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Upgrade Portal Preview

CLA Admins are invited to participate in a User Review session on Monday, February 2. The session will provide an opportunity to try out the new system by completing common daily tasks in a test environment and learn new functions, including: 

  • Advisor Center and Reporting Center
  • Portal navigation
  • Accessing grading, class lists, permission numbers
  • Registration: change enrollment appointments, waitlist process and 13-credit exemption process
  • Probation/suspension (academic standing)
  • Student records processing: program plan, transcript, service indicators, milestones, student groups, enrollment verification

User Review sessions will be available on the West Bank, East Bank, and St. Paul campus on February 2 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Since space is limited, you must RSVP prior to attending the session to ensure seating. 

To RSVP, simply add your name to session. 

If you have previously attended a User Acceptance Testing (UAT) session, we ask that you do not attend the User Review sessions, as again, space is limited.

Latest on Upgrade

Questions Answered

We recently completed an Upgrade Readiness Survey in CLA. To help address specific concerns of dept admins (and their team members), there will be three workshop options in early to mid-January where the agenda will be shaped by the survey results and those confirming their attendance to specific meetings. Invites will go out by the end of the year.

Advance Teams

The three upgrading systems (HR, Finance, Student) each have Advance Team members to assist with the transition. Every department has at least one "advance team" person identified who is as a point of contact to help. While they may not have all the answers, they can help direct you to the proper resource or let you know when a solution is available for their area of expertise (HR - HR Stars, finance - RRC managers, faculty/student/adviser - Faculty Go-Tos) . CLA's Advance Team list can be found here.

Training & Communication Resources

New trainings are added to The Upgrade site as they become available. The "Sneak Peek" section of the site also includes videos covering finance, HRMS, student work stream, and the Upgrade in general. If you haven't had the chance to start prepping for the Upgrade, it is a great place to start.

In an effort to better understand how faculty, staff, and students systemwide currently use web conferencing and video and how they'd like to use it in the future, the Video fCoP has created a survey that directly impacts how the technology will be used in the future.

To help get the robust response needed by 12/12, we would like each CLA dept admin to assist in two ways:

1 - Take the SURVEY.

2 - Send the survey to faculty, staff, and students in the communications channel that works for your department (ex. email, newsletter) this week. Sample email text is listed below:

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

Technology used to communicate continually evolves. In an effort to better understand how faculty, staff, and students systemwide currently use web conferencing and video and how they'd like to use it in the future, please complete this SURVEY  that directly impacts how the technology will be used systemwide in the future by December 12, 2014.

Your participation in this survey is critical as we plan to support these needs.

The results of this survey will be available in early Spring of 2015.

Thank you in advance for your input.

Thank you, as always, for your part in helping the UMN community progress in our use of technology to both shape the student experience, as well as attract and retain high quality employees.

Get to know CLA-OIT: Holly Leighton

Holly Leighton APPROVED (1).jpg
Name: Holly Leighton

When did you start working at the U?January 2000

Current position? Relationship Manager for CLA-OIT

What is your favorite aspect of your job? Meeting with faculty and staff.

What excites you about working at the U/CLA-OIT? Working with faculty and staff, and seeing the "light bulb" go on when they understand a technology concept or procedure.

What is your favorite accomplishment with CLA-OIT, so far? Creating the first bonafide Service Desk with Kevin Smith in 2006. That was a BLAST!

What do you do for fun? I love to run with my dog, Max.

Favorite motto or personal mantra? Tomorrow is another day, and you get to start fresh.

Interesting facts:

  • I have both a bachelor's and master's degree in French.
  • My favorite place on earth is Paris and I hope to live there one day.

Get to know CLA-OIT: John Fite

John Fite (2).JPGName: John Fite

Hometown and first place you lived after leaving home? My hometown is Huntington Beach, California and the first place I lived after leaving home was Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

When did you start working at the U? August 2012

Current position? Relationship Manager for CLA-OIT

What is your favorite aspect of your job? Meeting, working with, and learning from talented individuals across many disciplines. I hope that someday I can benefit them as much as they have me.

What advice do you have for CLA-OIT constituents who are intimidated by technology? If I could go back in time and tell the twelve-year-old John Fite anything, it would be, "You can find a solution to almost any problem in a book somewhere." Technology is quickly reaching a similar position and will then surpass it in ways that we cannot predict. For most people I know, the time investment required to learn and stay current with technology is more than repaid in the leverage it gives them in solving more and more of life's problems.

What is your favorite place on campus?
Washington Avenue Bridge - Being from the West Coast, it is impressive to me that every time I walk across that bridge I'm going from Eastern to Western USA or vice-versa. I do seem to notice a cultural difference when I arrive at the other side, as well!


Authors: Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, Neal Stephenson, Hunter S. Thompson, Alan Watts

Sources of inspiration: Popular Science Books (esp. Dawkins, Brian Greene, Ray Kurzweil, Feynman, Michio Kaku, Steven Pinker, Robert Pirsig)

Favorite word: Yes

Phrase that annoys you: I'll try

Food and drink: Sashimi, red wine

TV show and movie: Twin Peaks, The Matrix

Musicians: Bach, Depeche Mode, Serge Gainsbourg, Morrissey

Favorite place: Joshua Tree National Park

Now Playing: New Streaming Materials Available For Classrooms

The University Libraries have licensed the Media Education Foundation collection and all currently available California Newsreel titles hosted on the Kanopy streaming platform! These include many of our most requested titles that circulate on DVD/VHS. Check back regularly as new titles will continue to be added. Note: This license is a pilot that will run for at least the next 3 years.

Library Media Services has launched a Streaming Video website that highlights most of the Libraries licensed streaming video collections, with tips on how to locate these materials in MNCat and how to embed these videos into Moodle. Please consult the Digital Video Collections Guide to see a comprehensive listing of all Libraries licensed and suggested high quality, freely available streaming video collections.

If you have questions regarding potential streaming acquisitions, how to embed this video content into your course site, or recommendations for finding that perfect video to use in your class, feel free to contact your subject librarian or Media Outreach Librarian, Scott Spicer. Finally, please send Scott or your subject librarian any feedback you may have on the value of this content in your teaching and students' learning. Your feedback is critical as we continue to assess our licensed streaming video collections.

Turnitin Upgrade Results In Broken Features

The issue in brief:

  • Turnitin (a Moodle assignment management tool) is not working properly, brought on by a recent update

  • The University's central Moodle Support team is working on the issue with the vendor

  • Faculty and other instructors should discontinue using the Turnitin GradeMark feature for commenting or annotating student submissions and entering grades

  • Instructors needing help with this issue should contact UMN Technology Help at 612-301-4357 (1-HELP) or

  • If you would like to discuss this issue more in-depth, please contact your CLA-OIT Relationship Manager

The issue at length:

A couple of weeks ago we became aware that many of our CLA faculty were having problems with Turnitin (a Moodle assignment management tool). When we learned of this issue, we contacted those most affected by it - CLA language programs - and tried to better understand the issue. Most of the problems seem to be centered around giving feedback (i.e., commenting or annotating) on students' submissions, as well as on the grade book part of the tool. In most instances, students were not able to view graded/commented papers; in other instances, faculty-submitted grades in Turnitin were not properly channeled into the appropriate Moodle grade book.

During this time, we were also in close contact with the UMN Moodle staff, who are responsible for supporting Turnitin. They are aware of the issue and are in on-going consultation with the Turnitin vendor. They are also trying to find ways around the issue so that faculty and students can conduct their teaching and learning as close to normal as possible while the vendor designs a solution.

The UMN Moodle team is also actively working on short-term solutions. In the meantime, the UMN Moodle team recommends users experiencing problems contact them, and that all faculty discontinue using the GradeMark feature for commenting or annotating student submissions and entering grades until further notice.

Updates on the progress and issue resolution will continue to be shared through Moodle Announcements, MoodleTalk, and the Category Support group channels in Moodle.

If you have questions or concerns about how this affects your department, please contact CLA-OIT at or 612-625-1010. Also, you may contact your CLA-OIT Relationship Manager.

This week Google announced that all Google Apps for Education customers (such as UMN) will have unlimited storage available to them at no additional charge. The program supports individual files up to 5TB in size and will be available in the coming weeks.

Every file uploaded to Google Drive is encrypted, comes with the same high-level security that protects all Drive users, and remains the property of the individual or school who uploads it.  The Google Apps for Education group of services is free to nonprofit educational institutions and will remain free of ads and ads-related scanning.

CLA-OIT's Loaner Laptop and Equipment Pool Moved to Rarig

To streamline all CLA-OIT technology pick-up and drop-off to a single location, the CLA-OIT loaner laptop and equipment pool is now located in 508B Rarig along with video cameras. CLA-OIT staff manage the inventory and equipment is available to all eligible CLA faculty, staff, and graduate students. Online reservations are currently unavailable, but will be active later this semester. In the meantime, reservations can be made by calling 612-626-5881. Equipment is available for pick-up and drop-off Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The CLA-OIT website contains additional information regard the types of loaners available.

As the University works to provide the latest technology to enhance learning, obsolete and failing platforms must be retired. During the 2015 Spring Semester, VCR and DVD players will be permanently removed from the general purpose classrooms in Folwell Hall. This is part of a multi-year plan designed to encourage the safe storage of materials online and to limit the upkeep on outdated platforms.

The Office of Classroom Management will oversee the projection system upgrades and removal of the VCR/DVD players.

Faculty and staff who require assistance in transferring their DVDs and tapes to a digital format can contact their department's relationship manager.

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