Upgrade to speed up Web access

Network resources including e-mail, myNorthridge Portal, SOLAR and WebCT wasn’t accessible one minute after midnight until 8 a.m. on Sunday, as Information Technology were upgrading essential hardware.

Wireless access points were being replaced throughout the campus, and buildings with weak wireless connections might consequently have improved Internet access.

CSUN is part of a first phase of campus network upgrades, which were tested on other campuses.

Academic Technology Committee Chair and Vice President for IT Hilary Baker said additional access points could be added to expand and strengthen the entire campus’ wireless network.

Announcement of the upgrade was made at a meeting of the ATC on Oct. 5 in University Hall, Room 211.

John Noga, a guest speaker and assistant computer science professor, spoke about Moodle, a potential replacement for WebCT, which is used for interactive components of traditional classrooms.

“WebCT is getting exponentially expensive,” said Noga, adding that they’re looking at alternative systems, but aren’t at the point of selecting or implementing any of them.

Other California State University campuses are also looking for more robust, cost-effective systems.

Most San Francisco State University community members use Moodle and more than 28,000 people use the system at Humboldt State University.

UCLA announced last December that Moodle would be adopted as the campus’ institution-wide learning and collaborative learning system, its Office of Information Technology reports.

WebCT’s performance meanwhile has been improved to accommodate the increased number of students and professors using the system.

David Levin, director of academic technology, said the last server wasn’t properly sized, which resulted in upgrade issues.

Changed as well was the Internet Protocol address, though not all computers routed to the new address. Some classes, users and third-party software weren’t completely migrated, but those issues have since been resolved.

Difficulties still occur when students discover they’ve been timed out of WebCT after submitting quizzes.

Levin said these difficulties are being examined and will hopefully be resolved soon.

Among the many announcements made at the meeting was that campus president Jolene Koester approved the creation of five information technology-oriented committees, which will work with existing committees to make decisions about technology used on campus.

A Sept. 2006 memorandum indicates these new committees are the Executive Technology Steering Committee (ETSC), the Technology Infrastructure and Services Committee (TISC), the Advisory Committee on Academic Technology (ACAT) and the Institutional Management Technology Planning Committee (IMTPC). It was announced at a meeting of the Academic Technology Committee (ACT) on Oct. 5.

ETSC will “set overall strategic direction,” TISC will “provide guidance on networks and other backbone infrastructure,” ACAT will “advise on management of University-wide technology support of instructional and scholarly activities from the perspective of a college or division” and IMTPC will “advise on technology support for all administrative and institutional management processes,” the memorandum indicates.

Committees that’ll continue to function are the Academic Technology Committee (ATC), the Web Communications Management Committee (WCMC), the Technical Support Advisory Group and the CMS Management Committee.

IMTPC and CMS Management committees will be merged into a group called the SOLAR and Administrative Systems Committee because “the role of the IMTP committee duplicated many responsibilities held by the CMS Management Committee,” the memorandum shows. Oversight of the TISC, ACAT, the Solar Administrative Systems Committee and the WCMC will be provided by the ETSC, the memorandum indicates. ETSC will also responsible for approving information technology policies, resolving competing technology priorities and deciding which projects would receive funding.

Committee members on the ATC represent different colleges, the Faculty Senate, the Oviatt Library and the IT Department.

On the meeting’s docket was another announcement that two positions are still available for students interested in joining the ATC and the ACAT.

Baker said A.S. was asked during the summer to provide a student representative during the summer.

A.S. has yet to appoint someone to the two positions.

Also announced at the meeting was that faculty members haven’t used the discount offered to them and campus staff members for software at the Matador Bookstore. A variant of the latest Microsoft Office suite are available to them for $12.

Faculty and staff members interested in obtaining copies of academic-licensed software can go to the bookstore’s faculty-only register.

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