Student Government Association - UCA

2011 - 2012 Technology Committee

Technology Committee Report 4/9

April 9, 2012 by Michael Murphy

Only two things on the agenda today:

Physical Plant responded with their available times to finalize the details of the Charging Station Project. I have to confirm a time with Hank Phelps, but we should be meeting this week. I will present the final design of the station, as well more information about the policies to SGA hopefully next week, possibly the following week.

I am awaiting word from the administration about the OrgSync Resolution. Before the semester ends, I believe we should have a meeting with members of the administration and student life to discuss funding of the program and its implementation.


Technology Committee Report: 11/14 – 11/20

November 21, 2011 by Michael Murphy

This week the Technology Committee focused on our charging station goal. Research was gathered about several options, as well as information on how airports implement them.

One option is domestically made in Boston, with each unit costing about 6500 dollars. These units are capable of charging up to 12 mobile devices at once, can be configured to display information on a digital banner, and can be coin, bill, or card operated.

Another option is made in China, costs about 2500 per unit, and can also accommodate up to 12 mobile devices at a time. This option had fewer perks, but comes at a much lower cost.

Information was gathered from the Little Rock airport about the charging stations they provide in their terminal. The charging stations are provided by each individual airport, each of whom contracts the units out from respective companies. This opened up an option for the possibility for UCA to lease the stations, but the costs and other factors are still unknown.

Now that the committe has conducted a strong base of research over the goal, we will be scheduling a meeting with Hank Phelps for the week following the Thanksgiving Break. This meeting will be to discuss the options to find which one will fit best in the Student Center and its budget. The SGA may be required to partially or even fully fund this project, depending on the Student Center’s available funds.


Technology Committee Report for: 11/7 – 11/13

November 14, 2011 by Michael Murphy

This past week, senators on the Technology Improvement Committee were requested to research charging stations, but no research has been turned in at this time.

A meeting was held with Rick McCollum of Housing to discuss internet policy. Michael Murphy asked about the policy of restricting wireless routers. It was answered that wireless routers affected other wireless services, causing them to not function correctly. A question about offering a wider variety of internet services was asked. Mr. McCollum stated that his department would be open to looking into offering a tiered internet service at increasing cost, but was unsure of how feasibly it could be implemented. He requested that someone research internet policies and provisions at other universities. It was stated that all money for internet service comes from the general housing fee budget. The remainder of the meeting was spent talking about communication in respect to the power outage on Wed, 11/9. There was a disconnect in communication between the top levels of the campus and the RA’s and RC’s, only to be further complicated by social media chatter. It was stated that the university is now revising its chain of communication to prevent similar future issues.

A meeting was also held with Dr. John Glen, CIO. The meeting was to discuss the internet outages following the power outage on 11/9. The problem for the power outage was a failure due to an accident at a Conway Corp power substation. This outage displaced two of the three section electricity grid, which wreaked havoc on the Universities’ Data Center. There was one fire reported due to the power outages, but it caused minimal to no damage. The Automatic Transfer switch in the Data Center was damaged due to the partial power outage. This damage manifested itself the following day when a short was created in the system, shutting down power in Burdick Hall. The transfer switch has been replaced, but there may be further unseen damages. The conversation moved to discussing email systems, and the fact that UCA’s email is tied to campus, a potentially problematic setup in disaster situations. The primary reason for using on-campus email is legal issues, because opening up our email to a 3rd party may open up sensitive information as well. The last talking point was campus communication. It was said that Terry Brewer informed John Glen of the outages after he received an automated text from the Data Center. Some IT workers worked through most of the night to minimize damages and bring the systems back up. It was also stated that Jeff Pitchford and Anita Jenkins are working on reworking campus communication protocol.

This week, senators will continue to research charging stations, hopefully a motion will be ready by next week, but movement on this goal has been slow. We will reevaluate the goal to pin down why it has not been worked on.


Technology Committee Report for: 10/24 – 10/30

October 31, 2011 by Michael Murphy

No meeting was held this week due to time constraints.

A meeting was held between the TI committee and the University Web Development Department. The first item discussed was the UCA App. Web Development shared the history of the App and that it is currently considered to be a finished product. The Technology Committee expressed our interest in seeing the App updated and expanded, primarily through integrating mobile capable blackboard, university email, and possibly a social networking aspect. After discussing the App, the conversation diverted to Legislative Relations discussions with Jeff Pitchford, one of the members in attendance on behalf of WebDev.

It was discussed that the TI committee should approach the Computer Science Department to find students and faculty interested in expanding the UCA App. There is currently a class that focuses on Mobile iOS App development, there could be promising interest there.

Research on charging stations is still underway, a report and motion should be ready within a few weeks.


Technology Committee Report for: 10/17 – 10/23

October 24, 2011 by Michael Murphy

This week, a meeting was held between the Technology Committee and the University IT Department. Senators Michael Murphy, Paige Turner, and Sho Uemura were in attendance. IT representation consisted of Dr. Jonathan Glen, Mr. Terry Brewer, and Brent Herring. The purpose of the meeting was to present the map that the committee created for wi-fi expansion on campus.

The first issue discussed was the large downtime students on campus experienced the weekend of 10/14 – 10/16. The cause of the slow usage and down time was an outside DDoS attack on the university servers. A source, or even a clear explanation of what kind of attack was not able to be provided.

The second issue of discussion was wi-fi and its placement. It was explained that wi-fi is currently being updated across campus and has been in the process for the past year. Currently about half of the access points on campus have been successfully updated. I will present a list of these places in our meeting.

The third issue of discussion was about student complaints and contacting IT. It was requested that the SGA attempt and educate students on the necessity of informing IT with their problems. IT has a help desk which answers phone calls up through 8 p.m. on week nights. The contact number is (501) 450-3107. Students who call with complaints should provide the time at which the problem occured, as well as a detailed description of the problem. Without information about when and what is happening, IT cannot take measures to improve anything.

The third issue discussed was an open ended question from the Technology Committee. It was asked what would the IT department do if it were granted a larger funding source. The first step was without question increase staff. The department is currently bottlenecked greatly due to available staff. Many of the problems students experience, as well as infrastructure issues could be better managed if the department had more staff resources. The second step would be to improve dynamic access point appliances, which would increase the quality and speed of wi-fi on campus. The third step would be to increase server storage space as well as backup space. The final possible step would be to increase the number of outside access points.

Dr. Glen and Mr. Brewer were invited to join our 10/24 Senate meeting, and said they would be able to attend.


Technology Improvement Committee Report: 10/10 – 10/16

October 17, 2011 by Michael Murphy

Meeting for this week: SGA Office, Monday 10/10 at 6:30

All were present for the meeting

For this short week, the TI committee has only one main goal. We have a meeting scheduled with the IT department for Tuesday 10/18 in Wingo Hall 211 at 1:30. Dr. Jonathan Glen, Terry Brewer, and other IT staff who work exclusively with campus wi-fi will be attending. The committee has filled in a map with areas of greatest concern for expanding wi-fi and will also discuss the IT department’s plans for expanding services to these areas.

Over the weekend, many complaints about campus internet downtime were expressed through facebook. The TI committee will be compiling these complaints with prior approval by the students who issued them. We will present these complaints to the IT department during our meeting on Tuesday. If any other senators have heard similar complaints, or have some of their own, please share them with someone on the TI committee so they can be acted upon.

Brent Passmore and other personnel of the University Web Development Department have not yet responded to our request for a meeting, outside of asking us to create an agenda for said meeting. We will continue our attempts to make face to face contact with this department throughout this short week and on into next week.

Near future goals: Arrange a second meeting with Hank Phelps, as well as research charging stations for the Student Center. Create an agenda for the future meeting with Web Development. Continue to collect complaints, comments, and concerns from students regarding wi-fi and wired internet access and quality on campus.


Technology Improvement Committee Report for: 9/26-8/2

October 3, 2011 by Michael Murphy

Due to time constraints, the Technology Improvement Committee did not convene for our weekly meeting.

This week, the Technology Improvement Committee held a meeting with Dr. Jonathan Glen, Chief Information Officer, and Terry Brewer, Director of IT. The meeting was held in Burdick Hall, room 220, at 1:30 p.m. Friday afternoon. The meeting’s purpose was to familiarize the committee with the faces of the university’s IT department.

The meeting began with introductions, the only senators in attendance were Michael Murphy and Michael Bailey.

The first Item of business discussed was campus wi-fi. The IT department stated that they have been able to expand wi-fi in the past, but did not receive the needed input from students to implement it. Currently, wi-fi expansions are being implemented across campus and improvement should be seen by students in the coming weeks. It was requested that the SGA map out locations where wi-fi needs to be expanded and IT will begin the process. It was pointed out that wi-fi was recently extended to Stadium Park apartments and that expanding it to Farris and New Halls would be possible, although hardline internet connections would have to be sacrificed in order to do so. Funding for wi-fi expansions comes on an as-needed basis and must be requested by the department. The condition of internet access in the library was also addressed. The IT department was unaware of the poor accessibility and speed of the library’s wi-fi. Mr. Brewer said he would investigate the matter, although an upgrade for the building’s systems is already in the works. Dr. Glen suggested that the library fee be tapped to fix this problem in a more timely and effective manner.

The second item of business discussed was MyUCA and the internet portal. The excessive down-time experienced at the beginning of this semester was attributed to a fluke in the system that has since been repaired. The portal system is purchased as a software package with several different features included to cover the needs of our diverse campus. Dr. Glen shared his hopes for future additions to the portal, including switching all of the University’s Web Development department to Group Wise and adding smart phone integration for the entire system.

The third item of business discussed was the current state of the IT department, as well as their goals for the future. Dr. Glen shared that the most important goals for the IT department for the time being is to keep the servers running and to maintain business continuity by focusing on disaster recovery. These goals are being met by implementing new technologies to cool the data center in Burdick Hall, as well as implementing new fire suppression systems for the building. Long term disaster recovery may be addressed by moving the entire data center to a secure off-site location. This would require a new fiber optic connection between the new location and campus. This is an expensive option, but it is not without its own advantages. Another goal of the IT department is to implement a new software feature for advising, called DegreeWorks. This software would allow students, faculty, and staff, to perform degree audits as well as schedule planning beyond the upcoming semester. The only current drawback to this plan is a lack of funding. Other software expansions were proposed, such as software called Web Trekker, which would allow prospective students to build a schedule so they can better estimate the University’s capacity to meet their personal academic needs. The final goal of IT discussed was to outsource blackboard services to the company’s regional hosting sites. This is an expensive transition, however, it would greatly cut down on future costs. This goal will be addressed closer to the upcoming University Strategic Budgeting Meeting. The IT department is also working to reestablish the University Computer and Information Technology Committee so that long term goals and direction can be set by a collective deciding body.

The IT department also expressed interest in joining the SGA regularly at senate meetings, possibly attending monthly.

Goals for the Technology Improvement Committee for the upcoming week is to poll students as to where wi-fi should be expanded to, mapping out those locations, and meeting with IT again to share our findings. The UCA App goal will also be worked on this week, with a possible meeting between the committee and the faculty involved in Web Development.


Technology Improvement Committee Report: 9/19 – 9/25

September 26, 2011 by Michael Murphy

Meeting Location: SGA Office, Monday 9/19

Members Present: Michael Murphy, Paige Turner, Michael Bailey, Sho Uemura, Katy Stracener

A meeting has been planned between Dr. Jonathan Glen, his staff, and the Technology Improvement Committee. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for Friday, 9/30 but a time has not yet been set. In the meeting, senators will have prepared questions for the IT staff and will also receive a brief tour of the campus IT department.

Information was gathered by senator Bailey regarding the UCA App goal. He made contact with the faculty in charge of the program, as well as learned about their $5000 a year budget. The senator reported that the ideas on behalf of the SGA were well received.

DID YOU KNOW?

UCA’s average ACT Composite Scores for first-time entering undergraduates is above the Arkansas and National average and has been since 2002. In Fall 2012: Arkansas, 20.3; National, 21.1; and UCA, 23.2.

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