Progress Report on our Summer Technology Initiatives
Berea uses technology to ease the transition of first-term freshman
Newly admitted freshman received access to their myBerea portal early this summer in order to ease their transition to College life. Throughout the summer, first-term freshman had access to their email and a variety of system applications so they could interact with others and become familiar with the virtual learning environment and the campus prior to their arrival. Incoming freshmen also received a special transitional tab on the portal that was designed specifically for their unique needs as first-term freshmen. The myBerea portal is designed to support student learning and personalized assessment of academic progress throughout their studies.
Berea also automated and streamlined the first-term registration process over the summer as part of a team effort between Academic Services and IS&S. First-term freshman received an automated and personalized course registration form this year that provided course options that took in to account factors such as individual test scores, chosen major, and prerequisites. Customized optimization programs (integrated with Banner) were then used to ensure all incoming freshman got the courses they needed, and most often the electives they desired, using a new registration process that is more streamlined and personalized from the start.
Faculty receive new portal system to support advising and much more
As we kick off the new academic year, all faculty will have access to their personalized myBerea portal system. With single sign-on, faculty will have access to their email, blackboard accounts, teaching/advising tools, personal Banner account information, and much more. Below is an example screen of the teaching and advising tab. This tab displays your specific course schedule, grade submission tools, list of your advisees, registration/advising tools and much more. This effort is part of our ongoing attention to question 7 of our strategic plan which calls for promoting a culture that is both reflective and effective.
Wireless coverage is expanding across campus
Work is underway to expand wireless access to those areas highlighted in yellow and orange below. This effort will continue until all campus grounds and buildings have wireless coverage. Hard-wired ports will continue to be available across campus to support high-speed applications like video streaming.
Student residences receive boost in network speed
Network switches were updated in Anna Smith, Blue Ridge, Bingham, Dana, Danforth, ER, Fairchild, James, Kentucky, Kettering-Talcott, Eco Village, and Married Student Housing. Residents will now be able to take advantage of the speed of our upgraded network core.
Classroom media technology upgrades continue
Crestron multi-media systems are now installed in the following classrooms. The next phase of rollouts will begin during short term and include Bruce Trades (EPG classroom and room 128) as well as Nursing rooms 126, 127, and 128.
New filtering security is in place
A new Bluecoat filtering device was installed over the summer and will complement other network security measures in place. The Bluecoat device will block illegal peer to peer file sharing activity and access to phishing, hacking, proxy avoidance and malware/spyware sources when browsing the web. This device further protects the integrity of our network systems and infrastructure for all campus users. Bluecoat will generate the following message on your web browser when it intervenes for security reasons. For example, if you receive a phishing email and click on the link, the system will intervene to protect you from entering a website designed for identity theft.
New network access control system is in place
Network Access Control (Clean Access) was implemented in student residences over the summer. When returning students connect their computer to a network port, the clean access system will verify that their computer has up-to-date virus protection and operating system security updates before granting access to the campus network. Computers not owned by the College can be connected to the network but must be registered with the clean access system as well. Other network devices including wireless routers and gaming units can also be connected to the campus network but the MAC address of these devices must first be registered with Network Services. Many colleges and universities now manage their campus networks using network access control systems. As wireless access expands across campus, this level of security is needed to ensure that computers and devices connected to the network are legitimate and secured.
Sustainability Efforts Move to the Server Room
Berea College has implemented VmWare to virtualize various servers. The first virtualized server was installed this summer and now handles the work of 4 previous servers. Two additional virtual servers are on order. Virtualization allows the college to maximize the use of hardware resources and reduces the number of servers needed for operational needs. In turn, that reduces energy consumption for climate control and server operation in our server room and it streamlines our administration and support of network servers. In addition, this new server technology provides greater versatility in restoring vital systems in the event of a disaster or hardware failure. This virtualization technology will also allow us to move forward with a new SANS infrastructure for system backup and restoration as these technologies complement one another.
Mobile studio in a box
A new Tricaster system has been purchased by Media Services which is a true mobile studio in a box. The system will allow us to provide high quality, multi-camera video production of campus activities and events including such key events as convocations and commencement. The system provides live video streaming capability to allow events to be broadcasted to a larger audience. This initiative is part of an ongoing effort to strengthen media production capabilities in support of key campus activities by providing high quality audio/video reproduction and archiving of these events to extend their value and support classroom instruction.
Copier/Public Printer Management System
IS&S has partnered with Printing Services to implement a new copier and public printer management system. The new system allows students, faculty and staff to use their Berea College ID cards to release and pay for copies and public printer pages. Students will no longer have to keep track of a separate print/copy card and will be able to send their print output to one central network printer queue and then release the print jobs at any of the public printers. Faculty and staff departments will also benefit from the detailed reports of copier and printer usage the system will provide. These reports will enable analysis of copy and print requirements and savings opportunities. Capabilities to be implemented in the future will improve flexibility and sustainability by allowing students, faculty and staff to send print output to copier devices and to more universally utilize duplex printing.
myBerea portal for staff will streamline work flow and much more
Piloting of the new staff myBerea portal will begin early in fall semester. Below are examples of the new Electronic Requisitioning feature, budget reporting feature, and personal earnings reports available. This will be a full-featured system designed to specifically address work flow and communication requirements of staff in support of workplace effectiveness: