UNI is looking to implement a new system aimed at helping the university better recruit and retain students. It will do this by streamlining communications with prospects and applicants as well as helping the university better serve the students we have. We have released an RFP to identify potential vendors and plan to select the system of choice by the end of the summer 2017. Implementation will begin shortly thereafter.
Towards the end of each semester, a number of classes administer assessments to help provide feedback on the course. Traditionally these have been done on paper bubble sheets; however, with the spring of 2017 we implemented and have been conducting limited testing of a fully online system. Students take the assessments in class, one any electronic device with a browser. Thus far, the feedback has been very positive. We are looking at rolling this out to the rest of campus for the fall of 2017.
UNI is currently in the process of upgrading all of the general purpose classrooms on campus to a new university standard for technology. There is a pilot in progress which is installing 1 classroom in each of the academic buildings by the Fall 2017 semester. More information is available at classrooms.uni.edu
The current configuration at UNI for Blackboard Learn resides on locally hosted servers. Due to concerns for continuity of service and efficiencies, UNI is looking to move the eLearning environment into a cloud hosted system. The current contract with Blackboard ends on September 30, 2019, which provides UNI time to perform a thorough review of LMS vendor options to determine to either go forward with a hosted Blackboard Learn system or implement by transition to another vendor. More information can be found at lmsreview.uni.edu
While the UNI data warehouse has data from nearly all UNI systems and much of this is based on code written by UNI for UNI, the original student warehouse is vended. The student warehouse was purchased along with the original student system. Oracle is discontinuing support for it, and encouraging UNI to move to a newer product. Rather than experience additional cost and effort to implement their new solution, we have chosen to take full ownership of the original system and drop support.
iProcurement is our ability to purchase from key vendors online using our ebusiness system. Pricing is typically better due to negotiated pricing and payments are handled automatically, eliminating the need for departments to use their procurement cards. Purchases via iProcurement also provide us with better data to analyze the universities spending trends. iProcurement went live in the spring of 2016 and since that time we have moved to OSN, which is Oracle Supplier Network.
UNI is in the process of implementing Two Factor authentication capability. Two-factor authentication requires not only a password, but also a second device to be in the users’ possession, such as a phone, or other device. We have tested this system with cell phones as well as desktop phones, all works as expected. We recently licensed DUO for campus, which will provide our campus users with a very flexible set of options for using two-factor authentication.
We are currently working on two major pieces to this project:
All UNI colleges have some form of faculty activity reporting, some are automated, and some are manual. IT is working with representatives from each college to identify how a single system can be developed and support the needs of all colleges. Development of this system has concluded in the spring of 2017 and it is entering the testing phase. Initial roll outs will likely be in the spring of 2018 for select colleges.
If a serious disaster were to compromise several key computing facilities on campus it would take 3-4 weeks for UNI to have those systems back online. In discussions several years ago IT Administrative Information Systems was challenged to find a way of reducing that number to 2 – 3 days without more funding. We are now mid-way in implementing the plan to accomplish this, by moving some of UNI’s test systems to the ITF (Iowa Technology Facility) in Coralville. Once our test systems are there, we will begin replicating production systems there so they can operate in a failover capacity.
The eBusiness system is a vended system which we apply minor to medium sized updates regularly. The 12.2 upgrade is a larger type upgrade that we will need to tackle by the end of 2018. Upgrades of this size only occur once every 5 – 10 years, this will be our second major upgrade since our initial implementation in 2001. We plan to have a test system upgraded before the end of 2017, so we can test and do impact analysis before upgrading production in late 2018.