Saturday, November 7, 2009

Not-so-futuristic CAS Website

Looking at what technology offers now but is still not being utilized, here is how I envision a college website:
  1. Faculty Profile - Website visitors can search for specific faculty member's profile, highlighting research interests, academic achievements, publications and consultancies and programs related. Visitors can also search for faculty based on specific specialization for possible consultancy work.
  2. Student Enrollment Data - Visitors can get real-time data on enrollment of students, by program, by degree level. The data should be taken from CRS.
  3. Research Database - On-going and finished research projects (including undergraduate student thesis), searchable by department, program, faculty adviser, keywords. There is also a summary presentation of number of thesis by department, program, keywords. Abstracts are viewable and the full document is downloadable as PDF.
  4. Research Projects - Research projects recently finished by faculty members and which have been published in journals or presented in conferences. Faculty concerned is linked to his/her individual online profile.
  5. Extension Projects - Extension or linkages are promoted. This section gives an overview of the nature and purpose of the project, what is the role of the faculty and the College, and links to the related faculty's profile.
  6. Department Information - Individual departments' information and promotion of their achievements and their profile. Includes links to their active faculty and their research or extension projects.
  7. Department News - Announcements from departments of their plans or programs.
  8. Program Information - Promotional material of individual degree programs. Includes curriculum, member faculty members, notable alumni, course requirements, among others.
  9. Faculty Database - Administrators can search for specific profile based on certain fields of interest. Administrators also can view summary presentation of faculty profile, based on departments, employment status, academic achievements, research interests, fields of specialization, residence, etc.
  10. Working Contact Us - Yes. A working "Contact Us" page. Inquiries should also be stored to create an FAQ page.
Of course, the basic college information (VMG, management team, news, list of programs and departments, etc.) should all be there.

What else should there be?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Information strategy for an educational institution

After the University Information System Strategic Planning workshop hosted by the Information Management Service of UP Manila, most of the units saw the gap between opportunities and goals on one end and the current practice on the other in terms of information technology. The College of Arts and Sciences--with their BS Computer Science program and one of the few units which have its own server--was not exempted.

Professor Roli Talampas, IMS director, used a comprehensive strategic planning approach in integrating the information systems of the UP Manila, the Philippine General Hospital, and the National Telehealth service. Unlike usual corporate information systems strategy formulation which was limited to top-down or utilized information technology as a function to support core businesses, this involved both top-down and bottom-up planning approaches and allowed information resources be managed as a knowledge opportunity. I think it was commendable.

The ISSP workshop was the beginning--that was the top-down approach. Now, it is the turn of the units to do their part--to go to the nitty-gritty part of planning, identifying what needs to be done, what resources we have, how do we get to where we want to go in terms of our college vision and mission through appropriate use of information resources.

As of the moment, being the IT Officer does not mean anything--except being responsible for information technology without compensation, thus resulting to being unable to be really responsible because you don't have resources.

It has been pointed out by four colleges in the ISSP that there is a need for a dedicated person to be in charge of IT so that it will be responsive to the needs of the faculty and the students and so that units will be able to accomplish what they exist to accomplish. That is what the College IT Council (or something) hopes to be.

The Office of the Dean asked for a representative from each of the departments for the soon-to-be chartered IT group of the college. IT will be a policy-making and implementing body of the College and the University when it comes to information concerns.

Of course, this IT body will only be as effective as the people behind it are dedicated.

With that said, let me express my hope that this information initiative will be implemented, together with opportunities in knowledge sharing and utilization so that the College can better serve the students and the people.

Ubuntu 9.10 - released

I just updated my Ubuntu 9.04n to Ubuntu 9.10 last Friday. Aside from the impressive aesthetics, Karmic Koala (codename of 9.10) seems to have responded to various calls for it to be intuitive (that is, imitating Windows interface). So much for the unique gang of Linux users.

Of course, this is a sort of marketing campaign to attract more users and gain more share in the OS market--considering that there are even more coming, with impressive backers (such as Google's Android).

Windows users would find it easy to navigate with and find the same functionality in the right-click--it even contains "Compress" and "Format" if you do it on a disk space. Maybe, I did not understand what Ubuntu wanted to do then.

(Does the "compress" option mean that Ubuntu's file system won't be as efficient as it used to be, that it needs to compress?)

The promise of faster boot-up--I have not yet observed this.

Also, finally, Mozilla Firefox has been upgraded to 3.5 in 9.10, and has been updated to 3.1. All my basic extensions and add-ins are working--particularly Scrapbook and Twitterfox.

Of course, this is considering that my laptop is dual-boot with Windows XP.

For more information, go to