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: