OIT Ramps Up for Large Computer Refresh in 2017

Computer Refresh Last summer, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) successfully replaced over 800 computers in a few months as part of our annual computer refresh. The OIT Install Team is ramping up for another large-scale installation project targeting approximately 1500 computers! We’re making a few changes to the process to ensure the upgrades go more smoothly this year. Continue reading OIT Ramps Up for Large Computer Refresh in 2017

IT Roundtable Event: A Great Conversation

Roundtable Discussion with the IT Leaders

Yesterday, the IT Leadership met with various faculty and staff in an open roundtable discussion.  We had prepared a PowerPoint presentation outlining where we’ve been and a few strategic items on the horizon.  Prior to the event, we decided that we’d much rather facilitate a conversation with the attendees and answer their questions.  Of course, we had the presentation to fall back on if there weren’t questions at the IT Roundtable.  Fortunately, what resulted was a candid and collaborative discussion taking the full hour and a half! Continue reading IT Roundtable Event: A Great Conversation

macOS Sierra: Apple’s New Era Operating System

In the past few years, Apple has worked to integrate features from their highly successful iOS to the desktop realm. The newest version, macOS Sierra, is the most integrated version yet. The connection between the Mac desktop and Apple’s mobile devices is stronger than ever. Continue reading macOS Sierra: Apple’s New Era Operating System

Important Changes to Courses.SMU

UPDATE:

Due to an unprecedented chain of events yesterday, June 29th, SMU was unable to login to Canvas for several hours. The connection between SMU and Canvas has since been restored.

These events yesterday disrupted our expected timeline, and in order to recover and move forward, access to Blackboard via courses.smu.edu has been removed 24 hours earlier than scheduled. If you need your materials off of Blackboard, please contact your academic technology director in your college, or put in a ticket at the Helpdesk.

Direct Support Contacts:
James Pan Dedman School of Law/Perkins School of Theology pan@smu.edu 214.768.1820
Jeff Liew Cox School of Business jliew@smu.edu 214.768.4770
Scott Martin Simmons School of Education smartin@smu.edu 214.768.4864
Merlin Wilkerson Lyle School of Engineering merlin@smu.edu 214.768.8649
Mousumi Tanha Meadows School of Arts mtanha@smu.edu 214.768.2548
Michael Robertson Dedman College robertsonm@smu.edu 214.768.1148
Steve Snider Guildhall ssnider@smu.edu 214.768.1879

July 1st is going to be a big day for learning management systems at SMU. There will be some significant changes to Courses.SMU as we move away from Blackboard to Canvas. As advertised throughout the 2015-2016 academic year, the following changes will take effect on June 30th.

Continue reading Important Changes to Courses.SMU

Apple iOS 10: The New Bits

Last week’s Apple Worldwide Developer Conference has come to a close. Now that we’ve heard all that the folks in Cupertino have had to say about what’s new in the world of Mac and iOS; we can now summarize all of the great new things we can all expect this year.

In our summary last week, we only skimmed the surface of the new features of iOS mentioned in the WWDC opening keynote. Since then, several more tricks have been up iOS’ sleeve. This article is still only a snippet of the new things to know in iOS 10, but for a complete rundown you can visit Apple’s iOS 10 Preview page. Continue reading Apple iOS 10: The New Bits

Apple WWDC 2016: What’s New

macOS with SiriIt’s that time of year again! Apple is hosting their annual Worldwide Developers Conference this week in San Francisco. The WWDC isn’t usually as flashy as the iPhone reveals, but there’s still a lot of cool features and products you can expect to find on your Apple devices in the coming months.

One of the bigger talking points during WWDC is OS X, and this year is no exception. The most noticeable change is the name. After fifteen years, OS X will now be known simply as macOS. The next upgrade of the operating system will be called Sierra, named after the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

The new macOS will also include the debut of the iPhone’s voice-activated assistant, Siri. This will allow Mac users to use the same voice commands they use on their iPhone on their desktop as well. Siri has been studying, too! She will now have a huge amount of additional knowledge and commands to interact with desktop apps. The underlying technology behind Siri is now opened up to developers as well, so expect to see third-party apps using the technology soon.

Also on the horizon is the latest version of iOS: version 10. iOS 10 brings additional security features to iPhones and iPads, along with streamlined notifications on your lock screen.

Teaching & Video/Audio Conferencing with Zoom

ZoomAvailable now, Southern Methodist University has expanded services for Zoom, a cloud-based video conferencing and web conferencing service, as the primary eLearning tool for delivering easy-to-use,  high-definition video/audio conferencing capabilities to faculty and students.  Brought to campus in January 2015 as part of a pilot initiative, Zoom has proven a reliable, future-forward and cost-effective collaboration tool which is easy to use on just about any device (even Linux!).  As Zoom transitions from pilot initiative and into a supported service, Zoom will also be replacing SMU’s current GoToMeeting conferencing service.

Over the next few months, OIT’s Academic Technology Services team will be integrating Zoom within Canvas and will be configuring Zoom for use with SMU’s single-sign-on technology so that you can use your SMU login credentials for access.  Short-term Zoom Webinar licenses are also available but limited–please contact the IT Helpdesk for more information about webinars.

Suggested Uses for Zoom

1:1 Meetings with Students

Schedule meetings with students that you would normally meet face-to-face by using a Zoom meeting. If you have distance students, or when bad weather prohibits travel to campus, meetings and/or classes can still be held over Zoom (up to 50 participants).

Virtual Office Hours

With Zoom you can offer virtual office hours from any location anywhere in the world (with Internet accessibility). Send your students or collaborators an invite through email or post the meeting information on your Canvas course site as to the “office hours” that you will be available.  Scheduled Zoom office hours create an active virtual “office” where students can come and go as needed.

Paper & Research Reviews

Using the Zoom Share Screen feature, you can have students or colleagues submit work for real-time review during a live Zoom session. Share Screen allows you to provide real-time feedback on work and to allow for any synchronous clarification as needed.

Exam Review Sessions

Launch a Zoom session and allow students to enter as necessary. Faculty members can choose to either moderate a student led review or to lead the review on their own.

External Research Collaboration

Need to host a research discussion or virtual seminar with up to 50 attendees? No problem!  Create a Zoom session!

Recording Lectures, Meetings, & Sessions for Asynchronous Playback

Using Zoom’s recording functionality, all Zoom content can be recorded directly to your hard drive for future reference or future use in creating content for hybrid teaching.

Getting started with Zoom

  1. Submit a Zoom account request to the IT Help Desk by calling 214.768.HELP or by emailing help@smu.edu. You will receive an email notification when your account has been created.
  2. Once you’ve created a Zoom account, simply navigate to smu.edu/zoom to log in and host a meeting!

Zoom Requirements

System Requirements

  • Internet connection
  • Speakers & microphone—built-in or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth
  • Webcam or HD webcam—built-in or USB blug-in
  • Or, an HD cam or HD camcorder with video capture card

Supporting Operating Systems

  • Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later
  • Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7
  • Linux

Supported Tablets & Mobile Devices

  • iOS and Android devices
  • Surface Pro 2 & 3

Phone Scam: Hacking Over The Phone

Members of the SMU Community have reported a number of phone calls in the last several weeks attempting to gain access to your computer.  Usually, these callers will indicate that they have “noticed” that your computer has been infected with malware and will helpfully offer to fix it for you while on the phone.  The caller will direct you to a website and request that you download software to help fix your PC, but you will actually be downloading malware.  This will usually lock your computer and the person will require you to pay hundreds of dollars to unlock it.

Don’t believe it when you get a phone call from somebody claiming your computer has been hacked.

Don’t believe it when the caller says he or she is from Microsoft or Dell, or from software security company McAfee or Norton, telling you they can remove the infection by remote control.

It’s a fraud, and if you do believe it, the scammers will take over your computer and blackmail you to pay a fee or have your hard drive deleted. And they are likely to infect your computer with real malware, opening you and the University to identity theft.

Usually, caller ID shows up as a “private caller,” but even when a callback number shows, it’s likely to lead to a non-working number, which is why the FTC has so much trouble shutting down these scammers.  The below voice mail is an actual example of the voice mail that one such hacker left on an SMU Voicemail:

Transcript of audio:

Good morning my name is Jacob and I’m calling you from PC Solutions and this call is in regards to your computer.

The main reason behind this call is to make you aware about the online infections that have got inside your computer from the Internet recently. We have been receiving error notifications from the centralized server of Windows.  That is the reason this awareness call has been initiated to you today.  If you can be in front of your computer right now I can show you where the infections are hidden inside your system.

Is it possible for you to be in front of computer right now?

Please contact the IT Help Desk at 214-768-HELP with any questions concerning viruses, or malware, or call like the one described above.

OIT and A-LEC Help Students Excel with Excel.

Almost two dozen students attended last night’s Excel@Excel hands-on-workshop at SMU’s Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center. The OIT-lead workshop was part of the A-LEC’s practical learning strategy sessions offered throughout the term. A-LEC has partnered with OIT to facilitate four of the 25 sessions available to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Excel@Excel Training in the A-LECYesterday’s workshop covered the basics of Excel and an introduction to formulas. OIT will offer a second Excel workshop for students on February 25th that will explore more in-depth formulas and functions. While last night’s and the February 25th session are both a student-only training, IT Training regularly offers workshops for all members of the campus community.  For more information about upcoming training opportunities, visit our IT Training workshop schedule.

“I’m excited that we have such great training opportunities for all of our campus,” stated Laurene Klassen, the Manager of IT Training, “but, let’s not forget the challenges that some people have to attend our workshops. I always try to encourage others to check out Lynda.com. So many people aren’t yet aware of the great online resources we have and I’m working hard to get the word out. Our Lynda.com license strengthens our training department by offering the courses we can’t regularly offer. Now, we have the tools to assist others to increase their learning by leaps and bounds.”

 

Photo Credit: Rebecca Umobong

Faculty and Students: Receive free hands-on-training for Mathematica

hoswm-mainWolfram has created a new outreach program that gives faculty and students free hands-on training for Mathematica and SMU has been invited to participate.

Join a free online training session to learn different ways to interact with Mathematica—enter queries through free-form input and the Wolfram Language, create notebooks, perform symbolic and numeric calculations, generate 2D and 3D graphics, create interactive Manipulates, analyze data, and turn your notebook into an interactive presentation. This is an exciting opportunity to learn directly from the authors of the book Hands-on Start to Wolfram Mathematica and Programming with the Wolfram Language and ask questions during the interactive Q&A. Participants will need access to either Mathematica for the desktop or Mathematica Online to utilize the hands-on aspects of this training.