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Technology news for UMD faculty, staff and students

November 2010

Google Apps Transition

The Google Apps transition has gone smoothly. Within the first five weeks of inviting users to opt in to Google Apps we have gone from about 250 test users to well over 2500 users. Nearly 30 percent of the individuals invited to opt in have chosen to do so. Over the next few weeks we will finish inviting the remaining approximately 5000 users including some specialty accounts. 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. We expect that to be determined within the next few weeks. 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 - although opt in is optional now, at some point in the future, we will have to set a deadline to move all email from our legacy email services into Google Apps. We are working with OIT on the Twin Cities campus and our own units here at UMD to try to determine an appropriate timeline. Once we do we will communicate both the timeline and the plan to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.

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.

Google Calendar

There are indications that UMCal will not be available after the end of the fiscal year and Google Calendar has been named the successor enterprise calendar solution. This prompts us to want to get users into Google Apps and comfortable with Google Calendar. So in the near future, we will begin to plan training sessions and other ways to help you with this.

Gmail Priority Inbox

Do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of email you receive? Are you tired of sorting through dozens of messages just to find the few important ones? If you've opted into UMD Gmail, Priority Inbox may be the solution you've been wishing for.

Priority Inbox helps bring the important messages to your attention. It uses a variety of signals to help sort your incoming messages. In many ways, it works much like a spam filter, but instead of hiding the junk, it highlights the important email.

Priority Inbox is not turned on in Gmail by default. Look for a link to enable it in the upper right-hand corner of Gmail, or find it under Settings. Priority Inbox is a good reason to opt into UMD Google Apps.

Further Gmail Priority Inbox Information

ChimeIn Offers a "clicker free" Clicker Option

ChimeIn is a new system-wide student response system (i.e., clickers) that leverages existing technology people already have. Developed by the College of Liberal Arts in the Twin Cities, ChimeIn allows the collection of either quantitative or qualitative responses from people using laptops, netbooks, smart phones and standard text messaging phones. Basically, if the device can browse the Web or send a text message the person may use it to respond.

ChimeIn is not necessarily a replacement for other student response systems like TurningPoint as the technology you should use depends upon your needs and desired outcomes. Please contact Amanda Evans or Bruce Reeves to discuss your particular situation. For more information a brief introduction to ChimeIn video is online.

Regional Mid-Mile Fiber Project

UMD is participating in a regional fiber optic project which will greatly improve the Internet service for UMD and regional public and private entities. The project is charged with improving Internet connectivity for under-served communities in the Twin Ports and Arrowhead Region of Minnesota. UMD has submitted applications for 10 circuits within this project to improve connectivity to remote sites. Another planned change is to provide the necessary infrastructure and collaborative engineering to support expansions to the Broadband Optical Research, Education and Sciences (BOREAS) network as part of the Northern Tier Network Consortium. Once completed, UMD will have 10 to 100 times the available Internet bandwidth it does today.

NRRI Network Improvement

Due to high Internet traffic loads from the NRRI facility, ITSS increased the bandwidth to the facility from 3Mbit to 40Mbit as a stop-gap measure until we receive approval on the Mid-Mile Fiber Project. This helps NRRI meet its mission of fostering economic development of Minnesota’s natural resources in an environmentally sound manner to promote private sector employment.

IT Policy Update

Guidelines for Announcements provides advice about how to use and other large email lists effectively and appropriately. As a community we need to balance the need to communicate our messages with the need for individuals to not be overwhelmed with unnecessary email. Please review these guidelines and refer to them when sending email to large groups.

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Last modified on 06/06/11 07:59 AM
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