July 2000


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Geoffrey Duke <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Departmental Technology Coordinators <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 11 Jul 2000 09:21:10 -0400

Apologies about the lag in posting these notes. Many thanks to Michael
Snyder for catching so much of the discussion. Folks who were there,
please comment, correct, append. Folks who didn't attend, please join the
discussion. I'll try to get these documents up on the IT Network web site

The major points:

- The IT Network Standards Task Force, with the recommendation of
  Rebecca Martin, is now the IT standards group at UVM.

- Our next meeting is Monday, July 17, from 10:00 am to 12 Noon
  at the Center for Teaching and Learning in Bailey/Howe.

  At this meeting we will look at what a process for determining
  standards might involve. We'll use some concrete examples as
  we work through it.

Hope to see you there.


Notes from the IT Network - Standards Group Meeting
June 27, 2000

Purpose of the meeting:
to introduce the IT Network Standards Task Force and the Standards Group
to each other.  There has been a suggestion that we merge the Standards
Group and the IT Network.

People present:
Dean Williams, Michael Moody, Michael Snyder, Alison Pechenick,
Gregory MacKinnon, Lynne Meeks, Andy Gingras, Joyce Morris,
Holly Buckland, Geoffrey Duke, Philip Plourde, Jessica Dion,
Lynne Cummings, Rebecca Martin

Rebecca Martin gave a history of the IT task force originally set up by
Ray Lavigne to recommend standards to the Strategic Plan Task Force.
There was a report last January,
<>. Recommendations were
offered, particularly for desktop computing, user based, not IT based.
... as a way to lure people to the standards.

There is a perception that CIT standards are set based on CIT's needs,
not the needs of the people on campus who use the technology.

Joyce: It is important for us to talk to each other and the standards
movement had to do with older technology that couldn't communicate with
the newer technology. For example; Word '98 could read Word '95 but Word
'95 technology couldn't read Word '98 files that might be sent as
attachments in an email document.

We (the IT task force )asked;

* What are the problems being introduced by the newer technologies? The
  technology "moved" to enable us to communicate through common platforms.

* What support among the various systems do we want to provide? #1 issue:
  What is the minimum system standards we would be able to support?

* With CAP we got rid of the older systems.
* We offered subsidies and on-going funding (re. memorandum of

The concept behind CAP was to put $75,000 aside $750 per system where 3
years out, they will be subsidized to be upgraded.

Once we arrived at the above, the Standards committee has not met. Rebecca
suggested we have this committee combine with the IT Network

user voices are important to this perspective.

Dean Williams (a member of the original standards group) We were hoping
the Standards Group would address:

* university funded licenses so that department fees would be lower
* the ability to publish standards & guidelines for document exchange
* then have the training department pick up on this and include it in

Joyce: could we have a way of collecting IT solutions that have been
created in different units so that we don't have to re-invent the wheel
for each situation?

* back-end standards, best practices, common tools
* common internal applications

Geoff: I was hoping we could focus on describing a workable process
for thinking through issues like this - before we set up a standard.

Hopefully the process would:
* help us to see what is going on
* help us monitor the process
* take into account all the needs that exist.
  o Just because you don't support it anymore, does that mean I have to
    stop using it?
  o Who will pay for it? (the upgrade - time spent learning, training,
* help us to determine what a standard looks like?
* how can people participate in the process of defining the standards?
* transfer appropriate data from one role to another
* give us common tools to exchange information

See handout (attached): A workable process for IT Standards
See handout (attached): Goals for Standards

Make this part of the discussion:
* information systems used across campus
* scripting routines for data collecting
* back-end standards; coding, scripting standards, statistics gathering
* training, communications to tell the community what is available
* focused data gathering

Issues of communication
* identification of new needs (suggest using the balanced score card)
* invite conversation before redundant implementations set in
* here's something happining in business; should we make it available to
* Groupware for virtual conferencing
* What is already available on campus?

Elements of the process:
* Software scheduling package re. scheduling facilities for classes
* React to proposals coming forward which impact a large group
* user participation
* a well known way of communicating
* what we are finding out
* how do we weigh the comments
* how do we know when the discussion is over?
* Email mailing lists - for departments, dept. heads, etc.
* How do we communicate to involve the most people
* Reach the groups we need to reach?
* Have an idea that somebody is representing their thoughts on issues
* Each defined area ought to have its own support person-advocate
* Provide a service instead of a set of rules
* The standards ought to be not so much about tools but about good business practices that transcends the tools.

What are the horizons? What is coming over the horizon that we could be
ready for?

* i.e., UVM provides you with your computer. Something goes wrong, UVM
  replaces it, software provided by uvm along with productivity
* Would be helpful to note the cross-platform systems coming over the

Siren Song: we'll be able to do anything from one application. The problem
is that we all are invested in a particular product.

Looking for the common threads:  changes were made because staying where
we were was going to get more and more painful.

We need to look at some of the things we did to see what things went well
and what went poorly.  You're being inconvenienced by new software but we
wouldn't do it unless we had to.

We have holes in our support structure though out campus.  Look at each
small focused block (department, office) - better to have a local advocate
than involve CIT in minor issues.

There are some very common business practices, processes that we can lay
out and make tools available for the job.  A lot of recurring decisions we
have to make to come up with a process - we need a way to do this.

Next Steps:
Meet in 2 weeks to discuss a process.
July 17th at 10AM at the Center for Teaching & Learning.
This time date and place will be confirmed. (Has been confirmed --Geoff)

* A mechanism for identifying the needs of the community
* looking at process
* A clearing house for communicating what's going on

Using the question of email software support to identify and explore what
the standards process might look like.

Look at the use of the telephone and calendar to determine what some of
the implementation and use problems there are.

There should be 2 experts in each department.
Communicate to every department so they feel represented.
Make a directory
What should the process look like?
What is the end point?
What is the criteria for success?
React to proposed purchases?

Examples for discussion From: Geoffrey Duke <[log in to unmask]> Date: Tue Jun 27 2000 -------------------------------------------------------------------- Here are some recent changes in our (CIT's) supported software. What the way the change happened was successful? What was problematic? What kind of clearly defined process would address the problems and still provide a workable mechanism for including input from the appropriate groups? Note: Discussion should focus on the quality of the process, not the particular decision. o WordPerfect support discontinued o UVM Calendar software [Netscape Calendar, CorporateTime] Licensed less than three years ago, vendor discontinues support. o FTP Voyager, Licensed one year ago, vendor changed (FTPV), important feature added (fixed). o CRT (Telnet) DOS Telnet, TrumpTel, UWTerm, EWAN, QVT/Term, ... (Am I missing any?) o Changes to Banner? o Changes to WebCT? o Desktop Operating Systems (not exhaustive) + Window 3.1(1) + Windows 95 (a,b, OSR2) + Windows NT 4 workstation + Windows 98 + Windows 98 SE + Windows 2000 Professional + Mac OS 7 (0,1,5,6) + Mac OS 8 (0,1,5) + Mac OS 9 + Mac OS X What comes installed --and licensed-- on the machine you buy?
Proposal: A workable process for IT standards From: Geoffrey Duke <[log in to unmask]> Date: Tue Jun 27 2000 -------------------------------------------------------------------- Goals for standards: - Make it easier for employees and students to transfer skills from system to system - Make it easier for people to exchange information electronically - Save money through quantity license purchases - Make consistent support and training more possible Pieces: Software that is recommended will be supported for at least three (3) years from the date of its addition to the list. + Does this timeframe make sense? + Minor upgrades (non-significant UI/functionality)? Software that is phased out will be supported for one (1) year from the date of the announcement of its phasing-out. A body exists that will have the responsibility and authority to make decisions for the institution about the standard supported software. + includes input from staff, faculty, students + has authority (budget?) to purchase volume licenses to achieve economies of scale A process exists for managing change requests and changes in market conditions (Old products go under, bought out, etc.) + Current standards don't meet my (my units) needs
IT Network and Standards Group meeting 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm Kalkin 225 Conf Room Proposed Agenda Meeting Goals: --------------------------------------------------------------- - To introduce the IT Network Standards Task Force and the Standards Group to each other + discuss missions and goals + identify areas of common interest - Discuss potential of merging the Standards Group with the IT Network Standards Task Force + suggested by members of both bodies + membership in both bodies overlaps + participation of faculty and students essential - Moving forward + What work has been done by the Standards Group that we can carry forward? + Proposal: focus on describing a workable process before looking at any specific products [GCD] + Where do we go from here? ? discuss some history of IT Standards work at UVM ? identify how are standards currently established Definitions: --------------------------------------------------------------- - Standards Group Group convened by VPLIT to work on campus-wide IT standards. Moved the CAP Program forward to implementation. - IT Network <> The mission of the IT Network Group is to provide a cross-unit, campus-wide vehicle for strategic IT decision-making and implementation support, as well as cross-campus collaboration on IT projects and objectives. - IT Network Standards Task Force <> Establish campus-wide standards for software, hardware and support services. Existing Standards committee may become a sub-committee of the IT Network.