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CHECK 2021

The 2023 Conference on Higher Education Computing in Kansas (CHECK) was hosted by the University of Kansas Wednesday, May 19, and Thursday, May 20, 2021. It was an online conference. 


Opening remarks, keynote, and optional Q&A

May 19, 8:45 AM

Suzie Johannes, Mary Walsh, Jeff Perry

Jeff Perry is a seasoned technology executive who has been a CTO, VP, Founder, and a Digital Transformation advisor to many of the top organizations in the world.  He serves as a subject matter expert to help key organization accelerate their technology driven initiatives and operate in more agile, customer-centric, and sustainable ways.

A winner of the ‘US CTO of the Year’ award, Jeff brings 20+ years of experience navigating the intersection between customers, people, processes, and technology.  He has extensive experience in Cloud Computing, Organizational Change, IT Security and Governance, and Consulting.

Jeff was the CTO and Head of Research Computing at the University of Kansas.  He has built and led teams at a number of major technology companies & built startups in the web space.  Jeff advises & teaches courses in the area of high performing teams, technology management, and technical computing areas.  He is an avid maker, woodworker, reader, hiker, and technology wonk.  Jeff has a passion for expanding access to education, healthcare, and ending poverty & homelessness. He resides outside of Kansas City with his family and a menagerie of animals his kids brought home.

Netbox - Cleaning up IPAM/DCIM documentation and beginning to automate using Python with Netmiko

May 19, 10:45 AM

Isaac Duryea

Talking about our experience working with Netbox and showing what we use it for and what we are wanting to use it for.

Also talking about our efforts to automate configuration of devices in our various systems using Python with Netmiko to make it easier to make changes and cut down on inconsistencies.

Extreme customer support operations in challenging times, how we kept IT support for our customers going

May 19, 10:45 AM

Waldo Berry, Fred Darkow, Erik Crouch, Erik Carlson, John Haverty, Tami Koester, Milissa Hawkins, Ross Powell, Shadi Tafaroji, Melanie Jones, Jake Coffman, Michael Nease

IT support has always been an area primed to adapt to change.  The challenge presented by the pandemic was for us, just meeting another need to be extremely ready to adapt and change to meet the demands of our students, faculty, and staff. This panel would like to share some of the unique steps, processes, and adaptations we made to meet our school's IT support mission. Each of us took different approaches to the same challenges, thus resulting in success in each case.

Partnering for innovation: PSU, The City of Pittsburg, and Pitsco Education create an innovation space in historic downtown Pittsburg buildings

May 19, 10:45 AM

Carol Sevin, Emily Finch, Renee Gates, Jeffrey Sheldon

Join us to hear the story of how PSU, The City of Pittsburg, and Pitsco Education came together to create the nationally award-winning Block 22! Block 22 is made up of a state-of-the-art innovation lab, unique PSU student living quarters, a coffee shop, 3 amazing restaurants, and a variety of private businesses…all housed in historic downtown buildings!  PSU IT has been involved since day one, tackling the unique IT needs that had to be met to create this innovative and beloved space.

The research cyber-infrastructure ecosystem

May 19, 2:00 PM

James Deaton

An exploration of existing and upcoming resources for research cyber-infrastructure (computing, storage, network and people).

Off balance: Find your work-life balance as a 24/7, on-call, in-demand IT geek

May 19, 2:00 PM

Jeff Burns,Luecrita Haraughty,John Kuefler, Amanda Williams

Whether you have been working in the IT field for 10 months or 10 years you know by now that clients have needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  With all of the pressures that both work and personal life bring, can you find a happy balance?  Join us for a panel discussion as several PSU IT professionals, that have busy IT lives and busy home lives, share their challenges, lessons, and strategies to find the balance that they need to operate at their highest levels personally and professionally.

Building KU's custom, enterprise content management system with Drupal

May 19, 2:00 PM

Adam Braun, Chris Welchhans

In June 2019, KU Marketing and Communications and KU IT kicked off a redesign project aimed at updating the university’s more than 600 school, department, and unit websites. The collaboration between KU Marketing and Communications and KU IT resulted in a custom content management system (CMS) implementation with a distinctive and modern design. Join us to learn about the tools that helped facilitate the partnership with our marketing and communications counterparts. Discover lessons learned throughout the design and development processes.

Security Onion: From PoC to production

May 19, 3:00 PM

Rick Whitmore

At CHECK 2019, we presented some open source proofs of concept the security office had developed. One of those, Security Onion, grew into a full-fledged production environment, logging 150 million events a day. This presentation will discuss that process, and how we did it.

The transformative effect of broadband infrastructure on higher education

May 19, 3:00 PM

Cort Buffington

In the typical paradigm, we expect that each time there is a new need to move data on or off of our campuses, there will be some incremental fee. Cloud migrations, business continuity, VoIP, remote learning, etc.; the one thing in common is the need to reliably, predictably move more and more data. But what if the wide area network looked more like the Enterprise LAN? With direct access to middle-mile fiber optic infrastructure by the higher ed community, we can realize this goal – a new initiative becomes the cost of an optic, or an interface, and not a recurring service provider charge and a contract term. As KanREN has seen over the last decade, direct access to middle-mile fiber has a positive transformative effect on everything from time-to-deploy, to basic viability of new projects and initiatives. This presentation will discuss this effect, and KanREN's vision for institutional broadband infrastructure for Kansas.

Changing the culture one dad joke at a time

May 19, 3:00 PM

Jessica Smith, Dominique Newland

The KUMC Project Management Office established a cross-functional team in 2018 whose purpose was to review new technology prior to purchase. The team had two main goals - preventing issues during project implementation, and providing better information to our Information Technology and Security teams. Prior to this, there was little communication between IT departments, and teams often found work dumped in their lap with the expectation that they will "make it work."

This case study describes how the creation of this team helped to streamline processes, improve outcomes, and unexpectedly broke down barriers creating a ripple of cultural change.

Free Stuff! 2021 Edition

May 19, 3:00 PM

John Kuefler

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that we love free stuff. We love it even more when budgets are tight, which is an ever-present problem in higher education - particularly right now. What if you didn't have to spend a cent to get some high quality tools that solve some of your most common problems? In this session, we'll cover four free, enterprise grade platforms that require very little setup to hit the ground running. These tools include a ticketing/helpdesk system, a downtime alert system, a real-time, student-facing chat system, and a system for fostering prospective student contacts. Every single one of these platforms is cloud based, and for the most part they all "just work." Whether you need one of these types of platforms but haven't decided what to invest in yet, or you want to find ways to save in your IT budget, it's always worth it to look at how tools like these can add huge value without costing a cent!

Making the makerspace: How we created the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab

May 20, 9:00 AM

Jeff Sheldon, Jahvelle Rhone, Renee Gates, Carol Sevin, Shelly Griffin, Kevin Shippy

In response to a generous gift by the Sunderland Foundation, K-State Libraries and the Division of Information Technology collaborated to produce the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab, an academic makerspace in the university's Hale Library. The original concept was simple: oversee space renovations, identify and procure relevant emerging technologies, build community, and develop academic programming through outreach and classroom enhancement. One year in, however, a fire shuttered Hale Library and all seemed lost. Fast-forward 3 years: Hale Library has undergone substantial transformation, our committee has persisted despite the global pandemic, and the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab has opened its doors for early pilot programs and select student use. Join members of our planning committee as we travel back to 2018 and revisit the complexities and inspiring moments of how the "Innovation Lab" came to be.

Exploring university hosted cloud, video sharing, and social

May 20, 9:00 AM

Mark Arrasmith

The WSU Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Physics has been utilizing NextCloud to bring together departmental documents and collaboration. This talk will review our current use of NextCloud and explore extending this to Video (via PeerTube) and Social (via Mastadon). Finally, we’ll discuss the concept of a KBOR Fediverse among all our Universities.

The Pandemic Pivot: How higher education pivoted to meet the IT needs brought on by the pandemic

May 20, 9:00 AM

Staff from PSU

Join us for a discussion with PSU stakeholders to discuss the unique needs that have arisen during the pandemic and how IT has pivoted to meet some challenges and fallen short for others. This is a panel style discussion where we will visit with members from PSU’s central ITS dept, The Center for Teaching Learning and Technology, and most importantly PSU faculty and students. As we discuss the areas that we can improve upon as well as the areas that we are strong, we invite you to come prepared to share success stories and challenges that we can all learn from as we face a “new normal” in higher education.

Project management to the rescue: A hero during pandemic pandemonium

May 20, 10:00 AM

Angela Neria, Luecrita Haraughty

Learn how PSU's project management governance structure set us up to meet the pandemonium of the pandemic head-on and work through many unpredictable journeys along the way.  PSU will share their PM story leading up to the pandemic, including their processes driven by shared PM governance. In addition, PSU will share how PM unknowingly prepared them for a worldwide pandemic and guided them through new and unsuspecting pandemic projects.

DevOps : How to get started with CI/CD pipeline and Kubernetes

May 20, 10:00 AM

Hope Sun

DevOps facilitates cross-functional communication, end-to-end responsibility, and collaboration for speedy software development to provide better quality and customer satisfactions. The building blocks of DevOps are automations with CI/CD pipeline to shift left of unit testing, and integration tests, as well as . Coconfiguration of monitoring and security.

Using Discourse to drive content and student engagement

May 20, 10:00 AM

John Hammond

This will be a presentation about my evolving use of the open source discussion forum software, Discourse, to deliver content and engage with my students in math classes. This includes asynchronous lectures and embedding forums within my open source textbook. I'll also share how the rest of the WSU math department has begun implementing Discourse to support their needs.

We'll cover small howto’s for getting the system configured for mathematics and how IT departments can support and collaborate with instructors like me to get these technologies live.

Additive manufacturing in the workplace: Why every team needs a 3D printer

May 20, 11:00 AM

Erik Carlson

Sharing our experience using 3D printing and iterative design to speed up COVID response, save university funds, fill previously unfillable needs, and support our people and equipment.

Pain point: Updating IT policies

May 20, 11:00 AM

Rebecca Gould, Betsy Draper

While not the most riveting topic, updating policies is a part of IT governance that is often overlooked. In a quick review of nine IT policies across an average of eight universities, the oldest IT policy dated back to 1998. According to our Legislative Post Audit and now included in the review process is the procedure to review policies annually. IT policies carry the authority of the Chief Information Officer to ensure compliance and consistency of approach or level of performance. In the case of K-State, IT policies provide additional value of supporting strategic direction, as well as guidance in a highly distributed IT environment. This session will describe the policy review process developed in consultation with the Office of General Counsel and then walk through a few policy revisions using our process. The presentation will include changes made to policies, units on campus who were consulted, and any extensive deliberations resulting from policy updates. Updates will be provided on policies that were retired, or we hope to retire.

Endpoint management and security using PDQ Tools

May 20, 11:00 AM

David Nance, Jon Cooper, Amanda Williams

This presentation will cover our use of PDQ Inventory and Deployment for management of computers in our network. It will also discuss our use of security scanning tools (Nessus, etc.) to direct and automate these efforts.

Leveraging COVID-19 to drive digital transformation

May 20, 11:00 AM

Brett Morrill

With the sudden push to remote work, hybrid learning, and more online service delivery, now is the time to help drive change on campus to not just digitize business processes, but to digitally transform them. This presentation will discuss how Wichita State's ITS department is starting to help our users see the potential of going beyond just making paper digital, but how to truly leverage data, information systems, and custom development to reimagine a better way of doing and delivering business.

Lunch with the CIOs (CIO Panel Discussion)

May 20, 12:00 PM

Mary Walsh, Angela Neria, Cory Falldine, Mark Griffin, Gary Pratt, John Godfrey, Ken Harmon

Join the Regents Information Technology Council (RITC) for a round-table discussion on various information technology topics.

Helping users succeed in technology training

May 20, 2:00 PM

Joshua Collins

The KU Medical Center public websites consist of more than 15,000 web pages and 250 web editors. We want to share our experience designing and deploying a new training program that supports a variety of technical and non-technical users.

Amazon Web Services - Cost optimization

May 20, 2:00 PM

Greg Dressman, Kurt Zoglmann

The K-State Cloud team will go through the process we take to optimize our AWS bill on a monthly basis. Using this method we were able to save almost $50,000 in 2020.

Editing digital imagery in research: Exploring the fidelity-to-artificiality continuum

May 20, 2:00 PM

Shalin Hai-Jew

Researchers can edit their digital images in high-control ways down to the pixel level in Adobe Photoshop 2021. What are the rules of play for digital image editing to stay on the side of "fidelity" and not fall into "artificiality" (and potential academic fraud)?  This presentation provides a walk-through of some of the editing capabilities in Adobe Photoshop 2021 and the real-world entanglements with these digital editing powers.

Thank you to our 2023 Event Partners


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