Last year, I led an effort to generate a new Morris campus technology plan. Through this partnership, our working group held listening sessions with students, faculty, and staff for how technology currently serves the campus, and what areas need improvement. Your input was valuable, and we listened to you.
We delivered our Morris Campus Technology Strategy document in May, earlier this year. This new IT planning document makes recommendations across five major areas:
- Essential needs
- Projects and activities that must be addressed immediately. While these are not necessarily prerequisites for other sections, the essential needs represent high priority issues, including networks, security, and web.
- Structural needs
- Issues that provide clarity in technology support, including "Where do I go for help?"
- Resource needs
- Concerning budgets and technology replacement strategies for the Morris campus.
- Educational support
- Recommendations that support electronic learning, technology awareness, and research needs of the campus.
- Technology services
- Items that address specific needs and campus projects, such as the learning commons and student printing.
The order of these recommendation sections is approximate. For example, placing educational support fourth on the list does not suggest a particular priority for supporting the educational mission of the university. Rather, the sections before it (regarding essential needs, structural needs, and resource needs) will provide a foundation that will improve our technology support and services for teaching, learning, and research.
Since May, these recommendations have helped guide our work over the summer, and they will continue to act as signposts in the next year. So, what have we been working on?
A few projects currently in progress:
- Network upgrade
- This is on schedule for August completion. We are working with the Office of Technology to provide a "faster, better, stronger" campus network, including improved wireless support and coverage.
- Active Directory ("AD") rollout to campus
- Most staff units are now using Active Directory. Once you're on AD, you can use your Internet ID and password to login to your computer. You'll also have access to network drives to save your important data. More features will follow.
- Web reskinning
- By Fall this year, we will roll out a new website that will work equally well with mobile devices and desktop browsers. Morris was the first campus in the University of Minnesota system to have a mobile-enabled front page, and soon Morris will be the first campus in the U of M system to have a fully-mobile website.
- Learning commons
- We worked with the Library and other units over the last year or so to define a future learning commons space. This will provide a common location for checkout of materials and technology. We're currently awaiting funding and construction approval.
- Campus technology "tips & tricks"
- Pam has led the "Wake up to technology" seminar series over the last several years to introduce new technology topics to the campus, and provide reminders on existing technology. You may have attended some of my sessions about how to use Gmail for class instruction and office work. We'll continue the "tips & tricks" series this year.
But that's not all we're doing. Over the next year, we will continue addressing your IT needs. We're planning on several projects to do just that. In no particular order:
- Campus IT needs
- Funding for technology
- Encouraging more e-learning and m-learning
- More direct support for campus research
- University IT policies
- BYOD or "consumerization" technology strategies
- Web content management
- Mobile campus web app
- Building technology
You may have seen some improvement in these areas already, as the campus takes advantage of opportunities. For example, this summer Plant Services installed mobile charge points in several locations across campus. If you need to charge your phone or iPad, just stop by the Student Center, Library, or Welcome Center.