Taking WiFi 6 Outdoors

A map showing the areas on campus that will receive outdoor WiFi

Thanks to the support of President Papazian, we’ve put in place an initiative to blanket the majority of campus’ outdoor spaces with WiFi 6 connectivity by Fall 2021. This is something we’ve received lots of feedback about from our faculty and students when talking about a return to campus. With these upgrades, new areas are opened up for students to study and work while staying safely distanced from others and for more instructors to have the option to teach outside. 

The Outdoor WiFi initiative is an excellent example of how we’re implementing solutions to address today’s problems that also build for the future. Ensuring that our university has a reliable, fast, campus-wide network is a foundational step in our long-term strategy for achieving the vision of Transformation 2030. When we look at the list of campus technology initiatives we’re working on for Transformation 2030 — integrated camera, entry sensors, IoT devices — almost everything requires an always-on connection. We have to provide our university with a wireless network that’s stable and reliable enough to support those systems in addition to the needs of our students and faculty.

Best regards,
Bob Lim
Vice President of Information Technology
and CIO at San Jose State University

A Better Chatbot for SJSU

We’re developing a new, enterprise-grade live chat and 24/7 chatbot solution for SJSU. With live chat, conversations will be able to transfer between departments without losing information. Folks using online chat to get help will no longer need to re-explain their problem or retell their story every time a new department needs to be brought in. This is a huge win for customer service and completely eliminates one of the most frustrating things about trying to get help online. The 24/7 chatbot will be able to gather information and provide solutions for many common problems and requests live help when it can’t. By handling the little stuff, the chatbot will free up departments to work on the big stuff. We’ll start rolling it out Spring 2021. 

Providing good support and excelling at customer service is a foundation of SJSU IT’s long-term strategy. In IT, we have to continually build trust, not only that the new tools and new resources we implement work, but that we’re there to help you when they don’t. That trust builds and extends into our relationships as we work across campus to digitize and automate processes, find more efficient ways to use technology, and partner with other departments on new initiatives. 

I want to thank Ravi Pisupati and Sree Gandikota for their help getting this ready for campus.

Best regards,
Bob Lim
Vice President of Information Technology
and CIO at San Jose State University

Building the Hybrid-Enabled Classroom

In coordination with the Office of the Provost, SJSU IT is upgrading a number of larger classrooms across campus with technology to enable hybrid instruction for Fall 2021 semester. The chosen classrooms will be outfitted with in-person streaming equipment, laptop screen capture, live recording, additional monitors, and more. Having technology in the classroom will help our instructors bridge the gap from Zoom to classroom while we transition back to campus. We’re also upgrading existing smart classrooms that haven’t been refreshed in a while.

These upgrades align with our strategy to be future-facing in the shifting world of higher education. Changes in everyday pedagogy are coming, and SJSU IT is building for tomorrow. Once we’re fully returned to campus, these upgraded rooms will add value for years to come. 

Coe Tran, Bruce Kelbert, Tino Cruz, Trevor Florez, and Marco Rodriguez get the thanks for working on these classrooms.

Best regards,
Bob Lim
Vice President of Information Technology
and CIO at San Jose State University

Labs Anywhere, Labs Anytime with DaaS

Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) represents our University’s next generation of computer labs, allowing students to access labs anytime, anyplace. DaaS not only reduces the need for students to be on campus to do lab work, it’s cost effective, flexible, and adaptable. 

The College of Social Sciences debuted their state-of-the-art “Spartan Experimental Economics Lab” DaaS lab dedicated to their rigorous exploration of complex economic and social sciences topics. Similar labs are up and running in the cloud for other colleges, hosting powerful applications like MATLAB, RStudio, JMP Pro, Python, and more. Our virtual solutions team is always excited to build something new for instructors, whatever department they’re from. DaaS labs give students access to computer resources they may not have otherwise, whether that’s in data, systems, or even creative fields. Simply fill out the request form and we’ll reach out to you

DaaS is a big win for our goal to have a mobile campus where students can study and get work done from anywhere at any time. And that’s where we are today. We’re connecting with instructors to find new ways of bringing lab work directly into the classroom. We’re also using DaaS as a secure solution for our staff who work with sensitive or valuable data — these virtual desktops are protected by our campus network. As we progress toward the goals of Transformation 2030, SJSU IT will be working with DaaS more and more to expand remote work, learning, and teaching opportunities. 

Lee Andersen, Tristan Orlino, TG Tran, and Scott Pham have all done great work getting our DaaS program where we are today.

Best regards,
Bob Lim
Vice President of Information Technology
and CIO at San Jose State University

Moving Large Events Online

As we prepare for a gradual return to campus, we have to examine how we can use technology to support campus life and student success outside the classroom, too. SJSU IT is working on a virtual event platform that will enable larger gatherings online — things like career fairs, orientation events, open houses, and even courses with live presentations. These kinds of events create a richer college experience for students, drive engagement, and create opportunities. 

This kind of platform isn’t useful only for the short term — it supports our strategy of making our university mobile-enabled, with students able to access services when they need them from wherever they are. That kind of flexibility needs to exist for the entire college experience. 

Moving forward after a full return to campus, having a hybrid approach to these kinds of events can ease the strain on campus facilities that were overflowed or overbooked for events. For example, students who live far away could attend mandatory campus events without having to pay for travel and career fairs can host even more employers with remote sessions. 

Thanks go to Leon Nguyen, Sree Gandikota and Ravi Alladi working to get this ready this semester.

Best regards,
Bob Lim
Vice President of Information Technology
and CIO at San Jose State University