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Information Technology

Information Technology > TechBrief > 02-06-2012 for Employees

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Welcome to TechBrief, a regular e-newsletter to keep you informed of the latest happenings in Information Technology at Union.

In this issue, you'll learn about...

  • Students now using the Portal
  • Apple's e-textbook initiative
  • Travel registry helps manage risks and paperwork
  • Town hall: Online course evaluation system
  • Strategic technology training strengthens goals for future
  • Faculty enroll in new LMS
  • Printing strategy yields savings and improvements
  • Like us or follow us to ITCM updates


Portal

Students Now Using "portal.uu.edu" Too!

Beginning this month, all students will have access to portal.uu.edu. The resources and services they'll get are similar to those of employees except with resources geared toward them.

For example, students will have access to a Student Discounts page but they will not have access to employee-only resources like prayer requests, HR's Employee Benefits Center, employee forms & documents, etc.

Everyone, whether student or employee can access these great services and resources:

  • Classes and assignments - Blackboard and Moodle login links
  • Grades, financial aid, bills, registration
  • Calendar and e-mail
  • Union announcements, events, news
  • ennouncements in a brand new format - view by campus, category, classification or date - submit new items online
  • student/employee pictures, contact information
  • links to Union resources, UU Alerts, social media
  • And much more!

Learn more about the portal at www.uu.edu/portal, such as how to log in. After you are logged into portal.uu.edu, you can also use the red Help menu or go here for assistance.


Faculty Discuss Apple's e-Textbook Initiative

e-Texbooks

Authoring, publishing tools unveiled

On January 25, Union faculty and technical staff gathered to participate in an Apple webinar about recent e-textbook developments. Approximately 20 attended in Jackson, while others in Germantown and Hendersonville participated via videoconference. Discussions like this will be important as we increasingly must plan and work with a goal of mobility - access to information regardless of the person's location, the information's location, or the device being used.

The meeting followed closely after Apple's January 19 announcement of significant additions to its iTunes U services, increasing their breadth of services for K12 and higher education. The new services will support e-textbook authoring and distribution for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices. Textbook publishers including McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are partnering with Apple in this venture. Learn more about this at www.itunesu.com

Take a look at Union's existing iTunes U content.


Horizons

Travel Registry Helps Manage Risks and Paperwork

New system to support domestic and international trips

As more students, faculty and staff travel domestically and internationally for University-related purposes, the associated record-keeping, responsibility, and communication demands are growing rapidly. A great deal of travel support is currently provided through the Institute for International and Intercultural Studies (IIIS). Dr. Cindy Jayne and Ms. Aura Opris provide the majority of services for the IIIS.

To support this growing demand and requirement for services, Union is implementing Symplicity's Horizons-Student-Abroad system. It will be used initially by IIIS and will eventually be used for GO trips, athletic travel, student organization trips and individual student/employee travel.


Faculty Town Hall:
Online Course Evaluation System

iPad

During Fall 2011, the University tested an online system that may be used in the future by students to evaluate courses. This would replace manual paper-based processes that have been used for many years.

On February 13 and 14, the faculty who participated in the test will be in a town hall meeting to share their thoughts and to answer questions from others. Both town hall meetings will be held in Harvey Hall (Jackson campus - Student Union Building) at 3:00pm each day and streamed live to regional campuses.


Retreat

Strategic Technology Planning Strengthens Goals for Future

In January, Information Technology staff met on campus to discuss plans for 2012 and beyond. Several speakers helped spark lively discussion around technology, service, and stewardship. Highlights included:

  • Perspectives from Dr. Carla Sanderson on framing the future around serving others and community.
  • Chris Johnson's devotion on IT's role of bringing order from chaos in IT.
  • Other speakers highlighted the accomplishments from 2011 as well as new initiatives such as the new data center, mobile apps, Moodlerooms, and other projects for 2012.

The retreat ended with a report of the professional development opportunities for staff to pursue in 2012 as a continuation of the many courses, workshops, and presentations completed in 2011.


Faculty Enroll as Students in New Learning Management System

MoodleRooms

Faculty take advantage of training options

Union is moving online course resources from Blackboard to Moodlerooms. This exciting new learning management system is used by many universities and promises many improvements over the current system. The Blackboard system will no longer be available for course instruction after August 30, 2012.

A number of faculty have taken advantage of the training available for Moodlerooms. So far over 130 faculty members have signed up, 32 are certified in either track A or B, with 17 more to be certified within a couple of weeks. Faculty interested in training should contact Tabitha Washburn at twashburn@uu.edu or at 731.661.6522.


Printing

Printing Strategy Yields Savings & Improvements

University-wide standards bring efficiencies, savings

During recent months, IT has been working to implement a university-wide print management strategy to help improve overall efficiency and support while reducing costs and waste.

This print management strategy is based on conserving toner and paper by eliminating excessive waste and by using newer, more efficient print devices. In areas where there are fax machines, scanners and printers, these devices are being replaced with one device. In this way, power consumption is reduced and the number of different types of toner cartridges are streamlined across the University. Moreover, by moving to newer print devices, we gain power efficiency, offer faster print speeds, add functionality and reduce maintenance costs.

Additional strategies include:

  • Through the PaperWise system, printing quotas have been implemented to help students manage their print habits efficiently and encourage stewardship.
  • PawPrint gives students and employees the ability to print to a designated print release station from any computer on campus.

Based on estimates, savings are expected to be over $30,000 in costs annually.


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