Annual Report 2001 - Information Systems & Services

annual report 2001

computer services department

Director: Mr Brendan Tolan
Unit Report

General Description of Activities
The Information Systems & Services(ISS) provides Information Technology(IT) based services and solutions to students, faculty, administration and secretarial staff.
Key responsibilities include:

  • Provide and maintain information systems to support the operational and management needs of the University.
  • Develop and maintain the networks, operating systems and technical infrastructure required to deliver the services.
  • Deliver packaged and other software solutions to support academic, administrative and secretarial staff.
  • Support the computing needs of students throughout the campus and remotely.

A significant proportion of the Department's resources were absorbed in supporting and evolving the on-going computer systems and facilities during the year under review. In addition, a number of significant developments took place including:

Implementation of Research System
In conjunction with the Office of The Dean of Research, a new Research Expertise Database was launched throughout the University following a very successful pilot. A Web-based system, it will facilitate the promotion of University expertise globally, will facilitate research co-operation between universities and will also enhance internal reporting. The database has been populated with over three hundred researcher profiles. Research and Administrative staff throughout the University have been trained and now use the system in the promotion of DCU research interests.

Pilot for Computer Mediated Teaching and Learning
In conjunction with the Office of The Dean of Teaching and Learning, a Virtual Learning Environment(WebCT) was introduced on a pilot basis. There have been a lot of developments in computer mediated teaching and learning systems in recent years. The objectives of the pilot include how best to exploit this area to DCU's best advantage, to research the facilities, to promote the use of the facilities in teaching and learning, to recommend appropriate technologies and to provide support to the academic community in the application of the facilities.

New Payroll System
Working with the Finance Office, a new payroll system was selected and successfully implemented to support the current and future requirements of DCU in respect of Payroll processing.

Significant Developments to Student Record Systems.
A number of important upgrades were applied to the Student Records Systems including a complete redesign of the Applications Process, the significant enhancement of the Central Applications Office(CAO) processing and the upgrading of the core Student Administration System to the latest version of the software.

Upgrade of Timetabling System
The DCU Timetabling system was migrated onto the standard database for the University and the client based software was upgraded accordingly. This has resulted in a more efficient working system for faculty and staff and will allow for the future integration of timetable data with other data sources at DCU.

Integrated Financial management System
Working with the Finance Office, a project was set up to specify and select a new financial suite for the University. Procurement processes were put in place, interested suppliers were put through a detailed preliminary evaluation stage and a shortlist was drawn up for final evaluation.

Access Control Systems
Working with the Buildings Office, two key access control systems were selected and implemented: the Car Park System and the Buildings' Access Control System. Both systems work with the existing ID Card System and will integrate with other installed systems such as Payroll.

Web Developments
There were a number of important Web based developments including: New Prospectus online with dynamic updating by Registry, Pilot of Examination Results via WAP, Web broadcast of the Graduation ceremony, Student Portal Pages for Oscail students and Online Student Experience Survey.

Supporting the Opening of the INVENT Centre
A major new development was the opening of the new INVENT Centre.
Computer Services played an important role in ensuring that the leading edge technologies involved in the building were fully operational prior to the opening.

Information Technology(IT) Plan for 2000 to 2002
A new version of the IT Plan was published to reflect progress on the original version of the plan, to add new items arising and to delete any items no longer required. There are four key themes running through the Plan: "Think Web First" for all developments, Provide Access to Information, Anytime, Anywhere, thirdly, the Re-Design of University Processes and fourthly, All Developments to be Database Driven.

Helpdesk Call Management System
A new Call Centre Management System was selected and implemented for the Helpdesk area within Computer Services.

Information Systems & Services(ISS) Moved to a New Location
The Information Systems & Services moved to a single location in the Deirdre Thornton Building. Prior to this, the department had been spread across a large number of different locations on the campus.