How We Spent Our Summer – A Campus Technology Update

Summer is always a busy season for us in the Office of Information Technology — and this past summer was no exception.   We’ve been working diligently over the past few months to upgrade and enhance a variety of campus technologies.  I’d like to take a few moments to review a few of the most notable summer projects.

IT HelpDesk

We have a new phone number, xHELP (268-4357).  And if you’ve called in for IT support recently, you have probably noticed some other changes to the IT HelpDesk.  We have implemented a call queuing system which allows our front-line support representatives to spend more time on the phone with you, with a goal of resolving more IT issues in real-time.  Of course, you can still reach us by email (helpdesk@clarkson.edu), on the web (http://rt.clarkson.edu) or visit us in person at CAMP 171A.

Campus Wireless Access

We have installed pervasive wireless access in the Quad residence halls.  This is latest generation equipment (802.11ac) which provides high-speed wireless network access to all indoor spaces in that facility.  As part of this project, we have also made significant investments in upgrading our campus network backbone to 10 gigabit.  We plan to continue to expand this coverage to additional residence halls and academic buildings over the next few years.

Classroom Lecture Capture

Through a partnership with the CFO and the School of Engineering, we have expanded the Echo360 system to include six new classrooms:  Science Center 360, CAMP175, CAMP 176, CAMP 178, CAMP268 and Rowley 142.  While this equipment is primarily intended to serve our distance education courses, it is also available as a supplemental tool for our traditional on-campus courses.  Studies have shown that the use of lecture capture tools allows students to focus less on recording every detail of the lecture in their notebook and instead allows them to focus more on engaging with the lecturer, asking questions and actively participating during lecture.  If you’re interested in using this tool for your class, either on a one-time or recurring basis, please contact the IT HelpDesk.

Old Main Datacenter

The new campus datacenter in Old Main is nearing the completion of its construction phase.  We have begun commissioning the major mechanical systems that support this facility—including the new UPSes, CRAHs and generators.  We anticipate that work on this facility will continue into the fall, with all of the University’s production compute load transitioning to this facility by December.  This new datacenter will provide redundancy and disaster recovery ability for the University’s IT infrastructure as well as additional capacity for hosting research-related computing hardware.  As part of this project, the majority of our IT Operations and Administrative Computing staff have new office space located in the West Wing of Old Main.

Classroom AV Enhancements

A number of classrooms have had their AV systems overhauled this summer — new digital projectors, screens, and improvements to audio quality in:  CAMP 172 and Science Center rooms 342, 344, 346 and 348.  Additionally, webcams and wireless microphones to support distance learning were added in SC 344, 348 and 356.

Of course, this is only a summary of the major projects.  There has been a lot of other activity taking place this summer.  If you have thoughts or feedback related to this or other campus technology, please feel free to reach out to me.  I’m eager to hear from you.

Thanks,

Josh