IT Activity Report

November 2009–January 2010

IT Customer Survey

To improve service to the campus community, IT issues a variety of surveys asking for your feedback about the services we provide. We take your responses seriously; your input has a direct impact on our planning process. Therefore, we were pleased to see more than twice as many responses to December’s IT Customer Satisfaction Survey than we received in 2008.

94% of respondents indicated they found central IT support to be satisfactory or better.

  • One faculty member wrote, “Support of classroom technology is fantastic. Pick up a phone, a tech picks up and can help you right away.”
  • Many people praised the Help Center, both for the staff efforts and for being “a central point of contact” to connect clients with the right IT staff member for detailed or difficult problems.
  • Another respondent commented, “The most valuable asset in IT: The people that work there. I am actually involved with just about every department at IT and very much enjoy the entire crew’s professionalism, enthusiasm, and above all, humor.”
  • In fact, 98% of respondents indicated that their “overall experience with central IT staff” was positive.

In this year’s survey, we also asked respondents for suggestions for ways we could improve our service. Over 100 people took time to offer us some very useful recommendations:

  • Respondents had suggestions for improving service by
    • extending hours at our Help Center,
    • responding to certain types of questions more promptly,
    • offering more training and documentation on specific applications, and
    • seeking more ways to integrate different service offerings.
  • Faculty and staff want faster wireless access and more access points across campus.
  • Professional and salaried staff would like more training.
  • Faculty and staff would like to see more help online.

The responses also indicated that we could improve how we communicate with you. To that end, we are rebuilding the IT Web site (, exploring ways to make our activity reports more accessible, and evaluating other ways we can share information with you.

We plan to survey all faculty and staff again next December as well as to survey more specific constituent groups at other times during the year. Your input will help us provide the technology to support your success.

Google Apps update

Google Apps is now available to all students. 200 students have used the service in a pilot program that began in late November. Beginning in June 2010, all undergrads must process their email at Google Apps

Using their email addresses, students can use Google’s advanced email interface, Gmail, for their University email—and can also use the entire Google Apps for Education software suite:

  • Gmail— email, communicating with on- and off-campus correspondents;
  • Google Calendar—organizing schedules;
  • Google Docs—creating and sharing documents (e.g., formatted text, spreadsheets, presentations, forms);
  • Google Sites—creating and sharing Web pages; and
  • Google Talk—communicating with others via text, voice, and video messaging.

Faculty, graduate students, and staff are also welcome to move their email to Google Apps However, we urge faculty, staff, and researchers (including graduate students) to assess the impact of Federal privacy regulations (e.g., FERPA and HIPPA), Federal law, contractual obligations, and grant restrictions on their work before moving University-related files and data to Google Docs. If you have legal questions about moving work to Google Apps, contact Larry White, Vice President and University General Counsel (

Planned Outages

UDSIS and Financials

UDSIS and Financials will be down the weekend of Feb. 20 to apply an Oracle database patch. A further outage is expected one weekend in March to apply PeopleSoft bundle 23 and related patches, which will mainly contain regulatory fixes for financial aid. The date of this upgrade will be announced on the UDSIS CAS login screen.

Security, Privacy, and Safety

Data security project: Data conversion

The ongoing project to secure and protect sensitive data within the PeopleSoft and Web Applications databases took a significant step forward by eliminating the use of SSNs in various data tables within the Web Applications database.


Network reliability: ISP redundancy

Over the past year, IT has been working to improve the reliability of the University’s network capabilities, installing redundant climate control systems for the University Computing Center and adding multiple network paths between the main parts of the University network.

We have now signed agreements to use two Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to connect the University network to the larger Internet. Having two ISPs provides redundancy in the event of an ISP specific network issue and improves performance by doubling our capacity.

New DesignJet Z6100 large format printer now in service

A new Hewlett-Packard DesignJet large format printer was installed in the Smith Hall service area. This printer offers the latest HP Vivera pigment inks which resist fading in or near sunlight (i.e., ink life more than 1 year; more than 3 years if laminated). Printing charges for the new printer remain at $3.00 per running half foot. Smith Hall service area staff will help clients submit jobs to the new large format printer and will release their jobs after helping clients review the final PDF created before printing. Payment for interdepartmental charges can be submitted via Web Forms‚ “IT Large Format Print (Posters).” FLEX is also accepted for payment.

Teaching and Learning

Winter Faculty Institute

University of Delaware Provost Tom Apple welcomed more than 80 participants to the kick-off event of the Winter Faculty Institute on Jan. 5‚ “UD’s Path to Prominence begins with the excellence of our faculty, which includes professional development such as today’s. I’m thrilled to see this turnout—it is heartening to see the dedication of our faculty,” Apple said.

Faculty learned about course redesign and e-portfolios at the opening day of the month-long teaching and technology institute. After morning presentations, participants were invited to join their peers at hands-on workshops, which focused on the morning’s topics.

To access recordings of the presentations, presentation slides, and other archived information from the day, visit the Winter Faculty Institute Web site at

Program planning is currently under way for the Summer Faculty Institute (June 1-4). Faculty can suggest a session topic or volunteer to present their latest progress in teaching with technology by emailing

Clicker evaluation

Clickers, or Personal Response Systems, are wireless keypads that can increase interactivity in classrooms. This technology provides instant feedback to both instructors and students. UD’s current clicker product, InterWrite PRS, is being phased out by its new owner, eInstruction. The hardware will not be produced beyond fall 2010. A new product platform must be selected.

IT Academic Technology Services (IT-ATS) has completed preliminary research about current products and other universities’ plans. The new generation of products allow for a mix of clicker devices and Web-enabled phones or laptops, along with simultaneous face-to-face and remote polling. A product comparison demonstration was held on campus Feb. 3, and is accessible via video streaming.

The timeline for implementation is as follows:

  • select and announce new product in early March before fall 2010 textbook orders are due;
  • work with selected faculty on a pilot basis this spring and summer; and
  • rollout the recommended system for campus adoption fall 2010.

If you would like to participate in the clicker selection process or review the Feb. 3 product comparison, contact

Web conferencing evaluation in progress

IT-ATS is currently evaluating options for faculty interested in using Web conferencing. Web conferencing delivers synchronized live presentations along with shared documents, Web pages, and white boards. Web conferencing shares the presenter’s voice and webcam video over the Internet with options for the audience to chat through text or voice. Web conferencing can be used to match face-to-face instruction with remote guests, accommodate local and distance students in the same class, and create an archive recording of the session. Faculty who are interested in reviewing Web conferencing options should email

UD “Winter Has Come” Second Life photo contest

UD is hosting a Second Life photo contest on its islands in Second Life (SL). The theme is “Winter Has Come” because contest photos will feature the UD II island, which is decorated for winter. The contest runs through the end of February. Faculty members in the Art Department and IT staff members will judge photos. Winners will receive Linden dollars—the currency used in SL. They will also have their photos featured in the UD SL art gallery, the new University of Delaware Second Life Flickr pool, and the University of Delaware Second Life Educators (UDSLed) Ning site, which also provides more details about the contest.

Blogs in support of study abroad

Blogs are nothing new, but faculty now have two new blog options. In addition to the blog tool in Sakai@UD, support is available to faculty interested in using WordPress and Google Blogger. Both of these platforms are easy to learn, highly customizable, can be public or private, and can be matched to a variety of instructional objectives. For example:

  • A study abroad program in Brazil, led by Susan Barton and Jules Bruck, both assistant professors in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences: (Google Blogger).
  • An ecology and wildlife conservation study abroad program in Australia, led by Jacob Bowman, associate professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, and Jonathan Cox, a skilled photographer and instructor in the Department of Art: (WordPress).

If you are a faculty member who would like to explore the possibilities afforded by these new blogging options, please email

Business Systems

Photo IDs on UDSIS class rosters

A new feature has been added to UDSIS to let faculty members view photos of students from their class rosters. Faculty requested this feature through the Registrar’s Office. Faculty have greeted the new feature with enthusiasm. A professor emailed us, saying, “I LOVE the pictures feature on the class rosters on UDSIS! Thank you! This is really a great thing!” In addition, IT has assisted the Registrar in providing faculty with information about the proper use of this new feature.

Renewal of scholarships processing

Renewal of scholarships, which is currently being handled manually by the Financial Aid Office, is in the process of being automated. Initial programming is complete and testing by Financial Aid is currently under way. The next phase is the automating of matching students with available scholarships; programming is in progress.

ARRA reporting

We have successfully submitted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) reports for the calendar year 2009 (quarter 4 on 01/10/2010). We have made enhancements to the existing process, creating a new page for Grants users to upload and process sub-recipient spreadsheets. The process stores the information in PeopleSoft tables and improves the display of the data for principal investigators.

Financial aid patches

UDSIS patches bundle 21 and 22 and related fixes were applied as planned during the weekend of Jan. 9. These changes deal with important financial aid changes for the 2011 financial aid year as well as fixes to other modules in the student system.

1098-T forms for students

1098-T forms for 2009 were successfully generated during the month of January. Consistent with the University’s “Green” initiative, students and parents can now opt out of receiving a printed copy of the 1098-T and view the form online via UD’s “Campus Finances.”

Financial systems

Several financial business system improvements have been completed:

  • “Make a Gift” Form—This form collects gifts from donors and was streamlined to use a smart interface driven by user responses. An administrative interface was developed to allow Development to configure the form options on the fly. Back-end efficiencies were implemented for Development staff members who support this form.
  • Housing and Dining Winter Billing—Billing processes were modified to improve timeliness of charges and new Housing Winter Session charges were implemented. Housing collected an additional $13-14,000 with system improvements this fall for early arrival fees.
  • Campus Finances (UD’s self-service online bill view and pay)—Improved this service to allow students to add multiple parents for access to view or pay the student’s bill.
  • Budget Turnaround—Improved online services for UD’s mid-year calibration of unit budgets. Improved service to collect department adjustments online, which was formerly done by emailing spreadsheets outside the system.

Central web applications 24x7 database availability

The central Web Applications Database, which serves a wide variety of Web-based applications throughout the University, joins the growing list of databases and applications, such as PeopleSoft and Sakai@UD, which are currently available 24x7. This effort is driven by both the need to accommodate the international partnerships at the University and to provide the database component of the Disaster Recovery initiatives.

Human resource PeopleSoft database upgrades

IT Management Information Services (IT-MIS) continued the process of upgrading the Oracle database software versions of our primary production and quality assurance databases.

By updating the software, we guarantee full support from Oracle Corporation. During this period we installed Oracle patches to the HR PeopleSoft application, which provided UD HR users with more functionality. Next up are upgrades to the Student and Financial PeopleSoft applications.

Event Production and Media Services

Live Web streaming of athletics

University of Delaware men’s and women’s basketball fans who can’t make it to the BOB to catch the Blue Hens can see the action live on the UD Athletics Web page. All Blue Hen men’s and women’s basketball home games are now being streamed live on the Web.

Beginning Feb. 13, all men’s lacrosse games from Delaware stadium will also be streamed live on the Web.

Viewers throughout the world can access these events for free at the University’s webcast site,

Winter Commencement available to iPhone users

IT University Media Services (IT-UMS) has streamed UD Commencement exercises live on the Web for several years. For Winter Commencement 2010, we added the capability to stream live to iPhones and iPod Touches. Viewers from 10 states and nine countries watched our Commencement Web stream this year.

Training Opportunities


IT offered over 60 LearnIT@UD training sessions during November, December, and January, and we have a full slate of classes scheduled for February and March. One of our new classes, “Facebook: What’s in it for me?” is an informal presentation and discussion of how University faculty and departments can consider the opportunities presented by social networking. In addition, there are classes about the Drupal content management system, Apple applications, Microsoft Office (including our popular “Excel 2007: Tips and Tricks” hands-on class), e-portfolios, and many other topics.

To read summaries of upcoming classes and to register for a class, go to and select Calendar and Class Registration in the middle column.

IT Activity Report 7 November 2009–January 2010

In addition to the sessions published on the LearnIT@UD calendar, we held nearly a dozen custom training sessions for individual departments. Customized sessions allow us to tailor the training to the business processes of a particular group so that the topics covered can be applied to that specific work environment. Sample participant comments include:

  • “Pivot tables were great to learn. I’m applying this to my work today!”
  • “What I liked best is that we could email the material we used during class to ourselves and will always have that information to refer back to.”

To request a customized training session, contact Jean Neff ( or send email to

IT Professionals Day

On Jan. 20, IT Client Support & Services (IT-CS&S) hosted a training session for all departmental IT professionals and staff. Over 60 participants, representing departments from all across campus attended. Steve Timmins of IT-CS&S discussed new enhancements in the Windows 7 operating system. Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V were demonstrated by Paul Dumigan of the College of Earth, Ocean and the Environment. Ron Nichols of IT-CS&S provided an update about Content Management Systems available on campus and gave an overview of Google Apps

Sessions for IT Professionals are held on a regular basis. Future sessions will include webinars on different aspects of computing and presentations of specific IT applications used by departments at the University.

The presentations are available online at

IT Help Center

IT assisted 2,584 individual clients during November, December, and January with the heaviest volume of requests coming from questions concerning email such as the GoogleApps pilot, maillists, spam filtering, etc.

The IT Help Center reported 3,531 calls and 1,254 email contacts during the period. This resulted in 3,685 trouble tickets and Network Services requests. Overall Help Center statistics can be found at

The IT Activity Report is published 4-6 times a year. Archived reports are located at If you have comments, questions, or suggestions for future articles, contact the IT Communication Group at