Computer Services makes tech improvements across campus

The semester has just begun for students, but Computer Services has worked diligently over the summer to improve computer technology across campus. But with the improvements come new requirements for students seeking to use campus

The semester has just begun for students, but Computer Services has worked diligently over the summer to improve computer technology across campus. But with the improvements come new requirements for students seeking to use campus technology.

Students can’t use the computers in the library, unless they first change their passwords for security reasons, Timothy O’Rourke, vice president of computer and information services, said.

“We’re doing everything, and we’re going to continue to do more to protect student security,” O’Rourke said. “The best way you can have security is to have a good password and change it often.”

O’Rourke urged students to change their passwords every six months, but said that every 90 days is ideal. The department is considering investing in a program which will force students to change their passwords every six months, and will give tips for a secure password.

Currently, about 50 percent of students have reset their passwords. A good password isn’t a well-known name, and contains alphanumeric as well as numerical characters and symbols, Sheri Stahler, associate vice president of Computer Services, said. Stahler also said one of the most frequently used passwords is the word “password.”

“We need students to learn to protect themselves,” O’Rourke said.

Temple has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to update the computer systems and have extra security installed, O’Rourke said.

Cyberspace at Temple also has a new look. Instead of the TUPortal, which was launched in 2003, Computer Services has added TUPortal 2, which, according to O’Rourke, cost $250,000 for the software and hardware, excluding labor. O’Rourke said that Temple received a five-year grant totaling $1.1 million to help fund the project.

Temple decided to update TUPortal because it was reaching its limit and becoming overloaded, O’Rourke said.

“It wasn’t a hardware issue, it was a software issue,” O’Rourke said. “We got to the point where the old portal couldn’t handle it.”

Students won’t see a change in functionality in TUPortal 2 right now, O’Rourke said, but it will expand over the next few years. Eventually faculty and staff will be able to access their financial, student and human resources systems, with only one password.

“The first thing you have to remember,” O’Rourke said, “is that a portal is a gateway into different systems. So you can sign in with one user ID and password, then go to different systems with that same password.”

With everything on the same page under the same password, users can access all of the old TUPortal applications, as well as the weather forecast, academic calendars, Temple Today, Computer Service News, course catalogs and Web cam shots of Liacouras Walk and the Bell Tower. To access TUPortal 2, visit

The original TUPortal will be shut down later in the semester, O’Rourke said.

Kathleen O’Brien, 20, a junior marketing major, is one of over 2,000 students who have already tested out the new portal.

“I think it’s aesthetically pleasing, which is pretty nice for Temple,” O’Brien said. “I don’t really need all of that though. I just need to know what is due in classes, and the course syllabus. It definitely gets the job done better than I thought. I thought they would make it too glitzy for me to handle, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it eventually.”

Beginning in January 2006, students will be able to use the new TECH Center, located at 12th Street and Montgomery Avenue.

The combined cost for the new TECH Center will be $16 million, which includes a welcome center, help desk center, instructional center and Starbucks.

“Our computer labs are overcrowded,” O’Rourke said. “The demand for tech support is high on campus. This new center will have 24-hour tech support.”

The TECH center will also have 100 laptops and 700 desktop computers, including 25 ‘high-end’ computers equipped with video-editing software, CADD and anything students may need to use in their particular classes.

Jerry Hinkle, the director of computer labs, said the new TECH center will have 13 breakout rooms, which can hold up to eight students.

Upon the TECH Center’s completion, four computer labs will be shut down, Hinkle said. Currently, computer labs in Wachman, Vivacqua and Gladfelter are being used for classrooms.

When the TECH Center is completed, the computers in Paley Library will be removed and the space will be used to expand the library.

Main Campus will be operating 2,400 computers in labs throughout campus, Hinkle said. The TECH Center will have 90 Apple computers. The rest will be PCs.

“This TECH Center is the largest of its kind in the country,” Hinkle said. “We’re looking forward to providing more opportunities for students at Temple.”

Rebecca Carroll can be reached at

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