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Information Technology
Information Technology Advisory Committee

September 8, 2000


David Burstein, Chair, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
David Altheide, College of Public Programs
John Babb, Information Technology, IRIS
Kent Blaylock, Graduate College
Brian Bradley, Institutional Advancement (for John O'Connell)
Roger Carter, Chair, CAC, College of Extended Education
Darel Eschbach, Information Technology, Telecommunication Services
James Finger, College of Business
Michael Goodbar, College of Fine Arts
Nancy Gutierrez, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Ben Huey, College of Engineering & Applied Sciences
Darrel Huish, Information Technology, Applications and Consulting Information (ACIT)
William Lewis, Information Technology
David McLaughlin, College of Education
Russell Mohn, Office of Vice President Research
Elaine Moore, Human Resources (for Susan Madden)
Bob Nelson, Information Technology, Computing Technology Centers
Filiz Ozel, College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Andy Philippakis, College of Business, Chair, ACAC
Becky Reiss, Information Technology, Recorder
Jeremy Rowe, Information Technology, Special Projects
Rhonda Sandler, College of Law
Mike Schaefer, VP Student Affairs Office
Gary Smith, College of Nursing, Chair, AdCC
Greg Vils, The Barrett Honors College

David Burstein, chair, opened the meeting. He advocated for more sharing of complaints, problems and positive comments among instructors, administration and IT, especially since there are more learning-related issues coming from the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR).


Communications Advisory Committee (CAC) - Roger Carter, chair, reported that computer security, and particularly network scanning, is the main issue that CAC has been discussing. He distributed a handout entitled “Communications Advisory Committee – Presentation on “Network Scanning” to ITAC”.

CAC and UNCEL (University Network Connected Equipment Liaisons) have been working on the problem of ASU’s vulnerability to attack and to legal vulnerabilities. The issue came to a head when John Babb and Darel Eschbach attended a recent seminar and learned that some insurance companies and e-businesses are concerned that universities are “serious offenders of security neglect and are becoming potential targets for lawsuits”.

Network scanning is a process to look at all ASU network-attached computers in a non-intrusive way to find the most common security weaknesses. It is not surveillance or a way to look at data or information on the computer. The purpose is preventive maintenance -- to prevent hosts from being used nefariously. However, it is not absolute security.

ASU has been doing scanning internally, but it has been labor intensive. UNCEL has also been collecting cost figures that have resulted from outages on campus. CAC has discussed and documented an approach to the issue with due diligence to protect ASU from 10 vulnerabilities mentioned in article entitled “Identifying the Key Weaknesses in Network Security at Colleges” published in the 7/14/00 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. ASU needs to recognize that we are becoming increasingly vulnerable and that our business services are activities that we cannot control directly. The preventive measures proposed will minimize that uncontrollability.

CAC proposes that a defined set of policies and procedures be followed. Scanning would start at a fairly high level with major emphasis on host servers as well as local workstations that are acting as servers. Everything within the definition of “due diligence” should be included.

CAC recommends that IT be charged with the responsibility to develop network scanning policies and procedures, and an operational plan. In addition, staff and budget need to be identified to provide the service to all ASU network-attached computers. UNCEL, CAC and ITAC would work together to gain University consensus.

Andy Philippakis suggested that the concept be presented as network security and that scanning is just one of several possible methods to implement. There was also a suggestion to retitle the handout “Network Security and Liability”. David Burstein suggested that the General Counsel and the Academic Senate review whatever policies and procedures ITAC endorses.

There were no objections to ITAC charging IT to work with CAC and UNCEL to proceed with the plan. The recommendation was approved by a silent majority.

Administrative Computing Committee (AdCC) – Gary Smith, chair, reported that AdCC will hold its first meeting on Monday, September 18, 2000.

Academic Computing Advisory Committee (ACAC) - Andy Philippakis, chair, reported that ACAC needs to be reconstituted. He is in the process of soliciting member appointments from each college.


>b>ASURITE Revisited – Machine requirements in the document have been updated, but the rest of document has not. IT’s IRIS department will review the entire document during this academic year. ITAC and the general public will be involved. Comments of interest or concern should be sent to John Babb, director of IRIS.

Capital Replacement aka Cost of Ownership Update - Jeremy Rowe continues to work on this document: He has been able to obtain fairly good network and personal computer cost estimates. The purpose of the document is to understand that costs go well beyond the costs of hardware and that there is also a network cost issue.

Andy Philippakis suggested that thin client prospects also be investigated. However, according to John Babb, so far the thin client looks fine for administrative use, but not for classrooms due to the high-end software. Darel Eschbach mentioned that the elaborate GUI display on the academic side is not optimized for rendering and would be problematic. He predicts that thin client will be ready sometime in the next few years.

Acceptable Use Policy – Bill Lewis reported that there were modifications to this policy after the Academic Senate reviewed it last spring. ASU East has approved it, the ASU West and Main Campus Academic Senate’s are considering it. It will likely be approved at the next Academic Senate meeting on both campuses. Meanwhile it is considered an interim policy until approved. The policy is on the web at


Portal Update – ASU has entered into a contract with Blackboard for their enterprise edition which includes course info, API interfacing and portal. IT. ASU is also participating in the Java in Administration Special Interest Group (JA-SIG).

IT intends to have a pilot ready for fall 2000 and possibly be ready for use in spring 2001. The initial version will have only minimal functionality. Provost Glick has formed a Web Advisory Group to determine what the focus should be (research is one candidate) and consider how robust the initial product needs to be to entice customers.

Several ITAC members mentioned problems they and their colleagues have experienced with Blackboard when going from version 4 to 5. Beginning with version 5 is not a problem; going from 4 to 5 is. Blackboard admitted and apologized for problems, which they claim were due to outsourcing the migration portion of the product. Roger Carter mentioned a list of 53 problems that the College of Extended Education documented when using Blackboard 5. IT has told Blackboard that we want a seamless move from version 5 to 6, but they have not agreed to that. Nevertheless, Blackboard is the best of all products available since others are only a toolset to create our own portal.

David Altheide urged that these products and upgrades be tested by those who actually use them; i.e., faculty in classrooms. IT will differentiate classroom support issues from the actual portal. The portal provides a way to have access to the integration. Blackboard is the best path to pursue for the near future and IT will continue to be involved in JA-SIG.

Some colleges have been using Mascot, but without much success since it was not related to courses, homework and testing. Faculty will not be forced to use a portal, but it will be in their best interest to allow students to get to the information. As portals mature, faculty will see the advantage and want to use them. Portal development is only the beginning; eventually there will be a MyASU environment for customers, recruiters, etc.

IT Communication Mechanisms – This topic will be presented at the next ITAC meeting on November 3.


Computer Sites – All IT-supported classrooms were upgraded during the summer. All 486s and low-end Pentiums were removed from the computing sites. All sites have moved to Windows NT. More than 300 new machines were purchased for sites and classrooms and some classroom equipment was moved into the sites.

Opening of Fall Semester – Student registration was flawless. There were minor problems with some overloaded servers due to increased activity, which affected Class Roster. The load continues to increase as students become more computer literate.

Telecommuting Initiative – There are three options for high-speed connectivity in the Valley: Cox, USWest/Qwest and Sprint Broadband. One problem with using these for telecommuting is that some ASU accounts are restricted with ASU IP addresses. Sprint has a direct connection to ASU so that any traffic sent to ASU goes through a proxy server. There are still some flaws, but they are being solved. Similar arrangements are being investigated with USWest /Qwest, and the VP Institutional Advancement Office is actively working to establish the same relationship with Cox. USWest/Qwest should have been available by the beginning of fall semester; however, there were some merger and DSL service problems. Their product managers are working on including second service for broadband and cable TV. Hopefully, direct connectivity will be available to Qwest this semester possibly for both DSL and broadband service.

Media for Instruction in Classrooms – During spring 2000, Provost Glick asked Walter Harris and Bill Lewis to chair a committee to review mediated classroom issues. Some equipment for checkout was replaced, some equipment was purchased for classrooms on a permanent basis, and two support staff were added. The committee determined that providing loaned equipment to classrooms is a problem; permanent equipment is needed and in the interim, better service is needed.

Viruses – Network Associates has been installed and there is virus software on the Post Office and Exchange servers. SMTP workstations acting as servers will experience problems. Detection software relies on knowing the virus, but it is not always possible to know about new viruses. IT is still in the process of documenting procedures.

Strategic Plan Updates – The ASU IT Strategic Plan and IT Internal Master Plan have been presented to ABOR. Both are available at

Backbone Structure Update – Darel Eschbach presented the following update.

ASU installed the initial Advanced Communication Support System (ACSS) backbone as a 19.2 kbps ASCII facility in 1986. It was converted to a 10 mbps ethernet in the 1990 /1991 timeframe, and was further upgraded (transparently to end-users) to a 100 mbps FDDI backbone during the 1996/1997 academic year. During this academic year the ACSS is being moved to the Next Generation Backbone as a Gigabit Ethernet.

The logical structure of the ASU backbone network includes a full-switched gigabit ethernet among the five central node locations: Old Main, Computing Commons, Goldwater and ECA. Fiber feeds radiate from each node to the cluster of building support from that node. These spokes are currently 100 mbps, but can be upgraded to full gigabit ethernet if required by the offered traffic load.

The typical desktop connection is a 10 mbps ethernet. Some older connections remain on shared 10 mbps hubs; however, all new/remodeled installations are connected via 10/100 mbps etherswitches which normally provide 10 mbps dedicated service. Servers and other high bandwidth usage workstations can be upgraded to 100 mbps connectivity for the cost of cable upgrades.

ASU is connected to the wide area Internet via our border router in Old Main. There are two connections to the I1, or commodity internets as it is known. These connections are to Qwest and Goodnet. Each connection can be configured to carry a varying amount of traffic. Currently they each carry around 25 mbps. In addition, the Internet 2 connection is via Qwest, the only I2 service provider. This connection is very lightly loaded, running between 7 and 12 mbps. It has the capability of over 120 mbps.

Please direct questions to Darel Eschbach ( 480-965-4650.

Telecommunication Services (TCS) funds up to the point that the gigabyte meets the risers in a building. At the point where users are connected, funding is primarily from the college or unit budget.


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Friday, November 3, 2000, 8:30-10 a.m., MU 211, Yuma.

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