Message from CIO/AVP Patty Kahn

The Office of Information Technology Services is happy to share our Spring 2021 Newsletter. As we all know, this has been a challenging year and OITS’s focus has been to provide technology and services in order to successfully support our students, faculty, and staff in a remote environment. Please take the time to learn about some of our initiatives that supported the College community. Finally, be sure to read about projects that are underway highlighted in the “On the Horizon” section. 

Supporting our CSI Community 

Applications & Web Development

  • OIT developed the new campus re-entry approval system.  
  • We implemented a system for managing the Computer Device Distribution Program.  
  • Worked with the College community to implement virtual commencement. 
  • Worked with the Registrar’s office to implement a new diploma system. 
  • Continue to apply search engine optimization (SEO) algorithms to our site as well as updating content on academic pages to enhance SEO.  
  • Working with our vendor partner, we implemented updates to the website incorporating content from the CSI Today e-News Magazine and CUNY/College Calendar directly onto homepage and department webpages.   

Helpdesk and Support 

Speaking of support,  IT closed over 10,000 tickets for faculty, staff, and students for the period August through Dec 13. 

Device Distribution 

  • Students received Chromebooks, iPads, and hotspots. In addition, web cams, headsets, waycom tablets and laptops were purchased in support of faculty and staff working remotely. 
  • Thank you to our Student Success and Operational Services’ colleagues for your continued support.

Network Upgrades 

Networking team purchased a wireless site surveying software in order to perform in-house wireless surveys. This will allow for the efficient deployment of access points and improved wireless coverage on campus.

Presentations

IT team presented at EdgeCon 2021 and HETS 2021 Virtual Best Practices Showcase “ CSI-IT: A New Tool” 

Training

Can’t keep up with all the new technology?  Join Doriann and her team for weekly training sessions. 

  • Training workshops continued in popularity with of course zoom, and Bb collaborate being the most attended. Our virtual office hours for drop-in support are also getting a lot of traffic. Of course, support for distance learning remains on the forefront. We launched the faculty mentor webpage, which lists faculty who can be contacted for assistance.  
  • We also customize and provide group training to meet your departmental needs. Be sure to take advantage of our one-on-one training through the Virtual Office Hours. Training opportunities change every week – please visit Training Schedule to register. 

User Services 

  • Windows 10 upgrades / Installations: IT installed 335 new computers and 65 Windows 10 upgrades were performed. 
  • Adobe Flash End of life / Removal: IT was able to successfully remove Adobe Flash from 2950 computers.

Virtual Computer Labs 

  • IT provided virtual computer labs in order to provide students access to software from home. Using VPN technology and leveraging existing software, IT was able to securely provide students access to lab computers where they were able to login to these workstations and access software from any remote location in order to complete assignments.
  • IT provided workshops to classes and we really saw an uptick in usage as the fall semester progressed. These labs continue to be widely used during  the spring semester. 

VPN Access 

IT provided administrative staff access to "on campus" workstations leveraging VPN technology. Kudos to the IT team for supporting this initiative. This was not an easy lift, as IT had to troubleshoot issues with CUNY who needed to apply updates to remediate firewall configurations. CUNY worked with Cisco to resolve the problem. 

On the Horizon

Network 

ITS continued to deploy new robust network switches to provide increased bandwidth and improved network reliability. ITS has recently purchased (50) indoor wireless access points and (9) outdoor access points to deploy in preparation for our return to campus. The wireless access points will be deployed throughout academic buildings to provide better wireless coverage on campus based on the feedback from the annual ITS survey.

Training

New initiatives include Lecture Capture (YUJA), Camtasia, and Respondus.

Applications and Web Development 

  • Working with our vendor partner researching upgrading the website CMS from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9. 
  • Implement Virtual Undergrad Research Conference. ITS is working with the URC Committee to support the upcoming Undergraduate Research Conference (4/29).  The conference will be fully online and conducted live via Zoom Webinar. 

Classroom Technology 

  • Our team is currently working to quickly procure a variety of classroom equipment in order to create a prototype room that supports a “HyFlex” teaching and learning paradigm.  The equipment includes touchscreen monitors, web/document camera, conference room mics, etc.  Once the prototype room is provisioned and functional, it will be used as the template to equip many of the classrooms around campus.

Media Services 

  • In order to support alternative learning modalities, a pilot will take place in the Spring semester to test the feasibility of lecture capture. Working with a small group of faculty members, we will be evaluating the capabilities of the Yuja lecture capture system. 

VMWare 

  • Upgrades to our VMware environment are planned to allow for improved performance, disaster recovery, and expanded capacity.