Building on the network and infrastructure improvements completed in 2015-2016, OIT completed Phase I of Unified Communications (UC) in August of 2016. The UC technology platform integrates IP telephony, instant messaging, web conferencing, audio, and video into a single platform that supports synchronous and asynchronous communication. Phase I involved the upgrade of the Avaya Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) telephone system to the Cisco platform. Cisco is a leader in UC and networking. The Cisco phone system uses an extensible proprietary software that makes changes and alterations to the system convenient and straightforward. This large-scale initiative required precise, methodical planning and the coordination of all institutes and departments for all campus locations. Over the course of the summer, OIT deployed 1,415 phones and conducted 54 days of training with eight different workshops to transition the faculty and staff onto the new system with minor disruption in services.
The new telephone system provides:
In addition to supporting Phase I of the Unified Communications Project, the network improvements, which included a tenfold upgrade of the fiber backbone from 1GB to 10GB, supported the deployment of a new wireless platform at Brookdale. OIT worked with vendors and College leadership to identify a solution that would deliver a reliable and secure Wi-Fi experience that could meet the demands of students, faculty, and employees in an environment where users have an ever-increasing number of mobile devices. The Cisco wireless solution includes the Identity Services Engine (ISE) that streamlines administration by centralizing access management and bringing better visibility to the users and devices that are connecting.
After the Spring term concluded, OIT installed over 500 campus locations providing a greater range of coverage, improved performance, and consistent connectivity. Brookdale’s Wireless Network now supports three connection methods:
Fall 2017 courses scheduled for Wall commenced in the new Wall West building, a 37,000 square foot facility that includes classrooms, Student Success Center, state of the art science and health science labs, and testing center. OIT was involved in the planning, design, and implementation of the new teaching and learning technologies, network infrastructure, and security system deployment for the new Wall building. Working closely with New Jersey City University, OIT facilitated the handoff of networking capabilities in the Wall East building in a phased approach to minimize the impact on students and faculty.
The classrooms in the new Wall facility are equipped with Epson Short Throw Projector and Interactive Pens. These units transform the classroom whiteboard into a giant tablet. The stylus pen interacts with the classroom computer to control, annotate, draw, and interact with any application on the workstation computer. Students and faculty can annotate on projected images from an iPad, iPod, a document camera without a direct connection to a computer, thus transforming the way faculty and students, interact, share, and collaborate on course content
The facility has a state of the art security system that integrates access control and video surveillance. Administrative Staff, Brookdale Police and Security, and designated Faculty gain access to the facility and classrooms using their Brookdale OneCard. The OneCard System is integrated with the security system and with Colleague, where a person access level is controlled. Security Officers have a central monitoring computer workstation providing real-time surveillance, monitoring, and access control. The workstation connects to security cameras strategically placed within the building and outside parking lots. Security Officers can control access to the facilities and classrooms through the workstation if needed. Police offices monitor the facility from the security systems mobile app installed on their cell phone or tablet.
Working closely with Community Relations and the Registrar, OIT implemented Smartloader, an integration tool that automatically imports emergency contact information from Colleague into RAVE. The data import occurs daily ensuring that all currently enrolled Brookdale Students and Employees receive a text message and email notification in the event of an emergency.
Additionally, the RAVE Emergency Alert system is used for communicating non-emergency messages through a variety of mediums. Brookdale Students and Employees can “opt-in” to receiving non-emergency notifications through Web Advisor. Existing emergency contact information can be viewed and edited from the WebAdvisor screen, thus ensuring the information on file is current without the need to go to Registration to request an update. Employees also have the ability to add their mobile numbers in WebAdvisor to receive Emergency Notifications.
OIT also developed workflows to provide convenient, user-friendly solutions to staff within Student Success the ability to communicate to targeted students and prospects. These communications include using the robo caller functionality to inform students of registration availability and Drop for Non-Payment deadlines.
The Applications team successfully integrated ID photos from the OneCard System into other applications, including Colleague and Self-Service. Administrative staff can quickly and easily confirm a student’s identity when servicing students without the need for additional proof of identity. Student photos are available in the advising application in Self-Service. In Summer III, OIT introduced photos in Class Rosters within Self-Service. This assisted faculty in identifying and verifying students in their courses. The photos enable faculty to quickly get to know their students and “put a face to a name” creating a more personal learning environment. The new Self-Service Class Rosters became available to all faculty in the Fall semester.
In conjunction with Student Services, OIT began identifying solutions that would allow the use of student names that are consistent with their gender identity. While more comprehensive solutions are under development in Colleague, WebAdvisor, and Self-Service through the use of currently available functionality and minor customizations the new naming convention is available in the Colleague Search feature, select Rosters, WebAdvisor and Self-Service greeting pages, TutorTrac, and Canvas. OIT will continue to work with Student Services to implement the more comprehensive solutions that will be available as part of the baseline functionality in Colleague and Self-Service.
In preparation for the Spring 2017 registration cycle, Brookdale implemented Immediate Payment Control (IPC)and Colleague Payment Plans. IPC introduces a dynamic payment workflow in Self-Service that provide students with payment options that include online payment plans administered through Colleague. IPC allows you to set payment requirements for students that will be evaluated upon registration and can vary requirements based on registration dates. The Applications team created a workflow in Entrinsik Informer that automatically sends email reminders to students on active payment plans. An email reminder is sent to students 7 days prior to their next payment plan due date, and on their payment due date. The email reminder includes the amount due, the due date, and informs them if they do not make the payment by the due date; they may incur late fees and may be dropped from all classes. OIT expects that this process will reduce the number of students dropped for nonpayment and increase retention rates
Test scores are used to assess student preparedness for introductory credit-bearing college courses, for placement and diagnostic tests, and to support intervention and help answer the challenges of accurate placement and remediation. Brookdale Administrators rely on test scores when advising and supporting students in their academic and career journeys. In an effort to improve placement, the Testing Center tasked OIT with modifying the Accuplacer import process in Colleague to include additional PARCC test scores. Having a multitude of test scores to review Advisors have a more comprehensive academic profile of a student’s aptitude when placing students in courses that will support academic success and increase retention.
The new MyBrookdale mobile app version 5.1.1 was released in May 2017. The Brookdale mobile app now allows students, faculty, and staff to receive Brookdale notifications on mobile devices even when the MyBrookdale mobile app is not in use. A push notification was sent to all users in August reminding students, faculty, and staff of the impending Password Expiration. The MyBrookdale mobile app allows you to stay connected with Brookdale while you are on the go, and get quick and easy access to Brookdale news, events, campus maps, important numbers, class schedules, grades and more. The adoption rate and use of the app have significantly increased with the release of 5.1.1. In past version, the average monthly usage was 1,692 sessions, with the release of 5.1, the average monthly usage is 4,649 sessions, an increase of 175%.
Members of Continuing & Professional Studies, Innovation Center, and OIT met to discuss the current processes involved with creating courses/sections in CANVAS and identified opportunities to improve those processes. Utilizing data elements related to course subjects in Colleague, Faculty and Student enrollment information is now included in the Daily CANVAS feeds. This new automation replaces the user-initiated request process and exemplifies the type of streamlined and efficient solutions that result from Business Process Reviews
OIT’s User Services Team implemented a unified computing environment, studentcomputing.brookdalecc.edu to address Computer Science Department’s instructional needs. This web based environment provides access to labs and practice sessions both on and off campus for the Computer Science Department’s faculty and students. Students can easily and securely access course content from any computer with internet access. Currently, this server supports the following disciplines:
In a coordinated effort with College Relations, OIT Technical Services reconfigured the Apache Web server that hosts the Brookdale web site creating a more “secure and hardened” web server. Server Hardening is the process of improving server security through a variety of settings and configurations which results in a much more secure server operating environment. Additional security features, data encryption, brute force detection systems, and Mod security were installed and updated on the Apache Server. The web site was migrated from a single site configuration to a multi-site configuration allowing for security groups and classes to be used when providing people editing rights to the web site thus providing a more secure editing environment.
The purpose of Information Technology (IT) Governance planning is to support effective collaboration at all levels and on all matters related to technology. The objective of the planning process is ultimately to define and implement an IT Governance structure for Brookdale Community College that:
The IT Governance structure provides for an integrated flow of information, collaboration, and decisions to support both executive level priorities and operational level activities. It establishes a mechanism for overseeing the implementation of a technology strategic plan by providing for collaboration on strategic and tactical plans.
In today’s world, information technology is a critical enabler of any organization’s success. Colleges are increasingly finding that they must strategically prioritize their technology investments and initiatives in order to accomplish their mission; enroll, educate and support students; develop their human resources; and achieve their desired level of institutional effectiveness. The IT governance committees will build on the work done in the IT Strategic Planning workshops to develop the College’s multi-year IT strategic plan.
The Technology Leadership Team is responsible for developing an Information Technology strategic direction that is aligned with and supports the Brookdale Community College mission statement. The Technology Leadership team recommends, reviews, promotes, and sponsors, when applicable, information technology projects that have enterprise-wide impact. The leadership is also responsible for managing and directing all information technology resources, addressing infrastructure and operational issues, identify and evaluate new and emerging technologies, and manage the Information Technology budget.
The Help Desk is the central point of contact for all Information Technology issues. The Help Desk is available 24x7, 365. All inquiries to the Help Desk are entered and tracked in Service Now database. Requests to the Help Desk are made by phone or email. The Help Desk support staff are trained technicians who can provide support for many of the technology issues. If the Help Desk technician cannot resolve a problem, the will direct your question to the appropriate Information Technology area for resolution. The Help Desk’s goal is to provide excellent customer support for resolving information technology related issues for Brookdale students, faculty and staff.
The Enterprise Applications team’s primary function is to provide the necessary support required to operate the institution’s ERP and other ancillary applications that assist Brookdale students, faculty and staff in their day to day activities on campus. The Enterprise Applications team addresses requests from administration to improve the functionality of the ERP to support the institution’s business processes.
Networking is responsible for the design, implementation, security, redundancy, reliability and management of Brookdale’s technology infrastructure and the maintenance and support of Enterprise license applications. The infrastructure consists of the wired and wireless networks, physical security, firewalls, routers, switches and access control, Data Center, VM systems, and SAN storage. The Networking team's primary function is to support the technology services connecting students, faculty and staff to Brookdale’s Information Technology Resources and the Internet.
Telecommunications is responsible for the planning, development, acquisition and operation of telecommunication services at Brookdale. Telecommunications provides services for offices, faculty, staff, and administrators related to telephones, voicemail, fax, and call center management.
User Services is responsible for triaging and processing technology related requests, resolving technical problems, providing end user desktop support, and maintaining of the all of the computers and laptops on all campuses, including administrative and instructional technologies. User Services personnel are highly trained technicians committed to providing excellent customer support and efficiently resolving technical problems.