All posts by Rick

IT Services Briefing for June

I had originally planned to offer a live Zoom briefing on IT projects in mid-June but there are a few interesting and important things that are oh-so-close but not quite ready to discuss. I’ll offer another live briefing later this summer, but in the meantime here are a few key items of note:

  • Ray Martinez has left IWU for a new career opportunity. This departure will directly impact our ability to deliver IT support services in a timely manner. Please do request help via our ticketing system (http://help.iwu.edu/) but please make those requests as early as possible.
  • A new login page will start appearing for campus services this summer:
  • IT staff will be conducting an inventory of campus IT equipment during the week of June 21. We may be visiting your building and love to say hello, but please enter IT support requests via our ticketing system (http://help.iwu.edu/) rather than stopping us as we walk past. We have a lot of equipment to catalog and will be pressed for time.
  • Moodle courses for Fall are now available (https://courses.iwu.edu/).
    • Fall courses are currently sorted just below the Summer term. This will be reversed once Summer term closes.
  • We’ve received many requests for highly individualized Moodle support and will do our best to assist you. Submit your IT support requests via our ticketing system (http://help.iwu.edu/). There are also a few resources already established for your use:
    • All IWU teachers have access to two training modules within Moodle: Moodle Basics and Advanced Usage of Moodle. These are a key resource for Moodle teachers. If your screen is crowded with too many courses to find these, I recommend using the search bar.
    • All IWU teachers have access to the CETAL Moodle page, filled with faculty development resources.
    • All IWU learners have access to Learner Orientation within Moodle.
    • Moodle HQ has provided a lovely set of YouTube videos covering the basics of our version (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxcO_MFWQBDc-Me7DllOSTe6FMh8JYjJ3)

 

IT Services Help Desk hours

Due to the Memorial Day holiday and subsequent summer hours, the IT Services help desk hours will be adjusted as follows:

Saturday May 29 through Monday May 31: Closed

Beginning June 1 our Help Desk will be staffed from 8am-4pm M-F. This corresponds with the Ames Library hours of operation.

If you need assistance during off-hours please enter a ticket at https://help.iwu.edu – one of our staff will respond as soon as possible.

IWU Commencement 2021: behind the scenes

Illinois Wesleyan opted for a virtual commencement in 2020 due to COVID restrictions but was able to conduct a modified in-person ceremony in 2021. Social distancing rules made it a logistical challenge – Class of ’21 grads were split into two events, and a third smaller event was conducted to celebrate ’20 grads. Each graduate could bring a maximum of 4 guests so it was imperative that we provide a quality online streaming experience for friends and family at home.

To add to the excitement, we didn’t know until Friday if the weather would be good enough to use Tucci Stadium. Michael and Jerry from the IWU network team hustled to get outdoor WiFi in place for the stadium and totally nailed the deadline. The event had to move indoors but was lovely nonetheless:

We brought in two large high-res LCD screens to support such a large room. Jay and his colleagues at Physical Plant provided audio support for on-stage mics and music cues pre-recorded by IWU student musicians.  Abby, Eve, Vinny and Trey set up and operated 4 cameras, produced by Curtis (see below) and streamed on YouTube and a second platform, SideArm. This allowed international viewers to participate even if YouTube is blocked in their location. It was also a great backup for anyone at home having trouble with YouTube buffering.

IWU IT Services and Physical Plant workers worked behind the scenes for days to set up and test, then were on-duty for around 12 hours on Sunday to produce the live event. Follow that up with a clean-up day on Monday and we can finally call this unique, improvised celebration a success. Congratulations to the classes of ’20 and ’21!

IWU Moodle mobile app changes

Our Moodle partner eThink Education recommends using the Open LMS mobile app to connect to our Illinois Wesleyan course pages.

The Open LMS App is a free option for all Moodle™ sites! With the Open LMS Mobile App, you can:

  • Access your courses directly from your mobile device
  • Download content for offline access
  • Update your profile information
  • Receive course notifications and messages
  • As a student: view your course grades and awarded badges on your profile
  • As a teacher: grade assignments both online and offline

The App is available on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, or read more at the eThink web page:

https://ethinkeducation.com/products/mobile/

Once you have the app, connect it to https://courses.iwu.edu/ and you’ll be ready to sign in.

Sophos Endpoint security software – coming soon to IWU

We’re beginning to roll out a new app to campus computers – Sophos Endpoint. This software will help us protect campus from viruses, malware, and other potentially unwanted apps (PUA).

Sophos has been around for many years and will provide a layer of security for our campus IT infrastructure. We’re working on additional layers, too, but for now we’re focused on getting this protection into campus labs, classrooms and offices.

As we roll this software out, you will begin to notice the following icon on campus computers:Sophos shield logoWe will share additional information about how this rollout might impact you once we get a little further in the planning process. In the meantime, if you have personally owned devices, we are encouraging the use of free Sophos software at home.

Ransomware risks on the rise in EDU

A recent FBI report (FBI Flash Alert) indicates that a growing number of ransomware attacks are targeting educational institutions. Ransomware is a cyber extortion threat in which bad actors lock down important campus systems and demand money to restore them.

It is all too easy to make an innocent mistake and set ransomware in motion. One preventive mantra might be: Stop. Think. Connect.

Inside Higher Ed has noted that awareness of this type of extortion tactic is an important defense. We recommend that Illinois Wesleyan faculty and staff complete the Safe Colleges cyber security training that was sent out in early February.

As always, please reach out to your colleagues in IT Services if you have questions or concerns.