Technology news for UMD faculty, staff and students
From January 1 through June 30, 2008, the ITSS Student Computing Team provided support for:
- 359 computers serving 3139 students in full-access computer labs.
- 504 open hours per week in full-access labs, with 253 hours per week reserved for classes on average.
- 192 additional computers available to all students in basic-access areas.
- 105 additional computers in departmental labs, supported in partnership with departments.
Multimedia Hub in Library 119
Ten Years Ago in ITSS - October 1998
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. 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
We have seen a marked increase in the number of fake anti-virus installations on computers on the University network. These programs are disguised as legitimate antivirus tools, often offering false scans or creating pop-up windows which warn users that their systems are 'infected'. Once the user installs it, the fake AV programs prompt the user to purchase additional "security" products, and some also are used to collect credit card info and other private data.
There are many versions of fake AV software roaming the Internet, including Windows AntiVirus, Windows AntiVirus 2008, AntiVirus Lab 2009, Antispyware Pro, and AntiVirus XP 2008. The most common version currently seen on our network is "AntiVirus XP 2008" (see screen shot below).
If you have installed this malicious program on your computer, you should remove it now. Detailed instructions can be found here: Symantec: AntiVirusXP2008 Removal.
Remember that the University has a site license for Symantec AntiVirus software that covers students, faculty and staff computers. For more information or to download the software, see: Symantec Anti-virus and Client Security.
Workshops & Open Sessions: New Topics | New format
ITSS and CEHSP’s Academic Technologist, Helen Mongan-Rallis, have combined forces to bring the campus a new and exciting series on “Teaching with Technology.” Join us down in the Knowledge Management Center (KMC: Solon Campus Center 42) with no registration required.
October offerings include:
• Fri Oct 3: Overview of Web 2.0 tools
• Thurs Oct 9: Collaboration tools: online discussion forum vs. wiki vs. Google docs vs. blogs
• Fri Oct. 17: Google Docs & wikis
• Thurs Oct 23: Blogs & discussion forums
• Fri Oct. 31: Using multimedia created by others: video and audio feeds (linking to podcasts, video casts)
The entire list of the Teaching with Technology Series is found here: http://www.d.umn.edu/~hrallis/professional/cehsp_technology/index.html
For a complete list of all ITSS training opportunities and the popular TTT sessions, go here: http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/
UMD's Course Guide allows faculty to post specific information about a course beyond what is available in the Course Catalog. A sample syllabus for the course, a video of what your course is about, a breakdown of class time and workload are a few examples of what is possible.
To find out more about UMD's Course Guide, please use the following url.
The University of Minnesota has an agreement with Apple Computer to enable all U of M campuses to broadcast video and audio content through iTunes. ITSS will provide support for UMD campus constituents to develop and distribute campus content through iTunes U. For more information, see the U of M iTunes U web site http://itunes.umn.edu.
At present, some U of M units have put up some content that is restricted to U of M constituents only. By mid-October, the University is planning to launch its public iTunes U site for the general public.
If you are interested in posting content on iTunes U, please contact Linda Deneen (email@example.com, x7588).
If you have walked through the new Labovitz School of Business and Economics, you have likely seen the flat screen monitors displaying LSBE program information in a constant rotation. Nik Hassan, LSBE Technology Coordinator, is responsible for the great content you see on these displays, but the platform is available from the University of Minnesota Classroom Technical Services (CTS) and coordination of work here at UMD is available through ITSS.
Each of those monitors is fed content by a networked media player that is, in turn, connected back to a media server. Nik and his student employees can upload new content and control the exact timing, frequency, and order of content. The server and media player platform is a product called "Tightrope" that was created by UofM alumni. CTS manages the server and provides media players and access to the system to end users for a monthly cost. ITSS will provide AV work, including purchasing and installing digital monitors and will coordinate with CTS to get everything in place for interested parties at UMD.
Content can be nearly anything you would usually use on your computer, including most digital video formats, powerpoint slides, digital pictures in many formats, etc. Content management can be shared among a number of end users for the same digital sign (i.e. several departments in a college could designate people to upload and manage content). If you would like to learn more about this product, take a walk through the new LSBE building to see it in action and contact (firstname.lastname@example.org, x8782) for technical information and cost estimates.
The "Hub" is the place to go for your multimedia needs. This fall the Hub in Library 119 is now the location for still and video camera checkout, as well as tripods, light kits and sound kits. Students and faculty are provided operation instructions and suggestions as needed when they check out the equipment.
"RockN' Moviemaking with Macs" was the theme of the workshops held for Freshmen students during Bulldog Bash. Freshmen were given the opportunity to film and make a very short film during the workshop. Freshmen were quite enthusiastic about going out and filming. It was a beautiful Minnesota day and provided many opportunities for film subjects.
The Multimedia Center provides tours for classes and Hub staff also visit classes and provide information to students about the process of creating a digital video project. Hub staff are available to assist faculty in preparing vhs or dvd for streaming server.
Over 62 classes required a video project and 4900 students used the Hub for spring semester. The use of video in the classroom continues to grow as this multimedia is recognized as a valuable learning tool.
Need to have an event or speaker filmed? Contact the Hub and arrange your filming needs. The Hub continues to grow and provide more services for students and faculty. If you have any questions, contact the Hub at 726-6087.
For more information: http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/classroom/media.html
ITSS has long been able to videotape lectures in Interactive Television (ITV) classrooms and we have also experimented with live streaming and archival streaming of events by having an employee present to record them and doing some post-production work. This year we have equipment in place to pilot a more automated way to capture lectures. We also have a have a "front end" design that ought to work, long term, regardless of anticipated changes in the "back end" solution.
The "front end"
Capturing video and audio at the event is not without complexity, but it is actually the easy part of the equation and something we have quite a bit of experience doing. Using pan/tilt/zoom camera similar to the ones we've used in ITV classrooms, the video signal is converted to USB and fed into a computer. Similarly, peripheral microphones, long use in ITV, are designed to pick up all of the sound in a room and can easily be fed into a computer. Some consideration and care go into camera and microphone placement and mitigating unwanted background noise, but otherwise this setup is fairly simple. Our enhanced control systems are designed to allow for camera control, as well. This same computer is then used to generate any digital content for the classroom (such as powerpoint slides) and all of the content is ready to be combined into something that can be distributed to the end users.
The "back end"
Here is where the lecture capture situation can get a little more complicated. The "back end" is the software you will use on the computer to create a video file in a particular format and the way you will deliver it to your intended audience (the server that holds the files and the management of who can authenticate into the server to see the content). Currently we are planning to use UMConnect to capture and archive lectures. This is software already licensed University-wide and is an elegant solution in terms of cost. It also builds in authentication and limits distribution to only people with a University of Minnesota email account (any campus). It does not limit distribution down to the class level. It is also not currently intended for a level of use that would scale to more than just a pilot of this concept.
Longer Term Solution
There is enough interest in lecture capture that we are expecting a University-wide "back end" solution to emerge in the near future. Our piloting of the front end solution should put us in a good position to take advantage of a more robust back end solution when that time comes.
The current renovation project of the old Chester Park Elementary School is nearing completion. This $5.4 million dollar project will provide new office space for Communication Sciences and Disorders, practice space for the Music Department, possible office and event space for the Alumni office, and general classroom space. Not all of the available space at Chester Park is being updated at this time. For example, the second floor classroom areas are not being renovated at this time.
Architectural Resources of Hibbing, MN has been the architect working on this project, with Max Gray as the general contractor and many sub-contractors working under them. Allstate Communications has been handling the voice and data portions of the project, working with ITSS to ensure that all cabling is installed according to our standards. Several hundred voice and data connections have been installed along with miles of cabling.
This project is scheduled to be completed near the end of the Fall semester 2008. There is still much work to be done, such as installing a new state-of-the-art camera system and new sound-proof booths for the Speech and Hearing clinic. Several staff from UMD Facilities Management and ITSS have been working with CEHSP staff to ensure that these new systems will meet the needs of the department for many years to come.