A message from John Levay, chief technology officer, ITS; and Ralph Scholz, director, FMS:
The new school year is upon us, with many newly renovated spaces across our campuses, after one of the busiest summers in recent history for ITS and FMS. The following is a synopsis of the work done.
50th anniversary funding updates three classrooms
Three NC classrooms have had a major redesign and renovation, thanks to provincial government 50th anniversary funding.
In Welland, Simcoe S212 has been converted to a flexible learning environment. All the furniture is on wheels, whiteboards go all around the room and the projection has visibility from all angles. There is also electrical power in the floor and it will also be around the perimeter of the room in a few weeks.
Secord Room also received a major renovation and refresh of the space, including new flooring, furniture with electrical power as well as completely redesigned technology. The new sound dampening panels are in but need to be painted and the tables will be fully powered to finish off the room.
In NOTL, Yerich Auditorium has been completely renovated with all new fixed table furniture instead of tablets. Podiums has been moved to right side and a lectern has been added on the left side. Electrical power is available at each seat. The technology includes a 4K HD centre projector, two HD side projectors, confidence monitors, lighting controls included at the podium/lectern, new sound system and the room will be outfitted for lecture capture and video conferencing in the near future. The room may have some echo effect now however acoustic dampening wall panels are on back order and will be installed before the end of term.
ITS and FMS thanks faculty members who consulted with us to ensure any changes would enhance the teaching experience.
Two more Campus Redevelopment spaces have been completed for the fall term. The Welland Campus Pavilion has been converted for the Hairstyling program. There are three new teaching labs (one is part of the hairstyling learning enterprise) and staff spaces.
The Welland gym extension has been completed and Police Foundations as well as all academic fitness classes will find this new space very comfortable for their training.
Two change rooms have been combined in the athletic area to provide a larger male change room that can service two classes simultaneously. Until the finishing touches can be put on the new change room classes’ will be sharing space in the general change room facilities.
Where possible, computer labs have been updated to Windows 10 and Office 2016. There are a few labs that have been left at Windows 7 due to software and hardware incompatibilities. As a result of the move to Windows 10, all labs needed new images and a major rationalization was done to ensure both flexibility in scheduling as well as allowing for faster booting time where possible.
The following computer labs had new hardware installed – Welland – AH223, L2, M201, M212, M215, S302, S302ATC03, V4 editing suites, V5, new gamming in S310 and move multimedia from S310 to S336 Plus monitors in TC03, V112a, S304, S322. At NOTL – E308, N304.
Many classrooms received technology upgrades. Thirty-three classrooms were upgraded this year (mostly in Welland since those in NOTL were upgraded last year). All the rooms were given projection upgrades, sound and digital control system. What you should notice is faster switching between the podium computer, your laptop and/or document camera. Some larger classrooms like S132, S135, S210 can now have multiple images on the various screens.
In addition, all CFWI food labs are now outfitted with HD cameras, screens and new fully digital control systems.
Contact the ITS help desk if there are any questions about using the upgraded technology.
A major upgrade was made to the remote desktop system (mydesktop.niagaracollege.ca or the VDI system). This system allows students remote (at home or wireless) access to the college labs software. While the Pharmacy lab and ECE tablets will benefit, both libraries and the open access labs have been converted to run on this system. In the bigger picture, this will be the direction for more of our computer labs.
There is a new wireless network at the College called eduroam which allows users to roam and use wireless at other participating educational institutions. All that is required is for you to sign on to eduroam using your NC email address and password. For example, if you are at Brock University, you will have access to wireless just like you have at Niagara College. More information is available on the ITS eduroam web page – its.niagaracollege.ca/connecting-to-eduroam. Students also have access to the eduroam system through their email accounts.
Wireless access has been enhanced throughout the College, including improved coverage at bus stop locations in Welland and NOTL.
Be cyber aware
ITS is again asking that people stay Cyber Aware as there have been many recent cyber security incidents and privacy breaches. Remember, ITS staff will never ask you to provide your College user code and password. If you receive an email that asks for this and looks legitimate, call the ITS Help Desk.
The ITS website has been redesigned over the summer to improve its user interface as well as update its material. The new site was launched last Thursday, August 31st. Comments about the finished product are always welcome.
ITS and FMS staff have worked very hard to transform our campuses over the summer months. If there are any issues, know that ITS and FMS are here to help. You can contact us at extension 7642, email ITSHELPDESK@niagaracollege.ca or via the web ITS.niagaracollege.ca.