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Articles: Software

The second year of the ongoing Models of Efficiency program continues to demonstrate that campus departments can be innovative and inspired when it comes to finding ways to provide superior service and maximize resources.

"We believe that improving the efficiency of administrative services yields cost savings and reputation benefits that can propel a college into the top tier of success," noted Miles Lasater, chief operations officer and cofounder of Higher One, which has sponsored the Models of Efficiency program from the start.

American colleges and universities are breeding grounds for innovative ideas and open information sharing. Pair that with a large number of systems on a given network and a vulnerable student population with fresh credit and you've got an appealing target for identity thieves.

The look of instructional technology is changing rapidly, as are the roles and strategies of the IT professional. Higher education technology’s legacy was characterized by six key areas: a strong sense of faculty ownership; hidden costs of free systems and networks; content and delivery mechanisms that were not well-differentiated; unstructured innovation; systems that would neither scale nor integrate; and service levels that were little more than “We’ll give it our best”--all with security being a mere afterthought.

Albert Einstein had this to say about problem-solving: "You can never solve a problem on the same level on which it was created." In other words, the solution lies at a higher level. That is certainly the truth for many efforts in higher education, where overcoming administrative challenges? that are holding back student or institutional success or service is often about reaching for innovative solutions.

Officials at Fresno Pacific University (Calif.) had quite a few reasons to take the institution’s online distance-learning registration system from an external vendor and bring it in-house: Poor customer service and high costs. Insecure and time-consuming methods of communicating with both students and instructors. Duplicate inputting of information. Manual processing of credit card transactions.

Most pressing, though, was a troublesome security breach in 2006 that involved the compromising of a group of credit card numbers.

You need something done. What are you told?

“Fill out a form.”

Western Washington University officials figured there had to be a better way. The use of hard-copy forms to request services, they believed, was a waste of paper and time, as the requisitions had to be sent via campus mail to the appropriate parties, who in turn had to review, copy, and file them. Each person in the approval chain needed his or her own copy, and there was no central repository where the forms could be accessed easily.

The academic calendar maintains its own particular cycle and pivots on its own particular axis. Critical dates, such as deadlines for the submission and changing of grades, must be honored. After all, should the calendar lose its adherence, the effects can be negative.

If you haven’t made your plans yet for EduComm 2011, let me take this opportunity to tell you about the variety of fast-paced, information-packed breakout sessions scheduled for attendees. Covering a range of topics from learning technology and social media to enrollment strategies and leadership issues, the sessions are designed to inform and enlighten all decision makers at colleges and universities about the changes, challenges and solutions, that higher education must confront today and in the coming years.

The VMware View Client for the Apple iPad enables users to access their Windows desktops, applications, and data from anywhere, virtually. Combined with VMware View, the VMware View Client delivers a desktop optimized for the high-resolution, multi-touch display of the iPad. It's available for free in the Apple App Store. Visit www.vmware.com.

Professionals who have helped create inviting places for groups to study on campus have vivid memories of the uninviting study spaces of yesterday. “When we studied as a group, if we studied as a group, it was typically in the dining hall,” recalls Jeff Vredevoogd, director of Herman Miller Education.

Call it the marathon without a finish line: As new network demands such as mobile computing and rich media increase, campus IT strategists are trying to keep running ahead, to ensure that their networks can meet the need.

When most people think of video surveillance, they think of a Big Brother scenario, where their every move is being monitored. And after a campus tragedy, such as the Virginia Tech shootings of 2007, pundits debate whether video surveillance might have prevented the tragedy. But at colleges and universities, these electronic eyes do much more.

We spoke to three security experts to discuss how video surveillance technology has changed to make surveillance far more intelligent and effective. Our panelists are:

The campus network is home to thousands of student residents while at the same time hosting key administrative servers containing private personal information. Yet in most universities the network administrators are expected to maintain an "open network environment" that allows free access in and out of the campus.

A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when trying to convey complex ideas. At Purdue University (Ind.), a home-grown smartphone app lets students easily incorporate mobile video components into class assignments and share them with teachers and other students.

Called DoubleTake, the app was developed by the university's information technology staff and is available through the iTunes App store. An Android-based version is in the works as well.

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