University Computing Solutions’ electronic newsletter highlighting technology services & initiatives
► Banner 9 / Cloud
- WOU teamed with Ellucian to move our Banner information system to the AWS cloud. Banner 8 became live in the cloud February 2018. The underlying technology of Banner 8 will not be supported past December 30, 2018. Thus an urgent move towards fully implementing Banner 9. For several years, the programmers have been training and preparing for Banner 9. The programmers are up to speed on the new technology and have been programming necessary modifications to Banner 9 forms. There was a committee process in place that included all 8 Oregon public universities, discussing which Banner 8 modifications needed to carry over to Banner 9. WOU ended up with 63 modifications, of which 2/3 have been completed. Ellucian began setting up a non-production Banner 9 environment for WOU at the end of February 2018. Progress was slow at best. In April, a specialized Banner 9 installation team came on board. In June we had a partially working non-production and production Banner 9 environment.
- Below are links to Banner 8 and Banner 9 forms. As you can see, they are quit different and will be a learning curve for end users. Despite the same name (Banner), the technology is a complete makeover. If you are a Banner user, be prepared to dedicate your time to training in the new environment. The training schedule is found here.
► Banner, New Initiatives
- Financial Aid
- UCS is working with the Financial Aid office to bring up Banner Financial Aid during the coming year. We have installed the modules on a test system and are working on configuring it to meet WOU’s needs. A few weeks ago we met with the Oregon State University office of Financial Aid (they also run the Banner module), and they had some good suggestions for configuration. They are also interested in providing consulting to help us implement it.
- Web Time Entry
- This Banner module should be a big time saver, both for our Payroll office and the many employees at Western. We have downloaded and built the Banner 9 Time Entry application from the Ellucian source code. Next, we will apply several upgrades to the test database to bring it up to the required versions to run Web Time Entry. These upgrades will be done and it will be ready to begin configuration and testing by Sept 17, 2018.
- Ellucian Mobile
- The WOU Mobile App, powered by Ellucian Mobile, will provide faculty, prospects, students, staff, and other constituents with access to key campus information and services from their mobile devices. Once launched, the app will be available in the Google Play Store, iTunes, and also on the Amazon Appstore. Initial development will be for Android. Once we have the development environment set up and tested on Android, we will attempt to build both Android and iOS versions simultaneously if possible.
► Child Care Center Project
- The Child Development Center is being relocated from Todd Hall to the University Park and Conference Center buildings. This requires some remodeling of Units A, B, and C, and will join all three buildings together. The ROTC was moved from unit A to APSC 201, the Forensics Lab and smart classroom was moved from Unit B to HSS 329, and the computer lab smart classroom in Unit C is being moved to OMA 101. We will be upgrading all of the network infrastructure cabling and equipment in the new CDC. Completion of the project is scheduled for the end of the summer 2018.
► Cyber Security
- Special Agent Samantha Baltzersen from the FBI will present a cyber security session on September 19 at 2:00pm in RWEC 105. This will be an excellent informative and eye-opening presentation.
- A security overview can be found here.
► Data Center
- This summer, 11 aging blade servers were refreshed with 3 new high performance blades. The SpecMark rating for the new servers is 12 – 22 times greater than the old servers. In addition, we have added 240TB of disk storage to meet our growing need for digital storage.
- When you save data to H:, I:, or J: drives, it is backed up to remote disk storage every 24 hours. In addition, every two hours a snapshot is taken of all changes that have been made. The snapshots are directly available to you for about two weeks. If you need to recover one of your old files, watch this instructional video.
► Document Management
- Do you need help with the office “paper shuffle”? Go here for help.
► Email Bulk Senders
- There are a variety of 3rd party e-mail notification systems that are utilized to communicate campus information to you. When one of these vendors sends out mass e-mails to the campus community, users will query as to whether these are SPAM systems or not. Below is a list of legitimate bulk senders:
► Emergency Alert
- Everbridge is our emergency notification system. In the upper right hand of the Portal you will find an icon labeled WOU Alert. Clicking on that icon will take you to a site that allows you to edit your emergency contact paths.
- Besides sending notifications directly to you, everbridge can send messages to any WOU computer, the emClocks, and the Carillon bells. In the future, it will also send messages to the smart classrooms and digital signage.
► Moodle Upgrade
- For this Fall we are upgrading the Moodle LMS server from 3.2.4 to the latest stable release of 3.5. Moodle.org has a video that explains some of their new features of 3.5, on Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxcO_MFWQBDcnwHQwhHZtObHNMHoONx-C The Moodle software runs on top of the latest Redhat 7 operating system, Apache 2.4 web server and MariaDB 10.X SQL database. There are 9 web servers – 6 student web servers and 3 Faculty course development web servers that are handed out through our load balancer, giving the end user the best performance. This allows the Faculty their own servers to develop their course material and not take away from the performance of the student pages. This is only the systems side of the upgrade. There are 14 new and 21 upgraded plug-ins added to Moodle software. Some of the major titles are Turnitin, Web Ex, Poodll, and TurningTech.
► Natural Science Project
- After nearly two years of planning for the Natural Science remodel project, construction work began on June 25, 2018, and it is well underway. Phase 1 of the project will be focused on the basement, 2nd floor, and green house. The remainder of the 1st floor work will happen summer 2019. The project will include HVAC upgrades, electrical and lighting upgrades, network infrastructure replacement, bathroom upgrades, and some of the lab classrooms will also be completely re-designed. All of the network cabling will be upgraded to Cat6a, and new telecommunications closets are being built to support all new network hardware. Cat6a wire will allow faster data speeds to be transmitted over the wiring. Wireless access points are being replaced with higher capacity models, and the density of the access points has been increased to support many more clients. Work will continue on the second floor throughout the fall term.
► Remodel of Wolf Express
- The area which previously housed the Wolf Express in the Werner University Center, is being remodeled for new office space, and a new conference room. The conference room will have a touch panel controlled audio / video system, as well as video conferencing capabilities. New network jacks, and wireless access points are being installed to support the functions of this area. Completion is scheduled for September 7, 2018.
► Resident Hall Security Initiative / Video Streaming Service
To improve network security, UCS has added a login to our wireless and residence hall networks. When you connect to these WOU networks, beginning 9/4, you will be prompted for your network login. Once you connect, you’ll gain network access for 90 days — at which point you’ll be asked to login again.
- SWANK will be available this fall term for Resident Hall students.
- Resident Hall students will have a new service available to them this fall, allowing them to stream free movies from any of their devices, while on campus. They will be able to choose from a vast collection of television shows and movies, including new releases and classic favorites.
► Service Request Desk
- Summer is always a busy time for Desktop Support but this year we had the NS remodel so we were extra busy. We started our summer out by moving out most all of our equipment out of NS and into the Old Ed building. This included getting a lab setup, getting faculty setup and updating all our inventory so we know where equipment moved too. We also had to get the first floor of NS and part of the basement setup ready for fall term courses. As a team, we started on the Sophos push out which was our first real test using SCCM and we had lots of success but a handful of one off’s that didn’t have an SCCM client or errored out during installation. We are still going through and finding stations to fix but for the most part, its done! SCCM has been something that has taken up a lot of time but we are able to image both Windows 7 and 10. We can push out certain software from our office to a CPU across campus. We have installed 27 new student tech funded printers across campus this summer. Working on moving to a new print server. We have upgraded two labs in DeVolder and reimaged all the other labs on campus both Mac and PC labs. Desktop Support took the lab from UPCC C130 and got it set up in OMA 101 for fall term courses. Our team also added a few new students All this was accomplished while staying on top of our daily service request tickets and tasks.
► Smart Classroom Upgrades
- Classroom Services has been very busy upgrading Smart Classrooms this summer. We have upgraded 18 different rooms across campus this past year with new equipment and technology. The upgrades include: new laser projectors, which are more energy efficient and do not require lamp replacements, digital video monitors, video processors, digital input capabilities, and new sound systems. Many of the smart classroom upgrades have included new teaching consoles, which are ADA compliant and are height adjustable. The touch panel control systems are also being updated to our new user interface, which simplifies how the systems are controlled. In addition 10 smart classrooms will be upgraded by the time the Natural Science remodel is completed.
► Sophos / Intercept X
- Sophos, our enterprise antivirus system, has undergone a refresh! You may see the new, blue Sophos icon hanging out in your System Tray (Windows). If you double click on this icon, it will open the Sophos Console. From here, if you’d like, you can run a scan on your computer. Scans are scheduled to occur both in real-time (this means a light scan over the duration of your work day) and a deeper, more thorough scan on certain days of the week. There are multiple great new features to this version of Sophos. One of the highlights is ransomware protection. When Sophos detects something encrypting (locking) files on your computer, it will stop and quarantine this process, then roll back your computer to a state prior to the encrypting process. It will then notify UCS of the ransomware it detected. Another feature you may see is Web Threat Protection. In essence, if you’re visiting a webpage or downloading something from the internet that belongs to a category Sophos thinks is risky, Sophos will warn you and ask if you wish to proceed. If you’d like Sophos antivirus on your home computer, Sophos offers a free home edition. Simply download and install, and you’re set! The installation instructions for the Mac home version is found here and the PC home version is found here. The download page is found here. Please see the CyberSecurity section for additional information.
- Campus Directory Voice Recognition at 8-9555
- Western has featured a friendly Campus Operator for many years. The public and campus community reached this service by dialing Western’s main line or toll-free line. In Spring 2018, we activated an automated menu with the most common destinations offered before callers connected to the Operator. And now, we have implemented a voice recognition system that can answer and transfer simultaneous queries via speech recognition. Callers are immediately transferred after speaking the name of a department or person. If the system can’t match the caller’s request following a couple retries, it will then transfer the caller to a friendly Campus Operator. The new voice recognition directory may be directly called at extension 8-9555. Hint: you can speak your request as soon as the ‘chime’ sound plays- you don’t need to listen to the entire prompt.
- edu-roam is available now. More information can be found here.
► Video Production Services
- WouTV is Western Oregon University’s digital production service for campus events, athletics and marketing. WouTV is a full service HD production studio featuring state-of-the-art broadcast equipment. We record lectures for online viewing, produce university promotional videos and provide multi-camera, live streaming for campus events and athletics. WouTV is run by one full-time UCS employee and facilitated by student workers. Students have the opportunity to be a videographer, editor, graphic designer, technical director and director.
- WouTV is currently producing promotional videos for Admissions, Marcom and The Drive for 325. To view the WouTV archive of digital media go to: wou.edu/woutv Through August 30, go to: wou.edu/livestream and watch the weekday improvements to WOU Softbll Field. On 10/17, watch the live stream of the WOU Board of Trustees.
- WouTV videos and live events can also be seen on Minet cable channel 717.
Cognos is a web-based reporting tool from IBM. It allows you to create and run reports based on data from our Data Warehouse, which is populated from Banner on a nightly basis. There is an existing library of reports available for you to utilize. Additional reports can be developed for departments or individuals and placed in the library. Users can also learn how to create their own reports, for either quick ad-hoc data analysis or for ingoing use.
In order to use Cognos, you need to be granted access, just as you would for Banner. Information on how to request access, as well as training options, can be found on the following webpage: https://wou.edu/datawarehouse/
- A look underneath
- A Data Warehouse is a system that collects and organizes business data for reporting purposes. WOU has been developing its own Data Warehouse based on the data from our main ERP system, Banner. By developing the Data Warehouse in house, we have been able to customize it to match our business practices.Every night, our Data Warehouse records new data and tracks changes to existing data from Banner. This allows us to capture historical information that Banner doesn’t track natively. Once the data is loaded, it can be accessed via Cognos.To learn more about the Data Warehouse, including how to get access to cognos, go here.