The University of San Francisco: Information Technology Services
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ITS eNewsletter - May 2012

CIT and Gleeson Library provide loaner equipment for students to check out

The Center for Instruction and Technology in the lower level of the School of Education building started lending equipment when faculty needed audio devices to record classes. Students who saw their teachers using recorders or video cameras then came to CIT to request equipment as well. With the growing popularity of equipment checkout, CIT now focuses on finding simple-to-use, good quality tools that can be easily learned by student borrowers.

For audio recording, CIT offers a simple iRiver MP3, and Sony digital recorders with built in USB ports, which also records in MP3 format. These have been used to record everything from academic counseling sessions to mock interviews. For higher quality recordings, students can also borrow microphones, ranging from basic Logitec desktop mics to the Blue Microphone Yeti, which has four different modes, including 2-way pickup for interviews or conversations. Podcast Factory is compatible with any microphone, and is used for exactly what its title says: to create podcast episodes.

On the video side of things, CIT used to provide tape cameras (some of which are still available), although real-time capture made these inconvenient. Real-time capture means that for every minute of film recorded, it takes an equivalent amount of time to transfer to a computer. This obviously created a real problem for students doing movie projects who needed to transfer hours of footage. For ease of use and portability, Flip cameras were purchased for student use, and although the video quality is very good, the audio can sometimes be comparatively low. Since the advent of Flip camera company’s purchase and discontinuation by Cisco, Creative Labs Vato is CIT’s choice for its ultra-portable replacement. If higher sound quality is needed, hard drive or flash card cameras are available for checkout as well. For movie projects, there are also a few tripods. Read more

USFsupport&answers provides 24-hour help and information when you need it

The ITS Help Desk provides excellent support for your computer and USF applications, but it isn’t open all the time. You also might prefer to solve problems on your own. The easiest way to do this is to use USFsupport&answers, an online self-help resource that is available whenever you are.

USFsupport&answers combines a knowledge base to look for answers and a service-ticketing application to contact ITS only if you need to. The USFanswers library contains hundreds of USF-specific topics, and there are also thousands of general computer solutions from the RightAnswers content library. USFanswers has a search bar like Google, and you can also find solutions by browsing categories. Chances are, you’ll find the answer to your question.

ITS has also worked with departments all around campus to bring you non-technical solutions. We have answers to your questions about registration, fee deadlines, counseling, housing payments, Koret, and a lot of other stuff you want to know.

To get started, click on the USFanswers Help Portal link, or type some search words in the Search for Help in USFanswers box and click Search.

The search portal looks like a miniature Google, but the difference is that your searches will only bring up the solutions entered into the knowledge base instead of searching answers from the web. If you would rather search by category, all categories are listed on the left side of the page.

The first category has ITS content. Category 2 has One Stop solutions, and Category 3  has information about the rest of the university. All categories below 3 have general computer content from the RightAnswers library. 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


Message from the CIO

Steve GallagherThis has been a busy year across the University. ITS was pleased to support the launch of the San Jose and Pleasanton campuses, both with new, improved technology standards.

Please look for the upcoming 2012 ITS Annual Survey. Last year's survey responses resulted in several enhancements to the ITS service catalog, including the introduction of online training and campus-wide SPSS. We're always looking for ways to improve our services and expand our information service offerings, so please do fill out the survey.

Additional information about ITS services can also always be found on the ITS web site, on our blog, or by following our Twitter feeds.

The ITS Division wishes you a successful conclusion to the spring semester and an enjoyable summer.

- Steve Gallagher
CIO and Vice President of ITS

Win an Apple TV - Take the Tech Satisfaction Survey

As part of our efforts to continuously improve technology services at USF, Information Technology Services would like your input on the USF technology you use today, and the services you would like to have in the future. Last year's survey feedback was instrumental in guiding ITS efforts this year. Your opinion matters.

When you have completed the survey, you will have the opportunity to enter a drawing for an Apple TV.

Thank you!
Information Technology Services

How ITS communicates with the university community

ITS is now sending fewer emails -- we use Twitter for service announcements, security updates, and messages from our Vice President and the Director of Client Support Services.

For news about the ITS division longer than a Twitter feed, we have a blog, including features about helpful security and departmental information and service highlights.

The ITS website is organized around a Service Portfolio, which works as a guide to everything we offer: the Student Computing Guide, CIT Training Calendar, Computer Replacement policies, Faculty Tech Reference Guide, and much more.

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Gilbert Lee