In August, I shared the results of our Morris campus technology strategy. This was the result of a partnership with the campus - including listening sessions with students, faculty, and staff - spanning Fall semester 2011 and Spring semester 2011. 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 inform our activities in the next year.
A few items have already been completed, or have made significant progress:
- Network upgrade : We worked with the Office of Technology to provide a "faster, better, stronger" campus network, including improved wireless support and coverage. The new network was completed just before the start of Fall classes. Our next phases will improve wireless coverage in the residence halls, and in other campus buildings.
- Active Directory ("AD") rollout to campus : Most staff and some faculty are now using Active Directory. If you're on AD, you simply use your Internet ID and password to login to your computer, and have access to network drives to save your important data. More features will follow.
- Web reskinning : In September, we rolled out a new website that looks great on both mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) and desktop browsers. Morris was the first campus in the University of Minnesota system to have a mobile-enabled front page, and now the first campus to have a fully mobile-enabled website.
- 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. Look for more "tips & tricks" this year.
Other projects are currently "in progress":
- Learning commons : The Library led an effort 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.
- University IT policies : We continue to work with other campus units to meet U of M IT standards and policies. We want to work with you as a partner. If we can help, please let us know!
- BYOD or "consumerization" technology strategies : I've previously discussed the increasing trend towards "BYOD and e-learning".
- Mobile campus web app : Now that we have a fully mobile-enabled campus website, we have retired the m.morris.umn.edu site. However, we intend to bring this back at a later time, as a new mobile campus web "app" to help you see what's happening around campus.
- 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.
We have a lot on our to-do list already, but that's not all. Over the next year, we will continue to address the IT recommendations. We're planning on several projects to do just that. In no particular order:
- Funding for technology
- Encouraging more e-learning and m-learning
- More direct support for campus research
- Web content management