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TTUHSC IT Policies

2.         INSTITUTIONAL VIDEOCONFERENCING SYSTEMS

The TTUHSC Information Technology (I.T.) Division operates, maintains, schedules, and supports Institutional videoconferencing systems installed in classrooms, conference rooms, auditoriums, teaching studios, telemedicine facilities, network control centers, and similar facilities at TTUHSC and affiliated locations. Collectively, these facilities and systems are known as the TechLink Video Network. To preserve the value of this technology as an educational, healthcare, and communications medium, it is necessary to set standards for hardware and software acquisition, acceptable use, security, configuration management, user training, resource reservation (scheduling), upgrade, and replacement concerning TTUHSC Institutional videoconferencing systems.

This policy applies to all videoconferencing equipment, systems, software, and services connected to the TTUHSC network or operated in TTUHSC facilities. Included are the Event Management System (EMS) for scheduling TechLink services, TechLink Multi-media Teaching Podium systems, fixed and mobile videoconferencing systems, telemedicine videoconferencing systems, document cameras, video cameras, microphones, monitors, projectors, smart boards, PCs, laptop PCs, studio facilities, audio and videoconferencing bridges, video codecs, content capture and streaming devices, satellite earth station facilities, and all associated systems infrastructure.

Responsibilities

The Telecommunication Services Department acquires, operates, maintains, manages and schedules Institutional videoconferencing systems at TTUHSC; with strategic oversight and operational direction from the Chief Information Officer (CIO) or designee. The Senior Director of Telecommunication Services is the designated point of contact for all matters involving videoconferencing at TTUHSC.

Acceptable Use

Institutional videoconferencing systems are multiple user facilities throughout the TTUHSC System. Their use is based on adherence to standards of acceptable use and respect for the needs of other users and user groups.  Additionally, these systems are intended for official TTUHSC and state business only, and certain requests for their use may require approval from the TTUHSC General Counsel. Institutional videoconferencing equipment, systems, software, and services are subject to the same policies and rules that govern other electronic communications at TTUHSC. (See also Copyright, Disciplinary Process, Acceptable Use, and Security).

Technical Standards

TTUHSC will implement videoconferencing systems and services which adhere to industry best practices; the Advanced Television Standards Committee (ATSC) and National Television Standards Committee (NTSC) protocols; and the H.320 and H.323 families of communication standards. This policy will be reviewed and amended as best practices and communication standards evolve; and as products and services emerge that improve videoconferencing quality and reliability. Only videoconferencing hardware, software, and services approved by the CIO or designee may be installed on Institutional video conferencing systems. (See also I.T. Procurement Review and the section below on Connectivity).

Connectivity

Only videoconferencing hardware and software approved by the CIO or designee may be connected to the TTUHSC network. (See also I.T. Procurement Review, Network Access, Security, and the section above on Technical Standards). As an added measure, departmental and personal media storage devices such as CDs, DVDs, PCs, laptop PCs, and thumb drives, must be scanned for viruses and malware before attaching to any Institutional videoconferencing system.

Event Management System (EMS)

EMS is the Institutional resource reservation management system for scheduling the use of classrooms, conference rooms, telemedicine facilities, videoconferencing services, and certain other resources at TTUHSC. EMS is maintained by a combination of TTUHSC and vendor personnel providing software support, system upkeep, database management, and user training. The TTUHSC I.T. Division is the system owner, administrator, and operational manager; and the CIO is the approving authority for all EMS revisions, upgrades, and configuration changes. The primary point of contact for EMS issues is the I.T. Division Senior Director of Telecommunication Services. See the sections below on Configuration Management and Requests for Change to recommend or request changes of any type to the Event Management System. These may include but are not limited to revisions, upgrades, and changes to features, privileges, and resources. (See also Security and Disciplinary Process).

Access to EMS

TTUHSC staff assigned to scheduling duties on behalf of departments and schools use the EMS Client version for creating TechLink resource reservations. The EMS Web Portal is available to individual faculty, staff, and students for requesting the use of TechLink services. Persons needing either type of EMS access should contact the I.T. Division TechLink Network Scheduling Coordinator at (806) 743-7064 for assistance in creating an account.

TechLink Services

Facilities equipped with Institutional videoconferencing systems may be scheduled by customers to provide a range of technology services. Included are distance learning classrooms, videoconference rooms, teaching studios, auditoriums, telemedicine consultation facilities, production studios, satellite earth station facilities, and the I.T. audio bridge. The following TechLink services are provided by the I.T. Division:

TechLink Broadcast (videoconference involving at least two separate endpoints).

TechLink Non-broadcast (use of a room and its videoconferencing system without connecting to another location, i.e., local use).

Content Capture and Storage (recording of TechLink sessions for future access by the customer).

Audio Conference (telephone conference using the I.T. audio bridge).

Satellite uplink / downlink services (broadcast or reception of content via satellite).

TechLink User Assistance

The I.T. Division recommends that customers participate in an appropriate orientation or training program before attempting to use any Institutional videoconferencing system. Available training is listed below, and is intended to enhance the customer’s overall TechLink experience.

Event Management System user training – available from the I.T. Division Telecommunication Services Department in Lubbock at (806) 743-7064.

TechLink Classroom and Multi-media Teaching Podium user training – available at all TTUHSC campuses. May be scheduled through the I.T. Division’s Education Services Department in Lubbock at (806) 743-1500. (NOTE: Initial user orientation is available from the applicable regional campus TechLink staff for customers who have not yet attended the formal offered by the I.T. Division)

Telemedicine Systems user training – available from the F. Marie Hall Institute for Community and Rural Health in Lubbock at (806) 743-1338.

Configuration Management

Institutional videoconferencing systems are equipped with a standard set of multi-media features available at all TTUHSC campus locations. This ensures equal access to educational, business, medical, and other services by providing consistent functionality and performance from campus to campus. Added benefits include simplified technical support; and lower maintenance and operational costs. The CIO or designee is the approving authority for all configuration changes, and with the exceptions below, users are not permitted to change the standard configuration or functionality by adding, removing, altering or reconfiguring hardware or software. Requests to change an Institutional videoconferencing system, facility, or feature, may be submitted to the Office of the CIO or the Senior Director of Telecommunication Services (See Requests for Change below). The installation of unapproved hardware or software on Institutional videoconferencing systems, or the intentional alteration, misconfiguration, or removal of all or any part of these systems is a violation of policy (See also Disciplinary Process).

Exceptions

The following actions by users in the course of their events are not considered unauthorized configuration changes:

• Feature selection and other adjustments regarding user-accessible equipment in the TechLink Multi-media Teaching Podiums. (The I.T. Division encourages users to coordinate these changes in advance with the TechLink Control Center to avoid the potential disruption of network events).

• The loading of content CDs, DVDs, and user files on PCs in the TechLink Multi-media Teaching Podiums. (All user files should be removed at the end of each class or other videoconferencing session).

• The temporary connection of departmental or user-owned laptop PCs and thumb drives to the TechLink Multi-media Teaching Podiums. (The I.T. Division encourages users to include this requirement in their scheduling requests; and to make their laptops available to the I.T. video staff for functional checks in advance of scheduled events. This is to ensure compatibility and proper operation with the teaching podium system due to the wide range of devices available to users).

NOTE: Only designated I.T. Division staff may load application programs on teaching podium PCs, following an operational and security review in which no issues are identified that may interfere with system functionality, privacy, or network security.

NOTE: Departmental and personal media storage devices such as PCs, laptop PCs, thumb drives, CDs, and DVDs, must be scanned for viruses and malware before attaching to any Institutional videoconferencing system.

Requests for Change

Faculty, staff, or students desiring to alter the configuration, features, or functionality of an Institutional videoconferencing system or facility, may submit a written change request to the Senior Director of Telecommunication Services, Information Technology Division, MS 7755 for evaluation.  Requests should include the following minimum information:

• Requestor’s name.

• Requestor’s school or department.

• Requestor’s telephone number and e-mail address.

• Description of the proposed change.

• Reason for the proposed change.

• The affected facility and system (such as Odessa RAHC, Room 1C-12, teaching podium).

Following an evaluation of the proposed change, the I.T. Division will respond to the requestor, and if the change is approved, work with the requestor on an implementation plan.

(NOTE: Anyone needing assistance to prepare a change request may contact the Senior Director of Telecommunication Services at (806) 743-1500.

Procurement Review

Videoconferencing equipment, services, and software intended for connection to the TTUHSC network, shall be reviewed and approved by the CIO or designee prior to purchase. (See also I.T. Procurement Review and the section above on Connectivity.) 

Scheduling Priorities for TechLink Facilities and Services

Consistently heavy demand for videoconferencing services at TTUHSC requires the use of these resources to be managed on a scheduled basis according to the priorities and procedures below. This ensures that events receive preferential consideration according to Institutional priorities when conflicting resource reservations occur. 

Distance Learning Classrooms:

• Priority 1 - TechLink Broadcast (videoconference) with other endpoints for academic courses of TTUHSC.

• Priority 2 - TechLink Non-broadcast (local use of distance learning classrooms and their installed videoconferencing systems) for academic courses of TTUHSC.

• Priority 3 – TechLink Broadcast for all Institutional events other than academic courses.

• Priority 4 – TechLink Non-broadcast use of distance learning classrooms and their installed videoconferencing systems for any Institutional event.

General Purpose Videoconference Rooms:

• Priority 1 – TechLink Broadcast for any Institutional event.

• Priority 2 – TechLink Non-broadcast use of videoconference rooms and their installed videoconferencing systems for any Institutional event.

Videoconference Rooms Assigned to Administrators, Deans, Departments, and Schools:

• Priority 1 - Internal use by the administrator, dean, department, or school with administrative control of the conference room for any Institutional event.

• Priority 2 – TechLink Broadcast or Non-broadcast use by any TTUHSC student, faculty, or staff for any Institutional event, when approved by the responsible administrator, department head, or dean.

Telemedicine Consultation Facilities:

• Priority 1 – TechLink Broadcast for scheduled or emergency telemedicine consultations.

• Priority 2 – TechLink Broadcast or Non-broadcast use by telemedicine staff for telemedicine education, training, or demonstration purposes.

• Priority 3 – TechLink Broadcast or Non-broadcast use by any TTUHSC faculty, staff, or student for any Institutional event.

Teaching Studios and Auditoriums equipped with videoconferencing systems:

• Same priorities as for Distance Learning Classrooms

NOTE: In the event of an emergency telemedicine consultation when no other telemedicine facilities are available, resources previously scheduled for other broadcast or non-broadcast purposes may be reassigned to accommodate the emergency situation. Time permitting, every effort will be made to inform the organizer of the affected event(s), but such notification cannot be assured.

Scheduling Procedures for TechLink Facilities and Services

Requests to schedule (reserve) TechLink Broadcast and Non-broadcast video services are submitted through the Event Management System. Reservation requests may be submitted on behalf of customers by designated scheduling staff; or directly by the requestor. Designated scheduling staff include the I.T. Division TechLink Network Scheduling Coordinator, regional campus schedulers, and those assigned to scheduling duties within the Classroom Support Department. Persons in these categories should use the EMS Client version; and the EMS Web Portal is available for individual faculty, staff, and students to request TechLink services.

At the Lubbock campus: contact the Classroom Support Department at (806) 743-2288 for assistance, or submit a scheduling request directly through the EMS Web Portal. The Classroom Support Department will forward requests involving TechLink services to the I.T. Division TechLink Scheduling Coordinator for confirmation. Further assistance may be obtained by contacting the I.T. Division TechLink Scheduling Coordinator (806) 743-7064.

At the regional campuses: contact your school or department’s administrative offices for the name and telephone number of your regional campus scheduler. This person will forward requests involving TechLink services to the I.T. Division TechLink Scheduling Coordinator for confirmations. Further assistance may be obtained by contacting the I.T. Division TechLink Scheduling Coordinator (806) 743-7064.

At all campuses, contact the F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health in Lubbock at (806) 743-4440, to schedule the use of telemedicine facilities.

At the Lubbock campus, contact the I.T. Division TechLink Scheduling Coordinator (806) 743-7064 to schedule use of the I.T. audio bridge and satellite uplink / downlink services.

Information Required to Schedule TechLink Facilities and Services

When reserving the use of TechLink facilities or services, customers should provide the following minimum essential information to support their requests:

• Event date.

• Event beginning and ending times.

• Requestor information (i.e., the name and telephone number of the person who is scheduling the TechLink services).

• Presenter name and telephone number.

• A list of all campuses and/or other locations to be included in the event (NOTE: for locations outside of the TTUHSC campus system, provide a contact name and telephone number for technical coordination).

• The originating site (location of instructor or presenter) if the event is a TechLinked class.

• A list of special technical needs the Presenter will have including:

o Pre-event training in the use of the teaching podium or videoconference room system.

o Use of personal laptop (state whether MAC or PC).

o Use of CD, DVD, thumb drive, or other device.

o Use of the Internet.

o Webinar services.

o Content capture (recording) services.

o Other as may be applicable.

NOTE: for recurring events, provide a listing of all event dates, beginning and ending times, and locations involved, for each event date.

Additional Information Regarding the Scheduling of TechLink Facilities and Services

• Short-notice requirements – to schedule TechLink services Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm with less than 2 hours advance notice, customers have the option of using EMS or contacting the I.T. Division TechLink Scheduling Coordinator directly for support. Customers with greater than 2 hours advance notice of their events are asked to use EMS as described above in the section on Scheduling Procedures for TechLink Facilities and Services.

• Telemedicine emergencies – to schedule TechLink emergency telemedicine support Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm, contact the TechLink Video Network Control Center directly at 743-7053; 7054; 7060; or 7061.

• Telemedicine emergencies – to schedule TechLink emergency telemedicine support after hours and weekends, contact the On-call technician at 743-7053.

• TechLink connections to locations outside the TTUHSC network, require 2-3 work days advance notice due to the need for equipment compatibility testing.

• After-hours events – a minimum of 14 days advance notice is required to schedule a TechLink event that will be held outside of normal business hours (Does not apply to telemedicine emergencies.)

• Weekend events – a minimum of one month advance notice is required to schedule a TechLink event that will be held on a Saturday and/or Sunday. (Does not apply to telemedicine emergencies.)

• Institutional holidays – TechLink services are not available on official Institutional holidays except for telemedicine emergency support.

Changes to Scheduled Events

The I.T. Division manages the support of TechLink Broadcast and Non-broadcast services through the use of an event schedule which ensures that distance learning classrooms and other video facilities and services are ready for use when needed. Effective customer support can be assured only if the TechLink Event Schedule includes accurate information from users concerning their scheduled TechLink events. This requires that users communicate any changes to their “Confirmed TechLink” events as soon as they become known. Accordingly, changes affecting confirmed TechLink Broadcast and Non-broadcast events should be reported to the Classroom Support Department in Lubbock at (806) 743-2288; or to the appropriate regional campus scheduling staff. Classroom Support and regional scheduling staff should use the “Reminder” feature of EMS to notify the I.T. Division TechLink Scheduling Coordinator of any changes to Confirmed TechLink events received by their department. Only the designated I.T. scheduling staff is permitted to implement changes to scheduled TechLink events. Examples of reportable changes are listed below.

• Event cancellation.

• Addition or deletion of participating endpoints.

• Change in beginning or ending time of an event.

• Change in event date.

• Change in event duration.

• Change in the origination site of TechLink broadcast events.

• Change in expected group size.

Fee for Service

The use of certain TechLink and other I.T. Division audio-visual facilities and services may result in service charges to the customer. Examples of facilities and services for which these charges may be assessed, include:

• Technical support of after hours and weekend TechLink Broadcast and Non-broadcast events.

• Satellite uplinks and downlinks.

• I.T. production studio services.

• Videoconferencing project support such as consulting, design, procurement, installation, project management, and associated services.

• Operational support of customer owned equipment including onsite maintenance, network technical services, and associated support.  

Technical Difficulties

Customers needing technical assistance with an Institutional videoconferencing system during a TechLink Broadcast or Non-broadcast event may contact the local or central TechLink Video Network Control Center by telephone (or directly via the room microphone if the audio link is functioning). Depending upon their location, customers should use one of the following numbers to reach a TechLink Video Network Control Center if calling by telephone:

Lubbock (Central Control): (806) 743-7053; 7054; 7060; or 7061

Abilene:   (325) 676-3899 (O); (325) 829-7940 (C)

Amarillo:   (806) 356-4629; 806-356-4048

Dallas (VA Campus)   (214) 372-2817 (O); (817) 808-5634 (C)

Dallas (Forest Park):   (214) 351-2224 (O); (214) 500-6373 (C)

El Paso:   (915) 545-6407

Midland:   (432) 620-8057

Odessa:   (432) 335-5197

All other locations:   Use the Lubbock contact numbers

Videoconferencing Systems Security

Institutional videoconferencing equipment, software, systems, and services are subject to the same security rules and policies that govern other electronic communications at TTUHSC. As a further precaution, departmental and personal media storage devices such as PCs, laptop PCs, thumb drives, CDs, and DVDs, must be scanned for viruses and malware before attaching to any Institutional videoconferencing system. (See also Security and Disciplinary Process).

Audits of Videoconferencing Equipment, Systems, and Software

(See also Security).

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