January 2023 update from CIS

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Roman God Janus

Roman God Janus from New York Public Library

We took great delight in seeing all the faculty and students arriving back in mid-January and hope that the semester has gotten off to a great start.

Work that took place while you were away
We installed 89  new wifi access points in the Shanahan Center.  We also installed 11 new network switches.   We are very grateful for the help of our network team at TCCS. 

The wifi access points are the white boxes with blue lights that you see on the ceilings. Wires run from the wifi access points to the new switches hidden in network closets. The switches coordinate traffic on the network.  Together, these changes bring needed improvements, including moving the building from wifi 4 to wifi 6, which is significantly faster and has better coverage.

Over the break, we also upgraded the AV systems in much of Shanahan.  Working with our AV provider, Spinitar, we installed 17 new Epson laser projectors and 10 new ceiling boxes, where AV network equipment is located.  The new ceiling boxes are slightly bigger and are designed to help keep the equipment cool.   We believe that this will provide a measure of stability in the AV system.

As I mentioned in the last update of 2022,  we have requested funding that will allow us to replace the control system in Shanahan. The control system, as its name suggest, controls all of the equipment and allows for easy operation of multiple devices at once (eg. projector, screen, lighting).  The current system, Crestron Controls, is near the end of its useful life. 

AV in the classrooms
As you may know, we did see some issues with AV in the classrooms as the semester started up.  This mostly owes to the aging control system and the impact on that system of the power cycling during maintenance work on the Claremont electrical substation at the start of January.  

The rumor mill began to say to us that there were a lot of problems in Shanahan, so we quickly put together a status page to show the status of rooms that have issues.   Thank you, Susan Martonosi, for ideas about that page. 

As of this writing, there are seven rooms (four in Shanahan) that are listed as “usable but…”, which means they have some issues but there are workarounds.  That page can be reached from our service catalog entry on classroom technologies (under “availability”).  In passing, let me point out that we work hard to keep the Service Catalog up to date, and it is the place to start if you ever have a question that begins with “I wonder does CIS provide…” 

Canvas LMS
We have twelve courses being taught on Canvas by ten different faculty from six different departments. (The exception is Computer Science, but only because we were not ready to accommodate multiple section courses).

Canvas “trusts” have been established with Scripps and CGU, which means that cross registered students will see their classes in one place.   Once the other colleges have installed new Canvas tenants, we will set up trusts with them too.

Next steps for us include working with Instructure and others to develop plans for moving large amounts of content from Sakai to Canvas.

Faculty, if you want to play around with Canvas, just send a note to the helpdesk

Storage in Google Workspace 
In 2019 Google announced its intention to discontinue unlimited storage and replace it with a new storage model, which provides a pooled storage limit for institutions using Google Workplace for Education.  You may already have heard from colleagues at other affected institutions.  The institutional limit for HMC is 143.78 Terabytes of storage.  We are currently using 250.37 Terabytes, so HMC has some cleaning up to do! 

We have not yet settled on a strategy for addressing this issue, but we will make sure to prioritize research data and other college needs in our strategy.  

In the meantime, it will of course help if you remove anything you no longer need.  And the College’s Record Retention policy may provide guidance as it contains a table of the record retention periods for a large variety of college documents. 

This is just an early heads up and you will hear more about this as 2023 progresses.

Student printing
Over the break we installed a new student printer on the first floor of Sprague, near the Help Desk.  It’s a HP Enterprise Flow MFP M830 named “Rover”.    Students, we’re interested in any feedback you may have about the new printer (or anything else, for that matter).

While walking near the Cafe I noticed a QR code for a survey about printing, run by a group of students interested in sustainability.  Like you, we would love to see a reduction in printing. We are gathering information about printing costs (paper and toner) for the first six months of the fiscal year. I have no formal data about what prompts printing, but the students I’ve spoken to usually say they are printing out homework assignments so that they can submit them on paper.  If that’s true, it seems the most direct way to reducing paper usage would be to ask faculty to consider accepting online submissions.  That is a discussion for the faculty and students to have.   As usual, I would love to hear any and all ideas you have about this issue.

On behalf of the staff at CIS, here’s to a great month of February!