President’s Announcements

DATATEL ACCESS

Next week will be a peak period for activity on all of ACC’s systems.  The first day of classes, Monday, August 23 is the day ACC computer systems will see their maximum usage for the year. Students will be finalizing their class schedules after cancelled classes and adds/drops and faculty will be accessing class rosters.  You can help make their access to these records faster and more convenient by minimizing your Datatel activity as much as possible on Monday.

ACC faculty, staff, and students access Datatel in several ways: Online Services, TREG, UI desktop, and webUI.  All of these access the same set of resources.

On Monday we ask that you exit records you are working with as quickly as possible when your work is complete.  Please make sure you have logged out of Datatel when you go to lunch or leave for the day. In addition, we will limit most users to a single Datatel session at a time.  This means that you will not be able to open more than one Datatel window on your desktop at a time, though of course you can continue using whatever systems you need throughout the day.

If you receive an error message stating:  “never found the unix prompt…”  that means that you are trying to exceed the maximum login sessions allowed. If you receive this message check to see if you have another window open or might be logged in from another computer.

If your position requires that you have more than the allowed number of sessions, please contact Theresa Harkins at harkins@austincc.edu and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Thanks for understanding during this busy time.  With your help we can make sure that ACC’s systems remain available to all users during this busy time.

A NEW SERVICE FOR FACULTY AND STAFF:  GOOGLE APPS FOR EMAIL

We are pleased to announce that we have an email solution that will provide greatly improved functionality for Austin Community College at the best possible value.  Starting immediately, Information Technology will begin the planning and conversion process to move all ACC email and calendar services to Google Apps for Education, a service very similar to that offered to ACC students, but focused to meet the institutional and administrative needs of the college.

This decision was not made lightly.  For the past year, a team of faculty and staff at Austin Community College have been evaluating the limitations of the college’s current email system and examining alternative systems offered by various vendors.  The team spent a great deal of time researching and testing many different email products.  They examined the process by which each of these solutions would integrate with ACC’s existing systems and evaluated the expense, both monetary and otherwise, in implementation and support.  Feedback was gathered from internal faculty and staff groups, as well as other community colleges and universities, about their email systems.  Google Apps rose as the clear leader in every category.

Among other features, the new system will offer greatly expanded online storage; larger attachments; less spam; a better web interface; a calendar that integrates with the email system; online document, chat, audio, and video collaboration; enhanced security; and a contractually guaranteed level of service.

The transition to Google Apps will occur during the Fall Semester 2010.  Faculty and staff will retain their current email addresses before, during, and after the transition.  For example, if your current e-mail address is mname@austincc.edu, it will remain the same after the transition to Google Apps.  In the coming weeks and months, we will send out additional information about the new features and services our email system will provide, and instructions and training to help users prepare for the move.

For additional information or questions, please contact Stan Gunn, Associate Vice President for Information Technology, at sgunn@austincc.edu or 223-1200; Richard Smith, Associate Vice President for Instructional Resources/Technology, at rlsmith@austincc.edu or 223- 7667; or Mary Hensley, Executive Vice President, College Operations, at mhensley@austincc.edu or 223-7618.

NEW WINDOWS 7 OPERATING SYSTEM

The new Windows 7 operating system for PCs was released in October of 2009.  Since then, IT and IRT staff have been hard at work performing installations and upgrades on several test machines.  Staff have been documenting procedures for migration and support; and working to address the common issues that will arise with a wider-scale move.

With the opening of the new campus in Round Rock, Austin Community College will be making its first large-scale commitment to this new operating system.  All staff and faculty PCs for Round Rock will be running Windows 7.  Professional Development is in the process of finalizing training for new staff who will be making the switch from Windows XP or Vista.  As well, technicians have a set of procedures to follow to move data from older machines for employees transferring to the new campus.

Beginning in September of 2010, ACC will only order PCs with Windows 7 installed, and will not place orders for Windows XP or Vista after that date. Windows XP sales will be discontinued in October 2010.  We recommend that all departments examine the software they use and make sure that they are prepared for the move to a new operating system.  Most software vendors will have a strategy for their support of Windows 7.

At this time, we do not plan to make a large-scale conversion to Windows 7.  Instead, we will use ACC’s three-year replacement cycle to phase-in the new operating system between now and September 2013.  This does not, of course, preclude a department from using departmental funds to upgrade to Windows 7.

If you have questions about this change, please contact Stan Gunn, Associate Vice President of Information Technology or Richard Smith, Associate Vice President of Instructional Resources and Technology.

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