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Introducing IT

After many years operating as the Learning Technologies Center (LTC), the information technology department at HGSE will be changing its name. Starting this August, the LTC will be called, simply, Information Technology (IT).

“As the school moves forward, it’s important that we have a responsive, forward-looking IT department," says Administrative Dean Jack Jennings. "I believe we are well on our way to accomplishing that goal. I am delighted about the name change and feel it much better represents the role the organization will play for the school going forward.”

Indra Bishop, chief information officer for IT, further explains the reasoning behind the name change and what the Ed School community can expect from the transition.

Why the name change? The LTC name has served HGSE well over the years. However, as new technologies — and particularly new information technologies — continue to be embraced by higher education institutions, our department has evolved to adjust and respond to such changes and has become a full-service provider of comprehensive information technology services to the HGSE community. Therefore, the name LTC does not reflect accurately who we are today.

Our department has spent the past six months redefining what we do. The new name is an opportunity to start a new story for the department. Our work begins with customer service, leverages data and information, and supports research and innovation in teaching and learning. The truest measure of our success will be the value created for our faculty, researchers, students, and administrators.

What other changes can we expect? We have defined a vision for the next few years; we call it IT Vision 20/20. It represents a multiyear information-technology strategy that lays the foundation for how we will approach technology investments going forward and also provides a governance and service delivery framework. Initiatives in Vision 20/20 are not only designed to introduce new technology solutions to our community, but increase IT flexibility, transparency, and responsiveness. What people will see as a result of this is more communication on what our technology resources are focused on, more consistent customer service, a coordinated approach to supporting research, and infrastructure which is both flexible and cost effective.

Will there still be a Help Desk? Vision 20/20 defines a service delivery model of OneStop Services. The Help Desk will transition to the new IT Service Center concept. “Help Desk” may imply that you would only call if help is needed, whereas the new name, “IT Service Center” better reflects our ability to support the diverse technology needs across the school. All HGSE community members will have easy access to services 24/7, using the self-service system via our new website and powered by a new software product called ServiceNow, or by phoning, emailing, or dropping by our new centrally located IT Service Center on the third floor of Gutman.

Our expert customer support staff has been trained to quickly assess your problem or situation, and either help you on the spot or refer you to the appropriate resource for more information or processing. (Check the list of services we provide.)

What are some of the services that IT will be offering? Our new website is created using the new IT concept of a service catalog which lists over 100 services we provide and how you can get started with these services.

For instance, IT provides a full range of services in support of teaching and learning. We consult with faculty on ways to innovate teaching and learning in residential and virtual learning environments. We help faculty with in-class instructional technologies like clickers and other response systems, SMART podiums, audio-visual presentation support, and audio recording services. We offer online communication and collaboration tools like web conferencing, video conferencing, discussion boards, blogs, and wikis. We help faculty “flip the classroom” by assisting in the creation of self-paced digital course content and video clips and manage Harvard’s custom course platform for every HGSE course and executive education program, helping all teaching teams to maximize the tools of the platform for teaching and learning.

We also offer extensive support for desktops: deployment, hardware repair services, software installations, and backups; hardware/software standards; and antivirus and antispyware software and virus removal. We are constantly researching improved desktop technologies and improving our onboarding support.

Some of our new services include our Project Management Office (PMO) to support superior service delivery, coordinated and holistic support for coordinated and holistic support for research efforts, a certified Mac support center to support our growing Mac-user community, wireless printing for students, and automated backups for faculty and staff.

Future services that we are researching and planning for include a mobile strategy, support of the use of tools such as Sharepoint, Office 365, or Google Drive to allow for easier collaboration, and improved digital asset management such as archiving and findability with a special focus on digital video needs.

Will there be a change in the physical location of IT? Yes, based on strong demand from our community, we have set up our new IT Service Center in a central location, immediately off the elevators on the third floor of Gutman Library. The Service Center will continue to offer access to PCs for students while introducing a new collaborative space and a quiet work area.

What is the overall goal of these changes? The goal of IT Vision 20/20 is to identify, sponsor, coordinate, and guarantee the delivery of user-centric technology services, systems, and infrastructure to the HGSE community. We want to be known as a customer-focused, knowledgeable, and innovative organization.

The overarching goal of our organization is to move IT from a reactive to proactive mentality and to refocus resources to strategic projects that drive innovation to support HGSE initiatives. We aspire to have the competency and flexibility to provide current and future technology services to meet the increasing needs of the HGSE community.