Welcome to Westmont Information Technology
Cloud Storage for Westmont
What is MyStorage?
MyStorage is a new service from IT and our partner Box.com that allows you store an unlimited number of files in the Cloud and access them from virtually any device – on or off campus.
Go to mystorage.westmont.edu to get started
myStorage tutorials can be found here.
What We're Doing...
My name is Dr. Reed Sheard and I serve as Chief Information Officer at Westmont College. Technology at Westmont plays a critical role in the life of our community. From personal computing to classroom technology to social networking, every service and platform has experienced major improvements in use and capability in recent years.
Westmont was one of seven colleges and universities named to the InfoWorld 100 Awards as one of the top 100 IT organizations that have "implemented and integrated technologies in innovative ways in pursuit of concrete business goals. " We also received a Circle of Excellence award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for our social media site focused on serving young alums. I mention these because they help demonstrate that Westmont is doing some very interesting and important work in the area of technology, focusing on a number of core areas:
Smartphone and Tablet Computing
We are committed to being a leader in mobile technology in higher education. The Westmont College iPhone app, introduced in 2010, has been upgraded three times. The app features GPS-Aware shuttle finder, dining menu, live streaming of athletic events, calendar, email directory and more. The Westmont magazine is available for the iPad and can be downloaded at the Apple App store. This native iPad app makes available our popular college publication that includes articles from faculty members and stories about the amazing work being done by Westmont alums and friends around the world.
Westmont was the first school in the nation to transition all wireless access to 802.11n. We implemented over 290 wireless access points across campus to provide nearly 100% wireless coverage. In addition, wireless is also available at our off-campus apartments in Santa Barbara and at our urban center in San Francisco. Sign-on is simple, secure and reliable. Every day more than 3000 devices connect to our wireless network.
Recognizing how much work occurs via the Internet, Westmont has invested heavily in this area. Since 2009 we have dramatically increased wireless speeds at the college. Residence halls currently have nearly 90MBs of Internet access while the library, classrooms and college offices have access to a dedicated DS-3. All told, this represents a seven-fold increase from 2009.
Cloud-based computing services give Westmont students, faculty and staff access to Westmont’s Google Apps services for email, calendar and document sharing. In addition, library resources in Voskuyl Library were recently moved to the cloud, giving students a friendlier user interface and full-text access to nearly 3,000,000 eBooks.
Technology and Voskuyl Library
Improved technology in the renovated Voskuyl Library Learning Commons integrates technology and traditional library services in spaces designed to inspire students to learn, think and imagine. Students have access to online databases, nine new conference rooms integrated with technology designed to foster collaboration, two different computer labs, blazing fast wireless, over 200 electrical outlets for plugging in your favorite device and 500 free pages of printing per semester for all registered students.
Westmont iTunes U and YouTube
Westmont iTunes U has over 1000 videos including lectures, Westmont Downtown Lecture Series and other special events. We are converting over 30 years of recorded chapel talks and making them available in iTunes. In addition, WestmontTV, a YouTube channel, provides access to much of the same content. Westmont was one of the first schools in the country to provide live streaming of the college’s athletic events on the Westmont iPhone app with over 40 WarriorTV video broadcasts made available each semester.
All of us in IT are working hard to insure that your data is adequately protected. The wireless network and all My.Westmont services (email, calendar and contacts) are encrypted for your protection. In addition, electronic card access exists in most residence halls.
In order to assist in ensuring the best learning environment possible, each classroom at Westmont is equipped with a start-of-the-art widescreen projector, fast wireless, and advanced audio for presentations and lectures.
These are just some of the areas Westmont’s Technology team is working on to reliably provide for students, faculty, staff and friends of the college. The opportunity technology represents to higher education when appropriately aligned to the larger purposes of the college is unprecedented. I recognize how quickly technology is changing and we are working to deliver technology-related services that make your connection to Westmont more useful and fun. Our goal is simple: to become one of the top technology departments in higher education. I encourage you to connect and check us out!
Westmont Named eCampus of the Month
The popular magazine eCampus News has chosen Westmont from nearly 4500 colleges and universities as the eCampus of the month for January. The publication, which boasts a circulation to more than 51,000 higher-education leaders, says Westmont has “implemented predictive modeling and cloud-computing programs to save money and spend budgets efficiently, becoming a model for small schools looking for ways to survive the slumping economy.”
The magazine lauds Westmont for uploading thousands of lectures to iTunes U and refurbishing the library for the modern needs of today’s college students. Reed Sheard, vice president for college advancement and chief information officer, says he’s honored to be in the company of institutions such as the University of North Carolina, the University of Chicago, Seton Hall and Abilene Christian University.
“Westmont has become increasingly effective in a wide range of technological areas,” Sheard says. “Our information technology department has strategically analyzed where the college is heading and positioned it to capitalize on tools that will enable us to fulfill our mission. We’ve also been able to excel in these new areas in interesting ways without increasing the budget or adding personnel — we’ve actually cut the budget.”
In the article, Sheard reveals how systems would go offline for hours or even days. “We’ve had a history of problems in the past, so our current achievements speak of how well the IT team has done.”
In 2009, the college emerged as a leader in wireless technology, becoming one of the first schools in the country to completely move to an 802.11n wireless network that creates a high speed wireless cloud over the entire 111-acre campus. Also in 2009 Westmont was recognized by InfoWorld as having one of the top 100 IT organizations in the United States. Last year, Westmont released a free application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that provides easily accessible information about the college and campus events. In addition, a fully interactive Westmont Magazine is now available in a digital format on the iPad.
WebSphere Cast Iron Cloud Integration Video
Fundraising Video Wins International Award
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) has honored Westmont with a Circle of Excellence Award for its video, “Join the Movement.” CASE, which serves more than 3,400 educational institutions and nonprofits in 68 countries, gives the annual award to programs that “epitomize the profession’s best practices, raise standards and contribute to a growing body of knowledge about advancement.”
The video, one of 53 entries in the Video Fundraising Features category, helped the college launch its Westmont Impact website. The website connects young alumni to the college and raises funds for the Bright Hope for Tomorrow campaign, which has raised nearly $81 million of its $102 million goal to fund construction of new facilities.
Reed Sheard, vice president for college advancement and chief information officer, says though the video features comedic stick figures, it was well planned. He says on average, viewers will only watch an online video for 15 seconds.
“But research shows that humorous videos are watched longer,” Sheard says. “So, we designed the video to be funny, while quickly explaining the rationale behind getting involved with the campaign.”
A small study group of alumni showed that though most gave regularly to a ministry, only a few donated to the college. “So, we had to use the two-minute video to make the case that the college is an important ministry for the kingdom of God and is vital for preparing men and women to serve in the world,” Sheard says.
Alumnus Ryan Zoradi created a rough script, hired a video producer in Portland and launched the website, which raised more than $60,000 in the first three months. The message of joining the Westmont Impact movement by donating just 92 cents a day, $28 a month or $1,000 for three years was well received. In fact, 62 percent of viewers watched the video in its entirety. “Ryan brought a young alumni perspective and provided the energy and focus to make this a success,” Sheard says.
The team that launched Westmont Impact, designed the site and put together all the information also included Rob Wagner ’98 and Phil Walton ’05.
Apple Approves Updated Westmont App
As part of Westmont College’s commitment to being a leader in mobile applications for higher education, Westmont Information Technology has released an updated iPhone app (version 1.2) offering clearer, faster and easier access to information about the college. With the new app, users now have immediate access to hundreds of Westmont videos on iTunes U. In addition, the app streams up to 40 live Westmont athletic events per semester over both 3G and wireless networks.
This is the second major update to the original iPhone app. The app was authored by Philip Walton, Westmont mobile and Web developer. “I completely rewrote the app from scratch,” says Walton. “Now it loads much faster, and it’s far more responsive.”
Other improvements include a campus map that allows users to zoom in to specific buildings. The faculty/staff directory has been redesigned and is similar to the iPhone’s built-in contact list. The update also works with the iPhone 4’s higher-resolution display, includes several popular features found in other apps, such as the pull down refresh, and has a fully configurable menu to allow users quick access to the various features on the app.
The new app can be downloaded for free by searching for Westmont in the iTunes store.
Westmont Makes Prestigious IT List
Westmont, which is quickly becoming a leader in cloud-based technology, has been named to a prestigious information technology list. The annual InfoWorld 100 Awards chose Westmont as one of 100 IT organizations that have “implemented and integrated technologies in innovative ways in pursuit of concrete business goals,” according to their Web site.
Westmont is one of seven colleges and universities named to a list that includes University of San Diego, George Washington University, Harvard Medical School, Purdue University, University of Chicago Medical Center and West Virginia University. Other businesses include the Cleveland Indians, New York Stock Exchange, Southwest Airlines and the U.S. Army.
Reed Sheard, vice president and CIO of information technology, has led Westmont’s cloud computing initiative. The college has moved specific elements of its information technology infrastructure to a cloud-centric one, migrating several systems to cloud-based services provided by Meraki, Google, Postini and Salesforce.com. “The IT department supports over 135 unique services for the Westmont community,” Sheard says. “Delivering reliable, 24-7 availability of these services is quite a daunting task. By moving specific services such as email, spam filtering, email storage, collaboration and wireless management to the cloud, the IT team is freed up to work on areas more strategic to the college.”
One of the new strategic areas IT focused on was the installation of an 802.11n wireless network that creates a wireless cloud over the entire campus. Westmont was one of the first colleges in the country to move entirely to the high-speed, wireless network. This computing technology offers many benefits to faculty, staff, students and visitors, who are increasingly using laptop computers and handheld, Internet-based devices such as an iPhone or Google Android phone.
“In the past, we hadn’t had the same level of excellence in our technology infrastructure that we’ve accomplished in our academic program,” Sheard says. “We picked some vital areas where we wanted to lead and while we have a long way to go, receiving this award is an important indication that we are on the right path.”
For more information about the InfoWorld 100 Awards, please visit: http://www.infoworld.com/t/it-management/top-100-it-projects-2009-860.