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The History of IT Services
To look at where we are heading, it is often useful to see where we have been. Over the past two decades, Thomas has increasingly depended on information technologies to provide the best education and customer service. Listed below are some of the milestones in information technology use on campus.
The Thomas internet/Internet2 connection was upgraded from 800Mbps to 10Gbps (12 times faster).
Twenty new cloud-based digital signage devices were deployed campus-wide.
Thomas Connect (Purple Briefcase) is provided with single-sign-on as a new student service from the Career Services office.
New bleacher press boxes beside the turf fields were equipped with data, voice, and video technologies.
Microsoft Teams was implemented campus-wide including class-based teams.
Terminals (thin-clients) were replaced with desktops (thick-clients) campus-wide due to the new low cost hardware options.
Office365 multifactor authentication (MFA) was added for staff, faculty, and students to enhance security.
A new enhanced outgoing bulk texting system was deployed campus-wide.
Three virtual servers were moved from our server room to the cloud to lower costs and provide better service.
A new Esports CAVE and team was created with 10 high-end Threadripper-based gaming systems.
All students now get Adobe Creative Cloud apps for no additional cost (part of tuition and fees).
Thomas announces low cost Windows 10-based Dell recommended laptops for students to help with affordability. Lost cost desktops replace many thin-clients on campus.
All of our Wi-Fi access points now allow for 1Gbps 802.11ac connections.
Thomas worked with Adobe to be the first to implement a user sync tool for Adobe’s Cloud.
Thomas hosts NERCOMP’s Adobe Digital Fluency seminar for northern New England.
WebEx and Cisco Spark services were added for additional online and blended course options.
Increased textbook costs for students increased the focus on Open Education Resources and other low-cost alternatives.
Students now have access to new examples of voice-based natural language systems (Amazon Echo), augmented reality and virtual reality systems (Samsung) and enhanced tools for video capture (One Button Studio).
CS students/faculty received new desktops and external drives to be used for CS classes that require computers not connect to the primary College network (i.e. Cybersecurity).
The Center for Innovation in Education and Harold Alfond Institute for Business Innovation now provide additional resources.
Thomas is using Office 2016 and Adobe Creative Cloud 2017 campus-wide.
Thomas was featured in two EdTech articles along with Adtran and CTI blogs.
Over half of our Wi-Fi access points now allow for 1Gbps 802.11ac connections.
Three buildings received new fiber and speed upgrades from 1G to 10G.
Residence halls received a few dozen additional WI-FI access points to increase signal strength at 5Ghz and accommodate increased density of devices.
Cable TV system was upgraded to provide a specific college-focused line-up and HD on all channels.
Most servers are now running Windows 2016.
Internet/Internet2 connection upgraded from 400M to 800M.
All classrooms upgraded to HD audio/video with scalers using Extron products.
Thomas was featured in a Microsoft case study about our use of Windows 10. We were the first to deploy Windows 10 college-wide.
The Alfond Academic Center Wi-Fi access points were upgraded to 1Gbps 802.11ac.
Thomas became an Internet2 member. Internet2 is an exceptional community of U.S. and international leaders in research, academia, industry and government who create and collaborate via innovative technologies. Together, Internet2 members accelerate research discovery, advance national and global education, and improve the delivery of public services. This community touches nearly every major innovation that defines our modern digital lives—and continues to define “what’s next.”
A direct tunnel to Microsoft Office 365 and Azure was created via Internet2 to increase responsiveness to those cloud services.
Three buildings received new fiber and speed upgrades from 1G to 10G.
Residence halls received twenty-four additional WI-FI access points to increase signal strength and accommodate increased density of devices.
Four additional external WI-FI access points were installed in response to student requests.
A new high IOPS storage array was purchased to provide increased response times.
Digital signage was added for Career Services and the new Center for Innovation in Education.
New AV/IT connections in the cardio room of the Athletic Center were installed.
The first study room Outlook calendar-connected digital signage was deployed using a tablet.
Internet/Internet2 connection upgraded from 300M to 400M.
Alfond Academic Center and Hinman Residence Hall buildings added.
15 out of 20 classrooms upgraded to HD audio/video with scalers using Extron products.
Thomas was featured in three EdTech articles about our use of Absolute MDM, upgrading from Windows XP in 2009 and our use of the Cloud.
Thomas rolls out Office 365 and Yammer to all students, faculty and staff with over 1Tb of storage space.
Microsoft IT Academy resources are provided for all students, faculty, and staff.
Exchange and Lync servers are moved to the cloud to lower costs. Lync Online dial-in services added to integrate teleconferencing. Skype integration added too.
Upgraded core and storage area networks from 1G to 10G.
Added bulk SMS texting for emergency and weather events.
Upgraded Adobe Master Collection to Creative Cloud campus-wide.
Added ID card-based attendance for GJP workshops, Student Life workshops and Athletic Center attendance.
Added Airserver to all classrooms for iOS wireless presenting.
Deployed WordPress server for public web site.
Added Health Center digital signage.
Internet/Internet2 connection upgraded from 200M to 300M.
Adtran created a case study about how their network products are used on our campus.
Thomas was listed in a Microsoft article about Higher Education and K-12 use of Windows 8.
Thomas was featured in two EdTech articles about our use of Lync, Office365 and Absolute MDM.
Adobe Master Collection products were added to all campus computers.
Thomas finishes upgrading to Windows 8.1 and Windows 2012 R2 campus-wide.
Added mobile web pages for www3 intranet and MyThomas sites.
Upgraded WiFi campus-wide to Adtran Bluesocket.
Added academic digital signage in the Library.
Moved alumni.thomas.edu accounts to Office 365.
Converted education classroom from MacBooks to iPads to match MLTI’s most popular option.
Added campus-wide security camera system.
Received RUS Grant for second Cisco Tandberg unit for distance education/meetings.
Internet/Internet2 connection upgraded from 100M to 200M.
Smartphone 3-digit extension dialing and integration added.
Campus-wide wireless network upgraded.
First 10G network equipment added.
First all-digital smart classroom added (121).
Classroom 127 was added.
Terrier Bucks debit card system has been added for new cafe and store purchases.
Turf field and Athletics House networks added.
Conduit to admin. building re-routed around the location of the new academic building and 10G fiber added.
Lync Mobility was added for Lync use on Android/iOS mobile devices.
An academic “channel” was added on a TV in the library.
The remaining classrooms were upgraded with new audio system, podiums, laptops, easy-to-use controls, and interactive short-throw projectors.
Upgraded Internet connection to 100Mbps and added MaineREN and Internet2 connectivity.
Added first Cisco Tandberg unit for distance education/meetings.
Finished converting all TVs from CRTs to flat-panels for energy savings.
25 sign-out iPad 2s were added to the Library.
All DVD/VHS players were upgraded to Blu-Ray/DVD players.
6 robotics kits were purchased for a growing CS course.
Mobile Apps for iOS and Droid devices are added for many IT services including Moodle and Library Databases.
Implemented 802.11n wireless campus-wide.
Several classrooms were upgraded with new audio system, podiums, laptops, easy-to-use controls, and interactive short-throw projectors.
Added digital media wall of 6 monitors in the Welcome Center.
Added Google Apps for Education site.
Moodle replaces Blackboard as course management system.
ShoreTel IP-based phone system starts to replace Nortel traditional PBX.
New Townhouse res. halls came online with data/voice/video services in common and individual spaces.
PoE introduced to entire campus.
IPv6 added to campus.
Technology-equipped science lab added.
Windows 2008 added.
Video-over-IP service called ThomasTV introduced with 3 “channels”.
CRT monitors replaced with flat panels to reduce energy use.
Windows servers moved to blades with network attached storage.
Internet T3 expanded to 20Mbs, burstable to 45Mbs.
Campus-wide student room telephone services removed since most prefer to use cell phones. A few students continue to rent phone services.
Office Communications Server used campus-wide.
Live Meeting Server introduced for online/blended classes.
CRT monitors now being replaced with LCD monitors.
Switched from Symantec to ForeFront for anti-virus software.
Software upgrades included Windows Vista, OS X 10.4, and Office 2007.
Added cart of 18 MacBooks for education classes in room 205.
Emergency notification plans formalized.
Phone system upgraded to support SIP trunking, additional IP phones, and unified communications.
VoIP phones installed to replace digital phones.
Live Communications Server with Public IM and phone system connection installed.
Library and IT Services departments partnered to create Information Services.
Windows-based smart-phones added with activesync to Exchange e-mail, calendar, and contacts.
Added Windows Live @ EDU e-mail (@alumni.thomas.edu) and other services for Alumni.
New thin-clients now support USB drives.
Outsourced e-mail anti-virus and anti-spam to Exchange Hosted Services.
Social security numbers removed from most databases.
Administration building data network upgraded to 10/100 switches.
Phone system and voice-mail systems upgraded to support links to email/web/IP phones.
Power-over-ethernet (PoE) added to admin. building.
Subscription-based firewall/IPS security device added to network.
Added data/voice/video systems to new Alfond Athletics Center.
Internet access upgrade to three T1s (4.5mb).
GPH & Village res. hall data networks upgraded to 10/100 switches.
All 15 inch monitors replaced with 17 inch monitors.
Computer workstations were integrated into the library and IT Services moved into the Library.
Laptop, digital music, and cell phone discount purchase plans were created for students.
Blackboard added as course management system.
Raisers Edge added as development/alumni system.
Admissions starts using IM and individual marketing plans.
SharePoint Portal Server added for group document sharing and quickly implemented by Res. Life.
Major segments of our network were upgraded to gigabit speeds.
Thin-clients upgraded to support sound.
New Bartlett res. hall came online with data/voice/video services in common and individual spaces.
Software upgrades included Windows XP, Windows 2003, and Office 2003.
Internet access upgrade to two T1s (3mb).
Started replacing 15 inch monitors with 17 inch monitors.
New access card system for GPH halls. Firewall/proxy/packet shaper server added to network.
Disaster recovery plans formalized.
Wireless network infrastructure added to academic, administrative, and general student areas. Portable wireless computer lab added.
Instructional technology focus by adding LCD projectors, TV/DVD/VCR units and laptops for faculty and adding terminals to all classrooms.
Streaming audio/video capabilities added.
Third computer lab added with 24 thin-clients.
Storage server added for disk-based backups and software distribution.
Campus card system added to bring pictures IDs in-house.
Wireless data network added to classrooms.
Added data/voice/video systems to new Auditorium.
All dormitory rooms are provided DID telephone numbers, voice-mail, two 10Mbps computer connections, in addition to 55+ channels of cable TV for one low residential technology fee.
Infrastructure budget approved by the board for regular maintenance of hardware and software
50% of COBOL administrative information system converted to web-based system
Network backbone speeds increased to 100Mbps and strategic switches added
A new phone system is purchased to handle additional load of student dormitory rooms and for Y2K compliance
Two new computer-related majors are created, Computer Management and Software Development
Intranet and Extranet completed, Internet router upgraded to 100Mbps
all faculty & student accounts become Windows NT based instead of OpenVMS based
fiber added between major buildings on campus
A 2nd Windows NT server, TERRIER2 purchased, the academic VAX is unplugged
All faculty offices, students labs, and the majority of staff offices are PC-based
connected to MINT/SCTV 10Mbs Central Maine Network
added video conferencing capabilities over Internet
Windows NT server, TERRIER1 purchased
added network capability to GPH dormitory room
adding Gigabit capable network hub for LAN
upgraded MicroVAX 3400 servers to VAX 4000 servers
purchased 20 486 PCs for first PC lab and homework lab
use previous lab 386 PC for IS students to learn UNIX
purchased 486 PC server for IS students to learn Windows NT/
creates partnership with MINT for Waterville Internet POP
wired all dormitory rooms with voice, data, and video lines
connected to the Internet
purchased network CD-ROM server
purchased eight 486 PCs for second PC lab
added dormitory terminal lab
first building to building LAN connection
purchased 13 486s PCs, presentation panel, furniture for a
25 station PC lab (486/386 combination)
purchased MicroVAX II for IS students to learn UNIX
purchased 386 PCs for PC lab
purchased Pathworks to add PCs to LAN
purchased two MicroVAX 3400s, one MicroVAX 3100, seven
terminals servers, etc.
first building wide LAN
purchased second 16 Leading Edge 8086 PCs/Proprinters for
The first full-time computer services employee, Christopher Rhoda, was hired as a programmer/analyst after creating administrative systems part-time for the college for three years as an undergraduate student. His first full-time charge was to create an admissions information system to help increase enrollment.
purchased 2nd 11/750, 2 120MB drives, printer & terminals
in order to move administrative users to separate system
first LAN is created between the 2 systems
purchased 16 Leading Edge 8086 PCs/Proprinters for PC lab
Dr. John Goulet promoted to Computer Center Director.
purchased six IBM portable PCs for PC lab
Dr. John Goulet hired as Professor of Mathematics.
had 6 terminals (vt100s, one graphic vt125)
purchased 2 Macintosh 128k computers
purchased first PC, a Compaq portable
purchased Heathkit Hero I robot
CIS/MBA major started
purchased Digital VAX 11/750
original computer center built
CIS major started
purchased first video terminal
Dr. Bergin and Mr. Thombs started academic and administrative computing at Thomas College.
Conrad Ayotte (Chairman, Thomas College Board of Trustees) was one of the first computing students.
Dr. Joseph Bergin hired as Professor of Mathematics.
Mr. David Thombs hired as Professor of Mathematics.