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Welcome Back, Pomona Community!

Image Source: Susan Pennestri

A new academic year is underway and ITS is thrilled to welcome everyone back to campus! Over the summer, we have been hard at work to ensure an improved teaching and learning experience for the Pomona Community this fall. Below are ITS highlights of updates and enhancements we’ve worked on over the summer.


In July, ITS moved to a new cloud-based service desk ticketing system called Freshservice. This new ticketing system offers a more intuitive modern interface and robust workflow system. Key features include a dashboard to track metrics on overall activities, custom templates for common service requests, and the ability to initiate a chat conversation with team members within a specific ticket.

Access the new Freshservice help portal to:

  • Search the knowledge base for self-service help
  • Report an issue via a form
  • Check on the status of an existing ticket


Sakai has undergone a significant upgrade with numerous improvements including the addition of the Rubrics tool, a redesigned user interface for Tests and Quizzes, new layout options for the Roster, the ability to embed VidGrid videos into Lesson Pages, and more! To learn about all the changes and new features available, visit What’s New in Sakai?

We will also be including more details in a follow-up blog post, so stay tuned!


Zoom’s new immersive view feature enables meeting hosts to place up to 25 meeting participants on a single virtual background to recreate the look and feel of a being in a classroom or boardroom.

Another new feature, focus mode, helps decrease distractions by keeping meeting participants from seeing each other’s videos or screen shares (even if enabled). At the same time, the host can see everyone’s webcams.

The ability to add pronouns to Zoom profiles has also been made available.


Like Zoom, Slack users are also able to add and share pronouns in their profiles.

Slack huddle is a new audio-only feature that enables quick, on-the-fly, informal conversations instead of scheduling a call or meeting. It was born out of the pandemic and designed to recreate spontaneous conversations, such as someone stopping by your desk to ask questions or for casual office chats. 

Grant Recipients

This year a portion of the Hahn Teaching with Technology fund has been dedicated to supporting course development centering on enhanced face-to-face teaching with technology. This past July, we awarded 13 Pomona faculty across 7 departments a total of 10 Hahn grants.

To learn more about this year’s recipients and their remarkable projects, visit 2021 Hahn Grant Recipients.

Faculty have also been awarded grants through the Pomona College Technology Fund. To learn more, visit 2021 POM-TF Recipients.

Return to Campus

Much of the summer has been dedicated to preparing for a safe return to campus this fall. From renewing software licenses to procuring additional equipment, such as a laptop reserve in case of quarantine requirements, to outfitting classrooms with new tech, including 9 new outdoor classroom spaces! 

In order to make our transition back to in-person teaching and learning as successful as possible, we’ve put together some resources to help with course planning, especially in the case of extended student absences due to quarantine. Please visit Instructional Continuity for Fall 2021.

Much of the information presented is from research-based practices and insights from our faculty and students during the 2020-21 academic year. Our goal is to leverage lessons learned to be better prepared for possible disruptions.

Faculty and Staff Development

To also help prepare for the semester ahead, the ITS Support and Instructional Services Team has been working on offering a range of faculty and staff development opportunities to promote and support technology-enhanced teaching, learning, and research. 

To see a list of our upcoming workshops and training sessions, visit RITG Events.

Story By: Susan Pennestri