All posts by Kate Browne

Using Respondus Lockdown Browser for Online Exams

respondus-flyer

Many tech-savvy professors want to move away from giving paper exams, but the requirement that students have to connect to the internet to submit the exam presents too much of a threat to academic integrity. It’s a situation that keeps many professors tied to paper for quizzes and exams.

Thankfully, we have subscribed to Respondus LockDown Browser, a service that integrates with Moodle.  Lockdown Browser is designed for proctored environments, but can be used in an unattended scenario as well. Respondus also has a product called Monitor which is specially designed for unproctored exams. Here is a flyer that explains the difference.

Students can log in to access the Lockdown-enabled quiz or exam in Moodle, but  are not allowed to copy or print information, open web browsers or other applications, or leave the exam screen until their assessment has been submitted. What would a student need to know? This video is a great way to explain this tool from a student perspective.

Turning on LockDown for a quiz in Moodle only requires changing a few settings.

1. Turn editing on, then add the Respondus LockDown Browser block by choosing it from the Add a Block menu.

2016-10-06_12-49-58

 

2. Click on “Dashboard,” to go to the Dashboard, then choose “Modify Settings” from the settings menu for a specific quiz or exam.

2016-10-06_12-51-11

 

3. Click “Enable Respondus LockDown Browser” and choose any additional settings you would like. Save the settings.

2016-10-06_12-52-14

 

4. The Respondus LockDown Browser status will change to “Enabled” on the Dashboard.2016-10-06_12-52-55

All your Moodle tests and quizzes will appear on the dashboard, and you decide which ones should have Respondus LockDown Browser turned on individually.

Each computer your students might use to take a Lockdown quiz needs the Lockdown app to be installed, and we’d like to do that in advance.  If students will use their own laptops we can send them a link to download and install in advance. If they’ll be in a computer lab, we would love to know so we can make sure the newest Lockdown version is installed and tested ahead of time.

If you’d like to give this a try with your students, let Rick at IT Services know!

Where Are You, MyIWU? A Video Tutorial Series

The new MyIWU layout may leave you wondering where your key information and favorite channels went. Check out the series Where Are You, MyIWU? created by Help Desk student Megan Sperger below to help you navigate the portal:

Episode 1: The Overview

Episode 2: Student and Faculty Menus

Episode 3: Registration & Week at a Glance

Episode 4: Grades & Transcripts

Episode 5: Emergency Contact Information

Episode 6: Parent Portal for Students

Episode 7: Parent Portal for Parents

Stevenson Hall Classroom Computer Updates

A message from Rick Lindquist about equipment updates in Stevenson Hall:

As you know, the building is still undergoing numerous changes. We are all concerned about the readiness of classroom technology as we approach the first day of classes.
Our AV integrator will be in Stevenson on Friday to finish his work in the classrooms. My hope is that he will be able to complete his work early enough to provide training to our IT Services staff as well as any teachers who are available. However at this time I do not know what time he will be ready to walk through the new room systems. I will provide details as they become available.

 

If the AV integration work is not complete in all rooms by Monday I will either find a way to technologically improvise in your room or assist in temporarily relocating class sessions.
We have ordered new Mac Mini computers for the classroom spaces in Stevenson, although they won’t be usable until the integrator completes work on the audio and video systems. The Mac Minis will function exactly the same as the ones found in State Farm Hall.

Each room will have a wireless keyboard and mouse so there is no need to be tied to the AV cabinets any longer. Feel free to operate the teacher’s station from anywhere in the room!

There are two concerns related to the switch to Mac that I’d like to briefly address.

 First, I would like the Mac Minis to stay powered on all day. They are programmed to turn off and on automatically at night to save power. I find it to be disruptive if the Mac is unexpectedly powered off between classes, but it can happen. There is a power indicator light on the front of the Mac (in the photo below the Mac is turned off, so the indicator is just a small black dot):
unnamed
I’ve added a big red arrow to the image pointing to the rear right corner of the Mac. The power button is located back there. One press and the indicator light will come on and the Mac will start up.
Second, some people need Windows software for their classes. We recognize this and have installed software called VMWare Fusion that allows Windows to run on a Mac. All you need to do is click the VMWare icon:
unnamed-1
A Windows 7 screen will take over. It may require clicking the big “play button” to get Windows going:
unnamed-2
After that, Windows will fill the screen:
unnamed-3
I would only recommend using Windows if you need to use SPSS or demonstrate something from the Windows perspective. The Mac has web browsers, PDF readers, PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and other software that is analogous to the Windows platform. It saves a few seconds to stay with the Mac when pulling up a Moodle page, playing a slide show or reviewing an article online.
I’m looking forward to working with all of you in the amazing new Stevenson classroom spaces!

CLA Classroom Computer Updates

A message from Rick Lindquist about equipment updates in CLA:

We’ve been working over the summer to improve the AV experience in all of our campus classrooms. One of my goals is to improve consistency from room to room across campus. To that end, I’ve been replacing aging computers with new models identical to the ones in State Farm Hall.

That means that CLA 105, 200, 205, 305 now have Mac Mini teacher’s stations with the same login and software as SFH rooms. I’ve also installed a Mac Mini in CLA 300, where there was previously only a VCR/DVD.

I’ve cleaned the cabinets and equipment and relabeled all of the switch boxes so I hope the audio selector box will be less confusing. I’ve added wireless keyboards and mice so there is no need to be tied to the AV cabinets any longer. Feel free to operate the teacher’s station from anywhere in the room!

There are two concerns related to the switch to Mac that I’d like to briefly address.

First, I would like the Mac Minis to stay powered on all day. They are programmed to turn off and on automatically at night to save power. I find it to be disruptive if the Mac is unexpectedly powered off between classes, but it can happen. There is a power indicator light on the front of the Mac (in the photo below the Mac is turned off, so the indicator is just a small black dot):

unnamed
I’ve added a big red arrow to the image pointing to the rear right corner of the Mac. The power button is located back there. One press and the indicator light will come on and the Mac will start up.
Second, some people need Windows software for their classes. We recognize this and have installed software called VMWare Fusion that allows Windows to run on a Mac. All you need to do is click the VMWare icon:
unnamed-1
A Windows 7 screen will take over. It may require clicking the big “play button” to get Windows going:
unnamed-2
After that, Windows will fill the screen:
unnamed-3
I would only recommend using Windows if you need to use SPSS or demonstrate something from the Windows perspective. The Mac has web browsers, PDF readers, PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and other software that is analogous to the Windows platform. It saves a few seconds to stay with the Mac when pulling up a Moodle page, playing a slide show or reviewing an article online.
I would be happy to meet anyone in their classroom if you’d like to walk through the AV technology before the start of classes. Just let me know how I can help!

Coming Soon: A New MyIWU!

A preview of the new MyIWU portal

A preview of the new MyIWU portal

The campus portal MyIWU will change on June 13. For the most part, the change is cosmetic. The way you log in, access important services like Banner Self-Service and email, and interact with channels like Campus Calendar and Announcements will stay the same. Most users should not experience any disruption because of this change. If you currently use Course Studio (My Courses), any Groups or the Luminis SunOne calendar, these services will no longer be available. Please contact Rick Lindquist (rlindqui@iwu.edu) for help with setting up new solutions for your courses or groups and get assistance with exporting your calendar to Google.

The new MyIWU will be more streamlined, and we are confident that these improvements will help you work more efficiently. If you have any questions about the new MyIWU, please contact the Help Desk in person in the Thorpe Center, by phone at x3900, or submit an online help request at http://answers.iwu.edu/3900/ask

What Will Stay the Same

  • URL (https://my.iwu.edu/)
  • Log in with NetID and campus password
  • Banner Self-Service Access
  • Links to Campus Service Info
  • Portal to email, Moodle, and Banner Self-Service

What Will Change

  • New layout similar to other campus web pages
  • Course Studio and Group Studio will no longer be available
  • Luminis SunOne calendar will no longer be available
  • Single Sign-on—eliminates double log-on when clicking on email or calendar

Dear Tech Thursday–Email Clients

Dear Tech Thursday,

Compare and contrast: email app (Thunderbird, Outlook, etc.) vs gmail (using a web browser)…which is better? Why?

–Messaging in Munsell

Oh, Messaging! I wish I had a simple answer for you, but alas, technology is never as simple as we want it to be. The basic answer is that there is no difference– desktop clients and web apps work the same way. But, as always, the devil is in the details. So when it comes to email, there are two questions that will guide your decision. First, where do you want to check your email? Second, are you happy with your current set up?

Let’s investigate the first question. The main limitation of desktop clients like Outlook and Thunderbird is that you can only check email from the computer on which the program is installed. If you will never have a need to check email while you’re away from the office, a desktop client is probably a good choice. Web-based email apps like Gmail allow you to check your email from any device as long as you have an internet connection. Even if you never plan on checking your email after work hours or from anywhere else than your desk, it’s good to be familiar with Gmail. If your computer crashes or you need to access an email while at a meeting in a different office, you won’t be stuck without important info.

This isn’t a hard and fast guideline though, because desktop clients like Outlook now have mobile apps AND web apps which mean you can maintain the functionality of the program without being tied to your desktop.

So, really, the most important question is—do you like the way you’re working now? Because the differences between desktop clients and web-based apps are so minimal, you shouldn’t feel pressured to switch to something you don’t like. There are some differences in the way that Gmail handles multiple email accounts that might be better managed with a desktop client, but if you really like Gmail and manage multiple accounts, there are settings that can help with that workflow.

No matter which kind of email client you use, there’s one thing you can count on—change. You’ll have to keep on top of installing updates for desktop clients. Sometimes, email clients stop being updated (Eudora is a good example of this) which means that your program may not be able to handle newer email features. For web-based email clients, you will not have to install updates while using a browser, but you will have to install updates to apps if you use them. Also, changes to the interface may happen without warning, leaving you wondering where that button you used to use went…

Best of luck, Messaging, and if you need more advice, use your favorite client and email us at helpdesk@iwu.edu

Greatest Hits: Password Management

Our Tech Thursday newsletter has had many tips on managing your passwords. Bookmark this post to keep all our great advice in one place.

Protip: Creating Strong Passwords
Strong passwords are important to keep your digital information secure. Generally, a strong password is made up of lowercase & uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols, and does not contain dictionary words. This Google site has some great ideas on how to generate a strong password.
If you have a hard time remembering all those letters, numbers, and symbols, try a password template.  To make a template, come up with a phrase you can easily remember and pull the first letter of each word. “today will be the best day” becomes the password phrase “twbtbd.” Add a capital letter that corresponds to the service you’re logging in to and a symbol. Your banking password can be “twbtbdB!” and your Facebook password can be “twbtbdF!” and your Google password can be “twbtbdG!” and so on.
For services you don’t log in to very often, a password template can help you remember without being locked out for multiple incorrect attempts. Bonus: when it’s time to change your passwords (every three months or so!), you can change your passwords easily by changing the symbol.
To create completely unique passwords without a template, try a password generator like this one from LastPass!

Get a Password Plan
End of semester is a good time to think about password security. Are you reusing the same password on multiple sites? Could your passwords use a more secure format update? Should you implement a password manager? Upcoming changes to the way we handle password policy on campus may mean a new approach to keeping your data secure. Practice your good password habits today! If you haven’t changed your password since July 15, 2015 change it here: https://passchange.iwu.edu/

Password Philosophy Blog Post
Check out our blog post about what to do if you take passwords too personally: http://blogs.iwu.edu/techblog/2015/04/23/password-confessions/

Password Confessions

According to most sources, incomprehensible passwords that look like the result of a cat walking on the keyboard are the most secure. These passwords, because they do not contain allusions to the language of their human users (“no dictionary words!”), seem impersonal but do the best security work. I’ve recently started using a password manager because the number of passwords I’m asked to manage is too much. I can’t remember any of them, and it feels like I’m handing over part of my life to a computer. Nevertheless, info security is important so I concede.

I wondered if this is why some people are reluctant to change their passwords. Like a personalized desktop wallpaper, font settings, and other customizations to our digital environments, our passwords allow a little humanity into our otherwise cold, impersonal digital existence.

I thought about the first password I ever generated on my own. In the late 1990s, when an AOL trial disc came in the mail almost every day, I entered a username that would tell the world who I was in 10 characters. But the password–that was just for me. A secret code to unlock the cyber version of my life. Imbued with such gravity, “bnl11237” represented everything that was important to 15 year old me. “bnl” stood for Barenaked Ladies, my favorite music group (as true today as it was then!), and “11237” is the zip code for Brooklyn, NY, home to my favorite character in Newsies, a film that consumed all of my free time. Laugh if you will, but what does your password say about you? Do you use the name of your favorite vacation spot? The number of children you have? The name of an old car or street you used to live on?

Another of my former passwords  relates to a family anecdote. When she was young, my mother’s aunt refused to wear glasses, so she memorized the optometrist’s eye chart to make it seem like she could see all the letters. Every time I type it, I’m reminded of my family, and the mix of numbers and letters just happens to make a great password base.

Ian Urbina wrote about the secret life of passwords for a heart-wrenching, thought-provoking New York Times piece. When you change your password from something personal, it may feel like you’re betraying that part of your life. I know I felt that way when I gave up “bnl11237.” If you’re not ready to give up on the personal password yet, try to make your existing password more secure by replacing letters with uppercase letters, numbers, or symbols. You can also use a sentence that means something to you to create what looks like a random selection of letters. Here’s an example:

Meaningful to me: “My two year old son [his name] loves trains and trucks”

Password Translation: m2yosDlt&t!

Changing your passwords can be a tedious chore, but you don’t have to give up on what makes your life meaningful. Strong passwords can be special too!

Top 5 Icons of Web 2.0

20th century technology (via Rick Lindquist)
20th century technology (via Rick Lindquist)

When was the last time you used a floppy disk to save your work? For most people, the answer would be in the ballpark of “at least 20 years ago!” Floppy disks eventually gave way to storage devices like portable external hard drives, USB flash drives, memory cards. Now, the popularity of cloud computing makes saving work to devices seem like a quaint habit relegated to 20th century history. Yet, in every training session I have ever held, I do not need to explain what to click to save work. We all recognize the “Save” icon.

Semioticians argue that it doesn’t matter what sign we attribute to something as long as we all agree on what it refers to. That’s why it doesn’t really matter that very few people have used a floppy disk in the past 20 years–applications keep using it because it has been accepted as a universal sign for “Save.”

There are certain icons whose repeated use in the applications we know and love mean that when we learn new apps, we can be reasonably guess the icon carries out the same function. The floppy-disk-Save-icon in Microsoft Word does the same thing in Excel as it does in Adobe Reader. However, with the capabilities built in to cloud-based apps and services, learning a new set of signs takes some getting used to. Many people know that clicking a paperclip icon allows you to attach a document, and a garbage can icon means “Trash” or delete. Some Web 2.0 icons (especially those without reference to an actual object) require a little more getting used to, but the good news is that a little recognition can help you learn new apps quickly since you know what to look for.

Here are 5 common icons used across internet-based services. Learn them and go confidently in the direction of the cloud!

Pencil-as-edit icon

imgres
Pencil icon as seen on Facebook.

In many web-based apps or cloud-based services, changes to editable regions can be made directly on a page. Examples include Facebook profiles and Moodle pages.

Mechanics-as-settings icon

images-2

images

Mac users may recognize the gear icon as a way to access Settings, and this icon is also used by countless apps (including Google!) as a way to access info or settings. A related alternative to the gear is a toolset (usually a hammer and screwdriver). But if it helps, icons that invoke work or industry usually have something to do with settings.

Triangle-as-menu-expansion icon

How many menus are hidden on this page?
How many menus are hidden on this page?

If Google is notorious for anything, it’s hiding menus and options. Often, these menus can be accessed by clicking on an arrow icon. Depending on which way the arrow faces, it means you can access a hidden menu by clicking to expand (pointing left) or collapse an open menu (pointing down).

Three-dots-as-menu-expansion icon

capture
Three dots after “Open”

You may be used to seeing three dots as part of menu text. Three dots means that when you click there, another menu or dialog box will prompt you for more information.

If you see an icon with three vertical dots, it functions the same way–something else is going to happen. This is another hallmark of a Google product

 

 

Down-arrow-as-download icon

Going down(load)
Going down(load)

If you see this icon next to something you don’t want on your computer, don’t click it! The down arrow, sometimes with a horizontal line underneath and sometimes not, prompts a file download. Most of the time (like when you’re using Google Drive), downloading a file is okay. But make sure you know what you’re downloading before you click!

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Pogue’s Basics

Pogue’s Basics: Essential Tips and Shortcuts (That No One Bothers to Tell You) for Simplifying the Technology in Your Life
By David Pogue
Buy: $19.99 print, $9.99 e-book (via Amazon)
Borrow: not widely available via i-Share, but Bloomington Public Library holds a copy

Did you know that the spacebar allows you to scroll one page at a time in any web browser? I didn’t know that until I read popular technology journalist David Pogue’s new book Pogue’s Basics. As an avid keyboard shortcut user I probably should have known the spacebar trick, but my ignorance takes a step in the direction of proving Pogue’s main thesis: we all have a lot to learn about technology because the average user does not receive explicit instruction on how to use their machines, software, and devices. Learning a new technology takes time. Since the average shelf life of the latest version or model is limited, it’s just not worth it to read the manual. Pogue then argues that the rapid pace of technological change requires new features and options so that consumers will buy into  21st century techy folk wisdom like “new every two.” Keeping users clueless about their technology is the best way to profit so tech companies have no interest in teaching you how to use their products effectively.

This *tiny* icon at the top of a vertical scroll bar splits the screen.
Click and drag to split a screen.

Pogue has collected some of the most useful shortcuts, tricks, and concepts that can help the average “non-technician” function in an increasingly digital world. The book begins with a short introduction and a vocabulary list (did you know Apple made up the word iOS?), and then breaks down his Basics into four parts: “Your Gadgets,” “The Computer,” “The Internet,” and “Social Networks.” Although Pogue has written focused user manuals in the past, this book is about short explanations of tech solutions you can incorporate into your daily life right away. In fact, I just practiced splitting the screen in Word and Excel.

As my own anecdotal evidence shows, even seasoned techies could learn at least one trick from Pogue’s book. It’s easy to flip through and is clearly organized. But the book’s ease of use is its real genius—it’s a print book about digital environments. People who need help using their devices may not know how to find the same information he presents through digital search techniques (e.g. CTRL/cmd+F), but feel very comfortable finding information in analog devices like books (table of contents, index, etc.). Though it may seem counterintuitive, this presentation allows readers/users to bridge what they already know about technology into new ways of reading and interpreting information.

Despite my praise for Pogue’s Basics, I hesitate recommending the print version for purchase. Here, Pogue falls on his own pixelated sword. He admits in the introduction that software versions he discusses may already be outdated, and then offers several different tips on how to access free tech support and learning opportunities online. There’s nothing in Pogue’s Basics that couldn’t be found with a Google search, and the ever-changing nature of technology means that it will eventually languish on your bookshelf alongside a Windows 95 user’s manual. Still, I recommend checking out Pogue’s Basics for the easy confidence that comes with mastering even a tiny corner of your digital domain. You can be a hero the next time someone’s phone takes a water bath (hint: head to the kitchen).