Dec
29

Mobile Access to Campus Connection, HRMS Much Improved

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Dec
29

Mobile Access to Campus Connection, HRMS Much Improved

Recent updates to the NDUS mobile portal has vastly improved access to both Campus Connection and the HRMS platforms.

The new landing page is m.ndus.edu. Once there, students, faculty and staff will have the option of picking the student system called Campus Connection or the employee system called HRMS.

On the campus connection side of the house, students and faculty now have a much broader experience with their mobile devices. Students can now view and register for their classes, see exam schedules (at institutions where exam schedules are used), view grades, see advisor information, check waitlist status, review student calendars, check their school bills, see the status of their financial aid, and review account activity.

Faculty can now also use their smartphones and tablets check teaching schedules, exam schedules, class rosters, grade rosters, and view lists of their advisees.

On the HRMS side, faculty and staff will be able to access their payroll, benefits, leave and holiday information. Managers will also be able to access information about the people they supervise.

While the mobile link works best with mobile devices, it can also be used with a desktop web browser, Chrome, Firefox, IE and Safari are all supported. Pages viewed will flex to fit depending on the device and browser that you use.

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Dec
29

Tegrity Brings Lectures to Students

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Dec
29

Tegrity Brings Lectures to Students

A content capture system is making information more available than ever throughout the North Dakota University System.

The system, called Tegrity, is giving students throughout the 11 colleges and universities in the NDUS access to lectures and other recorded content, taking them well beyond the traditional classroom walls.

Patti Heisler, assistant director of Training and Academic Technologies, said Tegrity is a robust system that can be used in a wide variety of ways, ranging from traditional lecture recordings to student presentations, in both the traditional classroom and the online setting. The versatility of the application is one of the things that makes it appealing to users.

“As an instructor you can record your lectures for students to view later,” Heisler said. “If you don’t have enough time to cover an equation you can record it offline, on a break, at night or whenever and make it available to students.”

Finding lectures is as easy as a few clicks. Students can log in on any Internet-connected device and from there they can search to find recent recordings. According to Heisler, other opportunities have arisen for utilizing the content caputure beyond lecture-recording.

“Fred Riggins at North Dakota State University teaches up to 168 students in a large lecture hall,” Heisler said. “They all had to give a final presentation in class, but doing so would take a long time. So, he had the students record their own presentations in Tegrity, which allowed for more in-class time to focus on learning.”

Riggins, associate professor of Management Information Systems, said he and Heisler began using the content capture system to teach MIS 320 during the 2012-2013 year. The required, lecture-format course seated as many as 180 students per class. Due to the size of those classes, Riggins and Heisler had to come up with a plan that allowed for the students to do group presentations that didn’t take away from lecture time. They found Tegrity.

“Having students get experience making presentations is critical, so we have students make their group project presentations on Tegrity, then we go in and grade their presentations,” Riggins said. “Students need to develop the slide presentation, coordinate the group to have each person make their part of the presentation, learn how to make Tegrity videos, and then actually make the professional-level presentation using this technology with the entire group present. When we grade the presentation we are able to see the video of the group presenters in one window and the slides advancing in another window. “

Riggins added that students had been receptive to that format, as it gave them the opportunity to utilize a new technology to meet all the needs of their coursework. After a brief, in-class orientation to the background and use of the software the students are provided a download and offered some class time to make their first videos. From there, most video work is done outside of the classroom, which allows for further education on the processes and scheduling of teamwork.

“One of the biggest challenges is for a team of say, five people, to find a time outside of class when they can all be physically present at the same time,” Riggins said. “I tell them early in the semester to plan for that during the last week of class when the project presentation comes due.”

For online students in the summer course, coordination comes a bit easier as it’s done nearly through the web. Each team member is responsible for a certain number of slides, which are required to be named a particular way. Tegrity’s alphanumeric listing allows them to be reviewed, in order, making it easy for professors like Riggins to review and grade.

As part of the summer course offering, Tegrity offers another opportunity – the ability to break up the 50-minute lectures into smaller modules. Doing so allows students to go to one module, then follow along with the slides and read the associated text. Riggins said that having multiple modules like that can ease the strain students would otherwise feel in having to watch an hour-long lecture on their computer or smartphone screen.

“For the most part I think students like the ability to go back and watch certain parts multiple times,” he added, noting that for online courses students could reference the modules during their conversations in the discussion boards to make up for the lack of in-person classroom interaction.

Recordings can be synchronous or asynchronous and last anywhere from 10 minutes to a few hours. Over time, as students and faculty have grown more accustomed to the software’s uses, there has been a sharp increase in usage. The company’s claims of keeping student learning as the primary focus is readily available in its accessibility, and increased usage since full implementation throughout NDUS in 2012.

“We’ve seen an increase in recording hours,” Heisler said. “Some campuses find more use for it than others, but overall there has been a sharp increase over time.”

But lecture capture isn’t its only focus. According to the software documentation, students are able to “search content, collaborate with instructors and classmates, take notes, set bookmarks and more.” Heisler added that the lecture capture software also allowed for the sharing of resources among campuses.

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Dec
29

IVN Usage Remains Strong

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Dec
29

IVN Usage Remains Strong

The North Dakota Interactive Video Network started out with four sites and a few classes back in 1989. It didn’t take long before IVN grew to become an essential campus tool for the delivery of courses and degree programs to students geographically displaced from the host institution. And while other delivery tools and technologies have come and gone during these past 26 years, IVN continues to be one of the most popular and dependable academic technologies within the North Dakota University System.

The Fall 2015 semester recorded the highest student enrollment on record while the total number of courses were slightly down from last fall’s record numbers. Nearly 3,000 students enrolled in IVN courses this fall, which is about 250 more students than the Fall 2014 term. However, the total number of courses delivered dropped slightly, from 228 last year to 212 this year.

Overall, more than 100 instructors taught dual credit, undergraduate and graduate courses.

Jerry Rostad, Assistant CIO for Core Technology Services of the NDUS, points to a couple reasons why IVN’s staying power continues to be strong. “First, IVN most closely replicates the traditional classroom Essentially, we are extending the room boundaries using cameras, microphones and televisions. Second, the dependability of the technology has always been pretty good. The technology just works.”

For high school students looking to get a start on college courses, they could look to the five community colleges, Dickinson State University and Mayville State University for 100 and 200-level courses in topics ranging from English to Psychology. During fall 2015 semester, 592 students took those opportunities that allowed them to take advantage of classes offered elsewhere in the state without having to drive there.

At the undergraduate level, most NDUS colleges and universities offered some form of IVN courses, with DSU offering 34. Departments offering IVN classes included Business, Computer Technology/Computer Information Systems, Education/Elementary Education, Health Professions, Human Resources, Natural Resources, Math/Science, Social Sciences, Humanities, Nursing, Engineering, Criminal Justice and Social Work.

Consortiums like the Dakota Nursing Program rely on collaborative efforts through the participating colleges. Bismarck State College, Dakota College at Bottineau, Lake Region State College and Williston State College utilize IVN for their offerings of the Practical Nursing and Associate Degree Nursing programs there. In total, 609 students were able to take courses offered under those programs, not only at the participating schools but in other NDUS institutions and one tribal college.

For graduate students, 29 courses were also offered for masters and doctoral levels, which 427 students took advantage of this past semester alone.

Chancellor Mark Hagerott said that the increase in IVN usage showed one clear path forward on how campuses could share services in the form of interactive class time.

“The Interactive Video Network is clearly a winner when applied to certain coursework throughout our university system,” Hagerott said. “I’m hopeful that as time goes on more faculty, staff, students and even taxpayers will get to see the value in this conferencing service, whether it’s used for courses, programs, or meetings.”

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Dec
20

NDUS Information Technologies Building Dedicated

The new Information Technologies Building in Grand Forks is now open for business and represents a partnership between NDUS and UND. It was dedicated with a ribbon cutting ceremony on November 22, 2013.

The building’s approximately 40,000 square feet can accommodate 125 employees as currently configured, with a maximum of 150. It will house work groups responsible for software development, system and database administration, integrated services, enterprise and user services, network and communications, ODIN library services, project management, security and access control, and Campus Solutions.

The building was designed by ICON Architectural Group of Grand Forks, with construction services provided by JP Structures, Inc., of Menahga, Minnesota. Construction began in 2012.

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May
17

Thursby Receives ITCND 2013 IT Champion Award

Randall Thursby, chief information officer of the North Dakota University System, received the Information Technology Council of North Dakota’s (ITCND) North Dakota IT Champion award during the 13th annual IT Awards Program on May 1 in Fargo. Thursby was recognized for his continued commitment to North Dakota’s students and IT industry.

Thursby has provided bold leadership in the development and delivery of a strategic vision built on an integrated approach to technology innovation. His vision for the North Dakota University System has included collaboration with key constituent groups and the private sector. Through these partnerships, he has forged a common IT vision that leveraged resources by sharing services and maximizing IT investments while increasing overall efficiencies.

Thursby’s leadership has influenced a broad spectrum of organizations, resulting in positive impact on students, faculty, staff and North Dakota’s citizens as technology continues to impact their lives. He has sought to reduce student costs and increase worker productivity.

“Thursby’s dedication to North Dakota’s students and his contributions to IT in the academic realm are outstanding,” says Gary Inman, ITCND president. “He is truly a champion of North Dakota information technology.”

ITCND is the leading IT advocacy organization in the state. It was founded by North Dakota business, government and education leaders to encourage the use, growth and development of information technology in North Dakota.

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Dec
21

Polycom Videoconferencing Expanding to the Desktop

NDUS SITS has adopted Polycom’s CMA (Converged Management Application) as the preferred solution for desktop video connectivity with traditional IVN rooms. Currently, about 40 users have been using CMA during the Fall 2012 semester to connect to IVN classes.

CMA is high definition capable and readily connects to traditional IVN conferences and telephone/audio conferences. The desktop software is available for both Windows and Mac machines and the entire feature set is delivered by both platforms.

The software is similar to the Polycom room systems. In addition, it also includes desktop-specific features like availability status and the ability to interconnect with other Windows and Mac CMA users.

In the future, CMA will be expanded and incorporated with the Microsoft Lync client. Meanwhile, other desktop video applications will be phased out. Contact David Belgarde (701-777-4232) of the NDUS Advanced Learning Technologies for more information.

As featured in the December 2012 SITS Newsletter.
 
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Nov
8

Tidbit 6: Change the Display of Outlook Messages

Outlook Web Access provides several menu choices for changing how email messages can be viewed.

 

The Filter menu displays messages that meet criteria you select or specify from the list such as unread message, flagged messages, and messages from certain individuals:

 

The View menu sorts and groups messages, and also controls the display of the Reading Pane – the panel where messages are previewed. In the View menu example (shown right), Use Conversations is selected meaning messages will be grouped by conversations. The highlighted submenu (shown above) displays an option to sort conversations by date:

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