Letters

Pay Me Now, or…
Matt Villano’s [August 2005] “ePayment” article points out some methods of accepting ePayments. Approximately two years ago we (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) entered into an arrangement with PayPal to provide ePayments. I believe we were the first college/university to partner with PayPal (they even changed some of their transaction policies to fit the tuition model). Concurrent with their work, we created a module that links the PayPal transaction information automatically into our [SCT] Banner [www.sungardsct.com] system.We also use it to accept donations, ticket payments, etc. (via a standard Web module any campus group can use).Wanted to alert you to alternatives in this important area.
Louis Turcotte
Vice President, IT
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Mike on ‘Money’
I just got my [July 2005] copy of Campus Technology [with Mikael Blaisdell’s story, “More Than Money”]—what a great article! Thank you for the excellent and very thorough coverage.
James Bradford
Dean of the College of IT
Georgia Southern University
Where’s Zachman When You Need Him?

In developing his Information Systems Architecture, John Zachman modeled it on the practices of the architect. Conversations with the owner and the user preceded tasking of the designers and builders. If Will Craig is accurately expressing architectural best practice in his article, “If You Build It,We Should Come” [July 2005], the architects need to return to Zachman’s model. Not once in the article d'es the term “user” include any mention of the faculty or student body. They are the users! The IT bunch d'esn’t have any expertise or responsibility to satisfy these end users! In previous careers that involved supporting training and education at Camp Lejeune, it was my experience that the needs of the end users needed to be continually expressed to architects, consultants, designers, and builders. When this was not accomplished, the faculty and students were forced to use horrible classrooms such as pictured in the Craig article. Despite proper placing of cable outlets, server rooms, and such infrastructure facilities, the classroom (or briefing room) cited to “The Office of Classroom Management at the University of Minnesota” would be a disaster for a real user. Several killer faults are visible in the picture: The image on the front-projection screen is washed out by the overhead fluorescent lights; neither of the two positions provided for the instructor provide a usable teaching position; and the screen covers the whiteboards. All are deadly to teacher-student interaction. Mr. Craig considers teaching rooms as “projection-centric or projection-capable” when “...the main electronic visual aid to teaching is one or more front-projected images at or near the front of the classroom. ” As the picture shows, front-projected images are an abomination in the classroom. Their use precludes having enough light for students to write or interact naturally with the teacher. Putting such a system in a new building would represent denial of any pretense at satisfying the true end user community: the teacher and the student. A satisfactory image can be presented in a fully lighted room only on a rear projection screen or one or more monitors. A single lectern, with room for both a laptop computer and notes, is mandatory. Appropriately cabled, such a lectern allows an instructor to walk in and plug in [his/her] instructional media without a dignity-destroying struggle.
Elton C. “Jeff” O’Byrne
Lecturer
Campbell University
Camp Lejeune Branch

In response to Mr. O’Byrne’s letter, I offer the following points of clarification. My article identified a serious problem and its solution: Campus technology specialists often are not given the chance to have input early in the building design process, if at all;inclusion of their input early on can have positive benefits on the project. By including their input early, campuses can avoid making design decisions out of context, and can avoid the result which Zachman insightfully refers to as the cost of “sub-optimization.” The inclusion of significant input from students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and consultants should always be part of the campus architectural programming process, which is mentioned in the first full paragraph of the article. With respect to Mr. O’Byrne’s concern regarding appropriate classroom display technology, there is room for disagreement regarding the optimal use of front vs. rear projection. It is my experience that with proper care and coordination in the design of a classroom’s display and lighting systems, front projection can successfully c'exist with notetaking and instructor-student interaction. Mr. O’Byrne’s observations regarding the classroom photos in the article reinforce the need for coordination between the design team and the campus technology specialists early in a project. The article photo in question is of a university classroom where presentation technology was added as a low-budget retro-fit. (It is also worth noting, for those who haven’t had direct experience, that front-projection never photographs well due to the camera’s inability to capture the image that the brain perceives when looking at a projected image directly through the eyes.) For classrooms built in the 1970s and earlier, it is uncertain whether the Zachman framework would have yielded superior initial results given subsequent rapid changes in technology and pedagogy.—Will Craig

Wireless Lives and Thrives in Tennessee

Just got around to reading Wendy Chretien’s “New in Wireless…” article [Networking, February 2005]. (Yes, I’m a little behind.) I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see that, once again, reports of campus wireless technologies failed to note the work that we’ve been doing at the University of Tennessee, since December 2000. Of course, since Ms. Chretien relied on the Intel Corp. top 100 list of “Most Unwired Colleges” (www.intel.com/personal/products/ mobiletechnology/unwiredcolleges.htm)— which was based on a survey sponsored by Intel Corp., and conducted by Bert Sperling—and an analysis of “America’s Most Connected Campuses”—conducted by Princeton Review and published in Forbes magazine—it stands to reason that she overlooked the same publicly available information that those studies failed to mention. Still, the University of Tennessee would like for others in the academic computing community to know that we do have a substantial, nearly ubiquitous, wireless presence (currently in excess of 1,800 access points covering more than 90 acres), and have five years’ experience in maintaining and supporting a wireless network for both academic and administrative use. See wireless.utk.edu/index.html for more information on our wireless network, or contact Philippe Hanset, at phanset@utk.edu, (865) 974-6555, for more up-to-date information. (The number of buildings and access points has increased since the page was last updated in March 2004; the entire network is in the process of being upgraded from 802.11b to 802.11g, and we’ve recently expanded our wireless coverage to many outdoor commons, including the Trial Garden on our Agriculture campus.) To see examples of how we have been working with faculty to integrate wireless technologies into the teaching and learning environment, see itc.utk.edu/grants/wii- 2004/default.shtml. Love your magazine. Keep up the good work. Meanwhile, we’ll try to do a better job of communicating some of the exciting things we’re doing here in Tennessee.
Michael A. Burke
Technologies Integration Specialist
The University of Tennessee

We think you did just fine, Michael!

Can We Use You?

We are just starting a security awareness program here at the Connecticut Community Colleges. The article “8 Spots for Tightening Security on Campus,” by Linda L. Briggs [Campus Technology IT Security Microsite] was really a good article. Is it possible for us to copy it, with attribution, and forward it as part of our newsletter?
Barbara E. Thompson
Director of Information Systems
Connecticut Community Colleges
Board of Trustees

Barbara, you and our other readers and Web site visitors should feel free to use our content to assist campus technology initiatives. Just clearly credit our publication and include issue or retrieval date, story name, author, and our Web site address, www.campus-technology.com.

Block that Jargon

As a new chief academic officer, I [recently] received my first of Campus Technology. I especially enjoyed the Top 10 Countdown article on Ten IT Collisions [April 2005], and item 9 on communication: “Always clarify terminology, jargon and especially, acronyms.” But through the issue I continued to read about ERPs, and yet found no definition or clarification as to what the acronym referred. Can you help me?
Randie L. Timpe
VP Academic Affairs and Academic Dean
Mount Vernon Nazarene University

Hoisted on [our] own petard! ERP is the acronym for Enterprise Resource Planning, and in our higher education technology world, usually refers to enterprise-focused technology systems.

comments powered by Disqus