From The C.T.O. (Fall 2009)
 

Doing more with less is a common theme in higher education these days. OIT has been working hard to make the best of the current economic crisis. Although some projects are on hold and others are taking longer than we had hoped due to the tighter budgets and loss of staff, we have been able to accomplish a number of things in the past six months.

The Instructional Technology team is implementing a new learning management system called Glow. Glow is based on open source software and will replace our expensive Blackboard system. The goal is to make the move to Glow from Blackboard as easy as possible for faculty and students. We have a pilot this fall and hope that by the fall of 2010 everyone will have moved to Glow. The cost savings will be considerable.

Instructional Technology has also revamped the media studios for both faculty and students. Jesup 316 has been turned into a Media Education Center. Jesup B03 (“The Cellar”), 101 (“The Aquarium”) and 204 have been turned into media production studios, where we are experimenting with different kinds of seating and work environments. We think you will like the changes and improvements.

We had another extremely productive WIT (Williams Instructional Technology) program this summer where 12 students worked with 13 faculty and staff to produce amazing web-related projects. They led the way to learning how WordPress can be used as a web content management system until the College can move forward with a campus-wide initiative.

New desktop computers for faculty and staff and for the labs and lecterns are now being deployed with Vista and Office 2007. Although we are changing from a three year cycle to a four year cycle, the new versions kept Desktop Systems staff busy helping people get used to the new software. They also supported the client side for the new CUPS printing and PaperCut software now being used by the College to track printing resources more carefully. We also upgraded Meeting Maker, the calendar system used by most administrative offices.

Networks and Systems staff implemented a new and improved wireless network his summer. Purple Air replaces the previous student and facstaff networks with one that is more secure and that only requires logging on when one changes his/her password rather than every few hours. Reponses to these changes have been very positive.

Students can now enjoy a new searchable online catalog. Admission applicants can enter information online and see whether or not they are accepted by logging in at a designated time. Faculty and staff can now hire students online instead of following a manual process. Campus Security staff are the first office to use a new online time and labor system. We hope to be implementing the new system for additional offices and for student workers this year. In addition, the Administrative Information Systems team and staff from affected offices upgraded the PeopleSoft Student/HRMS system this summer.

We look forward to working with you this fall and hope you will enjoy the results of our hard work this past spring and summer.

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