Communicator

Summer 2015 Communicator  

 

 

 

 

Goodbye to Lync 2013, Hello to Skype for Business

After purchasing Skype in 2011, Microsoft announced in November 2014 that it would be rebranding Lync 2013, and in April 2015, Lync 2013 officially became Skype for Business. Merging the best of Lync and Skype, Skype for Business keeps and improves all of the capabilities of Lync including content sharing and telephony.

In addition to testing the new Skype for Business client, Telecommunication Services has finalized the handset lineup for use with Skype for Business. Two handsets will be available. They are the Audiocodes 420HD and the Audiocodes 440HD. As current Avaya users are migrated to Skype for Business, Telecommunication Services will be providing the initial handset at no charge. This handset will be based on the Avaya equipment model currently in use.

Allowing traditional call-handling such as mute, hold, transfer, conferencing, speed dial, call forwarding, and DND, the Audiocodes 420HD and 440HD offer high-definition voice quality and a full-duplex speakerphone.

The Audiocodes 420HD has nine programmable keys, which can be used as speed dials. The Audiocodes 440HD has 12 programmable function keys, which can be used as speed dials with presence monitoring, and five additional programmable keys.

More information can be found at www.audiocodes.com/ipphones.

During the month of May, Telecommunication Services worked closely with administrators in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business to migrate users to Skype for Business in preparation for the new online M.B.A. program.

About 50 faculty and staff members were successfully migrated to Skype for Business, many of whom will begin using Skype for Business tools in their classrooms this fall.

While a specific rollout schedule has yet to be determined, work will be ongoing this summer and fall to complete the move of remaining College of Business faculty and staff and migration of the staff moving into the long-anticipated Bell Street Center.

Please watch for continued updates on the Skype for Business conversion in the coming months.

 

Stay Alert with the Critical Notification System

Along with longer days, warmer temperatures, and blossoming trees, summertime is also a prime time for severe weather. With the threat of tornadoes, it’s important for you to stay in the loop at all times and everywhere.

When inclement weather affects the University’s daily operations, the MTSU community will be always be notified via the Critical Notification System. This feature is an integral component of MTSU’s critical notification alert system, Alert4U.

All MTSU staff, faculty, and student email addresses are automatically entered into the MTSU Critical Notification System.

If you wish to add phone numbers for texting and/or voicemail or additional email addresses, please log in with your PipelineMT username and password. You may also access your account through your PipelineMT account by clicking on the Alert4U tab. 

If you are new to MTSU, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access your account. You are responsible for keeping your account phone numbers up to date.

The Critical Notification System is used only under circumstances that pose a threat of imminent danger to the campus community and/or when it is vital to contact members of the campus community as quickly as possible to take some kind of action.

This critical information also includes (but may not be limited to) notification of an imminent purge of a student’s courses due to incompletion of the registration confirmation step. The system will also be used to send Timely Warnings via email only. Timely Warnings inform people of situations and encourage them to be vigilant.

For additional information, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/alert4u/faqs.php or contact Alana Johnson at (615) 898-2677. The notification system does not charge subscribers to send or receive SMS messages. Standard or other messaging charges apply depending upon your wireless carrier plan and subscription details. Once registered, you can opt out of SMS messages at any time by texting STOP to 67283 or 226787.

 

IT Help Desk Technician Named Employee of the Year

ITD’s Jeremy Stanley was one of four individuals honored as Employee of the Year during a ceremony in the James Union Building in May.

Stanley, who was named Technical/Service Employee of the Year, is one of two full-time Help Desk technicians who are the first points of contact for all technical problems and questions relating to information technology and services that support the research, instructional, and administrative activities of the University.

After graduating from MTSU in 1998 with degrees in psychology and journalism, Stanley worked in the newspaper industry for several years before joining ITD in 2006.

His responsibilities include desktop computing (hardware and software), peripherals, mainframe systems and applications, networking and data communications, Web and Internet tools, and email packages. Stanley provides real-time support via telephone, email, and in person to help ensure the continued work productivity and efficiency of users.

ITD’s other nominees for the honor were Janae Peterson, Sabrina Wright, and James Butler. Other honorees were Ed DeBoer (Administrative Employee of the year), Yvonne Dunaway (Classified Employee of the Year), and Pansey Carter (Secretarial/Clerical Employee of the Year).

The winners received engraved crystal awards and monetary gifts for their work excellence and commitment to making MTSU and its students successful. They were nominated by their fellow University employees during the 2014–15 academic year and chosen by the University’s Employee Recognition Committee.

“I would like to thank each of you for the kind words regarding the Employee Recognition Award,” Stanley said. “I see it as a win for the Help Desk and the entire Information Technology Division because it is proof that our efforts to forge positive relationships with the campus community is paying off. I do not know a soul that works in our division that does not go above and beyond for our clients with no expectation of reward. We do it because we want to make people happy and get things right. Thank each of you for your hard work. Your efforts grease the machinery of this University, making us all look good and ultimately making my days at the Help Desk a lot easier.”

For more information about MTSU’s Employee Recognition programs, visit www.mtsu.edu/hrs/relations/recog.php.

 

Telephone Tidbits

Did you know that voice mail messages are stored in the Intuity Audix voice mail system for 10 days from the date the message is received? Messages older than 10 days are automatically purged from the voice mail system and after being purged are no longer retrievable. If your summer plans have you away from the office for more than 10 days, consider the following:

  • Record a personal greeting telling callers that you will be away from the office. For instructions on recording a personal greeting, please visit http://mtsu.edu/itdtele/services/voicemail.php.
  • Disable call answer so that your voice mailbox will not accept new voice messages.
  • Log in to your voice mailbox.
  • Press option 5 from the main menu (not a spoken option).
  • Press option 7 to administer call answer options.
  • Press option 1 to prevent callers from leaving messages.
  • Repeat this process upon your return to turn on call answer so that callers may once again leave messages.

Message Manager or Enabled Voice Mail will allow you to store messages in preselected folders on your PC. For more information about Message Manager or Enabled Voice Mail, please visit http://mtsu.edu/itdtele/services/voicemail.php. 

 

Dance Instructor Uses Technology to Enhance Choreography Classes

Technology may not be the first thing to come to mind when thinking of dancing and choreography, but Marsha Barsky is changing that perception.

“I integrate technology into all of my classes and have found exciting and novel approaches to using computer and video technology for studio classes,” she said. “For example, in the annual senior seminar, I work with my students to create an individualized online dance portfolio that integrates a wide range of applications, including social media, and, most recently, I have integrated cutting-edge technology into my studio-based choreography classes.”

As director of the MTSU dance program, Barsky has taught a variety of classes including all levels of modern dance technique, choreography, dance history, dance studies, dance pedagogy, and the Alexander Technique, a somatic movement practice inspired by the teachings of actor Frederick Matthias Alexander.

Since Barsky’s choreography class is studio-based, most class time is allotted to movement studies and presentations. Her class adheres to a well-honed method that traces its roots to the early days of choreography. The intricacy and technical nature of Barsky’s instruction requires students time to absorb it.

As a result, Barsky turned to technology for help.

Like any educator, Barsky recognizes the challenges of integrating technology in the classroom. She also understands the importance of technology in  modern academia. She evaluates which form of technology is most effective and then reevaluates and rethinks her teaching methodology on these bases.

“The work that I do happens in a physical space, with the moving body, and as such, my appeal to technology has only been to enhance my teaching,” she said. “The crucial concern for educators is to find an appropriate role in higher education and to tailor it to the task at hand. Through appropriate technologies, educators can have the opportunity to remodel their pedagogical approach, and when it’s done well, it’s possible to create a diverse learning environment suited to a host of different students.”

Barsky, who directed the Vanderbilt dance program from 2003 to 2007, recognized that technology could be used to advance what she considers the most vital component for her class—the ability to offer meaningful, constructive feedback.

“It can be difficult to recreate the precise movement at issue for the discussion, and this need for precision––and the time limitations––seemed to offer ideal platforms for the integration of media-based technology,” she said.

While researching several dance education journals, Barsky discovered a Web-based video platform called Acclaim, which is a video organizing and discussion website that allows instructors to offer real-time movement, assessment, and feedback in ways similar to the instant replay seen in sports broadcasts.

“Since Acclaim is an online platform that allows for students and professors to embed, record, or upload videos, I was able to capture and then comment upon students’ movement practices in the classroom in real time,” she said. “At the same time, since this is a video platform, once videos are available, my comments can be directly applied at specific locations in the video. These comments can then be downloaded into an Excel file for further referencing.”

The Acclaim platform allows Barsky to critique specific portions of student work such as recorded choreographic studies. Each comment is clickable, and once clicked, the video will jump to the appropriate moment being discussed. Students can also view and respond to comments from their peers.

“It allows students to closely analyze their work in their own free time and offers them the possibility to make appropriate revisions to their choreographic assignments before the next class,” Barsky said. “Many responded very well and used it as a tool for learning. There can be a steep learning curve for technology like this, but all-in-all, everyone comes to appreciate the ability to record, upload, and receive feedback on their assignments.”

Although she plans to continue using Acclaim to enhance pedagogical approaches in her classes, Barsky acknowledges that technology can never replace the physical aspect of dance education.

Instead, she uses technology as a tool rather than a proxy for the classroom itself.

“Carefully selected technology is enhancing my teaching and has made the teaching and learning process more meaningful to both me and my students,” she said. “I know that there are many other ways to incorporate technology into my teaching, and I am looking forward to experimenting with those unknown terrains.”

 

Student Printing Update

The student printing re-install began on Tuesday, June 30.  Work first began with the University labs, beginning with the Library, Business-Aerospace lab, Collaboration lab, then Computer Science and Mathematics labs. Participating departmental labs will be reinstalled during the month of July.

 

TechQual+ Survey Results 

In its third annual study, conducted February through March 2015, the ITD leadership team gathered opinions regarding the quality and effectiveness of technology services at MTSU.

Using the Higher Education TechQual+ study instrument, IT-related service quality metrics were assessed to help identify service quality and note areas needing improvement in three categories:  (1) connectivity and access, (2) technology and collaboration services, and (3) support and training. 

The TechQual+ core survey was created using qualitative and quantitative data collected from participating institutions and is continuously updated as new data is generated.

The goal of the project is to understand what users expect from IT organizations and compare such findings with other institutions.

In analyzing the 793 responses to the emailed request to participate, improvement in perceived quality from the previous year was in technology and collaboration services. Connectivity and access remained the area of most concern to respondents.

The most positive feedback was noted in questions related to “Receiving communications regarding technology services that I can understand,” and there are marked improvements in inquiries related to “Having an Internet service that provides adequate capacity or speed” and “Having an Internet service that provides adequate Wi-Fi coverage.”

The increase in the number of wireless devices being used by respondents and their increased preference for wireless connectivity was indicated in the survey’s findings and reflected the assessment of quality. 

Results of the study have been used in reviewing divisional accomplishments for the 2014–2015 year and in strategic planning for the upcoming year.

ITD thanks the respondents for their time and comments and looks forward to repeating the study again in the fall and continuing to use data in divisional planning.

 

The Puzzle Solver

Systems analyst Janae Peterson has always had a knack for solving puzzles and cracking riddles. That’s one of the reasons she knew working with complex computer data was an ideal fit when she joined ITD three years ago.

“I am a detail-oriented person, and I love digging around in the data, exploring the information it contains, and presenting it in a way that makes sense to others,” she said. “I love puzzles, riddles, and logic so my job is fun since I get to use logic to complete a request which is basically like solving a big puzzle.”

As a senior systems analyst, Peterson creates programs and reports that enhance and support administrative business functions for students and staff. She’s the Argos key person on campus and is gradually leading the University away from using MS Access to using Argos, an enterprise reporting tool.

“I enjoy working in Argos because it is new and exciting,” Peterson said. “However, the most gratifying part of my job is when I have completed a project for someone and they are really thrilled with the results and are excited to run and analyze what they are seeing and share the information with others around campus.”

Much of Peterson’s time is dedicated to creating new reports in Argos that help with the Student Success Initiative or with converting existing MS Access reports to Argos.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in 1999, she moved north to Warroad, Minn., which is “six miles from the Canadian border and 100-plus miles north of anything and another 100-plus south of anything in Canada.” There she worked as a programmer/analyst at Marvin Windows & Doors.

“I used Visual Basic 6.0 to code the Marvin customer quote and order entry systems,” Peterson said. “I was referred to as the ‘Integrity Girl’ because much of my focus was programming for the Integrity product line. I was also referred to as their ‘Southern Princess’ and was often called upon by many in the office to ‘translate’ telephone calls, voicemails, and even emails from the folks at the Marvin Windows & Doors plant in Ripley, Tenn., where they make the doors.”

After leaving Marvin, Peterson moved back to Murfreesboro for her husband’s new job and briefly worked at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville as a systems engineer. She then worked for the next five years at Franklin-based Thomson Healthcare as a senior product designer, developing and maintaining applications for healthcare information software products using Visual Basic 6.0, Microsoft Access and SQL Server queries, and VBA code behind Microsoft Excel, creating design specification documents, assisting in technical writing, and developing and leading training.

With her degree in Computer Science from MTSU, coming to work at ITD was a logical decision for Peterson.

“I loved MTSU’s campus and always thought that I would want to work here,” she said. “I was awarded that luxury in June 2007 when I was hired as a research analyst in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and Research. I worked in that office for almost five years before moving to ITD.”

While employed at ITD, she was able to complete a master’s degree in Information Systems in fall 2012.

“I still love working on MTSU’s campus nearly eight years later, and now I even get to teach INFS 2200 as an adjunct,” she said. “A typical day in the office for me generally includes a lot of programming in Argos and helping users that contact me with issues they are having in Argos. We are all learning this together, so assisting them with issues they are struggling with often helps me learn the product better since I am frequently helping them with something I have not tried yet.”

Much of her time is also dedicated toward writing queries and trying various forms of logic to produce the most efficient results.

Although technology is constantly evolving, Peterson enjoys the capabilities that it offers.

“I cannot imagine trying to produce what I do in my job without the use of technology,” she said. “Not only can I complete a task fairly quickly but I can connect with others around the country and even the world instantaneously to get help or share my results. Also, there is always something new to learn so it keeps my brain working in overdrive. Technology produces a challenge, and I am always up for a challenge.”

During her downtime, Peterson enjoys listening to music, hiking, and challenging her creativity. She regularly spends her lunch breaks walking four miles around the perimeter of campus, and her family often chooses vacation destinations that offer good hiking trails.

“I spend a lot of time at music events, especially live musical theater,” she said. “At times, I am performing myself, but most of time I am armed with my camera and love every minute of watching my husband, son, or daughter perform in a musical, sing or play percussion in a concert, or march in a band competition. Then there are the times that we get to watch others perform in musical theater productions for pure enjoyment.”

She also lends her versatility to cake decorating.

“I usually do it as a gift or in exchange for other services like making cakes for a friend, and in return, he takes our family photos,” Peterson said. “I am pretty creative, so I often design patterns and sew costumes or even stuffed animals like armadillos and dragons that my kids/nieces/nephew, etc., want or need. My nephew, who wanted the dragon, says, ‘Aunt Janae can do anything.’”

Peterson lives in Murfreesboro with her husband, Elliott, who is director of music at First United Methodist Church. He is from Minnesota but received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from MTSU. Their son, Collin, just finished his sophomore year at MTSU, where he studies vocal performance and music education.

Their daughter, Tori, completed her junior year at Siegel High School and wants to major in musical theater when she starts college in a year.

 

IT Staff News

Deena Cruz joined ITD as a technical clerk in the ID Office, where she issues BlueID cards through video imaging for all faculty, students, and staff. She also assists in the maintenance and repair of card readers, fields phone calls, and assists staff and students with ID-related issues and software. Deena previously worked as an office manager at American Red Cross in Murfreesboro, where she provided administrative support and trained and supervised front desk staff and interns. She also designed posters, programs, and pledge cards for Red Cross special events. She processed donations and provided fundraising support by assisting in the planning of the nonprofit organization’s successful events such as Mash Bash and the Heroes Luncheon. Deena holds a bachelor’s degree from MTSU and was admitted into the teacher education program in 2007. She has extensive training in Adobe Photoshop and has maintained computers at Black Fox Elementary School. She lives in Murfreesboro with her children, Joshua, Maddie, and Patrick, who is a sophomore at MTSU. She enjoys photography and plans to be actively involved in the University community.

Scott Haupt joined ITD as an instructional design specialist, where he assists with course redesigns, consults on online/hybrid course designs, assists with the LT&ITC and FITC workshops and/or special events, and helps with additional duties as assigned. Scott previously served as the curriculum development manager for the Tennessee Fire Service & Codes Enforcement Academy (TFACA) in Bell Buckle, where he was responsible for ensuring that all courses offered at the academy were up-to-date with current standards and making any changes deemed necessary to bring the courses up to standard. He was also responsible for any IT-related issues at the academy, webcasting quarterly, biannual, and special events for the academy and Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance, converting courses to online and hybrid methodologies, creating marketing materials for the academy, and assisting with the development of marketing materials for the Department of Commerce & Insurance. Scott received his bachelor’s degree in English from Virginia Tech and holds a master’s degree in education and an Ed.S. in technology and curriculum design from MTSU. He’s well versed in both the technical and pedagogical sides of education and has attended a number of seminars and workshops to keep current with educational best practices. Scott lives in Murfreesboro with his wife, Melanie, son, Alex, and daughter, Madison.

Benjamin Lynch is ITD’s new systems administrator. As a dedicated and experienced resource for facilities, Benjamin’s responsibilities include integrating technology and service applications that are integrated into building solutions such as access controls, HVAC, and lighting systems. He holds a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in business administration. He lives in Bell Buckle with his wife, Teal, and two children, Reagan and Sumter. They have two dogs, Pippen and Pickles. He recently presented a session at the Tennessee Association of Physical Plant Administrators conference. Ben’s presentation, “Office Tips and Tricks,” offered simple pointers on ways in which to efficiently perform office functions.

Brad Meyer recently joined ITD as a systems administrator. He works with the server virtualization team in maintaining Microsoft applications, the Windows server operating system, server virtualization, and a host of other projects. Brad previously worked as an IT manager at TechnologyAdvice, where he was responsible for all help desk duties, systems administration, and network administration. He was also a network administrator at Loras College, where he provided support for all network administration such as routing, switching, and wireless technology. He was the primary administrator for servers, Windows architecture, and Linux servers. Brad holds a degree in computer information systems from Emmaus Bible College and is a VMware 5.1-certified administrator. He lives in Murfreesboro with his wife, Aimee, and two children, Owen and Charlotte.

Stacey Tadlock recently joined ITD as a Telecommunication Services secretary. Her responsibilities include issuing work orders for service requests, creating trouble tickets for repairs, data entry, verifying billing information, and closing work orders and trouble tickets. She also performs routine accounting procedures. Stacey previously worked for Cummins Inc., where she managed the export of domestic- and international-produced goods. She also worked as an operations manager for AAA Communications, where she directed all daily operations for three privately-owned Verizon Wireless agent stores. Stacey holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from MTSU and a master’s in business management from Austin Peay State University. Working in the wireless industry for six years has allowed her to apply her knowledge of phone systems to accommodate the needs of Telecom through basic troubleshooting of its Avaya and Lync phone systems. She lives in Bell Buckle with her husband and daughter.

 

Senior systems administrator Paul Collette and systems administrator Tony Porter recently attended LPS Integration’s annual technology conference, CONNECT IT, in Nashville. The yearly gathering features technical breakout sessions, trade shows, and keynote addresses focusing on the latest endeavors from top technology innovators such as EMC, Cisco, VMware, and Citrix.  

Assistant Director of Account Services Emily Harper recently presented a session at the Tennessee Association of Physical Plant Administrators conference. The 27th annual event was hosted by MTSU and drew representatives from more than 200 private and public universities and colleges around the country. Harper presented “Empowering Your IT Toolbox,” which focused on smartphone tools that the facilities professional can use in the workplace. Specific attention was given to pre-installed apps and there was an overview of downloadable apps like rulers, levels, and flashlights and job-specific apps such as PlanGrid, a construction app that replaces paper blueprints and allows collaboration on a project team.

Director of Client Services Darryle Lee, Systems Administrator Chad Mullis and Associate Vice President Tom Wallace recently attended the Tennessee Higher Education IT Symposium in Chattanooga. The annual event is open to higher-education professionals in Tennessee and features presentations related to the technological needs of higher education institutions.

Senior systems analyst Phyllis Kitzler recently copresented at the Ellucian Live conference in New Orleans. The annual event draws more than 8,200 participants from over 1,400 higher education institutions around the world. Kitzler copresented “How to Use EPafs and Workflow to Hire Employees” with Assistant Vice President for Human Resources Kathy Musselman and Director of Employee Benefits Lisa Batey. Also representing ITD in attendance were Ying Ding, Toney Flack, and Debbie Warren.

Systems administrator Chad Mullis attended the Citrix Synergy conference held May 12–14 in Orlando. The event is a conference for Citrix employees, customers, and partners and provides a central venue to learn about the entire Citrix product portfolio. While in attendance, Mullis studied and passed the 1Y0-200 exam and now holds the Citrix Certified Associate for Virtualization certification (CCA-V), which covers managing XenDesktop 7 solutions. Citrix requires this certification before the next level, the CCP-V, which Chad plans to take later this year.