This is the first update from the CIO for 2016.
New faces and new groups at CIS
The key ingredient to CIS is the people. We made a number of changes during summer 2016, and I wrote an article about this last Ocober: New faces and new groups at CIS. Our regrets about two retirements were tempered by our excitement about three new hires. We also reorganized to reduce the number of units in CIS, and now have four people dedicated exclusively to Educational Technology. Since some people’s jobs have changed, your best bet is to contact the Help Desk when you have a service request.
A number of Consortium wide IT initiatives are under way and they will bring some major changes to IT at the Colleges. The impact should be positive from HMC’s perspective. The areas being addressed this academic year include networking, identity and access management (IAM), telephony and security. I have more detail in the post on IT@TCC. These initiatives have been set up to allow for lots of input from “functional users”, so please make sure to get involved if you have questions or ideas about how to proceed.
It is going to be a long farewell, but by now you should all be aware that we are transitioning from Majordomo to Google Groups for the HMC Mailing Lists. We have lots of reasons for doing this, and we are gaining some new and much needed automation. See the Goodbye Majordomo article for more information about what’s done and what’s left to do.
During the Fall, a nice coincidence happened. This year’s Computing Committee with the intrepid Paul Steinberg at the helm, suggested that we should create short training videos as an alternative way of getting information out to people. “Sometimes a workshop is overkill”, they said. Independently and separately, at one of our staff meetings, Elly Schofield said “we should make some short videos…”.
With that happy coincidence, we have started making what I think are awesome videos (a new meaning for “AV”). The first two are about Google Groups features, and were put together by Elly Schofield and Brian Reid:
- Emailing Google Groups – https://youtu.be/C_qAfJGTR4o
- Finding and Joining Groups – https://youtu.be/Q2C4x0ISIQ0
Last summer, the Presidents Council urged the ITC (Information Technology Committee) to work with the ADC (Academic Deans Committee) on “transitioning to a new learning management system”. This could involve moving to a new version of Sakai or to something else. Work on this initiative has proceed during the Fall, with examination of market options and planning to gather student and faculty opinions.
Colleen Lewis had already decided to use Canvas in the Fall, which was a nice piece of serendipity, given that CGU moved to Canvas two years ago and it is a strong candidate. Elizabeth Hodas and the Educational Technology team have worked with several more faculty to set up pilots for the Spring Semester. We will be collecting feedback throughout the Spring… don’t be shy about giving us your opinions!
Have you ever wanted to try your hand at running your own server? Or maybe you are developing a mobile app and want to test it on multiple types of phones, none of which you own? Or you want to explore some “big data” tools? If so, you might be interested in Amazon Web Services, Amazon Device Farm, or Amazon Big Data Services. The College recently signed up for Amazon Educate, a program which will get you free access to any of these Amazon services, and many others (though not Amazon Prime!) For details, see the news article about Amazon Educate.
I’ve promised myself that I will try to do more frequent, but shorter updates this year. So that’s enough for now. I hope you’re having a great semester!