State of IT – Notes from September IT Forum

3 10 2012

Last week, CIO and Vice President for Planning Jerry DeSanto presented on the “State of IT” at the semester’s first IT Forum. His talk provided some really interesting insight into how CIOs strategically plan for the future – see his slides (in pptx) for more detail.

Some of the trends that Jerry discussed:

  • Consumerization – consumers bring their interest in technology to the workplace, and increasingly they’re also bringing their own devices (BYOD) to the workplace as well. For CIOs, this means a shift to supporting a wider variety of devices, with less depth of support for any one device/platform.
  • Cloud services – as we use more cloud computing services, we rely less on the computing power of our desktop computers. Thin clients let users access software from the cloud, so you don’t have to be at a specific workstation to use certain software.
  • Security – cloud computing raises a lot of issues in terms of security and data management – e.g., who owns the data? Is it secure? Is it exportable? Terms of service become very important. IR is working on some additional security initiatives, like two-factor authentication (for high risk data users), forced password changes, and guidelines for remote access (under development) – that is, how to safely work with restricted/confidential data from a non-University device.
  • Teaching and Learning – lots of new developments here – MOOCs, learning analytics, software licensing…
  • Network – The redundancy and reliability of the University network have become increasingly important. At the same time, there are increasing demands on the network (video streaming, gaming…). Our network just underwent a huge upgrade – our bandwidth is now 500 Mb, as compared to 50 Mb back in 2008.
  • Big data – corporations are increasingly leveraging data about their consumers to make decisions and to get a competitive edge. We might start seeing some of these techniques used in higher ed.
  • Business continuity – disaster recovery is really important. We have a good on-site data center, but we need an off-site backup as well.
  • Workforce and services – soft skills are becoming as important in IT as technical skills. As more software-as-a-service tools become available, there’s less need for home-grown solutions.

So there are lots of challenges ahead for Jerry and the IR division. Jerry has given TAG some questions he has about campus technology needs – we’ll be talking at our meeting today about how we can get input from the rest of the faculty. (More notes to come.)

Classroom Mediation Update

1 12 2010

Jeremy and I sat in on a meeting with IR and representatives from the administration yesterday to discuss classroom mediation.

The main outcome of the meeting was that IR needs specific feedback from faculty about what technologies they use in what classrooms (so that we’re not wasting money on equipment that’s not being used).  We volunteered TAG to help IR put together a survey for faculty members (probably on paper, to be distributed by department chairs) that will gather this kind of information.  Jeremy and I are drafting up one idea for the survey, but we’ll be gathering with OIT, CTLE, and IR staff on Thursday, December 16th at 2pm to finalize what it will look like and how it will be distributed.

If anyone’s interested in participating, please let us know – we could use the help!  See our post on the Faculty Forum on Classroom Mediation to get caught up on the latest.

Faculty Communication with IR: Putting it Down on Paper

29 11 2010

The biggest action item TAG has been working on so far this semester is improving communication between faculty members and IR.  Over the past few weeks, a few TAG members got together and took a stab at codifying how TAG can facilitate faculty feedback into technology decisions.  This isn’t a TAG mission statement, since it’s only one of our group’s original goals, but it’s a way to formalize one aspect of our work.

On the advice of IR, we’re thinking of calling this document a “Memorandum of Understanding” rather than an official policy, because we’re not sure that it’s appropriate to send through the whole University Governance structure.  However, we’re still thinking of sending it to the Faculty Senate Academic Support committee for review and discussion (Jeremy and Kristen will be meeting with Jack Beidler to get his thoughts on this move).

We’d like to hear feedback on this draft of the document.  Please let us know what you think about the text as well as if/how you’d like to see it implemented on campus.  Thanks!

Want a chance to Win an iPad?!

6 10 2010

Then go to and change your password!

As October is National Cyber Security Month, the folks over at IR are providing us with an incentive to help shore-up the security holes in our university.  One of the biggest holes is old passwords.  As per the mailer that I received in my mailbox today, anyone who changes their password during the month of October is entered into a drawing for a free iPad! (Who says our IR department doesn’t support Macs! ;-) )

To do this, log in to, click on the Faculty Tab, click Self-Service UIS, and your first link should be “Change your Single Sign On Password”.  Click there, enter your old PIN, then enter your new PIN.  Your new password needs to be 9-15 characters long, with at least one letter and one number.  Add some special characters (!@#%# and the like) to make it even better!

The only thing that I want to know is… if I change my password multiple times in October do I get extra chances to win?

New PIR website

3 06 2010

The Division of Planning and Information Resources home page is being converted over to the University’s new Hannon Hill content management software – and the new page is worth taking a look.  Some content that might interest faculty:

There’s also other content still in the works – like information on New Initiatives (including handheld devices), and a Division Organizational Chart.