Monday, March 2, 2015

February 2015 Update

ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Technology

This spring CSU, Chico will be participating in the ECAR (Educause Center for Applied Research) Study of Undergraduate Students and Technology for the second time. This survey'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 continue to develop actionable recommendations about how to meet or exceed students' preferences and expectations for technology in academics. The results from the 2013 survey uncovered a need and desire for training, which prompted the purchase of access for all students, faculty and staff.  Last year's 2014 report can be found on the Educause website here.

Wildcat Action Center

The Wildcat Action Center was a joint project between EAPP and ADS and is a messaging system within the Chico Portal that delivers targeted critical academic progression related messages to students. The Wildcat Action Center will alert students when they log in to the Chico Portal. A “pop-up” window will be displayed which shows the students how many active messages they have and the urgency and text of each message.

The primary focus of these messages is to deliver timely information to students who can then take immediate action to address the information presented in the message. Examples include:  low-enrollment alerts for upcoming terms (students can click the action link to directly enroll in courses); unpaid tuition fee notifications (students can click the action link to directly pay online); academic standing notifications (students click the action link to read policy on their current standing); etc. All actions a student takes in response to the message (view, ignore, dismiss, action taken) are then relayed back to PeopleSoft and stored in the database.

Identity and Access Management Assessment Update

As part of the campus Identity and Access Management Assessment project, Information Resources has posted two RFPs (request for proposals).  One is for a new Identity and Access Management (IAM) system, and the other is for a Privileged Access Management (PAM) system.  RFP details can be found on the Procurement and Contract Services website.  We intend to complete vendor selection in May 2015 and begin implementing both systems in parallel in June 2015.  The IAM implementation will be more complex and we are tentatively planning for the initial implementation to occur over 12 months. The PAM implementation could occur faster with an implementation tentatively concluding by the end of 2015.

Real Media Server Decommission

The campus Real Media server (AKA “Mole”) was decommissioned in January. Information Resources introduced Kaltura as a new streaming media server in fall 2012 as a replacement for Mole and the Technology and Learning Program (TLP) has worked with faculty to migrate onto that platform over time.

Automated Java Updates

Anyone paying attention to the news today will know that there have been several recent data breaches. Target, Home Depot, Sony, and Anthem Blue Cross have all reported massive leaks of their employee and customer data. One of the most common methods of breaching an organization's defenses is malware (short for malicious software). Serious types of malware can log everything you type (including your passwords!), capture information displayed on your screen, or even allow complete control of your computer by the attacker.

Of course no one would ever intentionally install these programs. Attackers get people to install them by making them look like legitimate programs, or by exploiting bugs in operating systems and common applications like Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Flash, and Oracle Java. The best way to protect your computer (and the organization you work for) is to only install applications you know are legitimate, and to keep your operating system and related applications patched with the latest security fixes.

In an effort to enhance the security of the campus computing environment, ITSS has been patching Microsoft Windows operating systems for many years (Apple Macintosh system patching will be added in the next few months as well). To more effectively harden our systems against attack, we are now starting to patch third-party applications like Acrobat, Flash, and Java, which are common vectors of malware infections.

While we recognize that patching can often feel disruptive because it requires that your browsers be shut down or your computer restarted, it is critical to securing the campus against outside threats. Keeping your computer fully patched can also help prevent situations where you'll need to be without your computer for a day or two while it gets re-imaged to clear a malware infestation.

As with any software update, the latest version of one of these applications can occasionally cause other systems you work with to break. We do our best to test every update with a group of pilot users prior to updating the bulk of the campus computers, but in the event that an update causes you issues, please contact ITSS immediately and we can work to roll back the update temporarily while we get your specific issue resolved.

College of Business Website Launch

The College of Business and Web Services completed and launched the new College of Business website ( in December.

Created within the current design system, the website is a custom, fully responsive design that should help to future-proof the department’s online activities by providing the optimal viewing experience for all users in a “device agnostic” way that doesn't require zooming and panning.

Besides adopting a new look and shifting to responsive design, the College of Business also examined the content and structure of their previous site, and made many decisions geared towards providing a better user experience. This change should help streamline the college’s workflow, enabling it to keep the website up to date in a more independent, flexible, and timely way.

Special thanks to Dean Judith Hennessey, Ken Chapman, Julie Indvik, Peter Straus, and everyone else from the College of Business who provided the input and guidance on this project.

For more on the basics of responsive design, check out this blog post from Froont:

New Interactive Technology Spaces

Thanks in large part to two student learning fee grants, the Meriam Library has opened two of three new Interactive Technology Spaces. This trio of rooms will allow students to collaborate on a variety of projects and prepare for presentations. This spring we opened the Collaborative Technology Space (MLIB 252) and the Creative Media Space (MLIB 254).

The Collaborative Technology Space features a large Sharp Aquos Board touch display suitable for small groups to brainstorm and prepare projects. The Creative Media Space provides software and hardware for students to create and edit a variety of photo, web, video, and audio projects, all in a private room free from distractions. Later this year, the Practice Presentation Space (MLIB 253) will open, providing students with a mock smart classroom where thy can practice presentations and speeches, even recording their presentations for playback and critique. The rooms are available by reservation only to CSU, Chico students.

New Staff and Organizational Changes

The Wildcat ID Card Office has now joined Information Resources in Applications and Data Services as part of an organizational consolidation. As part of this consolidation, Sally Zhang and the Wildcat Card Office moved from the Student Services Center into the BMU.

Jason Donnell joined IT Client Services this February as an IT Analyst. Jason is a CSU, Chico graduate with a BS in Electrical Engineering and has been in Chico for about 20 years.  He’s done software development, led software teams, and handled technical project management for several local companies  Jason will be our TeamDynamix administrator and will be helping us implement new incident management, asset and configuration management, and service catalog processes. In addition, Jason will also be the administrator for the LearnerWeb training management system.  Jason is a long distance trail runner and spends more than a little time on the roads and trails around town. This year will mark his foray into putting on a race, the Rim To Rim Trail Run ( on June 6th.

Aram Favela, previously employed in TLP, has rejoined IRES in Creative Media and Technology as a classroom support technician. 

Greg Olson joined the Creative Media and Technology team as a Media Production Specialist.  He is a Chico State Alumni who started his career in broadcasting in 1999. After finding success at Northwest Cable News in Seattle, Washington and Sacramento’s KOVR 13, Greg returned to Chico to start his family and achieve a leadership role at CBS 12. Most recently he was the video producer and workshop instructor for Videomaker Magazine. Greg and his lovely wife Malina have two young daughters that keep them busy, but in his free time Greg enjoys playing music.

Jared Rouse joined ITSS as an Information Technology Consultant. He grew up in Paradise and attended Simpson University in Redding. While he was there he met his wife Elisa. They moved to Chico two years ago to be closer to his job at Butte County Behavioral Health. He spent three years at the County as an Information Systems Technician. While Jared works, his wife Elisa is able to be a stay at home mom with their three beautiful little girls, who are 3, 2, and just a week old.  In his free time Jared enjoys spending time with his family, going to the local Farmers Market, and planning events for his apartment complex.

Robert Utter, a recent CSU, Chico graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, joined Distributed Learning Technologies full-time in January as an Information Technology Consultant. Robert’s initial focus will be on system support and administration of Blackboard Learn.  He will also take over managing DLT’s website, as well as begin updating some of the department’s custom development work. In his spare time, Robert enjoys board games, wikis, and hobbyist software development.

Dennis Yarnell returned to Classroom Technology Services in January as a retired annuitant.  Originally from Redding, Dennis worked at several television stations in Northern California, prior to settling in Chico.  He worked at CSU, Chico for nearly 35 years before retiring in 2009, and worked on some of the first distance learning systems in the region.  Dennis remembers being involved in the creation of the first modern smart classroom, Ayres 106, in 1993. In his free time, Dennis enjoys RV travel, ham radio, and home improvements.

Sally Zhang joined Applications & Data Services in January as an Information Technology Consultant. Sally received a Bachelor of Arts degree from FuDan University, Shanghai, China and a Master's Degree in Management Information Systems from the College of Business, CSU, Chico. She has worked on campus since January 2002 and has been in the Wildcat ID Card office since May 2005. Sally likes to participate in table tennis, Tai Chi, and enjoys spending time with her family, particularly her granddaughter.