Tuesday, March 05, 2019

35 Years of Apple Computers Displayed

Our ITS Client Services Eagle Help Desk developed a small museum display, celebrating 35-years of Apple computers. ABC affiliate WXOW covered this event and filed this news segment.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Rethinking Dorm Wi-Fi

Today’s students have high expectations for campus connectivity, and the colleges that hope to recruit them face stiff competition. Studies show students now bring an average of seven connected devices to campus, including smartphones, laptops, PCs, smart TVs, gaming consoles and more. At mid-sized schools of 5,000 students, 35,000 devices may be trying to connect to the Wi-Fi network at any given time. Students expect seamless and unlimited connections, and they’re counting on colleges and universities to provide them 24/7.

Learn more at:  http://www.govtech.com/education/papers/Rethinking-Dorm-Wi-Fi-108010.html?promo_code=CDE_web_library_list

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Phishing Attacks in Education- What Can You do?

In 2016, Phishing attacks became mainstream, and in 2017 hackers began to innovate their practice of targeting of unsuspecting victims. While the media has covered large data breaches by corporations, hackers are increasingly probing and targeting educational institutions to steal data and create enormous spamming issues.

One of the most important methods to help thwart these attacks is to have a solid program to help  end users be aware of the risks of potential phishing and how to protect themselves. Developing a strategic communications can help faculty, staff, and students be prepared against cyber attacks.

This film was created to help end users understand what phishing attacks are, the risks, and how to create cyber awareness.

First, be sure to create and distribute clear and concise communications. Have a person or team craft messages which are easy to understand and not written in IT-jargon. Make your messages understandable to a wide audience.

Second, use analytical research tools to determine if and when your e-mail messages are being opened by your end users. E-mail marketing software such as Mail Chimp or Constant Contact are excellent services to track the effectiveness of your communications, and provides insights into the best time to target your audience, and the actual location placement of your content in your web e-mail message.

Third, don't rely only on electronic messages to your end users. Consider written messages, posters, door hangers, and other print materials to disseminate your narrative.

Fourth, develop a cyber security culture by going out to your customers to explain the importance of cyber security.  Plan meetings and workshops which provide a platform to faculty and student senates, committees, and residence halls. IT professionals should go out to their customer base to help them become aware of cyber threats and how to protect themselves.

Fifth, create your communication plan and target and time when you want to connect with your audience. Search out and consider research which specifies the optimum times to send digital messages through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. Some research suggests the best time to posts on Facebook is 1–4 p.m. on Wednesday. For Twitter Wednesday 12-3pm, and Instagram, Monday and Tuesday at 9:00am are ideal times. There are exceptions to these times based upon time zone, culture, and additional factors.

To recap, the top 5 things to remember in creating a strategic communication plan for cyber security awareness are:

1) Good communications
2) Use analytical tools
3) Use digital and analog communications
4) Create a Cyber Security Culture
5) Target and time your messages

Monday, May 01, 2017

UNLEASH 2017 Begins in Madison, WI

On May 1, 2017, UNLEASH 2017 opened with special pre-conference workshops and the Enterprise Video Awards. It is impressive with the number of universities and international attendees who participate in this event. The conference is easy to navigate and networking opportunities abound. Stay tuned for more on location reports. #Unleash17 #mediasite.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

3 Elements for Transforming IT Culture

Recently I was interviewed by EDUCAUSE about the top 10 strategies to Transform IT Culture.  As we talked, the interviewer asked if I could narrow it down to 5, and when it came to produce a short video, I had to reduce it to just 3.  While all of the 10 core strategies, there are 3 elements, which can make a very large impact on your IT department, and in a sense "super charge" your culture.

First, there is Communication. 

In any IT culture, communication is the most often talked about challenge, but rarely solved. As a manager, you need to think about communications internal to the department, external to the department (on campus), and then the communication outside the traditional borders of the campus. Communicating our successes off campus to external audiences can may big dividends down the road.
"Communication needs to be clear, concise, and frequent."

Second, there is  Empowerment.

If our employees don't feel empowered, where does that motivation we want them to have come from? What gives them the most satisfaction in their job? It's feeling empowered in their job, to feel they can make a difference, that we can make a change.

The Third important strategy is to Develop Relationships. 

This is easy to say, but difficult to accomplish. Developing relationships can start with your colleague down the hallway. Rather than avoid people by e-mailing them- talk to them face-to-face. The next step is to connect with colleagues throughout your building and across campus. In the past I have heard the IT mantra, "What's good for IT is good for the campus."  This can create perceptions that IT wants to be in control of everything technology related. Instead we need to position ourselves to be a partner with our customers. Breaking down those barriers can help develop relationships which can go a long way in creating a culture of cooperation and collaboration.

Communication, empowerment, and relationship- a winning formula to help create a successful IT culture. Try this formula, and consider all 10 strategies listed in the previous post. To see the YouTube for this story, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb0ySd-AVwc

Friday, October 10, 2014

Creating an IT Culture: What You Want "IT" to Be

10 Key Strategies to Transform Your IT Culture

In many IT departments it is readily apparent there is employee disengagement, dissatisfaction, and a lack of empowerment. It many situations, as an outside observer, you can simply feel these negative vibes as soon as you walk into through the door. The question for technology managers and administrators, "How can you effectively change an IT culture to transform it into a vibrant, engaging, and effective department?"  There are 10 key strategies that work in tandem to create this much sought after goal. These concepts to transform IT Culture were initially presented at the 2013 EDUCAUSE Regional Conference in Chicago, and refined and expanded at the 2014 EDUCAUSE International Conference held in Orlando. The room was filled to capacity with CIOs, technologists, and faculty from around the world, all with one important. Let me explain a few of these strategies.

The 10 key transformative strategies to change your IT culture include the following:

When you embark upon a change in culture, it is first important to ensure that you precisely define your STRATEGIC VISION to the staff. This statement should be clear and simple so that all of the employees can explain it to others. For example, one potential version may read: 
 "Build a more focused IT organization with the ability to proactively adapt to new technology, new roles and implement seamless and customer centered process."
Trust is another important element in building an effective team. Without trusting in your leadership, and your co-workers, it makes for an environment which cannot function effectively and efficiently. To continually build trust, the workplace must instill a sense of accurate and consistent communications.Trust is a long term process to earn, but much more difficult to get it back once it's lost. As defined, trust is the "belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, and effective."

Another key component for a successful IT is how we EMPOWER our employees. As a manager, it is question that we too often fail to ask our employees.  Perhaps we just don't think about asking "the question" or on a more subconscious level, maybe we don't want to take the risk of hearing the answer.  Finding ways to empower employees takes time and effort. One of the best ways to accomplish empowerment is to put employees into lead project positions and let them succeed, or fail.  Failure is one of the 10 core strategies to change IT culture. The Honda Motor Company created a series of documentaries around the theme of The Power of Dreams.  One of these films, "Failure-the Secret to Succcess," deals with our ability to deal with Failure and to first admit it, then learn from it.

With the realization of failure also comes with the potential for success. It was Thomas Edison who once said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."  To encourage success it is important to innovate.  For example, providing a wide, diverse, and innovative technology training programs not only energizes the faculty to learn, but it also supercharges the staff presenters to learn, stretch themselves, and motivates them to lead.  Innovative events such as HOT-Hands on Technology, Passport to Technology, and Tech 4 U serve to create interest and excitement and help to sustain the technology training program. You can learn more about these interesting technology training sessions by going to the UW-La Crossse ITS web site.

One event that accentuated the concept of Innovation, and which promoted collaboration and teamwork within the IT culture was the Technology Tomorrow, Today- a technology showcase. This event brought technology companies from around the U.S. and Canada, car manufactures, technologists, CIOs,faculty, staff, and students throughout Wisconsin. Local TV stations covered the event.

In addition our internal video unit captured the event. This was an excellent example of IT staff leading, taking ownership, and collaborating towards a common goal. The video captures the energy of IT staff on display, bringing technology to nearly 300 registrants. When you watch the video you will get a sense of excitement from the participants, corporate partners, and students.

One lingering strategy that is rarely discussed in transforming IT culture is the concept of EMPATHY. The notion of empathy extends from teh manager to the employee, but also from the IT staff to the client. As the definition tells us, empathy is "our ability to understand the feelings of another."Understanding the backgrounds, work and personal lives helps the employer make strategic yet empathetic choices when working with employees.  Understanding these same things when working with clients and stakeholders helps to provide a point of reference when searching out technology or process solutions.

For more information on all 10 of the core strategies to Change IT Culture, send me an e-mail or Tweet.  You may also find the 2014 EDUCAUSE session here. Follow each of these strategies and you too will be well on your way to change your own IT Culture- for the positive.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Wonder of Time Lapse Videos Reveals Insights and History

Time lapse videography allows us to see details in the passage of time that go unnoticed to our eyes.  These fleeting moments are almost imperceptible as we go about our daily lives, until we compress this time so that we can see motion, action, and trends in a sequence of individual frames of information. This collection of images can include thousands of frames of information, and when brought together and edited to music and entirely new world of information is presented to our eyes and ears.

I was always captivated with time lapse photography of clouds and plants, but wanted to transfer this concept to the construction of buildings.  These events can occur over many months and years. Using time lapse photography reveals the stages of demolition, site development, construction, and site completion. Tiny details emerge as the interplay of light, weather, and construction are captured. In addition, you are able to document a piece of construction history that would otherwise be lost, or otherwise potentially captured only in a few still images.

Centennial Hall Construction-

At the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, I took the concept of capturing images through traditional video cameras, and later web cameras and recording individual video frames to a server. Later, thousands of still images would be collected and compiled with digital editing software to create short video segments. This may include 3 frames a day. For some segments, individual frames were purposely deleted to avoid stroboscopic issues with bright and dark images, depending upon the weather, season, and lighting for specific days. Later, music would be chosen to accentuate the emotional feel of the edited piece.

Showing these videos to various audiences, always seems to illicit a sense of wonder and amazement. It is a way to capture those fleeting moments we miss in our lives, and also persevere a sense of history in the process.

Stadium Site Preparation-

Reuter Hall Construction-http://goo.gl/WSDpjm