • Broadly leverage technology expertise and resources to reduce costs, reduce duplicate efforts and/or allow redirection of resources to other efforts.
  • Provide for greater consistency in technology solutions and standards, thereby supporting and encouraging technical collaboration and partnerships within OOA and between OOA and the campus.
  • Support departmental business needs while providing an improved infrastructure to support inter-departmental and campus wide business processes.

Facilities will be the first OOA organization to commence migration in June, followed by the other administrative departments scheduled at appropriate intervals through the balance of 2005. A total of approximately 1,400 staff members, representing eight departments, are involved in this transition.

HR Application to Improve Online Administrative Capabilities

The campus recently purchased a business application, PeopleAdmin, designed to meet specific higher education needs in the areas of recruitment, applicant tracking and position descriptions. PeopleAdmin includes online application submittal, tracking, screening and status notification, as well as tracking of all employment and compensation actions beginning at the position description. An Implementation Committee, consisting of Human Resources professionals and campus representatives, was formed to ensure that campus needs were adequately addressed by the PeopleAdmin application. The PeopleAdmin Oversight Committee and the IET PeopleAdmin Project Manager have completed the business analysis, with a resulting recommendation to proceed to the configuration phase. A communication plan is in development to keep the campus up-to-date on the status of the project.

Campus and IET Use Faculty Suggestions to Improve Online Grading

Winter 2005 marked the second consecutive quarter for the electronic submission of final grades. Based on feedback from instructors, a team of individuals from the Office of the Registrar, the Teaching Resources Center, and IET have developed new features for the Online Grading application. These improvements include enabling instructors to combine all course sections into one grade sheet, enhancing the system's capability to send email notifications to others regarding the final grade submission process, and increasing the variety of spreadsheets accepted by the grading sheet's upload and download function.

While the end results proved promising (over 80% of surveyed instructors expressed satisfaction with the application), several other improvements suggested by faculty are planned. IET is working with the Office of the Registrar to allow faculty to use the Registrar's roster as the final grade sheet. The team is also working to improve the final grade submission process within MyUCDavis' Gradebook, which is a separate system. At this time, faculty cannot access a final grade sheet that was entered in Gradebook. The team is working to change this by the beginning of fall quarter. For more information, visit classes.ucdavis.edu/grading.

Illegal File Sharing Notifications on Campus Lowest Since 2001-2002

Information provided by the campus-designated agent for DMCA notifications reveals that illegal file sharing notifications at UC Davis are at their lowest levels since the 2001-2002 academic year. The lower number of incidents coincides with the increase in the much-publicized lawsuits filed by the Recording Industry Association of America. Perhaps due to the RIAA's campaign against illegal music, UC Davis students, staff and faculty are now illegally downloading more movies and software than music.

As of May 1, a total of 103 DMCA notifications have been filed against the campus during 2004-2005, a marked improvement from previous years (181 in 2003-2004, and 392 in 2002-2003). 70% of the notifications received by UC Davis in 2004-2005 were for students, most of whom are freshman living on campus (College of Engineering students receiving the highest number of notifications). Thanks to an efficient handling process developed with Student Judicial Affairs, few users have ever garnered a second notification, as such an incident typically results in the permanent loss of all network privileges.

Contrary to popular discussion about illegal sharing of music files, the great majority (75%) of the DMCA notifications received by UC Davis are the result of illegal sharing of movies and television shows. In the 2003-2004 academic year, only 4% of the DMCA notifications received were for music copyright violations. The most common offending files are blockbuster movies (i.e., Star Wars, Lord of the Rings) or popular television shows (i.e., The Simpsons).

In December 2004-January 2005, the RIAA contacted UC Davis, stating that the campus would be receiving two subpoenas to identify users who had infringed musical recordings on campus networks. Although UC Davis properly prepared for this, the campus has yet to receive the subpoenas. According to the NACUA listserv, other campuses also received such notices but also never received subpoenas. For more information about file sharing or copyright violations, please contact copyright@ucdavis.edu.

Faculty IT Needs Assessment Survey Issued to Instructors

In April, the Chairs of the Academic Senate and Academic Federation issued a memo to all UC Davis instructors announcing the launch of the UC Davis Faculty Survey of Instructional Technology Use. This survey, developed by the Educational Technology subcommittee of the Campus Council for Information Technology, was designed to determine and address the technology needs and priorities of faculty teaching at UC Davis. Topics ranged from faculty's instructional use of the Internet to educational technology resources, classroom presentation resources, and barriers and incentives affecting faculty's use of educational technology tools. A summary of the survey results for Spring 2005 will be available in June. The survey will remain available at learning.ucdavis.edu/survey.

New Faculty Directory Launched with Redesigned Campus Home Page

Coinciding with the release of the redesigned campus home page, (www.ucdavis.edu), IET celebrated the launch of the Web-based Faculty Directory in February 2005. The Faculty Directory, sponsored by Provost Virginia Hinshaw, allows users to navigate to a college and department from the campus home page and then quickly locate all faculty based on rank and field of study. The Faculty Directory can be accessed from the Faculty page on the campus home Web site.