2013 resulted in significant advancements in IT@UT. Here are some noteworthy accomplishments:
- New Learning Management System – In July, the Strategic IT Accountability Board endorsed the new University’s new Learning Management System (LMS). Canvas, a next generation, cloud-based LMS offered by Instructure, is replacing Blackboard. With Canvas, faculty and students have access to improved grading efficiency with Speedgrader, built in Google Docs integration, a powerful mobile app, and drag and drop file uploads. The count-down clock has started for the Blackboard retirement in August 2015.
- Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Deployment Project – The VoIP deployment project launched in March 2013 with the goal of converting more than 20,000 phone lines in two years from the University’s copper-based telephone system to a newer, more affordable, and easier to maintain VoIP technology system. The conversion is deploying in four “Waves.” Over 3,000 phone lines have been successfully converted in Wave 1 buildings and we have started to survey Wave 2 buildings. Wave 2 deployment will complete in spring 2014.
- University Data Center (UDC) East Hall – In January 2013, build out of the UDC East Hall was completed, enabling ITS to better meet the growing needs of researchers, colleges and schools, and administrative units by increasing co-location and network capacity thereby improving customers’ ability to move large amounts of data at high speeds. Many on campus are now choosing co-location in the UDC–with a dramatically reduced rate–because it is the safest, most resilient and affordable solution.
- User Services Becomes Customer Support Services - The ITS team formerly known as "User Services" was renamed Customer Support Services to represent our renewed commitment to improve the ITS customer experience. This change reflects a well-considered shift of existing resources to strengthen customer support, training, and managing projects.
- Growth of the Campus Network – Currently, ITS Networking & Telecommunications provides network services to 50,000+ students and ~24,000 faculty and staff. The campus network serves over 20 million square feet in buildings on UT Austin’s main campus, the Pickle Research Campus, and UT Austin sites throughout the city. In the past four years, ITS has made significant capital investments in the campus network to prepare for and accommodate the increasing use of technology–particularly wireless devices--on campus. The Campus Network Report, Academic Year 2012 -2013 summarizes the amazing and rapid growth of our campus network.
2013 also presented challenges, particularly the difficult Austin Exchange Messaging System migration to Office 365 which became a valuable learning experience for campus. Major Office 365 issues have been addressed and migrations have restarted. In collaboration with campus colleagues, Information Technology Services (ITS) is now in a much better place moving into the New Year.
This setback in one project does not overshadow the number of accomplishments that have been achieved in 2013. In addition to those mentioned, there is much more: the expanded virtual machine farm, new UT Login, the mobile strategy, new design for the web infrastructure, and the selection of Workday a leading provider of enterprise cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications for UT Austin.