You are here

DOIT Newsletter - Spring 2018

A Message from the Vice President / Chief Information Officer

Greetings from the Division of Information Technology (DoIT)!

I am pleased to bring you the second issue of our DoIT Newsletter. We have made a lot of progress with our technology initiatives and services since we sent our first newsletter in fall, 2017.

In this issue, our newsletter will focus on the highlights of our Smart Campus Initiative. Partnering with a number of campus offices and units, DoIT has launched the Smart Campus Initiative. The goal of the Smart Campus Initiative is to leverage technology to enhance campus services and facilitate teaching, learning, and research. Our Smart Campus Initiative projects are helping remove barriers for our campus community and the general public to access existing and new campus services more easily. The Smart Campus Initiative was launched in the fall of 2017. We believe that strategic investment in the Smart Campus Initiative will lead to more effective and efficient campus services and will help advance CSULB to the next level of excellence. Over time and as needed, new projects will be added to the Smart Campus Initiative. Below is information on some of our Smart Campus Initiative projects. Detailed information about the Smart Campus Initiative is available on the project website.

We are also excited to announce that a second campus Technology Help Desk (THD) location will be coming soon to complete our goal of providing THD support on both upper and lower campus. Thanks to a partnership between DoIT and the University Library, a second THD location will open on the fifth floor of the University Library. The current THD location in the Horn Center on lower campus will continue to offer support as well.

We hope you will enjoy reading our 2nd DoIT Newsletter.

Min Yao, PhD
Vice President & Chief Information Officer

Smart Campus Initiative Projects – In Progress

eSignature (DocuSign)

In an effort to reduce the use of paper and speed up document routing process among and within offices, DoIT has secured a campus-wide license for using DocuSign, an easy-to-use, full-featured, web-based application for signing/sending documents, creating forms, and managing document routing. DocuSign is a cloud-based eSignature application that can be accessed anywhere and anytime on most computing devices and provides an audit trail of signatures. eSignature reduces turn-around time, reduces manual staff labor, and provides the opportunity to increase efficiency related to routing campus forms and documents for signature. DocuSign allows for secure delivery of official University documents and is valid and legally binding around the world. With DocuSign, the process of signing and approving documents can be completely paperless, cutting down on the need for storing copies, mail costs, and imaging. eSignature provides faculty, students, and staff a secure, effective, and fast way to sign and route documents anytime, anywhere in the world. The following offices will soon leverage DocuSign as our eSignature solution in their services:

  • Business Forms (HR and Financial Management)
  • Student Forms (Enrollment Services and Faculty Affairs)
  • Contracts (Procurement Office)

This project will help us reduce the volume of paper used on campus beginning in FY 2018/19 and further reduce paper as we broaden the use of eSignature to more business units and departments.

Digital Displays and Wayfinding

Beginning in Spring 2017/18, we started rolling out Digital Signage – a network of electronic displays on a shared common technology platform, which uses our campus single sign-on solution and offers the flexibility for campus offices to manage and update the content of their digital displays to communicate important information to the campus community and visitors. Digital signage will be able to display text, graphics, webpages, streaming video, or video messages. In addition, the digital signage platform will enable the University Police Department to broadcast emergency messages when needed. The Division of Information Technology will provide the Digital Signage player unit to campus offices and departments interested in using Digital Signage with their own displays to present their events, marketing messages, or general information. Digital displays can provide interactive electronic campus maps and be used in conjunction with directional wayfinding around campus. The College of Business is an early adopter for piloting digital displays. Please feel free to visit the College of Business building to experience their interactive faculty and staff directory at the entrance of the two elevators and their automated digital message boards throughout their building. Other areas have set up digital displays as pilot sites, including DoIT, Associated Students Inc., College of Engineering, College of Education, College of the Arts, and University Relations and Development. Other planned locations include the new College of Continuing & Professional Education building, the remodeled PH2 building, and the entrances to Academic Technology Services, President’s suite, Provost’s suite, and Student Affairs suite.

OneCard

In partnership with several campus offices, we are actively expanding the CSULB ID card to be a multi-purpose “OneCard”, allowing access to more campus services and payment transactions. CSULB already uses the campus ID card for services such as student meal plans and paying for print services. Recently added functions include the ability for students to transfer money onto the card (“BeachBucks”) through a mobile app instead of having to visit a campus kiosk to do so. We plan to add more functions to the campus’s ID card, in phases and as pilot projects, to move the current campus ID card toward being a multiple-function unified access card to campus services. Additional planned functionality includes a pilot at Beachside housing to allow students to use the card or a mobile app for access to dorm rooms and pay for laundry services. Over time, other campus buildings could be accessed with OneCard instead of traditional keys. Other additional functionality for a OneCard could be using it to pay for Uber or Lyft, tracking attendance at campus events, and allowing students to provide their own photo submissions for the card.

Digital RTP (Interfolio’s ByCommittee)

In 2017, DoIT facilitated a series of meetings with the Office of Faculty Affairs and ATS to review solutions for digitizing the reappointment, tenure, and promotion (RTP) process. After a comprehensive review of prevailing solutions, Interfolio’s ByCommittee was selected and is being implemented with selected colleges as a pilot project.

Student Virtual Lab

The Division of Information Technology and Academic Technology Services have jointly deployed a virtual computer lab (SVL) for students. The virtual computer lab allows our students to access campus-licensed software programs anytime, anywhere as long as there is a connection to the internet. Many of these software programs are too expensive for students to purchase on their own, but students need them to complete coursework and class assignments. We currently offer the following core campus licensed software programs via the virtual computer lab in the first phase of the project:

  • ArcGIS
  • Minitab
  • MATLAB
  • SAS
  • SPSS
  • Office 2016
  • Web Browsers (Internet Explorer and Google Chrome)

As funding is available, the SVL environment will expand to include additional software and hardware needed to accommodate more users. If you are interested in accessing the SVL for your classes or have campus licensed software you would like added to the SVL, please contact DoIT-ServiceManagement@csulb.edu.

High Performance Computing Environment

The Division of Information Technology has built a campus-wide High Performance Computing (HPC) environment for faculty who need powerful research computing capacity in their pursuit of excellence in teaching and research.  This service is currently being piloted by a group of faculty and will be available for full service in summer 2018. Unlike traditional computers or stand-alone servers, this campus-wide HPC environment is a shared cluster of aggregated high-capacity computational devices optimized for conducting research investigations that utilizes a scheduling system to prioritize and process research-oriented computations. that utilizes a scheduling system to prioritize and process research-oriented computations. Scheduled computing jobs will be queued, coordinated, and executed based on agreed priority order. This campus-wide HPC features a robust and expandable computing configuration, is housed in a Tier-3 data center, maintained by DoIT, and governed by a faculty HPC steering committee. While this research facility will be available for all CSULB faculty, the principle investigators (PIs) and faculty who invest in this centrally managed HPC facility will have priority to the resources they purchased in addition to the idle computing capacity that may be available.

Smart Campus Initiative Projects – Completed

Cloud-based Email/Calendar Service

In January of 2018, and as an effort to offer more cost-effective services, DoIT successfully migrated all CSULB employees’ email and calendar accounts to the Microsoft Office 365 cloud service. The new cloud-based email/calendar provides increased email storage for all faculty and staff and will save approximately $175,000 per year by leveraging Microsoft’s educational cloud service.

Faculty Research Experience and Expertise (FREE)

FREE was introduced to the campus community last October. It is a searchable electronic database that includes research experience and expertise of faculty at CSULB. The purpose of the FREE is to foster research collaborations and partnerships among faculty at CSULB, colleagues at other educational institutions, industry partners, and government agencies.

BeachBites

BeachBites is a mobile food app that is available for CSULB students who are iOS or Android users. The app alerts students to available food from on-campus catered events and meetings.

Coming Soon: Additional Technology Help Desk Location

We are pleased to announce that, through a partnership with the University Library, a second Technology Help Desk (THD) location will open in April on the fifth floor of the University Library. THD hours in the Library will be from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The current THD location in the Horn Center on lower campus will continue to offer support from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. By having a THD presence on both upper and lower campus, we will provide more technology support to the campus community. The THD provides in person, email (helpdesk@csulb.edu), or phone support (5-4959) for campus technology services such as BeachBoard, Office365, SSO, wireless network access, password resets, and FTP access.

Did You Know…?

  • The campus THD received and responded to over 60,000 technology help request tickets and over 96,000 calls between 2014 to 2017.
  • Over 40,000 unique mobile devices use the campus wireless network on an average day. Usage increases to 50,000 unique mobile devices on the wireless network on peak days during first week of the semester.
  • Our campus’ annual TechDay will occur on November 7, 2018 this year. It will be located at the Speaker’s Platform in front of the Bookstore. We hope to see you there!

Tech Tip

Search for commonly used employee business forms by keyword, department, or alphabetical list from the "Forms" button in the campus single sign-on service (SSO)