Blogging comes to UCI

Blog ImageOIT offers a campus-wide blogging service to all faculty, staff and graduate students called  “Blogs@UCI“.

Blogs, short for “Web logs”, are a popular method for communicating with the Internet community.  Often taking the form of serial essays, blogs attract like-minded people to read and discuss topics of common interest.

OIT’s blog service offers a quick and convenient local alternative especially suited for connection to the UCI community and oriented toward University business.

Built on the WordPress blog technology, the same technology used to publish IT News, Blogs@UCI uses UCInetIDs for authentication, and offers copious assistance in the FAQ and help files.

Many UCI blogs have already been created. Here are a few examples of what others are publishing using Blogs@UCI:

Currently, only faculty, staff and graduate students can create blogs.  Undergraduate students interested in a blog can work with a faculty or other University sponsor.

Application Development for DUE

DUE logo

The mission of the DUE-IT Application and Database Development Team within NACS is to build and support applications and databases for the Division of Undergraduate Education. One such program is Student Academic Advancement Services (SAAS). SAAS works to increase the academic success of key student populations and receives funding from the US Department of Education (USED).  Accordingly, it has considerable data collection and reporting requirements.

NACS has helped SAAS staff to consolidate nearly a decade’s worth of program data by building a new Microsoft ASP.NET application to collect and track how students utilize SAAS services, by recruiting a student reporting specialist, and by providing extensive support in its annual reporting efforts. The Director of SAAS, Joe Maestas, had this to say about NACS’s assistance with last year’s federal reporting efforts:

I was extemely pleased with the ease and professionalism that the folks at NACS handled a very difficult and complex task.  Our reporting requirement to the USED is a monstrous task which has always caused us problems due to the size and complexity of the database and report requirements.  After John and Kenny’s help I no longer worry about getting it done.  We now get this baby put to bed early, and we are notified that there is no need for corrections. Makes us look good with the USED folks.

The new ASP.NET-based Student Tracking system supplanted a less cohesive array of Microsoft Access, Excel, and paper-based data-collection tools, eliminated duplication of effort in data collection, and improved the quality of collected data by adding a layer of data validation that did not exist beforehand.

Web Hosting and Development

There are many ways for departments and researchers to create and maintain Web sites at UCI. NACS has one solution which affordably meets a variety of potential needs.

NACS offers a Linux-based service which provides the Apache server, MySQL for simple databases, and programming in Perl, PHP, and Python. Subscribers are given 1 GB of storage space and shell access to the web server via SSH to setup content for their Web site. NACS provides server maintenance, system administration, file system backups, and web server configuration.

NACS also offers the standard Microsoft web suite of IIS and ASP on a Windows Server.

If you want help creating content, NACS can work with you to design and develop your site, or to enhance an existing site. An initial consultation will be needed to define the scope of the work and to provide a estimate of the time required to complete the project.

If you have a server and want a 24-hour supervised, secure, climate controlled environment in which to house it, NACS can host web servers in ourAcademic Data Center.

Additional services will be offered either as a standard hourly rate or a flat monthly charge depending on the nature of the services being requested. Seehttp://www.nacs.uci.edu/support/webhost.html for more information.

These services can be combined or provided independently of each other. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs or any questions you may have.

Macromedia Software Demonstrated

NACS is always on the lookout for opportunities to bring technical expertise and demonstrations of useful tools and solutions to campus.

Last month, Sylvia Bass coordinated a presentation from Macromedia for campus Web developers. Jaimi Groothuis and John Schuman of Macromedia showed their content management software, “Contribute.” Contribute is an easy-to-use, full-featured web site management package which costs much less than similarly versatile alternatives. Participants included staff from Adcom, Parking, Humanities, ICS, Engineering, Biological Sciences, Housing, Department of Undergraduate Education, Campus Recreation, and Communications.

Attendees were treated to an in-depth tour of Contribute and their Web publishing system. John also demonstrated two new software packages. Macromedia Captivate allows you to record all onscreen actions to create interactive tutorials. He also showed us Breeze, a tool to have online meetings or training courses over the Internet using Powerpoint and Flash.

If you missed this demonstration and would like to learn more, or if there are other technology companies or products you would like us to invite to UCI, please contact NACS.

Web Hosting Service

For the many faculty and staff who wish to develop Web sites, NACS offers computers and services to augment existing school and department resources. NACS has both Linux and Windows servers, in order to accommodate most Web development needs.

The machines are configured so that Web sites can be developed and maintained by the faculty/staff sponsor, by NACS staff, or cooperatively. A variety of Web server and Web development tools are available, native to either environment. The hosting service is economical, because several departments share the cost of acquiring and maintaining a single machine.

An on-staff Web developer is also available who is skilled in a wide array of Web technologies, including Perl, PHP, ASP and SQL.

More information can be found at http://www.nacs.uci.edu/support/webdev.html

Some recent sites which NACS has hosted and/or supported development:

Campuswide Honors program
http://www.honors.uci.edu/
Student Fee Advisory Committee
http://www.sfac.uci.edu/
Sexual Assault Survivors Alliance
http://www.sexualassaultsurvivors.org/