Cellular Services Website
A new internal website has been established to post information regarding departmental cell phones for SMU Faculty and Staff only. The new site, hosted on Inside.SMU, includes information for both Sprint and AT&T. The information includes personal discount codes as well as the various plans and options available for Departmental phones.
Bulk List Update—from 3 to 4
During the month of November, several important changes were made to the campus email distribution lists for all faculty, staff and students. These changes were requested by multiple departments across campus.
The Student list was broken into two lists containing undergraduate students and graduate students. This allows the approved senders to be more specific with the content of the message and only distribute it to the target audience.
The membership of the Faculty and Staff lists was modified slightly. Several retired faculty and staff have requested to remain on the list after they retire in order to stay connected with campus. Our previous list configuration did not allow this. We now have several opt in groups to allow these individuals to continue receiving campus news!
We will continue to explore more granular groups as necessary to provide this important communication service to the campus community.
Introducing the Hardware Lifecycle Team
Pictured from left to right: (Top) Tracy, Marco, Jim (Bottom) Chad, Gill, Joe
In this edition, we'd like to introduce the Hardware Lifecycle Team. This team of 6 is responsible for all hardware repairs, computer installs and reloads, and equipment disposal. They are also responsible for building the standard loads used for all IT managed computers and help manage the LanDesk inventory system. They install approximately 1,400 machines and respond to over 300 hardware repair tickets per year. The Hardware Lifecycle Team is located in Expressway Towers.
Jim Jaeger has worked at SMU for 10 years. He loves his Wii gaming system. The strangest job he had was cutting limbs off of trees that were going to be used for Telephone poles. He enjoys working with the latest computer equipment. A surprising fact about Jim is that he fosters Great Danes. Jim also serves as the Team Lead for the Hardware Lifecycle group.
Joe Arnold has worked at SMU for almost 21 years! His favorite technology gadget is a Behringer 22 Channel Mixer with Effects. His strangest job was playing bass guitar in a Las Vegas hotel for a year -- he was only 9 years old! He enjoys working with his team and being in Expressway Tower.
Chad Madding has worked at SMU for approximately 5 1/2 years. He first worked at the Help Desk and then left SMU for a few years. He's been back now with the Hardware team for the past year. His favorite technology gadget is a laptop running Linux Mint 10 (he's a big fan of that OS). His strangest job was a coordinator for a youth shelter in Oklahoma. He has a degree in youth Ministry with a minor in Marriage and Family Therapy. Chad likes the team work and camaraderie of his group.
Joe "Gill" Goodman has worked at SMU for 12 years. His favorite technology gadget is a laptop -- but has his eye on the iPad! Gill worked as a typewriter mechanic for several years when he graduated high school. He loves working for Jim and enjoys the challenge of loading and repairing computers.
Marco Jimenez has worked at SMU for 11 years. He loves his Nokia phone. The strangest job he ever had was working for a Telemarketing Call Center. He enjoys working with new technology and meeting SMU faculty, staff and students. A surprising fact about Marco is that he's a 3rd degree Black Belt in Jiu-Justu.
Tracy McGee has worked at SMU for 10 1/2 years. He first worked at the SMU in Plano campus and then moved to the Hardware Lifecycle team. He loves his DVD recorder for Digital TV. The strangest job he's ever had was as a medic on a heavy lift crane ship during a trip from Mumbai to Singapore to South Korea. He was a Texas EMT Paramedic for 15 years before starting in computers. When asked what he likes best about his current job, Tracy responded "the team environment. We really help each other resolve issues as a group."
Over 200 people attended the Inside.SMU information sessions held during October and November. We are now gearing up to provide more in depth training classes. Three separate courses are in development and will be offered during the Spring semester.
Get Started with Inside.SMU: This class is designed for individuals who will be using an existing Inside.SMU site but will NOT be building the site or customizing the components. It will be a hands-on class designed to teach faculty or staff how to use Inside.SMU. The class will cover many of the basics—navigating, uploading documents, setting alerts, calendars, tasks and discussion boards.
Building your Site on Inside.SMU: This class is designed for faculty and staff who have permissions to build and modify a site. This class will cover many of the features highlighted during the information sessions in a hands-on format. It will focus on adding web parts, creating custom lists and views, creating calendar overlays, and more.
Inside.SMU Power Hour: This one hour session is designed for individuals who have already created a site and need some expert help to take their site to the next level. Our Inside.SMU specialists will share some new tips and tricks as well as answer your questions about using various web parts and more advanced features. This will not be a hands on class, but will be a “question/answer” type session.
We will send a bulk email as soon as the courses have been scheduled. If you need a quick start now, take a look at the tutorials posted at inside.smu.edu.
Office 2010 Upgrade Status
The Office 2010 deployment is well underway. The upgrade is being deployed using LanDesk (the Enterprise Client Management application) according to the following schedule:
• December 3: Theology, SEHD, Student Affairs, DEA
• December 10: Business and Finance, Athletics
• December 17: President’s office, Provost, SMU in Legacy, Hart E Center, CUL, Meadows
• January 7: Dedman College
IT managed computers running Office 2007 will be upgraded first according to the schedule above. If the deployment to a particular machine fails, IT will reschedule the installation for the following evening. Office 2003 machines will not be targeted for upgrade during this initial roll out period. During the early Spring semester, we will contact these users to schedule the upgrade.
What to expect
Machines should be left powered on in the evening in order to receive the upgrade. Customers should save all files and close all programs before leaving the office that evening. The software package will begin installing at 7:00pm that evening. The computer will be forced to reboot during the installation process. The entire process takes 2-3 hours as LanDesk also ensure that other patches are installed prior to the Office installation.
Following the installation, application shortcuts and quick launch icons will need to be recreated.
If you have customized the default word template (normal.dot), please make a backup copy before the scheduled time. This file is replaced during the upgrade.
Requesting the Upgrade
If you would like to request the upgrade ahead of the defined schedule, simply email the Help Desk and include your ITS #. We will schedule the deployment for that evening.
At Home Upgrade
If you have an IT Managed computer at home, you will need to be connected to VPN in order to receive the upgrade. For Faculty and Staff, personal copies of Office 2010 are available at the Computer Corner for $15.
The new office suite offers some powerful tools that integrate with Inside.SMU. Once we have a majority of the campus upgraded, we will begin communicating the various features and benefits of this integration.
Inside.SMU Spotlight: DEA and Provost's Office
Since its release on October 11, over 50 sites have been created on Inside.SMU. We asked a few individuals who requested their sites early to share a few thoughts.
Development and External Affairs: Training Portal (Interview with Julius Mwangi)
Briefly describe how you are using Inside.SMU
DEA is currently using Inside.SMU to support our training portal. On our site, we provide training materials specific to DEA staff. Essentially we have loaded all our training materials to this portal so both the trainer and trainee have easy access to the same material.
What was your experience in getting the initial site “up and running”?
Initially it looked pretty complex, but we were able to navigate through without much effort. It’s basically a simple tool and any questions we had were addressed by the training videos on the OIT website, or by OIT staff. The major challenge is in the bells and whistles, but uploading the documents, creating folders, and setting permissions is self- explanatory. We are still in that stage of making our site better and more user-friendly. I found the training videos posted by OIT very helpful.
Did you face any challenges with adoption once the site was ready?
I can’t think of any serious challenge, first because we had the backing and support of the DEA Training Task Force. This support made the staff to easily ‘accept’ the portal.
Did your coworkers have any issues using the new site?
It’s hard to know that for sure, as only a few have reached out to me for help.
Have you seen any benefits since implementing your Inside.SMU site?
For the training portal it’s a little too early to identify specific benefits, but we know for a fact there are benefits. The portal will help us keep the training materials relevant and up to date as we plan to remind the trainers on quarterly basis to update their training materials. We’ll also be referring new staff to the portal for refreshers or when they are unable to physically attend a training session.
Any improvements made or time saved?
I think the main improvement is the ability to edit/modify the training materials within the portal and not having the documents saved in multiple location and in multiple versions. It’s also made it easier to identify areas not covered by the training, and also manage the training portfolio.
Do you have any plans for future development of Inside.SMU?
Yes. We are already working on another project that will involve DEA wide, developing individual and departmental POA’s. We also plan to use Inside.SMU for our 2012 budget and are continuously looking for other areas that can benefit from Inside.SMU.
University Catalog: (Interview with Donna Dover)
Briefly describe how you are using Inside.SMU
I’m using Inside.SMU to share information and collaborate with team members. I help administer two catalog-related Inside.SMU sites – one for a small planning committee and one for all faculty/staff. I hope people who use the sites will let me know what info they need so the sites are useful to them. Until I get more feedback, I plan to review the hundreds of e-mails I’ve saved and then post a FAQ and various instruction handouts related to the catalogs. Plus, post the catalog production schedule – that’s the big thing.
What was your experience in getting the initial site “up and running”? Any major challenges?
It’s important to organize information so people can easily find it. The “site map” part will always be a challenge for me because I need to consider all the different ways someone might look for specific information. I didn’t like the default left-side menu, but I learned how to tweak that when I attended an Inside.SMU info session.
Did you face any challenges with adoption once the site was ready? Did your coworkers have any trouble with the site?
The main challenge is finding the time to figure it all out! The University Catalog Committee once met in one of the training rooms so everyone would have access to a computer, but the room arrangement isn’t the best for committee meetings.
Have you seen any benefits since implementing your Inside.SMU site? Any improvements made or time saved?
Inside.SMU helps automate repetitive tasks. Plus, important information isn’t “lost” in an e-mail silo. Our committee discussions between meetings are not done via e-mail but on Inside.SMU, and committee members have individualized “Alert Me” settings for the discussions. A discussion between two committee members is automatically shared with the entire committee, but each person decides how many annoying e-mails (alerts) he/she gets. When we “report up” by making a recommendation, the associate provost can easily review the pros and cons we discussed related to that recommendation.
Do you have any plans for future development of Inside.SMU?
There’s a huge potential for using Inside.SMU to automate collaboration steps in cases where there are multiple writers, reviewers and approvers for one catalog Word file. I see each University catalog coordinator one day having a page on the Inside.SMU Catalogs site, with individualized permissions and workflow settings for each catalog-related Word file they manage.