March/April 2007

The Communicator :: March/April 2007

TBR Instititutions in Process of Making Switch to Desire2Learn

The Tennessee Board of Regents recently announced it had reached an agreement and awarded a contract to Desire2Learn (D2L) to provide its learning management system, learning object repository, and synchronous teaching environment to all TBR institutions. A transition plan has been established that will guide faculty, students, and ITD staff through the conversion from WebCT to D2L. Information Technology staff received training from D2L during January and February and will begin faculty training workshops and seminars, and producing other resources during the spring semester. Training will continue throughout the summer and fall semesters with the conversion to be completed by December 2007. Please check the D2L support Web site for more information about workshop schedules and transition progress. For more information, contact the ITD Faculty Instructional Technology Center at ext. 8191.

CampIT Provides Campers Unique Opportunities

Hurry to reserve your spot in 2007 CampIT provided through the ITD Faculty Instructional Technology Center (FITC). CampIT is scheduled for May 14-25 and only a few openings remain.

CampIT is a web-based development opportunity that faculty can use to increase their knowledge and skills in teaching in today's web enhanced environment. It is offered as a blended approach that combines online and face-to-face components. The objectives of the camp are as follows:

  • Experience the online environment from both the student and the faculty perspective.
  • Discuss advantages and challenges presented by the online learning environment.
  • Create a student-centered online learning environment for a course in their selected discipline.
  • Customize a course management system (D2L) site for their course.
  • Create multimedia course resources (graphic, video, audio) to be used in their online learning environment.
  • Prepare, upload and place text, graphic, and video files into their D2L course.
  • Demonstrate the Communication and Student Management Tools available within D2L.
  • Create an online assessment using Respondus and import that assessment into a D2L shell.

Camp IT will be a two-week experience. The first week will be virtual where participants interact with fellow "campers"; in an online experience. In the second week, campers are face-to-face with "camp counselors"; (FITC staff) and fellow campers, developing the knowledge and skills to effectively integrate technology into teaching. Participation in both weeks is strongly encouraged, but faculty who are unable to commit to the second week are welcome.

For more information about CampIT, contact FITC at ext. 8191 or visit www.mtsu.edu/webctsupport/faculty/fac_workshop.html. To register, go to www.mtsu.edu/~itd/workshops.

ACT Classroom

Classes have started in the Cingular Wireless Advanced Classroom Technology Laboratory (ACT) this spring. Five faculty members have volunteered to use the new technology classroom in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building. Dr. Andrew Owusu of Health and Human Performance, Dr. Greg Schmidt of Psychology, Dr. Becky Seipelt of Biology, Dr. Ngee-Sing Chong of Chemistry and Dr. K. Watson Harris of Education will be utilizing the new equipment to promote student-to-student collaboration. Using the 16 wireless Tablet PCs and four main plasma displays, students will be able to break into groups to work on various projects in-class. The five instructors will also be some of the first in the nation to use the new Thunder electronic flipchart system in an actual classroom environment.

Academic and Instructional Technology Services will be providing additional demonstrations/training for the ACT Lab this spring. They are currently scheduled for the following dates:

March 14th (2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.)

March 23rd (9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.)

The room will also be highlighted at the upcoming twelfth annual Instructional Technology Conference in April.

ITD Security Update

The Information Technology Division security group continues to perform departmental security reviews. These reviews provide documentation to describe the systems in place and also give recommendations as to how to increase information technology security in the department. These reviews are available to any department on campus free of charge as part of ITD's services. To request further information, please email security@mtsu.edu.

Two new security workshops are offered this spring. The first is "Social Engineering Awareness";, scheduled for March 21, and covers ways in which people try to hack into systems without ever using technology. The second new workshop is "Sensitive Info"; on May 3 and covers types of sensitive information, why it needs to be protected, and ways in which you can help protect it. More information about ITD workshops is available at www.mtsu.edu/~itd/faculty/train.html.

iTunesU

Middle Tennessee State University has reached a contract agreement with Apple to create an iTunes University program specifically for this campus.

Apple's iTunes U is a content management system that provides a way for colleges and universities to make both audio and video content from lectures, interviews, PDFs, and more available to students online. In addition to their own content, schools can customize their iTunes U with school colors, logos, and photography.

To set up iTunes U, you must first have iTunes loaded on your Mac or PC. You can download iTunes by visiting the Web site http://www.apple.com/ilife/tutorials/itunes/it1-1.html.

Go to the MTSU iTunes page and click on the iTunes U link. You will be asked to verify that you are a student, faculty member, or staff member of MTSU. Once authentication is complete, your browser will open MTSU's iTunes U page that looks similar to the iTunes music store.

Once the page is open, you can browse through the site and download content related to MTSU courses. Content can be downloaded to Macs and PCs, or transported to an iPod or other mobile devices. The iTunes page is not searchable from the regular iTunes music store; it must be accessed through the university link.

Faculty can request an account within the system to post and edit content.

For more information on iTunes, go the Web site http://www.apple.com/education/products/ipod/itunes_u.html.

The ITD Faculty Instructional Technology Center (FITC) can assist faculty in creating an account and content creation.

Please contact FITC at ext. 8189 if you have any questions about using iTunes U.

Security Reminder

  • Never email social security numbers;
  • Remove SSN from documents stored on your computer whenever possible;
  • On documents where sensitive information is stored:
    • Make sure your storage area (whether physical or electronic) is secure;
    • Make sure sensitive information stored to floppy disk or CDs is kept secure and;
    • Contact ITD to schedule a security review to help identify where sensitive information is currently stored and to discuss ways to better protect it.
  • Be careful when printing:
    • Do not recycle documents or reports containing sensitive information. These papers should be shredded and;
    • Do not send sensitive information to printers in public areas.
  • Be careful when transporting sensitive information. If sensitive information MUST be kept on portable devices such as laptops or USB drives, discuss with ITD how to encrypt the stored data and;
  • Be sure to check out the Sensitive Information workshop scheduled for May 3 at www.mtsu.edu/~itd/faculty/train.html.

Network Services Update

Upgrades and new initiatives in the Middle Tennessee State University networking area include:

The Tennessee Center for Child Welfare offices on East Main Street off the Murfreesboro Square have been connected to the campus via a point to point 10 Mbps Metro Ethernet. This circuit carries both voice and data, prioritizing the voice. Phones at this site plug into data network jacks, making this a truly converged voice and data solution.

The Clean Access network access control system was upgraded with a new server, new software, and new features. Clean Access provides a method of protecting against introducing viruses and worms on the campus network from the residence halls, Greek Row, and wireless networks.

A new intrusion prevention system (IPS) was installed. IPS can detect network intrusions, worm and virus activity, and other network events and automatically remove the source of such from the network until the affected device has the vulnerabilities and/or malware removed.

Profile - Drs. Gerry Scheffelmaier and Dawn Shelar

Disabling Obstacles

It is a grim, unfortunate aspect of our society. The disabled population of this country is virtually ignored by mass culture.

Think about it: How many disabilities are fairly portrayed on network television? When was the last clothing line directed toward those with disabilities?

According to the National Organization of Persons with Disabilities, nearly 20 percent of the population is disabled, and this percentage contributes $1 trillion dollars to the economy annually.

Yet, there still exists a prevailing sentiment in this country to sweep this group under the rug. It is much easier to smile on the less fortunate with pity and move on. It took until 1990 for the United States Congress to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act.

At MTSU, an estimated 800 students are disabled. Dr. Gerry Scheffelmaier and Dr. Dawn Shelar are spearheading efforts to make sure disabled students are allowed every opportunity to succeed.

It's an endeavor that combines many different elements. Technology, for one, plays a role. Architecture of the campus is another aspect. But, according to Shelar, for all of these ingredients to provide the proper mixture, there is one special contingent here on campus that can broaden these efforts.

"The big thing is to listen to the [disabled] students because they have the answer. We can have all the textbooks stacked to the ceiling with the way we should approach it and what we should do. But, it can be so simple as to increase [a document] to an 18-font,"; she said.

Shelar serves as the program manager of Recreation and Leisure Services at MTSU in the College of Education and Behavioral Science. Scheffelmaier teaches entrepreneurship at MTSU.

Their passion toward making MTSU disabled-friendly lies, in part, to disabilities of their own. Shelar has hearing loss, while Scheffelmaier's loss of sight in his right eye prematurely ended his law enforcement career.

Their disabilities are significant because it serves as a reminder that those stricken are not always immediately recognized. As Scheffelmaier noted, there are students on campus who are fighting cancer and thus might not outwardly appear as disabled.

Their venture's main goal can be divided into three parts: Make disabled students' life on campus a pleasant experience; develop these students as attractive candidates for jobs and; awake a marketplace that is losing billions of dollars each year by not recognizing the needs of the disabled.

Along with those such as John Harris at the Office of Students with Disabilities and the Information Technology Division, Shelar works to heighten the awareness of MTSU's rather large disabled population and make their experience beneficial to their future.

These tasks range from making classes easily accessed online or helping these students email resumes. Technological advancements remove this barrier.

"Technology opens so many more doors with persons with disabilities than it closes,"; Shelar noted.

Scheffelmaier's expertise lies in the integration of business and the Internet to create the repeat buyer for small business.

While online shopping would appear to ease retail concerns for those with disabilities, he is troubled by how businesses virtually ignore the needs of the disabled.

"Companies are locking persons who are blind out, who are visually impaired. Some are hearing impaired. They lock these people out. And they shouldn't do that. We need to capture that,"; he said.

The nearly 20 percent of the population that is disabled receives nearly $220 billion in discretionary funds each year from the federal government. However, companies fail to tailor their products and marketing to these specific needs.

"America thinks these people don't count much or don't have a lot of money. … Two hundred and twenty billion dollars is a lot of money,"; Scheffelmaier said.

Shelar noted Kohl's is the only business where she has seen a handicapped mannequin. "It's a start. That's exciting";

She said sculpting a more disabled-friendly marketplace is very important to the success of MTSU's disabled students.

"To narrow it down to our individual students, if they are discounted in the marketplace, think about how that affects their ability to get a job,"; she said.

She continued, "If we can involve [the disabled] as active consumers that the marketplace appreciates, then the marketplace is more likely to employ.";

Both agreed the wealth of options provided by the entire team at MTSU, from President Sidney McPhee all the way down the line, is the main reason this campus is an attractive option for persons with disabilities.

"The students who are here and graduate go back out and say, 'I may have cerebral palsy. I went to Middle Tennessee State University and got this degree and it was a matter of tenacity and a matter of wanting to do something with my life besides make minimum wage.' And they do it. And that's the best recruitment tool we have,"; Shelar said.

ITD Staff - Dave Munson

Keeping It Up and Running

Dave Munson enjoys a good game of bridge. He learned the game from his father and plays it with his wife and their friends. It's metaphorical, in a way, that Munson enjoys bridge. Since joining the MTSU staff in 2000, Munson has served as a connector within the ITD network

Along with fellow senior system analyst Curt Curry, Munson has been a central cog in the technological boom on campus. One of his primary functions has been the development and the integration of the ITD Help Desk, both the old system and the Footprints system currently in use today.

Munson works with the maintenance of web-based applications providing functionality that can be accessed by any staff member on a computer connected to the campus network.

He also works to maintain the campus scanners, which are used to scan time sheets and student tests.

As we now know, technology is a constantly evolving beast. Munson's job is one that changes with the times, and he appreciates the emergent aspects of his work.

To successfully work with these varying systems, he relies on his technological intuition, if you will, that helps him quickly adapt to this changing environment.

Munson also says the ability to diversify is vital in overseeing the demands of this wide-ranging job.

"[Curry and I] have skills we can apply to different areas,"; he said.

As an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Michigan, Munson studied computer languages and the development of the compatibility of hardware and software to achieve goals.

After working for years in the corporate world as a control-system engineer on a nuclear power plant among other things, Munson and his wife moved to middle Tennessee for her job transfer. Munson's background in computer languages made him an ideal fit at MTSU.

Munson enjoys the supportive atmosphere of the academic world.

Although he acknowledges his team is small, Munson has faith that each member can lean on the other to reach their goals.

"Assisting other people in ITD to achieve their goals and being flexible enough to do that [is enjoyable],"; he said.

ITD Staff News

The College of Continuing Education and Distance Learning recently honored faculty and staff with the Distinguished Educator in Distance Learning award. Al Smith, from the ITD Faculty Instructional Technology Center, was the staff award recipient.

The following criteria are used by the Distance Learning Committee and the Continuing Education staff in the selection of the recipients of the Distinguished Educator in Distance Learning Awards:

  • Research or surveys in the field of distance learning;
  • Presentations given or training conducted on distance learning;
  • Pioneering distance education course development/instruction in a department;
  • The number of courses/students taught using distance learning delivery methods;
  • Using several distance learning methods (i.e. telecourse, correspondence, video conferencing) to teach a course;
  • Incorporating technology in the course;
  • Developing original course materials and;
  • The number of semesters teaching in a distance learning format.
  • Al was recognized at the annual Distance Learning Luncheon in December.

Barbara Draude, from the ITD Faculty Instructional Technology Center, along with Drs. Tom Brinthaupt (psychology) and Maria Clayton (English) presented a poster "Defining and Overcoming Faculty Barriers to the IT Integration"; at the 2007 EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) Annual Meeting Jan. 22-24 in Atlanta.


Vice president for IT and CIO Lucinda Lea was invited to become a member of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) Advisory Board for a three-year term beginning in January 2007. ELI is a community of higher-education institutions and organizations committed to advancing learning through IT innovation.

ERP Update

RaiderNet replaces WebMT

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) updates include:

Replacement for WebMT

PipelineMT's WebMT tab has a new "sister"; tab called RaiderNet. Just as WebMT "talks"; to the legacy SIS Plus system for its live data and services, RaiderNet "talks"; to the new Banner system. For the next five months, WebMT and RaiderNet will co-exist to allow students and faculty access to their 2007 spring and summer data via WebMT and their 2007 fall and forward data via RaiderNet. Login to PipelineMT and visit RaiderNet to see what it has to offer. Check back periodically to try new options as they become available.

MTSU Alumni Online Community

The Alumni Online Community is officially pointing to Banner data. It was changed from ADS Plus on January 10.

Financial Aid

Portions of Financial Aid went live in January and February of 2007. More components of Financial Aid will be converted throughout the spring.

IRS Data

W-2s and 1099s for calendar year 2006 were produced on Banner.

Human Resources

The HR team is setting up and testing new Campus Directory options available on RaiderNet.

Student

  • A stress test of Banner and RaiderNet was conducted January 31-February 1—faculty, students, and staff logged onto a test Banner and test PipelineMT system to try online activity and processing of various jobs (registration, admissions, etc).
  • Some MTSU Student Team and Financial Aid Team members are coordinators for several Tennessee statewide enhancements to the Banner system. MTSU hosted statewide testing sessions in February for other TBR schools and vendor developers to refine the enhancements.
  • Massive amounts of academic history data are being migrated this month for the Student module.
  • Training for end users began in February.
  • Two faculty demo sessions were held in January and February.

Fall 2007 Registration

The first registration activity for production Banner will be for Fall 2007 priority registration beginning April 9.

ID Card

The new MTSU ID number assigned in Banner will be placed on the MTSU ID cards as new students and staff arrive for fall.

Xerox Printer


New Printer in CAB More Reliable

Getting printouts and other computer-generated materials has become much easier. The next time you stop by the window in the basement of the Cope Administration Building, you may notice an empty space in the middle of the room. It's there because of a recent hardware upgrade.

Letters, reports, and other documents not produced by MTSU Printing Services - such as those derived from several ITD administrative information systems - are now done with a new, more reliable, and space-saving Xerox printer/copier. It's a Docuprint 90 EPS model that's significantly smaller than the old machine and faster, too, especially for large jobs, which usually run at night.

The new printer/copier produces documents such as award letters, W-2 forms, bills, and pieces on MTSU letterhead, which is programmed into the printer. Some FOCUS and Microsoft Access program output is also produced on the new machine.