This morning we handed out nearly 185 iPads to our incoming freshman class of EOP/AIM students. I was blown away by the amazing amount of work that was put into making this day a reality. We noticed a couple little bumps in the road, but considering this was our first time doing something like this it went incredibly well. I saw a lot of happy students and at the end of the day, that is what it is all about. Great work #SBUDoIT and the whole EOP/AIM team!
The time has come. On Monday we will roll out our first systematic piece of the Mobile/Digital Now initiative at Stony Brook University. This is the first of two iPad planned rollouts we have in place for the start of the 2015 academic year, the next will be announced in a couple of weeks. Below is the text from the media briefing for Monday’s event …
On Monday, July 6, Stony Brook University’s Mobile/Digital Now initiative will equip 185 EOP/AIM (Educational Opportunity Program/Advancement on Individual Merit) freshmen with iPads as they begin their four-year journey at the University’s Summer Academy. These iPads reinforce the University’s commitment to providing access to academic excellence for these freshmen. The Mobile/Digital Now initiative, led by Stony Brook Chief Information Officer, Cole Camplese, will help transform and reinvent learning environments and enhance access to anytime, anywhere learning resources.
The Mobile/Digital Now initiative is also set to expand to support Stony Brook faculty in the appropriate utilization of technology to enhance teaching; will control costs of learning materials for students through eTexts; increase access of critical courses to enhance both retention and four-year graduation rates and equip the University community with the latest mobile devices that will aid in future academic success.
The EOP/AIM Program provides educationally-related supportive services and supplemental financial assistance to those students whose educational and economic circumstances have limited their post-secondary educational opportunities. These iPads are distributed for students to use throughout their four-year undergraduate careers.
There are so many reasons to be excited about this project. The first is getting to work with colleagues from EOP/AIM to help build an even stronger program. Another lies in getting to work closely with the students themselves. As part of the project I will be personally running a steering group made up of students in the program so I can maintain a finger on the pulse of the initiative and work with them to make it stronger. Finally, working with my DoIT colleagues to make this a reality has been inspiring! In a very short period of time we have worked to deliver the iPads under mobile device management tools, increased wireless density in key areas, and built new support modalities for our audiences. Really exciting stuff.
The students will get their iPads and cases still shrink wrapped in the boxes. They will get to open them, turn them on, and have a fully functional iPad with both Stony Brook and commercial apps auto installed as well as access to additional academic content. All of these will be pushed directly to the devices as they activate them — even their University email will be auto setup. I can’t wait to see it all unfold. Below are screenshots of what they will see as their devices activate. Great work everyone!
Earlier today The Pennsylvania State University announced a sophisticated series of attacks to the network within its College of Engineering. It is a disturbing occurrence on so many levels — primarily from the fact that this has become the new normal for us in Higher Education. Notice I didn’t just say Higher Education IT — this is an issue that belongs to all of us. Our networks and the access they provide is the critical life blood to accessing the knowledge and colleagues that empower us to teach, learn, make discoveries, and connect with the world. A good friend of mine once told me, “when we lose our connection to the Internet we cease being a research institution.”
If you want to know what keeps CIOs up at night the list starts with information security challenges. To that end, I want to make this as clear as possible … it is time we all make information security a priority in our work. While we are committed to a strong IS stance, we can do things that are low hanging fruit here at SBU — strong pass phrases instead of weak passwords, changing pass phrases on a regular basis, don’t leave your work station logged in when you walk away, update your operating system when prompted, question links in emails, keep virus protection software up to date, and in all the instances when you are unsure of the legitimacy or threat ask a colleague who might have an answer.
It constantly amazes me at how much doing just those things systematically can positively influence our overall security stance. I am asking for your help and your cooperation to take personal responsibility for assisting the campus and to make it a conversation about all of us and not one about information security against us.
From PSU President Barron in a message to the community …
“In the coming months, significant changes in IT security protocols will be rolled out across the University, and all of us as Penn Staters will need to change the way we operate in the face of these new and significant challenges. University leaders are developing a detailed plan that will include even more robust monitoring for malicious activity across Penn State. Over time, individual users also will see changes including the implementation two-factor authentication on major university systems, stronger password management practices, and enhancements to system and software administration.”
A few weeks ago, Stony Brook student Cam Boon stopped by my office to do this interview. I quite enjoyed his reporting on the current and future of learning spaces at Stony Brook. I could sit down and talk space design all day … it is one of my favorite topics.
— Cam Boon (@lilboon) May 7, 2015
Earlier this week we held a DoIT All Hands meeting in Frey Hall. I can’t say for sure, but I think we had somewhere around 150 or more people there. The turn out was great and I really appreciated seeing so many now familiar faces. I am not a huge fan of large All Hands meetings, but when done right I see the value. This one was designed as a combination of a recap of the past year (my first on the job) and a look forward to where we are headed, what our priorities are, and to do a deep dive into the new DoIT Values. We decided to create a video to help communicate these things so we could reuse it across various media and in other venues. I am particularly proud of the team that produced the video. I thought it was a great way to kick off the meeting.
We decided to kick things off with a full five minutes of timed slides highlighting service awards, new hires, retirements, and a whole bunch of pictures from my first year on campus. I timed it to “Truckin'” by the Grateful Dead to keep it light. It was a way to share lots of stuff, show off the human aspect of who we are as an organization, and help people smile.
I was struck by the thoughtful attention and questions that emerged from the session. I thought the questions were very good and were aimed at the more strategic level … they were stretch questions for the most part and people seemed engaged. It is such a difficult thing to balance information with interactivity … we got close, but I do think we can do a better job.
We sent out a survey following the event and have gotten solid feedback (keep it coming). A little early insight from the feedback includes the notion that we need to have a more diverse set of speakers (something that I recognized as I was putting the finishing touches on the agenda). We will do a better job at that going forward — and that means I would like to see people from all parts of DoIT contributing in the future. I also see that people want to do more of these … some even suggesting every month … I can’t pull that off, but we could settle into a good pattern of twice a year with some other events mixed in as well. Several people want to expand it so we can have some break out sessions and I would like to explore that. All in all it seemed as though people were pleasantly surprised with the time we spent together. Always room to improve and I listen to that feedback critically.
What I really tried to do during my update was to contextualize how and why our DoIT Value statements are actually a very important driver of our organization. For each statement I tried to hit home at least three examples of why that value is important and how we are manifesting our work through them. Some are easy to get, like “communicate,” while others like, “grow” are much more nuanced. I think I spent more time with grow than any of the others … I am particularly interested in focusing quite a bit of energy in building a strong organizational foundation around that value.
At the end of the day I had a blast talking to everyone. It surprised me how much energy was put into the event and the intellectual toll it took on me that afternoon. It was time well spent, but it was draining. The networking time afterwards was also a highlight — lots of people stayed and talked to me and each other. A huge thank you to everyone who attended and who put so much effort in making the time together worthwhile. The great news is that we will be getting together again in a few weeks at the first annual DoIT Football Tailgate — that should be a great time!