CIO Updates

Tom Wolf, CIO

September 2018

Welcome back to campus WMU faculty and students! I hope everyone had a productive summer. Those of you who closely follow the CIO updates may notice that there were no updates published in July and August. OIT is in the process of changing the way we communicate information to the campus community. We realize that monthly updates aren't ideal with respect to providing the campus community with timely and relevant information so we are in the process of retooling out communication methods to provide you with the technology news you need, when you need it and how you want to receive it. In the mean time we decided that there was so much new and exciting activity happening in OIT over the summer that we were justified in pushing out one last monthly CIO update. I hope you enjoy this final CIO update and as always please don't hesitate to reach out to me at tom.wolf@wmich.edu if you have any questions or comments about the information below. Have a great fall everyone and as always GO BRONCOS!

Dink on the Dock

Dink on the Dock participants.

2018 Dink on the Dock

The second week of July OIT hosted a team building event called “Dink on the Dock”. The UCC loading dock became the center of the pickleball universe for two short hours as multiple time national champions, Yvonne and Jim Hackenberg came to campus and introduced OIT staff to pickleball, the fastest growing sport on the planet. The event included drills, pizza, cake, t-shirts to participants and medals to the winners.

Phishing

Preventing phishing continues to be a top priority for the Office of Information Technology but we need your help to keep the cyber criminals off of our campus. Please continue to report any suspicious emails you receive as per the  instructions on the wmich.edu/phishing website. Lets work together to keep our campus systems safe and secure!

Telecommunications Service

Telecommunications customer service is now being provided by the Help Desk to streamline processes and improve customer service. Customers no longer need to choose between option 1 or option 2 when calling 387-4357 as they will be placed directly in to the call queue to speak with a Help Desk Specialist. 

Virtual Reality

Have you had a chance yet to visit the Virtual Reality Lab at Waldo Library? The Virtual Reality Lab and the virtual reality workshops have been extremely popular with both faculty and students so be sure to register early. On a related note Office of Information Technology VR guru Kevin Abbott worked dilligently over the summer to spin up an exciting new service. Dunbar now hosts OIT's Virtual Reality Development Studio. If you are a faculty member and have an idea for incorporating virtual reality into your curriculum please don't hesitate to reach out to Kevin and start the conversation. The sky is "virtually" the limit when it comes to VR!

Success at WMU

Over the summer the second floor of the University Computing Center became home to the brand new "Success at WMU" program. There office is located right across the hall from the Office of Faculty Development. More information about this exciting new service can be found at wmich.edu/success

Classroom Upgrades

Approximately 50 classrooms were upgraded this summer. Many of those rooms received new laser projectors which is a higher quality projector at an overall lower cost. Win/Win! A complete list of upgraded rooms can be found at wmich.edu/classroomtechnology/upgrades 

Educable

WMU's EduCABLE channel lineup changed beginning, Aug. 21. As part of the change on campus residents now have access to mobile TV via Comcast's Xfinity service. Those people hooking cable TV to their televisions will need to re-program their TVs. Additional instructions are available online at wmich.edu/helpdesk/educable-help

Learning Glass

Over the summer OIT's very own John MacKenzie installed a very cool new lecture capture tool called Learning Glass in Dunbar. Several faculty spent the summer experimenting with Learning Glass and the feedback has been tremendous. John is currently working with the WMU's Library staff to find a permanent home for Learning Glass in Waldo Library. In the mean time if you would like to "play" with this amazing new technology please give John MacKenzie a call.

Makerspace New Location

The student run interdisciplinary University Computing Center Makerspace has moved! In their first two years of existence the makerspace has become so popular that they were busting at the seams of the space they were using in the University Computing Center. Dean of WMU's Libraries Julie Garrison came to the rescue and found an amazing new home for the makerspace on the second floor of Waldo Library just across the bridge from their original home in the University Computing Center. Thank you Julie for your generosity and thank you WMU students for creating such a vibrant student run interdisciplinary makerspace. I wish you continued success in your new home!

Personnel Changes

Over the summer five long standing Office of Information Technology employees retired from Western Michigan University. Marketing Specialist Nancy Kroes left WMU after 32 years as an IT professional. Executive assistant, payroll specialist and student employee coordinator Delores “Dee” Minshall, who started her career at WMU in 1988, announced her plans to retire the end of July. Dee’s executive assistant position is being rewritten as an Office Administrator position focused primarily on student and staff payroll. And last but not least tennis standout and long time Network Administrator Allan “Al” Poole joined the Office of Information Technology in 1989 and is planning to retire in August. Tim Ender left WMU's telecommunications unit after serving for 28 years as a service representative. And last but certainly not least, Martin Shultz retired from OIT's database administration team where he was instrumental in supporting several of WMU's mission critical reporting environments. Let me extend a heartfelt thank you to all five of these IT professionals for their combined fourteen decades of outstanding service to the WMU community. You will all be missed!

Voicemail Migration

Gartner's Magic Quadrant graphic.

Even voicemail has become a target for hackers who will remotely access a voicemail account and leverage the outbound calling feature to forward calls to a “phantom” mailbox. This is one of many many reasons that OIT is working hard this fall to migrate the campus off of our current 25 year old voicemail system and onto the very latest CISCO voicemail offering called Unity Connection. This new system integrates seamlessly with our campus email system W-Exchange. As part of the new contract with CISCO WMU will also be receiving full campus access to WebEx, a web conferencing solution that is the leading product in Gartner’s magic quadrant.  In addition to the project team that is working to deploy these new collaboration tools there is also a marketing team that is working on the “advertising” for these new products so hold tight. Official notifications and communications are on their way.

Network Architecture and Infrastructure

The Office of Information Technology network support teams had an unusually busy summer starting with the removal of all network equipment from the now gone Elmwood Apartments. The team basically replaced 100% of the network equipment in Schneider Hall including expanding wireless access points from 47 to 120 and upgrading the building core from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps. Below you will find two pictures that give you an idea of how the first floor of Schneider Hall will be positively impacted by these changes. Fiber connecting the campus core to all the resident halls was also upgraded from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps. And speaking about core, work began this summer to upgrade the campus core. This work will allow WMU to improve overall campus throughput by 400%. This summer marked the start of a project to bring wifi to the Goldworth Valley Apartments. In support of the Esports project the network teams replace the entire data network in the East Campus Little Theater and upgraded significant portions of the East Campus network core. Equipment was installed at Waldo Stadium to accommodate a new NCAA regulation requiring on field video replay. The network team was heavily involved in the efforts to bring a new Educable service to campus this summer including Comcast's Xfinity mobile television service. Sindecuse Health Center received a complete network upgrade over the summer as did the Ernest Wilbur Building. Significant network upgrades were required in Central Kohrman Hall in support of the Richmond Institute for Design and Innovation. And last but certainly not least, a significant number of Office of Information Technology network support staff and telephony staff were heavily involved in work this summer to position WMU for the Oct. 30 cutover to a new countywide consolidate 911 dispatch service. So if you happen to see any of OIT's network support teams out and about on campus please stop and thank them for all the amazing "behind the scenes" work they are doing in support of the 1,000s of services on campus that rely on the WMU data and telephony networks!  

Schneider Hall heatmap wfi coverage before upgrade.

Schneider Hall heat map of wifi coverage before upgrade.

Schneider Hall heatmap wfi coverage after upgrade.

Schneider Hall heat map of wifi coverage after upgrade.

Cyber Range 

Extended University Programs Cyber Range IS OPEN! The Office of Information Technology would like to congratulate WMU’s Extended University Programs for partnering with Merit to provide southwest Michigan with a amazing opportunity to experience Merit’s nationally recognized cyber security range while at the same time earning some highly desirable cyber security certifications. This is a truly unique opportunity to embrace the white hat hacker community by expanding your cyber security knowledge. More information can be found at wmich.edu/professional/cyber

All Things Possible

This summer OIT participated in a City of Kalamazoo Parks and Recreation program called “All Things Possible”. We were able to expose about 50 Kalamazoo area middle schoolers to our computer lab and the VR lab. We also helped facilitate visits to the engineering campus and to WMU’s sustainability program. Hopefully next year we can put together an experience that is bigger and better!

Gold Gateway

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Terry Curran’s staff for rebranding the Salesforce Portal from MyBronco to Gold Gateway to alleviate the confusion with WMU’s primary identifier, the Bronco Netid. This was not a trivial undertaking so thank you Megan, Julia, Lorrie, Mike and others who made this happen.

AV Engineering Done Right

Did anyone get a chance to check out the new display in the lower level of Schneider honoring the long standing relationship between WMU and the Haworth family? Well if you haven’t seen it yet please head over and check it out. Patrick Williams is one of my AV engineers and he worked closely with the artist who designed the display to basically turn the artist’s vision into realilty.  OIT is very proud of Patrick for his role on this summer project.

2018 Kong Off Winner

Walter Pabis won first place in the Office of Information Technology's annual OIT staff Donkey Kong tournament "Kong Off."

Walter Pabis, winner of the 2018 Kong Off

Questions or Comments?

If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear from you at (269) 387-3838 or tom.wolf@wmich.edu. Go Broncos!