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Back to School Stories

Back to School Stories

Back to School News: Spring 2014

Wireless initiative accelerates: The South Side residence halls and Mather Memorial were upgraded during fall semester. A.W. Smith, Rockefeller, Clapp. Strosacker, Millis, Allen Memorial Library, and Wade, Carlton, Fribley and Leutner Commons, as well as the North and South Side greek houses are scheduled for spring. In the near future, UTech will be adding a website where you can go to get an up-to-date listing of completed and planned areas. In addition, to assist with the prioritization of wireless improvements, UTech has partnered with Undergraduate Student Government to sponsor the creation of an app, scheduled for release in February, that will allow the university community to identify areas of low or no connectivity.

Blackboard Learn migration completed: Blackboard Learn has undergone an upgrade to improve reliability and increase its capacity through a move to state-of-the-art equipment. Blackboard Learn will maintain its current appearance and functionality with the addition of the Content Collection and Outcomes Assessment modules. The Content Collection module enables instructors to upload assets they may use across multiple courses and semesters to a centralized repository for use in any class they teach. As a result, faculty members will spend less time repeatedly uploading course materials. The Outcomes Assessment module allows universities to extract direct evidence of student learning and demonstrate that academic benchmarks were achieved. Several university faculty members are testing the tool, which is expected to be made available in time for the fall 2014 semester. For a quick start guide to using Blackboard Learn,visit: For additional training or support, visit for additional resources.

Case Western Reserve becomes first university to upgrade to Ohio's 100-gigabit network: Researchers at Case Western Reserve will benefit from infrastructure improvements that increased the capacity of the university’s network connection to the Ohio Academic Resources Network (, which provides access to Internet2 ( and other Ohio research universities. The improvements, funded by a National Science Foundation grant, began in November.

The increase in bandwidth from 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) to 100 Gbps will allow scientists and researchers to move large volumes of data between Case Western Reserve and other academic institutions at a significantly faster rate. This new 100 Gbps connection is the first component in Case Western Reserve’s expanded research network to integrate the high performance computing system and science-centric data transfer nodes. Additionally, the award permits University Technology, [U]Tech to increase the bandwidth of four research buildings from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps. “Giving researchers access to 10 Gbps network path will mean reducing transfer times from three hours to 20 minutes when working with a 1 Terabyte dataset,” says Dan Matthews, the university’s manager of network engineering and security. Read more:

Sparta rolls out to first users: Sponsored Programs Application for Research Tracking and Administration (Sparta) was implemented by the Office of Research Administration (ORA) and UTech to make it easier and faster for researchers to submit funding proposals. These schools are already using the system: the School of Dental Medicine, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Weatherhead School of Management, School of Law, Case School of Engineering and College of Arts and Sciences, as well as the university’s central business units. The School of Medicine will begin using it on Feb. 10. Learn more about Sparta here:

Web content management (WCM) tool progresses: In October, Case Western Reserve implemented the university’s new enterprise WCM tool. This centralized platform will make it easier and faster to make changes to Web pages, provide information and assets across organizations, and foster a cohesive Web presence for the university by leveraging consistent templates. The project team has developed an initial set of page layouts, begun building the first sites and provided training to new users. To date, the provost’s site is nearing completion, while 10 more sites have been started and are scheduled for completion during spring semester. These include: Inamori Center, the University Registrar, University Financial Aid, School of Medicine, Encyclopedia of Cleveland History and the School of Law LL.M. Programs. For more information, call the Service Desk at 216.368.HELP (4357) and ask to be contacted by a WCM representative.

MOOC production advances: Following the success of Case Western Reserve’s spring 2013 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Professor Richard Boyatzis used videoconferencing (VC) technology to conduct a series of live chats with students. To accommodate the interest in these sessions, the VC portal was expanded to allow up to 1,000 students to participate. A new series of MOOCs will be launched during the 2014-15 fiscal year. Last year, MOOCs instructed by Boyatzis and Professor Michael Scharf garnered a combined enrollment of 120,224 students from around the world. Find information on the courses and the enrollment process here:

Videoconferencing capabilities expanded: Three new videoconferencing (VC) endpoints were installed on campus during the past six months as part of UTech's goal to provide VC to each school and college at Case Western Reserve. The new rooms include 932 Biomedical Research Building, 318 Peter B. Lewis Building and 201 Mather Memorial. Additionally, the division expanded the accessibility of VC technologies to community members. Nine units were deployed to Judson Manor and University Hospitals to enable patients to conference with a doctor from the convenience of their room. As part of the Ohio Connected Health initiative, five units were deployed between the John Hay High School campus, Akron Buchtel High School, Cleveland Clinic Foundation and the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. The units enable the schools to collaborate and more easily invite healthcare professionals into their classrooms.

MediaVision control room upgraded: The third phase of the MediaVision control room upgrade is complete. A video switcher allows video from any source to be integrated seamlessly into a live or pre-recorded program. A character generator enables graphics, rolling credits, superimposed text and PowerPoint slides to be added to broadcast applications. The upgrade includes MediaVision’s connection to the VYVX Broadcast Fiber Services network. By leveraging this network, Case Western Reserve can share live interviews with university community members with broadcasters and networks worldwide. These upgrades provide MediaVision with the tools needed to produce world-class, digital media productions that tell the stories of Case Western Reserve. Learn more here:

Technology Enhanced Classrooms updated: The University Registrar selected six TECs to be upgraded during winter break. These rooms were refreshed and upgraded to Level 2 HD rooms: 9 Haydn Hall, 207 Haydn Hall, 2 Mather Memorial, 60 NOA, 290 NOA and 374 Sears Building. Improvements included electrical work and the addition of microphones, interactive touchscreens, HD projectors, projection screens, Blu-ray players and document cameras. These enhancements support the use of technology as aids for teaching and learning.

Click here to download a PDF of these news stories.