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Management Briefing - Summer IT Projects Completed

Author: ITS

Posted on Aug 23, 2013

Category: Management Briefings

ITS Briefing Note – What we did during our summer vacation… As we approach the end of summer, and the beginning of a new academic term, I thought it a good time to update you on some of the key projects ITS has worked hard to complete, in anticipation of the renewed hustle and bustle just around the corner: Wireless network Replacement of the old wireless network with a higher‐speed (x4), higher capacity (x2) service is finished, ahead of schedule and right on budget. A major objective of the UNB Mobility Strategy, the new wireless service was installed on both campuses in record time. We did a one‐for‐one replacement of old access points with new ones (140 in Saint John, 517 in Fredericton). In our student surveys, wireless performance was mentioned time after time as having tremendous impact on student productivity, and satisfaction with IT services. We will now focus on adding even more access points. UCard Functionality of the UNB ID/access and transaction card system has been greatly expanded; new features and merchants are being added all the time. Stored‐value accounts will be usable across both main campuses for all printing. New merchants added recently include the convenience store at the SUB, and the bookstore. All Sodexo‐operated dining outlets accept the UCard for payment. Adding funds to the card will soon be easier than ever through an app developed specifically for smartphones. In the fall, every student, staff and faculty member on the Fredericton campus will receive a new UCard, incorporating the latest card technology. Web refresh The web refresh project, recently completed, saw over 23,000 UNB web pages reformatted to be viewable on smartphones and tablet devices, in addition to the usual desktops and laptops. 15% of all UNB web traffic now originates from handhelds, and growth in this use is expected to accelerate. The web refresh project marks the successful intersection of two key UNB IT strategies, Web and Mobility. The UNB app ITS is very proud to launch the beta version of our very first fully integrated smartphone app for students—availability will be announced shortly. Working with Ellucian, the vendor of Datatel Colleague, UNB’s primary data system and repository, we have designed the app to provide key information to students on the fly, such as their course schedule (complete with maps and contact information), current news and events, plus the UNB directory of staff and faculty. Future versions will display final grades, account balances, and other important information. Student computing environment 1200 lab computers on both campuses were upgraded this summer, allowing us to finally retire all the old Novell services—like printing and network authentication—that lingered after the great connectEd migration a couple of years ago. Computers in the instructor consoles in UNB’s classrooms were also upgraded, giving access to the latest applications and functionality. Even better, all the upgraded computers can be maintained remotely, meaning less downtime and more time in productive use. Also, individual student email accounts were migrated to Office365, Microsoft’s newest cloud service; this year we moved alumni and staff/faculty retirees to the cloud as well, giving them a richer set of tools, while lowering UNB’s overall costs for such services.

August 23, 2013—Terry Nikkel, AVP, ITS