More and more technology is seen in schools, universities and area businesses, and the number of devices and ways they are used continues to grow.
Now, students on the campus of Tiffin University are becoming more connected with the new Student Information System that went live in November 2011. The system is comprised of a student portal (My Dragon) and self-service portal.
The previous system was from the late '90s. Students could access classes online, chat and interact with professors. The system has added voice and video chat.
"Technology and the quality of technology has been getting better with how data can reach people," Leonard Reaves, chief information officer and executive director of information and technology services at TU, said.
The SIS had made it easier for students and professors to stay connected. With the self-service portal, students can look at their transcripts and records, register for classes and check their grades. They also can do a degree audit to see which courses they need to take and, if they decide to change their major, students will be able to see which credits they need and if any will be lost in the process. In addition, students now can register for classes online and pay their bills and purchase items through the campus book store.
The total cost of the whole system was $1.5 million.
"It took two years to fully implement and get everything to come together; it took a lot of work to transfer data from one system to the other," Reaves said. "
Students can access the Internet from anywhere, Reaves said. Students, faculty and staff bring many different devices on campus, including their personal laptops, smart phones and iPads. There are roughly 3,000 devices that have to be managed around campus, Reaves said.
"There has definitely been a gadget boom due to devices becoming more affordable," Reaves said.
In the university's 11 labs, there are about 246 machines on campus and two computers per lobby per floor in every dorm. The machines are on a three-year rotation to keep them refreshed.
"We have a great team on our help desk staff that maintain the campus computers. To help them, we currently use the Dell Kace Systems Management Appliances for system image deployment, asset/inventory management, help desk ticketing, and patch management." Reaves said.
The university also has several Apple products on campus. There are 10 Apple iMac computers and about 10 iPads.
"One of the things that I am seeing right now is that students are getting prepped with what is new out now. A lot of businesses are not cutting edge and are still operating on old systems. We like to keep up for the students so that they get to be close to the new technologies," Reaves said.
Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, have become more widespread and are an easy way for professors and students to also stay connected.
"Texting has become an easy way to get a hold of students, rather than email," Reaves said. "It is important to stay informed about the tools that students are using now. Texting is more instant than email because students may not check their accounts for a couple days, where a text is sent right to them."
Students also are able to access the Internet anywhere. The buildings on campus are completely covered with wireless coverage. The wireless footprint has expanded with about 50-75 yard coverage area.
"A student can access the Internet even while sitting out in the courtyard," Reaves said. "There is nowhere you can go and not get wireless access."
The university also has installed about 30 security cameras over the summer to be safer.
"Technology has changed a lot. It is how society is now today," Reaves said. "Technology is good, depending how it is used. It can take people anywhere."