ITS Summer 2011 Updates

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Message from the New CIO – Thomas Hull!
It is great to be here as the CIO of Pace University.  We are the Information Technology Services (ITS) group that handles all of the computers and systems on campus.  I joined Pace after 28 years in the IT industry including being CIO at Siena College, Virginia Commonwealth University, Medical College of Virginia, Visions FCU, and Cornell and IBM.  We are proud of the work that we do at Pace ITS and strive to help students and faculty with using computers, wireless networking and the software applications around campus and from the Internet.  Below we have outlined some “highlight” areas of recent enhancements and services that are available to everyone.  We want to have the best technology services of any university and if you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

We can conveniently be reached by the following:

Phone: 3-3333 or (914)773-3333 [Toll Free: 1-855-PACEITS (1-855-722-3487)]
E-mail: itshelpdesk@pace.edu
Online: http://help.pace.edu

We have extended our ITS Help Desk hours to 8:00AM-7:00PM weekdays and 9:00AM-5:00PM on weekends for the first two weeks of September.

Please visit our website for details: http://www.pace.edu/its.    
 

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Blackboard Upgrade 
Blackboard has been upgraded to version 9.1 (SP 6). This version brings some new enhancements and addresses outstanding issues we encountered last year.  Also, roster pictures are available again! For a complete list of these improvements and more information, please visit the following Web address:
http://ctlt.blogs.pace.edu/2011/08/04/blackboard-delivers-significant-enhancements-and-new-features-for-blackboard-learn-9-1/
 

Classroom/Lecture Halls
ITS has continued in its pursuit of upgrading technology in the classrooms.  Several lecture halls such as Lecture Hall South in NY and Goldstein 300 in PLV have been converted to high-end rooms.  Additionally, we have also worked with a few groups up provide technology in newly created classroom spaces such as the Birnbaum Room and the Environmental Center in PLV.  For a complete list of the spaces being outfitted with technology over the Summer, visit our site: /information-technology-services/about-its/policies-projects/student-technology-fee/project-initiatives/upcoming-enhanced-classrooms/.  To report any issues with classrooms, please e-mail classrooms@pace.edu.
 

Echo 360 (Lecture Capture) Upgrade
As part of the upgrade to version 4, you are now able to login to Echo 360 using your MyPace Portal Username and Password.  This means that logging into the application no longer requires a separate username and password.  The upgrade has updated the look and feel to the Echo Server (ESS) and provided more interactivity between Echo and Blackboard.  Instructors will also be able to see usage statistics on their Echo videos and also allows for students to bookmark their Echo videos.  Ed Media will be working with  various Faculty members in the Fall semester to pilot these new features.  Please Note: For users who have set up Personal Capture, you will be prompted to upgrade Personal Capture.  It is a one-time install that will occur the first time they run the tool.
 

Pace University Web Help Desk
Over the course of the last Academic year, we have been working with several departments to consolidate their respective areas into one Help Desk ticketing system.  We have over 10 major departments that have been incorporated and are continuing to add more!  Some of the departments, aside from ITS, who have been added are OSA, Facilities, Finance, Security, HR Benefits and Lubin Graduate Advisement.  The incorporation of these areas has provided the Pace community with a central location to place tickets for a variety of questions and requests.
 

Enhancements to OSA Phone Systems
A new system was installed which allows incoming calls to the new OSA call center to be queued instead of going to voice mail during busy periods.  This technology informs callers on the expected wait times and frequently updates them on their progress in the queue.   If all staff members are busy helping other callers the system will make callers aware of self service options such as http://help.pace.eduand offer the ability to leave a voice mail message so a staff member can return their call.
 

Pace Information Center (PIC)
The Pace Information Center (PIC) is your single source of information for any question about the university.  To reach the PIC, dial 311 from any internal administrative Pace phone, or 1-855-PACE311 (1-855-722-3311) from off-campus.  From student accounts, security, events, or IT, the PIC can answer your questions and get you the help that you need.  If they can’t answer your question, they will be sure to put you in touch with a live person who can help you.  If the PIC staff is unable to answer your question or is unable to connect you with the appropriate individual/department, they can submit an online Help Desk ticket at http://help.pace.eduon your behalf.
 

Web Conferencing Tools
There are many products available providing web conferencing tools.  Over the past few months ITS has been evaluating the various options and working to develop our recommendations for the best tools for Pace University needs.    Products reviewed are below:

  • Microsoft Lync (recommended)
  • Blackboard Collaborate (pending)
  • Web Ex (not recommended)

Academic Web Conferencing
For Academic web conferencing, we are working with Blackboard on a distributed learning initiative.  The Department of Academic Technology will provide an update on the contract status and the availability of the product.  Until Blackboard Collaborate is made available, Professors can use Microsoft Lync if they wish to use web conferencing as part of their class instruction. Students are now fully able to use Lync, meaning they are able to schedule their own ad-hoc online meetings for group collaboration and communication.  We encourage those interested to use this tool where possible.

Administration Web Conferencing
For Administrative web conferencing sessions, we are recommending Microsoft Lync.  It has all the tools and features that Web Ex has with the one major advantage being that the University has a license for all Faculty, Staff, and Students.  For Pace owned machines, Lync was deployed back in April.  Users can check under All Programs to ensure that the application is available.  For personal machines, users are able to go to http://adam.pace.eduto download the software using their Pace credentials.

Web Conferencing Accessory Recommendations
To best utilize web conferencing products, we recommend purchasing a webcam and a headset.  Our current recommendations are below:

  • Microsoft LifeChat LX-4000 (one-ear headset) or Microsoft LifeChat LX-6000 (two-ear headset)
  • Microsoft LifeCam Studio (USB Webcam)

If you would like to view any other Microsoft Lync approved devices, please click here

Please Note: Most common USB webcams and headsets will perform with Microsoft Lync and Blackboard Collaborate, however, for the best experience, ITS recommends the Lync approved devices.  For those who do not have USB audio devices, you can still conduct screen sharing sessions and use Pace’s phone conferencing system.

University Chat Recommendations
ITS recommends Microsoft Lync for instant messaging rather than Wimba Pronto, AIM, Google Chat, etc.  All Staff, Faculty, and Students have the instant message capabilities readily available through Microsoft Lync.

For more information and training on Microsoft Lync, please visit our Microsoft Lync site.
 

First Mahara User Group Meeting
On Tuesday, August 9th, Pace University successfully hosted the first Mahara User Group Meeting (MUG), a collaborative discussion among local universities who use the Mahara ePortfolio open source platform. Attendees included representatives from Albertus Magnus College, SUNY Purchase, and Plymouth State University, as well as faculty, staff and students from various areas within Pace.  Each institution shared their successes, challenges, and various uses of Mahara. Ellen Marie Murphy from Plymouth State College also gave the group a preview of new features in Mahara 1.4, including new built-in reporting features for the system administrator, a name change from “blogs” to “journals”, and an option for uploading a series of images with the “image gallery” content box. Plans for a MUG web conference in October are underway. The group plans to continue conversations between meetings using the Mahara User Group Facebook page.
 

ePortfolio Updates
The ePortfolio Program has expanded its roots this summer in various areas, including freshman orientation, UNV101, and tenure and promotion (TAP).  Academic Technology Staff participated in the orientation program by training Orientation Leaders to briefly introduce ePortfolios during their technology sessions. Students also had the option of attending an ePortfolio break out session during their orientation program. In hopes of making a stronger connection between ePortfolios and UNV101, all UNV101 faculty and peer leaders were introduced to ePortfolios during their mandatory training sessions. As a result, the NYC faculty have requested a longer hands-on workshop. The TAP template has been finalized on ePortfolio and a TAP webpage has been developed on www.pace.eduto inform candidates of the process. An ePortfolio workshop was included at a June TAP training, as well as during Teaching with Technology Days. Fall workshops have also been scheduled on the following dates:

Pleasantville

For TAP candidates:

  • Sept. 20, 2:00-3:00pm
  • Oct. 17, 2:00-3:00pm

For Reviewers:

  • Nov. 15, 1:30-2:30pm
  • Dec. 7, 2:00pm-3:00pm

New York City*

For TAP candidates:

  • Sept. 9, 10:30-11:30am
  • Oct. 11, 1:00-2:00pm

For Reviewers:

  • Nov. 4, 10:30-11:30am
  • Dec. 6, 1:00-2:00pm   

*All trainings will be held in Civic W206
 

Redesign of the Status Page (Previously called the System Status Blog)
Over the next few months, ITS will be reviewing the System Status Blog and combining its content with that of the prior Status Page.  All ITS Status updates will be directed to http://status.pace.edu
 

Residence Hall Phones
Over the summer, new phones were installed in hallways and common areas in the Residence Halls to replace the phones previously located in the individual rooms.   The new phones are connected to the administrative phone network and allow residents to connect to faculty and staff via their administrative offices, in addition to having the ability to dial Security and 911 much more easily.
 

Thin Client Deployment in the CRC Labs
Over 30 Thin Clients has been deployed to the New York, White Plains, and Pleasantville Computer Resource Center labs.  These Thin Client stations provide for a cost effective express station for users looking to log in quickly while retaining common functionalities such as access to the Microsoft Office suite, the Internet, and Printing.
 

New Digital Signage Vendor: ORCA
ITS worked with Marketing and Communications to bring in our new vendor for digital signage –ORCA.  All content is now managed, deployed, and distributed through them for the New York City campus.  The signage provides a platform for advertising various news, events and announcements to the Pace community at key locations around the campus.
 

Wireless Network Enhancements
Wireless connectivity has been available in many areas, including classrooms, libraries and dorms.  This past spring and summer ITS focused on deploying wireless in the university’s administrative offices.   As of July 2011, wireless network connectivity is available in all administrative areas throughout the campuses.  With the completion of the administrative areas, Pace now offers close to 100% wireless network coverage in all indoor spaces.  If you have a problem with wireless access, please contact the ITS Help Desk.
 

Redesigned ITS Homepage!
ITS has redesigned our Homepage to make searching for services easier.  Check out the site at www.pace.edu/its.
 

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*REMINDERS*

Sign Up for the PaceAlert Emergency Notification System!
Please remember to enroll in or update your PaceAlert information to make sure you get the latest emergency notifications either through your e-mail or phone!  To sign up, please go to: http://alert.pace.edu.   For more information or questions on the PaceAlert Emergency Notification System, please click on the following link: PaceAlert FAQ.
 

Guest Wireless Account for Pace Visitors
ITS offers a self-service system for Pace Students, faculty, and staff to generate wireless/wired network guest accounts for individuals who are visiting Pace University for a limited time.  A Pace sponsor can either request a new account, or make changes to accounts that have already been requested.  For more information click hereor from Account Serviceson the ITS Homepage, select Guest Accounts/Request an Account(standard guest accounts expire after 7 days).  Please note: Faculty and staff can also use the self-service system to create multiple/bulk guest accounts as well as obtain additional IT services (i.e. Blackboard, e-mail, Banner, etc.).  Also, for security purposes, users must close out of all open browsers to complete the sign out process.
 

Wireless: Auto-configuration for Pace_Secure using Pace_Connect
Configuring your device for Pace_Secure has been made simple! ITS has made XpressConnect by Cloudpath available to Pace wireless users.  Running XpressConnect is a one-time process and provides automatic configuration of wireless devices that connect to the Pace_Secure network.   Simply connect your device to the Pace_Connect wireless network to begin the auto-configuration process.  For more detailed instructions, please visit the System Status Page: Configuring Wireless. Please Note:  If you are already configured for Pace_Secure or you are using a Pace-owned machine that is on the domain, you do not have to make any changes. In addition, the PWN wireless network is no longer available.
 

Blackboard Mobile Learn App
If you haven’t heard BlackBoard Mobile Learn App is here for the following devices on all cellular carriers such as the Android,Blackberry, iDevices (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad), and Palm.
For more details, please check out April 2011’s ITS Newsflash: Blackboard Mobile Details.
 

Utilizing Your Technology FeePace University assesses a Technology Fee to ensure students have access to the latest instructional technology resources available.  All revenue generated from the technology fee goes directly towards funding instructional technology initiatives that are focused on enhancing the student learning experience.  A committee comprised of students and staff vote to determine which initiatives receive funding each year, with annual reports to be provided to the Pace community.  To propose a technology initiative or vote on an existing proposal, please click on the following link: Submit a Proposal or Vote. Your input and feedback is critical in ensuring we are meeting the technology needs of all Pace students. For more information visit the Student Technology Fee page at www.pace.edu/stf.
 

Pace University Mobile PageITS offers an easy-to-use mobile web page for final exams, room assignments, and bus schedules that can be accessed on mobile devices that have internet capability. To access the Final Exam Schedule, Room Assignments, and/or Bus Schedule mobile web page from your phone, please go to http://m.pace.eduPlease Note: This utility is a work in progress which is subject to upgrades as we receive user feedback and additional data.