October 2010 update from the CIO

Halloween came and went; it is time for the October update.

Let me start with a reminder about November 19.  Between 4 and 6pm we’ll be celebrating the opening of the Learning Studio.  Come along, mingle, listen to live music, see some interesting software applications in action.  Afterward, you could attend the Moody Lecture: When Mathematics Meets YouTube.  Given the level of interest in the Learning Studio opening ceremony, we ask you to help with our planning by visiting the RSVP page at tinyurl.com/learningstudiorsvp

We’ve spotted some nice uses of the Learning Studio: Prof. Adolph has “instant office hours” right after class in the lounge area; Prof. Johnson brought a class in to watch a movie in the evening and they dragged the comfortable chairs into the classroom area.  That’s what flexible space is all about!

At CIS we had a busy month of October.  Most importantly, Aasim Rizvi joined the User Support Team as a full-time departmental technical analyst (DTA).  Please join me in welcoming him. Aasim will be part of the suport team, with a primary focus on the offices of Admission, Dean of Students and Dean of Faculty.   This arrangement reflects Calvin Tong’s improvement of the User Support Service model.  Watch for posts from Calvin about Aasim and about the refined service model.

We continue our experiments in cloud computing and, earlier in the month, Jeho Park reported on some nice successes with Cloudshare.  Jeho was faced with the tough task of attempting to rewrite some legacy software, but instead he ended up running it on virtual machines using Cloudshare.com.   Cloudshare is an interesting company;  their “pro” service is currently in free beta;  so if you need six servers for any reason, you should consider signing up.  Read more about Jeho’s success with ODE Architect and Cloudshare at http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/?p=609

Educause, the national association for Higher Ed IT, held its Annual Conference in Anaheim in the second week of October.  Well over 4,000 people attended in person, among them Elizabeth, Jeho and myself. The number of sessions and other opportunities to learn verged on overwhelming.  Elizabeth presented a poster about the Learning Studio, which you can read about at http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/?p=732. I did a joint presentation on organizational change. Linda Garnets and Nancy Angelo presented the framework for change that we are using, and I presented a flavor of how it is working at CIS.  See http://www.educause.edu/E2010/Program/SESS063 for a copy of the slides.

This year the  Computing Committee (Rachel Mayeri, Eliot Bush, Alfonso Castro, Vatche Sahakian, Nick Card ’11 and I) has set  an ambitious agenda of topics.  As well as meeting with each of the area managers from CIS, in the Fall we are looking at three big topics: email and calendar, IT governance (how best to make institutional IT decisions) and IT assessment (how do you know when you have a good central IT organization?).   In October, after three meetings in which we discussed the issues, the other members of the committee unanimously advised me to contract with Google to deliver Google Apps for Education to the college.  We also thought that a good use of the savings in software licensing fees from this change would be to direct them toward providing students with access to licensing for the Microsoft suite, which is something we provide for faculty and staff, but not students. This is a big milestone in the decision process!  But there is still much to do before reaching a final decision, especially with respect to due diligence about privacy and security, as well as ensuring that people who use the Outlook mail and calendar client will be adequately provided for.   So expect at least a few more posts about this one!

Let me finish with a mention of three other IT News posts that you might find interesting. Calvin Tong writes about how faculty and staff can download the Microsoft Office suite for home use and Cynthia Souza details discounts on Adobe products.  Calvin also wrote about our new staff computer upgrade program, which we launched in July.   You can read all of these at http://www5.hmc.edu/ITNews/

Best wishes for a prosperous month of November from all at CIS.  Thanks for reading!

Joseph Vaughan

CIO/VP for Computing and Information Services

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