Information Technology Systems and Services.

infotech.NEWS

Technology news for UMD faculty, staff and students

March 2013 Archives

Library 410 an Evolutionary Active Learning Classroom

Photo: Person at an Active Learning Pod

Library 410 seamlessly combines all aspects of a modern active learning classroom with state-of-the-art video conferencing capabilities. The room is designed to cultivate local active learning punctuated by faculty facilitation across distance using highly integrated and automated video conferencing. Features of the room include:

  • Active learning "pods" that facilitate collaboration among groups of nine students
  • Digital and analog inputs for each subgroup of three students at each pod
  • Dual flat-screen displays for video and media at each pod, at instructor station and at each end of the room
  • Local audio at each pod in addition to "house" sound throughout the room
  • A teaching station in the center of the room with simple, but powerful user interface to allow for sharing of local, table-specific student media across the room and at distance
  • State-of-the art automated cameras including voice-activated video switching and Vaddio video production station plus tracking cameras
  • Video Conferencing capabilities including Cisco ITV, Google Hangout, UMConnect, Skype, and flexible hardware to accommodate many other video platforms
  • Standard and USB power for all sixty three students at all seven pods
  • Instructor PC, stylus tablet, and additional inputs to facilitate distance sharing of all media
  • A robust active learning environment offering:
    • cooperative learning environments that encourage student collaboration and peer teaching.
    • technology that allows students to easily present work for review by peers and instructors.
    • furniture designed to facilitate small-group work.
    • the ability for instructors to interactively coach students during activities.
    • new options for student interaction and class structure.

An Evolutionary Step

Library 410 is an evolutionary step forward from the SCALE-UP and TEAL active learning classrooms developed at North Carolina State University and MIT, respectively.

The space not only provides active learning (flipped from sage on the stage back to students creating knowledge) but also macro (ITV) and micro (Google Hangout) video conferencing. It is tailored for pharmacy's new active learning curriculum by doing two very difficult things very well and in an integrated way (video conferencing plus active learning). It provides users an intuitive and simple interface plus automation,

A Collaborative Project

Building the room was a collaboration across two University of Minnesota campuses and several units, including Pharmacy, Information Technology Systems and Services, Classroom Technology Services, and Facilities Management. The project was informed by a high degree of needs assessment via Classroom Technology Services. Local partners included Facilities Management, ITSS, Pharmacy ND. Our broader collaborators included Classroom Technical Services, Office of Information Technology, EPA Audio Visual (vendor).

Beyond Requirements at Half the Cost

All project requirements were met at half the cost. In addition we:

  • more than tripled the screen real estate at each table.
  • more than quadrupled the screen real estate in the room.
  • doubled the number cameras from fifteen to thirty one.
  • added the following that were not part of the estimate:
    • Furniture (only instructor podium was in estimate).
    • Student employee control station.
    • Vaddio Tracking cameras enhancement.
    • Power enhancement at tables.

Room Tour

Text Description of the Room Tour

A virtual tour displays Library 410 from 360 degrees. This panoramic shows that the room has seven tables/pods, four of which are on the west side and three of which are on the east side. The tables are elongated semicircular in shape with one flat side flush against the wall. Mounted on the wall at each pod are two large flat-screen displays stacked vertically. Each table seats nine people. On the tables are: microphones, keypads, and cables. The instructor's station is in the middle of the room. Accessible Library 410 still photographs of this virtual tour from eight key angles are available at:

Additional photographs include:

Further Information


Posted on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Multimedia Hub in High Demand

The Hub is a great place! Just ask the students and faculty of the 116 classes that used the Hub last semester for tours and tutorials. This number represents a growth of twenty-six classes up from Fall 2012. All of the student employees at the Hub are skilled in video and photo production and are available when students need help with their projects.

Photo of Hub students with equipment

The Multimedia Hub continues to attract new classes for tours and use of the Hub for video production. Three additional film documentary classes are coming to the Hub this spring and a new requirement for student teachers by the state of Minnesota has 100 more students now requiring video submission of their teaching skills for acceptance to obtain their Minnesota teaching license. Although cameras are in high demand Hub employees are managing to juggle reservations so every student can film as needed. This could prove to be a challenge when finals draw near.

The Hub has produced some really great videos for various departments. Here are a few now on YouTube:

Check out the Hub today, located in Library 260.


Posted on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Faculty Evaluations

As you might have noticed fall semester, evaluation results returned looked different than they have in the past. ITSS is using a new scanning program to process the evaluations. Using this new software, Remark, has allowed us to process evaluations three times faster and produce better reports with better graphics.

Because student evaluations forms are used for tenure, promotion and salary decisions and to review and improve teaching, we feel that it is essential to give you the most accurate results possible. While the forms remain the same for this semester, there are some things that we need done to make the scanning process of these forms run smoothly and accurately.

  • Accurate course call numbers need to be on the cover sheet.
  • Use pencil as the scanner cannot read pen.
  • Only one answer is allowed per question; multiple answers are considered "blank".
  • No stray marks can be on the form except in the provided spaces.
  • Duplicate report requests need to come from faculty.
  • Course call number is needed along with an EFS budget string to charge.
  • Do not retain a stock pile of evaluations because the form will change slightly with our spring order.

In the past it was acceptable to put a "made up" number in the course call number, however, this is no longer the case. We need the courses legitimate course call number on the cover sheet. You can look up a course call number in many ways. Typically the easiest method is by going to the course search page.

Illustration: Course Number

Posted on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Cash-to-Card Machine System Upgrade

ITSS is working locally with the Business Office, Library, Auxiliary Services, UMD Stores, and Chemistry to upgrade to a new technology for campus cash. We have also met with the UCard office and consulted with the Office of General Council on the Twin Cities campus. We are happy to have made a great deal of progress on this very complicated project and we expect to implement the new system in June 2013.

The new technology will still allow use of the Ucard, but the cash value will live in a secure database instead of being magnetically written to the card.

For the past fourteen years, UMD has supported a method of spending, using the UCard, that relies on a magnetic strip on the card storing cash value. Students, faculty and staff use this by putting cash value on their card at one of several cash-to-card machines around campus and then expending that value by printing in the labs, making copies in the library, purchasing chemistry supplies, and parking in the pay lots. The technology we currently use to do these types of transactions is no longer supported by any vendor.

Diagram: Legacy UCard

Legacy UCards that have been in use for the past several years will support this new technology. These older cards have both a "data strip" for the new technology and a "campus cash" strip that stored Debitek value. New UCards will only have the data strip that supports the new technology. Unlike Ucards, legacy Debitek value cards will not work with the new system. A new type of cash value card will be available for users who do not have a UCard.

We will encourage users to expend as much of the value from their cards as possible by the end of Spring 2013. There will be a process to move cash value from the old system to the new one, but it will require end users to visit a cashier.

More details will be shared as they emerge. Please email Jason Davis, jdavis@d.umn.edu, if you have any questions or concerns.


Posted on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Google Update

An opt-in deadline for alumni and retirees has been reached; a new application (App) and blog are offered; and our domain remains secure.

UMD alumni and retirees had been invited into our Google Apps domain over the past few months. During spring break week, they reached a deadline and now will be required to opt into Google Apps when they attempt logging into our legacy email system.

A new App called Google Keep has been released by Google. It is similar to EverNote and other Apps that organize lists, images, notes, etc. More about this App can be found at Google Keep - Save what's on your mind.

For a running list of past and upcoming updates to our Google Apps domain, check out the Google Apps Update Alerts blog.

Our Google Apps domain is a safe and secure place to put your data. Google is contractually obligated to keep our data private and secure. The one exception to this is information protected by HIPAA. This limitation is a legal issue, not a technical or data security issue. Because HIPAA regulations require us only to store data with third party vendors that have signed a special agreement, we can't use Google Apps for HIPAA protected data at this time. However, other sorts of private and secure data can go into our Google Apps domain. For more security information please consult the Google Apps Security Policy.


Posted on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Communities of Practice

For about the past year, IT professionals at UMD have increasingly taken part in opportunities to have a voice in System priorities and implementation of information technology. Many of us are involved in Communities of Practice (CoPs) around various IT initiatives. From the Office of Information Technology (OIT) Communities of Practice Web site:

As IT professionals at the University of Minnesota, it is imperative that we accept our role as "doers," not "direction setters." Everyone at the University needs to be able to tell us what they need from IT. There are many (sometimes conflicting) ideas about what IT should be doing. We need to listen to all of these voices, and have the faculty, the governance groups, the deans, and our business partners direct our work.

When the IT governance process delivers a priority to us, the IT community, or identifies a topic or problem for exploration, the IT Leadership Community of Practice charges a new formal CoP (fCoP) to do that work, or an informal CoP (iCoP) forms.

More information can be found at the OIT Communities of Practice site.


Posted on Thursday, Mar 28, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


ITSS Help Desk Provides Triage and Quick Fixes

Photo: Person at Help Desk

The TechCenter is our first stop for customer service in ITSS. The Help Desk is part of the Tech Center. Staff at the Help Desk answer phone, email, and chat requests for assistance. Although the Help Desk is able to answer many questions directly, their primary role is to triage problems and assign them to the ITSS staff member or team best qualified to solve them.

During the first half of fiscal year 2013 (July 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012), the Help Desk answered 9,350 calls for assistance. Of these, 4,226 (45 percent) were resolved immediately. An additional 1593 (17 percent) were solved by Help Desk staff, although not immediately. In total, the Help Desk was able to resolve 62 percent of all calls coming in. The remaining calls resulted in a service ticket being issued and follow-up assistance offered by other professional staff in ITSS, most often by the members of the ITSS Desktop Support Team.

Staff who work at the Help Desk are chosen for their customer-service skills and their ability to understand and assign problems appropriately. They are great IT generalists, but they are not experts in all IT problems. Many of them are student employees, who are getting on-the-job customer-service experience working for ITSS. Because questions requiring different types of expertise come in less frequently, it is most efficient for us to use this triage method to assign this work.

Much as we wish we could answer every question and solve every problem on the first call for help, the cost of such a service would be prohibitive. We ask our customers to understand and appreciate the Help Desk for what it provides and recognize that some questions will need to be referred.


Posted on Wednesday, Mar 27, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Inclusive IT Procurement

When buying hardware or software for university use, it is good practice to ask vendors specific questions regarding accessibility and to utilize the University of Minnesota sample vendor contract language when appropriate.

As the article Access Denied illuminates, accessibility leaders point to key elements that allow institutions to take a more proactive approach to Information Technology (IT) accessibility on campus. The first key element is: "Building accessibility considerations into the IT procurement process".

Ask Vendors Questions

When buying Information Technology products ask vendors specific questions regarding accessibility. Some samples:

  • Do you have a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)? A VPAT is a starting point that may help determine what kind of accessibility problems can be expected. It is a tool to document a product's conformance with the accessibility standards under U.S. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. VPATs can:
    • Supply information to identify issues and what the impacts may be.
    • Identify areas of the product are covered under the VPAT.
    • Document kinds of users who may have problems with the product.
    • Provide details for all provisions on how it meets or does not meet requirements.
  • Do you have a W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) conformance claim? A WCAG 2.0 conformance claim describes the level of compliance with WCAG 2.0 success criteria for Web pages. Note: 508 is changing to W3C WCAG 2.0.
  • Can you demonstrate how to operate your product effectively without a mouse?
  • Does the product prompt authors to include accessibility, and provide relevant help?
  • Are videos captioned and audio recordings transcribed?
  • Can all of the text that is displayed on the screen be read aloud by screen reading software?
  • Can all interactivity (media players, quizzes, flashcards, etc.) be completed by keyboard alone (no mouse required)?
  • Are third party plug-ins accessible?
  • What sort of testing have you done with users with disabilities? (Probe for details and fact check their answers with other users on accessibility lists such as the Access Technology Higher Education Network (ATHEN).

Actions That Can Help

  • Run an accessibility checker, such as the WAVE or HiSoftware Compliance Sheriff and cross-reference reported issues on the product to VPAT or WCAG Conformance Claim. Alert: Automated tools capture just 25-30% of the accessibility issues on a page.
  • Test with keyboard only.
  • Get feedback from users.
  • Meet with the company and discuss what impact the issues identified would have on a person with a disability.

If a product is not accessible don't buy it. If no comparable product is accessible, buy it only with the written agreement that the vendor must address its accessibility shortcomings.

Sample Contract Language

Are VPATs and WCAG conformance claims binding? It depends on your contact language. The University of Minnesota provides sample vendor contract language to hold vendors accountable for the accessibility of products:

To ensure that the requirements are satisfied, it is recommended that each contract signed with a software vendor contain the provision set forth below or substantially similar language:

Vendor hereby warrants that the products or services to be provided under this agreement comply with the University of Minnesota accessibility requirements. Vendor agrees to promptly respond to and resolve any complaint regarding accessibility of its products or services which is brought to its attention. Vendor further agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the University of Minnesota or any university entity using the vendor's products or services from any claim arising out of its failure to comply with the aforesaid requirements. Failure to comply with these requirements shall constitute a breach and be grounds for termination of this agreement.

In addition consider adding language regarding upgrades to address the scenario for if/when a product "upgrade" actually makes a product inaccessible. If a new version of a product is inaccessible then the vendor breaks the contract.

Further Information


Posted on Tuesday, Mar 26, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Policy Review: Digital Signage

You may have noticed more digital signs on campus recently. A number of units are using these signs to provide content and images that enhance the UMD campus. Special recognition goes to Kirby Student Center, where events are displayed and changed each day.

If you are considering a digital sign for your area, please be aware of our campus Policy on Digital Signage. The goals of this policy are to:

  • Use a centralized management system to enable use of signs for emergency announcements.
  • Standardize infrastructure to simplify support.
  • Share infrastructure between campus units to reduce overall campus costs.
  • Ensure that installation is appropriate and meets building code regulations.
  • Support thoughtful choices that take into account the campus carbon footprint.

Please read this policy carefully before you purchase or install a new digital sign.


Posted on Tuesday, Mar 26, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


ITSS By The Numbers: The Web Team

The ITSS Web Team develops and facilitates development of accurate, well organized, and accessible technical documentation and other written information in support of ITSS and other UMD organizations.

From July 1 through December 31, 2012, the ITSS web site:

  • received 35,140 visitors
  • offered 186,449 page views

From September 4 through November 30, 2012, the ITSS Facebook site:

  • was visited by people in the USA, UAE, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, and others
  • was liked by people in the USA, UAE, China, Hong Kong, Australia, United Kingdom, India, and others.

Posted on Tuesday, Mar 26, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Recycling Computer Equipment on Campus

Did you know that all media (hard drives, CDs, DVDs) that is being recycled MUST be securely wiped and documented before disposal? And that media that may contain highly restricted data must also be physically destroyed before recycling?

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) Security recently released a revised Media Sanitization policy that details these steps.

The ITSS TechCenter provides secure data deletion service to the campus community for University equipment. For devices that are checked in at the front counter to be recycled, we run a secure delete program and physically destroy the drive if needed. The work is documented in our maintenance work ticket as required. We do charge a minimal flat fee for this service.

As an added benefit, we are often able to repurpose the equipment or parts here on campus.

The TechCenter e-waste recycling site accepts the following University-owned items:

  • computers
  • hard drives
  • printers
  • media (CDs, DVDs)
  • monitors

Due to limited storage space and University policy, personal items are not accepted.

Protect University data and yourself. Bring your University equipment to the TechCenter for secure recycling. If you have questions about this service, please contact the ITSS Help Desk (726-8847).


Posted on Friday, Mar 22, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


UMD-Guest Wireless Access Restricted to Web-Only

Effective Wednesday, March 20, UMD-Guest wireless service is restricted to web-only access of non-authenticated services. Users on UMD-Guest wireless will no longer be able to access any University services that require you to authenticate with your University Internet ID and password. This includes:

  • Google Apps (Gmail, Calendar, Docs/Drives, Sites, etc.)
  • Moodle
  • myUMD portal
  • eGradebook
  • Library databases
  • UMReports
  • ePortfolio
  • MediaMill
  • Soapnotes
  • Netfiles
  • UMD VPN
  • and many others
If you need access to these services or other authenticated services, you should use UMD-Wireless or UMD-Secure wireless. For details on how to switch to these services, see: UMD Wireless Network.

Why are we making the change?

UMD-Guest wireless was enabled to provide short term access to basic web services for visitors to our campus. It was never intended to be used for access to secured University resources. We are restricting access on UMD-Guest to ensure that University students, faculty and staff are using the most secure wireless access we provide.

If you need assistance making the change:

Please review our online directions at How to access UMD-Wireless service.

Or bring your laptop or mobile device to the ITSS TechCenter, Kirby Plaza 165, during business hours.


Posted on Thursday, Mar 21, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Ten Years Ago in ITSS: Personnel Changes

Long-term ITSS staff members Tom Nylen and Jay Opela took early retirement in the spring of 2003 to help provide ITSS with a solution to budget retrenchments. Tom Nylen was replaced by Jason Davis. A number of Jay's responsibilities shifted to Sarah Paro.


Posted on Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


AD SCCM: Flash, Firefox, Java Updates

The following updates will be deployed via SCCM today. All address security issues.

  • Adobe Flash Player 11.6.602.180 ActiveX (IE)
  • Adobe Flash Player 11.6.602.180 Plugin (Firefox)
  • Mozilla Firefox 17.0.4 ESR
  • Oracle Java 6 update 43

Posted on Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Power Management for AD Computers

SCCM power management provides a set of tools and resources that we can use to manage and monitor the power consumption of computers on Active Directory. We are currently using these tools in several areas to power off computers at the end of the work day. It can also be used to enforce power management settings on a collection of computers. There are specific hardware requirements for some of the settings.

If you have a need for this type of service, please contact the ITSS Help Desk (726-8847, itsshelp@d.umn.edu) to open a work ticket and request additional information.


Posted on Wednesday, Mar 6, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Self-Service Internet Password Reset

Faculty and staff can now use the self-service online password reset system. To set this for your University Internet account, visit the Internet Account Options page, select "Set self-service password change secrets" and complete the security questions.

If you forget your password, you can reset it yourself by selecting the "troubleshooting steps" link in the Forgot your ID or Password section on any sign-in page. If you have previously enrolled in the Self Service Password program, you will be prompted with your security questions. After correctly answering your security questions, you will have the opportunity to reset your password.

Of course, you can also always call the ITSS Help Desk at 726-8847 for assistance.


Posted on Monday, Mar 4, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Aleeha's Accessibility Story

In the video, Aleeha's Accessibility Story, a zoology major at Miami University who is blind and is studying to be a veterinarian speaks to how new accessible technology has enabled her life and gives some uplifting advice.

Software and hardware have very recently been made accessible. The minute it got into my hands I was just extremely excited because, as soon as I started to work with it, as soon as we started using it in practical applications, it was a huge change. Because suddenly I didn't have to rely totally on a lab partner or an assistant...

With the proper technology and the proper attitude by the people, a blind person can go into this field...

There are many things that I could say to a young woman who is going into science. The main thing I would say is "You can do it". I don't care what you go through. I don't care how many tests you get back that indicate that maybe you're not doing so well in the class. I don't care how many bad days you have because it's all worth it in the end. To get an accessible experience in labs and in lectures. To learn about all these interesting things that sighted people are doing that maybe we're not included in, and it's about time that we're included in them. So just keep pushing because we're gonna do it, and I have a feeling it's going to be soon.

A transcript of the video, "Aleeha's Accessibility Story," is available. The video was produced by Deque, a web accessibility software company. It is the first in their Accessibility Stories: Real People, Real Lives series of videos of people who are enabled through accessible technology.

Further Information


Posted on Monday, Mar 4, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Chrome Extension May Help Improve Google Docs Accessibility

A new Read&Write extension for Google's Chrome browser may be useful to some people with print disabilities, especially those with learning disabilities (cognitive) disorders. It may also be a tool for people who need a little extra help with their writing. This article documents its features, limitations, where to download it, and how to use it.

Extension Features

The Read&Write extension provides some of the basic features of desktop Read&Write software created by TextHelp. It allows a user to have anything typed in a Google document read to them. Sometimes everyone can benefit from hearing what a piece of writing sounds like when read aloud. Features that are available include:

  • Text-to-Speech Reading Aloud
  • Color Highlighting
  • Talking Dictionary
  • Picture Dictionary
  • Capture Highlights
  • Vocabulary Tool
  • Study Skills Tools to Capture Google Highlights

The following video by Texthelp explains its features. A transcript of Texthelp's video is available.

Extension Limitations

The extension is only functional within Google Docs while using a Chrome browser. The ongoing battle in the accessibility community is Chrome-only solutions vs. other assistive technologies. Google's ecosystem is designing functionality for Chrome. It will not function with mainstream assistive technology (AT) used by the larger screen reader community i.e., JAWS, WindowEyes, or NVDA in combination with Internet Explorer and Firefox. In preliminary testing this extension has not been found to be keyboard accessible. Users with disabilities may be unable to use a mouse or other pointing device and require keyboard shortcuts. It does not remove all Google Apps accessibility barriers.

Where to Get It

Icon: Google Web StoreYou can download the Read&Write extension from the Chrome Web store.

How to Use It

In the following video Karen Janowski demonstrates how to set up and use the Read&Write Chrome extension. A transcript of Karen's demo is available.

Further Information


Posted on Saturday, Mar 2, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


ITSS By the Numbers: Help Desk

The ITSS Help Desk is the primary contact for the information technology problem reporting and technical assistance needs of the UMD campus community. The Help Desk serves as a liaison between our customers and the ITSS technical staff, monitoring and coordinating solutions to customer needs. Help Desk staff strive to ensure customer satisfaction by providing prompt, courteous, and effective support.

From January 1 through June 30, 2012, the team:

  • answered 10,124 phone calls.
  • created 6,862 tickets and resolved 4,601 problems at the Help Desk.
  • answered 76 calls per day on average and 202 on the highest-volume day.

Posted on Saturday, Mar 2, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Policy Update: Secure Data Deletion and Secure Disposal of Equipment

Please review this important policy regarding disposal of data and equipment:

When a computer or electronic device will no longer be used, it needs to be properly disposed of. See Administrative Procedure: Disposing of University Equipment for details. A "secure deletion" program must be used to permanently remove data from hard disks and media prior to transfer or disposal of hardware. Permanent media (e.g., CD's, etc) or non-operational media must be physically destroyed. If media is not operational or can't be wiped, it must be sent to the University disposal vendor for physical destruction.

After University use, media (whether operational or not) must not be returned to the vendor unless securely wiped. Most vendors offer a "no return to vendor" option for malfunctioning media when purchasing computers. Copiers, printers, and multi-function devices with hard drives or other storage media must be securely deleted before return to the vendor or the media must be physically destroyed.


Posted on Saturday, Mar 2, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


The Latest Scam

Recently an email scam circulated on campus. Often it appeared to come from someone you know, so it was tempting to respond. The other interesting thing about this scam is that it involved Google Drive. Here is how the email message looked:

Please view the document I uploaded for you using Google docs. <Link deleted> just sign in with your email to view the document its very important. I will call you later.

Thank you.

This scam was such a big problem across the country that it made the news in Inside Higher Ed, in the article, "A Google Docs Block."

If you were fooled by this and did click on the link, please change your password. You can call the Help Desk at 8847 for assistance. It would also be a good idea to run a virus scan using your anti-virus software.


Posted on Saturday, Mar 2, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


New Design for UMD Web Site

ITSS, in collaboration with the Office of External Affairs and the Campus Web Committee, is preparing for a new and improved UMD web site. The new site will include a new design that incorporates the UMD branding standards as well as a new organizational structure.

The University of Minnesota has announced a new content management system based on the open-source solution Drupal to be rolled up this summer. UMD hopes to be an early adopter. By using this content management system, we hope to make providing content for the site easier while maintaining uniformity of design and improving easy of use.

UMD has a large and complex web site, so this process will take a long time and involve many people. We hope to provide more information about time line and processes as the project evolves. In the meantime, we encourage units to focus on improving content and try to avoid spending effort or funding on design until the campus design becomes available.


Posted on Saturday, Mar 2, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Tech Camp 16

Tech Camp 16 is well underway. Twenty-two faculty members are participating in Tech Camp this semester, which is being taught by ITSS staff members Bruce Reeves and Amanda Evans.

Over the years, we have reinvented Tech Camp multiple times. Tech Camp 16 is different in two unique ways: it is offered fully online, and it is spread over a full ten weeks, more like a regular class. Past Tech Camps have had a compressed, seven-day intensive schedule.

Faculty attending Tech Camp have committed to offering one or more online classes during academic year 2013-2014. This will greatly improve UMD's profile in the online world.


Posted on Saturday, Mar 2, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


Regional Network Improves

UMD is an anchor tenant of the Northeast Service Cooperative (NESC) ARRA Broadband Network. The primary network ring is up and running now. NESC has run fiber to the Natural Resources Research Institute, the Center for Economic Development, and the Cloquet Forestry Center, although these links have not yet been turned on. Later this spring or summer, NESC will connect to Glensheen Mansion, the Research Lab Building, and the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. We hope all of these sites will be on the new network by the end of summer. This network will provide much greater bandwidth for the price as compared to their current capacity.


Posted on Saturday, Mar 2, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments


AD SCCM: Adobe, Firefox, Tbird updates

A large number of packages were recently released that address security updates for the following packages that will begin deploying at noon today for AD/SCCM client machines.

Adobe Flash Player 11.6.602.171-ActiveX (IE)
Adobe Flash Player 11.6.602.171-Plugin (Firefox)
Adobe Reader 9.5.3
Adobe Reader 10.1.5
Mozilla Firefox 17.0.3 ESR
Mozilla Thunderbird 17.0.3 ESR

Except for Adobe Reader 9.5.3 which is approaching EOL, these packages are available as optional installers so that users that don't have the software can install them without Administrator privileges.


Posted on Friday, Mar 1, 2013 | Permalink | No Comments