Overview of Current Projects
Information Technology Services for the College was established in mid-2007 and began with centralizing staff from each campus and hiring a supervisor for them (Dr. Ayersman). From 2007 to 2009, New River CTC was still organizationally part of Bluefield State College. But since 2007, the Information Technology Services staff has independently worked on a number of projects to enhance and improve services for New River. Many of these projects have been concurrent initiatives spanning multiple locations. And some projects have ended only to become new projects again at a later time (e.g., migrating courses from CART to WebCT then to ANGEL and then again to Blackboard - three separate projects).
This page provides brief summaries of our efforts. The page is organized chronologically, meaning that our earlier efforts are listed at the bottom and our current/future efforts are generally listed closer to the top. The Current Projects Timeline provides a GANNT chart of our current and near future efforts.
Snapshot of 2007 Services | Current Projects Timeline | Archived Projects Timeline | Snapshot of 2015 Services
Project 31 - Data Governance Initiative
New River CTC is now working to extend Data Governance efforts initially begun as part of the Ellucian Action Plan. Steve Lacek, Dara Fann, and David Ayersman worked during the summer of 2018 to plan for developing and implementing a data governance initiative during the 2019-2020 academic year (more information). Our efforts were recently recognized in an online publication by the Tambellini Group (read it).
Project 30 - Zoom (videoconferencing management and enterprise chat solution)
New River CTC implemented Zoom as the enterprise solution for both videoconferencing and instant messaging. On August 1, 2018 Zoom was implemented for management of IVN classes and meetings. From August 2018 to December 2018 both Zoom and Blackboard IM will be available to users for instant messaging. Blackboard IM will be discontinued in December 2018 (more information).
Project 29 - Ellucian Banner 9 (upgrade from version 8)
New River CTC will complete our migration to Banner 9 by December 1, 2018. From August 2018 to December 2018 both Banner 8 and Banner 9 will be available to users. Banner 9 no longer requires the Java plugin and works on most modern web browsers. Customized screens used by HR have been manually re-created in Banner 9 and Banner 8 is no longer available.
Project 28 - Desktop Notification System (Alertus)
On February 10, 2017 we implemented Alertus Desktop, a Desktop Notification System. This service will not replace any others, but will complement existing services by giving us yet another means of notifying users of emergencies. The Alertus Desktop software allows us to send an alert to the software clients, overriding the entire computer screen. It takes only a few moments to compose a message and send it to a group of clients (perhaps a campus location) or to all clients. The notification is received by the clients in just moments as well. (more information).
Project 27 - Early Alert System (DropGuard)
We continue to make improvements to our Early Alert System, DropGuard. This Early Alert System is intended to aid in communicating with students throughout their academic experience at the College and it us used to track Attendance, Participation, and Satisfactory Progress. Effective use of this tool by instructors, advisors, and others will increase retention and improve graduation rates. This service was initially made availablbe for the Spring 2017 term which began on January 17, 2017. The Early Alert System Implementation Task Force is comprised of representatives from through the College and is guiding this implementation (more information).
Project 26 - Library Transition Plan
On July 1, 2014, library services at the College were reorganized under Technology Services. This transition plan provides an overview of challenges and future direction of library services at New River.
Project 25 - Ellucian Action Plan (a 3-year plan to be implemented from 2014 to 2017)
A team from Ellucian visited us and then provided us with the Ellucian Action Plan to guide our further implementation of Ellucian products at New River. We formed a Steering Committee and a Super User Group to manage this three-year initiative (more information).
Project 24 - New Printers for Open Computing Labs (to be completed by January 2015)
Each of the open computing labs is receiving new printers. Printing from smart devices will become a new functionality provided and we are striving to reduce waste associated with previous printing solutions. More information is available online.
Project 23 - Mobile App (to be completed by August 2015)
Dara and Jason already created a Mobile App for the College using the Ellucian solution, but new licensing costs from that company put this solution out of reach. They worked with CampusEAI to implement their Mobile App solution and the project should be completed before fall 2015 (iOS is available now and Android is being developed).
Project 22 - Virtualized Data Center (completed June 2011)
This project involved migrating all New River servers to a new virtualized data center. This is not just replacing equipment but instead it is drastically changing how we do business. Instead of a server for each service we are virtualizing the data center to provide many savings and efficiencies while also greatly improving our flexibility for creating new services. Current plans in this area are to move our data center to cloud-based hosting by Alpha Technologies while we also move our physical equipment to Charleston to serve as an off-site disaster recovery solution.
Project 21 - Online Admissions and Registration (completed April 1, 2013)
These two projects actually took nearly three years to complete. The outcome is that SCT Banner can now be used as the online interface to directly receive admission and registration data. Each student will have their own direct access and employees will no longer need to re-key data into Banner. The process is much more efficient than previous procedures while providing more responsive services to an empowered student body.
Project 20 - Banner 8 Upgrade (completed prior to July 1, 2010)
Working with WVNET, we (Dara) completed the migration from Banner 7.x to 8.x.
Project 19 - ANGEL Migration (to be completed by January 2014)
After lengthy procurement delays, this project officially began on Friday, November 13, 2009 but was still completed prior to January 19, 2010. In 2012 we learned that ANGEL would no longer be supported by Blackboard for upgrades, so we began to explore our options for migrating to a new course management system. Working with WVNET and others as part of a statewide consortium, we participated in renegotiating the statewide licensing agreement with Blackboard so that New River would be included and so that discounted prices would be available. Unexpectedly, we had to begin an instance of Blackboard 9.1 in November 2012 to accommodate the teach-out of the entire online MAST program. We formed an Advisory Committee for Distance Education to help guide our selection of a new course management system and to provide general guidance and direction to distance learning initiatives. The ACDE decided that we would migrate from ANGEL to Blackboard in 2013 with the first full-term on Blackboard to be Spring 2014.
Project 18 - Financial Aid
Part of the overall transition of services from Bluefield State College, New River data was migrated to the new Banner at WVNET.
Project 17 - Human Resources
New River maintains personnel data using a customized addition to SCT Banner. These data were migrated from Bluefield State College in September 2009, however the PZAEMPN screen in Banner that is used is a customized add-on to SCT Banner and cannot be fully supported into the future. New River must identify a new Human Resources system that could also incorporate a new leave management solution as well as a better ID Card system. We remain hopeful that the HR module of Banner will become affordable to us as we continue working with WVNET and the statewide consortium.
Project 16 - Banner Student
Part of the overall transition of services from Bluefield State College, the New River most data has been migrated to the new Banner WVNET. Key personnel continue to access the Banner BSC for some academic history.
Project 15 - Banner Finance
Part of the overall transition of services from Bluefield State College, New River data have been migrated.
Project 14 - IVN
New River has created a robust Interactive Video Network (IVN) comprised of more 18 IVN classrooms and a robut 24-port MCU and IPVCR. This project was planned to take a total of three years and was funded entirely by a Title III grant. The project began in 2008 and was completed in 2010.
Project 13 - Corporate Cell Phones
In the past, New River issued select individuals a corporate cell phone. Corporate cell phones are no longer issued, but instead monthly stipends are issued to select employees so that they can provide their own phones. This procedure/policy was implemented by the Finance office in 2011.
Project 12 - Network and Phones
New River began this project in mid-2007 and after lengthy procurement delays, the data network was completely installed in November 2009. The phone and video portions of the network are also now complete. Current efforts in this area are to complete a major upgrade of the phone system software while also virtualizing the services so that the physical equipment can be relocated to our disaster recovery location.
Project 11 - Joomla Upgrade
New River uses the open source web content management system named Joomla for its public web site (www.newriver.edu). Being open source, Joomla has many add-ons and upgrading Joomla typically involves upgrading both Joomla as well as these add-ons. Although we didn't initially have a TEST server for Joomla, once we virtualized our data center we were able to easily create one. Prior to that, updates were done on the PROD server. We are now periodically performing updates to avoid falling too far behind the current version. We have had several major upgrades since initial implementation and currently we are at version 2.5 waiting for 3.5 to be released (we're skipping 3.0).
Project 10 - Leave Management (completed on May 1, 2009)
New River copied the Leave Management database that was previously used at Bluefield State College (it is also used elsewhere throughout the state and is actually provided by the HEPC). Jason Garris did some minor custimizations and routinely does other support functions as needed. An enterprise system for HR should include a leave management system to replace this one.
Project 9 - ID Cards
New River assumed the responsibilty for creating ID Cards in early 2008. Photos are taken by admissions personnel at each campus and cards are printed at the Help Desk.
Project 8 - Web
A new layout and design was developed and implemented for the New River web site and home page (http://www.newriver.edu) and it was completed in 2008. We contracted with WeldCreative.com to provide us with new Joomla Templates and style sheets that changed "the look" of the site. The actual organization of the information and the information itself was revised. Starting with the information on the current site, the site architecture was redesigned by the IT Advisory Group (blank Site Structure Plan). Each web page was then assigned to someone who to be responsible for the content of that page. We now provide training for these folks to enable them to do the necessary content updates. Part of this project also included moving the site from a company in Virginia that had been hosting it, to our own data center. This initial effort was completed on March 25, 2008 with training, maintenance, and updates continuing to the present date.
Project 7 - People Search (completed May 15, 2008)
We integrated the Active Directory with a public-facing directory database and then re-examined how people were organized (the OU's) and the categories of information that we were using for them to create People Search. An interactive, searchable directory of all New River email account holders (students, employees and guests). Future efforts in this area will be to refine groupings, updating position titles in Banner/Active Directory to help categorize and identify people, while also adding new customized fields, perhaps even photos, to meet ongoing needs.
Project 6 - Emergency Alert System (completed March 5, 2008)
A new Emergency Alert System for New River was implemented on March 5, 2008. In 2012 we replaced this system with our CampusEAI portal's messaging system.
Project 5 - Help Desk
New River implemented an online ticket management system (IssueTrak) in early 2008. Since that time we have integrated IssueTrak with the Active Directory so that all account holders can access it to create and review tickets. Authentication for IssueTrak is provided by the integrated Active Directory.
Project 4 - Course Management (completed January 2008)
On December 28, 2007 we moved all our WebCT courses and accounts from the Bluefield State College server to a New River WebCT server. The name (URL) of the server actually remained the same (http://webct.newriver.edu).
Starting in Spring 2008, every New River course section will have a course shell in WebCT. The significance of this change becomes apparent when you realize that in Spring 2007 there were 23 New River course sections online in WebCT (and 22 in CART making 45 total). In Spring 2008 we will have over 500! Every course section will have an online syllabus and we expect an increasing number of courses to begin utilizing other aspects of WebCT. This increased usage is expected to lead to a rapid increase in the number of completely online courses as well, since so many instructors will become familiar with the online course development process and the WebCT interface and functionality.
Outcomes of this project will include:
- Every course section will be available online with at least a syllabus.
- The number of courses using WebCT as a supplement will rapidely increase and we expect increases in both web-enhanced an completely online courses as well.
- Confusion caused by having two course management solutions will begin to decrease in Spring 2008 and will end by Summer 2008.
- There will be an immediate increase in the number of courses with at least a syllabus online (from 45 to over 500).
- The number of completely online courses will begin to increase rapidly as instructors (and students) gain familiarity with the interface and functionality of WebCT.
- Enrollment information in WebCT will be updated daily (using batch files from Banner). The standardization of the Course ID and Course Title will make these daily updates possible.
- New River will be able to brand WebCT to reflect institutional color schemes and graphics (see below).
- Additionally, some systemwide features of WebCT will become available as well (announcements, institutional bookmarks). And the standardization of WebCT data will enable us to make the Course Title and Course ID more informative to the users (see the yellow circles below for these 8 areas where the myWebCT page will change).
- Training will be offered for instructors to familiarize them with using WebCT and to explore options relevant to their role as Designers. Some basic orientation to WebCT will be incorporated into the New Student Orientation training.
Project 3 - Email and Active Directory (completed January 2008)
On January 2, 2008 we moved all New River email accounts from the Bluefield State College email server to an email server at New River. A new address for checking email via a web browser became available at that time (http://mail.newriver.edu/owa/). Outcomes of this project include:
- Usernames and email addresses remained the same (email@example.com).
- Passwords were reset to the 9-digit New River ID number for all users. If you don't know your password or username we'll have a web site where you can obtain the information.
- All students, faculty, staff, and alumni will have New River email accounts and will be included in a searchable directory (thus improving communications significantly and improving our ability to contact everyone in the event of an emergency).
- The New River email account will be the primary method of electronic communication at New River. If you prefer not to check your New River email account you may forward your email from your New River account to another account that you do check frequently. That way you don't miss important communications.
- Security of communications will be increased by restricting administrative access to only key New River personnel and by adopting other security measures.
- The only training required as a result of this project will be incorporated into our Orientation Workshop for new faculty, staff, and students. Existing users will not need training.
Please review the email policy that reflects the scope of options that are available to users.
Project 2 - Domain Name Change
New River changed the domain name from nrctc.edu to newriver.edu in early 2008.
Project 1 - Microsoft Vista and Office 2007 (completed September 2007)
New River completed the upgrades from Windows XP to Vista and from Office 2003 to Office 2007 on schedule at the end of September 2007. The final steps in these upgrades included user training at each campus and assisting users with making recommended changes to their computer configurations. The total number of computers upgraded was about 350.