Desktop, E-mail Projects to Begin This Semester

Desktop, E-mail Projects to Begin This Semester

By Sean Smith
Chronicle Editor

Having made several improvements to the University's technology services during the summer, the Office of Information Technology this fall will embark on a project to bring new computers to campus offices.

The project, Desktop 2003, will replace some 3,000 computers installed during the 1999-2000 academic year in administrative, staff and faculty offices. IT administrators say the overhaul also will see the introduction of a new e-mail client program for many users, and should be completed by late spring.

Work on the project to date has included selecting replacement systems, building and testing software images and planning for installation in departments, administrators say. In preparation for the project, the Student Learning and Support Center in O'Neill Library has received new Dell and eMac machines.

Orders for the new desktops will be made by designated decision-makers within a school, department or vice presidential area. The majority of administrative users will continue using the Windows platform on a Dell machine, while full-time faculty will have a choice of a Dell or Apple desktop or notebook computer.

The schedule for replacing the systems will be coordinated with the department to ensure as little disruption as possible, IT administrators say.

Prior to the replacement of desktops, Simeon users must switch to a new e-mail program. Users of Netscape Communicator or Outlook Express will be upgraded to new versions when they receive their Desktop 2003 machines. Users of Mulberry, Pine or Eudora will not be required to make any changes to their email client software.

Desktop 2003 will cap a period of intensive work for the IT Office, which in the past year has consolidated the University's e-mail account system and completed the transition to a new campus network, among other improvements.

"Recently, Information Technology completed two massive infrastructure projects that position the University to move forward with some very visible projects this fall," said Vice President for Information Technology Marian Moore.

"The successful completion of these initiatives is the result of incredible coordination between Information Technology, the technology consultants and Academic Technology Services. But most of all, we rely on, and appreciate, the cooperation and patience of the BC community."Since late spring, all student, faculty and staff e-mail accounts have been moved to the "mail" server. The new e-mail infrastructure is made up of multiple machines, explains IT Director Mary Corcoran, thus ensuring that the system can continue to run in case of outages due to power failures, maintenance work or other causes.

Corcoran added that the new system provides for a more reliable, state-of-the-art mail environment with improved virus detection and protection and greater flexibility for advanced features.

This summer's transition to the new campus network - which controls access to e-mail, printing, databases, servers and the Internet - was accomplished with few, if any, problems, and will make it easier for the University to manage its network traffic.

Also, the course development software tool WebCT was upgraded to Campus Edition v3.7 during the first week of August. The upgrade, directed by Academic Technology Services, includes enhancements to the user interface, and improvements in such areas as assignments, discussions and quizzes. Users can now enter and edit mathematical notations in many of the WebCT tools and can display calendar entries in a Palm date book.

The Office of Information Technology Web site, at www.bc.edu/bc_org/tvp/cchome/cchome.shtml, offers news and updates of technology-related projects.

 

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