Office of Information Technology

Message from the CIO – May 2011


During the summer semester, The Office of Information Technology takes advantage of fewer service calls to engage in projects. Below are a few of the activities that are going on in OIT.


Blackboard 9 Complete: The Blackboard 9 rollout, beginning in December last year, completed at the beginning of May. In the first quarter of 2011, the new Blackboard 9 environment was made available to faculty so they could learn the new system and begin developing their courses.   Instruction was provided at the MCC LIFT institute. Trainings were offered through a communication plan that began with general invitations, followed by specific offerings targeted to those who were teaching in the summer semester. The result is 49 of the 53 faculty teaching with online or hybrid classes this summer were provided faculty development in Blackboard 9. Additional faculty development opportunities with Blackboard 9 will continue throughout the summer to insure readiness for fall 2011. Blackboard 9 contains several improvements over the previous version, including course analytics, improved grade center, a more intuitive interface, and better multimedia integration. One additional advantage is the MCC’s blackboard environment is delivered with a technology known as High Availability. High Availability creates a redundancy between the Blackboard components, and allows many potential problems to be resolved while the systems are running. The expected outcome is far fewer unplanned service interruptions.  


Document Imaging: MCC’s document imaging project officially kicked off in May. Representatives from Financial Aid, Records, and Human Resources met with Perceptive, the provider of MCC’s document imaging solution (ImageNow), to discuss outcomes and the implementation strategy. The first department at MCC to implement will be Financial Aid. To help gather additional information, OIT contacted Ocean County College of New Jersey, a SunGard Higher Education partner college. Ocean County uses Datatel for its ERP and recently completed an implementation of ImageNow in their Financial Aid department. MCC’s FA department and OIT were able to ask questions from their counterparts at OCC, and develop a greater understanding of document imaging from a Financial Aid perspective. When implemented, document imaging provides several benefits, including improved document accessibility, security, retrieval, and workflow. Because documents can at times take a few minutes or longer to retrieve, speeding up this process is expected to enhance customer service and processing time.


Sustainability: The Office of Information Technology is pleased to announce partnership with MCC’s Sustainability Task Force. Representatives from OIT began attending Sustainability Meetings early this year, and growing their numbers at the May meeting. The primary topics involving technology were how to reduce paper consumption and printing. Duplex printing, i.e. printing on both sides of the paper, as a default was discussed. Another strategy for paper reduction, currently being tested in the OIT department, is inbound faxing directed to network folders from the multi-function copiers. Previous OIT efforts with sustainability include sleep timeouts for computer displays in specific areas, and computer shutdowns after three hours of inactivity in all labs and classrooms to save on power consumption.


Mike Alstrom

Chief Information Officer

Muskegon Community College