IT Updates

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Faculty IT UpdateFebruary, 2012

IT Forum on Faculty Ownership of Computer Devices: As part of our ongoing commitment to engage with faculty and colleges on IT issues that affect their work, we’re initiating a biannual academic IT forum this spring. The first forum will address the hot topic of faculty personal ownership of computing devices and the implications of that personal ownership for the university. This forum will take place on Friday, February 24th from 2-3:30 PM, in the University Union Foothill Suite. The format will consist of a panel of faculty and academic administrators who will respond to a series of questions that attempt to review the many complex aspects of increasing faculty use of personal computing devices. What is the prevalence of use of personal devices on campus? Should the university provide software for use on faculty personal devices? Do personal devices used on campus need to follow the same security rules? These are just a few of the many interesting and controversial questions that will be addressed at our first IT Forum. On March 29th, we’ll also be convening a second forum on administrative IT issues, with a focus on Enterprise Content Management (i.e. imaging and workflow technology).

Sac/CT To Blackboard Transition: As you may know, the campus is undergoing a major learning management system (LMS) transition from use of WebCT to use of the more modern and proficient Blackboard 9.1. A small pilot cohort of faculty and students is testing Blackboard 9.1 use this semester. We’ve been pretty quiet about this transition so far, because there has been major uncertainty in the negotiations between the CSU and Blackboard about contract renewals for WebCT/Blackboard. We’re happy to announce that those long negotiations are coming to a successful conclusion, resulting in major benefits for you and our campus. Those benefits include: an 18% cost reduction for our basic LMS software and a cap on annual price increases; use of those savings to add robust Mobile Learn capabilities that provide both faculty and students with comprehensive access to Blackboard on a variety of mobile devices; access to integrated and robust content and file management capabilities through the Blackboard Xythos add-on that we already own; and access to much improved instructional functionality for faculty. You will soon be hearing about many opportunities for support and training that will be provided by Academic Technology and Creative Services to help you with this upcoming transition from WebCT to Bb 9.1. At the same time, IRT will be working hard to make the transition as smooth as possible for our students.

Information Security and Patch Management: You are likely aware of the mandates the campus faces to implement enhancements to our campus information security. In particular, we’ve gone through a long process of vetting the requirement that we provide universal patching and ‘change management’ for all IT devices attached to the university network. This is really a comprehensive set of requirements that ensure that all university IT devices are protected with the latest anti-virus protection, malware detection, and other security patches (e.g. operating system updates). We have made good progress on the baseline initiative to get patch management protection on all university computers; more than 90% of campus computer devices now have such patch management installed. We’re now working with IT groups across campus over the last few weeks to get the remaining 10% of devices covered, with most remaining devices concentrated on faculty/staff laptops and in student computer labs. We appreciate you cooperation.