July 2000


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Geoffrey Duke <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Departmental Technology Coordinators <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 18 Jul 2000 15:41:24 -0400

We met with the idea that we might describe in some concrete ways
what a standards-forming process looks like. Instead, we spent more time
discussing "what a standard is?" and  "why do we need standards?"

We did discuss some of the parts of a standards process that we will build
on at our next meeting. That meeting will be on

    Monday, August 7, 2000
    10:00 am to 12:00 noon
    Center for Teaching and Learning (tentatively)
    [ anyone else really want to host the meeting? ]

The notes from the two meetings we've had so far highlight a rather
stream-of-consciousness style of discussion. During the time before the
next meeting, I hope we can use this online forum to pull together some of
the important concepts and ideas from the stream. Can we flesh out the
elements of the standards process?

Spurred by a colleagues comment, I found a document that describes the
standards making process of the IETF. I haven't read through the whole
thing, but there is a lot in it that we may be able to apply to our
situation: <>

I've attached the results from the activity (see below).


IT Network Standards Task Force
July 17, 2000 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Center for Teaching and Learning, Bailey/Howe

Attendees: Michael Snyder, Alison Pechenick, Greg MacKinnon,
Michael Moody, Jessica Dion, Bess Oland, Lynn Cummings


1 - Activity to get ideas going
2 - Discussion
    "What is a standard?"
    What kind of process can we envision for creating a standard


Activity -

We took a couple minutes to answer individually the following questions:

"What IT 'things' have you used so far today?"
"What IT 'things' are a part of your toolbox, that you need to
accomplish your work?"
"What IT 'things' do you neighbor--members of your workgroup or
department--include in their toolbox?"

A compiled--and anonymous--list of answers is attached.

What email applications did we use?
Pine, Outlook, Outlook Express, Netscape Messenger, NS Messenger in
IMAP mode.

What does this mean for trying to establish a standard?

What is a standard? What are the criteria that we need to use in
establishing a standard?

Playing Devil's advocats:

Why do we need a standard? If it's so
troublesome to create and enforce a standard, why bother? Why not
support a 'generic' understanding of all email clients--common
configuration options, common activities?

What can you reasonably expect the support sources to support?

CIT making decisions for CIT and not the University's needs.

If we were not to have standards, what would people expect?

If you do not set standards, people say "you mean you can't help me
with this?"

IMAP, RTF data/protocol recommendations instead of application stds?

It's not so much what you're using but it's what you're trying to do.

Why do we have standards?
 o we're forced into it
 o rebuilding a system/image
 o transfer of skills from one position to another across offices
 o training - provide a common level of skills
 * the speed with which we can resolve problems and prevent loss
   of productivity
 o interchangeable parts/systems

There are people with very specific needs. Why not have the 'factions'
support their specific products?

Broad goal - make people self-sufficient.

Self-help model: standards provide a way to limit what people have to

Get prepared ahead of time for what you need.
 - rudimentary questions
 - advanced tasks

With a finite support resource, you can spread it thin, or narrow and
deep. You can't successfully do both.

Checklist of things that should be done as a part of hiring a
knowledge worker.

 o update your skills
 o more on-going training
 o clusters of support

Model - Oregon University: give release time for support service to
colleagues. Grad. Student stipen for working as a tech mentor.

anecdotal experience that coming on board as a new employee is often a
long, problematic process.

Getting up to speed
 o mentoring program
 o longer splashdown for new employees
 o get people to think of themselves as information managers -- not
   people who use word, excel,...
 o need to be able to port information -- what you are using today
   will not be what you are using in three years

I feel crippled with my old technology.

Jessica's Process list:

 o develop criteria for judging applications
 o specify a timeframe for the process of creating a standard
 o what is a standards
 o people who need high-end products might supply their own support

 o need a central place to publish info about this process
   - the criteria
   - where we can invite feedback on a particular product/process

Decision-making should be determined: what is a quorum? the stds
committee? Do we need to have representation from constituent groups?

Making something public: how much effort needs to go into
communication? At what point is it a manager's responsibility to stay
informed? A user's?

 o How about an annual announcement--beginning of Fall semester?
 o Checklist for new employees (again)

Publicize our criteria so people could say what specific needs they
might have that our criteria may not address.

Managing the matrix of products + criteria

[ see for the matrix
  used in the original selection of a calendaring solution]

forming the matrix - people need to be able to contribute to the

WebCT and Go Live! Who, How, When, Where? were the decisions made?

We want the process, the Task Force's efforts, to be completely
transparent so that it doesn't become another bureaucracy that
obscures responsibility and accountability.

UVM Citizens Bill of Rights:
 o email account
 o publish own web site
 o file/print services
 o support
 o centrally provided network services
 o training / professional dev't opportunities

Incentives for keeping skills up-to-date?

Who we are
What a standard is
What does it mean to come up with a standard?

Campus-wide licensing for common "standard" software

Next meeting

August 7, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, tentatively in the CTL

Activities: "What have you used so far this morning?" Dell GX1 (3) Dell Optiplex Apple Powerbook G3 Dell GXa Apple Mac Dell Laptop Palm IIIx Palm IIIc HP LaserJet 5n/m HP 1170c Windows 2000 Pro Windows NT 4.0 Windows 98 SE (2) Windows 98 Mac OS 9 Palm OS 3 RedHat Linux 6.2 Mandrake 7.1 Zoo Calendar (2) SageUnix Voyager (Library, not FTP) CD Server phone system (2) Pine Netscape 4.5 Netscape (2) Netscape mail Netscape mail via imap (2) Internet Explorer 5.01 Internet Explorer 5.5 Internet Explorer 5.0 Lynx Netscape Calendar (3) Novell rconsole WinAMP Word 97 Outlook 98 Outlook Express Access 97 Seagate Backup Exec. NT scheduled tasks "what would you consider part of your toolbox?" (Don't need to repeat items from above) Dell GX1 IBM 300GL HP Laserjet 2100m hardware: servers, cd media, [cd]rom burners CD writer Novell client software (2) MS Windows platforms Novell nwadmin Novell NDS Manager Windows NT management tools Perl Ghost Claris works Microsoft Office (word, ppt on both Mac and Win platforms) Office 2000 (word, powerpoint, excel, access) Excel 97 VIM editpad Frontpage 2000 dreamweaver ultradev coursebuilder filemaker pro mysql Lotus Approach photoshop (2) Paint Shop Pro (2) netscape calendar Telnet - CRT (2) FTP - FTP Voyager (2) Outlook Express 5 explorer voyager stuffit "a lot of old programs" Control It online resources: Netware connection, MS knowledgebase, zipfiles Technet & other resources on the web Diagnostic & support tools for PCs. CD Player