February 2011 IT Activity Report
Each year, Information Technologies (IT) prepares a customer satisfaction survey to obtain campus feedback on central IT services. On Nov. 1, 2010, an email message was sent to all faculty and staff inviting them to complete this year’s survey. The survey closed on Nov. 24, 2010.
Respondents identified themselves as faculty, professional staff, or salaried staff and as full- or part-time. Of the 336 participants, 104 were faculty (31%), 144 were professional staff (43%), and 88 were salaried staff (26%). This year, 90% were full-time and 10% were part-time. We asked about respondent classifications to determine whether specific issues concern a particular constituent group.
Respondents expressed positive attitudes toward IT staff and the services that IT provides. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said that their overall experience with IT staff was good or very good; 73% said that their overall experience with IT support was good or very good.
In the first set of questions, respondents rated nine areas of IT service or support on a 5-point scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). A second set of three questions concerned respondents’ satisfaction or dissatisfaction with communication between IT and the rest of the campus.
Finally, respondents were asked a series of open-ended questions:
- List one or two things that IT could do or improve to help you work more effectively.
- What are one or two things you find valuable about central IT services and technologies? Provide a few details to clarify your comments.
- Other comments.
Respondents offered many helpful suggestions regarding IT services. In future activity reports, we’ll tell you how we’re acting on those suggestions. We would like to thank everyone who responded to the survey.
The UD online map–UD Map–has a new look, the product of an extensive collaboration between IT and the Office of Communications & Marketing (OCM). The new mapping application’s home page was named the "Image of the Week" at the OpenStreetMap wiki and, as a result, received thousands of visits.
The new map replaces two Web sites: the previous version of the campus map and UD buildings and maps. It also offers new ways to find information. You can now search by name, browse by category, or click directly on a feature of interest–all in one window. Travel directions are available through a link to Google Maps.
University units can now contribute thematic map layers. For example, Facilities has produced a "Featured Projects" layer. UD staff can create and maintain these layers using simple tools, such as Google’s My Maps, which require no special training.
The "About" link at the top right of any map page leads to the UD Map wiki, which contains more information about using the map and instructions for developers to add their department.
IT Academic Technology Services newsletter
During the last week of each month, IT Academic Technology Services (IT-ATS) sends out a newsletter containing information about IT-ATS services, upcoming events, and classroom technologies that can enhance student learning. If you didn’t receive an email copy of the latest news from IT-ATS, you can subscribe to their mailing list. To view previous newsletters, visit their archived newsletter page.
Watch for new constituent Web sites later this month
Over the past several months, IT has developed or improved Web sites to foster communication between IT and some of our constituent groups. Later this month, we’ll release an updated version of our IT Professionals Corner and a new Web site to assist UD’s research computing community. Both sites will provide a mixture of news and resources to departmental CITAs, system administrators, and researchers.
Previously, UD paid a fee for surplus computing equipment to be hauled away as hazardous material. Now, through cooperation of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA), central receiving collects surplus equipment from across campus and makes it available to anyone for campus use. This program applies to both complete systems and individual components. If the equipment remains unclaimed, it will be transported to a DSWA site where they handle recycling at no cost to UD. Collection takes place about twice a month. For more information, see this Supporting Services Web page.
Electrical service in UDCC upgrade plans
Since the UD Computing Center (UDCC) was last renovated, we’ve added more equipment to meet campus demand for computing and networking. An increasing number of clients have recently requested that IT host their departmental servers and provide more scientific computing resources. As a result, we have started upgrading the electrical power infrastructure in the UDCC. During the past several months, we’ve worked on designs and cost estimates for a new power system that we expect will be installed during the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2011.
Centrally supported virtual servers
One of IT’s goals this year is to promote the use of virtual servers to reduce campus electrical consumption, provide more efficient use of computing hardware, and reduce client departments’ time administering physical systems. In fact, many client departments have requested a centrally supported virtual server program.
IT Network and System Services (IT-NSS) has now purchased the hardware and software licensing to start a central virtual server farm (a collection of servers). We have our first beta test clients for this service. Over the next few months, we will reach out to other departments who want to try the service. Our current test configuration demonstrates the green potential of running virtual servers: We have 21 virtual systems running on only three machines.
IT-NSS continues to extend and improve wireless networking on campus. In late fall, we acquired more Internet address space to better handle the growing demand for wireless connections. During the fall and winter, we started to install more wireless access points (WAPs) and swapped out older WAPs for faster and more reliable ones. In Dec. and Jan., several residence complexes had new WAPs installed that conform to the latest wireless standards (802.11n). Our two major goals for this project are upgrading all campus WAPs to 802.11n and providing ubiquitous coverage in all residence halls.
UNIX training for researchers
Do your graduate students need to learn basic UNIX skills to become more productive users of your departmental computing clusters? IT offers an 8½-hour workshop series to meet that need. The workshops are usually offered in Jan. and June, but we can offer them at other times to groups of 10 or more graduate students, post-docs, or staff who commit to attending the full series.
Information about the workshops is listed at the UNIX Training for Researchers Web page. This page includes the title of each class and links to the PDF or HTML file and the UD capture audio file from the Jan. 2011 series.
UD receives funding for e-portfolio initiative
UD is one of 21 institutions nationwide to be awarded a 3-year "Connect to Learning: ePortfolio, Engagement, and Student Success" grant to strengthen best practices in e-portfolio pedagogy.
In awarding the grant to UD, the application review team wrote: "(We) selected your proposal for its vision, thoughtful planning, and promise of benefit to your students and faculty, as well as your potential contribution to our collaborative effort to generate evidence-based models for reflective e-portfolio practice." (Read the full UDaily article.)
UD Capture classroom recording expanded for spring
The UD Capture classroom recording system has now been installed in every central inventory classroom. To request your class be recorded, fill out the UD Capture Recording Request form.
UD Capture is a classroom-capture system that automatically records traditional classroom meetings for online use. It is easy to use and requires no additional setup by the instructor. To learn more about UD Capture and to see how other faculty members use it, visit the UD Capture Web site.
Teaching@UD profile: Interview with Dana Chatellier
We recently talked with Dana Chatellier of Chemistry about his experience using UD Capture to record his CHEM 101 and CHEM 102 classes. Dana taught his courses as he normally does but also used UD Capture to record the lectures. He now regularly sends Web links of the recordings to students in future sections before classes begin. Students can now decide how to use their class time more efficiently. Dana said, "I pretty much figured out right then and there that this was going to be a game changer." (View Prof. Chatellier profile.)
Impactful learning theme of Winter Faculty Institute
More than 140 participants from 50 departments within all seven colleges attended the Winter Faculty Institute on Jan. 6.
With a primary focus on UD's approach to e-portfolios as a teaching, learning, and assessment tool, participants gained new insights into melding reflection, evaluation, and technology to create impactful learning experiences for students.
In his presentation, "The problem of learning in higher education," keynote speaker Randall Bass discussed the potential of e-portfolios as evidence-based documents that create rich portraits of impactful learning at the student, program, and institutional levels. Recordings of Bass's keynote presentation and selected other sessions are available at the IT-ATS Web site.
The event was sponsored by the Office of the Provost, IT-ATS, the Office of Educational Assessment, Center for Teaching and Learning, and IT Client Support & Services (IT-CS&S).
People Tools and PeopleSoft upgrades
- The software that allows clients to access and use data in UD’s PeopleSoft databases is called People Tools. IT Management Information Services (IT-MIS) upgraded the People Tools software for the Student Administration area in preparation for a major PeopleSoft upgrade later this year. The project involves several months of effort, with the user community, IT, and consultants collaborating to set up the new system and to convert the current system to the new version.
- In addition, the team continued the project to move the PeopleSoft Application and Databases to new, faster hardware as part of the overall upgrade project. The PeopleSoft applications for Human Resources and Student Administration are now being upgraded in the Test and Quality Assurance environments, using the new hardware and working with outside consultants. This ongoing project will extend well into 2011.
- The R25 classroom scheduling software has been upgraded to the latest version, assuring continued functionality after future upgrades to PeopleSoft Tools.
- Consultants from Cedar Crestone are exploring upgrade-related issues with our users in Grants, Procurement/AP, and General Accounting (GA) departments pertaining to some of the new features and new problem solving methods in PeopleSoft 9.1. Grants sessions were completed in Jan. Procurement/AP sessions are scheduled for the week of Feb. 7, and GA is scheduled for the week of Feb. 21.
Human Resources and IT Web Development (IT-WD) updated the Web-based performance appraisal system for the 2010-2011 appraisal period. The revised system simplifies the form through enhanced data input, helpful tips, meaningful error messages, and improved routing.
In addition to form enhancements, departmental administrators will have access to tools to report statistics on appraisals that are in progress, completed, or those yet to be started. These options are available through the new menu interface.
Human Resources will announce the performance appraisal Web form and directions for using it in the next few weeks.
Faculty appraisal and planning Web form
The Provost has announced that faculty will be using the online faculty appraisal and planning Web form this year. A demonstration site and help pages are available at http://www.udel.edu/facplanningdemo/. This form is ready for faculty use, and your chair or dean may provide specific instructions for completing the routing section of the form. Recipients of department and college copies of the form have been updated for this year. Appraisals will remain online and be available to you in the future. Provost notes are available at http://www.udel.edu/provost/eval.html.
New registration advisement tool
The Registrar’s office and IT-WD enhanced the Advising Notes application with a new Registration Advisement tool. To facilitate advising, the process for entering routine registration advisement notes has been streamlined. Highlights include an advisee search based on the students’ registration advisement status, automatically generated notes when students are checked as advised, and the ability to send email to groups of students. Advisors may begin using the Registration Advisement tool now for spring term registration advisement.
Ice arena converts to CASHNet for online payments
For years, the Ice Arena has collected registration and payments on the Web for its skating classes. Since Jan., they have been collecting those payments using CASHNet, an application that allows UD to manage credit card and online-check information at a secure off-site location. James Kaden, assistant director of the Ice Arena, said, "We use CASHNet for online registrations for our skating and hockey programs and classes as well as outdoor pool memberships. There are a number of CASHNet features that are very useful such as customers being able to pay via check, the ability to go into the system to reprint receipts, and the ability to run detailed Excel spreadsheet reports."
UD will complete its conversion of all online payment applications to CASHNet by June 1. Many forms and applications have already been converted to use CASHNet and the new features it provides. We will contact owners of online payment forms so that we may work with you to convert your forms and achieve your business objectives.
Student leave of absence and withdrawal notification form
Working together with the Dean of Students Office and the Division of Student Life, IT-WD recently released a new Web form to aid in the routing of a student’s leave of absence or withdrawal information. The Student Leave of Absence and Withdrawal Notification form can be found under the blanks tab in Web Forms. Authorized personnel can use this form to notify the appropriate departments–both academic and administrative offices–based on the student's record. The form can also be used to acquire approval for student medical leave. Additional information or access to the form may be obtained by contacting the Dean of Students Office at (302) 831-8939.
Over the past several months, IT University Media Services (IT-UMS) has been busy with production projects and support of classroom and presentation technology. Examples of recent projects include the following:
- Completed the technical upgrade to the Hullihen Hall conference room.
- Produced President Harker’s State of the University video in collaboration with OCM.
- Installed a webcam to show the progress of the Bob Carpenter Center expansion in real time.
- Provided video production services and produced Web-friendly video clips of the football team and coaches while they prepared for and played in the national championship game in Frisco, TX.
During the last two months of the year, over 300 UD students, faculty, and staff attended our LearnIT@UD sessions. We added a new type of session to our offerings–the IT Roundtable. These sessions allow participants to share their questions, solutions, and best practices. Our first Roundtable topic focused on ways to use Google Apps @UDel.edu. For a complete listing of classes that were offered in Nov. and Dec., view the LearnIT@UD calendar.
The number of departments requesting custom training has increased. Engineering, Admissions, and Facilities have recently participated in customized sessions. Any session available on our calendar can be customized to meet the needs of your unit or department. To request custom training, use the Contact Us form available on our Web site.
And check out our online subscription training resources linked from our home page. Both Lynda.com and VTC.com offer hundreds of training topics. To obtain a username and password for VTC.com and Lynda.com, follow the instructions on the LearnIT@UD home page.
New incident tracking software at IT Help Center
Over the last 6 months, IT staff evaluated service-management software to replace the current software that handles issue tracking in our Help Center. After a thorough search, we purchased "Numara FootPrints." With this software, we can greatly improve first-call resolution of your technology problems, search a knowledge base of UD-specific answers, and provide a self-service portal where you will be able to submit your own help ticket requests and check their status. Numara FootPrints’ capabilities will allow us to better serve you and to answer your technology questions more efficiently.
IT staff recently completed training on this software, and we will roll it out in phases. The first phase will track issues called into the Help Center to ensure that issues are handled as efficiently as possible. The second phase will focus on populating the knowledge base with answers to the most common questions about technology issues. Self-service will follow soon afterward.
Christopher Donohue joined IT-NSS as a Systems Programmer IV. He comes to IT from the College of Engineering where he was employed as a CITA. Chris brings to NSS many years of experience in IT prior to his work at UD and will focus on the system administration, programming, and analysis of the central IT Windows services.
Joseph Kempista accepted the Web Presence Manager position in IT-CS&S. Joe was previously employed as the Interim Director of the Office of Educational Technology in the College of Education and Human Development at UD. He has extensive experience in the Web arena and will manage IT’s support of departmental and individual Web development on campus with an emphasis on consulting and training.
DonnaJean Rose became a member of IT-UMS and is a Classroom Technology Technician II. She has experience in classroom and audio/visual technologies in the commercial and academic environments. DonnaJean will help the Classroom Technology group provide support of campus classrooms. Her primary focus will be with A/V equipment installations in departmental space.