AIKCU recognizes innovative campus technology projects

AIKCU announced the 2012 AIKCU Technology Award recipients at its fall IT Meeting last week at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. The awards are presented annually to campus Information Technology departments to showcase innovative and successful technology projects on AIKCU member campuses.

Member campuses can self-nominate projects in four categories: best new campus application; most innovative use of technology for instructional purposes; best online student service; and most successful infrastructure project.  A team of knowledgeable and impartial judges from outside the association evaluates each application and makes the ultimate award decisions.

Congratulations to the Information Technology staffs at Transylvania University, Asbury University, and the University of the Cumberlands on their 2012 AIKCU Technology Awards, and to all the nominees for the great work that they have done over the last year.

 

Best New Campus Application: Given to the AIKCU member that has implemented a major new application or significantly enhanced an existing system that improves operational performance and/or service for all or part of its students, faculty, and staff.

AIKCU Technology Coordinator Steve Dooley presents the AIKCU Technology Award for Best New Campus Application System to Jason Whitaker, Transylvania University VP for Information Technology

Winner, Best New Campus Application:

Transylvania University – Rollout of Ellucian’s Business Object Reporting Tools 

Ellucian’s Business Objects Reporting Tools give staff the ability to quickly build their own reports from the campus enterprise system without IT assistance. The tools are easy to use with a drag and drop interface to build reports and add charts and graphs. Users can even schedule reports to run automatically and be sent to their e-mail inbox. These tools have transformed how we access and use data to report and make decisions.

While any user friendly reporting tool is a plus, the Transylvania IT staff went the extra mile to make the rollout work for our campus. The IT staff met with each administrative office to introduce the software, providetraining and help build some of the first reports. As our users have begun to build their own reports and learn the tools, IT has followed up with advanced training and additional support. Most importantly, IT has helped to identify some institutional reporting problems that have caused issues in the past and has facilitated inter-office communication and training to use the new tools to solve those problems.

Many of our staff, administrators and even faculty now have easier access to data reports from the campus enterprise system than ever before. Offices are now empowered to build and change their own reports on the fly without having to wait on IT to do it for them. Regular reports that were once tedious to build and required manual work are now automated, saving valuable time. Most importantly, we now have quick access to accurate data to help us analyze campus information and make informed decisions at every level.

Read the full Transylvania University Best New Campus Application Nomination (PDF).

Other nominees for Best New Campus Application:

Campbellsville University – “Campbellsville Magazine” – An iPad Application for NewsStand

Campbellsville University’s Office of Communications, in conjunction with the Office of Information Technology, developed the “Campbellsvillian Magazine” app available for iPad in the category of NewsStand. Read the full Campbellsville Best New Application Nomination (PDF)

Union College – New College Website (Drupal Content Management System)

Union College launched its new Drupal-based website on August 14, 2012, which not only has a new marketing profile, but also adds functionality not previously available in the previous ASP-based version. All departments and professors can now create and modify their own content and a new audience-centric calendar system is available to users. Social networking plays a significant role in the integration and the website is now very mobile-device-friendly. Navigation has been completely restructured to support a more intuitive visitor experience. The website is integrated with LDAP for accessibility and our student information system through the My Unionportal. The new look of the website has also provided template design for our uLearn (Moodle) system and our local access cable channel. Both students and employees can now easily find the current resources they need to have a successful experience at Union College. Read the full Union College Best New Application Nomination (PDF).

University of the Cumberlands – ERP and CRM Integration (PDF)

Conceptualized and developed by the University of the Cumberlands Information Technology department, the ERP and CRM Integration application synchronizes data between our ERP and Admissions CRM. The system is designed to allow data from the two separate systems to be synchronized while allowing the Admissions department to do all data entry and data modification inside their CRM. The application provides bidirectional integration: from the ERP to the CRM and from the CRM to the ERP. The ERP and CRM Integration allows Admissions to streamline their business process saving them time and resources. All prospective student data is kept in the CRM where Admissions can easily access, modify, and report on the data. Once a prospect becomes a student, all necessary data is synchronized with our ERP. This allows other departments to access the student data as soon as its needed without having to wait for it to be reentered. Read the full University of the Cumberlands Best New Application Nomination (PDF).

 

Most Innovative Use of Technology for Instructional Purposes: Given to the AIKCU member that has demonstrated the most creative, unique and resourceful use of technology for Instructional Purposes.

AIKCU’s Steve Dooley presents the 2012 Most Innovative Use of Technology for Instructional Purposes award to Paul Dupree, Asbury University CIO

Winner, Most Innovative Use of Technology for Instructional Purposes:

Asbury University – 4SITE (Scholars Integrating Technology and Excellence)

The Provost and CIO created a faculty development program and incentive for helping faculty move traditional in-class content to an online course content to begin offering many of the same classes that that we have on campus to students in an online degree program. This was a year-long project which began in September 2011 and ended in May 2012. Essentially 22 faculty were invited to participate in the 4SITE program, named such because of the emphasis on scholars integrating technology and excellence in teaching. Each faculty member was provided with an iPad2 and required to attend periodic meetings where they were instructed on developing online classes and discussion of pedagogical and various instructional techniques for online instruction were discussed. Also, specific training on the LMS where the online classes were created (built out by the faculty members) was also provided. The “deliverable” by the faculty member was a completed course by May 2012. The reward, beyond the normal remuneration for developing an online course was they were able to keep the iPad2 (not to mention the benefit of using it throughout the year).

This program provided both faculty development (developing new instructional knowledge and technical skills) as well as expanding their use of mobile technology (using the Apple iPad2) to move classes to an online format thereby moving both the individual faculty members forward and moving the institution’s number of online class forward. Both the individual faculty members and the institution benefited from this successful program.

Read the full Asbury University Most Innovative Use of Technology for Instructional Purposes Nomination (PDF).

Other nominees for Most Innovative Use of Technology for Instructional Purposes

Berea College – Digital Production Studio

The Digital Production Studio is an integrated solution with state of the art technology that includes high definition cameras for video capture, live multi-camera switching, professional recording booths for audio capturing, virtual production technology and specialized lighting. Field cameras and lighting equipment extend the studio’s reach for recording off site. With the “green screen” technology we can“virtually”placestudentsanywhereintheworld. Thisinnovativeresourcedeliversstunninghigh definition and standard definition video and graphics as well as professional audio. The production studio is a key piece in developing online materials that are compelling visually. This facility is also instrumental in supporting the college’s initiative to promote blending learning with best practices. Read the full Berea College Most Innovative Use of Technology for Instructional Purposes Nomination (PDF).

Campbellsville University—CU-Go, mobile web application for the Campbellsville University community

Campbellsville University’s Office of Information Technology in conjunction with the Office of Admissions developed the mobile web application using the JICS-Go platform from Jenzabar. Incorporating the core functionality of the university Student Information Suite, CU-Go delivers comprehensive, personalized data regarding Admissions, Financial Aid, Registration, Student Life and Course/Term information, to the logged in user, while offering a host of ‘public’ accessible tools, including the daily Food Service menu, the Academic Calendar, Athletics and Student Activities Calendars, and more. Read the full Campbellsville University Most Innovative Use of Technology for Instructional Purposes Nomination (PDF).

Union College – uLearn (Moodle+BigBlueButton+MediaCAST) University of the Cumberlands – Faculty Training for Teaching Online Best Practices

Once funded and our virtual server infrastructure in place, we were able to implement three robust software components to comprise our uLearn distance learning platform. These three components were Moodle learning management system, BigBlueButton web conferencing and collaboration system, and MediaCAST lecture capture and video streaming system. All three of these components were able to be integrated with each other, as well as with LDAP for accessibility and our student information system for automatic course enrollment. This was a level of integration never-before possible with our previous third party host. Our students and faculty now have a very intuitive distance learning environment with internet bandwidth expanded to a 250Mbps to support the increased demand on our external connectivity. Read the full Union College Most Innovative Use of Technology for Instructional Purposes Nomination (PDF).

Best Student Online Service: Given to the AIKCU member that has demonstrated the spirit of digital use by providing the most efficient, effective, and creative online services to students.

AIKCU’s Steve Dooley presents Justin Hensley with one of two University of the Cumberlands AIKCU Technology Awards

Winner, Best Student Online Service:

University of the Cumberlands – Student Employment Online Portal

The University of the Cumberlands Student Employment Portal was implemented to provide students, federal work-study supervisors, and UC administrators an online solution to managing the university’s process of assigning federal work-study assignments. Prior to the implementation of the Student Employment Portal, there was a tedious, paper-driven process in place for assigning work-study positions that relied heavily on the work-study supervisor to locate an acceptable, eligible student to fill an open position.

The new Student Employment Portal allows eligible students to be more involved in the process as they can search, view, and apply for available federal work-study positions online. The Student Employment Portal also allows supervisors to view applications from potential student employees and, upon review, offer or decline the applicant employment. The applicant may accept or decline an employment offer through the portal as well, making the entire job assignment process seamless and online. Finally, the Student Employment Portal gives university administrators the ability to track real-time statistics on federal work- study positions, applicants, applications, job offers, job declinations, and job assignments.

Read the full University of the Cumberlands Best Student Online Application Nomination (PDF).

The University of the Cumberlands was the only nominee in the Best Student Online Application category.

 

Most Successful Infrastructure Project: Given to the AIKCU member that has implemented major changes to its technology infrastructure resulting in improved services and/or cost savings.

Winner, Most Successful Infrastructure Project:

University of the Cumberlands – Citrix Desktop Virtualization Project

The Citrix Desktop Virtualization Project at University of the Cumberlands was a monumental datacenter upgrade designed to provide the resources necessary to successfully implement desktop and application virtualization. The project will migrate computing “horsepower” away from the user’s fat client to the datacenter and will create a one million dollar savings over the next decade. Citrix XenServer is hosted by a Dell blade infrastructure which houses the XenDesktop and XenApp.

With the university’s increase in size of the last decade, many new faculty and staff have been added to serve our ever-growingstudentpopulation. This has led to a dramatic increase in the number of faculty and staff computers to be maintained by the IT department. Additionally, physical machines must be replaced every 4 years to keep up with current software demands. This cycle creates the need for a $200,000 computer order every fiscal year at the university.

The software that runs on these machines is important to our university as well. Key software programs that facilitate our ERP system are upgraded often, and require downtime for hundreds of physical machines while upgrades are processed one machine at a time. The ability to upgrade software programs in one place and then publish these changes to the user would provide virtually no downtime for the user and a more efficient testing and upgrade process for IT.

Citrix XenDesktop and Provisioning Services provide IT with the tools necessary to push virtual desktops to our users when and where they need them. As our student population becomes more diverse, our faculty and staff population becomes more diverse as well, both in skillset and geographical location. Citrix provides the ability to keep the University’s data inside our datacenter while still allowing the end-user to access their desktop from any machine, any place, any time. Citrix Profile Manager keeps each user’s files and settings in one location in the datacenter where it is backed up regularly. If the user encounters an issue on their machine such as a virus or malware, a simple log off will delete the difference disk and provide the user with a fresh machine at their next log on.

Citrix XenApp virtualizes our most important applications and allows users to stream those applications to their virtual desktop, fat client, or mobile device. Several ERP applications, such as SunGard PowerCampus, College Board PowerFAIDS, and Microsoft Great Plains are now accessible to our administration securely anywhere Internet access is available. XenApp also provides our IT staff with the ability to test applications before roll-out. In order to provide the users with the new software, the IT staff simply assigns the correct users to the application and the user receives the application at their next log on.

Most importantly, Citrix provides a one-stop-shop for administration of the entire virtualization infrastructure. IT can now provide users with the best desktop experience while leveraging datacenter power to the desktop.

The benefits of this project include:

1. Reduced power consumption by consolidating individual desktop power into the datacenter

2. Increased user satisfaction by providing more robust and powerful desktops than previously available

3. Reduced user downtime by single-point software rollouts via XenApp

4. Increased device and geographical support via Citrix Access Gateway

5. Increased management ability via Citrix centralized management console

Read the full University of the Cumberlands Most Successful IT Infrastructure Project Nomination (PDF).

Other nominees for Most Successful IT Infrastructure Project:

Bellarmine University – Highly Available VMware Environment

Bellarmine University’s Infrastructure & Operational Security (IOS) team has implemented a VMware environment and fully synchronous SAN that spans two datacenters in physically separate buildings allowing for minimal downtime in the event of losing a single datacenter with no loss of data.

The resiliency and expandability of this implementation allows Bellarmine to provide a more secure and stable environment while rapidly deploy new servers. By keeping the environment running below 50% capacity, we are moving to a point where we can turn an entire datacenter dark in the middle of a school day with little to no impact on users. Read the full Bellarmine University Most Successful Infrastructure Project Nomination (PDF).

Union College – Vmware Virtualization

The purchase of two new 50TB NetApp SAN servers and three new HP ProLiant virtual host servers has enabled us to migrate 40 servers to the VMware virtual platform and configure load balancing and snapshot replication to a second location on campus. Existing virtualized services include Call Manager/Unity, JICS, network services (domain controllers, DHCP, DNS), print services, and file services. New services added include load balancing,webservers for Drupal and Moodle, and MySQL databases. This has stabilized our server infrastructure, without purchasing numerous hardware servers, and has vastly improved our ability to facilitate data and disaster recovery. Read the full Union College Most Successful Infrastructure Project Nomination (PDF).