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Back to School Stories: Fall 2013

Active Learning Fellowship: This July, 12 Case Western Reserve University faculty members immersed themselves in updated pedagogies, new teaching methods and modern academic technologies. They were selected from more than 20 highly qualified applicants for the first Information Technology Services (ITS) Active Learning Fellowship. Fellows designed or completely remodeled their course with techniques that require active involvement by the students and the instructor. Technology will play a supporting role and enhance learning without hindering instruction in these courses. The adoption of 21st-century teaching methods remains a cornerstone of Case Western Reserve’s next strategic plan, which also champions the creation of active learning environments at the university.

Blackboard Learn upgrade offers new features, enhanced user interface: Blackboard Learn has been updated with new functionality and an enhanced user interface. Features added will allow students and instructors to record and post YouTube videos in course materials and discussions. Learn more about the upgrade here:

Active learning promoted with new learning spaces: During the summer, Room 125 in Mather Memorial and Room 310 in Nord Hall were transformed into active learning spaces. These new Level 5 TECs provide specific furniture and technologies configured to optimize collaboration and allow students to actively apply learned skills. Read about the project here:

CaseWireless upgrades: Automatically set CaseWireless as your default wireless network for a faster, more secure connection at The wireless network continues to expand and be upgraded through the installation of additional access points.

Adobe Connect upgrades: Adobe Connect online meeting and videoconference service was upgraded to benefit those utilizing the interactive meeting rooms for classes or study sessions. The features include: improved share, audio, video, poll pods and Q&A; advanced meeting recording options; the Adobe Connect Mobile 2.0 client; and a new event registration module with a customizable Event Catalog and HTML templates. Adobe Connect is free to faculty, staff and students at For more information on using Adobe Connect at Case Western Reserve University, see the Adobe Connect training page at

Google Apps for Education suite expanded: ITS has expanded the Google Apps for Education suite to include Google Groups, Google+ Hangouts and the read receipts function for Google Mail. Groups are Google’s version of a mail list manager and collaboration tool that presents correspondence as an easy-to-use, topic-based forum. An upgrade to Google+ Hangouts synchronizes instant messages, audio calls, and video meetings across devices and Google Apps for Education services. The read receipts function in Google Mail has been activated, which provides mail senders with a notification when their email is viewed by the recipient.

High Performance Computing: The High Performance Computing system recently was expanded to include 10 percent additional computing power and 40 percent additional storage as part of a continual upgrade to increase the computational capability for research. Its overall computational performance is about 28.4 trillion floating-point operations per second (teraflops) coming from 2,792 CPU cores and another 66.8 teraflops from 25,280 GPU cores. ITS research services currently support more than 600 faculty, staff and students through the HPC system, database services and other collaborative efforts with the faculty to meet their research requirements.

MediaVision’s services: MediaVision helps faculty and staff create interactive and experiential curriculums, websites and campus events, and promote programs and research discoveries through the use of multimedia. For more information, see the new Mediavision brochure at To see some of the many video engagements in which MediaVision has participated during the last year see:

Software Center updates: A new agreement between ITS and Adobe brings the Master Collection CS6 to students, staff and faculty members for $59 per year, a fraction of what users would pay on the retail market. Many other additions and updates have been made to the Software Center, including NVivo for those who would like to collect, organize and analyze content from interviews, focus group discussions and surveys, as well as data pertaining to social media and Web pages.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) debuted spring 2013: Case Western Reserve participated in its first MOOC activities this spring. The courses "Introduction to International Criminal Law" and "Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence," respectively taught by Dr. Michael Scharf and Dr. Richard Boyatzis, created global interest with an enrollment of 120,224 students in both courses from more than 188 countries. Due to their popularity, these courses are scheduled to be delivered again Sept. 1 and Oct. 28. For information or to enroll, visit Additional MOOCs are planned for development beginning this fall. Watch a video highlighting how MediaVision helped facilitate these MOOCs:

New iPad apps feature alumni and research: Two iPad apps have been developed and released to the iTunes App Store. “CWRU Alumni SMART Magazine” (available here: is a digital version of the alumni magazine published several times per year by Alumni Relations. It offers undergraduate alumni who’ve graduated within the last 10 years a different experience with the magazine and presents the material in an interactive fashion. “Respiratory Recovery” (available here: is an interactive app developed for Dr. Jerry Silver to detail his research findings in the regeneration of respiratory pathways after spinal cord injury.

Online preregistration of devices: New students were able to preregister their network-enabled, hard-wired electronic devices via prior to Move-In Day. This service made it easy for them to get up and running as soon as they arrived on campus.

Online versions of popular CAPS courses launched: Online versions of “Financial Journals” and “Financial Cashiering” now are available as a part of the Case Western Reserve University Administrative Professional Series (CAPS) at With the online availability of these courses, interested staff can take the courses at their convenience rather than attend scheduled sessions on campus. The online versions of these classes have allowed two times as many people to be trained in these areas.

Technology upgrades enhance classrooms, facilities: ITS continues to invest in updating technologies and adding new features to rooms in the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, the School of Medicine, Nord Hall, Mather Memorial Peter B. Lewis Building and the Toepfer Room in Adelbert Hall. Updates include the installation of automatic cameras to facilitate lecture recording, high-definition Technology Enhanced Classroom technologies, TelePresence videoconferencing equipment, and remote support technology. Learn more about TECs here:

Tuition refunds made available to students via direct deposit: The Bursar’s Office and ITS partnered to launch a new service that enables students who overpay their tuition to receive a refund through a direct deposit to their bank account. This is a convenient alternative to sending and receiving paper checks for both students and Case Western Reserve. Interested students can enroll in the service by visiting and selecting the new “Enroll in Direct Deposit” option.

New heights attained in operational excellence, customer satisfaction: During fiscal year 2013, core services were available to the university 99.95 percent of the time. Exact measurement and monitoring of services are possible through the implementation of several new monitoring and control capabilities. Through an expanded partnership with our service desk provider, a new operations center has been established to constantly monitor services. The operations center often detects issues in advance of a failure of services or has any impact on users. In fact, 80 percent of outages were detected and resolved before a user could report the disruption to the service desk. To learn more about the status of critical IT resources, visit

Service desk partner receives prestigious award: Case Western Reserve’s IT Service Desk partner CDI IT Solutions was named the 2013 Outsourcer of the Year by HDI, the professional association and certification body for the technical service and support industry. Read the full story here:

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