University of West Florida

Information Technology Services

 

Volume 4, Issue 2


Help Desk News

UWF Considering Google Apps

The University of West Florida is in the process of evaluating a suite of applications called Google Apps. Google Apps includes Gmail and Google Calendar as well as collaboration tools such as Google Sites, Google Docs, and Google Talk.  As a university, all of this is available to UWF free of charge. If UWF adopts Google Apps, we would switch from using Microsoft Exchange Calendar and Email to Google Calendar and Email (Gmail).

Google's collaboration tools include productivity software (documents, spreadsheets, and presentations), websites, and online chat (video, voice, and text). Faculty and researchers at other universities have found Google Apps to be excellent tools for fostering student engagement. Making this change would allow the university to keep pace with technological innovations and save money at the same time.

More information is available on UWF's Google Apps website.


Seeking Faculty and Staff Partners to Try Out Google Apps

We are now seeking partners to work with Google Apps and see how it really works for faculty and staff. The pilot test of Google Apps will begin in late February and run through March. We are seeking two types of participants:

  1. Heavy email and calendar users, especially those who manage multiple calendars, schedule rooms and resources, and manage a lot of email.

  2. Innovators who want to explore Google Apps and find ways to use these tools in the classroom and in the office.

Participants will be asked to perform specific tasks and provide feedback throughout the pilot period. If you are interested in participating in the pilot, please read more about the pilot and submit a sign-up form.


Computer Lab Usage

SAIL and CyberLounge are two general purpose student computing facilities available to students on the Pensacola Campus. Together these labs offer over 130 computers, including Windows and Mac workstations, laser printing, scanning, and wireless access. SAIL is the university’s largest dedicated open access lab and represents about 10% of the total count of computers available for student use.

Typically, around 5,000 students visit SAIL and 3,000 visit CyberLounge in a given semester. Comparing fall 2007 to fall 2008, however, there has been a 17% decline in use of these two facilities. Several reasons could account for this difference including the availability of the eDesktop virtual computer lab, greater availability and awareness of other student computing centers, and a reduction in operating hours for SAIL.

SAIL’s operating hours were adjusted in the fall 2007 semester in response to several factors, including budget reductions, safety concerns for late night visitors, and physical security of the computing equipment.

eDesktop is the university’s virtual computer lab, accessible through Argus on the Software tab. The virtual computer lab is available to all students, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Offerings on eDesktop include many of the same software titles available in physical computing facilities, such as Microsoft Office 2007, Adobe Creative Suite, and several lesser known applications that support students in a variety of disciplines. Student use of eDesktop has increased nearly 60% when comparing fall 2007 log-ins to fall 2008.


Video Conferencing; Scopia Desktop

In the past year, the university has enhanced its video conferencing environment by installing nine new and updated video conferencing facilities. These video conferencing facilities are available for both instructional and administrative use and have great potential for reaching nontraditional students and reducing travel expenses for university employees. As part of the expansion, the university now has a web-to-video conferencing service known as Scopia Desktop. At present, this tool can be used to facilitate video conferences where each person in the conference participates from his or her own computer.  In the future, Scopia Desktop will enable users to connect to a video conference system from their personal computers.


Elluminate Use Increases 145%

The Elluminate Online Classroom is UWF's synchronous distance learning tool, which allows instructors and students to communicate in real-time, thereby enhancing an instructor's ability to engage students in a robust, interactive way. In fall 2007 semester, 273 Elluminate sessions were established; in the fall 2008, 670 sessions were established - an increase of 145%. Elluminate recently released version 9, which includes multiple video feeds. Now up to six cameras can display simultaneously. Elluminate is available to all UWF faculty and staff. For more information on Elluminate, see Getting Started with Elluminate.


Information Navigator Reports

Need to know the status of a purchase order?  Interested in the enrollment progress for courses in your program?  Want an alphabetical list of all active UWF employees with building number, room number, and phone?
 
Information Navigator, UWF’s online portal for management information, now offers over 275 reports sponsored by 17 different departments. Information Navigator is located in Argus on the "My Office" tab in the "Administrative Tasks" channel and in the "Banner ERP System" channel. You can also add an “IN” tab to Argus. For more information on Information Navigator see Getting Started with Information Navigator.

Reports with answers to above three questions: PROC000010, ENS000007, OHR000052.


Security Awareness

Information Technology Services spends a great deal of time and resources securing the university's network and protecting university data, but it takes more. Every employee must be aware of the security threats that a university faces and how to avoid or reduce these threats. Visit the ITS Security Awareness web site for information on this month’s topic: Identity Theft. 


New Acting Help Desk Manager

At the end of 2008, Nona Castleberry accepted the position of Acting ITS Help Desk Manager. Nona previously led the Help Desk’s phone and email support and will now oversee all ITS Help Desk operations. Nona is open to your feedback regarding Help Desk services and can be reached at ncastleberry@uwf.edu.

ITS Help Desk | Bldg. 79 | 11000 University Pkwy. | Pensacola, FL 32514 | (850) 474-2075 | Campus Map | Text Only