2012-2013 was a challenging but rewarding year for IT Services. We focused our attention in building up our management and technical capabilities in support of the University’s pursuit for excellence in teaching and learning; making sure the University’s IT infrastructure and systems were running hassle-free after the major upgrade to accommodate the new Centennial Campus and to cope with the double cohort of new students; and, in the scientific research arena, expanding our computing resources and facilitating exchanges and collaboration.
After assuming the new responsibilities to design and manage the University’s central physical learning spaces in April 2012, our combined role with respect to both the virtual and physical learning spaces goes well beyond that of a custodian of systems and facilities, but requires us to take a holistic approach in developing and sustaining an inspiring, vibrant and technology-rich learning environment that facilitates individual and group communication, idea consolidation, collaboration and innovation. The tight integration of the Moodle Learning Management System with the Student Information System and the Panopto lecture capture capabilities in new classrooms was one concrete step in this direction.
The opening of the Centennial Campus marked a new milestone of the University. At the heart of the new Campus is the 6,000m2 Chi Wah Learning Commons. We are delighted to see that the Learning Commons has become, since its opening in September 2012, a major campus hub for student-centered learning activities; and an excellent exhibition venue for showcasing talents, innovations and achievements.
The University’s IT infrastructure was expanded significantly in the year with the opening of the Centennial Campus. The new data centre in the Campus provides us with a backup to our primary data centre in the Run Run Shaw Building, upon which we are able to build and enhance the resilience of our campus network and the full range of network services. An IP-based phone system was deployed in the new campus with around 1,600 phone lines, we will gradually replace all the traditional analog-based PABX systems of the University.
Information security continues to be a challenge for us, and in response we took several measures during the year to strengthen information security protection across the University.
In supporting the administration, we continued to enhance and expand the University’s suite of administrative applications. The Student Information System (SIS) project team drew up a 3-year system roadmap to December 2016; and discussions were underway for upgrading the Oracle financial system and the Archibus facilities management system. In December 2012, we launched the HKU Mobile App for mobile tablets to provide a convenient way for looking up the University’s campus maps, events and news; as well as the personal class timetables by individual students. More mobile applications would be launched over time.
We also made significant progress in our quality journey through deployment of best practices in Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) for IT services management, and the PRINCE2-based project management methodology. The development of a project management server was underway for completion by the end of 2013.
Last but not least, our office was renamed from Computer Centre, a name which had been used for over 24 years, to Information Technology Services (資訊科技服務) in 2012. We believe the new name gives a more accurate account of our role, and the extent of our services, in the University.