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.