From websites to Wi-Fi, ITD forums provide hint of...

From websites to Wi-Fi, ITD forums provide hint of future changes

MTSU’s Information Technology Division recently concluded a series of three open forums as ITD administrators shared information about a variety of upcoming changes while gathering feedback from employees.

In the one-hour presentations, which were held Oct. 2, 4 and 10 in the James E. Walker Library conference room, ITD administrators touched on the new university policy vetting process, streamlining the university’s website, an upcoming Mobility App Summit during fall break, a wireless update and more.

Bruce Petryshak, left, vice president for information technology and chief information officer, jokes with Dr. Warner Cribb, far right, chair of the geosciences department, before a recent IT Open Forum. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

About half of the Oct. 2 forum touched on preliminary plans to revitalize the university website. Phase 1 will focus on providing prospective students with informative highlights of the academic programs available to them.

In collaboration with departments, faculty and the marketing and communications office, changing the university’s main home page will be a web “revitalization project,” said Barbara Draude, assistant vice president for academic and instructional technology services.

Draude said the current site’s growth has become difficult to manage. “It’s so hard to find things. It’s hard to navigate. We need to separate things out,” she said.

Implementing the more user-friendly OmniUpdate OU Campus content management system laid a foundation to make changes to the site, she continued.

Draude said ITD is working closely with the Department of Marketing and Communications to coordinate web content with “printed materials and billboards, so we’re all saying the same thing.”

Arthur Reed, center, of Campus Planning makes a comment during the question-and-answer portion of the Oct. 2 IT Open Forum in the Walker Library conference room. Listening are Dale Cockrell, left, director of the Center for Popular Music, and other MTSU employees.

“This whole revitalization project is going to improve the entire MTSU website,” she added. “We’re currently working on prototypes and you’ll hear much more about it in the future.”

Eventually, two other phases will be produced.

Bruce Petryshak, vice president for information technology and MTSU’s chief information officer, reported that the vice presidents are working with ITD and the University Counsel’s Office on a process that will allow the campus community to comment on proposed university policies before they are submitted to MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee for his final approval.

Petryshak added that ITD is currently reviewing university information-security policies and any changes to those policies will be among the first to use the new review process.

In the forums, ITD’s Lisa Rogers, assistant vice president for enterprise resource planning systems, discussed ID photos on the university’s Banner internal server network and changing passwords. A phase currently under development will provide faculty with a RaiderNet class roster that contains their students’ photos, she said.

Brian Holley, an IT assistant vice president, provided an update on wireless technologies across the campus. While Wi-Fi wireless connectivity is in virtually every building on campus,he noted that it does need improvement because of the volume of wireless devices used by students, faculty and staff.

Holley said ITD anticipates that the average user will bring at least three wireless devices on campus daily, so the division is working to support at least five devices per person. IT personnel are also working to upgrade both Wi-Fi and cellular coverage outside almost all campus buildings.

“Eventually, we will have good Wi-Fi in every building,” he said. “On the exterior, we will be full in areas of buildings.”

Tom Wallace, ITD associate vice president, discussed the Oct. 15-16 statewide Mobility App Summit at MTSU, which has drawn 300 people to campus.

“It should be a really good thing,” Wallace said. “It’s people working in the classroom and what they’re doing with mobile apps.”

Wallace also discussed mobile computing on campus.

— Randy Weiler (