Council on Academic Computing
HIGH PERFORMANCE NETWORK ATTACHMENT INITIATIVE
Dr. S. K. Chang presented the results of his Internet 2 project, entitled “The Growing Book”. The project is an internet-based text on data structure algorithms. It is composed of chapters written by a geographically dispersed set of authors, each of whom can edit his or her chapter independently of the other authors. The book is dynamic in nature, i.e., individuals can draw data from various parts of the text to customize courses and presentations according to their interests. Future iterations of the project will add multi-lingual capabilities, multi-media graphics, and individualized tools to the current, English-based text.
REPORT FROM COMPUTING SERVICES AND SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT
Jinx Walton reported on the student portal (my.pitt.edu/portal).Each student’s page is composed of four sections: my pages, communities, webmail, and student services. The portal was designed in conjunction with a variety of student focus groups. It offers quick access to the University services that are of greatest interest to students, e.g., information from the Registrar’s Office and the Financial Aid Office; the internet sites that students most frequently use; and a web-based e-mail system that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Faculty and staff portals will be designed with input from relevant groups. The faculty portal might include access to course and grade information and departmental and school links; the staff portal might include access to payroll and retirement information.
Most members of the subcommittee had not viewed the student portal, so the initial meeting was primarily informational. Concerns were expressed regarding the role of this subcommittee as the faculty portal is developed. The Office of Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) will create faculty focus groups to guide development of the faculty portal. The subcommittee may both function as one of these focus groups and interface between the Council and CSSD as the portal is developed.
Future of Academic Computing
Members of the subcommittee decided to focus upon a two-year time frame. They examined two deficiencies. First, computer maintenance is organized primarily at the departmental level, which hampers efforts to coordinate and train system administrators across the University. Second, computing is moving towards a network-based system, where shared access to software and information could benefit users, no matter their location. Finally, computer systems should incorporate proactive diagnostic tools into their design so that they can either fix emerging problems or signal system administrators.
survey of the regional campuses indicates that Blackboard is used at all
campuses. However, use of the software is hampered by lack of training. Staff
High Performance Computing Initiative
The subcommittee did not meet.