Fall Technology News for Faculty and Staff!

Monday, August 22, 2016 - 11:16am

As we begin a new academic year, I would like to share with you some of the recent technology updates and initiatives that are underway across campus. Please see our Annual Report for the fiscal year 2015-2016 for even more accomplishments and plans for IT on campus.

Have you noticed there is less daily mail in your inbox? General Campus Announcements have been combined into an once daily digest. Look for these important campus messages under the new header of "Announce". This message is delivered in the late afternoon versus throughout the day, which means less email! All faculty and staff can subscribe to other areas of interest. Go to announce.appstate.edu and subscribe to these groups!

You can extend your password expiration date! A new Password Standard has been approved and when strong passwords are chosen the expiration date could be 120 or even 180 days. Our support team has developed tips for creating a strong password which will help you extend your date. You can also keep tabs on your password expiration date by visiting checkyosef.appstate.edu.

Do you want to edit your Preferred First Name? During the spring semester, the Office of the Provost announced the Preferred First Name initiative for our students. Faculty and staff also have the ability to indicate a preferred first name that will display in the online directory and the Global Address List (GAL) in Google. For more information please see our Preferred First Name Initiative for Faculty and Staff.

We continue to work to improve the wireless experience for our campus. We added an additional 500 access points on campus during this summer for wireless access. We are also rolling out a new "onboarding" solution for non-university owned devices. This will improve the login process to the Wi-Fi network.

Smart Classrooms - Currently there are over 320 Smart Classrooms at Appalachian. During the past 18 months, ITS has installed 24 new Digital Smart Classrooms, replaced or refreshed 52 analog projectors, replaced or refreshed 52 podium computers, and replaced 15 manual projector screens with digital electric screens in Peacock Hall.

Voice Over IP Telephone Service will be implemented over the next 18 months! VOIP will replace our current centrex telephone service over the coming year and a half. The Telecommunications Technicians joined ITS this year to provide efficiencies in services and resource management to implement this project. A VOIP Steering Committee is meeting to help prioritize areas and develop a funding model. The rollout of this exciting project will begin soon.

Web Services Drupal Migration - The Web Services group joined the ITS team this spring to help provide better efficiencies among the two areas. A major project for our Web Services group is the development of a Drupal 7 platform. The Web Services team has worked closely with University Communications to develop consistently themed designs. For progress on this migration project, see webservices.appstate.edu.

Online Course Evaluation Software to be Piloted this Fall - Last year, an online course evaluation software product was piloted with 335 classes participating. Feedback from pilot participants led to the decision to pilot a second solution in the hopes of improving customizable reporting features for different colleges and departments. The new product, Blue eXplorance, has some advanced functionality and is expected to perform well. There will be several presentations offered to campus during the Fall semester. This pilot is open to any departments who would like to use it, please email support.appstate.edu if your department is interested in participating.

Web Conferencing Solution Chosen! - The web conferencing tool called Zoom was piloted and chosen for the campus this spring. Zoom will be available through AsULearn as a course activity, or it can be used outside the learning management system through http://appstate.zoom.us. Invitations may be sent to any email address- no ASU account required.

Campus Print Management Solution can help us reduce paper usage! - During the Spring semester, several areas on campus piloted Pharos Beacon. This print management solution is designed to help educate departments and individuals about their paper consumption. By knowing about these trends, there is great potential to lower print numbers and costs.

Scan to Google Drive - Using your departmental copier, you can scan a document and create an ADA-compliant, readable, searchable, and correctly-oriented PDF that your students will thank you for! Then, you can use the Google Repository in AsULearn to easily add your scanned PDF to your online course materials. For more instructions, please see our FAQ which includes a video tutorial.

Phase II of the Digital Measures Redevelopment is underway - Phase I of a re-engagement process for Digital Measures was completed in Spring 2016 which included a new interface, updated screen and data field options, and improved support materials. Phase II plans are underway, which include improving reporting capability, developing training workshops for faculty, chairs and administrators, and forming a faculty advisory committee to manage and oversee continued development of the application. See digitalmeasures.appstate.edu for more information.

Data Loss Prevention Tools - Several new security tools have been deployed to safeguard University data that is regulated by federal, state, and contractual obligations. These tools help the ITS Office of Information Security work with individuals to clean up potential confidential data on their desktops or Google Drive. For more security news, see security.appstate.edu.

Want to see what else we're working on? Working with our Technology Portfolio Committees and other campus technology units, we created a Technology Roadmap with all major technology projects and work groups. This roadmap provides a transparent and accessible window into anticipated and proposed technology changes for our campus.

As I think about this past year, I am amazed at how much we have achieved and how well prepared we are to move forward. I am extraordinarily proud and grateful for the collaboration and hard work of my staff and all campus IT for what they do on a daily basis to support academic, research and administrative work at Appalachian State University.