Being Part of the Higher Education Community to Support IT Development
The Academy is an Affiliate Member of the Joint Universities Computer Centre (JUCC), which is an organization jointly established and managed by the eight universities in Hong Kong with the aims to contribute to the development and application of IT in the education community in Hong Kong, to support the students, teachers, researchers and administrators in their pursuit of education and research excellence and to serve academia in the nearby region.
Strengthening the Governance of IT to Align with the Academy’s Mission
Information Technology, among others, is an important corporate resource that needs to be judiciously planned, managed and controlled to assure its development and use align with the strategic plan of the Academy as well as to protect the security of the Academy information systems. The Academy’s first official IT Security Policy has now been put in place following the approval from the Council in June 2014. Besides, an IT Management Committee has been established to oversee and direct the IT development at the Academy.
Building a Truly Mobile Campus to Support Teaching and Learning
To stay abreast with the current development of Wi-Fi technology and standards, the campus Wi-Fi system has been replaced by an advanced one supporting the latest 802.11 AC standard in December 2014. The overall coverage of Wi-Fi signals, speed and user experiences have been dramatically improved. Users can now seamlessly connect their personal devices such as tablets and smartphones to the campus Wi-Fi system for Internet access essentially from any teaching and learning venues and open spaces within the Academy, including Dance Studios, Drama Rehearsal Rooms and HKJC Millennium Studios.
Ellucian Mobile, the Academy’s first official mobile app, will be available for download from Apple Store and Google Play Store in September 2015. With the app, students can access course schedules and grade information instantly using their mobile devices at any time. Handy information such as important numbers, directory, news, and events can also be viewed with their devices. The Library’s mobile catalogue as well as other online services will also be available within the app. Ellucian Mobile can be regarded as the first step taken by the Academy towards building a mobile campus environment.
The Academy has participated in eduroam, which is a large global education network of Wi-Fi access points operated by participating education institutions worldwide, including the eight local universities. Facilitating collaboration and scholarly activities with other institutions, eduroam allows members of the Academy to use the Wi-Fi services hosted by participating institutions when they visit their campuses. No prior registration with participating institutions is required for users.
Revamp of the Academy Website
The Academy Website has been revamped in early 2014. Apart from a refreshing look and feel, a number of new features and functions have been added to the Website, which include
- Gallery, where multimedia content produced by the Academy are centrally organised and presented to visitors. It showcases the Academy’s productions, performances and events, and can be used as a knowledgebase supporting scholarly reviews.
- Graduating Class displays the photos of graduating students of each School.
- Spotlight allows faculty, students, and alumni to share their thoughts and stories with others as well as to reflect on their teaching and learning experiences with the Academy.
- Hire A Talent allows potential employers to identify graduates and alumni of the Academy. An electronic bulletin board is available for potential employers to post job advertisements online.
Round-the-clock Online Self-services for Students and Faculty
Students and faculty are given access to Self-Service Banner (SSB), which is the end-user module of the Academy’s Student Information System. SSB allows users to access many core functions and information online. A comprehensive Course Catalogue, which displays basic course information such as course description, credit hours, level, and restrictions, is also available as part of SSB for users to search for and view course information. For courses on offer currently, class schedule information is shown to users. With SSB, students can view their student and academic records, and during registration period, they can add/drop classes online easily. Additionally, faculty members can use SSB to retrieve lists of students currently enrolled in their classes as well as to view, enter, and change students’ grades.
Building a Next-Generation Intranet for Communication and Collaboration
A state-of-the-art Intranet is being developed to provide members of the Academy with a common Web platform to disseminate information as well as to communicate with others more easily and efficiently. The new Intranet will feature a number of collaboration tools such as blog, forum, message board and wiki, which can be used by staff and students to continue discussions and project activities beyond classroom, as well as to share thoughts and knowledge online.
Dedicated IT Support Services for Students and Staff
Information Technology and Services Unit (ITSU) is operating an IT Help Desk, which can be contacted by users in need through email, telephone, or walk-in during normal office hours. The IT Help Desk is manned by a small team of experienced IT staff who are committed to quality and responsive customer services. To uphold service levels, an automated Help Desk management system has been employed to log and keep track of all user’ requests. A clear IT services catalogue and associated performance pledge are being developed to further improve the IT services to members of the Academy.
Continually Enhanced IT Infrastructure to Cope With Growth and Challenges
The core components of campus IT infrastructure, which includes the network and server storage systems, have been upgraded. The network bandwidth and server storage capacity have also been significantly increased by 100% and 50% respectively, allowing sufficient room for continual expansion. Besides, the total number of physical servers has been reduced by exploiting the latest virtualisation technology which allows multiple virtual servers to share the same single hardware. This results in a huge saving of energy, money, as well as maintenance efforts. The use of virtualisation technology also enables the Academy to recover critical servers and business operations much faster and easier in case of disasters. These all allow the Academy to concentrate on the exploration of innovative uses of IT to better serve the academic and administrative missions of the Academy.