Technology news for UMD faculty, staff and students
From January 1 through June 30, 2009, the ITSS Classroom Team:
- checked out 6,080 pieces of equipment to campus customers
- supported 161 ITV events for a total of 290 hours
- supported 66 UMD classes and 546 other individuals in the Multimedia Hub
- provided clicker support for 18,867 students and 17 faculty in 25 classes
Ten Years Ago in ITSS - February 2000
Digital Imaging Lab hosts Beowulf cluster.
When people think of the Imaging Lab and its resources they assume that all of our equipment is expensive and powerful. In the case of our Beowulf cluster only one of these assumptions is valid - it is powerful!
Seventeen faculty members attended Tech Camp 13 in January this year. Both faculty participants and presenters from ITSS, Continuing Education, IDS, and the Library experienced a completely online experience in this Tech Camp. The online experience brought these changes to Tech Camp 13:
- We saw an increase in tool usage and exploration from years past. In order to truly experience the online environment, there were no face-to-face meetings, and no phone calls were allowed. This is typical for 100% online course designs, although communication expectations and tools would ultimately depend on instructor preference and the audience.
- All presenters and participants found themselves well and truly stretched by this experience, where we learned to work with UM Connect, Skype, email, discussion forums, live chat, and the wealth of communication and collaboration spaces found within the Tech Camp course site in Moodle.
- Faculty participants found this experience powerful because they experienced the process from the student perspective. We hope that their own Tech Camp experiences, both positive and negative, will inform how faculty facilitate and guide their students throughout the teaching and learning process.
- This was the first time that we officially tracked participant progress, again using the built-in tracking tools and gradebook within Moodle and WebVista. This gave us an opportunity to really see evidence of learning. We were able to see where participants started and what they were able to accomplish by end of Tech Camp.
- The overall experience provided a safe place to explore technology and teaching -- to mess up, to be uncomfortable, to really test things out, and, of course, to have fun.
At the end of this May, Web Crossing (webx) will be shut down. The reasons for this include:
- alternatives available in the University Learning Management Systems, Moodle https://moodle.umn.edu/ and WebVista http://webct.umn.edu/
- x.500 authentication unavailable in webx
- automated class list updating unavailable in webx
- development of webx apparently suspended by the vendor
- declining use of webx on our campus
At the end of this August, Test Pilot will be shut down. The reasons for this include:
- an enterprise option in UMSurvey http://oit.umn.edu/umsurvey
- development of Test Pilot apparently suspended by the vendor
Test Pilot does not have an easy way to migrate surveys. The export feature only works if you intend to import into another Test Pilot account. For this reason, please plan ahead to make sure you move any important surveys and questions out of Test Pilot.
All Test Pilot survey data is easily exported to Excel.
The best way to keep updated on ITSS training offerings is to:
- Subscribe to the Technology Training Listserv: http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/listserv/
- Subscribe to UMD business announcements: http://www.d.umn.edu/umdnews/email_lists.html
- Visit our training web site to see what we have available: http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/support/Training/
Spring 2010 Training events will be available soon!
Techfest is a place where faculty, staff, students and the community have an opportunity to see how technology is being utilized to enrich the educational experience on the UMD campus.
In 2009 Techfest took a break but Techfest is back! At Techfest 2010 you will have the opportunity to see the rise of how new and innovative technologies are being used on the UMD campus.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Kirby Student Center Ballroom
A call for proposals will be going out the second week of February. Please visit http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/etrg/techfest/ to view the past presentations and submit a Techfest 2010 proposals form!
The Office of Information Technology (OIT) continues work on integrating Google applications for use at all campuses of the University. ITSS staff are collaborating on this project, since we run our own email system here. Services will be aimed primarily at students, although faculty and staff may opt in to use services as well.
The rollout to UMD is taking longer than we had hoped, for which we are sincerely sorry. At this point we are waiting for OIT staff to complete the configuration of our section of the Google space.
We hope to be testing in February and making the service available starting in March. It will take some time to roll this service out to all users on campus, so please be patient.
For more information, please see the OIT Google Initiative site.
The Questions and Answers section http://www.oit.umn.edu/google-initiative/questions-answers/index.html is particularly good for those who want to see details.
The University of Minnesota is currently reviewing a draft system-wide policy, "Securing Private Data, Computers and Other Electronic Devices."
This policy, along with its related procedures, can be viewed at the OIT Security web site: http://www1.umn.edu/oit/security/
The policy brings together and strengthens many of the UM security policies and procedures that have been in place for some time now. Key changes that will have a big impact on this campus include:
- a new requirement that all desktop and laptop computers be attached to and managed through the University's Active Directory architecture
- a new requirement that users operate their machines at user level, not at administrative level.
- a new requirement that University private data must be stored on University-owned computers unless a contract approved by an authorized University representative exists with the non-University business or entity.
- a new requirement that employees must not store University private data on their home computer or other personal electronic devices.
ITSS will be working with campus units to implement Active Directory along with other provisions of this new policy. Please see the related article Active D irectory Services Coming to UMD for more information.
Desktop security is a growing concern for the University community. ITSS staff spend ever larger amounts of both time and dollars on proactive measures (scanning, applying security updates, updating anti-virus software) and on tracking down and repairing computers that have been compromised. To meet these increasing demands, ITSS plans to roll out Active Directory services to the UMD campus to provide improved security and monitoring for desktop computers.
Through active monitoring of our network borders, each day ITSS staff receive notices of computers on our network that appear to be infected with one type of malware or another, including fake antivirus software, password stealers, trojans, rootkits and more.
The number of notices we receive has been increasing at an incredible rate, from 482 during the 2005-2006 academic year to over 2300 last year. And we're on a record pace this year, having received over 1600 notices already through January.
Additionally, while most of these notices in the past were for student-owned computers, we have also seen a large increase in problems on University-owned (faculty and staff) computers, including 170 notices this academic year alone. That translates to lost productivity for faculty and staff while their computer is offline being checked for malware or possibly having the operating system reinstalled.
Keeping your computer current with security patches and updates for your operating system, applications, and anti-virus/spyware software, coupled with applying well-defined computer security policies, can help to combat these problems. Unfortunately, these steps currently require staff time on a scale that is just not available. The solution: automate as many of the processes as possible through Active Directory.
Active Directory is a service that provides desktop authentication to the network and the ability to provide standardized security policies to those workstations. On the UMD campus, we will also use it to provide data storage and sharing and network printing.
In the future, we plan to add software distribution services, which will allow us to provide timely updates for operating systems and a variety of applications, such as Microsoft Office, Symantec, Adobe products, and more.
Active Directory service includes:
- Desktop authentication using your University Internet ID and password
- To connect your computer to Active Directory services, you will login using your University Internet ID (X.500) and password. Customers will no longer need to remember a separate Novell and/or workstation password.
- Security policies
- Workstations connected to the Active Directory service will automatically receive updated security policies, ensuring that all computers are compliant with current University requirements. This includes both Windows and Macintosh computers.
- Departmental and individual file storage
- Active Directory file storage will replace the current Novell server storage, but will be fairly similar in how customers access and share data.
- Network printing
- Printing through Active Directory will replace the current Novell / iPrint print services, but again, will be fairly similar from the customer prospective.
Because Active Directory allows us to provide both file and print services in addition to security, we will be migrating our customers off of Novell services and onto Active Directory services. It is not efficient or economically feasible to run both services on our campus. Staff that currently support Novell will be moving into support for Active Directory.
ITSS staff are currently working with staff from the Office of Information Technology (OIT) on the Twin Cities campus to roll out Active Directory to UMD. OIT is providing and will manage some of the hardware for this project. We hope to have the infrastructure in place to start testing during spring semester.
After a successful test, we will begin a phased roll out to the campus, migrating departments off of our Novell services and onto Active Directory. Based on the experiences of the Twin Cities staff, we expect the migration process will require about one hour per workstation. With over 1500 workstations on campus, we are projecting the roll out to continue through fall semester 2010 and likely into 2011.
We are still in the planning stages for this very large project. ITSS will provide updates to the campus about the Active Directory project through our newsletter and web site. We will also be offering some informational meetings during spring semester - please check our web site http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/ or the digital sign by the ITSS TechCenter (Kplz 165) for dates and times.
Classroom lecture capture has moved from the pilot phase into full production. By the end of Fall Semester 2009, over 4600 faculty had recorded over 19 terabytes of classes for their students to retrieve through iTunes, Moodle, or WebVista. The system is easy to set up, easy to use, and available at no cost to UMD faculty and staff.
If you have used classroom lecture capture hardware or software in the past, and decided it had too many moving parts, it may be time to take another look. The new system combines Camtasia Relay (this is not the same as the Camtasia of the past) and a server called "MediaMagnet," that was developed by CLA IT at the University of Minnesota.
Camtasia captures any video that comes across your laptop screen and sound fed in through a boundary microphone. With a few minutes of configuration on the server at the beginning of the semester, you can record and submit lectures from your laptop without any post-production work and without visiting the server again. The files can be streamed directly from the MediaMagnet server or shipped over to iTunesU where students who are enrolled in your class can pick them up and use them on their desktop, laptop, or portable video device.
What is new about this system is the streamlining of file compression, uploading, indexing, and other post-production work that might have added complexity to similar efforts in the past. The software and account are free for UMD faculty and staff. A number of UMD faculty have helped test this new system during Beta and they were generally pleased with how the new system works.
ITSS staff worked with the Office of Information Technology to arrange an increase in the amount of bandwidth available for UMD's connection to the Internet. On Dec. 22, UMD’s Internet feed doubled from 250 megabits per second to 500 megabits per second. This was split between wireless and UMD Housing (300 megabits per second) and the rest of campus (200 megabits per second). ITSS expects students in Housing, in particular, to see a big improvement in their Internet service as a result.
The now useless Mulberry application on your computer doesn't take up much disk space, and can't hurt anything sitting there, but you might want to remove Mullberry to make your application list a little shorter.
To remove Apple OSX Mulberry drag the "Mulberry ƒ" folder from your Application folder and drag it to the Trash.
To remove Windows Mulberry, bring up your Programs menu and select "Mulberry > Remove Mulberry" .
Each month ITSS highlights a different member of the staff to let you get
to know some of the great people who are working "behind the scenes" to
make technology work for our campus. This month the spotlight is on Chuck Bosell,
What Chuck does for ITSS
Chuck has primary responsibility for the design, planning, and general coordination of the UMD telephone system and infrastructure. As leader of our Phone and Network Team, he also coordinates the project work done by team members in these areas. Chuck also designs specifications for the communications that will go into each new building on campus and works closely with architects, contractors, and Facilities Management on the implementation of these technologies in new construction.
Chuck graduated from UMD in 1989 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
He has been a Member of BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Services International) since 1997.
Chuck was born in "Northeast" Minneapolis in 1962, oldest of two children. His brother is a captain on the Minneapolis Fire Department.
Chuck began his career in telecommunications as a student order writer for Telephone Services on the Twin Cities campus in 1982. He was hired full-time by the U's new Network and Telephone Services department (NTS) in 1985. Primary responsibilities were coordination of telephone moves, adds, and changes for all Medical and Athletic departments. A co-worker alerted him to the open position in Duluth in late August 1986. Within a month he was working at UMD.
After divestiture and the breakup of AT&T in 1984, companies needed their own way to do long distance call accounting and charge-back. UMD also needed a system, and Chuck had recently removed the Twin Cites campus Watts Box call accounting system. UMD got Chuck and the Watts Box at the same time and his first task was to rebuild it on this campus.
Chuck likes anything outdoors: Hunting, fishing, skiing, dog training... Every spring starts with an ice-out trip to the BWCA for lake trout. Summers are spent camping and fishing with the family. Fall is his favorite time of year, and (his wife) Sue's least. Weekends are usually spent hunting grouse, duck, pheasant, and deer. Chuck's daughters, Abby and Jenna, both love the outdoors and each have bagged grouse. Chuck's greatest passion in the winter is ice fishing. He also dabbles in model railroading.
Married Sue in 1995
daughters Abby (13) and Jenna (10)
6 year old black lab named Elsa
member of Duluth Retriever Club
member of University of Minnesota Marching Band (trombone section leader) 1981 - 1985. As a member of the marching band, he visited Spain, Morocco, London, and Paris while performing half-time shows for World Cup soccer matches.
An Example of Chuck's Work for ITSS:
Chuck has taken a very proactive role in planning our communications infrastructure at UMD and making sure it is implemented to specification. His understanding of how to meet current communication needs while paving the way for future technologies is an example of great vision and expertise in his field. Chuck also shows great tenacity in dealing with vendors and making sure the University gets the best possible outcome from each project.