The earliest seeds of any group that would later become part of CITES was a handful of people in the Math Department in the 1950s providing computer operational support. This overview of CITES history describes how that small group grew and was joined by other groups over the years to become today's CITES, with approximately 300 staff members and over 250 student employees.
In the Beginning
1952: Illiac I, the first computer built and owned entirely by an educational institution, becomes operational.
In the late 1950s, a group of three operators and five grad assistants, residing in the Math Department, provided operational support for the Illiac I.
The ILLIAC I became operational on Labor Day, 1952. It had 1024 words of 40 bits; was 10 feet long, two feet wide, and eight and one-half feet high; contained 2,800 vacuum tubes; and weighed five tons. See the Historical Timeline on the Department of Computer Science's web page for more information.
The Department of Computer Science
1964: The Digital Computer Laboratory Group, consisting of operators, programmers, and consultants, is recognized as the Department of Computer Science.
By the early 1960s, in addition to the group of operators, consulting and programming groups had been formed. They were all part of the Digital Computer Laboratory, which was reorganized as the Department of Computer Science in 1964.
1971: Computing Services Office (CSO) is formed.
In 1971, the Computing Services Office (CSO) was formed to provide a campuswide focus and to separate service activities from research functions.
Computer jobs were in the form of card decks and were brought to DCL to be read into mainframe computers for execution. As a convenience to people who came from other buildings on campus, small lockers were provided in DCL near the machine room for storage of card decks. People could call a phone number to get a status message listing which jobs had been run so that people would know when to come pick up their output.
1985: National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) is formed. CSO serves as the computing facilities manager for NCSA from 1985 to 1987.
The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) was formed in 1985, and for the next two years, CSO served as the computing facilities manager for NCSA. NCSA also provided a major impetus for beginning to build the campus network (the idea was to provide a connection to every building where an NCSA Principal Investigator resided). About this time, networking of the College of Engineering buildings also began.
In 1985, the campus internet connection consisted of three 56Kb links, but getting those links wasn't easy. Lines of this speed weren't offered locally, and UIUC couldn't get the telephone company to supply them. NCSA almost lost its funding because of the dire telecommunications situation. Finally, the president of the University, who sat on Illinois Bell's board at the time, was able to convince the phone company to supply UIUC with three reliable links.
Telecommunications and CCSO
1992: Telecommunications merges with CSO to become CCSO (Computing and Communications Services Office).
Telecommunications started out as part of AISS (now called AITS) and resided in Clark Hall. In the early 1980s, Telecommunications had about 10 staff members: five office employees and five telephone operators.
In the mid-1980s, many changes occurred in Telecommunications: a Customer Service group was formed (initially with two people); an Engineering section was established; the campus phone system was converted to Centrex III; UIUC bought and managed their own telephone switch; and Illicall, the University Residence Hall long-distance service, was introduced.
CSO became CCSO (Computing and Communications Services Office) in 1992, when Telecommunications, the campus "phone company," merged with CSO. Since changing the domain name of all CCSO computers from cso.uiuc.edu to ccso.uiuc.edu would have caused significant disruption of production services, the old domain name was retained.
The Center for Educational Technologies (CET)
1999: The Center for Educational Technologies (CET) is formed, incorporating staff from SCALE and ETAG.
In the late 1990's, a number of faculty were devotedly using of a variety of technological tools to engage their students. FirstClass and WebBoard, both supported by the Sloan Center for Asynchronous Learning Environment (SCALE) project, were being used for asynchronous conferencing; Mallard, the intelligent quiz system, was being used for online homework; and Virtual Classroom Interface (VCI), supported by the Educational Technologies Assistance Group (ETAG), was being used to put up course web pages.
In response to this widespread interest in instructional technologies, the Educational Technologies Board (ETB) encouraged the creation of CET. In 1999, Lanny Arvan, who led SCALE, oversaw the forming of CET along with staff from SCALE, ETAG, and a few newly hired people. Under the ETB mandate, CET proceeded to diffuse educational technology throughout campus via a grant program for faculty development workshops and through support of the commercial course management systems Blackboard and WebCT. Since 1999, CET's services have grown dramatically as have the expectations of the faculty and students who use the learning technologies supported by CET.
The Customer Service Initiative
2000: The Customer Service Initiative began.
The Customer Service Initiative began in November 2000 to identify and initiate changes that would improve customer service to students, faculty, and staff. Some of the Initiative's specific goals include making it easier for people to know whom to contact when they need help, establishing a continuing dialog between the organization and its customers for input and feedback, and providing timely, useful, web-based documentation.
A Customer Service Planning Group was formed to determine needed changes, both in internal coordination and effectiveness and in interfacing with customers. The outcome was an extensive set of recommendations, reviewed and accepted by management.
The Formation of CITES
2002: CITES (Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services) becomes the formal integration of CCSO, CET, and the Office of the CIO.
On April 3, 2002, Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES) became the formal integration of CCSO, the Center for Educational Technology (CET), and the Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO). As service needs, technology, and usage patterns changed, it became apparent that our organizational structure needed to be designed to adapt and evolve as well. By bringing together CCSO, CET, and the Office of the CIO, we took an important step in creating both an integrated organization and an easier pathway to our services for the campus community.
The Evolution of ClassTech
2003: The CITES ClassTech division is formed, assuming implementation, training, servicing, and management of ITS (Integrated Teaching Systems) equipment.
In the 1960s the technicians of Classroom Technology were a part of WILL-TV. The Campus created the Office of Instructional Television (later to become Office of Instructional Resources) in the early 1960s, and in the late 1960’s technicians from WILL-TV were assigned to this new campus office, as Closed Circuit Television Technicians with primary responsibility for instructional support related to video and audio. The technical group (Engineering Services) became involved with classroom technology installation and support, and up to the beginning of the 1990s, supported six classrooms on campus with technology systems known as Integrated Teaching Systems (ITS) and other traditional technology of the times.
In 1994, as part of the Chancellor's Classroom Improvement Initiative, the Office of Institutional Resources, (which is now the Center for Teaching Excellence), began the effort to install Integrated Teaching Systems (ITS) in classrooms across campus. ITS and partial ITS classrooms enhance the teaching and learning environment through the use of computer technology and multimedia equipment.
Beginning with the installation of ITS equipment in Lincoln Theater and Rooms 223 and 319 Gregory Hall, more than 120 classrooms are now outfitted with ITS. In 2003, implementation, training, servicing, and management of the ITS equipment was assumed by CITES, under the ClassTech division.