Home » IT Services News » IT Services News No. 172 (Dec 2014) » Message from the Director - 2013-2014 Annual Report of Information Technology Services Available Online

Message from the Director - 2013-2014 Annual Report of Information Technology Services Available Online

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The 2013-2014 Annual Report of Information Technology Services (ITS) is now available on our website at http://www.its.hku.hk/about/annual-reports.  The report gives a good account of what we did in 2013-2014 in contributing to the University’s mission and strategic priorities.  Please find below the “Introduction” page extracted from the report.


2013-2014 was another challenging yet rewarding year for Information Technology Services.

The University’s IT infrastructure has been expanded significantly in the past several years along with the construction and opening of the Centennial Campus and new student residences, the growth in demand for support from the double cohort of students, and the deployment of IT solutions in enhancing the student learning experience. The campus network’s capacity and performance was greatly improved in the year, as was the Internet bandwidth. The IP-based phone system, which was first deployed in the Centennial Campus in 2012, has been extended to the Main Campus along with the refurbishment projects; and a project to replace 1,000 or so analog-based phone lines in the Faculty of Medicine Building was well underway.  A new high definition, multi-point video conferencing service was launched in January 2014.  On scientific computation, a new High Throughput Computing platform for processing “embarrassingly parallel” problems was launched in March 2014 by utilizing idle PC’s in central facilities, such as the Chi Wah Learning Commons, after their closure at night.  Information security continues to be a challenge for us. We implemented several measures in the year to strengthen information security protection across the University.   

We observed increasing adoption of the Moodle Learning Management System in the year.  The percentage of courses in Moodle activated by teachers for student use increased from 56% in 2012/2013 to 70% in 2013/2014.  The Panopto Lecture Capture Service was launched on full scale at the start of the 2013/14 academic year.  All lecture theatres and half of the classrooms in the Centennial Campus were equipped with ceiling-mounted camcorders for lecture recording.  This capability has been and will continue to be added to central teaching spaces in the Main Campus. The Virtual Learning Environment is now integrating the Student Information System, the Moodle Learning Management System and the Panopto Lecture Capture System seamlessly together.

After the opening of the Centennial Campus and The Oval for use in September 2012, project work has continued to improve and enhance formal learning spaces in the Main Campus.  A classroom inside The Oval was converted into a 36-seat classroom with computers for students; and four new 120-seat lecture theatres with four open access student study areas (referred to collectively as “The Curve”) were opened in the KK Leung Building.  Two Teaching and Learning Space Experience Surveys were conducted in February 2014. Based on the survey results, a programme of classroom improvements was put together for implementation over the 2014 summer break.

On supporting administration, we continued to enhance and expand the University’s suite of administrative applications. The Student Information System project team kicked off the development of a Degree Audit System for the 4-year curriculum in May 2014 for completion in 2015.  A consultancy study was underway to establish a plan for upgrading the Oracle Financials system; and a new project was being put together to upgrade the University’s smartcard systems by mid 2016 to read 7-byte cards. Several new mobile applications were launched in the year.  A notable new App is “PC Availability”, which allows students to check instantaneously, using a smartphone/tablet, the availability of communal PCs in the Chi Wah Learning Commons, The Oval and seven faculty-based computer laboratories.

In order to strengthen the department’s management capability, we also made significant progress in our quality journey through deploying international best practices for IT services management and project management; as well as setting and documenting a growing set of technical standards covering the technologies and solutions that we deploy.  An internal Quality Management Committee was also formed to provide leadership to this effort.


As we approach the end of 2014, may I take this opportunity to wish all colleagues and students a Merry X’mas and a Prosperous 2015.

 

Danny Tang
Director, Information Technology Services
Tel: 3549 5333
Email: dwhtang@hku.hk