Steve Laluna's Outline


Steve Laluna's Chapter

Technology/Communication at Lehigh


Specifically focusing on aspects of Lehigh’s official, central information pages like Portal and Banner. This section should include brief descriptions of functionality, particularly if we want to appeal to a non-Lehigh audience. Larger elements within to be covered are how effective the system of centralization is as well as security. By effectiveness, I refer to the ease of obtaining information through Portal. Is our information at our fingertips, or is it easier to simply Google-search what we’re looking for? How might we re-envision how we organize information at Lehigh? Security issues might be spotting potential problems with password weaknesses and how safe personal student information is. This is something I intend to ask WIRED more about.

Bandwidth Usage

Bandwidth is a concern with any web server or network, and Lehigh is no exception. Students are allotted standard [8/9] gigabytes of bandwidth over a three-day period. How is bandwidth allocated across campus? If students exceed this limit, they are sent to the “Penalty Box,” effectively rendering them with a 56k connection for 72 hours. Is this just deterrence for illegal downloading or does a marginal bandwidth overuse by an individual student negatively impact the entire network? The limit has also been expanded since the 2006-07 school year, so are there any plans to expand it further in the near future? Lastly, the subject of student use of BitTorrent (or any other P2P usage) is an area to explore here, particularly Lehigh’s defense of students who receive warnings from the RIAA or similar organizations, and whether or not other universities will defend their own students in the same way.

Central Academic Network

Lehigh integrates a third-party, centralized academic network to provide students and faculty with the ease of organizing class information and documents over the internet on a privately-accessible website. Currently, the system in place is Blackboard, but Lehigh seeks to move to Moodle by the fall 2010 semester. What are the pros and cons of different systems? What factors did Lehigh consider when thinking about making the move? Are there other alternatives, and more to the point, does this concept of a system work? To go even further, what does the development of new communication technology like Google Wave (free, universally accessible, and exponentially more customizable) mean for these third-party systems—will they be rendered obsolete, forced to re-envision themselves as a means of competition, or become outright assimilated?


Lehigh’s standard web-based email client is the IMP—to be completely fair, it’s ugly, primitive, and the subject of complaint from students more often than not. Yet at the same time, other options like Thunderbird and Gmail integration are out there, but students (whether out of laziness or downright ignorance) don’t take advantage of such opportunities. What reasons does Lehigh give for using IMP as its standard client? Last semester there were numerous surveys done about IMP mail, and if survey results were favorable towards it, then it certainly seems to conflict with current student opinion. Is there any way to integrate Lehigh email with another client, or would Lehigh just rather keep its own communication on its own server? Especially if the answer involves the latter, some interesting questions about web security arise.


Obviously, a great deal of information from Lehigh’s WIRED staff will be needed for data and evidence in writing this. Even aside from the previous areas of focus, however, it might be wise to talk about the WIRED program itself. Specifically, areas like administration and operation are necessities. I might also look into academic licensing from software companies (Microsoft, for example, has a university partnership that allows registered students to receive their software for free) and the processes behind gaining that kind of permission. Is this free distribution of software something that a corporation like Microsoft believes would be beneficial as a promo, for example?

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