Better communication and easier access to the technology services offered by Sul Ross are two of the goals for everything we do here in OIT. The institution’s information resources are scattered across a number of platforms and there is no easy way to get to all of them without going to each application or service individually and logging into those services.
A portal represents a change in the institutional philosophy with regard to the delivery of services, and is a major shift to a customer-centric design of campus-wide IT facilities. Therefore, beginning Tuesday, August 16, 2016, SRSU is offering a portal environment, mySRSU (https://my.sulross.edu), that brings the institution’s disparate resources together into one place.
There are many goals associated with a portal implementation. The benefits the mySRSU portal provides to Sul Ross are as follows:
Single Sign On (SSO). One benefit of a portal is the ability to login once, have access to multiple services, and not have to log into each service individually. SSO allows the user of the portal to focus more on the task at hand and spend less time thinking of where a particular service exists and how to get to it.
Aggregation of Services. Portals bring together information from various applications into a single framework. This allows the user to focus more on the task at hand and spend less time thinking of where a particular service exists and how to get to it.
Web Interface. Access to courseware, financial aid information, class schedules, grades, communities of interest within the university, such as sports, clubs and community services, as well as other items essential to the life cycle of the student through any standard web browser increases the opportunity for communication to and between students and the institution.
Mobile Ready. The design of the portal allows the content to be accessed and viewed on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. This allows easier access for the mobile generation reflected in our student body.
Business Behind the Wall. Since most or all of the applications and data viewed through the portal framework represents the business of each individual and the institution, these process and information no longer need to be housed on our public website. The process of moving these items to the portal allows that public website to be cleaner, leaner and helps better tell the story of the university.
You may access the portal at https://my.sulross.edu or by clicking on the mySRSU link at the top of the home page.
A recent scam focused on users of iPhones has surfaced. I wanted to share with you to keep you informed. The bad guys are always looking for ways to get you to their sites. The simple message is “Don’t Click” if you weren’t expecting something from Apple or any other service provider. As the article states, Apple (and I’m sure any other reputable company) does not contact users of their products through text messages.
Sul Ross State University Policies and Guidelines require the institution to achieve and maintain appropriate protection for institutional assets, such as computers and information. A part of that protection is the management of account IDs and passwords. To ensure this standard is followed, each user of information resources at SRSU must create complex passwords and ensure they are changed every 180 days.
Change your password before April 27th to prevent access issues to your Sul Ross accounts and computers.
On February 25 – 27, 2016, Sul Ross State University hosted the ASC Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament. There are many things that happen during the tournament to make it a success, including the work by the SRSU Media Team, led by Glenn Losoya. Glenn and his student team streamed the games so that parents and other individuals that cannot attend the games in the Gallego Center can watch the contests.
The students stand for hours at a time behind the cameras at these events, while Glenn directs the effort, ensures all the technology components are in place, provides the Official’s Review monitor, and manages the streaming content from courtside in the Gallego arena.
Note: The Sul Ross Lobos lost their semi-final match (read about that here) last night (2/26/2016) against the Hardin-Simmons University Cowboys. We wish to extend our congratulations to the Hardin-Simmons Cowboys on winning the tournament.
Thank you, Glenn, Dominic, Airat and Victor (not pictured) for a job well done.
During the month of February 2016, SRSU will opened its newest technology space that allows students to have a place to study individually, in a group, and have access to desktop computers, a printer and the campus network. Housed in the Red Paw Den, the building often referred to as “Brick 3,” the space has tables, chairs, three computers, a multi-function printer that prints, copies, and scans, and wired or wireless network access. The facility is open to students through the swipe of their ID Card 24 hours a day.
For more information on this opportunity at Sul Ross Alpine campus, read this article from the team at the Skyline.
RED PAW DEN
NEW 24-HOUR STUDY ROOM COMING AFTER THANKSGIVING BREAK START OF SPRING SEMESTER!
BY VASHTI ARMENDARIZ REPORTER
When SRSU President Dr. Bill Kibler noticed a growing need on campus for extended computer lab hours, he thought of providing students with a study room with 24-hour availability. And since Brick Cottage Three was not being used, it became the perfect location for turning his idea into reality.
The project was assigned to Sul Ross’ Office of Information Technology Department. Chief Information Officer David Gibson and Emily Herrera, his administrative assistant, got to work outfitting the 24-hour study room (or cottage).
“This will be great for group projects,” Herrera said, “as well as for off campus-students who do not have access to the study halls in the dorms.”
The “Red Paw Den” will be fully furnished and can accomodate up to ten people. Although equipped with Wi-Fi, students will need to bring their own devices such as iPads or personal laptops to work on.
Both on- and off-campus students will be able to use their student ID to access the room without having to reserve it through Campus Activities or calling UDPS (University Department of Public Safety).
Since the study room will be available at all times, it will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. UPDS will make routine checks to ensure the safety of the room and the students within.
Depending on student usage and demand of the new facility, Brick Cottages One and Two could also be tapped to become 24-hour study rooms as well.
Herrera anticipates a grand opening of the Red Paw Den shortly after the Thanksgiving break start of the spring semester, and all students will be invited to take a look at the new facility.
More information regarding the status of the Red Paw Den will be sent in the coming week via Sul Ross email, so check your account for updates.
I had the pleasure yesterday of traveling to the Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College Eagle Pass campus (how’s that for a mouthful?) to attend a ceremony for the grand opening of the new academic wing RGC Eagle Pass campus. Others members of the Executive Cabinet as well as a number of national, state and local dignitaries were on hand for the event. It was a well planned event, thanks to the effort of Dr. Paul Sorrels and his administrative staff, and a good time was had by all.
After the speeches and ribbon cutting, we had the opportunity to walk through the new facility and I must say it was impressive. The state-of-the-art classrooms will benefit the faculty and students of RGC.
The classrooms have large, high contrast TV screens at the front for students to see and at the back of the class for the faculty member to better follow what the students are seeing (typically called a ‘confidence monitor’); a video system that allows the class to be broadcast into a number of locations including classrooms in Del Rio, Uvalde, Castroville and Alpine; the spaces sports a modern teaching station with controls for the classroom technology as well as DVD player, sound amplifier, and display device for papers and other physical media (typically called an ‘Elmo’); all of this in a very modern, clean-looking classroom that will no doubt delight the students that learn in it.
Seeing these spaces brought to mind the quality of the rooms I’d like to see at all of the Sul Ross campuses as I believe that is what our faculty and students deserve. Some of our spaces are already up to this standard of quality and others are not. Over time, I plan to make rooms like these the standard for our campuses.
A special thanks to Scott Baker, Manager of RGC-OIT, and his technical team, Juan Garza and George Hernandez, for making this day a reality. A job well done, gentlemen.
It has been several months since I’ve taken time to write about our experiences with Office 365. From the looks of it, it has been several months since I’ve written about anything. Our use of Office 365 has some positive growth in some aspects and almost none in others. To date, we have over 2400 individuals here at the university that have logged into Office 365 and have created a One Drive for Business space in Office 356. We currently have no way to determine exactly how One Drive is being used. Our belief is that most individuals have simply downloaded the free Office suite and have never returned. Some, however, are using OneDrive for Business based on questions we get from time to time at the Helpdesk (LTAC), on the sidewalk, or in meetings. As with most technology, we have the early adopters, we anticipate a few laggards, and there is a large number of individuals in the middle that have started using the product or will shortly.
The use of Sharepoint has begun to spread around campus as well but not at a rate I had hoped for. I don’t have a count in front of me but I’d guess we have set up 25 or more site collections for various departments or groups in Sharepoint.
I’m using some speaking opportunities at the start of this semester to remind faculty and staff what Office 365 can bring to the table and that it is great place to store files that are accessible from almost anywhere on any device. Little by little we will bring them along and hopefully allow them to see the value this technology offering can bring to their world and how it can change the way they do their work.
Over the last several months, OIT has been working toward a university-wide implementation of Office365, Microsoft’s recent offering that places many of their most popular pieces of software, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and others, in the cloud. With this implementation, all students, faculty and staff have access to download Microsoft Office and install it on a maximum of five personal computers.
Also included in Office365 are two relatively new features, OneDrive for Business and Sharepoint. Both of these applications allow files to be stored, safely and securely, in the cloud. Having your files in the cloud allows access to them anyplace you have an internet connection and on any number of devices including desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones, and may be shared with anyone. A primary differentiator between OneDrive and Sharepoint is that OneDrive is primarily for your own files while Sharepoint is best suited to departmental and workgroup uses.
This service is available NOW for all Sul Ross faculty, staff and students. Go to our Office365 page and learn how you can download, install and use this software.
Over the last few months, a team of us here in OIT have been working on the capability to live stream some campus events. Largely, this has involved athletic events as these are the most prevalent events on most college campuses. In the coming months, we will continue to stream athletic events and also look for other opportunities around campus. If your organization or group has an event they want to stream or capture, contact OIT at x.8707 and we’ll be happy to assist.
You can see some of the events we have recently streamed (although we don’t leave athletic events available for a long period of time) at http://new.livestream.com/srsumedia.
Much was planned for the summer. Not all was accomplished but most of what we wanted to do has been done or is being completed. Here is a list of some of the major accomplishments over the summer.
– Staffing. We are once again at full staffing on the Alpine campus. Our recent additions include:
Rob Stolz, Webmaster
Pad Rayburn, System Administrator
Shana Smith, Tech Support II
Michelle Castleman, Tech Support I
Al Brautigam, Web Developer
– Area207 – We are re-establishing what used to be the Instructional Technology Area and moving it to ACR 207 to assist faculty with their classroom technology needs. This new area will be managed by Sandy Bogus and Estella Vega along with Rusty Klein.
– Updated Labs at RGC Campuses. The lab computers are updated at the RGC-Uvalde and RGC-Del Rio campuses.
– Disaster Recovery Implementation. Hardware configured and running at the Del Rio location. We will start pushing data to this DR site and begin the process of testing our disaster recovery plan during the fall semester.
– Wireless Internet and Improved CATV Services in Residence Halls. The Lobo Village residence halls as well as Fletcher Hall now have wireless internet capabilities and improved television services. .
– New Blackboard Features available during the fall semester:
+ Bb Mobile. Allows access to Bb content via mobile devices (iOS and Android)
+ Bb Content. Allow sharing of Bb content across courses and adds ePortfolios to the available features.
+ Bb Community. Allows groups to be created and managed within Bb (e.g. Social organizations).
– Ellucian Mobile Implementation. Allows access to student information (grades, classes, holds, schedule and other information.)
– Anti-virus. Malwarebytes anti-virus software was implemented for all Sul Ross owned computers.
– Training for Student Employees. We spent time this summer creating training plans for the students that work with us here in OIT. Our intention is to provide better service at the point of contact on technology issues.
A few items we are looking at for the near future:
– Castroville Campus. In the coming weeks, we will complete the installation of equipment and network, working closely with the team from SWTJC, at the new Catroville campus. The first classes at this new campus will be in the spring 2015 semester.
– A Campus Portal – Various frameworks being considered with a possible roll-out in spring 2015.
– Office 2013 for Students. All SRSU students have the opportunity to download and install Office 2013 to their personal computers while they are active students at the university. This new feature should be available in the October time frame.
– Upgrade to Exchange 2013 – Will provide a better Exchange experience for Desktop and Web. Also interacts with Office365, Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity suite.
– Desktop Backups – We will continue to look at backup options for desktop and laptop computers.
– Website Redesign. We have started the process of redesigning some of the content on our public pages. The redesign will take several months to work through.
– Telephone Switch Upgrade or Replacement. We are looking at several options to upgrade our phone switch to provide more stability and features such as caller-id.
This list represents many of the major projects completed this summer. There were many other smaller projects that were completed as well. On to fall!