UNCP boosts computer networks for students
From Summer Staff Reports

student computing lab
Student computer lab
Photo courtesy DoIT

Following preparations by the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) for the 2011-2012 academic year, students this fall will:

SAGE. The student early alert system, SAGE, works in concert with the Center for Aacdemic Excellence's TutorTrac as a Web service helping students needing academic assistance.

Classroom PCs. Some 70 classrooms in the Herbert G. Oxendine Science Building and 14 classrooms in the Business Administration Building will have new computers when students return to campus for fall semester. PCs in all classrooms and labs across campus will have their operating system software upgraded to Windows 7.

Eset. DoIT has acquired new virus protection software for the campus. The software, called Eset, will replace McAfee software on computers using the Windows operating system. Eset offers virus and security protection for both PCs, as well as Macintosh machines when running Windows, with features meeting or exceeding McAfee at a lower cost.

HMS. Returning residential students have been obtaining their residence hall room assignments using the Housing Management System (HMS) on the Web. DoIT staff member Myra Moody is working with the Office of Housing and Residence Life to enable new students to apply for housing online.

When Cypress Hall opens in August, students will find both wired and wireless networks. In addition, DoIT's client services group has added a student network support person to assist students with residential network (ResNet) issues.

Meanwhile, DoIT's network services group has implemented a new access control system for ResNet, the network for residential students. The new system, SafeConnect, will increase bandwidth and protection for network users while reducing the complexity of using ResNet.

Virtualization. The new desktop virtualization system will enhance service and software access for students, at reduced cost. Projects using virtualization will include some new student computer facilities.

"The ever-expanding virtual server environment will experience a turbo boost from 1GB to 10GB connectivity and an increase in overall capacity as our continuing network refresh project provides additional resources," according to Dr. Robert L. Orr, associate vice chancellor for information resources and CIO.

"The virtual environment is a collection of high capacity servers that combine to provide a growing pool of virtual servers that can be used to provide central services for the campus, specific applications for academic or administrative departmental needs, and virtual machines or applications for use in student labs and classrooms," Orr said.

NCREN. The Microelectronics Center of North Carolina (MCNC) is installing a so-called Community Anchor Point on campus as part of a project to expand the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN). MCNC is an independent, non-profit organization that uses advanced networking technologies to improve learning and collaboration throughout North Carolina's K-20 education community. The company was initially funded by the North Carolina State Government in 1980 as a catalyst for technology-based economic development. While MCNC is the company, NCREN is its network product. The highly-reliable, cost-efficient NCREN is one of the nation's first and one of the world's leading statewide regional optical networks.

The project includes installation of 1,200 miles of new fiber-optics cable throughout 69 North Carolina counties and provides nearly unlimited bandwidth for K-12 schools, universities, community colleges, public health facilities and other community institutions. UNCP will have dual connections to the network across diverse geographical paths helping to ensure a high quality and available connection to the Internet.

Document imaging. The university's business-related document imaging project is moving forward under the guidance of Director of IT Planning and Budgeting Maureen Windmeyer, who is coordinating the project with the offices of financial aid and admissions and the controller’s office. The project team visited UNC Wilmington to observe their imaging processes. DoIT staff member Ken Brayboy imported thousands of documents for the School of Education (SoE) as part of early implementation activities. DoIT will be training SoE faculty and staff on the software and working with additional offices.

EMS. A new event management system (EMS) is in use at the University Center and other departments scheduling events. EMS replaces the older campus event calendar.

WebFOCUS. DoIT staff members Tammy Locklear, Jonathan Lowery and Maureen Windmeyer are migrating data reporting into a new WebFOCUS service that replaces two older systems – Cognos ReportNet and Reporting Web Application (RWA). The new system lets users easier access data from Banner and other applications.

DoIT's network services group also will be finalizing new distribution and data center networks. The old network and data center design knocked a large portion of campus offline when equipment malfunctioned, was damaged, or power or connectivity was lost. The new network has a higher level of redundancy, which gives it a higher tolerance for single points of failure. This will allow people to remain connected during network problems.

Postini. DoIT is implementing Google Postini email security services, which provide anti-spam and anti-virus protection plus automatic archiving of email messages. With it, users are able to customize their own email whitelists and blacklists and recover lost or deleted email messages.

See the DoIT website for more information.