UNMC Education Technology

Educational Technology Update – July 7, 2011

Educational Technology Update – July 7, 2011

This is an update on UNMC classroom educational technology activities currently underway, completed or planned for the next few months.

Classroom Technology Updates and Changes

As in past summers, UNMC ITS is updating classroom, labs and cluster computers and technology.  Most of the updates this summer are related to server replacement, software updates and upgrades to more current editions, and adjustments to enhance performance of computers and av technology.  The major updates and upgrades include the conversion of Blackboard to new servers that will allow us to run the 64bit edition of Blackboard, Campuspack blogs and wikis are being updated by Learning Objects on July 17, 2011; and upgrading the Citrix system to the latest version and installing new servers for desktop streaming and the deployment of Xen Apps for virtualizing computer applications.  The following provides detail on the changes and updates currently being undertaken in campus classrooms, clusters and campus learning resources.

2011 Education Technology Updates and Changes (recent or completed in bold)

Major Hardware Changes

  • Sorrell 4009 and 4024 – Conversion to local boot instead of Citrix for College of Medicine conference rooms – TBD
  • Sorrell 3001 and 3002 – Redundant Echo recording capability – January 2011
  • Bennett Hall – Information panels in Hallways – installed and operational June 13, 2011
  • Pharmacy College – Replaced computers in cluster with new computers – February 2011
  • Nursing Cluster, 4th floor CON – removing cluster, space being reused by CON – tbd June/July 2011
  • College of Nursing – Omaha, 4th floor – removing cluster, space being reused by CON – tbd
  • BMC 2086 and 2087 – New projector and computer installations, mounting projectors in conference rooms – July 2011

Major Hardware Fixes

  • Sorrell events center – replacement of microphones to resolve interference issue. – completed June 20,2011

Echo360

  • Upgraded to current release June 2, 2011
  • Upgrading to Release 3 version released in July 2011, July 8, 2008
  • Enhancements to reliability and management console primarily.
  • Next release due July, will provide enhanced mobile viewer and additional recording capabilities with new recorder that provides HD capability.
  • Upgrade to be scheduled based on stability of release and added features.

Blackboard

  • Servers being upgraded (current servers are over 3 years old and cannot run in 64bit mode which should provide more 2 times processing improvement and enhanced reliability). – installed and in testing June 27, 2011
  • Proposed availability week of July 18, 2011.  We are waiting on update to Learning Objects new version release the weekend of July 16 which will provide full compatibility with the latest version of Blackboard. – Week of July 16 full availability.
  • Software will be the same as currently being run with the addition of patches to latest version.
  • Current system my8.unmc.edu will be maintained for a couple of months until all courses have been moved and courses have been started for fall semester.
  • New server will be called the generic name of my.unmc.edu.
  • Upgrade tentatively planned for week of July 16, 2011.
  • No major interface or feature changes for faculty and students using the system.
  • New mobile Blackboard due sometime summer 2011, to include classroom mobile apps.

Campuspack Blog and Wikis – these are now hosted by the software company and are being updated to a new version – July 14, 2011

Respondus Lockdown Browser – continued contract for the coming year with COM grant – contract renewed June 2011

Computer Upgrades/Refreshes

  • Sorrell 1012 – Replacing laptop computers with Dell 790 Ultra-Small form factor desktops with integrated stand and monitor.  Computers ordered, arrival 6/21/2011, installation in July 2011.
  • Library 8th floor computer training room – Replacing 6 year old Dell computers with Dell 790 desktop computers, installation July 2011
  • Library 8th floor computer updates – Replaced 4 year old computers with new Dell 980 desktops – June 6, 2011
  • Reviewing possible replacement of Sorrell 1005, 2010, 2014, 2018, 3001, 3002 computer to latest dell models – Dell 790 desktop computers. – Waiting to determine that units provide significant improvement before scheduling install.

Computer Software

  • Citrix Servers being upgraded to faster and larger servers, partially completed with first server in place, others to be added as conversion to latest edition of citrix streaming servers occur.
  • Citrix Software Upgrade – Upgrading from current version 5 to latest Citrix release 6 which provides additional performance improvements, enhanced speed of transfer to workstations and complete support for Windows 7.

Classroom and cluster computers – Converting campus classroom computers to Windows 7.  The basic image has been as close as possible to the current computer image that uses Windows XP.  Windows XP support is being phased out by Microsoft and it is increasingly having problems running educational apps as well as the latest Microsoft Office software.  The conversion has begun in selected locations as we test the software and Citrix delivery system.  The following are the rough timelines for these conversions:

  • Cluster and Lab Updates and Upgrades – Convert to new Citrix server and windows 7, update all application software and drivers, no new applications to be added.
Locations Conversion Dates
Cluster 8th Floor Library completed June 10, 2011
Cluster 6th Floor Library completed June 13, 2011
Pharmacy Cluster completed June 15, 2011
Sorrell Cluster completed June 22, 2011
Student Life Center Cluster completed June 14, 2011
Anatomy Labs tbd, July or early August
COPH computer classroom and lab completed June 17, 2011
CON cluster completed June 17, 2011

 

  • Classroom Updates and Upgrades - Convert to new Citrix server or switch to local computer control software Deep Freeze (provide faster boot and performance) and windows 7, update all application software and drivers, no new applications to be added.

Locations Conversion Dates Priority Update Order
Sorrell 1010 July 7, 2011 1
Sorrell 1012 July 6, 2011, computers received June 21,2011 Early July
Sorrell Clinical Skills July 2011 As soon as image is tested.
Sorrell 1005, 2010, 2014, 2018 July 2011 3
Sorrell 3001 and 3002 July 2011 2
Sorrell small group rooms, 22 rooms, including review of SmartBoard functionality. July 2011 4
COPH computer classroom and lab June 27, 2011 Completed
Pharmacy classrooms July 2011 5
COPH Classrooms June, 2011 Currently working
Wittson Hall classrooms July 2011 7
CON Classrooms July 2011 6
ITS Conference Rooms converted June 13, 2011 When others are completed
Other campus classrooms and conference rooms July 2011 8
College of Nursing Lincoln computer upgrade being planned, funding needs to be identified – TBD, still this summer if at all possible Working

 

UNMC Educational Technology Web Pages and Information – http://blog.unmc.edu/edtech/

June 28, 2011, Daniel L. Moser