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Technology Services: From the CIO

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 and Classrooms Computing team will be upgrading all centrally-supported classrooms with Windows 10, Microsoft’s latest operating system. The new OS will feature enhanced touch and annotation capabilities, an improved start menu experience, and better overall performance than previous versions of Windows.  In addition to these new end-user features, Windows 10 introduces a new type of resolution and text-size scaling which will enable a migration to full 1080p in most classrooms. This new feature will enhance visual clarity and text legibility for both instructors and students without making the text smaller or requiring the need to use zooming in most applications.

In addition to these new capabilities, Media Support Services will also be upgrading many classrooms with non-touch monitors to touch-enabled monitors during the upgrade to Windows 10.

Lastly, as part of the upgrade beginning before the start of the Fall semester, all centrally-scheduled classrooms will require users to log in using their eID. This move to requiring eID authentication better aligns classrooms with the security goals of the university to protect faculty, students, and staff while using VCU-owned equipment and reduce the risk of unauthorized use of these computers.

For more information and updates during the migration, stay tuned to the Classroom Technology blog here. If you have feedback for us or if you need to report an issue with a classroom, please reach out to us at or give us a call at 804-828-1098 on the Monroe Park Campus or 804-828-3400 on the MCV Campus.

Google Apps Becomes G Suite

Last fall, Google Apps officially rebranded and became G Suite.  With G Suite, information can flow freely between devices, apps, people, and teams, so great ideas never get left in the margins again.  G Suite is designed to bring people together, with real-time collaboration built in from the start.

Some favorite new features Collaboration Services has highlighted on their News page recently include:

  • Explore in Sheets helps you decipher data easily, whether you’re new to spreadsheets or an old formula pro. Just ask Explore — with words, not formulas — to get answers about your data.  
  • Rotated text, accounting number formats, and more in Google Sheets.
  • Link to cells in your spreadsheet by simply going to “Insert link” > “Select a range of cells to link” and type or highlight the desired range.  All this and more in Sheets.
  • Learn how to create a “table of contents” for your spreadsheet, direct others to specific content within your spreadsheet, and retain links to cells when you import spreadsheets from other applications.  
  • Videos inserted and played from your Google Drive or Google Slides, in addition to videos from YouTube.
  • Capitalization from the Format menu in Docs now.  Just select one of the following:
    • lowercase, to make all the letters in your selection lowercase.
    • UPPERCASE, to capitalize all the letters in your selection.
    • Title Case, to capitalize the first letter of each word in your selection.
  • Keep was moved to a G Suite core service for VCU. Keep is now accessible in Google Docs, so users can easily revisit and repurpose their notes.
  • Preview password-protected Microsoft Office documents, presentations, and spreadsheets in Drive.

Stay tuned in the months ahead for updates with Google Hangouts and Google Team Drive.

As we begin to approach the end of another academic year, I would like to thank everyone in Technology Services as well as our partners in other IT units for another great year in supporting VCU!

Thank you!


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 . . .

October, 2016 CIO Blog »

It is definitely Fall in Richmond with beautiful weather, folks on Hanover getting ready for Halloween, and all of us getting our jackets out again.  Fall is my favorite season, and this year even more so since my beloved Cubs are playing in the World Series (though they are down a game to Cleveland).  A highlight of the season for me is the Technolog . . .

September, 2016 CIO Update »

With the school year in full swing, I thought it might be useful to share with everyone some information put together by Scott Davis, our Director for Application Services, in collaboration with colleagues in Information Security and Technology Support Services.  The below represents a good set of guidelines to securing your home computing resources, a . . .

August, 2016 CIO Update »

It's that time of the year again! The black and gold flags are up, traffic is increasing, and the VCUCard office is filled with new students as they become part of our community here.   As I think about our entering students, it's interesting to note that many of our undergraduate freshmen were born in 1998. Beloit College's Annual Mindset List provi . . .

July, 2016 CIO Update »

In the midst of another insanely hot and humid day yesterday, the Directors group and I were able to take a tour of the newly upgraded University Computer Center.  In my May blog I shared all of the technical specifications and benefits associated with this monumental project, but until yesterday, I hadn't been able to see how impressive the finished p . . .

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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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