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Promoting Internet2 at Teaching Institutions

When Cal Poly-SLO joined the Internet2 consortium in 2001, it established a group of Internet2 champions-faculty representatives from each of the colleges, as well as from the Information Technology Services (ITS) team ( The I2 champions met on a regular basis, and conducted activities like presentations at department meetings, brown bag lunches, and explorations of opportunities for specific disciplines and interests. That group started what continues to be a culture of support for faculty use of Internet2 at Cal Poly.

With help from Cal Poly’s Graduate and Research Office and ITS, some mini-grants were awarded in Spring and Summer 2003 to projects proposed by members of the Cal Poly community (See sidebar). The amount of money awarded was relatively small (a few thousand dollars), but enough to enable the investigators to buy some specific networking equipment, and mainly to pay students to work on the project. A second round is underway for the current academic year.

Outreach and Internet2 @ Cal Poly Class
During the Spring 2003 quarter, we conducted a seminar-style class on the Internet2, which included guest speakers from Cal Poly, CENIC, the Internet2 consortium, and a field excursion to the CENIC member meeting in Santa Barbara. This class provided an opportunity for students (and other interested parties) to get familiar with topics related to Internet2, while at the same time utilizing the Internet2 infrastructure in the class. A video documentary on "Internet2@CalPoly," was produced by computer science students Jordan Small and Aaron Peckham.

The students in the Internet2 class clearly enjoyed the opportunity to be in close contact with people directly involved in Internet2 and related efforts. Together with the students working on the projects funded by mini-grants, there is a sizable group of students who already have raised the awareness of a considerable number of their peers. One of our unstated intentions was to get students to encourage more faculty to examine the capabilities provided via Internet2. Some faculty members have indeed requested further information, leading to some additional project proposals for the current round of mini-grants.

Our outreach effort through the Internet2 champions so far has been a reasonable success. Since there are no incentives for the champions in the form of financial support or release time, any activities effectively are performed in addition to their regular duties. The most successful activities were individual contacts with people who are working in areas or on projects that can utilize high-bandwidth networking.

Overall, our efforts to promote the use of Internet2 at an institution with a strong focus on teaching has been a success. Considering the limitations in resources like time and funding, the establishment of a group of Internet2 champions, the mini-grants for utilizing Internet2 capabilities, and the Internet2 class allowed us to reach a substantial portion of faculty, staff, and students.

About the Author

Franz J. Kurfess ([email protected]) is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at the California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

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