Peter Quan, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
Welcome back to fall quarter 2012.
Today, CSULA, along with all higher education institutions, is facing our most important challenge - that of ensuring student success. Within this challenge lie issues that include retention and graduation rates, accountability, audit and compliance, reduced funding and rising costs of higher education, and how these issues are affecting student success.
EDUCAUSE recently identified the following top ten information technology issues facing universities in 2012.
- Updating IT professionals' skills and roles to accommodate emerging technologies and changing IT management and service delivery models.
- Supporting the trends toward IT consumerization and bring-your-own devices.
- Developing an institution-wide cloud strategy.
- Improving the institution's operational efficiency through information technology.
- Integrating information technology into institutional decision-making.
- Using analytics to support critical institutional outcomes.
- Funding information technology strategically.
- Transforming the institution's business with information technology.
- Supporting the research mission through high-performance computing, large data and analytics.
- Establishing and implementing IT governance throughout the institution.
As daunting as these issues and challenges appear, ITS must rethink and reimagine what is possible given the rapid technological changes in the last few years, and the even faster pace in the future. The magnitude of anticipated changes in the next few years will be stunning. ITS must guide and manage the campus technology environment to ensure student success in spite of reduced budgets.
To this end, ITS is pleased to be participating in the new Student Success Fee (SSF) program, designed specifically to facilitate our students' ongoing educational success, enhance their overall educational effectiveness and enable their timely, successful graduation. Available this fall, ITS is further enhancing its current portfolio of services with the following new student services.
Given the pervasive nature of technology, it is important that students have access to just-in-time learning systems that deliver training to students when and where they need it. Students want to be productive in a wide range of application tools. The expectation is that students need to learn quickly and be able to apply that knowledge immediately. ITS can no longer meet this expectation through in-person workshops that cannot accommodate the schedules of all students. As a solution, ITS successfully piloted an online training program, lynda.com, which currently provides 1,397 online training videos. Rather than sitting through hours of traditional classroom training, students are able to use online tutorials to learn the information they need to solve problems, perform specific tasks or quickly update their skills. In some instances, lynda.com effectively replaced textbooks in some classroom settings, which ultimately provides a cost saving to students. The SSF program allows ITS to continue offering this online training.
Adobe Creative Suite
The Adobe Creative Suite is a very expensive application that is currently available on 100 computers in a limited number of Open Access Labs (OALs). The student demand has been increasing because faculty are incorporating digital media creation in the curriculum and students are interested in using these tools to create their own content. The SSF program will expand installation of the Adobe suite to all student computers in the OALs, Library, electronic classrooms and department labs across the campus, and on all laptops in the Laptop Loan Program. The Adobe Creative Suite provides many digital media creation tools, including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Flash, Fireworks and Premier. Adobe Connect will also be available for general presentations, web meetings, e-learning, online training and web conferencing.
Anywhere On-demand Application Delivery
ITS is installing a virtual desktop product that will support up to 750 concurrent, secure network connections to campus computing applications that were previously available only to on-campus students using campus computers. Students will now have access to campus-licensed third-party computing applications and resources anytime, from anywhere with an Internet connection, without having to purchase their own licensed versions. The available applications will initially include the Microsoft Office suite of products, Microsoft Visio, Microsoft Project, SPSS, SAS, Mathematica, Matlab, as well as other software products currently available only on campus computers.
Anytime, Anywhere Access
In support of the previously discussed applications, ITS is installing a secure Virtual Private Network (SSL VPN) that can handle 500 concurrent, secure network connections to these campus resources. Students will have direct access to site licensed software and Library resources via cloud computing. Students will be able to leverage the software application library, and access specialized department software and databases they need for assignments, all without requiring a visit to the campus or the purchase of the software.
High-density Wi-Fi Availability
One of the most explosive growths in technology is the use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It is not uncommon today for students to have both a smartphone and a laptop or tablet, and both devices require access to the wireless network. As students continue to expect access to campus resources from the device or devices of their choice, the Wi-Fi must be capable of handling the increased traffic. This issue is most acute in high-density student-usage areas. To ensure that the quality of service and adequate bandwidth remain available for students, ITS is committed to identifying and refreshing the existing Wi-Fi network in these high-density areas.
New Technology Vulnerability Assessment
Technology by default is insecure and the University must ensure that implementing new technology does not introduce new or additional risk to students or the campus. New devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.) are network-centric and vulnerable to cyber attacks. ITS routinely uses tools and resources to conduct security assessments before integrating and implementing new technology. A portion of the SSF fee will provide for independent security verification in all critical phases of implementation, including post-implementation review of the new technology projects.
We want to hear what you think about these new services. We encourage students to provide suggestions and feedback to the Office of the vice president for ITS.