Here's an update on some changes to our IT services, a follow-up to the annual budget memo in June. Although this year’s budget process influenced some of these decisions, most were already under review, and senior staff spent significant time discussing the changes and their implications for the College. Shifts in technology use, like the rise in personal streaming (which resulted in minimal use of the College-provided cable television service, for example) and widespread smartphone ownership, also guided some of the decisions. Importantly, the budget work this year also forced us to focus on putting College resources where they have the greatest impact.
While we recognize that change is not always easy, it’s also important to note that, over the years, we've transitioned through numerous technological shifts, from retiring our modem banks and ending support for Wordperfect, to the adoption of platforms like Gmail. We deeply value the community's patience as we implement these changes and remain available at email@example.com for support.
The notable changes to be aware of are:
The College no longer licenses cable television service from Comcast/Xfinity. The contract ended on July 31, 2023. Rokus are available in residence hall common areas for students to use with their existing personal streaming accounts. Faculty or staff needing assistance with access to specific programming can consult with ATS and the Library for options.
The College will no longer support on-campus digital signage due to its limited effectiveness as a communication tool and its energy consumption, among other reasons. Most of the existing monitors and computers will be decommissioned, though we'll explore redeployment options for the monitors. We'll start the removal process this academic year and provide further details this Fall.
The College is replacing its phone system this fall. The College will move to a software-based “phone” system from Zoom, whose calling features will be available within the existing Zoom software that is already installed on computers and mobile devices. If necessary, phone handsets will be provided to replace the current ones. In almost all cases, existing extensions will be moved to the new phone system – with the exception of certain Google Voice numbers. This transition will take place this fall, with more details to be shared in October.
The mobile device stipend and phone issuance programs are ending this winter. Users may keep their College-issued phones and will receive assistance in transferring their College numbers to a personal provider, as the College will no longer maintain these service contracts. Stipends will end in late winter, and cellular services on other devices such as iPads and mifi units will be assessed individually, with most also losing cellular service this winter. These changes are in line with what most schools have already done due to the prevalence of smartphones, with over 80% of individuals in the U.S. already owning one.The College is sharing this information now in the hopes that it gives everyone sufficient time to plan ahead.
The College will wind down IT-supplied podium computers in classrooms over the course of this academic year. IT will help faculty and impacted staff transition to using their laptops in place of podium computers—something a large proportion of the faculty already do—with the goal of removing the existing podium computers by next summer. Details about training and individualized consulting sessions will be provided this fall.
The College has discontinued licenses for Linkedin Learning. Those interested in material from Linkedin Learning can consider purchasing their materials a la carte, using College training and development resources, or work with their supervisor, HR, and IT to find alternatives. Faculty utilizing this content in their teaching can work with Academic Technology Services to identify alternatives.
If you have questions or need assistance, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks again for your understanding and support.