Monday, December 9, 2013

December 2013 Update

New Staff 

Information Resources is happy to welcome a new department to the family: Application Development & Technical Support. The department office is located in the SSC 480 and led by Tom Rosenow.

Tom Rosenow grew up on Vashon Island (a small island between Seattle and Tacoma, Washington).  He moved to Chico in 1985 to attend CSU, Chico where he received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. After graduating, he worked for Butte County in the Elections Office for 7 and a half years. He learned much of his programming and systems integration skills working with federal, state, and local computer systems that involved mainframes, PCs, and internet service providers. Tom started with CSU, Chico as an Analyst/Programmer 15 years ago in Enrollment Management. His wife teaches Math at Pleasant Valley High school where his daughter is now a junior.  His son is a sophomore attending Cal Poly SLO as a Materials Engineer playing with rockets.

Tracy Lopez moved to Chico from Auburn, California.   She started working for CSU, Chico’s Application Development and Technical Support Department in 2006.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing tennis, and biking in Bidwell Park.

Paul Weatherby came to Chico State as a Computer Science Undergraduate in 2005. In the summer of 2008 he became a student programmer for the APO department. Since then, he has earned a BS in Computer Science as well as moved up the ranks from student staff for APO to staff programmer for ADTS. In his spare time he enjoys coding, mountain biking in Upper Park, and working towards his Master's Degree in Computer Science here at Chico State.

Chris Witthans first moved to Chico in August of 2002 from Rocklin, California, and graduated in 2007 with a BA in Business Administration. He began working for Enrollment Management in May of 2005 as a part-time IT Student Assistant, and was later hired as a full-time Technical Support Coordinator after graduating.  He has held this position ever since.  What he enjoys the most about working for the university is the tremendous amount of pride he gets while helping users overcome the challenges we face with information technology each day.  He is an avid skier in colder months, a year round adventure touring motorcyclist, and loves to homebrew in his spare time. 

Mike Wood, originally from Kansas, came to Chico by way of Houston 27 years ago as the Systems and Programming Manger for the company that managed Butte County’s computer systems.  He came to Chico State as the Assistant Registrar, primarily to assist in the conversion from the university's legacy student system (Unisys) to SIS Plus, 24 years ago.  He's been involved in many different projects across campus (including the migration to PeopleSoft and the Touch Tone Registration) and is currently the Technical Lead for both the department of Records and Registration and the ImageNow Project.  He is married with three adult children, two of which go to Chico State.  Space is his passion. He served as a reporter in the early days of the Space Shuttle program for a National Science Foundation project called Dial-A-Shuttle, where you could listen to communication with the Space Shuttle over the phone.

Nutrition Program Video Kudos

In October, Academic Technologies worked with Michelle Neyman Morris in the Nutrition Program to create a promotional video advocating the benefits and experiences gained through the Chico State Nutrition Program.  After successfully completing the project, Mrs. Morris commented:
Dear Vice Provost Schilling and Director Magrey,
I'd like to acknowledge the incredible professionalism and commitment to high quality service that the media production team provided to create a promotional video for the Department of Nutrition and Food Science Master's in Nutritional Science program.
From my first meeting to discuss the project with Dan Carter, to a larger meeting with the team to brainstorm further, to filming with Dan and Chris Westbay, every step of the way they offered their expertise to ensure a high quality product.  I also especially appreciate Morgan Schmidt's rapid response to my request for edits and his ability to finalize the video in time to show at the College of Natural Sciences/Dept. of NFSC Alumni Reunion this past weekend. Alum gave the video a round of applause and very positive feedback, as has everyone else who has seen it. 
The ATEC team collaborated with us to create a great promotional video that our faculty are quite pleased with. They gently suggested ways to improve on my initial ideas and ultimately were able to showcase our programs so that interested students may be encouraged to learn more.  I truly appreciate their commitment to excellence and wanted you to know it.

Michelle Neyman Morris, PhD, RD

Clarizen Project Management Update

Information Resources has completed the internal rollout of Clarizen as its official project management tracking tool. Clarizen provides a high level of visibility to projects and project status and allows Information Resources to more effectively manage the over 100 active and proposed projects currently in our system. 

As we move forward, we will be making Clarizen available to units outside of Information Resources to use to manage their own projects.

Library Finals Week Hours

Meriam Library is providing extended hours during finals week. The library will be open twenty-four hours beginning Sunday, December 14th at 7:30 a.m. through Friday, December 20th at 4:45 p.m.

Blackboard Learn

Vista Decommission Process

We are continuing with our plan to decommission Vista since it is no longer supported by Blackboard. Student access to Vista was removed on October 18th 2013, although students who still need access can contact ITSS at 530-898-4357. Faculty can continue to access their old Vista courses and migrate their materials to Learn, but the clock is ticking. We are asking that all faculty please migrate whatever content they think they’ll need as soon as possible. The Vista application will be turned off and completely decommissioned in June 2014.

Blackboard Learn

As you may have noticed, Blackboard is working very hard to improve the Blackboard Learn application. This is a very different environment than we used to have with Vista. Vista never added new features, but Blackboard is updating Learn with new or improved features on a regular basis. Here are some of the new or improved features added to Learn since last May:

  • New calendar: Automatically lists all due dates in the course, which helps students stay on track.
  • “My Blackboard” navigation and notification menu: Helps keep important information and updates easier to find without having to go into every course.
  • Improved discussion forums: Several discussion board features have been streamlined and improved.
  • Video Everywhere: Allows easy recording of videos from a webcam to YouTube. Recordings are automatically embedded in Learn. Recording is available anywhere you can see a content editor (including discussion boards, blogs, and content items).
  • Test Item Analysis: Performs statistical analysis of test questions to help identify question difficulty and discrimination.
  • Test Availability Exceptions: Allows instructors to easily make accommodations (different due dates or time limits) for individual students.
  • Retention Center: Provides a central location to monitor student progress in a course.
  • In-line grading: Provides easier access to grading tools, including rubrics, when grading. Also allows commenting directly on submitted student assignments.
  • Group management: Provides streamlined workflow for managing groups, especially in larger courses.

Since Blackboard is releasing features on a regular basis, there a couple of new features that we are currently testing that should be installed soon. Both of these provide important improvements to faculty efficiency. They could be available by the time you read this newsletter!

  • Date management: Allows instructors to manage all course dates (due dates, availability dates, and adaptive release dates) on one screen. This will be especially helpful for instructors that copy content from a previous semester; they’ll be able to shift all their dates at one time.
  • Full Screen assignment grading: Improves in-line grading to use the full-screen with a single mouse click.
Blackboard has also announced that it is working on some long-term features. These features are still in design and development, so we don’t have any timelines for when we’ll see them, but stay tuned!
  • Shared rubrics: Allows instructors to share grading rubrics with their colleagues or throughout departments/colleges.
  • Grade Center redesign: This will be a complete redesign of the Grade Center to improve workflow, especially with larger courses. Stay tuned for more information on this one; it will likely be a major change.
  • Responsive Design: Blackboard is working to make the entire application work well on any size screen. This is a long term plan that will likely entail several upgrades along the way, but the goal is to make sure instructors and students can use Blackboard Learn on any computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Chico Start Program

In May of 2013, Computing & Communications Services (CCSV) was asked to assist with a project housed at Chico City Hall called Chico Start. Chico Start is an initiative of Innovate North State (a public/private partnership), and Quorum Technologies, which has partnered with the City of Chico and California State University, Chico. The Chico Start initiative is a “technology incubator”, a shared office space with all the resources needed for a start-up tech company. The stated goal of Chico Start is: “to create a clustered dynamic of creativity, innovation and excellence.”

The role that CCSV was asked to perform in this project was to design and install a network infrastructure with firewall protected wired and wireless network access, and connect this infrastructure back to the campus. Network Operations and Telecommunications Services built out the requested infrastructure to the same equipment level and construction specifications as a standard campus installation. This project was completed in September, turned over to Chico Start, and continues to be monitored, maintained and supported by Computing & Communications Services.

The Orion and IRES

As many of you know, the university has recently been a target of a few cyber-attacks that caused some technological problems on campus. The Orion featured two articles concerning these issues in late November. The university's Information Security Officer, Mark Hendricks, and Director of IT Client Services, Brooke Banks, are working hard with the Information Security team to fix the problems and prevent any more from surfacing. The featured articles from The Orion can be found below:

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September 2013 Update

Mobile App Update

The second release of the Chico State Mobile App became available in August on iOS and Android. It has several exciting new features and enhancements. At the top of the list is real-time access to class schedules. Now — anytime, anywhere — students have access to up-to-the-minute class information to help them make decisions about registration or adding and dropping classes. The maps icon has several new features for helping campus visitors get around, including two audio-video tours. In addition, a transit feature provides route information for the Campus Connection shuttle.

Mobile App Update

Helping Students Do Research: Meriam Library’s New Information Literacy Program

The Meriam Library now offers information literacy programs that are designed to help students improve research abilities and critical thinking skills in specific courses. Librarians are available to collaborate with instructors to develop student skills in locating, evaluating, and effectively synthesizing information into their research. CSU, Chico’s new Information Literacy Coordinator, Kevin Klipfel, is available for questions about the new program.

Security Tip: Watch Out for Phishing Scams

Don't be a victim! CSU, Chico faculty, staff, and students continue to receive and respond to fraudulent email messages. By responding to fraudulent email, account passwords can be stolen and used to generate even more fraudulent email. This increases the risk of unauthorized access to university data, and hinders delivery of legitimate CSU, Chico email to external providers such as Gmail and Yahoo. CSU, Chico will never ask you to provide your password, social security number, or any other personal information by email.

If in doubt, DELETE THE MESSAGE; do NOT respond to suspicious email, and do NOT click on suspicious URL's included in email. By clicking on any URL’s or even responding to the email, you will put your password credentials at risk. For more information about phishing and known phishing scam attempts, visit this page.

New Staff

Information Resources is happy to welcome five new staff members to our department since our last newsletter in May 2013.

Kazim Senoglu is a new developer in Enterprise Applications. Kazim (Kaz) came to CSU Chico from Workday Inc. Prior to Workday Inc., he worked for Oracle-PeopleSoft for 13+ years. His background includes experience analyzing functional requirements, designing and developing system enhancements, and providing support for various PeopleSoft Financials/HR applications. Kaz will be supporting Chico’s PeopleSoft Human Resources and Student applications as well as interfaces to PeopleSoft, such as Human Resources and Student Self Service, in the Portal.

Scott Cory is a welcome addition to the ITSS Service Desk staff team.  He graduated from Chico State in May 2013 with a degree in Music Industry and Technology, and is currently finishing his minor in Computer Information Systems.  Before joining our staff team in June, Scott started with ITSS as a student employee fall 2010 and quickly moved into a student lead position, exhibiting technical expertise and great customer service.  Scott has a balanced, calm, helpful, and positive attitude — all things that we need to help keep ITSS running smoothly.  Outside of work, Scott enjoys playing music in several bands including the CSU Chico Symphonic Wind Ensemble, recording music and song writing in his music studio, running a summer camp for kids interested in recording arts, and also singing in an a cappella choir.  In addition, Scott has three sons and is proud to say they are also aspiring musicians.

David Stack joined IT Support Services in June. David is a CSU, Chico graduate who worked in Student Computing for over four years while he was completing his degree. After graduation he moved to Texas and worked for Dallas Independent School District providing technical support. David has also owned his own computer support business. In his free time he enjoys playing tennis and being outdoors. His wife is currently obtaining her PhD in Neuroscience out in Texas. She will be moving back to Chico in the near future.

Scott Johnson joined Academic Technologies Web Services as a web developer at the end of August. Scott graduated from Sonoma State University with a B.A. in Art Studio, with an emphasis in drawing. While there, he taught himself web design and development in his free time and eventually landed a job maintaining campus websites for the SSU student union. Right out of college he took the first job he applied for — web assistant for a Novato-based law firm's web department, where he was for over five years. In his free time he enjoys running through Bidwell Park, learning more about web design and development, creating art, spending time with family, playing with his dog, and (he hates to admit it) playing video games.

Christopher Said is also new to Academic Technologies. Originally from Texas, he graduated from Davidson College with a B.A. in English, with a focus on aesthetics and classical languages (Greek and Latin). He then moved to New York City and worked a variety of jobs in the television/documentary world, originally as an Associated Press camera assistant at the 2004 Republican National Convention and the UN General Assembly, then as a World War 2 and Vietnam film reel Archivist at the History Channel, and finally as Post-Production Supervisor for the History Channel’s Digital Media team (with many adventures in between). Prior to joining ATEC, he spent 4½ years at New York University, as Manager of Operations and Production for NYU-TV. In his spare time, he enjoys fly-fishing, skiing, recording music, military history, Yankees baseball, and photography.

Library Hours 

Meriam Library is providing extended hours for the main library as well as the ITSS Computer Lab and Laptop Lounge this year to better serve student needs and provide positive spaces to study.

The Lab and Laptop Lounge are open 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day. The main library hours vary by day, and are listed below.

Main Library Hours
Monday-Thursday7:30 am –  11:45 pm
Friday7:30 am – 7:45 pm
Saturday10:00 am – 7:45 pm
Sunday10:00 am – 11:45 pm

To help ensure student safety, University Police is also expanding the Campus Connection shuttle to provide more rides and foot escorts to surrounding campus parking areas, residence halls from midnight to 2 a.m. daily.

Office Remodel in Meriam Library

The third floor in the Meriam library recently received a facelift. The space previously occupied by Collections Management and Technical Services was divided into two sections, carpeted, and painted. The remodel was completed in April and several IRES teams moved into the new space in late April.

Elizabeth Swinney hard at work in the new Collections Management space

The open space in MLIB 319 invites more collaboration among teams

The other half of the floor now houses 23 staff members from a number of departments within Information Resources. The space is located in the northwest corner of the 3rd floor of Meriam Library, and includes a combination of open cubicle spaces and closed-door office spaces. The majority of staff who moved into the new space came from Butte Hall, where sufficient room was no longer available. The space also provides a better configuration for staff collaboration and workplace synergies. The move marked the completion of a two year planning and construction effort.

Some of the IRES team staff members in MLIB 319

ECAR Study Results

Last spring CSU, Chico participated in the ECAR (Educause Center for Applied Research) Study of Undergraduate Students and Technology. The survey, developed and hosted by Educause, is designed to evaluate undergraduate students’ perception of technology trends.

The survey was sent to all 14,614 undergraduate students; 1,997 students (13.7%) completed the survey. The typical response rate for this type of survey is about 10%.

We have received the results, most of which closely follow CSU-wide patterns and the average results for all US institutions. We gained an incredible amount of information about what our students want and feel they need, not only through the survey questions, but also through the comments students provided.

This year’s results, as well as future participation in the ECAR-hosted student surveys, will assist us in identifying technology trends. We also hope to develop actionable recommendations about how to meet or exceed students’ preferences and expectations for technology in academics. A high-level presentation of CSU, Chico’s results can be found here (PDF).


Classroom Technology Services and Graphic Design Services, both in Academic Technologies, surveyed the campus community this spring and summer. The surveys were distributed in order to get feedback on what services work, what don’t, and what additional services are needed.

The classroom technology survey was sent to all faculty and received 130 responses. Results identified the top technology uses as:

  • Accessing campus servers
  • Viewing Blackboard Learn
  • Viewing and creating PowerPoint presentations

Results also identified areas of improvement, including students’ desks, lighting control, and writing surfaces (white boards). The overall classroom technology rating was generally very good. Dozens of written comments (issues, needs repair) were incorporated into an action plan that has been worked on for the past several months.

Graphics Design Services surveyed their customers asking for feedback on specific services/products offered. Twenty seven responses helped identify areas for improved process flow and communications. Again, this feedback helped drive an action plan that was worked on over the summer. New tools and process improvements were implemented that should streamline service requests, provide better communications during development, and improve efficiencies overall.

University Farm Project

Network Operations recently developed a creative solution in support of the on-going research efforts for the College of Natural Sciences. Shane D. Mayor, PhD in atmospheric and oceanic sciences, has a Raman-shifted Eye-safe Aerosol Lidar (REAL) located at the University Farm. Mayor recently received a three-year, $554,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Physical and Dynamic Meteorology Program to extract wind information from the images the REAL produces.

The Raman-shifted Eye-safe Aerosol Lidar (REAL) located at the University Farm

Solar panels

One of the biggest challenges in support of Mayor’s research was to provide network connectivity to the far reaches of the University Farm where the Lidar site is located. Network Operations designed a point-to-point wireless solution to provide connectivity but trees stood in direct line-of-sight between the LIDAR and the tower serving other at the farm. Phil Mandelbaum of Network Operations quickly designed a wireless relay station to shoot the signal between the trees and back to the Lidar site. Getting power to the relay station also proved to be challenging, so a small solar system along with a series of batteries was installed to operate the relay station twenty-four hours a day. With network connectivity, Mayor can remotely operate most of the equipment at the Lidar and receive real-time data in the comfort of his office located on campus.

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 2013 Update

I wanted to share the IRES May Update with you. It includes Information Resources’ accomplishments and news for the past few months. We welcome your input as we continue to refine our communications with the campus. If you have any questions regarding this update you are welcome to contact me directly at (x6212) or Brooke Banks at (x6212).

Thank you, Mike Schilling

Textbook Alternatives Project (TAP)

The Textbook Alternatives Project (TAP) grant was launched in fall of 2012 to help students save money by encouraging faculty to replace high cost print textbooks with lower cost or free alternatives. The alternatives include eTextbooks, library resources, open educational resources, and self-authored materials. TAP is part of CSU, Chico’s Affordable Learning Solutions (CALS) program, which is an expansion of the CSU’s system-wide Affordable Learning Solutions (ALS) campaign.

Faculty awarded 2012 TAP grants included Leslie Atkins, Eric Ayars, Laurie Browne, Maria DeCastro, David Kagan, Jim Mensching, Susan Roll, and Steve Stewart. In the fall of 2013, faculty participating in TAP will present their findings at the CELT Annual Conference. To learn more about TAP visit the
Chico Affordable Learning Solutions website

Campus coordinators for this project are James Tyler, Online Learning Librarian, and Laura Sederberg, Manager of the Technology and Learning Program.

University Police and IT Support Services Team Up!

Safety Training

ITSS has been working closely with UPD. At the beginning of the Spring semester, Sergeant David Bird was assigned to ITSS to provide training to both our staff and student employees in the event of a library incident. We started the training with a video called “Run, Hide, Fight” on YouTube found hereSgt. Bird provided relevant information to our specific areas both in the Lab and the Service Desk. He addressed questions and then conducted a role-play, or re-enactment, of an active shooter situation. It was a valuable training exercise on a very serious topic. Sgt. Bird said he received positive feedback from our employees who participated in the training.

Extended Lab and Laptop Lounge Hours 

ITSS is also working with UPD to provide Campus Connection services for students that stay late in the computer lab on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. ITSS extended their lab hours in the beginning of March and we are already seeing an increased number of patrons utilizing the space. In addition, UPD is present Thursday-Saturday from midnight until 2 a.m. to provide safe rides for all students.

Application Development Unconference

On April 5 Information Resources sponsored the first developer “unconference” for groups that participate in the Application Standards Subcommittee. An unconference is like a regular conference, except that the agenda is determined by the attendees at the start of the conference and the speakers are not scheduled ahead of time. Topics in the unconference included utilizing revision control for source code, programming language and framework standards, training, and cataloging skill sets and applications.

The feedback from attendees was extremely positive and led to a commitment to hold quarterly unconferences. Attendees also committed to creating and maintaining better avenues for developers. The next developer unconference will be held during the summer.

ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Technology

This spring CSU, Chico participated in the ECAR (Educause Center for Applied Research) Study of Undergraduate Students and Technology. The survey, developed and hosted by Educause, is designed to evaluate undergraduate student’s perception of technology trends.

The survey was sent to all 14,614 undergraduate students. The survey link was available to students for three weeks and officially closed on April 12. 1,997 students (13.7%) completed the survey. The typical response rate for this type of survey is about 10%.

Educause will be sending our data in June along with a standard benchmarking report. Because so many CSUs participated this year, there will be a “system-wide” benchmarking column in the report. 
This year’s results, as well as future participation in the ECAR-hosted student surveys, will assist us in identifying longitudinal technology trends in higher education.  We also hope to develop actionable recommendations about how to meet or exceed students’ preferences and expectations for technology in academics. Last year’s 2012 report can be found on the Educause website here.  

Chico State Mobile App Update

Since January 28, 2013, the Chico State Mobile App has been downloaded more than 5,400 times on iOS and Android devices. Students are accessing the Learning Management System from their mobile devices in record numbers. In April as many as 2,200 students have been logged in each day.
New features are continuing to be added. Recently, building photos have been added to the map, viewable in the Places module (bottom right corner). The building list now is organized by categories and includes Museums, Dining & Snacks, and Residence Halls. Stay tuned! Stay tuned as many exciting new features will be available in early summer.

Microsoft Exchange Server Upgrade

The hardware supporting Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 recently reached its end of life.  To ensure the reliability of email services, Computing and Communications Services replaced the ailing hardware in late April. The hardware was replaced to ensure that the current Exchange Server has the capacity to grow and expand into the next version of Exchange. If the campus should ever choose to move to a cloud based email service, the newly purchased hardware can be repurposed to support other enterprise services such as Blackboard Learn.

Data Center Storage Upgrade

The campus data center deploys virtual servers utilizing software from VMWare, host servers from Dell, and disk storage from NetApp. Over the past eighteen months, the campus’s storage demands have grown so quickly that the system began exhibiting intermittent performance issues. The Enterprise Systems (ESYS) team worked closely with high level NetApp support personnel to determine the root cause of the performance issues. NetApp offered to upgrade a critical component of the system to provide additional performance and stability at no charge. The donated equipment, valued at $190,000, is performing well and is capable of meeting the growing needs of the campus into the future.

Rob Salmon, Vice President of NetApp, a CSU, Chico Alumni, says “Being a model company is at the heart of our culture at NetApp. We believe a great culture is the foundation for success.  It’s what makes our promise to help customers “go further, faster” a reality. We are excited to join CSU, Chico to enhance the academic computing infrastructure building upon the April, 2011 donation to Chico’s SAP America University Alliance Program.”

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) System

Information Resources is implementing a Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tool and set of processes in the IRES IT Planning and Projects office. There are two main components to this project: implementing a PPM software solution and developing effective PPM processes.

The IT Planning and Projects team put together a cross-departmental PPM selection team, including members from HR and FMS, to examine and evaluate cloud-based PPM solutions. After an extensive search that involved 15 different products, the team selected Clarizen as the tool of choice for managing the Information Resources project portfolio.

The factors that made Clarizen stand above the other products evaluated include:
  • Ease of use and simplicity
  • Flexibility
  • Extensive tools for creating custom actions, evaluation criteria, etc.
  • Mobile/iPad support
  • Powerful email interface 

Information Resources is looking forward to fully implementing project portfolio management best practices with the help of Clarizen. If you are interested in more information, contact Tony Dunn in the IT Planning and Projects Office.

IT Support Services helps with Data Recovery

For many of us, much of our work at the university is stored on our computers or other digital media. Unfortunately, desktop computer hard drives occasionally fail and flash drives (or even floppy disks  – yes, there are still a few out there) can become corrupted. If your data is not backed up somewhere (or saved to the Bay file share, which is backed up regularly), it may be permanently lost.

Fortunately, IT Support Services (ITSS) can utilize F.R.E.D. (Forensic Recovery of Evidence Device) from Digital Intelligence to attempt to recover data from damaged or corrupted digital media. F.R.E.D. is a combination of specialized hardware and software specifically designed for this task.

Using F.R.E.D. to recover data can be a complex and time-consuming process.  When critical data is worth the recovery attempt, ITSS does its best to help. Although ITSS has been very successful over the years recovering lost data from University equipment for faculty and staff, not all data can be recovered all the time. ITSS recommends that faculty and staff use the Bay file share to store important data and will do what they can to try to recover your important data in the event of damaged or corrupted media.

Academic Technologies Receives Champions of Diversity Award

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion recently named Academic Technologies as a recipient of the Champions of Diversity Award. This is a new Diversity and Inclusion award, which recognizes offices/colleges/departments for their efforts in creating an inclusive and welcoming community at CSU, Chico. Academic Technologies was acknowledged for their efforts in assisting with the Cesar Chavez Day Educational Campaign by creating a video to educate people about the holiday and deter negative behavior and stereotyping of the Latino/a community. The video can be viewed here.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 2013 Update

I wanted to share with you the IRES February Update which includes Information Resources’ accomplishments and news for the past few months. As we continue to refine our campus communications we welcome your input. If you have any questions regarding this update you are welcome to contact me directly at or Brooke Banks at (x6212).
Thank you, Mike Schilling

Chico State Mobile App

On January 28th the Chico State Mobile App was released for iPhone users from the Apple App Store. The application was released for Android users on Feb. 8th and on Feb. 22th the mobile web version was made available for mobile devices not supporting iOS or Android. By Feb. 20th the iOS version of the application had been downloaded over 3,600 times and the Android version had been downloaded over 450 times. The CSU, Chico Mobile App connects users to campus classes, the campus directory, maps, emergency contact numbers, campus news and events and much more. On one day during the past week, there were more than 3,000 active connections to the Blackboard Learn mobile application.

Information Resources partnered with organizations across campus to design the features offered in the 12 links within the CSU, Chico Mobile App. We are excited that this collaborative effort resulted in our first mobile application available for use in less than six months from the start of the project. We anticipate a second version of the application, with additional features, will be available before the end of the spring semester.

Business Continuity for Blackboard Learn

In December 2012, an investment by Information Resources enabled the implementation of a redundant virtual server environment within our secondary data center in Meriam Library. By replicating the production Blackboard Learn virtual servers and databases to a secondary data center, the application is protected in the event of a major outage in the primary data center in Butte Hall.  Utilizing VMWare Site Recovery Manager Software, Blackboard system administrators can bring-up the Blackboard system in hours instead of days or weeks in order to rebuild all the servers and databases from tape backup media. This new data center capability ensures rapid recovery of the learning management system and extends the service level to our students and faculty. This added environment also protects many of our other systems which run in the virtual server environment.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Compliance Process

For almost 10 years CSU Chico has responded to DMCA notices sent from organizations such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Universal Studios, and Paramount Pictures. When these copyright holders identify that someone on the CSU, Chico network is offering their copyrighted material for download, they want us to take action.  Information Resources has partnered with University Housing and Food Service and Student Judicial Affairs (SJA) to develop processes that both meet our requirements under the law and help educate our students. 

When we receive these notices we forward them to students along with information regarding copyright law and alternative legal sources for downloading music, movies and software. The chart below illustrates the volume of these notices processed in the past two academic years. While we have made some progress in educating our students, we continue to receive a significant number of reports for both first time and repeat occurrences.  Each report consumes valuable staff time in responding to the DMCA and following-up with our students.  For more information regarding our responsibilities under the DMCA as an internet service provider, feel free to contact Brooke Banks at or x6212.


10-Gigabit Network Upgrade

The campus upgraded its connections to the Internet in November 2012. We moved from two 1-gigabit connections to one 1-gigabit connection and one 10-gigabit connection. Not only has this increased the campus’ bandwidth capacity to the Internet by a magnitude of 10, but it has also provided a completely redundant connection to the Internet. The increase in availability and reliability of the campus’ Internet connection is a major benefit of the upgrade.

In addition to the upgrade in Internet connectivity, the campus has provisioned a new connection to the High Performance Research Network (HPRN). The HPRN backbone provides resources to academic departments with enhanced Internet access requirements for their grants. HPRN connects to the Internet2 Abilene network and will provide leading-edge services for large-application users on campus.

Support in the Transition to Blackboard Learn

In fall 2012, the Technology and Learning Program (TLP) responded to 1,842 requests for assistance from faculty and staff. Calls remained the most popular method for contact, followed closely by lab visits (see graph below). Assisting with the transition to the new enterprise learning management system in Fall 2012, as well as an increased faculty focus on the impact of technology in teaching and learning through Academy e-Learning and other campus discussions of online education, has contributed to an 18% increase in service requests over Spring 2012 and an 80% increase in service requests over Fall 2011.