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November 2011 Archives

Mobile Learning (m-learning)

How would you define Mobile Learning, or m-learning? Is it defined by the device, the application, how it is integrated into the educational landscape or something else? The three resources below, from the 7 Things You Should Know series from the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), try to bring clarity to this expansive yet potentially transformative topic:

  1. Mobile Apps for Learning (PDF)
  2. iPad Apps for Learning (PDF)
  3. Android (PDF)

With the following quote in mind, check out some of the mobile learning pilots and projects happening within the University of Minnesota system:

"Applications that live in the spaces where education and entertainment overlap can capture the imagination, enticing students to learn on their own."

Posted on Wednesday, Nov 30, 2011 | Permalink

Policy Update: Database Security

ITSS provides a managed database service. To ensure that your data is protected and meets auditor guidelines for security, please consider using this service. The managed database service will reduce the burden of database administration work for users and provide control within a supported technical environment. ITSS costs are kept low by using automated processes and sharing the infrastructure with other SQL instances.

Posted on Monday, Nov 28, 2011 | Permalink

ITSS By The Numbers: Classroom Team

The ITSS Classroom Team ensures access to a wide variety of classroom equipment and services in support of instruction at UMD.

From January 1 through July 31, 2011, the team reported:

  • Over 2,425 users spent more than 6,430 hours working on projects in the Multimedia Hub
  • 2,349 students used clickers in 23 classes
  • 5,841 pieces of equipment were checked out
  • 14 events used 395 hours in interactive television classrooms

Posted on Monday, Nov 28, 2011 | Permalink

Web Server Requires Users to Switch to SFTP

As part of our web server upgrade, plain FTP service will be disabled on the UMD web server on Feb 6, 2012. After that date, you will need to use secure FTP (SFTP) to upload files to our web server.

You can begin using SFTP at any time, and ITSS strongly encourages you to make the change now. We have provided details on SFTP settings within Filezilla and Dreamweaver on our web site at: Secure FTP Settings.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the ITSS Help Desk (, 726-8847).

Posted on Monday, Nov 21, 2011 | Permalink

Ten Years Ago: Forum on Accessibility of Information Technology

In response to national legislation and increasing awareness, the University of Minnesota began developing a new system-wide policy on Accessibility of Information Technology.

Posted on Monday, Nov 21, 2011 | Permalink

Web Server Changes

A conversion to an upgraded main web server ( happened on October 31, 2011 at 6 A.M. The system now has more capacity, improved network connectivity, and redundant network connections.

This was more than a usual upgrade, and ITSS started warning customers in August that potentially large changes were coming. Some of the changes included:

  • A conversion from Sun Solaris hardware to a virtual Linux (Debian) server.
  • The most current Apache upgrades on the Debian server.
  • A conversion from PHP4 to PHP5.
  • A conversion from LDAP and CookieAuth authentication to shibboleth authentication.
  • A new upload process using secure FTP.

After the conversion at 6AM a few problems were identified. Some customers reported:

  • "Permission denied" messages during uploads. ITSS staff are working on this issue.
  • Issues with (the new) shibboleth authentication. We are working with them to customize their authentication settings.

Although this was a major conversion with some complicated details the majority of web pages were working by noon on Monday.

Many thanks to those customers that did testing and fixed things before the conversion. Please contact our Help Desk at or 8846 if you have web page issues.

Posted on Wednesday, Nov 2, 2011 | Permalink