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Accomplishments 2013-2014

Accessible Technology Initiative

The 2013- 2014 fiscal year was the second year of a multi-year accessible technology  project to ensure that our technology resources are equally and equitably accessible to students, faculty and staff with disabilities. During this second year, Information Technology Services:

  • Implemented a University-wide policy defining the requirements for providing accessible technology to our students and employees, and setting forth the procedures for assuring this was accomplished.
  • Presented at two national conferences and hosted a webinar by the Association for Higher Education and Disability on how Temple is implementing accessible technology throughout the University.
  • Developed and implemented new standards for the accessibility of web-based content.
  • Adopted accessibility standards for learning spaces, multimedia and purchasing.
  • Implemented a newly developed enhancement to our standardized podium touch panels to make them accessible. Temple received an award for this innovative technology.  
  • Inventoried and improved usability of our computer labs to provide an adequate number of fully accessible computer stations for our disabled students.  
  • Created and distributed guidelines for accessible instructional materials and offered training to faculty.
  • Formulated a system of Accessibility Liaisons with the Schools and Colleges to ensure compliance, to help with training and to communicate issues with the faculty.

On-line Learning Initiative

Several University committees are in the process of studying online learning at Temple to bring an increased use of the various technologies associated with teaching students outside of traditional classrooms. 

  • Served on the various committees to help define the types of programs offered and to lead the required standardization on the delivery mechanisms for these programs and offerings.
  • Set up a Information Technology Services’ organizational structure that will be the focal point for providing the necessary technologies and training faculty on how to use them.

Faculty Engagement Initiative

  • Restructured and reorganized the Instructional Support Center (ISC) at the Ambler Campus, Health Sciences Center and Main Campus to become one cohesive unit. Hired new full-time staff (manager and two senior consultants) to develop/implement new ideas and support instructional technologies. Upgraded the ISC with new equipment. 
  • Sent ISC information packets to all Temple faculty and teaching assistants and an “ISC News” weekly email regarding upcoming events. Organized “Coffee with the Consultants” meetings to introduce faculty participants to ISC resources.
  • In collaboration with the Teaching and Learning Center, the Teaching Learning Technology Roundtable 2, and GenEd program, hosted the first, extremely successful, Teaching with Technology Symposium.
  • Developed joint teaching and learning workshops including a “WebEx Snow Make-up” training session with Fox. Evening webinars featured “Tech Info for Faculty” on WebEx, Blackboard and Relay. ISC “roadshows” were provided to four schools and colleges –Education, Fox, Law and School of Media and Communication.
  • Introduced the Undergraduate Teaching with Technology Fellows Program in cooperation with the Provost Office and the Teaching and Learning Center. Through this program, a select group of technology savvy undergraduate students were thoroughly trained to assist faculty with teaching with technology. Ten undergrad fellows (five in fall and five in spring) along with a faculty sponsor were hired and trained to mentor and assist faculty to teach with technology. There were 40 faculty members (20 in fall and 20 in spring) who participated.
  • In collaboration with the Teaching and Learning Center, created the Teaching and Technology Faculty Commons, which is a shared space, shared programs and a virtual site for faculty to share their ideas. The idea here is that since these two centers share space in the TECH Center and have a goal to help faculty in their teaching endeavors, working in a coordinated approach will make each of their offerings better-rounded and will help each unit reach out to and help more faculty.
  • Upgraded the TECH Center’s room 111 to provide for a modern, modular classroom that can be used as a future classroom prototype. 
  • To foster innovation, engaged faculty and students in the process of learning space design by teaming up with a select group to remodel one or two classrooms in the Tuttleman Learning Center.
  • Researched and integrated academic technologies that will expand the range of Temple’s teaching and learning options to include apps such as VoiceThread, Prezi, Box.com, Google Hangouts, Tableau, Kaltura, Scoop.it, and other emerging tools.
  • Pilot tested and launched Turnitin, a leading tool used to avoid plagiarism and ensure academic integrity.
  • Introduced support for Google Hangouts for instant messaging and video chat.
  • Pilot tested ResponseWare – mobile polling solution and Qwickly – an app to upload Box and Google docs to Blackboard.
  • Upgraded room 107 in the TECH Center to provide a first-class web conferencing facility for use by faculty. 

Student Service Initiative

  • Offered Microsoft Office free for all Temple students’ personal computers and they can retain the software after graduating.
  • In partnership with the University Libraries, evaluated and purchased a self-service scheduling solution that allows students to book breakout rooms/study rooms in the TECH Center, Tuttleman Learning Center, Health Sciences Library (HSL), and Paley Library on a self-service basis.

Mobile Initiative

  • Overhauled TUmobile and launched a new version with a clean, modern, easy-to-use interface.
  • Installed charging stations for mobile devices (phones and tablets) in the Instructional Support Center on Main Campus.
  • Expanded the wireless network throughout the University and added additional capacity in existing areas. Added an additional 350+ wireless access points to provide 100% wireless coverage in all smart classrooms, several outdoor meeting areas and residence halls. Updated older access points and converted three of the residence halls to a new wireless vendor providing a reliable and stable platform.
  • Implemented the “Mobile Print” function in our newly-upgraded Uniprint system. This allows students to print to the lab printers from their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. "Print on the Go" was rolled out to 12 computer labs: Ambler Learning Center, College of Liberal Arts, the Dental School, Fox School of Business, Health Sciences Center Library, the Law School, Paley Library, School of Pharmacy, School of Podiatric Medicine, the TECH Center, Temple University Center City and the Tuttleman Learning Center.

Shorten Student Graduation Life Cycle

As the cost of higher education increases, one of the key ways to make it less expensive is for students to graduate in four years. This is one of the key initiatives of President Theobald. To support this goal, Information Technology Services:

  • Worked closely with the Provost Office to upgrade the degree audit application from DARS to UAchieve for the fall 2014 semester.  UAchieve provides students and advisors with an easy-to-read progress report that allows for "what if" planning and creates a clear picture of the degree requirements necessary for graduation.  Made numerous system changes and enhancements to support the President’s new “Fly in 4” program. The system changes will handle student signup and associated record keeping and reporting requirements for this initiative. Began process of migrating the design/editing platforms for the Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletins from Adobe Contribute to the Leepfrog Technologies’ CourseLeaf solution. CourseLeaf centralizes and streamlines the process for creating, updating, editing and publishing the academic program bulletin and provides students with more search capabilities to retrieve accurate information about our various programs and the courses required to complete those programs. 
  • Developed a student profile channel, called The Next Steps Channel in TUportal, to present students time sensitive, academic and administrative tasks that they must complete during the course of an academic year.  It also presents various indicators and reinforcements to guide them through these tasks. 

Administrative Efficiency Initiative

  • Created process for departments to submit job and home department, organizational hierarchy, salary expense distribution and student worker pay rate changes through an automated workflow.
  • Introduced the ability for employees to update life insurance beneficiaries in TUportal. 
  • Streamlined Institutional Advancement processing by adding the acceptance of donations via mobile devices, automating address corrections and enhancing alumni event tracking. 
  • In the academic area, implemented a system to automate the review and approval of proposed courses and programs. 
  • Introduced Academic Works which allows students to match themselves to available Temple University Scholarships. This program also helps make schools, colleges and departments aware of endowed scholarship funding.
  • Implemented the electronic Finance Access Request Form which is used by the community to request access or make changes to Banner Finance, Cognos Reporting and TUmarketplace.  The completely redesigned form is web-based and incorporates workflow, approvals and some intelligence to validate certain data fields such as fund and org. 
  • Completed process to outsource the IRS’s 1099 reporting process to ADP. A workflow was created to format and securely transmit annual data. The process eliminates the need for procuring, printing, sealing and mailing forms.
  • Implemented a process to automatically import documents for grants that have been funded from the Electronic Research Administration (eRA) System into Banner. The process includes a daily summary report sent to the Research Accounting Services (RAS) mailbox and email sent to the Grant Analysts when new document versions of are available for review. 
  • Implemented an automated process for A-21 requiring that depreciation be supported by adequate records and physical inventories of assets totaling over $220 million.  The new process produces the Capitol Equipment Reports and delivers them electronically via TUmail. The electronic process saves five to six reams of paper and eliminates at least two days work printing and collating reports, and mailroom pick-up and delivery of each report to organization managers. 
  • Worked with SciQuest to install a complete redesign of the user interface called Phoenix for TUmarketplace procurement system. Users and approvers were trained on the new interface via WebEx sessions and new training documentation was also provided on the Unified Resource Center in TUportal. 
  • Encouraged self-sufficiency for report writing by providing consistent, advanced Cognos report writing training and establishing a Cognos user group that support collaborative learning.
  • Developed a comprehensive customized Cognos training program in collaboration with the Collaboration Centers. The sessions were recorded for playback on Blackboard for current and future users. A Cognos Users Group was also established.  The inaugural quarterly meeting occurred in May.
  • Met with all Banner Collaboration Centers, Institutional Research and additional administrative offices to assess the use, effectiveness and level of satisfaction with Cognos and other reporting tools. Compiled feedback, and provided recommendations. The findings were incorporated into the Business Intelligence assessment along with recommendations for short, medium, and long-range efforts within the reporting function.
  • Completed eight new dashboard-style reports and trained the Collaboration Center staff on how to create them. Also developed a recorded training session and posted it on Blackboard. Dashboard functionality is used to gain insight into report usage and performance.
  • Developed a Hardware Life Cycle Report to extract all current system information from the Microsoft Active Directory (i.e., PC properties such as memory, processor speed, and operating system), and associate it with a person's AccessNet username, and corresponding HR record.  The report enables departments to plan for the future budgeting of new hardware by providing the PC purchase date and the warranty expiration date.

Customer Service Initiative

  • Department of Procurement Services incorporated a Procure to Pay (P2P) environment that has streamlined the payment process to the University’s vendors.
  • Created individual advisory committees in Research Accounting, General Accounting, Accounts Payable and Purchasing to review policies, processes and reporting. These committees met several times during the year and a number of initiatives were implemented.
  • Launched a new Information Technology Services website to increase awareness among students, faculty and staff of the offerings and efficiencies that Computer Service provides. The site is unique in that it is primarily a service center geared towards providing better and more efficient service and providing information to the University community. 
  • Completed a redesigned Help Desk Call Center layout to support increased foot traffic and functionality. The newly constructed area reduces the high noise volume, enhances the layout of the space, makes it easier for managers to oversee Help Desk operations, corrects accessibility concerns by making the area ADA compliant and creates a more user-friendly environment.
  • Launched Live Person Chat to offer students, faculty and staff a real-time alternative mode of communication with the Help Desk staff in addition to the usual options such as phone, TUhelp, email or walk-in.

Environment Sustainability Initiative

  • Worked with Dell to collect purchasing information on all desktop and laptop purchases to better recycle equipment that is ready to be retired. The Computer Recycle Center (CRC) now receives regular data inputs that include purchase dates, serial numbers, model numbers and warranty information.
  • Increased awareness among the University Community of the recycling services provided by the CRC by participating in the Temple University Earthfest event at Ambler as a perennial exhibitor, having the CRC Director attend the Technology Learning Collaborative’s regular meetings, maintaining continual contact with Temple Community Relations by visiting sites, making recommendations and filling in gaps where the CRC can help on the Main and HSC Campuses.
  • Coordinated with Public Health, College of Education, Social Policy, Student Affairs, School of Business, and the Office of Sustainability in community outreach projects throughout the year.  Hosted an intern from the Academy for Adult Learning.
  • Reached out to neighborhood groups among others, through our Computer Recycling Center:
    ► Attended and gave a presentation at the Mayor Michael Nutter’s Philly Rising Collaborative.  Donated a refresh of computers to Frankford Community Development Center
    ► Donated servers to the Valley Forge Military Academy for to rebuilding and expanding their capacity on campus
    ► Donated computers to Mother’s-in-Charge organization through Temple Community Relations at Progress Human Services Plaza on Broad Street
    ► Donated equipment to Iglesia Del Barrio in conjunction with the Philly Rising Collaborative that set up a computer lab in North Philadelphia.
    ► Donated 30 Apple G5 towers to the Cramp Elementary School
    ► Provided hardware, computer software installation and setup for the Norris Homes Community Center, in collaboration with PHILLY SEEDS at the Philadelphia Housing Authority who purchased the software. 

Trusted, Resilient, Communications and IT Infrastructure Initiatives

Beginning in 2014 and for the next five years, the Office of Telecommunications will migrate the University and Health Systems’ voice system services to Voice-over-IP (VoIP). This will allow us to meet increased demands for capacity while providing more and better services including unified communications.

  • Installed the VoIP Unified Communications Platform (UCP) to support SIP trunking, voice mail and VoIP telephony. Successfully ported 75% or 30,000 telephone numbers from the older TDM technology to SIP within the Verizon network, significantly reducing the overall cost to the University. 
  • Began process of replacing Octel Voice Processing System.
  • The Temple University Health System purchased the Fox Chase Cancer Center in 2013. Fox Chase will be fully integrated into the University network by the end of fiscal 2014. Began process to enable network communications between Fox Chase Cancer Center and Temple University Health System applications and reinforced the fiber optic plant between campuses and between buildings. Also implemented a fully redundant Wide Area Network solution for the overall campus and increased bandwidth to an aggregated 4 Gbps while consolidating network infrastructure like DNS to reduce administration and costs. 
  • Led telecommunication needs in several major construction projects coming on line in 2014:
    ► Brought Morgan Hall online. This was the University’s first VoIP deployment and consisted of 425 SIP telephones and a small number of voice mail accounts. Each student’s suite has a shared phone in the common room with a hotline to Campus Safety Services. Also provided Ethernet at every bed, CATV in every room and 100 percent wireless coverage throughout the facility. Due to a new city ordinance for new construction, a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) was provided throughout the facility to support wireless communications devices utilized by first responders in an emergency situation.
    ► Rerouted all copper and fiber infrastructure over to the new Medical School building from Old Medical building. In addition, the network was rerouted and configured to support VoIP for telephony.  A total of 575 telephones have been migrated to VoIP.
  • Fully implemented Box.com as OWLBox, where students, faculty and staff can store 50 GB of data safely and securely in the cloud so that it can be accessed anywhere and anytime without having to go through the University’s systems.
  • Initiated process for Temple to become a voting member of the Kinber Board. Kinber is the Pennsylvania State initiative to run fiber optic cable throughout the state. As part of this initiative, Kinber has run fiber from the Main Campus to the Ambler campus. Working with Kinber, a 1Gig Fiber Optic Cable was implemented to the Ambler Campus.

Increased Security Initiative

  • Implemented a federated service environment running Shibboleth to allow vendors to trust Temple’s identities for use within their applications. There are 11 applications that have been set up under this new federated service. The service reduces setup time and cost, while increasing security and making identity management much easier to use for the community.
  • Used data scrambling or de-identification of confidential data to provide University data to Ellucian for test, development and capacity planning on the Operational Data Store. 
  • Worked with the University data stewards to publish a: 1) data classification policy; 2) cloud source and outside vendor guidelines and 3) a quick grid matching data elements to the data classifications. These documents have been added to the purchasing process to ensure that any data being supported by third party vendors complies with the University policy, standards and guidelines. Additionally, these documents have been added to the privacy and security training sessions completed throughout the year with all the schools, colleges and departments. 

Communications Initiative

  • Redesigned the ITS website so the focus is on the end-user. The site is easy to navigate, information was simplified, and users are able to easily get help in a number of ways including through Live Chat. Also, with responsive design, the site is accessible on all devices.
  • Sent an information packet to all faculty members outlining the technology options they can use for convenience, enhanced teaching, and creativity in the classroom and offering assistance on how to get started. The packet included an information brochure, targeted letter and a business card with contact information for obtaining support.
  • Increased participation in the social media channels. A ITS staff member attends the monthly University-wide Social Media managers meetings to work towards cross promotion with the main university channels and to gain a larger following on our channels. Also, Facebook and Twitter are now a standard part of our communications plans promoting new technology resources and offering the opportunity to respond to requests/questions/concerns on these channels.
  • Established a student advisory group representing various schools and colleges. Held several meetings where students were asked to provide technology feedback on what’s working, what needs to be improved and what technology they would like to see. The valuable feedback indicated that we need to do more outreach to make students aware of what’s available.