The new 2012/13 academic year is due to start in a couple of weeks. This is a very special year for the University. There will be two cohorts of new students with a total of more than 6,000 in number joining our big family. This also brings a real challenge to all of us in ITS. As in the past, before the start of a new academic year, we have to get ourselves ready to introduce to several thousands of new students the University’s IT environment and to assist them to start using the wide spectrum of IT facilities and resources available to them as soon as we possibly can. We have a much more demanding job this year.
In the past several months, over and on top of the normal preparation work for a new academic year, we have been working to a very tight schedule to extend the University’s IT environment to the Centennial Campus. Moreover, with the new responsibilities rested with us to support the University’s learning environments, we are now carrying out test and commissioning of IT and AV facilities in classrooms, lecture theatres and a 6000m2 Learning Commons in the Centennial Campus; as well as the data and voice communication infrastructure in the lower floors there, where the majority of the centrally managed teaching facilities are located. Apart from the Centennial Campus, a new cluster of classrooms equipped with the same level of IT/AV provision as those in the Centennial Campus is also being built on the first floor of the Knowles Building. Training courses for faculty members in the use of the new facilities in classrooms and lecture theatres will be launched in early September.
Besides the physical learning environments, we are also actively preparing the University’s virtual learning environment (i.e., e-learning environment), which is based on the Moodle learning management system, for university-wide deployment in a big way. A new mobile platform will also be launched very soon. Students will be able to look up a wide range of campus information, such as catering services, as well as their own personalized class timetables after authentication of their identities, using a mobile device.
Apart from readying the teaching facilities for the new academic year, we have to get ourselves organized in support of teaching and learning. This includes providing a one-stop shop for supporting classrooms and lecture theatres; and overseeing the day-to-day operation of the Learning Commons in the Centennial Campus. The Learning Commons will become a campus hub for student-centered learning activities. The University is committed to making it an inspiring, vibrant and technology-rich learning space supported by a range of services to enhance student experience and to enable skills development. We are glad to play a pivotal role in this development.
Director of IT Services