Update on Major Technology Projects

September 2013

The following is brief update on major technology projects as we begin the 2013-14 academic year.

New Video studio and technology classrooms

A new video studio was created in Duffy 208 with an adjacent control room.  New equipment facilitates state of the art digital video productions for the courses offered by the Communications department and to meet other video needs.  The adjacent classroom in Duffy 210 contains 25 Mac Pro computers and Adobe software for video editing and graphic design.  A new web based video delivery system from Kaltura will be piloted during the fall to provide a “You Tube like” tool to deliver the videos.  We’ll be hosting an Open House for the studio later in the semester so watch for an announcement.

Service Center Expansion and Office Relocations

In addition to the attractive upgrades to the Duffy lower level hallway, the Service Center in D025 was expanded into D029 to include an area for HP laptop repair and equipment loan for students.  This space was well used this past week as hundreds of students came by for technology assistance including the repair of their HP laptops.  Video equipment loans for students are also provided in this location.  All IT staff are now located on the lower level of Duffy.

Evaluation of Elearn

An LMS Evaluation Team has been charged by the Provost and CIO to evaluate options and recommend a learning management system to replace the current eLearn system.  The team is led by Brendan O’Sullivan and Fera Karakaya and comprised of faculty and key staff.  They will be announcing dates for open product demonstrations soon and seeking campus wide feedback.

New and Upgraded Systems and Services

IT staff collaborated with colleagues in other departments to complete the following key projects.

  • The Piano Room in Cushing-Martin 027 was renovated to include 14 new iMacs and software attached to the existing pianos to enable digital music in courses offered by the Visual and Performing Arts department. 
  • The Skillsoft online learning system is available to faculty and students to enhance student skills with desktop applications, like Excel, Word and Adobe Premiere. 
  • Student email was upgraded to Microsoft’s Office 365 environment which also offers Office web applications and other collaboration tools.
  • Online bills, payments and a monthly payment plan are available to students and their families through the Touchnet suite.
  • Student conduct software was migrated to Maxient to enable efficient processes and reporting.
  • Online course evaluations were piloted successfully in the spring and expanded use is planned for the fall.

Some of the major projects in progress are listed below.

  • A mobile platform will be deployed this fall making a Stonehill app available on iPhone and Android devices.  The initial release will provide news, event calendars, a campus map, and important numbers.  Access to other Stonehill resources like Laundry View and the Skyhawk app will also be included.  Logging in with a Stonehill username will enable course schedule, rosters, grades, holds, and a directory of faculty, staff and students. 
  • The Banner Workflow module will be implemented to improve the efficiency of processes, for example Admission application review.
  • Research and evaluation is ongoing by a team in IT to determine options to replace our aging telephone switch.  New telephone systems are a component of Unified Communications offerings which also include options like instant messaging, video conferencing, data sharing and presence (knowing if someone is available).
  • Planning is underway to transition the spam filtering service for faculty and staff email from Google Postini to Microsoft Exchange Online Protection in late October.  The new service will reduce costs, maintain email access during emergencies, and allow login with a Stonehill username and password.