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Technology news for UMD faculty, staff and students

October 2010

Google Apps Transition

The Google Apps http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/google/ transition at UMD is proceeding well. We are accelerating opt-in invitations and providing answers to your frequently asked questions.

Invitations for Opt-In Have Been Accelerated

The timeline http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/google/#sign_up_table for transition into Google Apps is dependent on coordination between the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at the Twin Cities Campus and Information Technology Systems and Services (ITSS) at UMD. Three test groups, including information technology support staff across all campus units, have opted in to Google Apps during summer 2010. About a third of faculty and staff have been invited and the process has gone smoothly so far, with minimal technical support required. Because the transition has gone so well for those faculty and staff who have chosen to opt in, students are now being invited two weeks following the invitation of faculty and staff in their unit.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use Outlook, MacMail, Thunderbird, or my favorite email client with Google Apps?

Most email clients can be pointed at the Google Apps servers and be made to work. However, the web interface for Google Mail is where our support efforts will be focused and most users find that this interface is superior to desktop clients in some pretty significant ways. We strongly encourage users to use the web interface for some time before they attempt to use desktop clients.

2. Will my Smart Phone, iPhone, Android, etc. work with Google Apps?

Just using the web browser on a smart phone often does the trick because Google Apps will adapt its size, but there are also ways to point your smart phone mail application at Google Apps. For more information visit the mobile device documentation. http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/google/#smartphones

3. Will my productivity suffer when I switch to Google Apps?

We are finding that the transition is surprisingly painless for many users. As you get used to the new interface, there are some tips and tricks http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/google/#productivity that will really help you move from new user to power user. Contact Jason Davis (jdavis@d.umn.edu) if you have more questions.

Server Services

ITSS has created a new document that explains our services to the campus for hosting, maintaining, and securing computer servers . http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/computing/servers.htm

As an organization we have been moving toward using server virtualization in order to reduce the number of physical servers needed to run campus applications. This strategy adds to our campus drive for more green solutions by reducing energy costs. If you are running a server locally in your department, please have a look and consider whether our services might meet your needs.

Student Response Systems: New Feature for Moodle

A new feature connecting TurningPoint and Moodle http://www1.umn.edu/moodle/instructor/guides/moodle_tp.html allows importing grades and pushing student response system "clicker" results.

We would welcome the opportunity to test this new feature with any interested faculty. Contact Jason Davis (jdavis@d.umn.edu) if you are interested or if you have any questions or concerns. Visit Student Response Systems (SRS) http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/classroom/srs/ for more information.

Moodle and WebVista Clarification

In the September 2010 ITSS newsletter article, "WebVista or Moodle: Which to Choose?" we wrote that Moodle would be changing to version 2 this coming Summer 2011.

Because the organization that makes Moodle (moodle.org) missed their version 2 release date of July 2010 (as of this writing version 2 has not been released), the Office of Information Technology (OIT) on the Twin Cities campus asked that the following statement be used for clarification on a timetable for moving to Moodle version 2:

OIT is looking forward to the production release of Moodle version 2.0 from the open source developer community. Currently OIT is evaluating the pre-release beta version to evaluate features and functionality. OIT will continue to communicate updates as the implementation process continues.

ITSS still believes current WebVista users should start thinking about the transition to Moodle during Spring 2011. We will have a series of workshops aimed at current WebVista users helping them identify how their current practices in WebVista can be done in Moodle. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

IT Policy Update

ITSS recently reviewed and updated the Policy on Use of the UMD Network . http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/policies/network.html Although not much has changed in this policy, this would be a good time to review it.

Management of Storage: Controls on Excessive Use

Several years ago the ITSS funding model changed so that faculty and staff are no longer charged for file storage on ITSS systems. Most faculty and staff are using both Novell storage (H drive) and Internet Storage (email, MyFiles, MyWeb, and login (home) directory). While this has been a positive change overall, it has resulted in a significant growth in the amount of file storage being used by faculty and staff. Given the current economic climate, we find it necessary to put some limits on this growth. Please review our revised Network Data Storage Strategy http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/computing/data-storage.html for details and for information on downloading the latest client.

Over the next few months, we will be contacting faculty and staff who are using more than 5 gigabytes of file storage in either Novell or Internet storage. We will be advising these people to exercise the following options:

  1. Delete unneeded files stored
  2. Move selected files to NetFiles or Google (when available) at no charge
  3. Balance files stored on Novell or Internet storage in order to stay under the 5 gigabyte limit on each.
  4. Request an account on our tiered data storage server and move selected files there. Note that this solution will be billed according to the rates provided. To request an account, please contact the Help Desk at 8847 or helpdesk@d.umn.edu.

Because we are preparing to move from Novell to Active Directory, we will not enforce the limits on Novell until such time as we work with you to move your files from Novell to Active Directory. At that time, those who have more than 5 gigabytes of storage on Novell will be asked to use one or more of the above options to reduce the storage they will need in Active Directory.

If you have general concerns about why ITSS is taking these steps, feel free to contact Linda Deneen (ldeneen@d.umn.edu, 7588). We recognize that this may be an inconvenience for some, and we appreciate your cooperation in helping us to be good stewards of University resources.

For rates please visit Storage Rates. http://www.d.umn.edu/itss/rates/#fsbr

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