Guest Column – Driving Progress: SWOSU and OneNet Collaborate for Technological Excellence

Diana LovellBy Dr. Diana Lovell, President

In the world of higher education and technology, Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) has been at the forefront of innovation, thanks to strategic partnerships that drive progress. One such catalyst in SWOSU’s journey is the collaboration with OneNet, a partnership that ushered in a new era of technological excellence within the university. As educational institutions strive to navigate the digital landscape, the story of SWOSU and OneNet is one of mutual growth and achievement. This partnership is not merely a service-provider relationship: it is a dynamic collaboration that has redefined how SWOSU approaches technological challenges and opportunities.

SWOSU’s journey with OneNet began with the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Migration, a significant step involving the upgrading and transition to a new system for managing various aspects of the university’s operations. OneNet not only hosted SWOSU’s ERP servers but also provided unwavering support, ensuring a smooth transition even during late-night operations. Their exceptional responsiveness and direct communication channels proved invaluable, playing a crucial role in the success of this critical phase. This commitment to seamless integration laid the foundation for a strong and enduring partnership.

OneNet’s expert staff and cutting-edge data center have been pivotal in driving SWOSU’s progress. OneNet’s technical proficiency empowers the university to efficiently tackle complex projects. The robust infrastructure ensures the delivery of high-availability services to both students and faculty, guaranteeing uninterrupted access. Moreover, OneNet has facilitated seamless resource sharing between SWOSU’s campuses, allowing enhanced collaboration and connecting our students. The absence of OneNet’s support would undoubtedly pose significant challenges in meeting the diverse needs of SWOSU’s student population.

SWOSU Computer Science DepartmentSWOSU’s dedication to student research and activities is greatly enhanced by OneNet’s internet services. Faculty and student collaborations in Chemistry research projects, both within and outside the state, benefit from the communication facilitated by SWOSU’s internet infrastructure. Additionally, the Department of Chemistry’s computation capabilities are bolstered by SWOSU’s internet services, allowing faculty researchers to monitor computations remotely. In Engineering Physics, student-led initiatives like the Rocket Dawgs, SWOSU’s rocketry club, leverage the internet services to design rockets, stay updated on industry developments, and maintain constant communication among team members, leading to notable achievements in national competitions.

In the realm of cybersecurity, OneNet has significantly fortified SWOSU’s defenses. Through the implementation of advanced monitoring tools and meticulous firewall management, OneNet has provided not just protection but also peace of mind for the university’s dedicated IT team. OneNet’s involvement extends beyond cybersecurity to various initiatives such as the Rural Health Center’s Telemedicine project, where they play an important role in connecting the hubs, ensuring seamless healthcare access for rural communities.

Beyond infrastructure, a remarkable success story is the evolution of Blue Thunder Alley, a student-led initiative intricately connected to the OneOklahoma Friction Free Network (OFFN). This initiative empowers students to actively engage in building computers, managing systems, and controlling networks—a hands-on approach that becomes a launching pad for future STEM careers.

SWOSU Technology DayWithin SWOSU’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), OneNet has been an indispensable ally, providing crucial support for various initiatives. From past ventures delivering distance learning to rural Oklahoma school districts to the ongoing Virtual Reality (VR) project, CETL has consistently benefited from OneNet’s expertise. Beyond project-specific aid, OneNet’s support played a pivotal role in securing a USDA Distance Learning grant, exemplified by their contribution in crafting a compelling support letter. Without OneNet’s support, obtaining the grant would have been a daunting task. Looking ahead, CETL anticipates continued collaboration with OneNet, ensuring the success of educational initiatives in rural Oklahoma through innovative projects and steadfast support.

SWOSU’s dedication to research computing is evidenced by its active support of National Science Foundation programs, including the XSEDE EMPOWER program. Collaborations with the Great Plains Network CyberTeam and the recent connection to the Nautilus Research Platform showcase SWOSU’s ongoing commitment to advancing research, supported seamlessly by OneNet’s infrastructure which allows SWOSU students to log into a server from anywhere in the world and work on their computing projects on any network connected device.

In this partnership, OneNet plays an important role in supporting SWOSU’s initiatives. From bolstering cybersecurity to facilitating hands-on education initiatives like Blue Thunder Alley, OneNet’s assistance is invaluable. As SWOSU navigates the evolving landscape of higher education, OneNet continues to be a reliable partner, contributing to seamless connectivity and technological advancement. Together, we strive toward a future where education thrives through innovation, accessibility, and collaboration.

Photos courtesy of Southwestern Oklahoma State University

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