Eric Fredericksen, Associate Vice Provost of Academic and Research Technology, hosted the third annual Information Technology (IT) Summit on Wednesday, Oct. 24. The summit — attended primarily by IT faculty and Students’ Association members — covered updates on Blackboard, Wi-Fi coverage, information security and student workshops and services.
Director of Networking and Communications Robert Evangelista announced potential plans to expand Wi-Fi coverage to the Fraternity Quad now that Residential Life has incorporated the houses into its sytem. He noted, though, that “there’s still a lot to consider.”
Assistant Director of Information Security Jason Pickup segued to the “scary” subject of peer-to-peer file sharing.
According to Pickup, UR sent approximately 400 notices to students suspected of torrenting in 2011 — a significant drop from years past.
Though the University is legally required to report piracy under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, its approach remains “not to police the network but respond to complaints, if and when they come,” he said.
Freshman Luke Metzler said at the forum that many of his friends quit torrenting “cold turkey” when they arrived at UR, calling it a “no-brainer.” He predicted that torrenting will dwindle over time as students become more informed about the risks involved.
At this point, SA Senators senior Sonja Page and sophomore Humma Sheikh, chairs of the SA Projects & Services Committee, proposed a workshop to teach students the ins and outs of Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop and “other basic apps.”
SA President and senior Roshal Patel agreed that Photoshop is “essential,” but wondered whether undergraduates need a tutorial on Microsoft Word and PowerPoint.
Former SA President and Key Scholar Bradley Halpern argued that most students are unaware of more advanced functions.
Ending the event on the topic of services, Patel said that he would like to see the IT Center loan laptop chargers exclusively without requiring students to rent a laptop as well.
Halpern agreed and explained that though this service would not affect most students, it would be “a big help” for those who needed it.
IT Center Manager Berthenia Coltrane said she would consider the feasibility of such a change.
Gould is a member of the class of 2014.