Thursday, September 20, 2012

August 2012 Update

The Information Resources monthly update focuses on Information Resources' accomplishments during the prior month. As this is the first update, we have included accomplishments for June and July, 2012. Information Resources plans to implement an on-line version of this monthly update sometime this fall. If you have any questions regarding this update, please feel free to contact Brooke Banks at or x6212.


Meriam Library 4th Floor Improvements

Improvements to the 4th floor of the Meriam Library were recently completed. Four collaborative study areas (with media boxes that allow four laptops to share up to two LCD monitors), forty powered tables, lounge seating, soft seating, and whiteboards were added.

Virtual Software Library (VSL)

The Chico State Virtual Software Library (VSL) provides anytime and anywhere access to Windows applications while reducing the need for end-users to install and store those applications on their local devices. With VSL, students and faculty are currently able to access seven applications from home that have traditionally only been available in select campus computer labs.

As of the end of August, 2012, approximately 20 instructors with more than 20 sections and 1200 potential students are set up to use the VSL service this semester. Applications being used in the VSL environment include SPSS, Matlab, Mathmatica, ArcGIS, SAP, Solid Works, and RISA 2D. For more information, please refer to this ITSS Knowledge Base article.

Satellite Dish

The satellite dish project was completed in early July after two years of planning. This was a collaborative effort involving FMS, Procurement, the University Foundation, and multiple external contractors. The project resulted in the installation of a new communications satellite dish on the roof of the Meriam Library, the removal of the satellite dishes from the ground based compound near Siskiyou Hall, and the installation of 100 new bike racks. 

Satellite Dish Outside Siskiyou Hall Before Move
New Bike Racks Outside Siskiyou Hall

Portal Upgrade

On August 20th the campus Portal was upgraded from uPortal version 2.6 to 4.0, providing significant architectural and infrastructure related benefits. For example, downtime was previously required when changes were made to the content of portal channels (also called "portlets"). The upgraded version of the Portal allows IRES to make changes without bringing the system down and impacting users. There were also minor content and design changes. Some problems, however, surfaced when the upgraded Portal encountered high traffic on the first two days of the semester. By Wednesday afternoon these challenges had been resolved. Although the problems encountered were very disruptive to students and faculty, we are now able to provide improved services as a result of the upgrade.

Public Safety Project Phase II

This project is the second phase of the campus' ongoing Public Safety project. Over the summer, six emergency phone towers and fourteen safety cameras were installed.

New Library Reference Service

In July, the Meriam Library implemented LibAnswers, a Q&A reference system and knowledge base, providing text message and Twitter integration. The knowledge base is populated and maintained by Meriam Library faculty. The system grows more robust as more questions and answers are added. Patrons use natural language to ask questions. For common questions and answers already in the knowledge base, patrons receive an answer instantly. When a patron asks a question not in the knowledge base, a librarian answers it once and it then becomes part of the searchable knowledge base for all patrons. 

Project Management Enhancements

Over the past several months, the Information Resources Project Management Office (PMO) has implemented a number of project management standards in order to streamline and standardize Information Resources' project management processes. The standard project definition supports managers in determining what is a project for the purposes of reporting, tracking, and leveraging formal project management processes. The PMO also implemented a standard set of project milestones that define specific measureable accomplishments for each project. These milestones will facilitate tracking and reporting of project progress. These milestones were implemented in a SharePoint Project Tracking tool, as well as in other reporting tools. Below is a screenshot of a portion of our top priority project list. IRES has four project lists: Top Priority Projects, Medium Priority Projects, Information Security Projects, and Facilities Projects.

Blackboard Learn

Nearly 670 faculty have now been trained in the new Learning Management System, Blackboard Learn. As of the beginning of the fall semester, courses are being taught in Blackboard Learn, with no courses being provided from the old Learning Management System, Vista. Preliminary statistics indicate that 78% of faculty and 92% of students are using Blackboard Learn. For more information regarding how faculty are using Learn, see the informative faculty "Spotlight" YouTube videos created by Academic Technologies.

Service Desk Update

Each semester Information Technology Support Services prepares for the return of faculty and students to campus. The chart to the right illustrates the number of calls received and entered into our trouble ticketing system. On Monday, August 27th, due to challenges with Portal/authentication over 375 calls were placed to the service desk. The chart illustrates how these challenges impacted the service desk's ability to answer calls. 

Academy eLearning

Academic Technologies, in cooperation with Deans, Faculty, and Academic Affairs, provided administrative, technical, and instructional support to the Academy e-Learning faculty cohort in successfully launching their re-designed courses. More than 2000 hours were spent by the Academy eLearning team to support faculty during the three-week intensive program in June. 

The chart below summarizes the four year impact of this program. The majority of the redesigned courses in Cohort IV were for new GE Pathways courses. 

Cohort I
Cohort II
Cohort III
Cohort IV

4 Year Total
36 Teams
86 Faculty