Advancement

Revitalized Notice Board to launch July 28

 

The University’s new Notice Board represents the culmination of months of hard work by the Web team, along with hours of user input and testing. Michael Warf, ITS Web Manager, says the team is excited to be launching the revitalized site. It has a number of useful and innovative tools that will make finding information easier and visually appealing, he adds.

“The current Notice Board is written in an old programming language and we no longer have the resources to support it. In technology terms, it’s a dinosaur. Last year the team was commissioned by University Advancement to produce a more modern tool.”new-notice-board

The team first reviewed the usage analytics on the old Notice Board which generate a visual representation of the mouse clicks on the site. “It revealed that it was used primarily as a bookmarking tool,” says Warf. “People clicked on buttons and icons to get to other pages like The Bridge, the online directory, employment opportunities and items that appeared on the image carousel. There were no deep dives into much of the content.” However, the team did discover that the site is the fifth-most-visited property on the University’s website, averaging approximately 1,500 visitors per day.

The next step was User Experience (UX) testing with a wide representation of faculty, staff and students. “We developed sketches which allowed us to get feedback and make quick and low-cost revisions with relative ease. That worked really well,” says Warf.

Among the elements in the prototype are the ability to filter content through keyword searches for date, subject and location. The UX results were not surprising to the Web team. “People really liked the ability to filter and search, the layout of the site, the ability to edit and manage posts, and that the content is all on one page. We also confirmed our suspicion that students had either not heard of the Notice Board, or had no use for it.”

Information sessions were conducted in June, and training workshops are scheduled for July 10 in University Hall, room E640. The workshops are limited to one hour at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., and 2 p.m. Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend for a more hands-on approach and will be prepared to enter notices in the new Notice Board after launch. Those who are unable to attend can contact help@uleth.ca to set up departmental training workshops.

Participants are encouraged to RSVP via survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QF92BMX) for the workshops to ensure availability of computers.

The launch date of the new and improved version is scheduled for July 28, 2014.

No Call Waiting for this upgrade

Combined efforts on the part of Advancement, a vendor and three units within Information Technology Services (ITS), compressed four months of work into three, fast tracked the project timeline by starting eight months sooner than anticipated, and enabled the University’s Call Centre to launch its alumni calling campaign on time.

The Call Centre’s software required an upgrade at a time when hiring a manager was underway, and when the software required a critical upgrade. To add further challenges to the project, Advancement’s Call Centre, which operates out of the Penny Building, already had to cancel its fall donor campaign due to construction within the facility. Missing out on the winter semester’s donor campaign as well would have significantly hurt the University’s fund raising efforts.

“We were advised that the former vendor of the software had been bought out by a new company. Consequently the old product needed to be migrated over to a new software, called CampusCall,” says Wim Chalmet, ITS Application Support Analyst. “Advancement approached us in October to ask if we could fast-track the project in order to run the next campaign in mid-January. That meant our usual timeline of May to September would be pushed up by eight months, and shortened our work schedule into three months instead of four. After consultation with all stakeholders, we felt it could be done.”

Staff from Advancement, Desktop Support, Applications, Systems, Telecom, and Finance were all involved in the effort, along with great support from the new application vendor, RuffaloCODY.

“The IT team was very supportive during the transition to a new software program in the Call Centre” says Kathy MacFarlane, Manager of Development Programs. “Wim Chalmet led us through the process smoothly and was always accessible. Most importantly, we finished on time for the next calling session.”

For more information, please contact Wim Chalmet at 403-380-1837, or at wim.chalmet@uleth.ca.

IT Services update for week of April 22, 2013

 

CRITICAL SERVICES (Banner, Moodle, Wireless, Internet, Telephony):

  • All critical services functioning normally.

KPI SPOTLIGHT:

Test Centre new peak usage

The University Test Centre successfully hosted students completing 726 exams on Thursday, April 25th.  This new peak level of usage was delivered while meeting service quality standards set for student experience.

University Internet outage greatly minimized

All Internet services experienced a five-minute outage April 25th at 8:51 am.  Off-campus connectivity, including the uleth.ca website, was impacted.  The recently implemented redundant Telus connectivity was automatically activated, mitigating service interruptions caused by a Cybera Telus 14.5 hour outage.  No client complaints related to the internet service outage were received as a result of the outage.

The graphs below illustrate service traffic.  The first graph provides a view of the end-user experience, showing only a slight interruption at 8:51 am.  Graphs 2 and 3 show the Cybera connectivity and the outage.  Graph 4 indicates our alternate Telus connection activating and carrying the load.

Service traffic graphs

SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS:

Penny Building network 20 times faster!

On April 26th, Information Technology along with the City of Lethbridge completed commissioning of the fiber network to the Penny Building.  The old network consisted of a 50 Mbps wireless connection with antennas on UHall and the Penny building roofs.  The new connection is all fiber and gives the network users a 1000 Mbps connection or 1 Gbps back to the U of L.

This will remove the barrier of limited network bandwidth at the Penny Building and allow the U of L to program the space just as if it was on the U of L property.  Life safety, wireless, Alumni Relations staff and Advancement’s call centre will all benefit from increased capacity and reliability.

The following graphic is a representation of  the differences:

Penny fiber upgrade

 

 

Advizor implementation in Advancement

As part of the Ellucian Portal/BI project, a data visualization tool called Advizor was implemented in Advancement in December to query constituent data in ways not previously possible.  It has been extremely well received, and allows fundraising staff to answer a multitude of questions pertaining to their data visually and in real-time without assistance from technical experts.  A subsequent extension to this platform is now underway to leverage its predictive analytics capabilities, allowing the department to leverage its historical data to make predictions about future events.

Portal & BI Initiative Update

The Luminis Portal work is proceeding as scheduled, with a minor delay in setting up a test environment due to Hurricane Sandy preventing Ellucian consultants from conducting their sessions.  The Advizor analytics installation and training is also proceeding as scheduled in Advancement, and early feedback is quite positive in terms of allowing staff to visualize their data in ways not previously possible.  The Operational Data Store and Enterprise Data Warehouse (ODS/EDW) planning details are still being worked through, but the project team is targeting January 2013 to begin this phase of the project once Ellucian resources are confirmed.