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Technology news for UMD faculty, staff and students

December 2010

Google Apps Transition

The Google Apps transition has gone smoothly. All current UMD faculty, staff, and students have now been invited except for those who are affiliated with a unit that has access to Health Information (i.e. Pharmacy, Health Services, etc.). Over the next few weeks we will send second notices to any users who have not opted in. So far over 5000 users have opted into Google Apps and we are over a third of the way to completion. We are still working with the Twin Cities campus to determine the best options for inviting departmental and other accounts that fall outside the usual faculty / student / staff definition. At this time there is not a Google Apps solution available for alumni accounts. We expect that we will be able to invite all remaining units and alumni into Google Apps some time during Spring or Summer 2011. UMD Google Apps web page provides the invitation schedule and regularly updated opt in statistics.

Will I have to Opt In to Google at Some Point?

Yes - the Twin Cities campus has set the end of the fiscal year (June 2011) as their deadline and we are considering using that same deadline. We are still working with units to verify that this will be a reasonable deadline and will post and announce a deadline when we are certain we have consensus from campus units and a clear process. Google Calendar will replace UMCal at that time (for all campuses including UMD) so it is a logical time to make the switch into the complete Google Apps suite of services.

We have gotten a lot of great feedback from individuals and units that has allowed us to continually improve the Google Apps conversion process. If you have feedback, please contact Jason Davis.

Industry Moving Away from VHS

The ITSS classroom Team has traditionally provided a VHS and DVD combination player in each general-purpose classroom. Over the past few years, these players have become increasingly difficult to purchase as the industry continues moving toward new formats. Stand-alone VHS players have been out of production since 2008. Sony and other manufacturers have also quit making DVD/VHS combo players more recently and it is inevitable that these players will cease to be available at some point in the near future.

As a result of technology changes, we are beginning to phase out combo players. We have already removed them from computer labs. The next phase will be removing them from classrooms starting in summer 2011. When that occurs, we will be creating a checkout pool of DVD/VHS combo players that will be available at the Tech Center for instructors who still require that technology. Faculty will have the option to play DVDs through their laptops or through AV checkout laptops or DVD players. They will also be able to play VHS tapes through checkout players as long as we can continue to offer them with a reasonable expectation that these aging players will continue to function.

A longer-term challenge for faculty will be how to replace VHS offerings with a newer digital format alternative. There is not necessarily a clear single solution to this problem. In some cases copyright protection prevents any migration from older VHS resources into any other format. We hope to start a discussion on campus about this problem and possible solutions moving forward. To that end we will be highlighting this issue on a forthcoming faculty survey about classroom technology. Additionally, we welcome all comments. Please email Jason Davis.

ITSS staff are in the process of rolling out Active Directory (AD) services to our staff workstations. Here are a few highlights of this service:

Single sign on
Use your Internet/email username and password to log on to your workstation. No more remembering a separate workstation and/or Novell account info! Forgot your password? Call the HelpDesk to have it reset!
Easily sharing a workstation
If you share a workstation with other students or staff, it it now easier to do so. Simply sign in with your Internet/email username and password, and a new, separate profile will be created for you on the workstation. No need to have ITSS visit to set up new accounts or reset passwords!
Automatic security updates
Your workstation will automatically receive security updates for your operating system and for critical applications, such as Office and Adobe products.
Easily downloading and installing new applications
Licensed applications like Office 2010 and the new AnyConnect VPN client will be offered for installation through the Windows "Add/Remove Programs" console.

Exporting Grades from eGradebook, Moodle or WebVista and Submitting Grades to the Registrar

Due to the furlough days that occur during the Winter Break, the deadline for submitting Fall grades to the Registrar is January 6, 2011.

Submitting your grades is much easier if you have used eGradebook, Moodle's grade book or WebVista's grade book.

eGradebook Procedure

In eGradebook look for the "Export Final Grades" link at the bottom of the "Reports" page. Download this file to somewhere on your computer where you can find it (e.g., desktop). This is the file to upload to the Registrar's system. No additional changes need to be done to the file.

Moodle Procedure

In Moodle the process is a little more involved, but exporting your grades is still a time saver if your class is larger than 25 - 30 students. Otherwise, hand entering grades may be just as fast for smaller classes. Moodle and PeopleSoft grades provides specific instructions.

WebVista Procedure

WebVista is similar to Moodle in that exporting your grades is a time saver if your class is larger than 25 - 30 students. Otherwise, hand entering grades may be just as fast for smaller classes. You will need to reference both links below for the complete process.

  1. Exporting your WebVista grade book
  2. Preparing your grade book and uploading final grades

KPLZ 143 Computer Lab open 24 Hours for Final Exams

During Fall 2010 Final Exam week, ITSS will pilot a 24-hour computer lab in KPLZ 143. This lab is mainly a full access PC teaching lab, but ITSS has added some basic access machines and full access iMacs so that all kinds of machines will be available for student use overnight. The security in this lab was also enhanced with three security cameras, like those found in many other places on campus, monitored by Central Security on the Twin Cities campus.

Depending on popularity and need of use, ITSS will expand overnight hours to accommodate students in the future. During Finals Week 2010, the lab will be open as follows:

KPLZ 143 Final Exam Schedule
Day Date Hours
Friday December 17 7:30 am - and Open 24 hours
Saturday December 18 Open 24 hours
Sunday December 19 Open 24 hours
Monday December 20 Open 24 hours
Tuesday December 21 Open 24 hours
Wednesday December 22 Closes at 10 PM

Limited ITSS Systems and Support during the Winter Closure

Help Desk, TechCenter, MulitMedia Hub, VDIL, and all student computing labs will be closed during winter break. Central systems are expected to function normally. Staff will monitor them and check Help Desk calls twice daily for major emergencies. For details visit the ITSS Systems and Support during the Winter Closure web page.

IT Policy Update

The Subcommittee on Information Technology and the Library have completed a revision of the UMD Policy on the Appropriate Use of Information Technology. This revision has now been sent to the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) in hopes that it can be sent to the Campus Assembly in spring semester.

If you have comments or suggestions, feel free to send them to your EPC representative or to Linda Deneen.

New ITSS Staff Members

ITSS is pleased to announce that we have hired two new System Administrators to replace two staff members that left ITSS this fall.

Justin Keppers began with ITSS on Dec 6. He is a UMD graduate with a degree in Computer Information Systems. He has worked Help Desk support at the St Louis County MIS and more recently as a Network/System Administrator at CustomerLink, where his many duties included providing support for the network, Windows and Linux servers, VMware, and data backups. Justin's contact information is jkeppers, x8450.

Adam Moren will be moving from Pharmacy to ITSS on Dec 13. Adam is also a UMD graduate with a degree in Computer Science. He has worked as a Help Desk Technician at St. Mary's/Duluth Clinic, as an Information Technology Specialist with the School District of Superior, and most recently as an IT Professional with the UMD College of Pharmacy. Adam's varied background includes supporting Windows, Linux and OS X servers, Active Directory, network design and monitoring, and video streaming. Adam's contact information is amoren, x8850.

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