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Technology Services: From the CIO

August, 2017 CIO Update »

Welcome to the new academic year!  After all of our summer preparation, classes have begun and VCU is once again bustling with new and returning students “making it real.”  This month I’d like to highlight a couple of improvements we’ve made as well as provide a reminder:

TS Training Rooms Refresh

This summer, the Labs and Classrooms Computing team upgraded two Technology Services training rooms with new computers, monitors, and articulating monitor arm-mounts. In the Technology Administration Building (TAB), room 108 received 18 new student workstations, and in the Sanger building, room B1-020 received new tables and 24 new student workstations.

These new workstations represent a major upgrade from the previous generation sporting fast solid state drives, zero-bezel monitors from Dell’s Ultrasharp line, and Humanscale arm-mounts which have USB ports for devices, including a 2A USB port specifically for charging phones and tablets, as well as 3.5mm headphone jack in the base of the arm-mount for easy accessibility. [View Image]

While the primary focus was hardware upgrades, all computers received a new Windows 10 image built on Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 release, the Creators Update, which add new features compared to earlier Windows operating systems such as improved text-scaling, native annotation capabilities in Microsoft Edge, and improved overall performance.

For questions, suggestions, or if you need assistance in any space supported by Academic Technologies, please contact us at 828-1098 on the Monroe Park campus or at 828-3400 on the MCV campus. You can also reach out to us at or submit a ticket in ServiceDesk at if you have trouble or need software installed.

Read the Classroom Support blog for all changes to classroom technology ttp://

Web Accessibility – The Right Thing to Do

Web accessibility isn’t just a nice thing to have. It is the right thing to do to provide equal access to all. Providing equal access to all and complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is the right thing to do (in addition to being “the legal thing to do”).   

Complying with these important regulations and guidelines is also the smart thing to do because it helps to ensure that VCU web content will be found by search engines. Google Search doesn’t see, it doesn’t hear, and it can’t use a mouse. Yet, along with other search engines and social web platforms powered by algorithms, it will increasingly function as our eyes and our ears in the search for relevant information. Making VCU’s web content accessible to all users is a prerequisite to becoming findable and staying relevant in the overflowing stream of data, and ultimately visible on the web. [View Image]

If confused by the alphabet soup of web accessibility (ADA, Section 508, WCAG 2.0, etc.),  this clarification written by Judy Brewer, WAI Director, for web professionals in higher education is helpful: “The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 508 each address accessibility of information and communication technologies from different perspectives—civil rights on the one hand, and federal procurement of information technologies on the other.”

“WCAG 2.0 is a standard from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a standards body that develops technical standards for the Web. WCAG 2.0 is used by many web developers, and can also be referenced in policies. Increasingly, government agencies have been harmonizing their policies with the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.”

VCU recently updated its policies to make sure that we consistently provide accessible web content.  For more information, please visit

VCU Mobile Refresh

The VCU Mobile app recently went through a quick “refresh” with more to come in the months ahead. The app is an on-the-go hub for all things VCU, connecting you to important Virginia Commonwealth University resources right from your phone. [View Image]
You can look up students and faculty, learn about upcoming events on campus, find detailed information about courses, and get the latest news about VCU. In addition, get the latest VCU videos and images from around the university, track where you are as well as the bus system, and ask a question. I encourage you to download it if you haven’t already and to provide the Web Services team any feedback you have as they strive to continuously improve the service.

Best wishes for the 2017-2018 academic year!


July, 2017 CIO Update »

The new academic year is fast approaching, and there are multiple efforts underway to prepare.  Our migration to multi-factor authentication continues to progress; we now have more than 15,000 registered users of DUO.  We continue to maintain and upgrade fiber and network infrastructure; we are progressing well in the upgrade to Banner 9; we have succ . . .

June, 2017 CIO Update »

Earlier this month the Technology Services team, along with our Administration colleagues in Human Resources, Facilities Management, Police, Parking & Transportation, and Safety & Risk Management gathered to celebrate our accomplishments and to recognize those who this year exemplified great service.  I would like to thank Technology Services�� . . .

May, 2017 CIO Update »

As we successfully close another academic year and begin to close another fiscal year, the Technology Services team is now beginning to perform various maintenance and upgrade tasks to multiple systems and infrastructures as well as plan for the fall.  Over the summer months I will highlight some of those efforts.  For this month's entry, I will co . . .

April, 2017 CIO Update »

For the past week or so, I think I've been living in Seattle. However, the sun has made an appearance today and I believe that all of the April showers will in fact lead to May flowers.  For this month's update, I would like to highlight two significant changes being driven by Microsoft and Google. Windows 10 & Classrooms This summer the Labs . . .

March, 2017 CIO Update »

It is definitely March, and I have a busted bracket and the start of some spring allergies to prove it.  Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend another excellent annual ACCS (Association of Collegiate Computing Services of Virginia) conference in Portsmouth.  It was great to see so many VCU staff benefiting from the professional develop . . .

February, 2017 CIO Update »

Compromise of data and IT systems through the use of stolen credentials continues to be one of the top cyber threats faced by our University. A compromise may not only place University information at risk, but can also jeopardize your personal information that is protected by these credentials.  In order to reduce the risk associated with stolen creden . . .

January, 2017 CIO Update »

As the New Year comes into full swing, Educause (the primary professional organization for Higher Education IT) has released its Top 10 Issues list for the coming year.  This year's list and associated materials are particularly helpful in contextualizing our priorities and initiatives in Technology Services with trends across higher education, and the . . .

December, 2016 CIO Update »

As we wind down the year 2016, please accept my best wishes for a safe and joyful holiday season and a wonderful 2017!  For this month's update, I thought I would share information about a project being completed over the break as well as mention a change we'll see in January. Border Router Replacement/Upgrade The border routers that connect VCU . . .

November, 2016 CIO Update »

Fall is in the air, and winter is definitely approaching.  As we prepare for Winter Closing and the new year, I'd like to highlight a couple of initiatives as well as wish everyone a great Thanksgiving. VoiceThread VoiceThread, which replaced Blackboard Voice Tools, bridges the gap between real-time discussions and standard video lectures or onl . . .

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We are responsible for implementing and supporting the technology used around campus, such as the network, phones, enhanced classrooms, and Internet-based systems including myVCU, Blackboard, email, and more.

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