By Cory Lesniak
January 28, 2014
With a new year comes new changes, and 2014 is bringing Dominican into year number two of a five year, multi-million-dollar technology renovation. The university approved the five-year plan last April and funding began in July.
Vice President of Information Technology, Jill Albin-Hill, says the technology projects occurring will greatly assist students in the upcoming years. This year, the plan revolves around developing what Albin-Hill calls an “active learning ecosystem.”
“We needed to first update the current network and computers while establishing a refreshment cycle that will keep this equipment up-to-date, increase the number of technology enhanced classrooms and roll out the new learning management system,” Albin-Hill said.
The plan establishes guiding principles for all future technology investments.
“No matter the system, we want access and usability to be easy and therefore used frequently and appropriately,” she said. “We need to stay true to the purpose of using technology to enrich learning.”
Albin-Hill emphasized the fact that all technology investments at the university will remain distinctly unique to Dominican in a way that encapsulates the essence of the school and quality of education.
“No matter the project, developing an online course or leveraging data for recruitment, we need to do this our way and not lose the character or culture of Dominican.”
Overall, the largest investment called for by the technology plan is in support of teaching and learning. While online delivery is at the core, the idea for the Active Learning Ecosystem emerged through many meetings with committees, departments, students, faculty and the faculty task force DUable (Dominican University Advancing Blended Learning Environments).
This year, students can expect multiple changes ranging from bandwidth, mobile app service, Wi-Fi and new Apple computers.
“Just this week we turned up more internet bandwidth, increasing our overall capacity as well as speed. This is so important as we continue to leverage cloud resources, such as the new learning management system Canvas,” Albin-Hill said.
Additional Wi-Fi access points have been made to strengthen the Wi-Fi availability on campus. The IT department continues to look for locations that are weak and that need improvement. Enhancements to the mobile app have been made. For example, through the DU mobile app, students and staff can get a connection to Canvas, the shuttle schedule and daily dining menus.
Students can look forward to new Apple computers slated to be installed in Lewis 406 by mid March of this year. However, even more changes are coming this summer.
“Network infrastructure enhancements are planned for the summer, including new wiring in the Fine Arts Building and parts of Lewis Hall. The Student IT committee is researching digital signage options and computers will be updated throughout campus; specific classrooms and lab are still being identified,” Albin-Hill said.
DU is just reaching year two of this five year multi-million dollar plan. Changes happening now are to get the university prepared for what’s to come in the years ahead.
“With the implementation of this IT strategic plan, we will have a solid technology environment that will allow Dominican University to remain competitive and relevant,” Albin-Hill said.