Author Archives: Dave Gibson

About Dave Gibson

Chief Information Officer at Sul Ross State University

Projects for Summer 2018

The Office of Information Technology is busy with several projects and updates over the summer.  Here is a list of some of our most important project on our plate along with status and possible completion dates.

  • PBX/Server Room Updates.  The Systems and Networking team is busy with two significant updates in our PBX/Server room.  They are working with Dell to install new servers that provide faster processing capabilities and higher throughput.  These new servers are used to run many of our institutional applications, including email, Banner, Perceptive Content (formerly ImageNow) and others.  These new servers will allow us to continue to offer these services for the next several years.  Dell is scheduled to be onsite July 17 and 18 to install the new hardware.  Over the few weeks following the install, all the applications will be migrated to these new servers.  There should not be any downtime associated with this installation and the migration to this new hardware.  The Systems and Networking team is also replacing a number of aging network switches in this space to ensure we can maintain the network connectivity you are used to seeing across the campuses and to the internet.  These new switches will be installed during the August timeframe.  Expect some downtime with this upgrade.
  • Banner 9.  The next iteration of Banner, our ERP solution that includes the student information system, finance system, human resources system, and others, is being updated and tested.  The advantages of this software over previous versions of Banner is it not longer requires java on the local computer, it runs in a larger number of browsers, and can be accessed through our single sign-on mechanism.  The software has been installed, is being tested, and is slated to be the only version of Banner we run sometime during the fall semester.
  • Touchnet OneCard VIP Solution.  Our existing ID Card system, installed in the mid-2000’s, is old and difficult to keep running.  To replace this old system, SR has contracted with Touchnet, our bill payment provider, to implement their OneCard VIP (?) system.  The initial phase of this project will replace the current card reader locations one-for-one and provide a supported, stable environment for us to grow with.  Locations for this upgrade include Lobo Village 1, 2, 3 and 4, Fletcher Hall, Warnock Science, Centennial, ANRS and the Museum.  A new location, ACR, will be added to the system to allow us to experiment with the wireless access system Touchnet is selling now.  If the wireless systems performs as advertised, expanding into other locations across the Alpine campus will be easier since we won’t be required to pull wire to each access location.  With this update, the card production facilities are to moved to Lawrence Hall, in the one-stop-shop located on the first floor of that building.  We are on schedule to implement this new system between July 30th and August 3rd.
  • Switch/Network Updates for RGC Campuses.  The switch hardware for the Del Rio and Eagle Pass campuses is in need of updates.  The Networking team has already completed the needed updates in the Del Rio Campus and will perform the same updates for the Eagle Pass campus during the fall semester.  In the fall, we will consider replacing some of the switches that are beyond their life expectancy and are no longer supported by the manufacturer.
  • New Classrooms for RGC Campuses.  The Educational Technology Director and LTAC are building six new classrooms for the RGC campuses, two at each location, with equipment salvaged from the Castroville site.  These classrooms allow more offerings at those locations in support of student demand at those campuses.  These classrooms are scheduled to come online before the start of the fall semester.
  • Fire and Safety Systems Updates.  A number of repairs and updates are being applied to the various safety systems across the Alpine campus (SWTJC provides these updates to the RGC campuses).  These include updates and repairs to fire alarm systems, fire sprinkler systems, the current card access systems, and others.  These repairs and updates are already in place or to be completed in time for the start of the fall semester.
  • Print Management via Papercut.  The team in LTAC is installing and configuring an application, Papercut, that is used widely for print management.  Once the software is installed and running, it will be used to monitor printing activity in labs, some classes, and in locations where printers are generally available, such as the Library.  For at least one long semester, data is to be collected on these locations in order to determine who is printing and how much are they printing.  The software will be ready for the start of the fall semester.
  • Disaster Recovery Replacement.  For the last 4 years, servers at an alternate location have been used as a backup location in the event of a disaster  that requires us to run our applications from an alternate location.  This hardware is now nearing its end of life and needs replacement.  The OIT staff are pulling together information and developing alternatives for this important feature.  While new solutions won’t be in place until next summer, this evaluative process is the starting point for determining where we need to go next.  Alternatives include:
    • Expanding the use of alternative systems we already own
    • Cloud-based options
    • Third-party options
  • Annual Risk Assessments.  OIT and other areas of the institution are required to perform an annual risk assessment on the state-owned information resources available to us.  This analysis allows us to understand and develop plans for the risks associated with these assets.  Over the remainder of the summer, OIT will work with other departments to complete the risk assessments for 2018.
  • General Lab and Classroom Cleanup.  Each summer, while many of our academic spaces are not in use, LTAC reimages and cleans up many of the computers in these spaces to ensure they are ready for the coming academic year.  For example, this summer LTAC is working on LH 300, LH309, Ferguson 201, and others.  This includes cleanup of computers as well as the physical space. These updates are to be completed before the start of the fall semester.
  • Security Camera Expansion.  We are evaluating locations for an expansion of the current security camera system.  A number of locations have cameras and recorders that are no longer functioning and need to be replaced.  Additionally, a number of new locations need to be brought online to ensure we have adequate coverage for the campus.  This evaluative process is to be completed this summer with the expansion work being completed in the fall.

 

OneDrive Files Shared with Me

It is easy for a coworker to share a file of theirs that is stored on OneDrive.  At times, it is difficult to know how to find and open the file days, weeks or months later.  This video shows you how you can know when someone has shared a OneDrive file of theirs with you and how you can find the file at a later date.

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Telephone System – Voicemail to Email

A feature of the new phone system is the ability to send voice mail messages to your email Inbox.  This allows for you to more easily access your voice mail messages and allows you to keep those messages longer than the 15 day window for unsaved messages the system allows.

Check out this video on how to set this up or follow the instructions below.

After logging into the phone portal, click on the Message tab at the top of the page.

In the middle of the page, you can see a link that allows you to Change Message Settings.

Clicking on this link opens another window that allows you to send voice mail messages to your email inbox.  Simply click the checkbox next to “Send MP3 Voicemail to” and type in your Sul Ross Email Address  in the text box.  Leave the dropdown set to Attachment.  Click Save.

Your voice mail messages will now also be delivered to your email Inbox.

 

Here is an example of what that looks like in Outlook.  You can see that I have received an email with the Subject line “Voicemail from …”  with additional information as to the phone number of the individual that sent the message and the length of the message contained in the subject line and the body of the message.

The voice mail message is contained in the mp3 file as an attachment to the email.  Simply double-click the attachment and listen to your voice mail on your computer.

An additional benefit of having voicemail messages in your Inbox, is that now they can be forwarded to someone else if needed.

 

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Telephone System Team

The day has finally arrived and the new phone system is ready to go.  The team pictured here all had a hand in some aspect of this project.  Today, we’ll be out and around the campus ensuring that all the phones come back to life and that everything is working to the satisfaction of our campus partners.

 

  Can’t say enough about each of the SRSU team members and also want to thank the folks from Big Bend Telephone for the support through this project.

 

New Phone System Training

With the conversion to the new phone system comes the need to know what features exist in the new system and how to use them.  As a starting point, we are setting aside a number of training sessions on the web interface and the features available through the web that will help you take advantage of the features in the new system.  The training schedule is as follows:

– Tue Aug 1st 3PM – Support Training OIT

– Wed Aug 2nd 10AM – Training for Administrative Assistants and other departmental/office staff

– Wed Aug 2nd 2PM – End User Training

          VM management and use

          Primary features of the new system

          Call transfer

          Managing your account

          Viewing activity

          Managing messages via web page

– Thu Aug 3rd 10AM – ?? – GoLive

– Fri Aug 4th 10AM – End User Training

–          VM management and use

–          Primary features of the new system

–          Call transfer

–          Managing your account

–          Viewing activity

–          Managing messages via web page

– Fri Aug 4th 2PM – Advanced User Training for features such as Call Trees 

The training is to be held in the WML 2nd Floor Classroom.

If additional training is needed, contact LTAC at x.8888.

You can view or download a copy of the training manual for the new phone system by logging into the production site, clicking on the Support tab and then clicking on VCP PBX Users Manual.  The manual has step-by-step instructions on how to set up and use many of the features of the phone system.

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New Telephone System and Changes You Should Know About

One week from today, Thursday, August 3rd, SRSU will convert to the new telephone system.  Most of you will see little to no change as you continue to use your existing handset.  But there are a few differences and changes as we move from the old system to the new system you need to be aware of.

 

  • 1+ and 9+ Dialing No Longer Required.  Once the new  system is running and your phone has converted over to the new system, you are not required to dial 9 for a phone call outside the institution.  Also, if you are dialing a long distance number, you do not have to dial a 1 or a 9 before the 10-digit number.  For on campus calls, the usual 4-digit extension is all that is necessary.
  • Long Distance Code.  The new system comes with free long distance calls anywhere in the contiguous 48 states. Therefore, you no longer have to supply a long distance code when making a long distance call.
  • Password.  You will need to establish a new password on the new telephone system. The default for this account is the same as your extension (e.g. 8888).   This new password is also used to access your voicemail box from your desktop phone.  The new password must be at least a 6-digit PIN to be accepted.
  • Voicemail Box Greeting.  You will need to set a new voicemail box greeting on the new system, unless you want callers to hear the default message, which is similar to, “8888 is not able to answer the phone at this time.  Please leave a message at the tone.”
  • Voicemail MessagesVoicemail messages from the old system will be unavailable after the conversion and cannot be transferred to the new system.  Please check your voicemail box prior to 10AM on Thursday, August 3rd, and retrieve any messages before that time.  If you need to keep a message from the old system, use a pen and paper, digital recorder or your smart phone to manually record each message on the old system.  Also, The new voicemail system has different settings for the duration and life expectancy of voicemail messages
    • Voicemail messages are only saved for 15 days
    • Voicemail messages cannot be over 180 seconds in length
    • No more than 30 messages can be stored in your Voice Mail Box
  • Ring Tone.  Your ring tone will be set to the default ringer tone for the new system.
  • Display and Soft Keys.  The display and the soft keys on your phone will be slightly different.  Soft keys are just below the display as in this image.  

New Phone System – Logging In

Beginning Thursday, August 3rd, Sul Ross starts the use of a new phone system.  While this system offers many of the features of our current system through the desktop phone, it also offers additional features, including a web page, where you can manage all the features of your phone.  Here is how you access that web page and a few of the features you will want to know right away.

  1. The location for the web page is https://srsu.voippbxsite.net.
  2. Your initial UserID and Password for the new phone system are set to your extension (e.g. 8888).  We recommend you change the Password immediately after you log in.  You should only use numeric values for this password.  Type a new password in the two boxes provided and click “Update Account.”

Contact LTAC at x.8888 if you have any issues getting into the system or need help setting a new password.

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My Phone is Not Working – Now What!?!

For a few hours on Thursday, August 3rd, the desktop phone will not work as we convert to the new phone system.  If phone service during this 4-hour period is critical for you, here is a feature of the new phone system that allows you to receive calls on another phone, typically a cell phone, while you desktop phone is being converted.

  1. Log into the new phone system by supplying your 4-digit phone number and Password.  Details here on logging in and changing your password. 
  2. Once you successfully log in, you will see the Account Summary page.
  3. Click on the Features tab at the top of the Accounts Summary web page.
  4. In the Box titled, “Call Handling Options,” select “Forward fail over calls to” checkbox and input a 10-digit cell phone number (e.g. 432-555-1212).  Do not put a ‘1’ or a ‘9’ in front of this number.
  5. Click the Apply button.

While the phone system is being converted and your desktop phone is unavailable, the system sees this as a desktop phone failure and forwards any calls destined for your desktop phone to the alternate number you supplied in this dialog.

Once your desktop phone begins working, this feature may be removed by unchecking the “Forward fail over calls to” checkbox and deleting your cell phone number.  This setup may also be left in place allowing the new phone system to forward your calls to this alternate number if your desktop phone is not working.

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