ITS eNewsletter - December 2011
Lynda.com brings unlimited online training
The Center for Instruction and Technology now offers all faculty, staff, and students unlimited, free 24/7 access to the Lynda.com Online Training Library, with more than 1,190 online courses and 69,000 high-quality instructional tutorials covering a wide range of subjects.
Lynda.com's videos range in scope from one-time tutorials to full courses. You can even work towards earning certificates for highly marketable technology training. The self-paced courses allow you to take as much time as you need to fully understand the fundamentals of anything you'd like to study anytime and anywhere.
Simply login to USFconnect and click on the Learning Technologies tab. You will see an icon for Lynda.com on the left-side of the screen. Once you click on it, you can start browsing lynda.com.
For more information or questions, e-mail the CIT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates to MS Office, SPSS licensing
The USF community benefits from recent software license agreement changes:
- Faculty and staff can purchase one copy of MS Office for home use for $16.75, and subsequent copies for $99.99
- Students can purchase MS Office for $99.99
- Visit usfca.onthehub.com to purchase.
- SPSS Statistics Base, Advanced Stats, and Regression free for use on all USF-owned computers. The software will be deployed to university-owned computers after the new year. Additional modules will be available for purchase at usfca.onthehub.com.
- Coming in Summer 2012: "Virtual" browser-based access for students.
Virtualization key part of ITS green initiative
These days, almost everything is virtual. We communicate, create, and interact within virtual environments every day without necessarily realizing it, and USF is no different. USF uses a product called VMware to "virtualize" servers, the computers that store files and run applications, and to on desktop computers in student labs.
Virtualization helps ITS live our message of "Green IT." As one VM sever can take the place of many physical devices, we only have to plug in one machine. This helps save the environment and save money because it allows us to consolidate equipment. Now less power is needed because fewer machines are plugged in and fewer machines need to be cooled. Where before every major application had to run on its own separate computer, now multiple virtual servers can run on one larger computer running VMware. We save time and money on parts, energy, maintenance, and support. And there are fewer parts to break down.
Another way ITS uses virtualization affects the desktop itself. In the same way we virtualize servers, we have begun to use virtual desktops to save the university money on workstation hardware and lower support costs by using cheaper devices commonly referred to as "thin clients." Rather than installing a full computer with a hard drive, operating system and all needed applications at every station in a lab, we install a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) device that gets its image from a VMware server at startup. That way it always gets the latest software and operating system patches, and ITS does not need to spend a lot of time pushing out changes to individual computers.
Virtualization brings both the cost of equipment and ITS support way down. This lowers the cost of maintenance and prolongs the replacement cycle.
How ITS Communicates with the USF community
ITS tries to minimize use of e-mail when communicating with the USF community. We use Twitter feeds for service announcements, security updates, and messages from our Vice President and the Director of Client Support Services.
We use a blog to communicate in longer form about service highlights, helpful security information, departmental profiles, and other news and features about the ITS division.
Our website is organized as a Service Portfolio, or guide to the services we offer, and provides important information such as the Student Computing Guide, CIT Training Calendar, Computer Replacement policies, Faculty Tech Reference Guide, and much more.
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