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OIT Technology News: May 2013

OIT Newsletter: Summer

OIT Tech News: May 2013 - Page 2

Academic Initiatives:

BlackboardEnhancements for Blackboard: We are evaluating a number of enhancements for Blackboard and hope to finalize a plan in the next week.  We are hoping to implement a number of new features and tools designed to help track student learning outcomes. We will provide more details once the plans are finalized.

Classroom SupportClassroom Equipment: In both surveys, there were a number of comments regarding the out of date equipment in several of the classrooms. During a recent inventory of classroom equipment, Dedman College rooms by far had the oldest equipment. Therefore, most of the classroom computers in Dedman College will be replaced this summer. In addition, several of the classrooms have been slated for a complete upgrade of the AV equipment. We will provide an update of the classroom equipment refreshment at the start of the Fall semester.

Campus Network

SMU WirelessResidence Hall Wireless: There were a number of comments asking for improvements with the Residence Hall Wireless network. When we analyzed the data from non- resident students and faculty and staff, the feedback on PerunaNet was much more positive. Although PerunaNet is the same throughout campus, utilization of that network and the devices connecting to that network in the Residence Halls are much more varied. Therefore, OIT is reviewing our current architectural design for wireless in the Residence Halls. We are visiting several of the residence halls on May 7 to gather some feedback and ideas from the students. The team will then meet to determine what steps we can take this summer to ensure a more positive experience for our campus residents this fall.

Campus Wireless Improvements: During the summer, we will upgrade our wireless controller and implement a few other changes recommended in a recent configuration audit. There were some comments regarding certain locations on campus where PerunaNet coverage is spotty. There are several older access points that have been targeted for replacement and the team will investigate those areas that were specifically reported in the survey. If PerunaNet coverage is weak in a specific area, please let us know! We will also review the campus coverage maps to proactively detect any areas that need some additional coverage.

Telephone Services

CellphoneCell Phone Coverage: A project is currently underway to implement a distributed antennae system (DAS) across campus. Funding has been secured and the project is in the architecture design and carrier negotiations phase. Once installed, signal strength for the various vendors who choose to participate will be greatly improved across campus. The implementation phase will begin in early 2014 and will extend throughout the year.

Campus Phone System: We have recently secured funding for a replacement of our campus phone system. A project is underway to identify the new solution. An implementation timeline has not yet been determined. We will provide an update to that project at the start of the Fall Semester.

Training and Support

IT Training

IT Training offerings: We received a wide range of comments regarding IT training. Most requested more hands on classes and more online course materials as well as an expanded course selection. Some comments indicated the current training is too advanced while others believe our course curriculum is too basic. Our challenge remains to offer classes for all levels of expertise and learning styles to accommodate the requests for both online and in person training. 

The training team provided 271 training classes last year which was a significant increase from the number of classes the year before. The course listing expanded with the addition of the Office certificate and Inside.SMU certificate program and Adobe classes. Over the next year, we will be scheduling additional classes for the Adobe products and will begin offering more classes online. In addition, we will be revising our website this summer to include links to additional online resources for each application wherever possible. The summer schedule of courses is now available.

SMU STAR ProgramWeb Development Assistance: Several individuals requested assistance with web development/ publishing projects. Support for web development, conversion to SiteCore and general consulting assistance is provided by Academic Technology and the STAR program. If you are needing assistance, please simply email or contact the Help Desk and we will put you in touch with the right team.

Online Help via ChatHelp Desk Chat Support—The Help Desk Chat service has been inconsistent. Several individuals commented on the longer wait time for chat sessions and the availability of support through this channel. It is definitely an issue that we will address. We are going to revamp our model for staffing the chat support channel as well as investigate a different tool that is integrated with our help desk software. By the Fall semester, we promise a more consistent and more effective support experience through this channel.

Congrats to our IT Help Desk!

They have earned the HDI Support Center Team Certification.  Each team member earned their individual HDI Certification thus qualifying the team for recognition.  HDI is a professional association for the technical service and support industry.  The certification focuses on customer service, best practices for service delivery, and technical support skills. 

  • Abby Kinney: HDI Support Center Director
  • Rachel Mulry: HDI Support Center Manager
  • Barb Dietz: HDI Support Center Analyst
  • Janet Asberry: HDI Support Center Analyst
  • Gina Benavides: HDI Support Center Analyst
  • Lauren Nelson: HDI Support Center Analyst
  • Zach Peterson: HDI Support Center Analyst