OneIT: What’s Next

Recall that the OneIT program is meant to explore ways to strengthen GT’s IT community in a variety of ways, including:

  • social and professional activities
  • education
  • knowledge sharing
  • openness to shared experimentation

Having enjoyed an opportunity to network and socialize over King of Pops and paper airplanes, we want to continue developing the program with a couple of new activities.

1) Interest groups

The OneIT Steering Committee is necessarily fairly generic in scope — its purpose is to explore and encourage general ways to strengthen the IT community, independent of any particular area or type of technology. But we do see an opportunity for the campus to strengthen collaboration through formation of “interest groups” — these would be formed around specific topics or technology areas. OneIT can help support these groups by helping design, organize, and promote awareness of them.

Interest groups could vary somewhat in their purpose — for example, a discussion-oriented group might seek to solicit feedback or promote roadmap development of a technology or set of technologies, such as identity management. A working group might be established to create a proof-of-concept installation for a new technology. A study group might be formed to formulate a policy suggestion to be submitted to governance bodies. In any case, these groups would require

  • a description of their scope
  • a leader or leaders
  • a statement of goals, as concrete as possible

We believe there is opportunity for several useful interest groups across different areas — possibly involving aspects of IT such as identity management, enterprise data, professional development, development/service methodologies. The following two interest groups can serve as a starting point:

  1. Identity Management

    This interest group will promote the exchange of information and suggestions about all facets of identity management. The emphasis is on representations of people and groups in IT-facing systems. Current examples of technologies in this area include Mage, GTED, GRS, Grouper, GTAD, BuzzAPI. This is a community users group intended to discuss campus needs in identity, existing solutions and best practices, and possible service changes. This interest group will be led by Bert Bee-Lindgren.

  2. Professional Development

    This interest group, unlike others, will be led directly by members the OneIT Steering Committee ā€” this is because the topic is broad and generally applicable across the IT community. The goal for this interest group is to develop a set of recommended practices for promoting professional development for members of the IT community. This may include an ā€œIT 101ā€ on-boarding curriculum to address the perennial complaint that new members of the IT community are often left on their own to discover available services and how to use them; or sponsoring a series of brown bags for outside experts to come to GT to discuss emerging technologies; or developing a recommendation for how to fairly fund professional development activities across the entire IT community.

Yet we don’t want to presume what is most interesting to the community. Therefore, we’d like to invite nominations for interest group topics through the rest of this month. Please send nominations to oneit@gatech.edu; we will survey the IT community in early June to determine the ideas which garner the most interest — these will serve as our initial interest groups.

OneIT intends to offer as much support as possible for these groups, such as promoting awareness of group purposes, meeting times, etc; support for scheduling meetings or locating meeting space if needed; a platform for capturing/sharing group work and results; technology resources if needed.

While the process of interest group nomination and formation is underway, we will also try a few smaller programs:

2) IT 101 for IT Staff

A common observation is that new IT staff at GT, particularly those in support roles within campus units, often have few ways of learning about the various services and collegial groups available to them. In accordance with the “experimental” tenet of OneIT, I will be offering a first attempt at a “curriculum” to address this need. (This is timely, as we in Ivan Allen College have a new staff member and need to do this anyway.) I will be in touch with more about this for anyone else who may want to join, but this is tentatively scheduled for May 10-12, 9am-11am — the first two days will be focused on campus services, while the last will focus on IAC-specific services (still open to anyone, but of less general interest). This is intended to give new or relatively new IT staff (including student IT workers) an overview of all standard IT services.

3) IT 101 for Students

Similarly, a common need across many parts of campus involves instructing new students about IT services available to them. (This is often a particular problem for graduate students, who have no standard introduction to IT services on campus and are sometimes unaware of useful IT services.) We will develop a standard introduction to common services for students in any academic unit. This should allow for a more cohesive view of IT at GT. We will make the first presentation of this class available in the first week of the summer term (week of May 15) and will be in touch about that separately.

4) Summer Social

We will also plan another social/networking event in late summer — most likely the week of July 24. We’ll be in touch with more detail closer to that time.

5) Speaker Series

We will periodically sponsor speakers on special IT topics — for example, these may be on emerging technologies of interest or service roadmaps for major campus IT services. We intend the schedule the first event in the speaker series in July.

We hope these activities will prove useful, but we’ll watch and listen carefully to determine if they are indeed valuable to the community. We see these as experiments to determine what kinds of activities help to build a more cohesive IT community. We welcome feedback or suggestions — please send those to oneit@gatech.edu. Thank you!