Underneath all the pomp and circumstance of the commencement ceremony, cables and wireless routers are quietly keeping affairs in order. From providing reliable network access for guests and press to making sure students receive the correct diplomas, the Office of the CIO collaborates with multiple areas of campus to assist the graduation process.
Throughout the year, data concerning classes, grades, and majors are stored in the Student Information System (SIS), supported by the OCIO. At the start of spring term, the Office of the University Registrar begins the commencement process, running reports on SIS records to confirm that grades are complete, degree programs have been accomplished, and diplomas can be issued.
These diplomas are printed in alphabetical order by degree, and each college assigns unique numbers to graduates to ensure order accuracy. Students who cannot attend the ceremony complete an absentee form which is also keyed into SIS. Diligent manual double-checking complements the electronic data system to be sure only the diplomas for graduates participating in the ceremony go to the commencement site.
“While handing out real diplomas at OSU is not a recent phenomenon, technology makes this feat much easier to accomplish, without a doubt,” says Carol Ries, Commencement and Special Events Director. “I don’t think we could manage the volume of diplomas we have today without the help of technology. In one spring semester, we are all handling a total of 10,000+ diplomas.”
Technology not only meets the needs of students by helping get diplomas into the correct hands; it also meets the needs of guests to OSU, including family, members of the press, and even President Obama. Teams from the OCIO were responsible for ensuring network connections on the field, boosting radio frequencies for members of the Secret Service, amplifying cyber security efforts, and even supporting a live feed back to Washington DC.
“The Secret Service was impressed with our teams and our professionalism,” says Bill Phillips, Associate Director of Customer Experience. “We delivered stable telecom and network services throughout the stadium and complied with extensive security precautions.”
Members of the media and guests of graduates could also tap into the wireless Internet and enhanced cell phone connectivity available to accommodate the large crowd. In addition, the OCIO teamed up with the Office of Distance Education & eLearning (ODEE) and WOSU to stream the ceremony on the scoreboard, OSU.edu, and campus cable channels. This year, Student Life even coordinated music and videos to play while guests waited in the stadium for the ceremony to start. When it comes time for commencement, technology is truly capable of keeping us connected.
For more information about commencement, please contact Carol Ries, Commencement and Special Events Director, 614-292-9051.