In this Issue
Multimedia Development in PolyU
New Facilities and Services
Network Updates
Coming onto the Campus
User Support and Education
Hardware and Software Updates
Special Feature


 

One-stop Multimedia Service - The MPC

 

One-stop Service Bureau

for

Multimedia Courseware Development

Interactive Hypermedia Design

Web Site Creation

Internet Publicity Planning

CD ROM Mastering

Information Kiosk Setup

And more

 

Before the Multimedia Production Centre (MPC) is established as a one-stop bureau for producing multimedia materials, user departments have to contact different internal units and external vendors in order to complete a complex multimedia project. From now on, with the professional services from MPC, users only need to focus on the subject content and need not be distracted by the production routines such as project planning, budgeting, purchasing of material, authoring and monitoring of progress.

MPC will take care of the entire production process, from creating story board and designing the hypermedia structure, working through the complete cycle of development up to beta testing of the final product, to ensure that it will fully satisfy the client's requirements and meet professional standards. The MPC provides a full range of production services including:

Consultancy on project planning
Project management
Cost estimation
Courseware structure design
Storyboard creation
2D and 3D digital graphic design
2D and 3D animation
Digital video production in AVI, Quick Time and MPEG I formats
Digital sound production for sound effects, background music and narration
Photography and digital photo retouching
Cross platform authoring
CD-ROM mastering
Web site development
Mass duplication of CD-ROM or floppy disk

MPC is a self-financing unit with a committed pledge to provide 100% quality services to PolyU users at only 80% of market rate.

In the past few months, MPC has provided consultancy and production services to staff from various academic and administrative departments - Department of Computing, School of Design, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, Personnel Office, Business and Technology Centre, to name a few.

MPC can also offer services to external organizations. Such organizations so far include Hong Kong Telecom IMS Limited, Hong Kong Computer Institute, Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited and Hong Kong Tourist Association.

In the coming year, MPC will collaborate with EDU to provide centralized support services to more than 20 teaching development projects in various disciplines with the aim of enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of teaching and learning activities.

If you are interested in developing multimedia materials but are not sure where to start with, contact Mr. David Chiu (Ext: 7840, Email: itdavid@polyu.edu.hk), the Manager of our MPC for some professional advice and a project proposal.

WISE Lab in Service

Web-based Interactive System for Education Laboratory

Advantages of Web-based Teaching

Web-based learning environment allows teachers and students to exchange ideas and information and work together on projects round the clock from anywhere in the world, using multiple communication modes. As Internet supports any format of communication (text, graphics, sound, video, animation etc.), many educators, through their practical experience, believe that the goals for quality education can be more readily achieved by utilizing Internet technologies in a self-paced environment (related information is at http://indy1.its.polyu.edu.hk/~itsdchiu/Trend/

Presentation/tyrer.html). The integration of interactive multimedia technology into training and education enables students to take control and to play an active role in the learning process thereby enhancing its effectiveness.

The Development of World Wide Web for Education

Many local and overseas universities have started to use the Internet technology for teaching and learning activities. Last year, the U.S. Department of Education has proposed the "Principles of Good Practice for Electronically Offered Academic Degree and Certificate Programs" to encourage the electronic provision of quality higher education programmes (related document is at http://wiche.edu/telecom/principles.htm). In addition, more than 100 universities all over the world are working together to establish the Second Internet which will be able to provide sufficient bandwidth for multimedia communications among institutions. (related information is at http://www.internet2.edu/). The virtual global campus is taking shape and "Education-on-Demand" will be the new paradigm offering capability and flexibility that are not available from traditional ways of teaching.

Interactive Learning Environment for the Preferred University

In order that PolyU can "catch up" with the global trend to provide an interactive learning environment for accessing learning resources so readily available (and mostly free) in the virtual global campus (related information about some of the web-based resources which are downloaded from the Internet is at http:// indy1.its.polyu.edu.hk/~itsdchiu/WISE/), a Web-based Interactive System for Education Laboratory (WISE Lab) was set up by ITS at Room P504 in May 1997. After relocation to CF Wing inside the new SCC in January 1998, 43 sets of networked MMX computer with SVGA monitor will be installed employing Fast Ethernet technology which can provide a maximum transfer rate of up to 100Mbps. A multi-processor server with high storage capacity will be used as multimedia proxy server to shorten the access time for multimedia courseware from overseas. Video conferencing facilities will also be available for both staff and students.

Furthermore, three multimedia collaborative project rooms will be set up and users can work with their teachers, classmates and even students in overseas institutions on multimedia production projects.

Colleagues from various departments are working closely with the Education Development Unit (EDU) and our MPC to develop Web-based educational materials to be delivered through the facilities of the WISE Lab to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of teaching and learning. Staff and students are welcome to visit the WISE Lab. For further information concerning the WISE Lab, please contact Mr. David Chiu at Extn. 7840 or via e-mail at "itdavid@polyu.edu.hk".

 

New Sun Ultra Enterprise UE 10000 Available for Academic Users 

The PolyU academic UNIX cluster welcomed a new member on 29 September 1997 – the Sun Ultra Enterprise UE 10000.

 The UE10000 is a high performance UNIX machine which is configured into two hosts: HKPU10 for running CPU time-consuming jobs; and HKPU11 for research activities. With separate CPU and memory, they can be treated as two independent machines to enable users to access their files in the academic UNIX cluster. As the two hosts are both protected by the Internet Firewall, they can only be accessed through the PolyU campus network. The hardware and software configuration of the UE10000 are as follows:

Machine:

SUN Ultra Enterprise UE 10000

 

4 x 250MHZ CPU [HKPU10]

 

8/12 x 250MHZ CPU [HKPU11]

 

Hardware Configuration

Main Memory :

512MB [HKPU10]

 

1024MB [HKPU11]

Disk Unit :

32GB RAID-5 Disk Storage

Tape Unit :

20GB DLT Tape Drive

 

Software Configuration

Operating System :

Solaris 2.5.1

Database Package:

ORACLE

Mathematical Package:

MACSYMA

Engineering Package:

ANSYS

Languages:

SPARCompiler (C, C++, FORTRAN, PASCAL), SPARCworks

 

Users are welcome to install licensed software which are compatible with Sun Solaris 2.5.1 on these two hosts to suit their specific needs. Existing users of HKPU02 and HKPU07 can access HKPU10 with the same username and password pair and no further application is required. For those who wish to use HKPU11 for their research projects, they may obtain a registration form from our User Services Section or at the URL http://www.polyu.edu.hk/~shuttle/ue10000/form.html .

To provide users with better support in using the new UNIX machine, a special task force has been formed and users may contact our User Services Section for assistance and advice either by phone to our Helpdesk hotline (Extn. 5900) or through our Web page at http://www.polyu.edu.hk/~uss (please choose UNIX Consultancy Desk). More information on the UE10000 and its features are available at the URL http://www.polyu.edu.hk/~shuttle/ue10000.

 

Extension of E-mail Accounts to All Part-time Students

In response to departments’ feedback on insufficient e-mail quota for part-time (PT) students, the 20% quota limit for access to e-mail facilities by PT students has been relaxed. Effective from the 1997/98 academic year, all (100%) PT students have been provided with an account in the PolyU’s Central E-mail Server. The account will enable PT students to remote dial-in from off-campus to access the University’s computing facilities with the scope of services as follows:

send and receive PolyU internal and external e-mails via the Internet; and

Internet access to the Web facilities and services provided by PolyU, including the information and services under the PolyU Homepage, the departmental homepages and the CWIS etc.

The accounts will not allow remote access to other Internet connection services. This restriction is necessary at this stage in order to help minimize the effect of additional loading on the University’s dial-in and Internet traffic due to service extension while satisfying the essential need of PT students for e-mail communication and access to PolyU internal information and services at the same time. However, full access to all computing facilities and services will continue to be available to all PT students on campus in the Student Computing Centres.

On-line Credit Based Subject Registration Piloted in August 97

The development of the Credit Based Subject Registration System (CBS) designed to facilitate students in their subject selection through on-line and telephone voice response facilities has been completed. Working in collaboration with AS, the system was successfully piloted in August and new students of the Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Construction and Land Use and Faculty of Health and Social Studies were able to make on-line subject selection using networked PCs at the Main Building SCC. Students could choose their preferred subjects on-line using PCs installed with the Credit Based System. After submitting their selections, a confirmation slip would be issued to them on-site for verification. They no longer had to go through the past procedure of making subject selection on physical forms and be informed of the results at a later time.

The system would be extended to all new students in the academic year 98/99.

New Messaging System - GroupWise

GroupWise falls into a software category known as groupware which is designed to facilitate group collaboration on projects and tasks. In addition to enabling the sending and receiving of text, graphics, voice, music, video, messages and documents in one "Universal" mailbox, the integrated messaging system also offers powerful calendaring and scheduling features as well as phone books, electronic forms and automatic dialing capabilities, etc. GroupWise integrates the latest Internet/Intranet technologies to enable remote access through any Internet browser.

After pilot implementation of GroupWise within the ITS office, the messaging system has been announced and discussed at departmental CLO meetings, to be launched for use by all departments/offices/units by phase. The system has already been rolled out in a number of offices including the President’s Office, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, Office of Academic and Professional Collaboration, Office of Industry Development (Technology Resources), Business and Technology Centre, China Business Centre as well as the Faculty Offices. It is targeted that a complete changeover from cc:Mail to GroupWise will take place within the current academic year.

To provide an effective and stable electronic communication environment, ITS will undertake the responsibility for the central set-up, administration, maintenance and backup of the GroupWise system. Monthly training courses will also be offered starting January 1998 to introduce users to the basic features and application techniques of the system.

 

LAN Server and Operating System Upgrade 

At present, there are more than 120 LAN (Local Area Network) servers connected to the network backbone on campus, about 50% of which are departmental staff LANs. The majority of these departmental LAN servers are 386 and 486 machines which have been purchased for more than 7 years, running on some old versions of the Novell’s network operating system (NOS), mostly Netware 3.1.

To ensure that departmental desktop PCs can fully utilize the enhanced campus network to adequately cope with the demands of new academic and administrative applications, as well as to fully deploy the latest information technologies, a campus-wide upgrade of LAN servers and the NOS to IntraNetware (i.e. NW4.11) has started since the beginning of this academic year.

This latest version of Novell's NOS: IntraNetware provides additional functionality offering Internet server capabilities, permitting a low cost entry to Internet Web Servers, as well as serving as networked CD ROM servers to support multimedia applications. It also provides more robust security and sophisticated network management capability and services including NDS, Application Launcher, Border Manager, etc. IntraNetware also comes with GroupWise, which is a new generation of e-mail and a powerful enterprise communication tool with very rich functionalities.

Internet Connection Further Enhanced

HARNET ATM Upgrade

To cater for the increasing need for Internet connection services, funding has been made available by the UGC to further upgrade the HARNET, which is the heterogeneous computer network linking up the campus network of the sister institutions under Joint Universities Computer Centre. The link speed among UGC institutions has been advanced to 20Mbps by using ATM cell switching technology locally and the HARNET link to US will also be increased from 2Mbps to 6Mbps by mid- January. With the completion of the project, PolyU users will be able to enjoy significantly improved Internet response, especially for traffic to and from the US.

Additional Separate Internet Link for PolyU Established

An additional separate 256Kbps Internet link from PolyU to NETPlus has also been successfully installed and implemented on 24 November 1997. The new Internet link upgrades the speed of Internet connection and also serves as a feasibility study and pilot exercise for providing a cost-effective backup Internet link in PolyU. This additional back-up line will be put on pilot run for an initial period of 3 months. However, it is not to be expected that a dramatic speed-up in Internet response time will be experienced as the additional resources it provides can be easily consumed by PolyU users.

New Setting of Modem Pool

 (Effective 1 January 1998)

Dial-Up Lines in PolyU Operated by ITS

Hunting Group

Prime Tel. No.

No. of Lines

Max. Time Limit

Connection Max. Speed

Remarks

1

2931 5600

92

60 min.

56K (X2)

For full-time staff and students

 

2

2931 5700

(Express Group)

23

15 min.

 

56K (X2)

For all staff & students to access PolyU Web facilities

 

3

2931 5800

23

60 min.

56K(X2)

For all staff & students to access PolyU Web facilities

 

4

2766 5901

26

60 min.

14.4/33.6K

For staff during non-office hours *

 

Total Number of Lines: 164

*From 18:00 to 08:00 of the next morning on Mon to Fri and from Sat 13:00 to Mon 08:00.

Firewall on PolyU‘s Internet Access

To protect PolyU servers from unauthorized interference and to improve the robustness and availability of the campus network, a Firewall on PolyU’s Internet access has been implemented since 1 November 1997. The new Firewall also has the effect of saving network bandwidth which will in turn provide significant improvement to Web surfing speed.

Following the implementation, both in and out ICMP Block file transfer on some servers have been disabled, i.e. users can no longer use PING command and some monitoring programs. Also disabled is Web access on Port 80 and users are requested to enable the proxy service in Netscape for Web access by following the simple procedures below:

from the Netscape setting, select "Option"
select "Network Preferences"
type-in
http://proxy.polyu.edu.hk:8181/
choose "OK"

In addition, users are requested to register prior to using "TELNET"’ to get connected to PolyU from any other network sites except those of HARNET and AsiaOnline.

Any enquiries concerning the setting of the proxy configuration can be directed to our hotline at Extn. 5900.

 

Get Ready for the PolyU Smart Card !!!

Asmart card is a credit card sized mini computer with an embedded integrated circuit chip which can store information necessary to perform functions like personal identification, security/access control, banking, fee payment for transportation and booking of facilities, and many more. After months of hard work on in-depth evaluation and preparation work in consultantion with departments concerned, a proposal on the implementation of Smart Card in PolyU has been submitted to and endorsed in principle by the Management. Pending final approval for implementation from the Senior Management, ITS will work in full swing to roll out the PolyU Smart Card. The proposed PolyU Smart Card will include both banking and PolyU internal functions as follows:

Banking Functions

Electronic cash

Payments in PolyU and commercial outlets in town

ATM card

Debit card

PolyU Functions

Initial Implementation:

As a Staff/Student ID Card, or dependent card

Access control in Library and Sports Centres

Borrowing of books in the Library

Planned Future Applications:

PolyU payments: school fees, library fines, book reservation fees, sports facility booking fees, etc.

Integration with other PolyU applications: e.g. change of personal details of staff and students, request of transcripts, etc., in a self-service manner

Access control in other buildings, computer rooms, laboratories, etc.

Get ready for the great convenience to be provided by the multi-purpose smart card and witness the changes it will bring to our campus life!!

PolyU-wide Interactive Voice Response System

To provide more convenience and administrative efficiency in handling enquiries and service requests from staff, students as well as outsiders, interactive voice response systems(VRSs) are being developed in various areas in collaboration with the offices concerned. Through the VRSs which are integrated with the University's central administrative databases, callers will be able to make enquiries and service requests for application forms and information pamphlets; book campus facilities and even update various personal data and records through the phone.

Following the implementation of the Academic Secretariat's VRS for students and applicants, the next stage of VRS development will include the launching of information/services provided by the Personnel Office, the Student Affairs Office and the Centre for Professional & Continuing Education(PACE). It is planned that within the next 6 months, staff will be able to check their leave balance through the system and make booking of sports facilities; students can enquire information on scholarships, financial assistance and counseling services; and the public can make enquiry and request information/application forms on PolyU staff vacancies and the courses offered by PACE etc. by fax - all just by picking up the phone.

Development of Electronic Forms

With the availability of a "PolyU Intranet" now being set-up, the development of electronic forms is now in full speed. This will reduce the volume of paper in administrative and data entry operations and facilitate on-line application procedures, and will also drastically reduce the time required for handling conventional forms as well as on-site storage space. In addition, the electronic forms allow multi-party access using Web-based technologies and enable users to complete and submit the form via the Internet.

The electronic "Complementary Studies Application Forms" has been launched in September and the "Admission Application Forms" and "Leave Application Forms" will also be introduced in 1998. Other electronic forms will be developed with the ultimate goal of achieving a "paperless" office.

 

 

Year 2000 (Y2K) Compliance – Do I Have to do Anything?

"The answer is a definite YES" .

What is Year 2000 (Y2K) Compliance?

In short, "Year 2000 (Y2K) Compliance" refers to the possible interruption and ambiguity created by the Year 2000 on all date-sensitive computing systems and operations as many of them use 2 digits to represent the year, e.g. "00" representing "1900". The problem can pose great threats to the normal operations of computer systems including hardware and software; as well as non-computing systems involving date logic as they are in danger of behaving in an unpredictable way at the turn of the new millennium.

What areas will it affect in PolyU?

Within PolyU, several areas of operations are viable to be hit by the problem if remedial actions are not taken:

central administrative application systems
operating and networking systems supplied by vendors
standard hardware and licensed PC software/public domain freeware
end-user systems which are developed, maintained and used by individuals in departments

What will be done within PolyU to combat the problem?

The University would like to adopt a systematic and institutional-wide approach to investigate the potential threats of Y2K in PolyU, in order to ensure that we will not experience any interruption to the normal operations of our computer systems as a result of not being Y2K compliant. Following e-mail announcement to staff to alert them of the Y2K issue, a briefing session has also been held with departmental representatives to collect input on the impact of Y2K in departments. In addition, a questionnaire has been designed and sent to departments to gather information with a view to enabling a more accurate assessment on the scope of the Y2K problem, the actions to be taken and the support and resources that may be required for Y2K compliance.

After consolidating the information provided in the questionnaires returned by departments, a concrete Y2K strategy and action plan will be prepared and submitted to the Management for consideration.

What immediate actions can I take?

stipulate Y2K compliance as a requirement for all departmental new purchases of microprocessor controlled systems, hardware, software and services; (A PolyU formal statement for Y2K compliance has been defined for inclusion in all purchase orders.)
ensure that all new end-user self-developed systems should be Y2K compliant; and
take inventory of existing end-user computer systems developed or used by yourself or your department, identify the potential problems of Y2K non-compliance, assess its impact, and start sourcing solutions for Y2K compliance.

Where can I obtain more information?

A Webpage on Y2K has been set up by ITS (http://www.polyu.edu.hk/y2k) to provide more information and general guidelines to check Y2K compliance, and to serve as a forum for exchange of views and solutions, etc. Please contact Miss Scarlett Yung of ITS (e-mail itscarle@polyu.edu.hk or tel. extn. 5356) if you have any inquiries or need any assistance. You may also visit various Web sites for useful Y2K information and Y2K compliant product listings, e.g.:

Hong Kong Productivity Council (http://www.hkpc.org/csd/year2000)
The year 2000 Information Centre/Millennium Bug (
http://www.year2000.com)
Information Technology Association of America (
http://www.itaa.org)
Y2K pages in the Web sites of large industry vendors incl. SUN, Digital, Novell, Cisco, Microsoft etc.

 

New Enrolment Arrangements for ITS Training Courses

Starting from the academic year 97/98, new enrolment arrangements on ITS staff training courses have been implemented. With a view to enhancing the administrative efficiency and taking full advantage of electronic communication, the enrolment and notification procedures are now processed only via e-mail.

Highlights of the new arrangements are as follows:

At the beginning of each month, an electronic copy of the "Training Course Schedule" for the coming month together with the "Course Enrolment Proforma Reply" will be sent to departmental co-ordinators designated to handle enrolment on ITS training courses. At the same time, full details of course information including the "Training Course Schedule" and the "Course Outline" will also be announced to all staff on the ITS Computer Bulletin Board under cc:Mail and the ITS World Wide Web Home Page. A monthly course enrolment list will be sent to departmental co-ordinators via e-mail when the enrolment exercise has been completed. The successfully enrolled staff will also receive individual course attendance notification by e-mail. The past practice of sending out also the hard copy "course confirmation slip" has been discontinued to save paper resources. For those staff who may not have ready access to e-mail, they may contact their departmental co-ordinator for the enrolment results.

In addition to the new enrolment arrangements, three new courses have been launched since the beginning of the current academic year in response to the identified needs of staff. These include "Introduction to UNIX", "Word 97 Bridging Course" and "Introduction to GroupWise". More courses on Windows 95 platform are also under planning.

New Arrangements at SCCs and Extension of Help Desk Services

Since the beginning of the academic year in September 1997, a number of new arrangements have been introduced at our SCCs and Help Desks aiming to provide more cost-effective support services to computer users on campus, despite the overall budget and manpower constraints which the Institution and hence the ITS has to face.

Help Desk Service

To offer more convenient support to users, we have expanded our Help Desk service so that users can now receive assistance on computer-related problems at two locations around campus: Rm ST504 inside the ST Wing SCC and the counter of the P Core SCC. The consultants at the Help Desk will render professional and technical advice/assistance to users on matters relating to the use of PC software, e-mail, the Campus-Wide Information System, and various central computer systems and network facilities. The service hours of the Help Desks can be found below.

Help Desk Service Hours

P Core

 
Monday – Friday 08:45 - 17:15
Saturday 09:00 -12:00
Sunday & Public Holidays Closed
 
ST504

 
Monday – Friday08:45 - 12:45
 14:00 - 17:15
Saturday09:00 -12:00
Sunday & Public HolidaysClosed

AND users can always call our hotline at extn. 5900 for help services!

Student Computing Centres

The SCCs at the P Core and ST Wing are now self-service centres intended for experienced users. New/inexperienced users are advised to use the Main Building SCC where Computer Assistants are stationed on-site to provide first-line assistance on the use of facilities and the loan of user manuals and accessories etc. All SCC users may call the ITS Hotline at Extn. 5900 if they encounter problems when using the computing facilities inside the SCC. For professional/technical advice and assistance on the use of PC packages, Internet etc., they can approach the consultants at the ITS Help Desk which is now set up on-site inside 2 SCCs.

Special opening hours of Main Building SCC

Upon the request of students, special arrangements for 24-hours opening in the Main Building SCC will be available before and during the coming end of term examination period in January and details will be announced later.

Windows 95 Applications Available at the SCCs

As from the beginning of this academic year, Windows 95 applications have been installed for use in 2 SCCs at Rm ST508 and M234C. More applications on Win 95 platform will be available in the new SCC at the CF Wing after the relocation.

 

Main Building SCC Moving to CF in Jan

We are moving! 

As the Main Building will be demolished for reconstruction at the beginning of 1998, our SCC located at M234 will move to CF Wing (CF004) in January 98 and continue to provide service in a more spacious environment. The normal services in the Main Building SCC will be suspended as from 16 January. The New SCC in CF Wing will open for service on 26 January. Users please visit the other two SCCs at the ST Wing and the P Core during the relocation period.

See you at our new 'home'!

 

Phasing out of VAX/VMS and Open VMS on Alpha Machines

Over the past 14 years, the University’s central computers in support of academic and administrative activities have been based on the VMS platform. In light of the changes of industry trend and the approaching of the new millennium, ITS has planned to remove VAX/VMS and Open VMS from service by June 30 1999. This will allow sufficient time for any existing VMS programs to be ported/migrated to the UNIX platform and also enable the University to take full benefits of the "openness" of the UNIX platform and the lower cost and maintenance charges of the UNIX machines. To facilitate a smooth changeover with minimal impacts on users, the following measures have been/ will be taken:

With immediate effect, no new OpenVMS accounts will be opened for any user unless under exceptionally special circumstances.

UNIX courses for users are being offered by ITS regularly to facilitate the migration of existing programs and the development of new programs.

By June 30 1998, SAS, SMTP mail, POP3, Finger, Ping and Talk functions under Open VMS will be removed from service. Users are encouraged to migrate to the Central E-mail Server using the same POP3 client, e.g. Eudora or Netscape Navigator.

During the 2 year transition period, ITS will provide as much technical support and assistance as possible to departments and users for the migration to UNIX platform.

Any important notices concerning the phasing out will be announced to all departments and users to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted transition. For enquiries or assistance, please feel free to contact our Help Desk hotline at Extn. 5900 or e-mail to "openview@polyu.edu.hk".

 

PolyU Intranet Service

An Intranet is an organization-wide network system that provides users with information as and when they want it. It employs the same technology as the Internet, but is internal instead of world-wide. With a view to enhancing the effectiveness of communication and information sharing, ITS has started to implement the Intranet technology within the University and the "PolyU Intranet " will be in service soon and be gradually extended by phase.

What are the components of an Intranet?

A simple Intranet capable of providing information significant to an organization comprises the following components:

Network
Everybody who has to be on the Intranet must be connected to the organization’s network.

Network Protocol
The TCP/IP network protocol is required on the organization’s network.

Web Browser
It is a software tool that is loaded onto the users’ computers to enable them to view information stored on the web servers. The most commonly-used web browser products are Netscape Communication’s Navigator and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

Web Server
It is a software tool that holds the documents and other information that are to be viewed by the network clients. The best-known web server products include Netscape Communication’s Enterprise Server and Microsoft’s Internet Information Server.

Problem Worth Solving
As a starting point, it is very essential to choose the right problem to solve in order to gain the confidence and support of people. The more people use and participate in an Intranet, the more successful it will be.

What are the benefits of using Intranet?

The adoption of Intranet offers a number of significant benefits:

It can bring together information that are held in different and often incompatible computer systems for more effective sharing of information which is critical to projecting useful views for decision making.
The capital investment normally associated with a legacy enterprise-wide system is not required as an Intranet can often be established on existing network infrastructure.
The life cycle of an Intranet is longer than legacy systems thereby minimizing the costs and time required for development and maintenance.
As it utlizes the same web browser interface for accessing the Internet, the learning curve for Intranet is not steep as users are already familiar with the environment.

Why does the University need an Intranet?

Current Situation

The University has a vast amount of information such as computer documentation, University procedures, specifications, training and personnel reference documents. Although these information are mostly outdated and are seldom used by staff members, they need to be properly stored to ensure that they can be easily located once needed.

Some low-end computer systems that are still used by the University can only distribute information to a fraction of those who need it as technology was not powerful enough to support that in the old days when they were created.

New course handbooks and other documents are continuously being published by the University in order to provide the most up-to-date information.

Intranet helps to tackle all the above problems by enabling information to be published "on-line". It is an internal network used for delivering private corporate information to internal users. Information put on-line can be updated easily and be accessed by authorized users easily 24 hours a day. It helps to:

Reduce publication costs
Improve internal communication
Reduce information system development costs
Improve information services to student, potential students and outsiders

What information of the University can be put on-line?

Some examples of the kind of information that the University can put on-line are listed below:

Intranet Information for Staff

Staff handbooks
Telephone directory
Procedure and policy manuals
Training manuals
Newsletters
Quality procedures
Computer statistics
Annual reports
Finance policies
Library catalogue

Intranet Information for Students

Enrolment information and forms
Personal records
Course materials
Timetables
Library catalogue

Information Available to the Public ( via Internet)

General information of the University
Course information
Enrolment information
Enrolment forms
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

To access the information under the PolyU Intranet, users have to be authenticated using their usernames and passwords in order to ensure data security and privacy. Information will be categorized in such a way that some information can only be accessed by a particular group of users.

In order to implement the PolyU Intranet, work plans are now in progress in consultation and collaboration with the offices concerned, to restructure the information currently presented under the PolyU Campus-wide Information System (CWIS) for fitting into the new "PolyU Intranet" architecture, with a view to providing value-added information services to the University community and the public.

Useful Telephone Numbers

 

Help Desk2766 5900
Hardware Fault Report2766 5931
Central Computer Room2766 5945-6
Student Computing Centre
Link Building
2766 5896
ST Wing
2766 5910
Main Building
2766 5947-8
Software Site Licence
Distribution Service
2766 5934
ITS Training Course Enquiries2766 5934
Computer Stationery Supply2766 5908
General Enquiries2766 5908



Get Connected is the newsletter of the Office of Information Technology Services(ITS) published regularly for staff and students of TheHong Kong Polytechnic University. For further information, comments or suggestions, please contact:

Office of Information Technology Services
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hunghom
Kowloon
Hong Kong

Tel : 2766 5935
Fax: 2764 2647
E-mail: itsgo@polyu.edu.hk


Last Updated on 31 December 1997