Douglas College lights-up the advanced network

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

We are pleased to welcome Douglas College to the BCNET Advanced Network.

On August 14th, Douglas College successfully launched high-speed connectivity at its three campus sites thanks, in part, to infrastructure funding support from the Ministry of Advanced Education (MAVED).

In 2014, the Ministry endorsed an Integrated Network funding model, a clearly defined process for institutions to apply for financial resources. Douglas College is one of three institutions that received MAVED funding in 2016, while another 13 institutional proposals are under funding review by the Ministry. We spoke with Ian McLeod, the CIO at Douglas College, about the College’s mission as the fundamental driver for investment in technology innovation at the College.


Q: The mission of Douglas College is very student-centric, and it speaks to inspiring students, providing exceptional educational experiences and opening the doors to lives of passion and purpose. How do you anticipate the newly implemented high-speed network will support your mission?

A: Today, our new Advanced Network connectivity is greatly enhancing our ability to fundamentally transform the student experience on campus and throughout their academic experience. Their day-to-day experience is greatly impacted by having instant, reliable, secure anywhere, anytime access to technology resources, tools devices and learning. BCNET’s network service helps to improve the student experience at Douglas College for over 14,000 students that enroll in for-credit courses and 10,000 students in short-term, non-credit courses for career or personal development. It allows students to securely interconnect at high speeds to all three campuses –– New Westminster, Coquitlam and Surrey Learning Centre –– and within a larger community of participating institutions in B.C. and across Canada.


Q: What are your strategic priorities for information technology at Douglas and how will new networks support these priorities?

A: One of our top priorities is to better serve students by enhancing access to technology services. Low-cost network infrastructure was a key part of our strategy. We needed to provide a reliable, secure and sustainable infrastructure that balances industry standards with stakeholder needs. Thanks to our new Advanced Network connectivity, for the first time, we have an unfettered gateway to serve up low-cost, innovative services such as new cloud offerings in Canada, hosted services and BCNET’s portfolio of shared IT services. With four times the network capacity, we can provide students and staff with easier access to high-quality, innovative IT services with greater flexibility in service delivery.


Q: What new services have you implemented since connecting?

A: Since lighting up the network, we have an incredibly reliable backbone to access and use a number of BCNET shared services. For the first time, we will be capable of using production-grade services within the EduCloud virtual data centre service. Prior to implementing the network, we were limited to using EduCloud as a test environment, because the network wasn’t reliable. Making use of the network, we plan to access a number of shared services like DATA-SAFE for data storage and backup, and eduroam for wireless roaming. Finally, we are using the Virtual Router service as a simple, inexpensive way to connect to the network at a fraction of the cost of purchasing hardware.


Q: What was your experience in implementing advanced networks at your three campus sites?

A: When the new services came online, the improvements were immediate and obvious to all students and employees––our network speeds quadrupled. As well, BCNET helped effectively manage the network implementation and was successful at negotiating managed circuits, on behalf of Douglas College and the Ministry of Advanced Education, at significant savings.


Q: What is the future role of information technology at Douglas College?

A: Information technology is key to supporting innovation and facilitating our future growth. We will continue to leverage existing and emerging technologies, minimize our costs, and ensure Douglas provides an excellent student learning experience.