The Information Technology Center (ITC) is the primary computing facility at KFUPM. It provides computing support for education, research, and administration at the University. ITC also provides services to some government and industrial agencies.
6.8.1 Organization of ITC
ITC consists of the following departments as shown in the figure below: Academic Information Systems (ACIS); Administrative Information Systems (ADIS); Computing Services Department (CSS); Networking (NETS); Systems Operations and Support (SOS) and Engineering & Technical Support (ETS). In addition Business Support Department (BSD) handles all ITC administrative & financial support services.
The CSS department at ITC serves the faculty, students, staff and the Research Institute with extensive IT consulting services and help desk support in addition to comprehensive exam generation and grading services. CSS also supports PC Labs for general-purpose, departmental and teaching use. The ETS department supports faculty, students and staff in hardware installation & maintenance, cabling services as well as training and awareness. The ADIS department maintains the University’s administrative applications including ERP system (Oracle E-Business Suite modules), such as HR, Financial Management, Material Management, Medical Care, Projects, Housing, Maintenance, Book Store, Smart Cards, etc. In addition ADIS department has a software development section for developing new applications or reengineering existing administrative systems.
The NETS department is responsible for all the networking activities including infrastructure, management and IT security. The department provides Internet and Intranet services to the KFUPM community. Other services include LAN services for all academic buildings and student housing, wireless networking, ADSL network for home users inside campus, secure remote access services (RAS & VPN). NETS is also responsible for monitoring and managing all network devices which includes routers, switches, access-points, firewalls, load balancers, servers and critical services running on those servers. In addition, NETS works to secure the KFUPM IT infrastructure from inside and outside threats. Network connectivity from KFUPM and networking services within remote university sites such as. Dammam Community College and SCITECH are provided and maintained by NETS department.
The ACIS department is responsible for ERP system applications related to student information systems (SunGard Banner modules). In addition, the ACIS department provides technical support to the University Libraries and their automation systems. Other services supported by ACIS include Web, portal (SunGard SCT Luminis portal), process workflow, development of Web-based satellite application systems and document management support services. The SOS department provides systems and operational support to different operating system platforms (UNIX/AIX, Win2K & Linux on Intel in addition to HPC platform). Comprehensive technical support, design and implementation of ERP systems running on Oracle databases, for E-Business Suite, Real Application Cluster (RAC) based Banner database, data warehouse, Medicare System, etc, is provided by the SOS department. The SOS department is also responsible for administration of course management systems such as WebCT, database management for all back-end servers, email services and Internet access authorization. SOS provides online storage through SAN & NAS disk storage management, data backup & recovery procedures and operations & management of the Business Continuity Center (BCC).
6.8.2 ITC Mission
ITC is committed to providing high-quality information services that foster a productive academic and research environment for students, faculty, staff, and management at KFUPM.
6.8.3 Towards a Technology Campus
ITC has introduced advanced technology into classrooms. Smart classrooms create new opportunities in teaching and learning by integrating networks, computers, and audio visual technologies. Currently all the university classrooms on the KFUPM campus are smart classrooms and available for faculty use. ITC has taken many steps to redefine the way information is delivered utilizing the latest computing and communication technologies. Major projects completed to support classroom teaching include Wireless Campus, University Laptop Program, ERP implementation for both administrative and academic modules, Portal implementation (single point of access to all applications) and enhanced university website. High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities include a state-of-the-art 128-processor Linux cluster which is currently operational. In addition, smaller HPC clusters are also available to support research.
6.8.4 University Network
Networking facilities at KFUPM have seen exponential growth over the last five years. Computing facilities, which started with Novell-based PC labs in the early 90s, now support fiber optic Gigabit Ethernet backbone serving more than 15,000 fast-Ethernet switched network points. All faculty offices, classrooms and PC labs are connected to the network. Faculty houses and multi-story student dorms buildings are also connected to network. Wireless LAN connectivity is available to all the academic and administration buildings across the campus. The university enterprise network is logically divided into different VLANs for faculty, staff, students and wireless users in order to provide secure access. Network Services are offered through ACLs (Access Control Lists) which ensures sensitive data can be accessed only by authorized users. All faculty houses are equipped with remote access facilities (DSL and RAS connectivity). Remote Access VPN services have been introduced to KFUPM community to allow users to securely connect to KFUPM network from any where in the world using a standard Internet connection. Services provided through VPN include remote desktop connection, KFUPM email (POP & SMTP) and internal KFUPM website browsing.
6.8.5 General-Purpose PC Laboratories
ITC operates several general-purpose PC labs throughout the campus. These labs provide PC's for accessing the network as well as printing facilities. The locations and operation hours for each of these labs are maintained at the ITC website.
6.8.6 Internet and eMail
All faculty and students at KFUPM are provided with Internet, eMail, portal and e-business services. A faculty member or student needs a login ID and password for these services, which can be obtained from the ITC. The use of these services is expected to be in compliance with the applicable rules and regulations, provided at the time of application. Faculty members can also post their course managements requests or personal web pages. Such services can be obtained by contacting the ITC.
6.8.7 Departmental Support
The CSS department at ITC provides technical support to all academic department PC labs, which are mostly operated by the departments themselves. It also provides support services to faculty in using technology to support teaching and learning. Technology training is also provided to all types of users. e-learning facilities with over 3000 standard IT courses online is also available.
6.8.8 University Laptop Program
ITC implemented a major component of the strategic university plan to enhance mobile computing infrastructure which also compliments the deployment of wireless network across all academic buildings. High-end laptop computers are distributed to all faculty members. Laptops and the wireless network help improve academic programs. Faculty has enhanced support for e-Learning technologies inside classrooms and elsewhere to deploy effective teaching methods and learning experiences. Programs for students to acquire laptops are also supported by ITC through Student Affairs.
6.8.9 User Support
The CSS staff at ITC offers a wide range of support services to faculty members. They also provide assistance to faculty members regarding hardware and software installation and support. A Help Desk to answer user queries is operated during daytime office hours. In addition, ITC offers frequent short courses, tutorials, awareness seminars and workshops on PC applications as well as general user-orientation of university computing facilities.
Online storage administration and maintenance is also provided by ITC. Each faculty/staff can get a free space of 500 MB while students can acquire 200 MB on the network-based filer storage for storing personal documents. These documents are accessible from all over the world through the Internet. ITC also provides high speed 24/7 network connectivity to faculty housing using DSL technology.
For additional information, please visit the following URL: http://www.kfupm.edu.sa/itc
The Faculty Handbook, Online Edition