Information Systems and Services

IS&S Fact Book Computer Resources

Posted on by John Lympany

IS&S serves the College’s mission by maintaining a robust technology infrastructure designed to address current needs and future growth.  This includes information and communications technologies including instructional and media systems, administrative applications, analytical tools, web/portal applications, wireless, VOIP, servers and much more.  The focus of our technology integration is to support student academic success and institutional effectiveness on campus.  

Technology Infrastructure

Campus Network: The campus is connected electronically by a fiber optic network backbone which provides access to resources from every residence hall, administrative and academic building.  Wireless network connectivity is provided in the Hutchins Library, Knapp Hall and the Technology & Industrial Arts buildings.  A major upgrade and expansion to the wireless network access is in progress and will be completed in 2008-2009.  Once the expansion is complete, Draper, Science, Frost, Woods-Penn and Alumni buildings will be active as well as the Quad and Crossroads outdoor spaces.  The campus network is secured by Microsoft Active Directory account management and by Cisco Clean Access network access control. The network is subdivided in to VLAN’s to allow appropriate restrictions to traffic between different areas of the campus.

Communications Capabilities: All faculty, staff and students have e-mail accounts using Microsoft Exchange 2007 Server and Microsoft Outlook, available both on campus and via the Internet.  E-mail accounts are also offered to retirees.  The e-mail system includes public folders in which announcements or discussion interactions can be posted for all to see.  All faculty and staff offices and each residence hall room have telephone extensions set up on the campus PBX system.  Network based VoIP phones are in use in several departments and over time the Cisco VoIP Call Manager will replace the Nortel Meridian PBX system.  AT&T cell phones or PDA phones are provided to staff that need mobile communication for their jobs.

Internet Access: The campus is connected to the Internet via Kentucky’s KPEN statewide contract.  The current setup provides 45 Megabits/second bandwidth into and out of the campus.  Campus systems are protected from hackers, viruses and other threats by industry standard firewall, network access controls, and web filtering devices.  Bandwidth is managed by a filtering device to insure as much as possible that utilization for teaching and learning is given priority over recreational or other uses.

Network Resources: In addition to e-mail, the network connects users to various servers which provide file storage space or specific applications.  Applications include the Blackboard course management system, the ID card and access control system, FileMaker database servers, the BANNER administrative database system, the MyBerea web portal and the Berea.edu web site.  A print server manages printing from desktop and laptop computers to network connected laser printers in office locations across the campus.  Student and public printing resources along with photocopiers are connected to the campus network and are managed by the Printing Services department.

Desktop Computers and Software: IS&S supports a large inventory of desktop and laptop computers for use by students, faculty and staff.  Dell computers are the standard system, though some faculty and staff use Apple computers due to the requirements of their discipline.  IS&S is qualified as a self maintainer for both Dell and Apple computers so all computer repairs can be accomplished quickly on site.  Software site licenses are provided for Microsoft Office 2007, Filemaker Pro, EndNote, and McAfee Antivirus, making these functions available to all faculty, staff and students.  Concurrent user licenses are available for many software packages used in teaching and for Adobe Creative Suite CS2 graphics and publishing programs and SPSS basic statistics used for both academic and administrative functions.

Technical Support: IS&S operates a Help Desk providing phone support for faculty, staff and students who have computer or phone problems or who need instruction in using computers, phones or core software.  Laptop computer users can also bring their computer to the Computer Center for assistance or for repair service.  IS&S student and staff technicians are available to come to faculty and staff offices to troubleshoot and repair computers.  Media Services, also located in the Computer Center, provides support for projectors and other audio-visual equipment used in classrooms or for meetings and projects.  Media Services is also responsible for support of mobile phones.  The Computer Center services are open 8-5 on weekdays.

Statistics:

Internet Connection Speed: 45 megabits/second
Network Backbone Speed: 6,000 megabits/second
Network Ports: 7,000
Campus phone extensions: 2,180
Total personal computers: 2,777
Total networked printers: 141

 

Supporting Student Success

Universal Access: IS&S continues to develop the Universal Access program begun in 1998 whose goal is to expand student access to electronic information resources toward an “any time anywhere” model.  Expanding the campus network into residence halls, classrooms and public spaces and providing a laptop computer for each student were the foundational investments of the initiative.  Implementation of wireless network connectivity will continue to advance the level of student access to electronic resources.

EDGE Laptop Program: The EDGE (Empowering a Dynamic Generation in Education) program provides a laptop computer for each student.  The program is funded by a special endowment, a student technology fee and the IS&S budget.  The laptop computers are able to run almost all of the software used in teaching, allowing students to gain much more experience with the software than was available in traditional computer labs.  Computer labs remain for specialized software that requires an Apple computer or for other reasons cannot be run on the laptop computers.

MyBerea Portal:  MyBerea, launched in Spring 2008, brings together into one interface many information resources and self-service transactions utilized by students.  It provides web browser based access to e-mail, the course management system any many units of information that will be helpful to students navigating college life without requiring them to have special knowledge to find or access the resources.  The portal interface to our Banner administrative system allows easy viewing of course schedules, grades, student accounts and payroll information, and provides for self-service course registration and emergency contact updates.  MyBerea also offers features to faculty and advisors to allow them to communicate with students and monitor their status.

Course Management System: The Blackboard Learning Management System allows faculty to manage courses online, providing for posting of course information and syllabus documents, communicating with students, facilitating student discussion and collaboration, receiving paperless assignment documents, and some electronic testing features.  Students and faculty are able to access their Blackboard account from the MyBerea portal via the campus network or over the Internet.

Specialized Equipment Access:  Through the Instructional Technology Resource Center, students and faculty can utilize technology that is not yet widely available in classrooms or labs.  Examples include digital audio and video editing, smartboards and classroom feedback clicker devices.  IS&S staff and student technicians are available at the center to assist faculty or students with projects.  Students and faculty can also check out equipment from the Media Services desk located in the Computer Center and use the equipment for projects.  Examples of available equipment include portable PA systems, cameras, audio recorders and projectors.

Academic Software: Students have access to a wide range of software applicable to various academic disciplines.  Most software will run on the EDGE laptop computers, though some are available only in specialized computer labs.  Examples include Maple for math and physics students, Autodesk products for CAD, ChemDraw for chemistry classes, Sibelius for music scoring and Final Cut Express for video editing.

Faculty Support:  Faculty are provided with technology tools for their teaching based on their particular discipline’s best practices and their personal style.  Each professor has a laptop computer comparable to those in use by students, allowing him or her to develop electronic activities for students to work with.  Most classrooms are equipped with digital projectors and many also include multi-media systems providing a range of media input options.  The Instructional Technology Resource Center is available to assist faculty with technology usage and to provide access to tools such as response clickers and smartboards not yet widely available on the campus.  The Media Services center is also available to faculty for checkout of audio-visual equipment and for media production services such as audio and video editing, poster and banner printing, media conversions and copying, and lamination.

Statistics:

Student laptop computers: 1522
Computers in departmental labs: 85
Classrooms with 1 port per seat: 37
Classrooms with Wireless Network: 8
Classrooms with Digital Projectors: 52
Other meeting rooms with projectors: 10
Classrooms with Multi-Media: 21
Other meeting rooms with Multi-Media: 10
Courses utilizing Blackboard LMS: 318

Supporting Institutional Effectiveness

Enterprise Data Systems: The College uses the Banner software from Sungard Higher Education, an integrated administrative system for financial, student records, financial aid, human resources/payroll, and alumni/development functions.  The Student and Employee self-service modules of Banner allow for access to Banner information and functions through the MyBerea portal.  BANNER is supplemented by NOLIJ, a document image management system which stores electronic copies of applications for admission, financial aid statements, purchase orders, invoices and other documents.

Personal Computers and Phones: All faculty and most staff are provided with a personal laptop or desktop computer for personal productivity and for access to e-mail and other campus network resources and the Internet.  Faculty and staff offices are equipped with telephones for communication on and off campus, and cell phones or PDA phones are provided to staff that need mobile communication for their job function.

MyBerea Portal: The MyBerea portal brings together a wide range of information, functions and links to make faculty and staff work life easier and more efficient.  Faculty can view their class schedules, class lists, advisees, transcripts and grades and manage their advisees’ registration process using self-service functions.  Faculty and staff can view e-mail as well as personal employment and payroll information.  Staff who use Banner and Faculty who use Blackboard course management can access those functions via the portal.

Specialized Applications: Specialized applications support various administrative functions across campus including Chemical Inventory, Electronic Lock Access Management, ID Card production, Printer/Copier control/payment, Health Clinic appointment scheduling and others.  IS&S assists departments with selecting software to be sure it will function well on the network and standard equipment, and with establishing appropriate operational and support structures.  Functional support for specialized software is expected to come from software providers.

Statistics:

Staff & Faculty computers 634
Staff & Faculty phones 705
Staff & Faculty cell phones 63

Source: Information Systems and Services, October 2008

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