Boise State University recently introduced two significant enterprise system upgrades. Taleo Talent Acquisition was rolled out in June of this year, while Oracle Financials Cloud (OFC) went live in July.
The goals of these projects were varied, and included automating and modernizing our systems and processes, improving the quality and accuracy of information, and allowing resources to refocus on our core missions.
Both projects were tremendous undertakings, with Financial Services, Human Resource Services, and the Office of Information Technology leading the efforts. However, all colleges and departments had opportunities to participate in the project processes.
While the transition to any new system is difficult, we are experiencing several challenges that must be addressed. This is the highest priority for Finance, HRS, OIT, Sponsored Projects, and our vendor partner Oracle to resolve as quickly as possible.
HRS and OIT are working together with colleges and departments using Taleo to better understand pain points introduced by the new system. Our objective is to listen to the campus to understand the issues, identify changes to streamline processes and intake where possible, and create a lean recruitment process that works for the entire campus.
Finance, Sponsored Projects and OIT have also been meeting with colleges and departments, listening to concerns and identifying issues surrounding the transition to our new Oracle Financials Cloud system. Along with Oracle, we are working diligently to resolve known issues, including problems with reporting and grants data.
We’re making progress; new reports will be available to the campus in the next few weeks, and we’ve identified the cause of the grants data issues and are determining the best solution to correct the information. As soon as reporting and grants data issues are resolved, we’ll start focusing on additional campus improvements for the OFC system.
The Office of Information Technology, our University partners and Oracle are committed to doing everything we can to make these systems work better for you.
– Max Davis-Johnson
Questions and feedback are encouraged. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Cutchin, associate professor of computer science, has been named the new director of the Research Computing department at Boise State University, following the retirement of previous director Brian McDevitt.
Research Computing assists researchers and faculty with centralized high-performance computing, visualization and programming support. In addition, the department works to centralize and improve support for the university’s cyberinfrastructure computing assets.
Cyberinfrastructure includes research environments that support computing and information processing services distributed over the Internet beyond the scope of a single institution. These include advanced data acquisition, data storage, data management, data integration, data mining and data visualization.
“It is an exciting time to be at Boise State University. There’s significant growth throughout the university and opportunities to develop new research are developing in a variety of areas,” Cutchin said. “I am looking forward to growing the university’s computational research infrastructure and developing programs that enable our faculty and researchers to impact the national cyberinfrastructure ecosystem.”
Inbox by Gmail is now available at Boise State! Inbox is an alternative way to access your emails that lets you bundle emails together, set reminders for emails, and more.
Inbox is a completely different way to organize your mailbox. It treats emails as to-dos, assuming you’ll do more with them than just read them. Instead of having options such as “mark as read” and “archive,” you’ll see things like:
- Bundles – group similar emails together (Labels you’ve created in Gmail will appear as bundles in Inbox.)
- Reminders – create tasks and to-do lists within email
- Snooze – set emails or reminders to appear in your inbox again at a later date
- Pin – pin important emails to the inbox to find them easily
- Done – mark finished emails as Done and they’ll be archived
- Sweep – archive all unpinned emails from a certain bundle or time period
Inbox and Gmail have many of the same features and stay in sync automatically. (So whatever you do in one carries over to the other.) Best of all, you can switch between Inbox and Gmail at any time.
To access Inbox, visit inbox.google.com.
Training sessions for Inbox will be offered in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can find information about Inbox, including step-by-step instructions and tips and tricks, at the Google Apps Learning Center.
If you like Inbox and plan to use it regularly, you can add the link to your myBoiseState Resources menu for easier access. Instructions on how to customize your Resources can be found by visiting the Office of Information Technology website.
If you have questions or would like more information about Inbox, please contact the OIT Help Desk at email@example.com, or call 208-426-4357.
Apple will release the newest version of its desktop/laptop operating system, macOS Sierra, on Tuesday, September 20.
New features in macOS Sierra features include Siri integration, improved handoff capabilities between Apple devices, and an easier method of managing disk space.
The Office of Information Technology asks you to delay upgrading University-owned computers to the new macOS until we complete testing to ensure all standard University software is compatible with the operating system.
We’ll let you know when the testing is complete.
For more information about macOS Sierra, visit Apple’s website.
If you have questions, contact the Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 208-426-4357.
Max Davis-Johnson talks about what the Office of Information Technology has been up to over the past few months, and our areas of emphasis for the Fall 2016 semester:
Max loves feedback…feel free to contact him directly at email@example.com.
Hi, this is Max Davis-Johnson, Boise State University, Office of Information Technology.
Today I want to highlight a few of the things that we’ve accomplished recently, and then I want to talk a little bit about some of the things we will emphasize going forward here at the beginning of Fall semester 2016.
So, one of the things we’re going to certainly emphasize here moving forward is our move to the Cloud.
And we’ve started some things with our financial system and our talent acquisition system, Taleo, but there’s a lot we still need to do to make those more usable, more solution-driven to what the institution needs.
So, that will be a major point of emphasis here, especially at the beginning of the Fall semester.
We’re going to looking to expand our analytic capability, and whether that’s finanical information, more student-oriented information, that also will be a point of emphasis for us moving forward.
One of the new things we’ve done this year is we’ve opened up a new Zone here in Keiser Hall, in the residence hall center.
The idea is that we’re right in the middle of activity with students.
We have 2,000 customers in the area here, and this way we can support them directly.
myBoiseState is another area where we’ve made some significant enhancements.
We’ve rolled out a new iteration with a lot better plumbing behind it.
So we now have the ability to start adding things, adding services, adding individualized content based on on who you are, and as we move forward the University will be adapting a lot of this functionality.
We’ve been able to combine services with several of the colleges.
We are now providing support — all the technical support — for the College of Business, the College of Health Sciences, School of Public Service.
We have now expanded our support of classrooms to include departmental-owned classrooms.
This will give us the ability to get a consistent level of technology into more classrooms.
It will give us the ability to be more pro-active in our support of classrooms, and at the end of the day it will give faculty a common experience across all our classrooms.
And more importantly it will give students a common technology that can be leveraged in all our classrooms going forward.
Customer service will be another area of emphasis for us.
We always emphasize customer service.
It’s part of our culture.
We work to provide online tools, whether that’s changing your password, online content.
But at the same time we can’t forget the human element of customer service, so we want to be as responsive as we can to you, we want to listen to you, and more importantly as we understand your needs we want to work directly with you to craft solutions to meet your needs.
So, one of the other things that we’re putting in place right now is the new REEF Polling system.
Basically, this is a polling system designed for classroom use, and this will be available in every classroom.
What’s really neat about this is, instead of buying — having to go to the Bookstore to buy an individual clicking device or polling device, there’s actually software that you can load on your smartphone that would allow you to be part of this without buying a hardware device.
So I think it will give us a lot more flexibility as an institution and a lot more ability within a classroom to have people partake in the polling system.
One of the other things we’ve done too, we’re evolving to a software-based classroom or lecture capture system.
Before we were hardware-based, which somewhat limited our ability to get it in as many classrooms as possible.
Since we are now evolving to a software-based system, we now have that capability or can have that capability in the majority of our 130 classrooms that are centrally supported.
Accessibility is extremely important to us. I’m talking about web accessibility, technology accessibility.
It’s not only important to OIT, but it’s important to the campus.
And, we’re going to be looking at initiatives to help sustain our accessibility, to help remediate things that need remediated.
And again, not only making customer service part of our culture, but web accessibility a very important part of our culture.
That’s not just in OIT, but all across the University.
There’s a lot going on across the University, in OIT, we’re always looking for feedback, we’re always looking for help with, “Are we working on the right things?”
Do you have some new ideas that can make a difference from how we leverage or use technology?
We want to hear from you.
Thank you for listening, and until next time…
The Office of Information Technology has made Virtual Private Network (VPN) services available to all faculty and staff, free of charge. Previously, these services were available only after contacting the Help Desk.
VPN allows remote access to specific University networks and systems (like department network drives) so you can work remotely as if you’re on campus. It also provides security when connecting to unknown networks like hotels or coffee shops.
For system requirements, download links, and instructions on how to install and use the VPN software, visit the Office of Information Technology website.
As a reminder, when using VPN, you are subject to the University’s Remote Access policy. To review the policy, see the Boise State University Policy Manual, Section VIII, Policy #8130.
If you have questions about VPN or need assistance installing the software, please contact the Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (208) 426-4357.
The Office of Information Technology is offering several of training sessions for instructors in September.
10 Tips to Save You Time with Blackboard!
Tuesday, September 6
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Riverfront Hall Rm 301
Join OIT’s Learning Technologist Jenn Weddel to learn 10 simple things you can do right now to save yourself time in Blackboard. This workshop will introduce some time-saving tips for course management, grading and course creation with Blackboard. The workshop presentation will run for 50 minutes, with an additional 30 minutes after for questions and hands-on help.
Using REEF Polling by i<clicker with Blackboard
Wednesday, September 7
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Riverfront Hall Rm 301
Join OIT’s Learning Technology Solutions team for tips and tricks using REEF Polling by i>clicker, and synchronizing REEF Polling with Blackboard. We will walk you through Blackboard integration, and how to modify your settings in REEF.
Tips and Strategies for Using Digital Video for Instruction
Thursday, September 8
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Riverfront Hall Rm 301
An unfathomable amount of digital video content is viewed by billions of people every day for learning and entertainment. Learn how to leverage this popular medium in your course. Presenters Brian Martin (from the IDEA Shop) and Leif Nelson (from OIT) will talk about the scholarship and best practices for instructional video, as well as Boise State supported tools for creating, editing, and streaming instructional video content.
Additional learning opportunities are available through OIT’s Learning Technology Solutions department. View the complete schedule on our Learning Technology Solutions website.
We’ve excited to announce our newest Zone location in Keiser Hall, which marks our fifth Zone and the first within the heart of Boise State’s residential life.
According to Mark Fitzgerald, Director of Customer Care, “Our new Help Desk @ The Zone location in Keiser Hall opens up access and services where students live and study. We hope not only to become a greater part of the student experience, but also help students in their academic success at the University.”
Similar to existing Zone locations in the Interactive Learning Center, SUB, Multipurpose Building, and MBEB Buildings, the new Help Desk @ The Zone – Keiser Hall offers a wide variety of technology service and support resources, including equipment checkout (laptops, tablets, calculators, etc.), hardware and software assistance.
BroncoPrint scan/print/copy service is also available, as are public computer kiosks.
“Our Zones have been a phenomenal success,” says Fitzgerald, “and a model many throughout higher ed and business have sought our guidance on how to run.”
The new Help Desk @ The Zone – Keiser Hall is located in the building’s lobby, and is open 10:00 am – 7:00 pm Monday – Thursday & Friday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm during the Fall 2016 semester.
The Office of Information Technology (OIT) is implementing a new computer restart policy to ensure all computers receive security, software and operating system updates in a timely manner.
Computers that aren’t restarted regularly may have out-of-date software, and can pose a security risk to the Boise State network.
OIT recommends restarting your computer at least on a weekly basis. (For example, rebooting when you leave for the day on Fridays.) If you are already in the habit of doing this, keep it up! If you aren’t, now is a great time to start.
Computers that have not been rebooted within 7 days of receiving Windows updates will be automatically scheduled to restart. When this happens, you will see a “Restart in Progress” notice appear on your computer:
You’ll have the option to postpone the restart for a maximum of 6 hours. After that time, the machine will restart automatically without any additional warning.
We don’t want you to risk losing any unsaved work, so we strongly suggest finding a time to regularly restart your computer. This would be a great way to use Google Calendar’s reminder feature! (Learn how to create reminders in Calendar by visiting Google’s support website.)
If you have any questions about this restart policy, please contact the Help Desk at email@example.com or call (208) 426-4357.
Oracle recently featured Chief Technology Officer Max Davis-Johnson in a video articulating our use of Oracle’s BI Cloud Service to discover important trends happening in students’ academic activities.
Professors and administrators use these insights to help guide students on their path towards graduation.
“You look at what you do in higher education from a technology standpoint, you have a lot of diversity.”
“You use transactional systems, you do research, you do classroom technology, you do consumer technology, you have open networks, and we need the ability to look at trends. What factors make students successful? And, what are early warning indicators…maybe we need to reach out and intervene?”
“We’re trying to bring all this diverse data into one place so we can start doing analytics. BI Cloud Service is one of our mechanisms.”
“Our long-term goal will be to bring up student information, course information, teaching loads. It’s very important to us to determine the cost of instruction, the cost of graduation. These all drive a lot of decisions about what programs we move forward, how we do outreach, all these types of things from a university perspective.”
“It’s critical that we have a clear understanding of the analytic capability of all our data, not just partial. That where we see BIX giving us the ability to get the data into one place, but then also the ability to report on it uniformly.”
“The benefits of BIX…I think just the ability to have a ‘single source of truth’ so to speak, not just enterprise ‘ERP’ type data, but student activity over time, learning management system data, a variety of other things that we want to use. Indicators determining are students are on track, do we need to intervene…BIX gives us the analytic capability to do that.”
“Just from a user perspective, most of the interaction that decision-makers have with the system, they aren’t in it at the transactional level, they’re in it at the analytic level, so the information they get, whether it’s visual or it’s through reports…that’s really what drives the university.”
For more information about Boise State’s experience with Oracle BI Cloud Service, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.