CITx is a new half-day extension event connected to the Continuous Improvement in Technology (CIT) conference held each summer.
The inaugural CITx was held Tuesday, March 8, 2016, in the State Farm Hall of Business. Its goal was to empower Illinois State's IT professionals by providing them the latest IT news from around campus, opportunities for social networking with their colleagues, and roundtable discussions.
Facilitated by Ed Vize, Administrative Technologies
The group discussed the benefits and drawbacks of using Slack, a popular persistent chat tool, for internal team communications. Jabber offers persistent chat as well, if requested. Group also discussed the challenges of external communications, specifically the "noise" that crowds out mass email. Senders urged to proofread emails closely and remove extraneous copy. On a smaller scale, group shared ideas for redirecting a client who wants to use a new or unsupported technology or software. Advice: It's OK to say no, but be transparent. "Yes, our leadership team discussed it, but..." Can you fit them into an existing supported product that gets them 80 percent of what they want?
Facilitated by Jacob DeGeal, Web and Interactive Communications
The discussion centered on how curriculum is currently and historically taught and how technology is impacting those courses of study. Specifically, design has been centered on formal development and physical mediums and tends to leave those studying the field unprepared for the needs of the technology laden world. To combat this, the group discussed ways in which the curriculum could better serve students. The main suggestions centered on opening interdisciplinary opportunities that encourage arts, information technology, and business students to interact. Additionally, opening entry-level major specific classes up as electives for other colleges could provide experience that could otherwise be lacking.
Facilitated by Dean Plumadore, Student Affairs Information Technology
Discussion centered on a few key and thorny issues for project management—understanding the value of project management, and the importance of getting the scope right on projects. Attendees discussed the difficulty in helping people understand what the value add of project management is—and that many see it as bureaucratic, a roadblock to quick progress. Advice there: Try and equate construction projects with IT projects, as most people have had experience with some level of construction project and it can help them relate to IT projects as complex efforts that require careful management. Project scope also generated a fair amount of discussion. The importance of defining upfront in a project what will be done and then doing only those things was emphasized. Scope is also difficult in that we tend not to build in iteration possibilities—allowing for things we didn't think of initially, or things we discover along the way. Advice: Be certain that functional subject matter experts are involved at the beginning of any IT project to make the scope as accurate as possible.
Facilitated by Paul Unsbee, College of Fine Arts Information Technology
Facilitated by Dan Taube, Administrative Technologies
This group examined how remote management tools (current and forthcoming) are changing technology support on campus. SCCM, Airwatch, and ScreenConnect were all discussed and their features compared. Some participants suggested that the University might be able to leverage the Bomgar appliance technology to extend some of our remote tools but to do so would be a significant cost. It was suggested that ISU publish a Knowledge Base (KB) article specifically outlining the current remote management tools on campus along with their strengths and limitations for quick reference. In addition to current uses of remote management tools the group also discussed how presentations, web-meetings, and collaboration scenarios are a likely next step for the remote management tool product category.