[unisog] MSN Messenger - two questions

Samuel Liles sliles at purdue.edu
Wed Feb 21 05:33:45 GMT 2007

> From: Alan Rothenbush <alan at sfu.ca>
> Reply-To: <alan at sfu.ca>, UNIversity Security Operations Group
> <unisog at lists.dshield.org>
>> They want to use Web cams to video conference with.... prospective
>> students!?!?!?!? That's it. I officially am calling B.S.
> No, video among themselves, IM to many, internal and external.
>> It sounds to me that they have other needs for this besides conversing
>> with prospective students. For their sake, I'd suggest that they spell
>> out exactly what they want to accomplish,
> That's exactly what I've asked them to do .. come up with a requirements
> list, that is, define the PROBLEM.

Maybe this will help with your use case and considering the problems and

Instant messenger is a gap technology. It fills the gap between SMS on
phones, traditional email, and plain old telephone systems. The instant
messenger clients exist on a variety of devices besides computers. Instant
messenger is a collaborative tool as well as a communications tool. Staff,
faculty, and students are collaborating in many non-standard methods. Chat
sessions can be set up that allow fairly large groups to hammer out issues
in a live environment. As a faculty member I maintain an instant messenger
account on all the primary services using ADIUM (Gaim for Mac).

My requirements (and likely your own faculty) are derived by the necessary
collaboration between myself and faculty at other institutions, my
collaboration and consulting to industry, and providing a primary conduit
for student interaction. The messenger accounts and services required often
are directed by "who has the grant money". That is the individual who
usually decrees what will be used has the cash (including students). By not
being tied to a phone constantly I can spend more time in the lab, with my
students in group environments, or working with colleagues without worrying
about what I'm missing. Email does not serve this same purpose especially
when multiple individuals are involved or the problem space exists in real

Instant messenger is an invaluable pedogological tool for providing a sense
of presence and availability to students when teaching distance learning
courses. The interactive nature of instant messaging allows a professor
irregardless of geography to respond to student queries and questions. On
line office hours really exist. A group of students hashing out a problem
can ask me to join a chat with them and I can assist. While not being tied
to particular location. The value of removing the simplex method of distance
learning and changing it to a transactional communication method increases
the ability to provide a learning environment in real time.

The boogeyman of instant messaging and VOIP clients SKYPE (look up super
nodes) is also making headway into academia. I already have a few colleagues
that are using it extensively since they can "SKYPE" from anywhere and not
worry about being in a lab or office that may not have cell or phone
service. SKYPE also allows for text messaging so whether working with
documents or router configurations you can send text back and forth.

As I said I have accounts on most of the services currently available. And
to answer the question I am contacted maybe a half a dozen times a month
during the semester about attending our University by a prospective student.
They were either given my information by a current/former student, or they
cruised through my webpage and found the information there. Further since
I've been doing this for several years my "buddy" list is filled with a few
hundred accounts. Recently I was asked to gather some information on our
graduates and though many had moved to new jobs in other states I still was
able to contact them instantly.

Oh, and several people in our IT support group use instant messenger when
they need an opinion or want to use me as a sounding board.

Sam Liles
Purdue University Calumet
Assistant Professor CIT
Gyte 278
2200 169th Street
Hammond, IN 46323-2094
sliles at purdue.edu
(219)989-3195 Voice
Website: http://cisit.calumet.purdue.edu/liless

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