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November 7, 2002 Online grades, VoIP phones increase campus IT quotient



by Anne-Marie Curatolo, Communications, Instructional and Information Technology Services

Over 93,000 grades were submitted electronically for the winter semester, marking a huge success in the university’s online grading system.

The Office of the Registrar, which previously received a hard copy of all grades, accessed the information online via the Faculty and Course Management System (FCMS), as did faculty and students.

The IITS Training and Development Group (Roger Kenner, Maggie Lattuca and Cheryl Mackenzie) held information sessions geared to each department and met with departmental administrators to provide one-on-one instruction. They also prepared a handout of step-by-step instructions. Faculty requiring additional instruction visited IITS for help.

A seven-member support team was available to provide seven-day-a-week assistance. IITS Executive Director Andrew McAusland said, “The internal support provided was tremendous and helped the project proceed smoothly.”

The development of online grading at the university began in the summer of 2001 under Tuan Mai, project leader, IITS.

Not only does FCMS allow faculty and staff to verify how many grades have been entered, but it also indicates how many grades are left to come in. Courses with missing grades are highlighted, and one click of the mouse allows departmental chairs or administrators to send an e-mail requesting the overdue marks.

The FCMS provides the average, maximum, and minimum GPA for the class, as well as the percentage of failure. Bar graphs display the number of students who obtained each grade These statistics can be used for comparative purposes, such as comparing the class average of a course this term to the same course last term.

VoIPs installed
Concordia University’s innovative new telecommunications system is well underway, with close to 1,200 Voice-over IP (VoIP) phones fully installed and functional.

The Cisco phones are currently being deployed in the GM building and are already functional in Visual Arts (VA), Faubourg Tower (FB), Library (LB), and Bishop Court (BC). Employees in these buildings have two phones until their old Centrex phones are taken away after cut-over, which is expected to take place at the end of June. The ER, Hall (H), S, CI, and M buildings, as well as Loyola campus, will also be receiving their phones this month.

Internal and external calls can be made with the new VoIP phones, but outside calls cannot be received until the cut-over.

“Don’t worry if you receive a busy signal,” said Mike Babin, assistant director, development and support, IITS. “We haven’t completed connections to the outside world.” He encourages employees to simply dial again. 

Features available after cut-over include long-distance calling, as well as receiving voice-mail (for those who previously had access). Messages, however, can still be left on the Centrex phones. All outside callers can begin dialing our new main number (848-2424) at cut-over.

To ensure a smooth transition, all disconnected Centrex numbers will be referred to the main number for one year. Placing an internal call will remain the same: simply dial the person’s extension.

Frances Weller, Telesis Manager, said that all department co-ordinators are being provided with training from Bell Canada. The co-ordinators act as liaison between their departments and IITS. Their names will be included along with the telephone instructions.

Claude Drapeau, telecommunications consultant, IITS, encourages feedback from all faculty and staff via the Web site. He also reminds employees not to worry if they have not received their phone, as a new jack or cable may need to be installed. “Talk to your department co-ordinator if you’re unsure about what’s going on with your new phone.”

Babin also noted that all computers should be shut down before cables are tested and phones are installed. Notices are handed out to all department co-ordinators before the phones are deployed.

For more information, call 848-4997. For any problems, call 848-7613 or 848-7600.