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.
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!