CIO Updates

Tom Wolf, CIO, wearing an ugly Christmas sweater

December 2017

2017 closed on a positive note with a strong finals week followed by an excellent graduation Saturday. I know there were a lot of amazing Bronco accomplishments in 2017. That said, I would like to draw attention to one accomplishment that I witnessed personally by congratulating the men's soccer team for finishing the year ranked in the top ten in the nation. I attended several games this year, including the final game up in Lansing, and I can honestly say that this group set an amazing example for all of us who proudly wear the brown and gold. Special thanks go to Zach, Brandon and Alex for being named Academic All-Americans.  On the technology front, 2018 is shaping up to be a very exciting year, so with that in mind, let me close out 2017 with these exciting December technology-related updates. Keep in mind that the Office of Information Technology is always looking for ways to help improve YOUR technology experience at Western Michigan University so please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any technology related ideas or issues. I look forward to hearing from you at tom.wolf@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3838.
 

ITDirect update: Can you say "mission accomplished"? Six years ago when I took over as the leader of the Office of Information Technology I saw a need for a service management system that would help improve the way technology tasks get received, prioritized, assigned, tracked, communicated and completed. And thanks to the very very hard work of many many people in OIT, this challenge/opportunity was realized during the fall semester as the last units in OIT were transitioned into ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus which we have rebranded as ITDirect. Tasks, work orders and projects from every unit in this department are now being successfully managed in ITDirect. Thank you project management office for taking the lead on this project and thank you OIT employees for being willing to adapt into your daily routine the many features of the new ITDirect service management system.

Scanning services update: As mentioned in the October CIO Updates, scanning services on the first floor of the University Computing Center will be changing beginning in January of 2018. As a result of steadily declining usage, fiscal 2018 budget cuts and changing institutional priorities, scanning services will no longer be provided as a Monday through Friday walk-in service, and the door to the scanning services area will no longer be monitored. All requests for scanning work will need to be turned in to the drop-box located in the lobby of the first floor of the University Computing Center. Twice a day, at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., scan requests will be collected from the drop-box and processed. The only exception will be finals week when scanning services will be open to receive walk-in traffic. Read more about this service. Please feel free to contact Tom Wolf at (269) 387-3838 if you have any questions or concerns about this change.
 
 headset and desk from the virtual reality labVirtual Reality Lab update: Tick, tick, tick... The new virtual reality lab in Waldo Library is very close to opening. Here are a few pictures from this exciting new University Libraries/Office of Information Technology collaboration to whet your appetite for what is sure to be one of the most transformational services to be introduced in 2018. In three short years virtual reality has grown into a billion dollar industry that has significantly disrupted the gaming and entertainment industries while opening up new educational opportunities in fields such as military, space, flight, archeology, medical, engineering, architecture and the fine arts This new learning space will be located on the lower level of Waldo Library and will allow Western Michigan University students, faculty and staff to creatively investigate the educational potential of this evolutionary technology. A formal marketing campaign is scheduled to begin during the spring semester but if you cannot wait until then, I would encourage you to reach out to Bradley Morgan and Kevin Abbott in OIT for more information about this exciting new offering.
 
Staff changes: This fall Adam Newsted became the Office of Information Technology's second Director of Project Management, replacing the project management office's founding director, Ed Kluk, who retired over the summer. New to OIT this fall are Cameron Decker in enterprise academic applications, Matt Burke in network support services and Shailender Gautam in database administration. Please join me in welcoming these new employees to Western Michigan University. This fall OIT also saw three long time employees retire. Yvonne Rumery, OIT's business manager, after 29 years at WMU, and Neil Lewinski, 29 years and Doug Alrick, 31 years, both of whom were senior systems programmer analysts. The work ethic, dedication and institutional knowledge of these three WMU employees will be extremely hard to replace. Congratulations to Doug, Yvonne and Neil as they venture into the next phase of their lives.
 
an example of a learning glass in useCalling all technology explorers! The Office of Information Technology is looking for faculty interested in partnering with OIT to develop a new and exciting way of presenting learning materials. The product is called Learning Glass and it allows faculty to creatively package their learning materials. Read more about Learning Glass here. If this sounds like something you might be interested in doing, please reach out to Bradley Morgan, director of OIT's educational technology services.
 
My MediaSite Desktop Recorder: In 2017 WMU's long-standing lecture capture solution, Techsmith Relay, was replaced by MyMediaSite Desktop Recorder. If you missed out on the initial wave of training workshops, feel free to reach out to OIT's educational technology services team or our Faculty Technology Center to inquire about future workshops or to schedule a one-on-one training session. If you are attending a workshop, it is highly recommended you bring your laptop with you. See the workshop schedule and register for a course.
 
IT security education for WMU students: If you are a student at WMU and you haven't already done so, we request that you take the online IT security education course that OIT has prepared. It is found under "My Courses" in Elearning. There are two courses, one that all WMU students should take and a second that students who are employed by WMU should take in addtion to the first course. These courses are free, take only a few minutes to complete, and will make students aware of how to stay safe online and protect both your computer and WMU's network. Student employees who complete the course may print their after-completion certificate and present it to their supervisor as proof of having completed the course. Please contact Nancy Kroes if you have any questions regarding this course.
 
Google Apps for Education: WMU is a Google Apps for Education school. You can find out how to login, what apps are available and how to use them at WMU's Google Apps website.
 
PRTG: How many of you have a need to monitor your technology solutions? Did you know that OIT owns a campus site license for a feature-rich technology monitoring tool called PRTG? If you are a WMU employee and would like to know more about how PRTG works and whether or not it can help you meet your technology monitoring needs, please contact the Office of Information Technology's production operations team at (269) 387-3823.
 
Remind.com: Remind.com is a texting solution that was initially brought to the WMU campus by the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences faculty. This flexible texting solution is used extensively throughout all levels of education and is designed specifically for education-related classes, groups and clubs. The Office of Information Technology's faculty technology center understands how remind.com works and would be happy to help you incorporate this solution into your learning environment. Contact the faculty technology center.
 
Research support: Do you have technology needs that align with WMU's strategic mission of discovery? Research support is one of the core goals found in WMU's Gold Standard 2020 strategic plan. In support of discovery, the Office of Information Technology would like to partner with you as you apply cutting edge technologies to your research efforts. If you are part of WMU's diverse research community and would like to investigate the many research-related services that OIT can provide, please contact Senior Director of Research Support Joel Fletcher. Together let's do something transformational.
 
24/7 Help Desk: Were you aware that OIT's Technology Help Desk provides 24/7 phone service? During "normal hours" our staff is available via walk-in and phone service to address computing issues for all. Outside of normal hours, phone support is available to address WMU's Elearning community and student password issues. To access Technology Help Desk phone service, including after hours, call (269) 387-4357.
 
Always teching, always learningDid you know? In partnership with the Office of Faculty Development, the Office of Information Technology developed an online "one-stop" teaching and learning resources website designed to help faculty quickly navigate WMU's online teaching resources.
 
OIT strategic plan: Information about OIT's strategic plan may be found on the OIT strategic plan website.
 
Phishing: For the latest news about phishing emails, check out the phishing website.