New semester, new generation, new technology. The Division of Information of Technology revealed a few advanced pieces of technology that Southern University should lookout for this fall semester. Dr. Gabriel Fagbeyiro, associate vice chancellor and chief information officer of the Southern University System, Rachel Carriere, director of web applications services, and Lloyd Allen, director of network services, contributed their excitement on what’s to come for this fall and how the students will enjoy having a smooth experience and peace of mind.
“We would just like to share with the student population some of the things we’re doing in the Division of IT to make the students’ educational experiences more fulfilling,” Dr. Fagbeyiro divulged. The Division of IT have been working on these ideas and projects for a year and are ready to implement them.
Housing had one of the biggest issues as this semester started. SUBR did not have enough housing to accommodate freshmen and upperclassmen alike. A new application will be available soon, StarRez™. StarRez™ manages student housing, and students will have an easier process when registering for housing. “StarRez is a user-friendly application where you can pick your roommate based on your profile and preferences…it just provides an online platform where the students can actually choose what they want to see,” Dr. Fagbeyiro assured.
The campus will be getting a facelift as campus security, network access, and electronic marquees rollout. The campus has around 1,060 access points that offer network access and is seeking to add 100 more for better efficiency. “Our goal is to allow you to have very good WiFi access whether you are indoors or outdoors,” Allen emphasized. Allen stated that he wants to partner up with the Student Government Association and students to get a better understanding of where there should be better network access at.
Campus security will be extra secure this semester with Verkada™ Video Surveillance System with facial recognition as well as people and vehicle tracking across campus. There are about 400 cameras in place and around 200 that will be added. This video surveillance system will allow the police, the F.B.I, and other officials to run the cameras back over the past 30 days and find a specific person, regardless of clothes and masks. In addition, there will be more electronic marquees around campus such as the one in front of the “Hump” and built into the F.G Clark Activity Center. These are in place to beautify the campus as well as get information to the public easier.
The Southern University System Banner will also be getting a new look. Banner will soon have a new interface that will be self-service. It will allow students to customize their profile as you would for Facebook and Instagram. Students will be able to apply to their academic degree better, view their degree plan online, and determine which classes are needed for their degree plan.
One way to make this possible is the program, Ellucian™ Banner DegreeWorks. In addition to better access of degree plans, Ellucian™ Banner DegreeWorks will also allow communications to be easier between the student, advisor, and professor for real-time advising.
Accessibility to others has not gone unnoticed either. The main SU website will have ADA enhancements with new programs such as Ivy A.I.(Artificial Intelligence) Chatbot and Accessibe. “Those of us that don’t have any challenges don’t think about it, but we have students that are not able to see…We have people who have issues with colors and epileptic,” announced Carriere. This software will allow students with and without disabilities to access information by contrasting colors and an AI chatbot.
Slate™ and Pathify™ are also new software additions to the interface which will provide students with a “one-stop-shop” to their academic needs. SU Banner, Moodle, Outlook, etc. will all be integrated under one umbrella, in one portal. Slate™ Customer Relationship Management(CRM) with Banner will enhance the Admissions and Recruitment process allowing upcoming Jaguars to track their documents and see their progress. Single Sign-On paired with MultiFactor Authentication, which has been utilized in other student applications such as Outlook, will then be used for all applications to enhance user online account security and give faculty and students a safety blanket to their information.
User training for these online applications and projects will be implemented to all in the form of a webinar before launching as well. When asked if there were any negative push backs in the whole process, Dr. Fagbeyiro responded. “It can be a hassle, but change is inevitable. Change is needed.” The Division of IT also added that they want to hear feedback from students and faculty and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Walk-ins are also welcomed at James B. Moore Hall.