UC Davis Information & Educational Technology

IET Report : Campuswide Technology Highlights

Chancellor's Fall Conference to focus on information technology
Information technology will be the theme of this year’s UC Davis Chancellor’s Fall Conference at Lake Tahoe, September 16-18, a conference of approximately 150 invited faculty, staff, students, and alumni. IET will provide leadership in shaping the conference program. Brian Hawkins, president of Educause, will be the keynote speaker. Based on an early draft agenda, other speakers will look at technology as an enabler, learning in the digital age, and innovative uses of technology in research and public outreach. Breakout sessions for the conference will examine: the role of information technology in teaching and learning, research, and scholarship; the impact of information technology on the culture of the university; information technology as a tool for insight and innovation; and how information technology governance can be most effective. The conference is an annual event to share views on a topic of importance to the campus. For more information, see chancellor.ucdavis.edu/Events/FallConf/.
April cyberinfrastructure workshop helps set campus priorities
On April 5 and 6, IET and Office of Research hosted a workshop on cyberinfrastructure for researchers. The program featured a series of presentations by representatives from Educause, Office of the President, cyberinfrastructure agencies (TeraGrid, Internet2, CENIC, Open Science Grid) and UC Davis faculty members representing five different schools and colleges. The intent of the workshop was to take stock of existing resources, and discuss needs and opportunities for enhancing cyberinfrastructure in support of research at UC Davis. Research project ideas touched on such diverse areas as genomics, the environment, medicine, and engineering. IET Vice Provost Pete Siegel and Research Vice Chancellor Barry M. Klein will continue to engage campus researchers and administrators in a discussion of a common set of priorities. The UC Davis cyberinfrastructure roadmap will be shared with deans and other key campus groups for their comments and support. Program, presentations, and discussion notes are available at: vpiet.ucdavis.edu/cyberinfrastructure.cfm.
Workgroup formed to develop roadmap for administrative IT services
A workgroup, endorsed by the chancellor and the Council of Vice Chancellors, has been formed to develop a concise roadmap for administrative information technology services at UC Davis. The workgroup is composed of representatives from Office of Administration, Office of Resource Management and Planning, Information and Educational Technology (IET), Student Affairs, and (representing the deans) Mathematical and Physical Sciences. The group will: identify core administrative IT services among central campus units; document in general terms their current architectures; identify how those architectures serve the UC Davis community; articulate how a coordinated or integrated architectural strategy over the next five years can improve the services from a faculty, staff and student perspective; and document a road map and a timeline that will move UC Davis forward. The group is expected to deliver a draft of the report and executive summary in August for review with the Council of Deans and Vice Chancellors in September. As part of its efforts, the group will consult colleagues informally across the UC campuses, especially within the UC-wide IT Leadership Council. Information about the workgroup will be available at http://vpiet.ucdavis.edu/initiatives.cfm.
UC considers implications of new illegal filesharing legal tactic
In February 2007, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) began a new approach to shutting down illegal file-sharing through college and university networks by sending out 400 “preservation notices” each month. Each preservation notice includes sufficient information for the Internet Service Provider (ISP) to identify the computer alleged to be illegally sharing files through the campus network, and states RIAA's plans to sue the responsible individual for $15,000 to $150,000 per infringement, and subsequently to subpoena the campus to disclose the identity of the individual, all of which is allowed by law.
The new development is that the RIAA will first send a “pre-suit” settlement offer for the ISP to forward to the individual, giving the individual a chance to avoid being sued by paying several thousands dollars up front. This new “pre-suit” process is different from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) process which the RIAA and other copyrightsholders have relied on to date. In that “safe harbor” process, a copyright owner can send a “notification” to an ISP asking that infringing material be blocked from the Internet to avoid being responsible for the infringement itself.
UC Davis was among 13 campus Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that received the first batch of preservation notices; other UC campuses received preservation notices as well. UC Davis has forwarded these preservation notices to the individuals involved. UC Davis has not, however, received any “pre-suit” settlement offers, but has been advised by the UC Office of the President to forward any settlement offers if they are received. The University of California’s Information Resources and Communications (IR&C) office is consulting with the Office of the General Counsel and all the University of California campuses, including UC Davis, to consider issues raised by the RIAA’s new process. Some of the concerns being discussed include: FERPA privacy concerns; whether the preservation notices are also considered legal DMCA “notifications”; the preservation of evidence; and the possible perception that the universities have become an arm of the RIAA. The RIAA has already changed its process, apparently in response to concerns raised by UC. Discussions are expected to be ongoing regarding this controversial new process.
Although this new move is by the music industry, the campus receives even more “notifications” for movies, games, and television shows. Those industries have expressed interest in adopting the music industry practices. The campus responds to every “notification” as a potential violation of the campus Acceptable Use Policy, requiring the individual to confirm in writing that no illegal activity will occur in the future. Second offenders permanently lose network access privileges. For information about the University of California’s policies regarding copyright, visit: www.universityofcalifornia.edu/copyright/ . For more information, contact the UC Davis campus Designated Agent, Jan Carmikle at: dmca@ucdavis.edu .
Updates to directories, People Search, now made online
A new Web-based application, Online Directory Listings, was deployed to campus in early January and departmental approvers—the individuals responsible for updating listings within their departments—have been busy making use of it. Also known as the “Whitepages” project, the application is used to request changes to information published in the printed UC Davis Directory, the UC Davis Health System Directory, and the Web-based UC Davis People Search. As with any major change on campus, members of the newly-established approver network are in different stages of adjusting from the old, paper process, to the new, online process. IT Express and Communications Resources Directory Services have observed an overall reduction in requests for support, but they continue to answer questions about more complex scenarios within the application and requests for additional titles and locations. Many of the approvers have taken an active role to learn the new application and provide end-user feedback. The Whitepages development team has used feedback from the approvers to fine-tune the application's user interface and functionality. In late March, minor changes to increase convenience and mitigate user error—such as the replacement of the email text-field with an auto-populated email drop-down box—were successfully deployed. The application is available at: https://listings.ucdavis.edu/. For more information, contact Nicholas Barbulesco at ucdlesco@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-5612.


Administrative computing policy submitted for campus review
In March, the Office of the Vice Provost-IET submitted a new administrative computing policy for official campus review and adoption. The policy defines clear oversight for review and coordination of campus administrative systems that meet one or more specified criteria. The policy also outlines a process by which the project sponsor and the Vice Provost-IET will jointly determine whether a proposal for a new system (or a significant modification of an existing system) warrants further discussion. By ensuring that existing and proposed administrative IT investments benefit from timely review and evaluation, the policy is expected to promote a long-term integrated systems approach for the campus. For more information, see admincomputing.ucdavis.edu or contact Dave Shelby at drshelby@ucdavis.edu.
Ctrax music service cancelled in February
The company that owns Ctrax, a music download service for college students, has ended the service because of “moderate interest” from students and changing company priorities. About 1,300 students used Ctrax at UC Davis. Last fall, the university signed a one-year agreement with Cdigix to give UC Davis students free access to music through Ctrax. Student Housing, with assistance from Information and Educational Technology, had offered the service to encourage students to buy and obtain copyrighted music legally, not through illegal file-sharing. But Cdigix ended the Ctrax free-subscription digital music service at the end of February. Ctrax users who bought permanent downloads can keep using them. Student access to songs that were downloaded as part of the subscription service will expire 30 days after the download date. UC Davis continues to promote legal file-sharing and respect for the creative property of media artists. For more about copyright infringement, visit getlegal.ucdavis.edu or email dmca@ucdavis.edu.
MyInfoVault improvements in progress
The Faculty Merit and Promotion Project, sponsored by Academic Personnel and with assistance from Information and Educational Technology, has been piloting an online system known as MyInfoVault (MIV) that creates faculty digital portfolios in support of academic merit and promotion actions. Phased improvements are planned for the Web-based application to improve the overall architecture and to create a more intuitive look and feel for the functionality. The first two phases are in progress. A group of MIV users has volunteered to test the changes. In March, a focus group meeting was held with users from numerous departments to get feedback about the direction of MIV and the enhanced design. The focus group provided valuable feedback on the current system and was receptive to the upcoming changes. Schools and colleges representing 123 departments and 2,800 accounts are currently participating in the pilot. A project report is expected in May and will be posted on the Web site and discussed with various campus groups. For more, see myinfovault.ucdavis.edu.
New Web-based system replaces paper forms for effort reporting
The Office of Administration released a new Effort Reporting System (ERS) for campuswide use in March 2007. Effort reporting is the method of certifying to granting agencies (such as the federal government) that the effort required as a condition of a grant award has actually been completed. The new Web-based system replaces the paper Personnel Activity Report (PAR) forms used to certify effort on federally sponsored research projects. The new system is expected to save time and money. The effort certification process for the July through December 2006 period is well underway with the goal of completing 100 percent of the certifications by mid-May. To date, 10 percent of the 6,300 reports requiring certification have been completed. The next effort reporting period will be January through September 2007, with effort reports available for certification in mid-November. Learn more at accounting.ucdavis.edu/projects/ERS/.
UC Davis, other UCs, active in development of new financial accounting system
UC Davis, UC Irvine, and UC Santa Barbara are active participants in the development of Kuali Financial System (KFS), along with Indiana University, University of Arizona, Cornell University, and others. KFS is a modular financial accounting system that is being developed using the community source development model, meaning it is being built by and for higher education. The primary development of KFS will be completed with the scheduled release of Phase IIb in July 2008. The project is sponsored by the Office of Administration. A University of California KFS Oversight Board has been formed to govern the UC Kuali effort, with participants from UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Office of the President. The UC Davis members are Peter Siegel, Vice Provost Information and Educational Technology; Mike Allred, Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance/Controller; and Katy Wesnousky, Controller UC Davis Medical Center. Technical staff from the three UC campuses are exploring architecture and implementation options that will inform decision-making as KFS Phase IIb approaches release and UC implementation efforts begin in earnest. Learn more at accounting.ucdavis.edu/projects/UCDKuali/.
New Web-based system for processing travel expenses gaining momentum
MyTravel, a new, Web-based system for reporting travel and entertainment expenses, is gaining ground at UC Davis. The project is sponsored by the Office of Administration. MyTravel streamlines the entire reimbursement process from capturing receipts electronically to electronically routing the report through the approval process. The pilot for MyTravel continues to generate many helpful enhancements and suggestions. About 60 departments are using MyTravel on campus and at UC Davis Health System. The rollout will continue throughout 2007 and into 2008. Over 5,000 expense reports have been processed to date via MyTravel. Learn more at travel.ucdavis.edu/mytravel/.
Electronic Research Administration proposal pauses for more evaluation
The implementation of the Proposal Development phase of the Electronic Research Administration (eRA) system, which will support system-to-system submissions of federal grants, has been put on hold for a year. The eRA project is sponsored by the Office of Administration. Continuous changes with grants.gov, and delays in creating a system-to-system process for all federal granting agencies continue to escalate costs for deployment. Additionally, approximately 60 percent of campus research proposals are non-federal and will require duplicate data entry in order to capture relevant data within the system. At the end of the year, the campus will reevaluate whether or not it should proceed with the Proposal Development module. It is conceivable that other alternatives such as Kuali may be further along in development at that time and may serve as a more viable option going forward. In the meantime, work continues to proceed in developing a decision support reporting tool to enhance the currently installed system. The project is sponsored by the Office of Research. For more information, see: research.ucdavis.edu/home.cfm?id=ovc,3,1156 or contact the eRA coordinator at klguentert@ucdavis.edu or (530) 757-8315.