Campus Fiber Optic Installation

ITS members standing by exposed fiber optic cable in ground

Often referred to as the “fifth” utility, alongside power, water, sewer and roads, fiber optic cable enables communications at the speed of light. A fiber ring is created when a distribution headend is formed. For UWG, that’s the Boyd Data Center then each building on campus is connected in a ring design and ultimately the fiber makes a continuous loop back to the distribution headend. A redundant fiber ring is created when a second bi-directional ring is established at the distribution headend.

The new redundant fiber ring will vastly expand the amount of fiber optic cables available for use by networking, facilities, university police, housing and various other departments on campus that rely on UWG’s fiber optic infrastructure. Our current fiber backbone is near capacity in several areas on campus and with growth throughout the years many buildings have been added onto the fiber backbone eliminating a true ring design. As the speed of technology increases and students, faculty and staff require more bandwidth the fiber optic cable does not have to be upgraded, only the network electronics connected to it. 

After 5+ years of planning, feasibility studies and budgeting, construction started in March 2019. Currently, underground boring is taking place across campus to install the framework needed to house the fiber optic cable. Construction completion is scheduled for August 2019 and networking will then migrate campus buildings onto the new ring.

Wireless Content Sharing on Campus

Room with tables, computer monitors, and projection screens.

Wireless Audio Visual (AV) connection is finally here.

You may have heard about using flexible learning spaces, collaborative work areas, and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) technologies to enhance the teaching and learning experience. Each brings unique enhancements as well as technical challenges. 

One exciting new technology to address this on campus is Solstice Wireless AV. This device provides BYOD and University equipment with the ability to share information wirelessly. Using the Solstice App, students and faculty can share images and videos on Apple, Android, and Windows devices from their chair without having to connect to a wire at the teacher’s station. You must be connected to the UWG wireless network to use this technology.

The first Solstice PODs were installed last fall as part of the Biology Building renovation. Since then, more have been added to several rooms across campus. They are part of the new AV standard design and will eventually be in most of the teaching spaces and many administrative spaces on campus.    

These devices can be used by students for collaboration or class presentation. Faculty can use them to quickly display content from various sources. Staff can use them in conference rooms to display primary content or collaborate on projects.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact the ITS Service Desk servicedesk@westga.edu

IT Strategic Planning Highlights

The Office of IT Strategic Planning is the proactive change agent for IT services and solutions for the University. We actively work on the development of partnerships across campus through our Business Relationship Management processes and our Business Integrations Team. Likewise we partner with divisions, colleges, units, and departments across campus and within ITS to deliver successful projects. And as our name suggests, we do all of this through a focus on strategic planning within IT and with our campus partners. Listed below are some of the highlights of the work we have accomplished or are currently conducting in these areas.

Business Relationship Management

  • Campus Chat Solution (Completed) – Worked with multiple campus partners to identify a common chat program that will integrate with our campus web site to manage questions and FAQs from our site visitors.
  • Security Camera Management Program (In Progress) – Working with campus partners to develop a comprehensive program to manage the entire life-cycle and support model for security cameras on campus.
  • GreenCourt Gift-in-Kind (In Progress) – Working with GreenCourt, University Advancement, the UWG Center for Public History, and Ingram Library Special Collections to identify use cases and development for the gift (cloud storage) to its fullest potential.

Business Integrations Team

  • Concourse Syllabus Management System (In Progress) – We are in the final stages of evaluating this software to standardize the electronic creation and delivery of syllabi for all courses.
  • Auxiliary Daily Operations Report (In Progress) – Working with Auxiliary departments to create a dashboard that is being used to control costs and improve affordability and services for students provided by the dining halls, parking and transportation, and the bookstore.
  • Global ECS (In Progress) – Starting requirements gathering and preparing for proof of concept for new solution to manage all of our scheduled jobs across multiple systems.
  • Bursar Process Improvement (Completed) – Worked with the Bursar’s Office to improve the drop for non-payment process and to address changes in the 1098T production process.

Project Management Team

  • USG Hosting of Banner (In Progress) – UWG is in cohort 3 for migrating our Banner environment to the USG hosted environment. We are in the planning phases currently and will be migrated between September and November of this year.
  • UWG Web Redesign (In Progress) – Web Innovations and UCM are working with our design vendor, Jadu, to develop a new layout and design for our campus web site. The project is progressing with a goal to launch the new designed web site in late fall or early 2020.
  • Windows 7 to Windows 10 Upgrades (In Progress) – Working with Client Services to manage the upgrade of all remaining Windows 7 computers to Windows 10 (approximately 1900) computers before January 2020.

IT Strategic Planning

  • ITS Mission and Vision Statement (Completed) – ITS’s new mission and vision statement has been completed and will be used as the foundation for the update and development of our IT Strategic Plan.
  • IT Strategic Plan (In Progress) – Planning committee has been formed and will begin working on the collection of data from campus to begin formulating the content of our new Strategic Plan. The goal is to have the plan reviewed and approved by late summer/early fall.
  • Facilitated the February 2019 USG Project Management Meeting (Completed) – Planned and coordinated the USG Project Management meeting at the campus of the University of North Georgia on February 28th.

Cybersecurity Incident Response Drill

 

Person sitting in front of laptop with large lock icon on screen.

Data breaches involving personal information, such as names, social security numbers, and account passwords, are all too common place. Home Depot, Anthem, Target, and Experian have all been victims of data breaches that exposed confidential information about their customers. When events like that happen, it is important that the impacted organization act fast to contain the breach and reduce the amount of information that is lost. While UWG has not experienced any significant information security events, it is important for ITS and the UWG community to know how to respond when a possible breach or event occurs.

ITS has a Cybersecurity Incident Response Procedure, and like all skills, responding to a security event gets better with practice. To that end, ITS held a tabletop incident response practice drill in late March. A tabletop drill involves defining an incident that may occur, and then following the defined procedure on how to respond. Working through the procedure in a practice session often points out deficiencies in the procedure, and can clarify actions or steps that need to be taken.  

The scenario used for table top was based on a real incident at another USG school. ITS staff were presented with the details of the incident as they actually occurred at the other school, and then worked through how we would respond. The exercise identified a few steps in our response that need to be clarified, but overall it was a success! 

 

Employee Spotlight

Stephanie Bogart

Stephanie Bogart

Stephanie joined University of West Georgia in ITS March 1st. She is Project Leader for the Office of Strategic Planning. Stephanie and her family are in the process of relocating from Helen, GA. to the Carrollton area. She and husband Jeff have two children, a son, Jonathan, 22, and a daughter, Anna, 18.

Stephanie joins us with 12 years of IT experience. In her previous role at Truett McConnell University, Stephanie was Director of Information Technology.

A few of her accomplishments at Truett McConnell University include:

  1. Completion of two phases of new fiber ring & network update
  2. Completion of two year plan for refreshing end point computers
  3. Championed and received $600,000 donation for IT
  4. Completed and implemented plan for backup servers
  5. Migrated to new Student Information System (Campus Management)

Interesting fact:

Stephanie has three brothers and one sister. Stephanie and all of her siblings have careers in the field of Information Technology.