Monthly IT news and updates from the CTO.
24/7 Help Desk: We are working with EUP and an outside vendor to expand the computing help desk service to 24 hours per day, seven days a week. This initiative is in the final stages of contract negotiations. We plan to partner with this outside vendor to provide phone support during the hours that the physical help desk is closed. Improved support for WMU's global online learning community is the primary driver behind expanding service and will be the primary focus of this vendor.
Banner and PeopleSoft: In December, we renewed our commitment to Elucian/Banner for seven more years and in May, we renewed the Oracle PeopleSoft/RDBMS contract for an additional five years. These two renewals locked WMU into our two largest ERP systems until 2019 and 2020 respectively and saved WMU approximately 1.6 million dollars in annual escalator fees.
Bronco NetID expirations: In fiscal year 2014, an external security audit was conducted of WMU's enterprise financial systems. Concerns were expressed about our expiration policy of one year. In response to the concerns, employee expiration dates have been reduced to six months. The password expiration date remains at one year for students.
Camtasia Relay (now called Techsmith Relay): went live on Jan. 1 and is supported by IT's media services unit. This product facilitates audio and video capture via a desktop or laptop computer, thus allowing faculty to easily build course materials and add them to Elearning, or flip the classroom. The MPEG4 format is viewable in both Apple and Windows environments. The Office of Faculty Development, in collaboration with IT's Faculty Technology Center, is offering Techsmith Relay training workshops.
Classroom technology: We are planning on upgrading 12 more classrooms from analog to digital this summer. We have also scheduled the replacement of 34 document cameras and nine projectors.
Conference room technology: We have developed conference room technology standards and are now offering consulting and implementation services for conference rooms. These new services follow the same pricing model in use by media services. wmich.edu/it/services/conferencerooms
EduCable upgrade: The EduCable television system was upgraded from analog to digital on Jan. 6. And, increased from 60 to 120 channels. See the complete listing of the new channel offerings.
GoWMU/Password security: In July, IT will roll out a new multi-layered security front end for GoWMU and sign-on applications. In addition to your Bronco NetID and password, login will now be multi-screened and will include a security image and a security word which you will have selected. You will also be asked to choose a standardized challenge phrase in case you have forgotten your password and need to set a new one. More information will be made available before we launch these new security enhancements.
ImageNow and Banner Workflow support: Over time these services have grown in size and complexity, thus necessitating the addition of numerous IT resources to achieve an acceptable level of support for these mission critical services. To help expedite service request response rates, we have created two new group email addresses. ImageNow requests should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and Banner Workflow requests should go to email@example.com
Labstats: We have been working with lab managers throughout campus to implement a product called Labstats that will allow WMU to better understand the usage levels of computer labs on campus, with usage being measured not only in terms of volume of people, but also with respect to the types of activities being performed. The goal is to improve services and reduce waste.
Networking and distributed services governance: Chad Stec from the Division of Student Affairs has agreed to serve as chair for the newly formed Technology Advisory and Governance Group. This group, whose constituents are leading many of the distributed technology units across campus, will work with IT to plan strategic direction and provide governance for IT's networking and distributed computing services.
Novell: On July 1, information technology will pull the plug on the last remaining Novell server, thus ending a highly successful two year project to decommission Novell. This project was only possible through the excellent collaboration of many resources both inside and outside of the Office of Information Technology. Kudos to everyone involved for delivering this project under budget and ahead of schedule.
Palo Alto Next Generation Firewall: Over spring break the main campus network went live with Palo Alto. It is a feature rich product that provides heuristic virus and malware detection and is noticeably faster than the firewall it replaced.
PaperCut: The week of April 28, most labs on campus switched to a new token-based print system called PaperCut. This system can accommodate color printing, wireless printing, multiple complex print quotas, online access to quota balances, print history, improved student billing, duplicate print monitoring, print quota low balance emails, and institutional-wide print quota management. It should be noted that in the first couple of hours after it went live, it contributed to WMU's sustainability mission by denying the printing of approximately 60 pages of duplicate print jobs.
Phishing website: As part of our effort to educate the campus community about "Phishing", IT created a phishing website. In addition to generic information about phishing, this site contains real world examples of phishing emails that have been received by the WMU community.
PRTG: How many of you have a need to monitor technology? Last year, IT purchased a campus site license for the technology monitoring tool PRTG. If you would like to know more about how PRTG works, and whether or not PRTG can help meet your technology monitoring needs, please contact IT's Production Control group at (269) 387-3823.
Remind101.com: Remind101.com is a texting solution that CEAS faculty presented in the November Academic Forum. There is a pending request to CEAS for an IT product review of Remind101.com. This one directional solution is used extensively throughout all levels of education and is designed specifically for education related classes, groups, and clubs. The Office of Information Technology's Faculty Technology Center provides support for this cloud solution. To learn more, please contact the FTC at (269) 387-6958 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Research support: The Board of Trustees approved the WMU strategic plan in 2012, making "Research" officially one of WMU's three pillars of support. IT's Enterprise Systems group has been proactively reaching out to WMU's diverse research community to discuss the many services IT has to offer. As a result of their efforts, IT has become actively involved in ten new research related projects in fiscal year 2014. If you have research support questions for IT, please call (269) 387-4086.
Service alerts: In April a new section titled "Service Alerts" was added to the GoWMU login page. This section provides an online location to view known issues, review the progress of known issues, and view scheduled service interruptions.
Web conferencing support: IT is preparing to offer Web conferencing as a service to the campus community. With the help of EUP, we have reached an agreement to purchase Adobe Connect Pro seminar rooms. Seminar rooms are cloud-based Web conferencing rooms that are not licensed to an individual user, but instead can be reserved by anyone who is an employee at WMU with the caveat that only one person at a time may host a seminar. Our Faculty Technology Center will administer this service by scheduling its use and by providing hands on training in the Faculty Technology Center facility. Online training support will also be available through the vendor. This is intended to be a self-service offering.