Tag Archive for 'communication'

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

As more students embrace a technology-filled lifestyle filled with smartphones, netbooks and other wireless devices, the days of effectively reaching the university’s target audience with flyers and bulletin board postings on tack boards are waning.

The rapid distribution of information to visitors, students and faculty while reducing the usage of paper has become an important issue for Davenport University as it continues to strengthen its unified communications strategy. As students continue to increase their expectations of having their on-campus environment being an extension of their increasingly digital lifestyle, several factors have converged to make rapid communications to their target audiences a high priority.

You may have noticed the recent installation of large screens within your campus’s welcome area, lounge or other area where people convene or walk by.  These screens, otherwise known as digital signage displays, can deliver instant, timely information by utilizing multimedia elements such as images, video, flash movies using subtle animation, and news tickers/alerts powered by RSS feeds.

Digital Signage DiagramInformation regarding events, course changes, cancellations, room changes, student activities, sports, weather, and alert notifications can be delivered campus or system-wide in a matter of minutes.  A long-term objective is to have a networked system of displays that provides DU campuses with the immediacy of communications to reach visitors, students and faculty across all points of contact; these points of contact can replace existing noticeboards with dynamic, eye-catching screens that can show everything from alerts to lunch menus and details of school clubs and events.
This involves the principles of one-to-one marketing – a process where messages are tailored (as much as possible) to the intended recipient at intended locations, rather than pushing the message out to every pair of eyes and ears everywhere. Using content management systems similar to those that power the university’s various web sites, content can be scheduled to change throughout the day or over a period of time to specific demographic groups that convene in specific locales. Students typically congregate in areas such as student centers, hallways, libraries, cafeterias and bookstores.
When you visit the main campus on August 25th for our annual meeting, you can see examples of these digital signage points in action. Once you enter the Student Center’s main entrances, you’ll be greeted by a promotion entitled “Davenport University’s Points of Pride”. At the end of the event (1:00 p.m.), promotions and schedules for the Student Center are programmed to resume their normally scheduled display times.
Within the next two weeks, we’ll discuss the process of how to submit requests for content.  As fall semester continues, we’ll offer instructional videos explaining the technology behind the screens by taking a glance at the web-based digital signage content management system and its various functionalites.  Stay tuned. ;)

It’s happening. Really, it is.

Hello, and welcome to the new ITS Happening@DU blog. I wanted to take a brief moment to cover why we’re building a blog, who should read it, and what you can expect to see here.

Why a Blog?  Why only ITS content? Is this eNews?  What’s going on here?!

The ITS team, along with a cross-functional group of over 30 staffers from around the university recently underwent a series of strategic planning discussions in relation to ITS and our role here at Davenport.  One of the common refrains in those discussions was the need for ITS to be more “pro-active” with solutions and to communicate more frequently with our customer base.

When we pressed people to explain what pro-active means to them, it really boiled down into two thought-groups:

  1. Pro-Active means encouraging thought-leadership within ITS.  We have a staff of over 45 ITS employees, many of whom have spent entire careers being leaders in their respective specialties.  A pro-active ITS staff seeks to encourage that thought-leadership, and help share of of it with our customers.  We call that need an outbound communication platform.  Rather than just discussing hot new trends in green-computing or cost-saving virtualization technology amongst ourselves, we should be facilitating dialogue with other groups at the university.  If we can save money, improve teaching and learning, and position ourselves as leaders in the educational community, we need to start by putting some of our thoughts down on “paper.”
  2. Pro-Active also means leveraging our unique position at the University (we know at least a little about every single team and department, including their major initiatives) to seek ways for teams throughout the school to share new technologies between each other. For example, when Marketing and the ITS PMO are each independently looking for project management software, the ITS team is unique positioned to see that common need, and to recognize that many marketing and ITS projects overlap.  Given that vision, we proposed a single Project Management solution (Basecamp) which is now being evaluated by both teams.  Similarly, the ITS Customer Support Center and Facilities both need “trouble-ticket” management systems.  ITS is again uniquely positioned to recognize that common refrain and we have already rolled out Kayako SupportSuite for both groups.

Both of those definitions of being pro-active surfaced in our strategic planning sessions.  As a response to those highlighted needs, this blog was concepted.  I have moved all my old content from my CIO Blog here as well so that we have a single voice from which all ITS blog entires can appear.

Who should read this?

Everyone!  There, that was easy.

In all honesty, while all 46 members of the ITS staff have an account and are encouraged to post here, we’re all operating under the same set of guidelines:

  1. This blog is for our internal customers.  Given that focus, topics should be of interest to our customers.  That means staffers who have been wishing they knew more about what ITS does, how we work, why we do what we do, and how technology can make you more productive, should read this blog…. not so much reading that you impact productivity (we’re trying to help!) but just enough that you might learn something.
  2. Topics should be about IT, not babies or puppies.
  3. Topics should be positive and optimistic.
  4. Someday maybe (just maybe) we’ll be as cool as this blog.

Every team within the ITS staff has a quota of annual posts.  You can expect to see one or two new posts here every week.

It’s really that simple.  We’ll talk, type, act, paint, whatever it takes to get the point across here.  You can visit whenever you like, or avoid this blog whenever you’re too busy.  We may refer to old posts when you ask questions.  I will select some posts to be re-published as part of eNews (with the editorial assistance and oversight of Unviersity Communications, who already oversees that medium).

Yes, it’s a blog

Generally I don’t really like Blogs. There are far too many of them, and it’s difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of accuracy and authenticity.

That said, I’m going to try this out as a way to keep more of you informed about what’s going on with Davenport ITS, where we’re headed and how I see things playing out in the coming months and years.

It goes without saying (hopefully), but I’m going to spell it out anyway: Everything I write here is my opinion on the day I write it. Opinions change. Decisions are made based on the best information we have at the time. I might say one day “We’re going to switch everyone over to Apple Newtons” only to turn around a week later and say “Scrap that idea…. the future is with NeXT Cubes. Sadly, I’ve worked on both platforms in my time (extensively on the NeXT Cube).

Continue reading ‘Yes, it’s a blog’