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FalconFile upgrade provides new features for students, staff

February 5, 2009

After four months of work, the upgraded version of FalconFile was introduced to students and faculty at UW-River Falls this January.

Robert Rust of Information Technology Services (ITS) led the upgrade, and said that the reasoning behind it was to include and incorporate newer features that would be useful to FalconFile version 7 users.

“There are a few new features that we thought would be really beneficial,” he said. “The ability for students and staff to create wikis and portfolios make it a lot more user-friendly.”

According to an online brochure from Xythos Software, Inc., the company that created the FalconFile software, “wiki templates helps users easily capture, organize and share information” and “enable users to standardize content delivery or help establish best practices.”

In addition to the new wiki and portfolio features, Rust said that searching for people and the file sharing processes are a lot easier and much less technical than before.

“Some of the new minor features include the creation of drop boxes and the fact that students now get 500 MB of file space, which is double the amount they got before,” Rust said.

UWRF junior biology education major Joe Saugstad said he was initially confused by how to navigate the upgraded FalconFile.

“My first impression was that ‘I hope this isn’t hard to navigate,’” he said. “However, it really was and I ended up just being really confused by the new layout and setup.”

The upgrade process, which began in mid-September, was free due to the software’s license agreement, according to Rust. He also said that the University of Minnesota, UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee all use a FalconFile type program, but that UWRF is the only institution that uses it as a primary file storage place for students and faculty.

“Some people really like [FalconFile 7] and some aren’t thrilled,” he said. “Some people have been caught a little off guard even though we offered training sessions during January.”

Saugstad said he was unaware of the January training sessions.

“I think they should have held the training sessions before most students left campus for break in December,” he said. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to hold them during J-Term when the majority of students aren’t around.”

If students have questions regarding the latest FalconFile upgrade, there is Web-based help, demonstrational “how to” videos and FAQs on the main FalconFile login page.

There also may be some upcoming workshop dates available for both students and faculty, Rust said.

“We’re hoping to schedule some more workshops or informational sessions so that people can get more acclimated to the FalconFile,” Rust said. “We want everyone to feel as comfortable with it as possible.”