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Spring 2020 Newsletter

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Message from CIO/AVP Patty Kahn

The Office of Information Technology Services is happy to share our Spring 2020 Newsletter. Please take the time to learn about some of our latest initiatives including virtual reality, distance learning, as well as website and technology upgrades. Finally, be sure to read about projects that are underway highlighted in the “On the Horizon” section. This issue is packed with updates, so please take the time to review in order to stay informed about IT happenings. Finally, we welcome your feedback! 

ITS Accomplishments

  • Linda John, Patty Kahn, Professor Heidi Bertels, and Professor Nerve Macaspac presented on CSI’s virtual reality (VR) initiative at the CUNY IT Conference. 
  • Patty and Linda also presented on VR and our telepresence robot at the NJEdge Conference.
  • Patty and Doriann presented CSI’s distance learning initiatives at the ASSCU Winter Conference where they spoke about “Leveraging Technology to meet Online objectives.”
  • Doriann and Patty also presented on ”A Digital Learning Framework for CSI” at the NorthEast Connect Conference

At the College of Staten Island, we are excited about our Virtual Reality Lab, which will provide learners with the ability to have an immersive learning experience using virtual reality (VR) technology. This environment can provide students the ability to interact with 3D model worlds offering them an opportunity to engage and improve their retention of material taught in classrooms, as well as having the ability to be exposed to “real life” situations. For more information visit:  Virtual Reality Lab.

The CSI Networking team purchased a wireless site surveying software in order to perform in-house wireless surveys. These surveys will assist with deploying wireless access points more efficiently and provide better wireless coverage on campus. This software will be used in conjunction with the feedback received from the annual ITS survey. 

Information Technology Services has been performing computer upgrades throughout the College in order to comply with security regulations.  In this regard, we have been visiting academic and administrative areas and have installed the latest Windows 10 Operating System. We are close to completion (finishing 6S) and in doing so have recognized that some of the computers do not meet the recommended specifications (memory and hard drive) for running Windows 10. Therefore, individuals may see poor performance from these computers. As next steps, we have provided an inventory of all areas with suggested replacements and are working with Divisions to assist with a lifecycle replacement strategy. 

Did you know that CSI’s campus buildings are located on Google maps? If you search by building and then select walking directions you will receive step-by-step instructions to get to your destination. Once you’ve arrived, you can also quickly access our Online Campus Directory from your smartphone. Posters displaying QR codes have been strategically placed in buildings throughout the campus.  When scanned with your phone, the QR code will display the building directory with the locations of faculty and staff.

We are excited to allow the community to use “Danny Double", CSI’s Telepresence Robot. It is called the Double because it is an extension of the user. As long as a person has access to the internet (from a computer, laptop or tablet, or smartphone) and is given the necessary permissions, he or she can connect to the Double. The individual at the connected site would be able to see the person through the Double’s iPad face, and hear them as well. Through the arrow buttons on a keyboard or screen, the user can easily maneuver the Double so that it can navigate a room, hallway, etc… This is great if you cannot be physically present at a place or event.

  • CSI has been charged to expand our roster of online course offerings. The Online Learning Team comprised of Patty Kahn, Valeria Belmonti, Michael Castelli and Doriann Pieve-Hyland worked with three faculty in support of their course development for the Spring 2020 semester. 
  • A webpage has been created containing resources for faculty and students who are embarking on a distance learning platform.  
  • For the Fall 2020 semester 5 proposals were accepted. For more information visit distance learning for faculty

After our latest acquisition of new servers, Information Technology servers are now 98% virtual. Outdated, end-of-life servers have been decommissioned and we have reduced the number of physical servers required by a third.  Virtual servers are used to run the Microsoft Exchange email system, computer logon, department file shares, vpn connectivity, student printing, network and programming applications, just to name a few.  Virtualizing servers allows us to maximize our resources, reducing the amount of physical hardware needed to be maintained and providing greater value and usage for the servers we do use.    Before virtualization, everything listed above would have required individual servers.  Now, through virtualization multiple systems can run on a small group of virtual servers. 

Can’t keep up with all the new technology?  Join Doriann and her team for Lunch & Learn sessions.  These quick sessions are typically held for 15 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays @ 12pm.  Can’t make a session?  Contact the team @ 2345 to set up a private Meet, Greet & Learn session.  During these 20 minute sessions you can work with Doriann or another team member to address your technology challenges.



Do you need information about cloud services and IOT? Check out: 


Drop Box:  

  • OIT released several new applications/systems. 
  • Implemented the new Proficiency Index algorithms for math placement, CART invites, and English placement. 
  • Worked with the College community to implement EAB/Navigate system.
  • Implemented a new Undergrad Conference form and backend system with workflow.
  • Implemented a new Drupal form for "Reprographics Work Order Request System" with backend and workflow .

CSI OITS has continued working with CUNY IT Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery team, recently documenting the RTO (Recovery Time Objective) and RPO (Recovery Point Objective) for all inventoried systems. In addition, Information Technology is working with CUNY’s IT DR team to leverage our CUNY Alert system in order to send targeted messages to specific groups. 

Doriann Pieve-Hyland, Director of Technology Operations, Training & Development who is the recipient of the IT CUNY Excellence in Technology Award, given at the18th Annual CUNY IT Conference, held at John Jay College.This award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated exemplary service to the College community.  Congrats, Doriann!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           



  • In Spring 2020, we began working with our vendor partner that will allow for additional updates to the website, incorporating content from the CSI Today e-News Magazine and CUNY/College Calendar directly on the webpages.  
  • The programming team continues to apply search engine optimization (SEO) algorithms to our site as well as updating content on academic pages to enhance SEO.


  • We are exploring Artificial Intelligence, leveraging Chatbot Technology to enhance the student experience. Chatbot on the website will support students and provide instant answers for campus services, enrollment, admissions, financial aid, scholarships, advisement, IT services, troubleshooting and more.