01 July 2007

Last TSU News

Due to restructure in the way services are to be delivered in the University of Canberra, the Technical Services Unit will be disbanded. A single service arrangement for the delivery of services to support, among other services, computing and media will be implemented before the end of 2007.

I have taken the opportunity to accept a voluntary separation package, and have now left the University to pursue other opportunities. I hope to have the chance to progress some of the issues that have arisen lately in our work at UC at a university sector or education industry level rather than at an institutional level.

This blog will remain as a record of the various activities I have been involved with over my time as Manager, IT & Media Services and head of the Technical Services Unit.

12 June 2007

Media Production Spaces refurbishment completed

Over the next two weeks our contractor expects to finalise a few outstanding issues in his control that remain in the Media Production areas in Building 9.

Still to be addressed are some issues outside the responsibility of the contractor that remain with the GlobeCaster video switching and effects system. These issues are the responsibility of the supplier, TechMedia. Arrangements will be made to bring TechMedia representatives down from Sydney to spend some time tuning the system when staff return from leave over the mid-year break.

"Single Service" ICT and the Division of Communication and Education

Our new Vice Chancellor has announced that by the end of 2007 there will be a "single service" administrative structure for, among other things, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) across the University.

The Division of Communication and Education has a Technical Services Unit (TSU) that has looked after the requirements of the Division across its media and information technology needs. The TSU was created when the Division came about, bringing together the various technical officers and other general staff from the Schools and Faculties that came together to form the Division.

With the creation of a "single service" for ICT, the future support for a number of the Division's resources that are currently looked after by the TSU needs to be determined. Of immediate concern are two systems:
  1. FileMaker Pro databases: The TSU supports a number of FileMaker Pro databases developed to assist the Professional Experience Office, the Public Relations Internship program, and the Schools and Community Centre. Ongoing support for these databases, or a commitment to absorb their functions into enterprise systems, will need to be resolved as a matter of some urgency.
  2. ALICE Library Management System: The CRC and the ILTC manage their collections using the ALICE Library Management System, computer-based collection management software. There are two instances of ALICE, one for the CRC and one for the ILTC. Ongoing support for these systems, or a migration plan to another collection management environment, needs to be agreed soon to ensure no disruption to the operations of these centres after support becomes one service.


On 30 May, 2007, Apple announced iTunesU on the iTunes Store.

CUPERTINO, California—May 30, 2007—Apple® today announced the launch of iTunes® U, a dedicated area within the iTunes Store (www.itunes.com) featuring free content such as course lectures, language lessons, lab demonstrations, sports highlights and campus tours provided by top US colleges and universities including Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Duke University and MIT.

“iTunes U makes it easy for anyone to access amazing educational material from many of the country’s most respected colleges and universities,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes. “Education is a lifelong pursuit and we’re pleased to give everyone the ability to download lectures, speeches and other academic content for free.”

“From its earliest days, Stanford has sought to serve the public by sharing the knowledge generated by our faculty and students,” said Stanford Provost John Etchemendy. “Our partnership with Apple and iTunes U provides a creative and innovative way to engage millions of people with our teaching, learning and research and share the experience of intellectual exploration and discovery that defines our university.”

Created in collaboration with colleges and universities, iTunes U makes it easier than ever to extend learning, explore interests, learn more about a school and stay connected with an alma mater. Content from iTunes can be loaded onto an iPod® with just one click and experienced on-the-go, anytime, making learning from a lecture just as simple as enjoying music.

Apple has said before that content from Australian universities is not likely to be offered through iTunesU.

Minor Works in Mid-year break

Facilities and Services will go ahead with the proposed Minor Works in the media production space in Building 9.

Facilities and Services has contracted the work to be done to open up the space in the middle of the media production area in Building 9, beginning around 25 June 2007 and to be completed before classes resume in Semester 2.

There will be no access to this area from now to allow the TSU to prepare the space for the renovations: all the equipment will need to be either removed or sealed to prevent dust from the work getting into the gear.

As a part of the minor works the operation of the air conditioning in the television studio will be assessed to see what can be done to reduce the flow and noise while not compromising the air quality.