Communicator

Spring 2015 Communicator  

 

 

 

 

Faculty Fair Showcases Technology Resources

The annual Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center (LT&ITC) Faculty Fair was held last semester at the LT&ITC in Walker Library. The one-stop-shop event provided opportunities for faculty to learn more about the technological resources and services available at MTSU. 

This event also gave faculty an opportunity to meet peers who have distinguished themselves by developing innovative teaching practices and integrating technology in their courses. Faculty Fair exhibitors included MTSU grant recipients, outstanding teachers, experiential and service learning faculty, and others who share their pedagogies and outcomes with colleagues through creative exhibits.

 

Print Management Update

In an effort to keep track of service calls to better assist you, please place a work order when you require service on a machine or encounter any difficulties when printing a document.

Work orders can be processed at www.mtsu.edu/itd by clicking on the “Create a Work Order” link.

When creating a work order, please include the R.J. Young tag number listed on your machine and select the R.J. Young printer.

When ordering toner, call R.J. Young at (615) 255-8551 or the company’s toll-free customer service number at (800) 347-1955. Please have your R.J. Young tag number ready when ordering additional toner cartridges.

Student printing has been temporarily suspended due to a software glitch that is currently being resolved.

In the meantime, labs have reverted back to the previous direct-print, click-counting method while R.J. Young troubleshoots the issues. 

For more information about the print management project, visit the ITD Projects Page at

www.mtsu.edu/projects/print-management/index.php.

 

Update About Bandwidth Upgrade

Internet usage has increased dramatically over the past year due to increased bandwidth consumption in areas such as video streaming, online gaming and the proliferation of mobile devices. 

In response to the increased demand, ITD recently added another Internet connection. This additional connection has more than doubled the speed of our existing link, providing increased speed for academic programs, administrative requirements, and residential life.

To further meet this demand, MTSU has embarked on a campus-wide plan to upgrade the WiFi network. Over the past year, state-of-the-art network WiFi has been installed in several facilities including the Basic and Applied Sciences Building, McCallie Cafeteria, and the new Science and Student Services Buildings. All student residential housing areas have also received these new upgrades.

The campus now has an aggregate of over two gigabits per second (2Gbps) total available bandwidth for MTSU students, faculty, and staff.

But wait, there’s more! Our overall Internet access speed will increase from the current 2Gbps to more than 10Gbps this summer. The five-fold increase in speed is expected to alleviate any Internet bandwidth constraints for the foreseeable future.

 

2013–2014 MTSU Computing Committees

Campus computing committees focus on University computing resources. The structure includes a computer executive committee, an instructional technology committee, an administrative computing committee, and an instructional technologies development committee. The committees work with input from all areas and make recommendations to the president and appropriate vice presidents.

Computer Executive Committee

This committee is charged with formulating a long-range information systems plan and developing a plan to integrate the use of technology throughout the University.

Brad Bartel, Chair, University Provost

Bruce Petryshak, Vice Chair, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer

Dwight Brooks, Academic Dept. Chair (Mass Communication)

John Cothern, Senior Vice President for Business and Finance

Scott Boyd, President, Faculty Senate

Mike Gower, Administrative Computing Committee Chair

Michael Arndt, Instructional Technology Committee Chair

James Lee, SGA President

Terry Whiteside, Academic Dean

Albert Whittenberg, ITD Staff/Administrative Department Head

 

Instructional Technology Committee

This committee makes recommendations to the president for the allocation of student technology access fee (TAF) funds.

Scott McDaniel, MC-University College

Debra Sullivan, BHS-Nursing

Sandy Benson, Accounting

Willis Mean, Elementary and Special Education

Kevin States, Administrator, Student Affairs

Mike Gower, Administrator, Business and Finance

Bruce Petryshak, VP, Information Technology

Neal McClain, Computer Lab Director, Faculty

Michael Arndt, Past President, Faculty Senate

Watson Harris, Director of Academic Technology

James Lee, SGA President

Charles Chusuei, Chemistry

Jack Purcell, Liberal Arts/Philosophy

Bud Fischer, Academic Dean

Greg Schmidt, Academic Chair

Laurie Witherow, Administrator, Student Affairs

Gina Burke, Computer Lab Director, Faculty

Scott Boyd, Faculty Senate

Daniel Webb, Student

 

Administrative Computing Committee

The role of this committee is to develop new ideas for the use of technology in administrative applications and to advise administrative users on technology needs, hardware, software, and services.

Mike Gower, Business and Finance

Danny Kelley, Student Affairs

Bruce Petryshak, VP, Information Technology and CIO

Tammie Dryden, Development

Jeff Farrar, Office of the University Counsel

Mitzi Brandon, Academic Affairs

Larry Hansard, Academic Affairs

Kathy Thurman, Business/Budget/Financial Planning

Lisa Rogers, Information Technology

James Lee, Student Representative

 

Instructional Technologies Development Committee

 

This committee makes grant and fellowship award recommendations to the vice president for IT and CIO for projects related to innovative and effective integration of technology into teaching and learning. The committee selects Outstanding Achievement in Instructional Technology Award recipients, which are given to faculty members who show excellence in creating technology-based teaching materials and successfully integrating instructional technology into the classroom.

 

Stephen Bartos, Education

Rebecca King, Liberal Arts

Trevor de Clercq, Mass Communication

Anatoliy Volkov, Basic and Applied Sciences

Alan Musicant, Behavioral and Health Sciences

  1. Earl Thomas, Business

Jason Pettigrew, Liberal Arts

Amy York, Mass Communication

Todd O’Neill, Graduate Studies

Brenda Kerr, Information Technology

 

Adaptive Technology Gives Instructor a New Calling

Beverly English was only 36 when she started losing her vision. After contracting histoplasmosis, which caused hemorrhages and left scarring on her retinas, she had numerous laser surgeries in a desperate hope to salvage what remained of her eyesight.

Because she had been extremely nearsighted most of her life, English’s retinas were already susceptible to hemorrhages, which caused her to lose her central vision.

“It started in my left eye, and I had spots in my right, but we hoped it wouldn’t start hemorrhaging,” she recalled. “But after undergoing cataract surgery in my right eye, it too began to hemorrhage.”

Over 10 years, English lost central vision in both her eyes. In 2004, she felt she could no longer drive and decided to retire from her 25-year career as a school social worker instead of     accepting a desk job.

“I didn’t know what accommodations would be available to help me with a desk job,” she said. “I just didn’t have that experience. But if I knew then what I know now, I would’ve stuck with it.”

Retirement proved to be short-lived for English, who quickly realized that being retired wasn’t any fun if you couldn’t drive anywhere. So she contacted Dr. Charles Frost, who was then the Department of Social Work’s acting chair, and was invited to come teach at MTSU.

“I was tickled to death, but a little scared,” English said. “I never saw myself as a college instructor before.”

Although she began her new job with some trepidation, she was introduced to innovative technology that helped allay most of her anxieties.

It didn’t take long for English to realize she had found a new niche as a faculty member. She’s even designed a Social Work course in which she teaches other students about working with people with disabilities. She’s been teaching online classes and conventional face-to-face courses for 10 years now.

English discovered ZoomText, which features a Microsoft Windows screen magnifier that allows those with visual impairments to magnify a computer screen up to 36 times and select which part of the screen to magnify. 

“It allows me to pull things up really, really big,” she said. “The function I use the most is magnification, which is basically zooming back and forth. A lot of visually impaired people use ZoomText, and those folks who have more visual difficulties use a program called JAWS (Job Access with Speech), which reads everything on the screen.”

English said that Brenda Kerr of ITD played a role in helping her develop her online course by teaching her the mechanics of Desire2Learn.

“It’s been a lot of trial and error with trying to figure out how to teach when you can’t see the notes,” she said. “I don’t have lecture notes like some instructors do because I can’t just scan a page and teach from it. I once tried to make the notes large enough on PowerPoint, but that didn’t work as well.”

English began using 11x14 sketch pads with three words per page to convey her lecture notes and SoftChalk for her classroom presentations.

In addition to ZoomText, English uses a CCTV (closed-circuit television) screen magnifier to read hard copies of various    documents.

“CCTVs are really handy,” she said. “This is something that I have at home so I can read just about anything. I can see only a few words at a time, which is a big issue for people with vision problems. We can’t just pick up something and scan it to get the information we need. We have to read each and every word, so it takes more time.”

English empathizes with students who have disabilities, especially in terms of accessibility.

“I have my own issues in trying to make things accessible to me,” she said. “So I try to be a lot more alert to what students with disabilities need because of that. All instructors need to start thinking about making their classes more accessible, whether it’s online or in the classroom. You’ve got to think about it from the front end. It’s even challenging for me. It’s not automatic just because I have a disability. Sure, my awareness is more heightened, but even I need to think ahead when it comes to a student with a disability. What am I going to do to make things more accessible to them in a classroom?”

For example, Youtube may be a popular classroom media tool for many instructors, but English noted that not all of the videos are closed captioned.

“A student hard of hearing or deaf will have a difficult time understanding the videos, so I need to go back through all of my content to either provide transcripts or whatever I need to do to make the class more accessible for that individual,” she explained.

English discovered other campus resources such as Campus Recreation’s Adaptive Recreation and Exercise program, which allows students with disabilities and special needs to participate in fitness and recreational activities. The program offers special equipment and trained personnel to work with people with disabilities.

The Adaptive Technology Center (ATC) is another resource for students and staff who are registered with the University’s Disability and Access Center (DAC). It provides alternate formats of print material, adaptive hardware and software, and other forms of access through technology.

For more information on adaptive technologies, visit www.mtsu.edu/dac/atc.php or call 615-904-8550.

 

Tennessee Has a New Area Code

The Tennessee Regulatory Authority approved an overlay for the 615 area code to accommodate the need for more telephone

numbers. The new 629 area code will serve customers in the same geographic region as the current 615 area code.  An overlay does not require customers to change their existing area code.

Dialing Local Calls:

Avaya and Lync users must dial 9 + area code (615 or 629) + seven-digit number for local calls.

Long distance calls remain the same. Avaya users must dial 9 + 1 + area code + seven-digit number for long distance calling;

Lync users must dial 1 + area code + seven-digit number for long distance calling.

In addition to the new dialing procedure, automatic dialing equipment or other types of equipment that are programmed with a seven digit telephone number, need to be reprogrammed to use the new dialing procedure. Some examples are life safety

systems, fax machines, Internet dial-up numbers, alarm and

security systems, gates, speed dialers, mobile phone contact lists, call forwarding settings, and voicemail services.

 

Additional items to note:

Campus 4-digit dialing will not change.

Your telephone number, including current area code, will not change.

The price of a call, coverage area, and other rates and services will not change due to the overlay.

What is a local call now will remain a local call regardless of the number of digits dialed.

You must use ten-digit dialing now for 615 area code calls.

You can still dial just three digits to reach 911, as well as 211, 411, 511, 611, 711, and 811.

 

Keeping IT Going

When systems administrator Dustin Hampton joined the Information Technology Division in early 2013, he realized he had found the perfect fit.

“The people I work with are great,” the Huntingdon, Tennessee, native said. “We challenge one another and have a good working relationship. We work well together to get things done.”

Before moving to Murfreesboro, Hampton worked as assistant chief of technology at Jackson-Madison County Schools, where he managed and maintained all technology and IT personnel in the system. He also helped the chief of technology with            administrative and budgetary duties.

He holds an associate’s degree in computer information systems from Jackson State Community College and will graduate this December with a bachelor’s degree in business from Jackson-based Union University.

He has extensive training and experience in IT and several certifications.

“I’ve always had an interest in technology,” he said. “My brother was involved in it and inspired me to get into it as well.”

Hampton manages the unified communication and collaboration environment such as Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint. He provides system support for development and operation of the University’s major information systems including enterprise portals, MS SQL server DBMS, Active Directory/LDAP Directory Services, and local/remote account provisioning and authentication systems.

He manages the Microsoft Windows servers, hardware, and virtualization applications. Hampton’s also playing a key role in the rollout of Microsoft Lync.

One of his favorite things about MTSU is the opportunity to learn more.

“I’ve been in public education for most of my career, and I like that it’s more about learning and not about a bottom line,” he said. “The most challenging thing about it is prioritizing or balancing what needs to be done. We’re here to educate, but there are lots of things from an IT perspective that need to be put into place so that students get the most out of their education.”

Outside the office, Hampton enjoys fishing, hunting, camping, and watching movies.

He lives in Murfreesboro with his wife, Emily, and three girls, Heidi, Darci, and Poppy.

 

ITD Staff News

Matthew Harrell recently joined ITD as a senior IT security analyst. Matthew previously worked at James E. Walker Library as a full-time temp and was responsible for Linux systems administration and administration and maintenance of all public-accessible computers in the library. He also supervised student-led software development projects. In his new role, Matthew helps manage a campus-wide information security program concentrating on information security practices and compliance with relevant information technology security standards, procedures, and regulations. In addition to using scanning and detection methods to discover and verify vulnerabilities, he will analyze traffic trends and system logs to detect security-related incidents and help respond to them to protect the University’s networks, students, faculty, and staff. It’s also Matthew’s responsibility to stay current on information security research, vulnerability disclosures, and threat trends and to conduct departmental security reports to make recommendations on how to prevent security breaches. He received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from MTSU in 2011.

Darryle Lee has joined ITD as the director of Client Services. In his new role, Darryle will manage the Client Services area of ITD that includes local service providers, technical support specialists, system support specialists, the ITD Help Desk and classroom technology team. Darryle comes to MTSU from Cornell University, where he served as an assistant IT director at the veterinary college and managed IT and desktop support, IT-related purchasing, projects and strategic planning. He is a 1987 Kentucky State University graduate of Computer Science. Darryle lives in Spring Hill with his wife, Kathy. His daughter, Alyssa, lives in Franklin and is pregnant with his first grandchild. His son, Jordan, is a senior chemical engineering student at the University of Louisville. As director of Client Services, Darryle plans to work with the colleges and teams at ITD to improve processes and procedures to provide better support. He plans to enhance communication to help improve ITD’s services and customer service. He would like to also help provide the tools necessary for administrators, faculty and staff to do their jobs as efficiently as possible and to help students with all their technology needs to make them successful.

Tony Porter recently joined ITD as a systems administrator, where he will deploy new server technologies and support current systems by conducting maintenance, hardware repairs, and patching. Tony’s other responsibilities include Wintel server administration, virtualization, application support and storage and backup administration. Before coming to MTSU, Tony worked as an associate integration engineer at Deloitte Services in Nashville, where he provided server administration, data center administration, virtualization, application and desktop support and storage and backup administration. He received a bachelor’s degree in Business Education from MTSU and has extensive training in EMC and IBM storage, Brocade, VMware and Microsoft technologies. Tony plans to become an integral technical resource on storage, backups and disaster recovery.

Beth Robinson is ITD’s new senior systems analyst helping to implement DegreeWorks and among other responsibilities. Beth came to MTSU from Austin Peay, where she was director of financial systems and reporting. She was lead systems analyst for Banner Finance and Banner Student AR in 2006. Beth holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Tennessee Technological University and a master’s degree in Instructional Technology from APSU.  She has more than 32 years of IT experience including 25 years in higher education positions. She worked at MTSU from 1986 to 1993 and created the University’s very first CWIS (Campus Wide Information System) gopher site and website in the early 1990s while working as technical support manager in Computer Services. The CWIS was an early platform only viewable as text. Beth also installed and managed the HTTP server for the first APSU website in 1997. Her first job after graduating college was working as a programmer for TBR. She believes her vast experience will benefit MTSU projects and systems implementation. Her daughter, Faith, is a senior at the University of Memphis.

ITD assistant vice president and chief security officer Brian Holley spoke at the Education Technology Leader Summit held during the Educause 2014 conference in Orlando in October. He was part of a panel discussion called “The 5 Most Important Technology Tips of a Successful CIO.”  Other panelists included CIOs from Baylor University, Oral Roberts University, and Georgia State University.

Two promotions were recently announced at ITD. Lisa Rogers has been named asssociate vice president and deputy chief information officer, and Robin Jones has been promoted to assistant vice     president of Client Services and IT business operations. Congratulations to them both!

 

Digital Signage Corner

The digital signage system on campus continues to grow–both in the number of signs and in the variety of uses.

With the latest deployment in the new Science Building, the number of active signs has increased to 65 in 13 buildings, with an additional 18 signs under consideration. 

Uses include marketing of University-wide and departmentally specific events; college and program videos; student programming related materials; office, departmental, college, and University announcements; athletic event marketing; class schedules; and advising information. 

During the annual meeting of the digital signage users group, staff who contribute to maintaining signs shared content ideas and success stories of the impact that digital signs are having in their areas. 

This issue’s featured sign is the signage in the Student Athletic Enhancement Center (SAEC). 

Two monitors in the center are used to provide student athletes with the latest weather and MTSU sports team results and ESPN news, and Director Todd Wyant uses the displays to provide event and deadline information and offer inspirational and motivational ideas.

For more information about MTSU digital signage, visit www.mtsu.edu/digital-signs/ or call 615-904-8383.

 

Getting More out of D2L

Desire2Learn (D2L) offers much more than just grades and   quizzes. Just ask Womack Department of Educational Leadership professor Dorothy Craig, who uses the application’s innovative group collaboration tool in all her ESL (English as a Second Language) courses.

“I wanted to use something more than just open discussion or focused discussion,” she said. “I first found the tools when       seeking a means for developing collaborative leadership skills as part of the leadership class.”

Craig implemented the group collaboration tool to provide her ESL students a sense of community and help stymie the isolation many ESL instructors may face in public settings.

“In many cases, the ESL teacher in a public school is not able to belong or participate in what is known as a Professional Learning Community (PLC),” Craig explained. “A PLC consists of    teachers who either teach the same grades or subjects. All too often, there is only one ESL teacher assigned to a school.

“Therefore, the ESL teacher is quite isolated and seeks out other avenues for collaboration and professional community,” she continued. “I was prompted to use the collaboration tools in the ESL concentration classes to encourage the development of          community through technology.”

Tasks completed with the group tools serve as a framework that may be duplicated by an ESL teacher to assist with collaboration.

Craig uses the group tools in her Action Research and Leadership classes, as well. By working in small research communities, students are better able to engage, critique research, improve proposal writing, and share findings, she said.

The collaboration tools also provide opportunities for students to develop collaborative leadership skills.

Craig specifically uses the group tool for tasks such as             collaborative lessons, presentations, critiquing research, collaborative projects for the classroom, and collaborative papers. 

“The features enable students to work in small communities within the forum area,” she said. “This helps in the ESL         concentration classes especially because students are preparing to teach in grades pre-kindergarten through 12. I try to structure the groups so that there are members representing grade spans Pre–K to third, fourth through eighth, and ninth through 12.  By structuring the groups in this manner, there is a representation of expertise across all of the licensure grades.”

The group tool allows Craig to organize groups and enroll    members. Once this is completed, students work within the      assigned group in the forums. She establishes guidelines based on specific tasks and varies the tasks throughout the semester. 

She also feels that it is critical to use the group tool in her Action Research class.

“Action Research is participatory, with the goal of improving practice,” she said. “The tasks that require students to work in groups using the group tool mirrors the actual practices followed when Action Research is conducted within a school setting.”

Craig, who designed and taught the first online class for her department in 1999, feels the collaboration group tool has greatly enhanced the classroom experience because it encourages       students to rely on one another as a team.

“It’s a similar manner that would take place in a school environment,” she said. “The tasks are relevant and reflect the process of remote collaboration that an ESL teacher would experience. Students have offered positive feedback on the collaborative tasks that require them to work with the group tool.  They seem to enjoy the collaboration and have shared that it assisted them with applying methods of instruction, writing research proposals, and designing lessons.”

 

The Web Slinger 

Every time you log on to Middle Tennessee State University’s official website or read a digital sign, you see pieces of Alecia Heidt’s handiwork.

As a Web specialist for ITD, Heidt consults with clients to identify and define project needs, makes updates to the MTSU website, assists with bringing new departments into the new content management system, and researches and implements new Web technologies as needed.

Of all the designing projects on her plate, she considers digital signage the most rewarding. Along with Web design, she helps maintain the digital signage project on campus to reflect the new marketing and design changes of the website.

“This part of my job gives me the opportunity to use my design and programming background together,” she said. “It can be a challenge at times trying to figure out how to make some of the interactive pieces work, but that’s the part I enjoy most. I like being able to constantly learn new skills and enhance those I already have. I’m always looking for new and unique content to add to the signs. We’ve created nearly 70 signs since the project started a few years ago and have many more in the works.”

In addition to her contributions to the website and digital signage, Heidt also assists faculty and staff with using programs such as Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and Illustrator in the form of workshops or one-on-one consultations.

Before coming to MTSU in November 2012, Heidt worked as a graphic designer for several organizations including Communication Components in Brentwood, where she was responsible for designing and producing graphic designs for print and the Web. She helped design and develop user interfaces, graphics, and styles using a combination of HTML, CSS, XML, and Flash.

Heidt established and maintained corporate branding standards at the Awards Network and oversaw that organization’s website restructuring and redesign. She also worked as a designer for Home News Enterprises LLC, where she designed, developed and implemented daily and seasonal ads for The Republic    newspaper in Columbus, Ind.

Heidt had grown weary of fighting traffic during her long commutes to Brentwood and knew MTSU would be a better fit for her because it was closer to home.

“My husband, Andy, is a photographer here and told me about the Web specialist position,” she said. “After meeting everyone during my first interview, I knew I would take the job if offered to me.”

When it comes to Web design, there is never a typical day, Heidt said.

“A few of the typical things I do are training faculty and staff on our content management system (OU), making Web edits and researching new Web technologies. The new Web design project also takes up quite a bit of my time. I’ve been working with marketing to rework the academic pages. I’ve also been working at transitioning other pages to the new page template.”

She plans to keep pushing the technologies that the University is currently using and implementing new technologies as needed.

“I want to make sure we’re marketing our website and digital signs to our target viewers and that we keep our designs on trend while making sure they are accessible to students, faculty, and staff,” she said.

When Heidt’s not designing digital signs or updating Web      content, much of her time is allocated to her duties as a new mom.

“Being a new mom, there’s not much time for hobbies or          interests,” she said. “Clara (born 07/14/14) has become my number-one interest outside of work. When I do have a few free minutes, I enjoy listening to 80s music and playing Scrabble with my husband.”

She lives in Murfreesboro with her husband and daughter.