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2009-10 Administrative Reports

September 2009

(print version)

Enhanced Security of Online Information

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has implemented a new identity management system for logging in to core administrative systems. The new system, PUaccess, significantly improves the protection of personal identities and the University's confidential data. Every member of the campus community will now be able to create an online security profile consisting of a new password, a personal image/phrase, and three security questions and answers. The profile will initially be used to access Human Resource self-service applications, PeopleSoft human resource and student record systems, and the student online course registration application, SCORE.

PUaccess became available at the end of July. Since then, it has been used for all new account activation. In addition, all students, faculty, and staff have received e-mail encouraging them to set up their new profile as soon as possible. Beginning September 1 for students and September 16 for faculty and staff, everyone logging in to the protected applications must have a new security profile. Students will need their new profile to gain access to Princeton’s academic year registration system, SCORE, beginning Monday, September 14. For faculty and staff, use of the online “eBenefits” application to select health benefits in October will require a profile.

After creating a personal profile, whenever users log in to a system protected by PUaccess, they will see their personal image and phrase, to assure that they have reached a valid Princeton site. The security questions will be used to access protected systems from different locations and will also allow users to reset a forgotten password without having to call the OIT Help Desk.

In August, just four weeks after PUaccess became available, more than 80% of all students and 30% of all faculty and staff had already set up their new security profile using PUaccess. In September, e-mail reminders will be sent to those who have not yet created their new profile. The Benefits Office will also include reminders in their mailings to all faculty and staff about the annual open enrollment process for health benefits.

During the coming year, OIT will work with academic and administrative offices to extend the use of PUaccess to include other core University systems.


January 2010

(print version)

OIT completes move to new home at 701 Carnegie Center

OIT is pleased to report that we have completed the move to our new home at 701 Carnegie Center, a contemporary 120,000 square foot office building located on Canal Pointe Boulevard. The University held an Open House on October 30th to celebrate the completion of the building and provide tours of the facility to the campus community.

Moving to the new building has enabled OIT to consolidate many of its departmental operations for the first time. The move has also allowed OIT to free up space in a number of campus locations to be used by the University for other purposes. OIT staff members occupy the 2nd and 3rd floors of 701 Carnegie Center. The Office of Finance and Treasury joins OIT in the new building, occupying part of the 1st floor and the entire 4th floor.

The first floor facilities at 701 Carnegie include: a lobby/reception area; an atrium staircase joining the lobby with the upper floors; three multi-purpose meeting rooms; two IT training rooms (Mac and PC); a video teleconferencing room; a café with outdoor patio seating; a fitness center and recreation room. In addition to office space, each floor has a large conference room with audio/visual capabilities, a number of collaboration spaces, a copy/fax/mail room, and a kitchenette with sink, refrigerator and microwave. A 400-space parking lot, adjacent to the building, provides employee and visitor parking.
701 Carnegie Center is the first Princeton-occupied building to have been submitted to the U.S. Green Building Council for LEED silver-level consideration. Sustainability features of 701 Carnegie include:

  • Increased sense of natural light provided via Clear Low E glass (allows 20%
  • more visible light than standard office building glass)
  • High-efficiency HVAC system
  • Motion-detection occupancy sensors for lights in all offices
  • Low flow plumbing fixtures and waterless urinals

The West Line of TigerTransit provides shuttle service every 20 minutes between 701 Carnegie and the Dinky Station, with connections from the Dinky Station to other TigerTransit routes. Each shuttle bus accommodates 33 people and is equipped with a bike rack and a low-rise entry/exit.

OIT departments that interact regularly with students, faculty and staff will remain on campus. These include: the OIT Solutions Center (Frist); Academic Services, including: the Educational Technologies Center, Computational Science and Engineering Support, Education and Outreach Services, the Broadcast Center and the New Media Center (Lewis Library); Hardware Support (171 Broadmead); Software Support (228 Alexander St.); the Humanities Resource Center (East Pyne); Media Services (New South); and the data centers located at 87 Prospect Avenue and New South.

March 2010

(print version)

E-Reader pilot results

OIT recently completed a pilot program using an e-Reader, the Amazon Kindle DX, in a classroom setting. E-Reader technology supports the delivery of a large number of digitized documents on a lightweight device with a long battery life, using a display that mimics the reflective qualities of actual paper. The consumer market in e-Readers has already proved that it is possible, unlike our experience with standard computer displays, to read large amounts of text. The pilot project sought to learn the extent to which devices could be useful in higher education classrooms.

Kindles were distributed to 51 undergraduates in three courses:

  • WWS325: Civil Society and Public Policy by Stanley Katz
  • WWS555a U.S. Policy and Diplomacy in the Middle East by Daniel Kurtzer
  • CLA546 Religion and Magic in Ancient Rome by Harriet Flower

The pilot had three interrelated goals:

  • To reduce student printing and photocopying;
  • To determine whether e-Reader technology can adequately substitute for paper without adversely affecting the academic experience;
  • To explore the strengths and weaknesses of current e-Reader technologies and determine the features required within an academic setting.

Outcomes

The pilot substantially reduced the amount of classroom printing. Pilot participants printed slightly more than half the amount of sheets than control groups who did not use e-Readers.

Participants report that the classroom experience was somewhat worsened by using e-Readers, as study and reference habits of students were challenged by device limitations. This suggests that future devices should pay more attention to annotation tools, pagination, and content organization, and should simulate a more natural “paper-like” user experience.

In summary, although most pilot participants were very pleased with their “reading” experiences on the Kindle, they felt that the “writing” tools fell short of expectations, preventing them from accomplishing tasks easily handled on paper. A detailed report on this project and its results is available at www.princeton.edu/ereaderpilot.

Mobility: Princeton services on mobile devices

For reunions last year, OIT created a special web site tailored for the small mobile devices that are now widespread in the marketplace such as cell phones with web browsers, iPhones, and Blackberries. The experiment proved to be very successful and there is a growing interest in the possibilities for new and enhanced services these devices may offer. To accelerate the development of such services, OIT signed an agreement in December that will give the University access to Blackboard Mobile, an environment that will allow users to access public information about the University in a format especially suited to mobile platforms.

During the past year, several universities, notably Stanford, Duke, and MIT, have used these same services to allow mobile users to access such things as campus maps, directories of people and places, bus schedules and campus tours, event calendars, announcements and news, as well as images and videos.

OIT, working with the Office of Communications and several other departments on campus, is now building a number of mobile applications that will provide useful information to the entire campus, as well as visitors, parents, and prospective students. We hope to complete the work in time for reunions this coming May.
 


May 2010

(print version)

Collaboration without leaving your office: iLinc web conferencing

The University has licensed the iLinc web-based conferencing tool to enable members of the University community to host and participate in online meetings and webinars right from their computers.

Using iLinc, University meeting hosts can invite an unlimited number of attendees to participate in video- and audio-supported web conferences. Conference attendees can be internal as well as external to Princeton. All conference participants have the ability to collaborate and remotely share their desktop view with others in the conference.

The iLinc service replaces the WebEx service previously used on campus. The transfer to iLinc resulted in a cost savings to the University, more concurrent licenses, and the addition of audio support over the Internet (Voice over IP), a necessary feature for effective web conferencing.

New Online Public Events Calendar

A newly redesigned Public Events Calendar (www.princeton.edu/events), offering a broad range of listings for events across the Princeton campus, is now available online. The new calendar provides users a central resource to find notices about events and event organizers a more streamlined process for publicizing their events. The project was driven by requests from both the campus community and the general public for greater access to information about the hundreds of public events – ranging from scholarly lectures to visits by major world figures – held on campus each year.

The redesign of the Public Events Calendar is part of a campus-wide effort to achieve cost savings and sustainability goals through a greater emphasis on electronic distribution of information and a reduction in print publications. Numerous departments and offices, including the Office of the Provost, the Department of Facilities, the Office of the Registrar, the Office of Conference and Event Services, the Office of Communications, and an advisory board composed of representatives from offices using the Resource25 event scheduling software, contributed to the development of the new calendar. The project, which began last May, was led by the Office of University Scheduling and the Office of Information Technology (OIT).

The new calendar enables users to view events on a specific date or within a range of dates. Users can also search for events sponsored by particular organizations or can view events by categories such as academics, arts, athletics, student life, exhibits, and religious life. Those who want personal notification of events can subscribe to RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds, which deliver regular updates from the calendar directly to the user’s device. They can also transfer event information from the Public Events Calendar onto their personal Exchange calendars using the iCalendar tool.

The new calendar draws on two technologies that are already widely used across campus to store, deliver, and display event data: the Resource25 event scheduling software and the Roxen content management system. Since approximately 80 percent of University events are currently scheduled through Resource25, the new calendar is designed to accept information directly from that system. In a similar way, the calendar makes use of information already published on the Web via the Roxen content management system. This design gives University departments and other groups a single, streamlined process for scheduling, publishing, and publicizing University events.

Following the launch of the new calendar, a second phase of development is beginning immediately based on feedback from users. Planned enhancements during phase two include: a keyword search; an event space reservation form that will be accessible from the calendar; links to campus maps and the offices of Parking and Transportation and University Ticketing; the ability to post images with calendar entries; and new fields to enter data such as event costs, co-sponsors, and contact information for disability services.