Open Forum Notes Fall 2012

Policy Vetting

Following some opening remarks Vice President and Chief Information Officer Bruce Petryshak announced that the University was planning to institute a vetting period in order to receive broader input from the campus community on its new or revised policies. Individuals will receive an email from the University Council's Office announcing a new policy or policy modification. The emails will contain a link to the redlined version of the new or modified policy and will allow users to submit comments or suggestions on them. The user feedback will be subsequently reviewed and vetted, and any of the submitted suggestions that can be incorporated into the new or revised policy will be done so. The revised policy will then be publicized for a period of time before being submitted to the vice presidents for approval.

Dell U Campus

Sade' Baker, an MTSU student and Dell intern, spoke about the various Dell discounts and benefits available to MTSU faculty and staff on products such as laptops. She encouraged attendees to visit the Dell website for more information.

Web Page Update

Assistant Vice President Barbara Draude announced that MTSU is in the process of redefining its Web presence. One of the reasons that inspired this endeavor is the complexity of the current University website, which consists of over 17,000 pages and has grown to a point where it has become challenging to navigate. The new website aims to do away with extraneous or esoteric information to become more user-friendly in order to attract prospective students. Draude said ITD is working in conjunction with Marketing and Communications because the University wants the website to be consistent with its various print materials, advertisements, and billboards. Petryshak added that the idea behind this project is to showcase all of the programs and departments in a way to make them more appealing for potential students. For example, he said if a prospective student has an interest in advertising, he or she would most likely visit the College of Business Web page to learn about the University's advertising program. However, such information is actually located on the Mass Communication site. The revitalized website will eschew such potential confusion to become more accessible for those trying to learn about the University. Draude said the newly acquired CMS will allow more opportunities to update the website (such as video capabilities and multimedia), and the project will result in a much more seamless website rather than 17,000 disparate pages. ITD will work with all of the University's departments and colleges in this endeavor. As far as personal pages are concerned, Petryshak said faculty websites will also be accommodated. The prototype is being developed now, and Draude hopes to have the first phase of the project completed in the spring of 2013.

Photos on Banner

Assistant Vice President Lisa Rogers announced that the ID photos of current employees and students have been migrated over to Banner in order to be stored in a second location. The Banner baseline functionality allows administrative users of the Banner system (those authorized to use Banner) the ability to view photos of those individuals by going into the bio demo forms in Banner and clicking on the Help drop down and then the Display ID Image link on that dropdown. Rogers noted that the main focus of this project is to provide a way for faculty members to view a class roster with photos of their students. In RaiderNet ITD is currently developing a menu option for the Faculty Services tab that will allow a roster to be displayed with the photos. No one may opt out of the Banner photo, but users may opt out of having their photos displayed in the Campus Directory, Rogers said. Only faculty members will be able to access student photos in RaiderNet.

ChangePW

In addition to the photos on Banner project, Rogers announced that users are no longer going to be asked to enter their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) when changing their passwords at mtsu.edu/changepw. The site previously prompted users for their social security numbers and birthdates before allowing them to alter their passwords. According to Rogers, the updated version will ask users for a Banner ID, and they will then receive an emailed link to their personal email accounts which will be active for one hour for security purposes. Users will then click on the link and will be taken to a site in which they can look up their usernames and reset their passwords. Rogers reminded attendees to make sure they register their current and active personal email addresses.

Wireless Update

Assistant Vice President Brian Holley informed attendees that the University is in the process of bringing stronger cellphone reception to its campus. ITD is communicating with wireless providers such as Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint to provide stronger wireless signals using more innovative and inconspicuous antennas. Once in place, these devices will provide cellular signals anywhere on campus, including hard-to-reach spots such as the Walker Library. Holley said that technicians are currently using portable transmitters to determine the signal strength throughout the campus (both indoors and outdoors). He encouraged those in attendance to email him at brian.holley@mtsu.edu the names of any locations on campus where cellphone signal strength is problematic. Holley also touched upon network wireless or Wi-Fi for laptops, iPads, and other mobile devices. The University is in the process of upgrading the wireless network infrastructure ITD has partnered with EnterasysNetworks, Inc. to conduct an analysis of campus Wi-Fi reception strength, and buildings will be prioritized based on instructional requirements. Wireless connectivity will also become significantly easier in the weeks to come, Holley said.

Mobility Summit

Associate Vice President Tom Wallace provided some information about the Mobility Summit, which was held October 15-16 in the Student Union Building and College of Education. The inaugural event, which drew more than 300 participants, was a collaboration between MTSU and the Tennessee Board of Regents. The Summit provided all levels of the Tennessee's educational community, Pre-K through higher education including workforce training, opportunities to explore how mobile technologies can be developed, utilized and maintained to enhance learning. In addition, the event offered sessions focusing general academic subject areas and mobility management as well as workshops for mobile application and eBook development.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Update

Wallace also updated attendees on the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) project, called C@M (Cloud at Middle). The project aims to deliver software applications and services to students and faculty anywhere they are and on any device. Wallace explained that on the front side of their devices users will essentially receive the pixel changes, and that is how the VDI system will function without overwhelming the University's network. When a student logs into the network from any device (including thin clients), they will be able to access the software associated with their courses from any location. This endeavor will save the University money because the replacement equipment is cheaper and the potential loss for expensive equipment will be mitigated. ITD has been working throughout the spring, summer, and fall to virtualize the machines across campus. Due to the enormity of the project, ITD has encountered a few bumps in the road along the way but is working diligently to remedy them.

In addition, Wallace announced that ITD has been working with a group of students who developed a mobile application designed for their peers. The initiative is student-driven, and the team researches and evaluates the capabilities of mobile technologies and incorporates them into what their fellow students want. The app was initially available for Android devices but quickly evolved to accommodate Apple products as well. Wallace said the app will continue to develop and evolve in the months ahead. One such development includes the ability to track campus buses. The app will allow users to see where the buses are located at any given time. The buses will be indicated by a blue dot representing the blue route and a red dot for the red route, Wallace explained. The mobile app team is currently evaluating a recent campus-wide survey and plans to develop ways for students to gain additional access to their Banner materials. The app currently allows students to pull up their schedules and maps to where the buildings are located on campus. The team is working with other departments such as Geosciences to develop ways in which to catalogue rocks and also is developing a study aid to assist students with their notes.