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More features than e-mail

By Bryan Stewart
Staff Writer

The Division of Information Technology, the new name for UCIS, has updated the university’s computer services this summer.

UCIS now is simply known as DoIT.

“We’re working with people in new ways.” said Robert Orr, associate vice chancellor for information resources and Chief Information Officer.

One such way is the implementation of new student and faculty e-mail.

Faculty e-mail

Faculty will be using Microsoft Outlook, which also has a web counterpart called Outlook Web Access. This program fully functions on Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Safari and allows users to access their e-mail, contacts, folders and calendars through their web browser.

Student e-mail

Windows Live will replace current webmail. Students can use the program to access several e-mail accounts.
According to a newsletter released by DoIT, named DoIT Today, the program also offers:
•5GB of space
•Spam, virus filters
•Windows Live Messenger
•Password protected online file storage space
•Windows Live Spaces, a social networking platform
•Live Search, Microsoft’s search engine
•Drag-and-drop organization
•Ability to send e-mail via mobile device

“It has a lot more features than just e-mail.” Orr said.

Another change initiated by DoIT is the update of Blackboard to version 7.3.

Blackboard Update

Some of the new features on Blackboard include new Discussion Board capabilities such as the “tree view”, which allows for easier navigation between posts and threads. Blackboard 7.3 also has the ability to eventually tie in Blackboard to the Library Reserves system.

The new system runs on the new servers, which should help keep Blackboard running throughout the school year.

In the past, whenever Blackboard would crash or passwords would be lost, students would have to call the Help Desk. It would occasionally end up a frustrating endeavor.

Support System

Coming with the new upgrade, DoIT plans to have issues solved by speaking to representatives from Blackboard’s customer support team.

Orr said he hopes that the new system will “better personalize the service.”

Students can call (866) 518-3954 or visit www.uncp.edu/doit/help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the Blackboard help desk Online Support Center.

With any new system there are usually issues, such as the one experienced recently with the password changes when trying to access Blackboard.

According to Orr, it was to help re-sync all of the new passwords and keep everyone on the same page.

DoIT plans to eventually upgrade again to a version released earlier this year.

DoIT divisions
DoIT consists of five new departments:
• the Office of the CIO
• Client Services
• Applications Development and Support
• Network and System Administration
• The University Media Center, which provides an equipment checkout for the classroom.

Backup plan

DoIT now has the ability to keep the University’s technology system running in case of emergency by using two redundant servers, one in Lumbee Hall and the other in the Oxendine Science Building.

If a server crashes, with the flip of a switch the other will pick up right where it left off.

So students won’t realize it happened, but DoIT will.

For more information about DoIT, visit the Division of Information’s website at www.uncp.edu/doit/.

 

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Updated: June 18, 2008
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