Updates from IT Forum and IT Matters

1 03 2013

Just a few updates from recent Planning and Information Resources events and publications – PIR staff, let me know if I missed anything!

February 2013 IT Forum: PIR Tactical Plan

At the February 14th IT Forum, CIO Jerry DeSanto and AVP Robyn Dickinson gave a presentation (slides) on “Information Resources in Transition… Adding Value… Making a Difference” in which they discussed PIR’s progress on their 2010-2013 tactical plan and the thinking behind the 2013-2016 tactical plan. Robyn introduced the four parts of PIR’s vision: 1) Professional expertise, 2) Seamless technology environment, 3) Promote sound business practices, and 4) Enhance the learning experience. Points of particular interest for faculty members:

  • PIR will support innovation in teaching & learning by expanding lecture capture use and capabilities, exploring learning management tools, refining long-term plans for classroom technologies, and working with colleges (via deans and TAG) to identify and meet faculty and student needs.
  • PIR will be looking at big data and analytics in higher education – e.g., using analytics to attract students but also to measure learning.
  • IT will be addressing BYOD (bring your own device) trends as students and faculty access University services using a large variety of consumer devices/products.
  • PIR will be working on improving business practices and project management, not only in PIR itself but across the university. On the faculty side, we’ll see more information in the IT Service Catalog about what services are available (and how quickly).

IT Matters: Spring 2013

The Spring 2013 issue of IT Matters is out. Highlights for faculty members:

  • OIT staff completed upgrades to Brennan 228, 312, 314, 500, 502, and 509 over intersession (yay!). St. Thomas 207, 212, and 311 also got upgrades (yay!).
  • Google Chrome will be installed on University computers through KBOX (Tim has been waiting a long time for this!). There will be an IT Forum on Google Chrome on March 14th.
  • Remote Desktop Assistance is now here – using Viewfinity, Technology Support Center staff can share your desktop (with your permission) in order to help you resolve issues over the phone.
  • The Mobile Device Support Center has been updated with more documentation for Windows mobile devices.
  • IT Services and the Library set up some self-serve book scanners so that students can scan pages from articles or books to a USB drive or Google Docs or email.
  • Connie Wisdo has some notes on Footprints that show how you can log your own tickets (p. 1, 12).
  • Phil Erb wrote up an explanation of Active Directory and what it means for users (see p.6).


TAG Summer Synopsis

29 08 2012

Welcome back, all! In case you didn’t spend your summer break thinking about campus technology, here’s a quick recap of what’s been going on over the past few months and what we’ll be talking about in fall semester.

What Happened:

  • Campus wireless upgrade. We’re seeing huge improvements in connection speed and strength – thank you, Network Infrastructure!
  • Classroom upgrades. Over the summer, IT Services remediated all of Brennan’s teaching spaces. Other classrooms were upgraded as well – including CLP223, 224, 225, JOH 150, 152, MGH 017, 209, 336, 402, and 406.
  • Lecture Capture. Lecture capture capability has been installed in LSC133 and LSC333. TAG members Jeremy Sepinsky and Tara Fay are doing pilot projects this fall to test out the new technology before extending it to other classrooms. Nursing and Counseling departments are next on the list.
  • Mobile access to Angel. We now have a license for Blackboard Mobile Learn for Angel, so you can download the free app for use on your iPhone, iPad, Android, or Blackberry device.
  • R-ID authentication. Instructor stations and computer labs now require your R number as your user name. Your password is the same.
  • Virtual desktops. 203 computers in Brennan and Library computer labs are now thin client machines.  At these terminals, students access virtual desktops and save files to SkyDrive.

What’s Coming:

  • Standard user accounts. As Windows 7 is rolled out for new faculty computers, our roles will change from administrative to standard user accounts. This is a security measure to try to prevent users from downloading and installing malicious software. By default, standard users can’t install or delete applications. This would be a major issue for many faculty members, but IR has been working on a solution for faculty, using Viewfinity privilege management software. The plan so far: when you need to install an application, you’re prompted to enter a brief description/justification, and then your permissions are temporarily elevated so that you can install what you need. Commonly used software is whitelisted to speed things up. I’ve been piloting it this summer from a faculty perspective, with good results. Mac and Linux users will not be affected. More details on this later.
  • Code of Responsible Computing. This policy is up for review. As a representative from TAG and the Faculty Senate, Dave Dzurec has bravely agreed to co-chair the effort. We’ll post updates here.
  • The academic server is scheduled for final retirement this year. Several faculty members still have web content on the server – so CTLE (probably with some help from TAG) will be reaching out to those folks this semester to help them move any content they want to keep.
  • Luminis upgrade. An update to the my.scranton portal is currently scheduled for December 2012. TAG is contributing suggestions for the new faculty tab – let me know if you’re interested in giving ideas or feedback.
  • Software licensing for virtualized environments.  The idea is that faculty, staff, and students could log into their virtual desktop from any computer and access the specialized software they need (SPSS, etc). Unfortunately, this is really expensive. IR is looking into it.
  • Royal Card. The system will get a full upgrade this year. This won’t have much effect on faculty from what we can tell.

What’s Stalled:

  • Academic Technology Plan. Sigh. That said, TAG is still looking for faculty input on future technology needs. What kind of teaching spaces do we want? What technology funding is most important? We’re hoping to get more conversations started on these topics this year.


*Thanks to Jim Franceschelli, Lorraine Mancuso, Jerry DeSanto, and Robyn Dickinson for talking us through this year’s road map.

**IR staff, please let me know if I got anything wrong. Thank you!

Brennan Hall Remediation

25 05 2012

This summer, the IT Services Office of Instructional Technology will be improving the mediated classrooms in Brennan Hall.

Having met with KSOM faculty during the spring semester, ITS/OIT have put together a proposal, which in summary includes the following improvements:

  • New Cabling Infrastructure
  • New video Switching
  • New Display Technology (screens and projectors)
  • New user interfaces
  • Added digital abilities
  • New document cameras
  • Integrated lighting controls (upgraded lighting through physical plant)

One change that may affect faculty is that the classrooms will no longer have VCRs, since it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get them. Faculty members can request VCRs from OIT on an as-needed basis, or you can also contact the Library’s Media Resources Center to discuss other options for classroom media.

Phase I (first and second floor teaching spaces, plus BRN428) has been approved and funded and will be completed this summer. Phase II (BRN228, 3rd floor conference rooms, 4th floor meeting spaces) is scheduled for Summer 2013.

For more information and for a copy of the proposal, KSOM faculty can contact their department chairs or their TAG representatives, Wesley Wang and S. P. Chattopadhyay. Questions or concerns about the proposal can be directed to ITS/OIT by contacting either Jim Franceschelli or Jason Wimmer.