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IT launches wave of new initiatives

Over the summer, Washington State University Vancouver’s IT department poured over the results of their TechQual+ survey on how IT could improve services.

Using the survey results, IT has begun implementing changes to the Wi-Fi for students, staff and faculty, as well overhauling the student email and making changes to the online learning sites.

Students returning to campus after a summer-long absence may have noticed that their email login has changed.  The email system has eliminated the differing additions that email addresses had, such as @vancouver.wsu.edu or @email.wsu.edu. Instead, all usernames are under the same @wsu.edu umbrella as part of the Office 365 Project.

The Office 365 Project is a major initiative this year for IT. Office 365 is providing WSU students with five free copies of Microsoft Office, which includes Excel, Word, PowerPoint and OneNote. Passwords will also be streamlined into one package. Instead of having to remember multiple accounts and passwords, there will only be one login and password for all WSU networks.

Michael Stamper, campus CIO, says that students will be able to use apps from their mobile devices to read, edit or create Office documents.

The WSU Network ID username will be used as the first half of the new email username, and is the same login that is used with the new myWSU, formerly called zzusis.  Instead of firstname.lastname@email.wsu.edu, logins on all WSU systems are NetworkID@wsu.edu.

Another change is the addition of the virtual help character named Evita, or Expert Vancouver IT Assistant. Stamper says that Evita will be used to record and track technical assistance requests from students, faculty and staff at WSU Vancouver.

Evita also serves as a mascot for IT, with a biography stating she “is excited to be here and [is] looking forward to meeting and working with everyone.”

“[The main benefits of Evita] include an improved interface and ability to track existing service requests, better efficiency within IT, more communication throughout the entire support process, and improved opportunities to provide feedback after the support experience,” Stamper said.

Both of these changes, as well as improvements of campus Wi-Fi, are set to be in effect the first week of the Fall 2015 semester. Visit TheVanCougar.com to read the full article on the Wi-Fi changes and plans to improve cell phone reception.

For details on the TechQual+ survey, visit the VanCougar.com. For more information on the Office 365 project, please email a CougTech at cougtech@wsu.edu or visit office365project.it.wsu.edu.

The webpage available to contact Evita is evita.vancouver.wsu.edu.

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