ITS eNewsletter - May 2012
USF takes leadership role at
AJCU conference on IT management
ITS staff recently represented USF at the 2012 meeting of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities Conference on Information Technology Management (CITM) at Boston College. The conference exists to help members understand and fulfill the proper role of computing and information services, promote productive use of information technology, and facilitate collaboration between the member institutions. Indeed, a common challenge for the presidents of Jesuit schools is to ask CIOs join forces to get better pricing from vendors, which is difficult because each school has different legal and purchasing standards and different relations with vendors.
USF’s Information Technology Services CIO Steve Gallagher developed a national portal by which AJCU institutions can purchase inventory by the aggregate purchasing power of all 28 schools, each with a local portal which allows all of the schools to maintain total independence in their procurement processes. He demonstrated a working prototype of the portal at the conference. Over the past two years, USF has participated in many successful collaborations, particularly among West Coast Jesuit universities. Perhaps in recognition of USF’s active participation within CITM, Steve Gallagher was elected by peer CIOs at the other 27 schools as president of CITM for a two-year term.
At the conference, USF presented with two other schools, Loyola Chicago and Boston College. “There was a lot of great feedback and interest about tools being used for project portfolio management based on questions from the audience,” said Aouie Rubio of ITS. After discussions from sessions, USF and other colleges like Loyola Maryland have decided to partner and will begin monthly web and phone conference calls to discuss portfolio management. They are looking to launch these in April, when the first call will take place. Read more
Retired USF computers find new life in Africa through Jesuit Commons program
When computers are replaced, they are often still perfectly functional, but ousted by an upgrade. So where do these computers go? Sometimes they are simply thrown in with electronic waste or donated to a local organization, but sometimes they are shipped across the world.
Through a partnership with Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins (JC:HEM), ITS recently delivered 10 retired laptops to the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi, Africa to support one of the Community Service Learning Tracks that is being offered as a certificate program to educate refugees. Of the 10 computers, six were Macs outfitted with iWorks licenses and custom USF images designed by Mike Wineke from ITS. “We are always happy to be in the unique position of being able to contribute to very worthy projects like this one and are proud of being members at an institution that makes it a priority,” said ITS Resource Analyst Patrick Kao.
And JC:HEM is indeed a very worthy project -- Mary MacFarland, International Director of Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins, leads a worldwide team to offer academic programs to those who have been forced to the margins of society, often by circumstances beyond their control. Many, MacFarland says, have a hunger for education. Read more
USF hosts Bay Area Higher Ed IT Forum
In February, USF hosted a meeting of the Bay Area Higher Education IT Forum, a group of CIOs from private colleges and universities across the region. Other colleges in attendance were University of the Pacific, Notre Dame de Namur University, St. Mary’s College, Golden Gate University, Santa Clara University, Menlo College, Stanford University, and Mills College. This meeting focused exclusively on mobile technologies, including mobile application frameworks, mobile security and device administration, and plans for future mobile application development.
Among the attendees from USF was Way Leon, ITS Director of Application Services, who did a presentation on the current frameworks for mobile applications. These can be either mobile web or native applications for utilization by constituents. He prepared a slideshow comparing various higher mobile solutions such as Kuali Mobility and SunGard Mobile. These fall under the heading of Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP), which, according to Way’s slideshow definition, “is a comprehensive suite of products and services that can be used to manage the entire lifecycle of a mobile application across multiple platforms with a single backend.” This means that an MEAP would house all of a university’s mobile services, including email, the student portal, school calendar, and so on.
USF currently offers the mobile site as a web application. Even though the interface has the appearance of a native app (an application that is accessed through the device itself instead of on the web), it is actually on a browser. As for future mobile development, ITS plans to move to a native app solution.
Another topic at the forum was the Mobile Device Management (MDM) server, specifically, how to have the infrastructure ready to enable usage when someone brings an a mobile device to the network. This entails pushing out a policy file to the device. Stanford contributed an explanation as to how they implemented their MDM strategy during the discussion. Mr. Leon said, “These meetings are all about sharing understanding and knowledge of fellow universities to better leverage technology to serve the community...the ultimate goal is to build a collaboration bridge.”
Create and publish iPad textbooks and more with free iBooks Author from Apple
iBooks Author is a free application from Apple that lets you use templates to easily create textbooks and more for the iPad. You can add your own text and images with simple drag-and-drop techniques and use “Multi-Touch” widgets to include interactive photo galleries, movies, Keynote presentations, 3D objects, and more. See the Mac App Store iBooks Author page for more product details.
The application requires Mac OS X 10.7.2 (Lion) or later, and is on the current USF standard image, so if you receive a new computer, it will be preinstalled. If you have the correct version of OS X but don’t currently have iBooks Author, you can submit an online request to the ITS Help Desk at support.usfca.edu to have it installed. If you have an older version of OS X, Lion is available from the Mac App Store for $29.99. Upon receiving the upgrade, you can send an online request to the Help Desk.
While the this easy-to-use program requires that the books be created on a Mac desktop or laptop, the content can only be viewed through iBooks on an iPad or mobile device. The application encourages the creation of interactive books by providing what are essentially Apple pages (open templates for book-building with multiple theme options), and also allowing the application user to drop in video, hyperlinks, audio, and pictures. The text is all in boxes, so users do not have to worry about text-wrapping. Read more