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.