Computing & Information Services

Strategic Techology Goals 2005-2009 Final Status Report, August 2009

 

Substantial improvements in Reed's technology resources and services have resulted from the pursuit of strategic goals identified in 2004.  Some goals will continue to play an important role in the next five year planning cycle.  A complete description of the technology goals identified for 2005-2009 is available.

1. Equipment replacement

  • Funding:  A $1.5 million item has been included in the Centennial Campaign to decreased the computing equipment replacement cycle to 5 years for laptop and desktop computers and 3 years for servers and lab computers.  Pending.
2. Networking
  • Security:  Various measures have been introduced to increase network security including: (a) implementation of new systems for network access control and intrusion detection/prevention; (b) a secure encrypted wireless network; (c)  a higher security subnet to for administrative servers; (d) a subnet to isolate the Bon Appétit database server and point-of-sale stations from the rest of the administrative network; (e) a network architecture redesign to segregate higher security network subnets;  (f) VPN access for administrative users to provide secure access from off-campus.
  • Speed:  Internet bandwidth was increased in several steps from 7 MB to 150 MB.  On campus, network speed for all network switches and wireless access points was increased.
  • Access:  A new library proxy server was implemented to improve off-campus access to library journals, databases, and other resources.  A new file system (AFS) now provides secure access from off-campus.
  • Reliability:  A satellite machine room was built to accommodate new servers and to provide redundancy critical applications.  Climate controls, auxiliary power, and security improvements were made to existing.
3. Cross-platform services
  • Windows computers:  Support for Windows systems has improved substantially for both academic and administrative users, in part due to the availability of Intel-based Macs that able to run Windows as well as Mac software.
  • Windows infrastructure:  Cross-platform infrastructure has been implemented on the Administrative network, including Active Directory for secure file server access, Citrix server for administrative applications, and enhanced security procedures required for Windows systems.
4. Digital asset management
  • Digital images:  In collaboration with the Library and Visual Resources Collection, CIS obtained more than $600,000 in external funding to implement a digital asset management system.  At project completion in August 2009, six image collections totaling nearly 90,000 items and other materials had been created for Art and Humanities.  Projects are underway to expand the image database to other disciplines, Special Collections & Archives, the electronic thesis pilot, and the Office of Public Affairs.
5. Web support and content management
  • Staffing:  A full-time Academic Web Specialist position was created to assist faculty and academic departments in creating and using web pages, applications, and systems.
  • New technology:  A content management system (Cascade) was acquired and has been used to deploy more than 80  web sites for academic departments and administrative offices.
6. Information access and integration
  • New portal:  The IRIS portal was created in January 2007 to unify several previously disparate information services.  However, many services are still in the process of being integrated.  This item will be carried into the next 5 year cycle as a major theme.
  • Single sign-on:  IRIS access is now based on the Kerberos authentication system already used extensively to access email and many other network resources.
7. Curriculum and research
  • Instructional software:  Moodle, an open source learning management system, was selected as the cornerstone of Reed's courseware toolkit.  Several CIS departments collaborated to customize and enhance the Moodle interface and develop linkages between Moodle,  IRIS, CONTENTdm and other tools. Support has been improved for specialized academic software such as statistics packages, GIS programs, bibliographic tools, and the custom-developed PopBio simulation software. A web-based repository of academic software has been implemented.
  • Digital media: CIS has collaborated with the Library to provide digital audio and video content distribution via iTunes University.
  • Instructional resources: CUS partnered with A/V Services to deploy projection equipment to roughly 85% of all Reed classrooms. Response time to classroom equipment problems has been substantially reduced while the frequency of such problems has also been reduced .   Wireless network access was added to teaching spaces for biology labs, theatre, and dance rehearsal. CIS collaborated with the Library and other departments to enhance academic resources such as the Foreign Language Lab, electronic reserves, and the Quantitative Skills Center.
  • Staffing: A digital media specialist position was created to increase support for instructional uses of digital images, audio and video. A half-FTE instructional technologist position was created to provide support for faculty and student Moodle users.  The goal of providing reliable programmer support (either outsourced or provided in-house) has not been adequately addressed.  This goal will be carried over to the next 5-year cycle.
8. Student services and student life
  • Web applications: Web applications have been developed to facilitate operations such as the Housing Lottery, tracking of student support and advising, coordination of student events, and a student employment system for advertising and filling on-campus and work-study jobs.  A web-based system has been developed to enable incoming students to complete their Getting Started and Orientation forms electronically.
  • One-Card:   One-Card access has been expanded to include most college buildings and labs, many interior spaces, and the new residence halls.  A system has been created to manage selected building and lab access based on a student's course enrollment.  Card readers can now remain in service even if communication to the central server fails due to a power outage or other problem.
  • Network services:  Wireless network access is now available in all residence halls.  A new print management system was installed to provide more reliable printing services in residence halls.  CIS is investigating affordable and secure ways to improve bandwidth for recreational uses.
  • Policies:  CIS worked with the Computing Policy Committee and Student Senate to establish policies and strategies to promote and support legal peer to peer (P2P) file sharing and to discourage illegal P2P activities.
  • Data management:  CIS is working Community Safety, the Health & Counseling Center, and Academic Advising to establish new systems and strategies for managing incident reports, vehicle and bicycle registrations, health records, student appointments, and other information.
9. Planning, development, and collaboration
  • Tools:  A variety of faculty and staff teams are using Moodle as a repository for project materials, planning, and collaboration.  Web sites for the Dean of Faculty, Honor Council, and Guidebook to Reed have been created to provide access to community governance materials.
10. End-user support
  • Academic:  CUS has started to provide more one-on-one technology support for faculty, including annual preventive maintenance visits to faculty and academic support staff offices.
  • Administrative:  ACS has reallocated one programming position to full-time end-user support in order to respond more quickly and effectively to staff who are experiencing desktop computer problems.