DATA WAREHOUSING AND ARCHIVE MANAGEMENT
The purpose of the Session Long Project in Trident University classes is to give you the opportunity to explore the applicability of the Module to your own life, work, and place in space and time, and to experiment with the Module to see how the otherwise academically rigorous presentation of a topic may, with more or less work and/or trauma, become “up close and personal”. This is done in a number of different ways—sometimes cumulative papers, sometimes practical hands-on experimentation with a tool of some sort, sometimes reflections on a place of work or life. The common thread is personal application, aimed at demonstrating a cumulative knowledge and understanding of the course’s material.
For this course, the Project will take the form of encounters with online tools and resources of several forms. Each Module will feature some website to visit, occasionally some tool to download and experiment with, or some demo to experience, in search of enlightenment about the kinds of resources available to IT professionals in our increasingly information-rich but sometimes painfully crowded professional community. It’s almost inevitable that for any given Module, some of the class members will already have had experience with the “tool of choice”; when it happens to you, please resist the temptation to lay into the faculty with a claim that we’re not teaching you anything new; we assure you that even if it’s known to you, it is NOT known to a good many of your colleagues, and they’ll be glad for the lead. If you do have such experience, regard it as a minor gift of time from the Powers in charge of Session Long Projects; the write-up will be a piece of cake for you. You can use your spare time to dig further into another site or tool, or even to use the Threaded Discussion forum to share your experience and evaluations with your colleagues.
Most online demo sites, when we encounter them, will require you to enter a name and an email address by way of registration; if this bothers you, try using a pseudonym and a convenience free email account from Hotmail or Yahoo, or just try some other one. All they want is a place to send a password, generally. It is also possible that you will receive follow-up inquiries from sites that you have visited; if this concerns you, please read our policy note on this issue.
Each Module, then, you’ll be directed toward some resource; your task will be to enter and/or use it, form some conclusions, questions, and ideas about its possibilities, and to write up those thoughts for our review. The general format for the write-up is found here. You’ll be assessed on the degree of effort and enthusiasm you appear to invest in the exercise, the accuracy of your descriptions and the salience of your conclusions, your ability to generalize and to place the tool in a context of both the material for that Module and other similar sorts of tools from other sources , and the degree to which you involve yourself in making this a useful part of your education. All the good stuff, in short!
If you work in an area subject to security clearances and regulations, or if the computer to which you have access is restricted in critical ways in terms of what you are at liberty to download and use (because of capacity, policy and/or security rules, or other factors) then your ability to carry out the assignments as presented may somewhat compromised. Never Fear! TUI is known for its flexibility and ability to reconfigure assignments imaginatively, and we stand ready to help you here as well! Please review our policy on assignments and national security. Alternatives are available, and while you’ll miss some of the learning benefits of the assignment, you can still get a substantial measure. Please let your instructor know as soon as you can if you will be operating under any sort of limitations on your computing capacity, so that you can work out suitable arrangements.
In addition, it is a good idea to be sure that your computer is appropriately protected from the bad Guys Out There. There are some security precautions that are particularly important to observe before setting out on any Internet excursion, including these projects. Please review our set of recommendations about ensuring the security of your computer and try to implement them if possible before you undertake any of these exercises.
So—that’s the general SLP strategy. If you have questions at any point about what to do or how to strategize your exercise, please contact your instructor for illumination.
The following are the links you can’t reach, in order.
NOTE ON CONTACTS FROM VISITED WEBSITES
In this class in particular, and in a number of the other classes in the MS-ITM program, the Session Long Project involves interactions with internet-based resources including professional resource web sites and, occasionally, downloadable software demonstrations. This is appropriate, given the enormous proliferation of Internet resources and the need for students to become conversant with these resources; we’d be remiss if we didn’t try to call attention to the increasingly interesting and available materials available online. Happily, based on comments from the majority of MS-ITM students seem very satisfied with this approach.
Unfortunately, like most of the rest of the world, the Internet does not constitute a free lunch. In the areas that interest us, companies post information because they know eventually it will profit them. These profits pay for the maintenance of the sites, the development of the software, and for a marketing infrastructure to bring in revenue. In other words, if you come to the “showroom” and browse around, you shouldn’t be surprised if a “virtual salesman” contacts you to see if you are interested in purchasing something.
Students should be aware that there is a possibility that their interest in online resources may be interpreted as a marketing opportunity. However, this is not really a critical problem. I personally have been visiting such Internet sites, examining demonstration software, and making use of professional resources placed there by companies as part of a marketing strategy, for a number of years. I receive e-mail messages and occasional phone calls from sales personnel responding to inquiries that I make about their web sites all the time. This is simply normal marketing behavior on their part. By visiting their website, I do not incur any particular obligation to the marketer other than that to respond civilly. There’s nothing inappropriate about seeking information or even product demonstrations from a web site when that information is made publicly available, as long as you don’t misrepresent the nature of your interest.
If I feel a need to explain why I was interested in a website, I just say that I’m a professor teaching a course in the area, and that I’m interested in exposing students to available products and services, including theirs. I’ve had nothing but positive responses from those marketers I’ve talked with; they’re often really pleased to find themselves considered as an educational experience. For students who are so contacted, it is perfectly all right to respond that you are a student in the College of Information Systems studying the topic, in this case knowledge management, and that you might be interested in the various products and services available from the firms servicing the sector. I can’t imagine that any vendor would find such a response inappropriate, unless they had specifically said that they were interested only in responses from those who plan to buy. In that case, you should not have made the inquiry in the first place, but such restrictions are extremely rare.
I continue to believe that this variety of assignment, flexibly administered and with a relatively high degree of discretion in its accomplishment given to the student, offers a significant advantage over the more traditional experiential approaches. Excepting the occasional company inquiry, and some administrative restrictions on Internet access imposed by organizations operating in highly secure environments, there do not seem to be many downsides to this approach. The price of participation in the marketplace is generally just participation in the marketplace; companies make certain resources available to the public and ask in return only that we evaluate these resources and provide occasional feedback to the source. If a site states that software downloading ought to be restricted only to potential buyers of the product, I would not presume to violate that expectation. But this is seldom the case; for the most part, companies are pleased to have anyone experiment with their product, recognizing that second and third-hand transmission of such information may be as valuable to their marketing strategy as primary exposure.
If you are really concerned about maintaining absolute privacy, there are ways to do so. While it is not appropriate to lie to companies about the purposes of your inquiry, it may be appropriate to restrict the information provided in some ways. For example, as an e-mail address, you might use an anonymous e-mail account obtained from a public source such as Hotmail or Gmail, which is kept for such encounters exclusively and does not directly link back to you. Generally, the provision of information such as telephone numbers is voluntary; just because a piece of information is requested does not mean it has to be provided in full detail. Always feel free to withhold any item of information that you do not feel wholly comfortable sharing. For example, I almost never provide telephone numbers.
Having said all of the above, it, of course, remains possible that you may encounter something risky or malicious as a result of doing something in one of the SLPs. If you encounter any serious problems with any of these assignments, or if anyone is providing substantially negative feedback to you on your participation in their firm’s public offers of information, please let us your professor at once, so that we can share this information and reduce the possibilities for embarrassment all around. Conversely, if you have a particularly positive experience at some company or site, we’d like to know about that too. We hope that you will get substantial value from these assignments, and that they will constitute a useful part of the learning derived from this course in this program. We are always here to try to help resolve problems; let us know if any emerge from these assignments, and we’ll work something out.
REVIEW OF PROFESSIONAL RESOURCE WEBSITES
The Internet is a great professional resource, but information found there needs to be interpreted carefully. The SLP assignments for this course often involve the review of professional resource websites. These review assignments are intended to give you experience both with the particular sites and resources in question and with the general process of using web resources for professional purposes.
The general format for such reviews is 3-4 pages of description, analysis, and evaluation, structured as follows:
· summary description of its structure and purpose
· its overall “look and feel” and apparent target audience
· what the site does and does not give you,
· why you will or will not find it a useful addition to your professional resources list,
· what you might go back there for,
· what you hoped to find but did not,
· links there that you find helpful to follow up
· any other things about the site that you find salient and worth noting to others
· bottom-line evaluation of its value to you
The last point is very important. Be honest and direct; your assessment is helpful to you and to others. If you don’t find it helpful, say so and why, and try to explain what you would find more useful in its place. But also do try to remember also that your education isn’t yet finished, that things you don’t understand now and don’t yet see the value of may turn out later on to be relevant and useful, and that the site’s creators may know more about the topic and the profession than you do yet.
Whenever you find a new site that seems particularly relevant to you, share it with your instructor and/or your colleagues in the program.
NOTE ON SECURITY ISSUES
Very important if you have a security clearance or work on a classified or partly classified computer system
We know and understand that many TUI students, particularly those in the military, hold security clearances, work on classified or partly classified computer systems, or otherwise operate in the realm of national or corporate security. Since many of the TUI faculty have or have had security clearances in the past, we are thoroughly aware of the issues involved and the restrictions placed on the individuals and the information in the secure environment. We thoroughly support the security clearance system and national security in all ways.
That said, the following cautionary note may be in order. A number of SLP assignments and Threaded Discussion topics in this course and other courses at TUI may call for you to download software, analyze and comment on your computer systems and procedures, or otherwise engage in fairly intimate and revelatory behavior with respect to your system. Here’s the bottom line: If at any point carrying out the requirements of an exercise could lead to conflict with security regulations, breach security in any way, or otherwise necessitate doing things to systems, disclosing sensitive information, or anything similar, obviously Security Wins. You are never required to do anything you’re not supposed to as part of a TUI course. Further, you will never be penalized in your grade or any other way for not being able to carry out an exercise for security reasons.
All you need to do is to explain the situation to your instructor, and appropriate adjustments can be made by either waiving or substituting required parts of the assignment.
We hope that this note makes it clear that while academics is serious business to us, so is national security. Inevitably, the two will intersect in some ways during your TUI schooling; just remember that we understand what’s going on in the world as well as the academy, and we want you to keep in good standing with both of us!
If you have any questions about any aspects of this policy, please check with your instructor.
Downloading of anything from the Internet entails some degree of risk for exposure to computer virus and their relations and to various varieties of “malware” (adware, spyware, etc.) Most of you are already running some form of virus protection software (if not, shame on you!); many are probably running some adware/spyware protection as well.
You may already have participated in an exercise in an earlier TUIU class that addressed these issues; if so, consider yourself warned and continue to watch out. If this is the first you’ve heard about these issues, we strongly suggest that you carry out some key steps that were part of that exercise:
· Check out the performance of your present anti-virus program. Compare it with at least one other; a reasonable place to start looking for an alternative would be PC Magazine’s comparative reviews of security programs. Another source for shareware and advice is Kim Komando’s website, www.komando.com; she does a radio show, among other things. If you’re firmly committed to free alternatives, take a look at brighthub.com’s Best Free Virus Protection for Windows (http://www.brighthub.com/computing/smb-security/articles/88397.aspx).
· Alternatively, or better, in addition, put your system through one of the reputable online virus scans from a major vendor. These include Trend Micro’s Housecall, PC Pitstop Virus Scan, or any of those described in this reference from About.com.
· Take a look at spyware/adware blockers. As an introduction, look at Firewallguide’s summary of the problems. A good starting place to look at alternative remedies is TechNewsWorld’s article on Free Utilities To Annihilate Spyware, reviewing popular and free programs. If possible, download one or two of them and install them on your machine; try them out at removing bad things from your system (you may be surprised — as an example, I recently ran a scan on one of my machines and found 286 new threats – and I’m a reasonably savvy and careful computer user!)
There are a vast variety of online resources available in this area available for you to Google at your leisure.
Just be sure that you steer clear of the unfortunately rather numerous programs that suddenly pop up on your screen, informing you that you have some malware problems and that you need to download their “protection” software right away. These are almost invariably malware themselves, and if you download anything from them, it’s likely to be something like a rootkit-based trojan like the one that a friend of mine contracted; it took me over a week, numerous visits to several tech support websites, and countless running of cleaning programs and rebootings before it was finally cleared.