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Campus technology to improve at SMC

O'Neil, Megan | Tuesday, October 7, 2003

The Saint Mary’s campus will continue to see improvements in campus technology, the director of information technology told the Board of Governance Monday.

Major upgrades in both equipment and procedure, including rewiring of residence halls, have taken place, Keith Fowlkes said. The rewiring will improve the connections between personal student computers and the Saint Mary’s network.

An increase in network connection capacity will also be implemented, Fowlkes said. Residence hall network connections are being improved from 10 mega bits to 100 mega bits and the new capacity will increase the Internet and network connection speed.

Board members expressed concern about recent the implementation of the new e-mail server, Aegis, and the complications of the transition. They specifically questioned whether their files and address book would transition over to the new provider. Fowlkes said that students would have to transfer files manually, but that benefits of the new system would outweigh drawbacks.

“Aegis is much faster than the old system, and you get the added benefit of the group calendar where all meetings and events can be posted,” he said.

Fowlkes also said his department has switched the campus from the use of Cisco computer equipment to equipment made by Hewlett Packard.

“What it really translates into is $60,000 in cost savings on equipment each year,” said Fowlkes.

Board members also discussed the campus IStore with Fowlkes. The store, which opened for the first time this fall, sells computer hardware and software, as well as Nextel cellular phones to students.

“We had a lot of students coming to campus with no idea what to buy,” he said. “We wanted to make sure that students get the best computer for the best price.”

In addition to the IStore, Saint Mary’s students have access to the new Husking Instructional Technology Resource Center, which is located in the library and equipped for full web page production as well as audio and video presentation.

“This is going to be the head end for a new campus television channel,” Fowlkes explained.

While definite plans have not yet been established, the Information Technology Department hopes that the student-run production unit will be under way by the fall of 2004. Students will be able to access the programming both on their televisions and the Internet.

Possible wireless locations on campus are also being discussed, Fowlkes said, and would include the dining hall and the future adjacent student center.