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CARNet News
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| Published 16. 1. 2015. 07:47 | RSS

CARNet in 2014

In 2014, the Croatian Academic and Research Network – CARNet continued working on projects and activities according to its vision and mission, encouraging the application of modern information and communication technology within the education, academic and research community. Special emphasis was placed on establishing and maintaining the links with new and old member institutions and ensuring a higher quality of educational contents for end beneficiaries.

Members of CARNet are institutions in the science and education system, and during the year, links with almost 1,650 institutions at over 2,730 locations were maintained. Almost 400 new institutions or institution locations were linked, with 146 institutions in the educational system, 56 higher education institutions and almost 100 institutions from the system of the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance.

Throughout 2014, a team of experts in CARNet worked on preparing the project for the informatisation of primary and secondary education. The project is titled E-schools. A consultancy process was carried out with the competent ministries and the European Commission, and CARNet was appointed the lead beneficiary of the project. The project was incorporated in the Operational Programmes of Competitiveness and Cohesion and Human Resource Development. The concept of the E-school pilot project was developed to include 10 % of primary and secondary schools in the Republic of Croatia and last from 2015 to 2017. In December, the public invitation for schools to express their interest in being included in the project started CARNet's implementation segment of the project.

For the first time, CARNet's Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) were organised on the subject of using Moodle. The two held courses gathered almost 900 participants from Croatia and the region, teaching and non-teaching staff interested in this subject and in this form of education.

The Classrooms of the Future project was expanded to one more partner – Microsoft, and during the year new classrooms were opened in primary or secondary schools in cooperation with Samsung and Microsoft in Bjelovar, Gunja, Koprivnica, Mirkovci, Opatija and Zagreb, and three Application Laboratories were opened at two faculties in Osijek and Rijeka in order to ensure additional education, research and the development of new software solutions with the support of the latest information technologies.

Last year was marked by a successful collaboration of CARNet and Algebra in producing ECDL online courses for independent learning as a result of the public tender procedure of the Croatian Regulatory Agency for Network Activities (HAKOM) for the development of web applications. A total of 11 EDCL courses (initial and basic programme) were produced in order to raise the level of computer literacy and standardise basic computer usage skills. This will make it easier for the members of the academic and educational community to prepare for taking the basic ECDL exam in verified examination centres in Croatia.

E-Class Register, a system for managing class registers in electronic form, was implemented in over 380 central schools in the entire Republic of Croatia with 201 branch schools, and over the year more than 100 system upgrades were issued, with 3 large ones, totalling over 1,500 modifications. It should be mentioned that e-Class Register for parents has been integrated with the e-Citizens system.

During 2014, several new applications were developed. Through active participation in the e-Citizens project, CARNet developed the mToken application of the third safety level, consisting of the mobile and server applications, and used to access public electronic services within the e-Citizens project. The e-Class Register was integrated with NIAS and the Personal User Account within the same project. Over the previous year, CARNet's public server was redesigned, an application for selecting textbooks was designed and several internal applications and web services were redesigned. More than 20 security check services were carried out and more than 300 server certificates were issued to member institutions.

Over the year, in addition to maintaining permanent links with members and linking new members, the CARNet network was being actively constructed and new services were developed. In October, a letter of intent was signed to continue working on the new generation of the GÉANT project under the title GÉANT4, thus ensuring the further participation of CARNet in this greatest European infrastructure project.

In December, CARNet and Micro-Link started an initiative for producer neutral testing of Wi-Fi technologies and their maximum capacities in ensuring a reliable network connection for numerous client devices in CARNet projects located in a challenging environment. Additionally, the service of free use and installation of Office 365 was announced in December for all students, teachers and professors of Croatian primary and secondary schools. This service is a product of the collaboration of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, CARNet and Microsoft Croatia.

The year was also marked by the twentieth anniversary of establishing the WWW.HR portal – the home page of Croatia. Under the auspices of CARNet, this portal is managed at the Department of Telecommunication of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER) of the University of Zagreb.

The User Support Department successfully answered to almost 200,000 user queries over the year, and over 150,000 of these were sent via e-mail or phone calls. Two thirds of the total number of calls were aimed at the support team for the educational system.

The year was concluded with a total number of almost 57,000 free .hr domains and more than 13,500 paid domains, and the total number of domains in the Register of .hr domains is almost 86,500. The number of domains was increased by approximately 10 percent and at the end of the year it amounted to 2,539 domains. We should also mention that during the past year, the first regional meeting of national domain registers and national CERTs was held in Zagreb.

The National CERT issued more than 2,000 security recommendations and the "Protect privacy on Facebook" brochure, and processed more than 1,000 security incidents on servers in the Republic of Croatia. For the second time it actively participated in the "Cyber Coalition 2014" NATO exercise, and participated for the first time and was the national designated competent authority of the "Cyber Europe 2014" EU exercise and was the designated competent authority of the combat against botnet within the European project of Advanced Cyber Defence Network. The software for managing vulnerability tests of the members in the CARNet network was prepared last year, and its application will start this year.

Under the title "Fasten your connection, we're taking off", the 16th CARNET User Conference 2014 was held in Hotel AntunoviŠ in Zagreb from 19th to 21st November. The conference was organised by CARNet, under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia, Ivo JosipoviŠ, Ph.D., and the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports and with support from the City of Zagreb. Over 620 participants attended the conference, making it the biggest CARNet Users Conference so far. During the conference, participants could connect to a diverse programme that consisted of three keynote lectures, 26 workshops, more than 40 reviewed works, two round tables and 4 Birds of Feather events. The programme was enriched with an EU arena, the web festival competition of "Learning is playing" and the "Make the right MOVE" competition.

After the floods that struck the entire eastern part of Croatia, including the Municipality of Gunja, in May 2014, the entire computer-communication equipment of the Antun and Stjepan RadiŠ Primary School was rebuilt thanks to a donation from CARNet and partners. After a thorough restoration of the building, the school was equipped with projectors, a wire and wireless computer network, a system for multimedia communication and sensors for various measurements, all through donations from domestic IT companies. In addition to the mentioned donations, all resources planned for holding the conference evening of CUC 2014 were directed towards the restoration.

Over the past year, a majority of CARNet's departments were included in at least one of the eight currently active European projects within CARNet (GEANT, AMORES, ACDC, ISE, ODS, ICT Curricula, ECOLAV, eVET2edu). It needs to be mentioned that during 2014, two projects were successfully completed (eVET2edu, ECOLAV), and six are still active.

CARNet's budget for 2014 amounted to HRK 71.946.890,00; a 10 % decrease compared to 2013. In spite of this, the same or higher level of existing services was maintained, and numerous new services were developed.