By Amy Adams
In his presentation to the Student Government Association Feb. 3, Furman’s Chief Information Officer Fred Miller announced that Furman will be doubling on-campus Internet bandwidth from one to two gigabytes per second beginning in fall 2014, one of several new projects to come out of the 2013 ITS survey.
Miller said the projects demonstrate how important it is for students to voice their opinions and concerns, noting that the 2013 ITS survey had the highest overall turnout rating from students. He said one of the primary goals for ITS in the upcoming year is to increase communication between ITS and students.
For instance, Miller said many students complain about poor Internet connection in their dorms and apartment bedrooms but are unaware that they can directly contact ITS with such problems. When contacted, ITS dispatches technicians to assist students in the comfort of their living space.
“We want students to feel connected to IT service staff so they can easily solve problems they experience,” Miller said.
Miller also encouraged students to use Box, a cloud storage service that allows students to access the same files across multiple devices. Box also allows multiple students to collaborate on the same document simultaneously and gives professors another outlet through which to share documents with students for class.
Furman provides students with 50 gigabytes of storage, which can be accessed through the MyFurman portal or Moodle.
One of the most frequently suggested improvements students requested in the 2013 survey was a database that compiles all events going on at Furman into one calendar, and ITS is developing this idea into a mobile application.
All students can now download updated Microsoft Office software from within their Microsoft 365 accounts for free. Instructions are available on the ITS self help guide at http://office365.furman.edu. The instructions are under the “Office Professional Plus for Students” tab, a service that Miller said saves each student hundreds of dollars and provides essential programs that Furman classes require.
ITS is also working on virtualizing software used in various departments so students and researchers can run programs from the Furman network on their own personal computers rather than at a computer lab. The Psychology Department is already testing this software with SPSS, a data analysis software.
Other projects in the works include improved guest wireless, a new anti-virus software to replace McAfee (due to student complaints), and allowing students to wirelessly print documents on the library printers from their own laptops.
Miller said that student voices are integral to ITS projects and innovations and called on students to voice their opinions and suggestions. Students can keep up with ITS announcements and project updates on the ITS blog, which can be found on the Furman website, or on Twitter at @furman_its.