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In This Issue

+ ITSS Move

+ Monolith and QuickStart

+ FacultEtools: eGradebook

+ Clicker Update

+ Fall Workshops

+ SPSS Site License

+ Multi-Media Hub Move

+ Computer Lab Updates

+ Fighting Spam

ITSS home : infotech.NEWS : September 2007

infotech.NEWS

Technology news for UMD faculty, staff and students

September 2007

ITSS by the Numbers

From January 1 through June 30, 2007, the ITSS Classroom Team provided support for:

  • The ITSS Help Desk responded to 6,458 calls for assistance, 3,859 of which were resolved at the Help Desk.
  • Of the remaining 2,599 calls, the ITSS Desktop Team responded to 1634 calls.
  • The ITSS Maintenance Group serviced 1026 computers and other devices.
  • The ITSS Phone/Net Team processed 383 work requests from January through July.  Due to the large number of people moving in August, they processed over 375 work requests in August alone.

Ten Years Ago in ITSS - September 1997

UMENU changes include new WEBSTUFF menu

If you use the UNIX UMENU system when you connect to the ub or bulldog central system computers you will notice a few changes for the new school year. We've rearranged menu items to put more commonly used items near the top of the menus. You'll also find that the Configure option has been moved into the Utilities menu (most people use this menu only once to set a default printer).

The major change, however, is the addition of a new WEBSTUFF menu (see illustration). The WEBSTUFF menu provides you with most of the commands and tools you need to develop web pages on your central system account without quitting from the UMENU system.

Developing web pages directly on UNIX is something anyone with an account can do; however many people find it preferable to use Netscape rather than Lynx to view their web pages, and often develop web pages on their own computer and transfer (ftp) them to their WWW directory.

ITSS Has Moved to Kirby Plaza

We've moved (or at least most of us). Our new main office is Kirby Plaza 386.  ITSS staff have offices on the first and third floors of Kirby Plaza.  Staff phone numbers remain the same.

For the first time, ITSS staff are nearly all in the same building, with two exceptions.  Lisa Fitzpatrick remains in the Visualization and Digital Imaging Lab in MPAC, and Mary Olson-Reed will be in the Library, along with the Multimedia Hub.

Monolith and QuickStart

Effective August 1, our wireless network registration/authentication system (Monolith) was upgraded to require additional security settings when you register your computer. In particular, Windows users are now required to run the University's QuickStart 1 security tool when registering for the first time on the new system.

What is QuickStart 1?

QuickStart 1 (QS1) is a security tool that checks for the following
five items on the computer:

  1. Is file and printer sharing disabled?
  2. Is Windows XP Firewall enabled?
  3. Is Windows Automatic Update enabled?
  4. Is a current version of Symantec Anti-virus installed?
  5. Is the Symantec AV virus definition file current?

If a computer fails any of the first three checks, the problem(s) must be corrected by selecting the "Fix It" button displayed by QS before the user can continue with the registration.

If the computer does not have the current University version of Symantec AV or current definition files, the customer will be allowed to proceed but will be redirected to our Symantec Anti-virus web page. Students, faculty and staff should download and install the University's version of Symantec on their computers.

How often will I need to run QS?

You will need to run it once every year for each computer you register on the wireless network or an authenticated public jack. Please note that if you run QS on a laptop connected via an Ethernet cable, you will need to run it a second time when it is on the wireless/authenticated network. Two separate QS records will then exist for that computer.

Will I need to run QS in the classrooms?

Yes - although you can run it beforehand. Classroom documentation is being updated to include the new instructions.

For more informatio:

How do I access the wireless network? http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/computing/wireless/#how
Classroom Technology Guides http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/classroom/userguides.html

If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact the ITSS Help Desk (x8847)

FacultEtools: eGradebook

eGradebook version 2 is here! This fall we are launching eGradebook version 2 in beta form. All the bugs in version 1 have been fixed, the user interface has been improved, and the code has been rewritten to improve performance. If you would like to try eGradebook version 2 you should also keep your grades in version 1 as version 2 is beta. Please email Bruce Reeves at breeves@d.umn.edu to sign up for your beta account.

Update on Clickers at UMD

New Version and License Code if you Use Office 2007

If you are using whatever you used last Spring Semester (i.e. any version of Microsoft Office and TurninPoint earlier than 2007), then everything should work just as it has. If you have Upgraded to Office 2007, then you will need to also upgrade to TurningPoint 2008. I'm not recommending you do this at this time. TurningPoint 2008 is still a "release candidate" which means the final version has not been released. From what I have seen it is stable, but I'm sure there will be another updated release in the next week or two, and I do not generally recommend moving to this latest version unless you have moved to Office 2007. By Spring 2008 I will likely be recommending a migration to both Office 2007 and TurningPoint 2008.

WebVista Powerlink is here... but...

WebVista support on the Twin Cities campus has implemented the long- awaited powerlink that allows us to integrate clickers with WebVista. The bad news is that we are still testing it and there are issues. It is very possible that this will be ready within the next few weeks. In the mean time, and for those of you who are not WebVista users, our regular process is still very much a viable option:
http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/classroom/srs_faculty_prep.html

The main new functionality you can gain by using WebVista is that you can upload clicker results to very easily make them available to your students. This serves a dual purpose in also backing up your clicker results. I'll update this alias as soon as testing progresses into something useable...

Overall Use of Clickers Numbers

This semester 22 faculty are teaching 36 classes and well over 3000 students using clickers. To see how clicker use has grown since we set the standard in Fall 2005, check out this link:
http://www.d.umn.edu/~jdavis/clickers/clicker_numbers.html

As always, please contact me if you have any questions or concerns and I will be glad to help. Also, check out our clicker documentation here:
http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/classroom/srs_faculty_prep.html

Fall Workshops and Seminars

ITSS offers workshops and seminars to faculty and staff on a variety of topics. Check out this fall's lineup, which includes sessions for Dreamweaver, Design Tools, Microsoft Access and Excel. http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/workshop/

Continuing this year is the "Technology Seminar Series". http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/ttt/. Twice a week this series spotlights a variety of technology topics of interest to the university community. It is an opportunity to become aware of what's new and to get supportive ideas and suggestions from your colleagues. The format will be an overview or demonstration followed by informal discussion.

Sessions are on Mondays at 1:00 pm and repeated Thursdays at 3:00 pm. All are held in the Visualization and Digital Imaging Lab, 154 Marshall Performing Arts Center. No registration is required and UMD faculty, staff, and students are encouraged and welcome to attend.

ITSS will also offer two eClasses this fall. One course will discuss accessibility issues in web design while the other will provide training on using cascading style sheets http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/eclasses/. This is a convenient way to expand your web design knowledge and skills.

Finally, be sure to check out our training web site for more information about our entire training support. http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/

SPSS Site License

Over the summer, ITSS began discussing the value of an SPSS campus site license with various members of the campus. Based on feedback, ITSS is working on a site license that would provide SPSS at a lower cost to all UMD faculty and staff.  In addition, CEHSP, CLA, and LSBE will pay for licenses for students in these collegiate units.

The SPSS version available for faculty and staff will run on both the Windows and Mac platforms and will include the following modules: SPSS Base, Advanced Models, Regression Models, Tables, Trends, Categories, Conjoint, Exact Tests and Missing Values.

The SPSS version available for students will also run on both the Windows and Mac platforms and will include the following modules: SPSS Base, Advanced Models, Regression Models and Tables.

The initial campus agreement program will cover the time period from September 2007 through December of 2008, which is 15 months. Beginning with January 2009 each annual agreement will be 12 months in length (January through December).

The annual cost per license for the first year is $300.00 for faculty and staff; the cost for the student license is being paid by the collegiate unit. This is an annual program, so those wishing to continue using SPSS in future years will need to renew their license each year and pay the annual license fee.

We anticipate some growth each year in the number of faculty and staff licenses that will be purchased. We are hopeful that the additional growth will maintain or lower the annual fees we establish for the SPSS software licenses in future years.

At this time, ITSS is planning to allow students from other collegiate units to purchase the student package on their own. Additionally, faculty and staff that were not included in the initial license request can be added to the site license by contacting their collegiate unit.

Contract negotiations continue between SPSS and the University. When the campus site license agreement is finalized, ITSS will post details on our web site on how to download and install the software.

If you have questions about this site license, please contact your collegiate Academic Technologist or Sally Bradt (sbradt, x8856) from ITSS.

The Multi-Media Hub Has Moved

Growing, growing, gone to Library Room 119. The Multimedia Hub has moved to a new location in the Library. Library 119, a former computer lab, was easily suitable for a quick move for the Multimedia Center. From its beginnings in December 2004, the "Hub" has seen substantial growth in the use of multimedia.

One of the most exciting areas in education today is the integration of multimedia into teaching and learning. Research has shown that higher levels of learning occur when people are presented information via more than a single medium. If you want to incorporate video, sound, images, text, and/or animation into a presentation, lecture, or class the Multimedia Hub can help.

The location in the Library allows the Hub continued area for growth and longer hours and weekend hours of operation which will be a plus for students. Assistance to faculty and staff is of course still available. We have helped numerous individuals this summer with music projects, converting old audio cassettes to cd, vhs to dvd and converted thousands of slides to jpegs. The Hub continues to grow and expand as technology changes which is ongoing and almost a daily occurrence.

Many faculty are using media video production for classroom projects. Students learn about and experiment with visual communication. Group projects require collaboration from the beginning to the end of the project and often require written supporting documents. No longer can a group member sit on the side lines without participation.

Don't have time or inclination to do it yourself? We can do video transfers, taping, editing, slide conversions, and media duplication for you, subject to our staff availability (there is a fee for this service). Email: mmedia, x6087, or contact Mary Olson-Reed at x8544

http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/classroom/media.html

Improvements to Student Computing Labs

The Student Computing team has again made numerous improvements to the computer labs over the summer months.

The ITSS Computer Lab web pages have been updated and are a useful resource: www.d.umn.edu/itss/labs/

These pages include hours of operation, lists of available hardware and software, maps for the locations of all computer labs, real-time use data for each lab, printing information, a link to the reservations for each lab, and much more.

Library Computing Changes

The Lib 119 computer lab has been turned into the new space for the Multimedia Hub, so it is no longer a Full Access computer lab. Working in cooperation with the Library staff, we were able to move those computers into Lib 118 and onto the 3rd floor of the Library, with no reduction in available computers. The 3rd floor now offers 23 Full Access PCs, 39 Basic Access PCs, 17 Full Access Macs, and 15 Basic Access Macs. This floor will be designated a “quiet” work space so individuals can work undisturbed. A computer lab consultant will also be stationed on this floor to assist with any technology troubles the computer users may encounter.

An additional 11 Basic Access PCs have also been added to the first floor of the Library, just before the hallway leading to the 115/116/118 computer labs.

Collaborative Work Areas

To meet rising demand for more collaborative work space, the lab in Lib 118 has been turned into a group work area. We have reduced the number of computers in this room and arranged furniture to allow for large and small groups to gather. There are six 20” Intel iMacs and ten new 19” widescreen monitor Gateway PCs spread around the room. This space is designated as a “noisy” area and allows large or small groups to communicate without disturbing those wanting to work in quiet areas. A computer lab consultant will also be stationed in this room to assist computer users on the 1st floor of the Library.

A similar change has happened in the alcove area of the Engr 204 lab. There are four separate areas for groups to gather in this room.

Hardware

We upgraded SBE15 with the latest "aluminum and glass" 20” Intel iMacs.

An additional 60 Gateway slim-form PCs with 19” wide screen monitors were installed inHum 470, Lib 118, and the 3rd floor of the Library. The Swenson Science Building 216 lab was upgraded with newer Dells from the Lib 118 lab.

Printing

The cost for black & white laser printed pages has stayed the same for this year, charges are $0.05 per 8½ x11 page, and $0.20 per 11x17 page. Color printing also remains the same, $1.00 per 8½ x11 page and $2.50 per 11x17 page.

Color and black & white printers with both 8x11 and 11x17 capabilities will be added to the first floor of the Library.

Computer Lab Support

The Student Computing Team will continue the student lab consultant “patrol” coverage model for all Full and Basic Access computer labs. The consultants will spend 5-10 minutes in each lab looking for problems with equipment and users, then move onto the next location.

Each roving Lab Consultant will have a radio, so they can quickly respond to phone calls or emails from lab users when assistance is needed.

For the Fall 2006 semester all ITSS Full Access Computer labs except the Library rooms are part of this program: Engr 204, Hum 470, KPlz 143, MonH 209, MonH239, MWAH 177, SBE 17, SCC41, SSB 216.

Please feel free to send comments or questions about any of the computer lab services to the Computer Lab Coordinator at: labmanager@d.umn.edu

For more information on the Full and Basic Access computing resources, visit the ITSS computer labs.
http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/labs/

Fighting Spam at UMD

UMD continues to fight the scourge of spam with a variety of spam-blocking techniques.  We routinely deny delivery on approximately half a million email messages per day that are identified as spam. This is between 80 and 90 percent of the daily email messages sent to UMD.

A recent article on spam was published in the New Yorker magazine:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/08/06/070806fa_fact_specter?printable=true

For more information on ITSS spam blocking options, see:
http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/email/spam.html