ITU Briefs Mason Community on Current Projects

Posted: October 8, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Dave Andrews

The Information Technology Unit (ITU) recently updated the Mason Community on some of the unit’s most high-profile projects, including the myMason portal that will roll out next month.

“These briefings show how ITU is continually helping Mason progress,” says Bob Nakles, executive director of IT Security and Project Management. “Some of our projects improve services through upgrades of equipment, while others impact instruction and research quickly and visibly. Our mission is to support Mason’s mission and goals, so as the university continues to expand, we will continue developing projects to meet those growing needs.”

myMason Portal

The new myMason Portal will be a one-stop application, much like other personalized home pages, that will provide relevant Mason-related information to students, faculty and staff via an intranet tool with global availability.

The myMason Portal will feature administrative applications, targeted announcements, e-mail integration and various other settings based on user preferences.

Other features include

  • Single sign-on for students including access to e-mail and Patriotweb self-service applications
  • Expanded channel capability and more actively managed content
  • Improved look and feel of the user interface based on pilot feedback

The pilot program for students, which included all of the program’s core elements, was completed in the spring of 2006. Phase 1 of the official myMason rollout will begin this November. Training workshops are being developed, and the Steering Committee is actively developing a myMason portal policy.


University Libraries is working with several other universities to develop an alternative catalog for the library’s Voyager system. The system will provide more advanced functions to search Mason’s library resources, along with sections for book comments and reviews.

Testing for the new catalog program concluded this summer. Once final adjustments are made, VuFind is expected to be available in May 2008.

Microsoft Office 2007 Upgrade

In response to program requirements for current technology, select Mason computers are being upgraded from Office 2003 to Office 2007. Student computer laboratories, electronic classrooms and all new computers have already received the new version. Faculty and staff computers are being upgraded by request.


Mason entered a two-year contract with Apple for iTunes U — a service for institutions to manage a broad range of audio, video and PDF content. The program allows faculty, staff, students and alumni to access the content quickly and easily. The service also allows the user to manage, distribute and control access to Mason educational audio and video content using Apple’s iTunes Store infrastructure.

Fall 2007 is the pilot phase for this service. The full rollout is scheduled for spring 2008.

Microsoft Vista Compatibility Project

With the recent release of Vista, Microsoft’s newest desktop operating system, ITU set out to determine its compatibility with current software applications used at Mason. ITU expects to complete testing by late fall 2007.

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