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Students and faculty adjust to active directory

Many students who use computers on campus may have noticed that VSU’s Information Technology Division has made quite a few changes over the summer, one of most notable—a new Active Directory system.
For those who do not use computers on campus and are unfamiliar with Active Directory, it is a new service on campus which has replaced the Novelle Directory which was previously used. Active Directory allows students to create their own personal accounts within the network.
“One thing we’d never done with Novell is we’d never created accounts for students,” Joe Newton, director of Information Technology said. “We decided it was time that we should be able to give students their own personal accounts within the active directory system.
The benefit for the students is that they can log in as themselves and put things in the My Documents folder, and wherever they log in, they’ll be able to find them.”
Setting up AD requires one to login as a guest and then create his or her account using the same username and password from BlazeVIEW.
Some students have had a positive reaction to the new system.
English graduate student Rebecca Thorn said she likes AD because she can access her saved work from any computer on campus, which helps since she sometimes loses jump drives.
Some students who don’t access computers on campus were not aware of the change. Kaila Daughtry, freshman business major, said she was not familiar with the new system because she doesn’t use campus computers.
For students who like to use the Macs, these computers have not yet been put into the active directory.
“There’s a little trick to it and there’s an update in the operating system that supports active directory better, and we’re waiting for all those pieces to come together before we put the Macs in there,” Newton said.
He said the main problem encountered with AD was that some students and instructors didn’t understand how to log in and create their account.
Newton said there was also a small number of student accounts that were not imported due to technical issues in the systems’ translation of characters in their real names to account names, but the issue was fixed during the first week of classes.
He said one reason for the change in directories was that Novell was duplicative of what was already included in the Microsoft contract. Replacing Novell with Active Directory saves the division $45,000 beginning this school year.
“Frankly, we might be able to spend that on management tools for the Windows machines, so we’ve already bought some of that on a small scale and there’s opportunities for others,” said Newton.
He also said contracts with Oracle, Banner, and Blackboard Vista have all increased in price, so the savings would help to fund these, without having to go back and request more money.
Newton said they originally planned to implement AD during spring semester, but it was delayed until summer.

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