Single Sign-On is Here

Tonight, we enabled Single Sign-On (SSO) for my.SMU and employee.SMU. This allows you to move freely within the same browser session between my.SMU and services such as Concur,, or Canvas.  We have created a video to help demonstrate using Single Sign-On with our web services.

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Security and SSO

As mentioned in the video, there are some concerns you need to be aware of if you are using a shared computer, such as those in a computer lab or a library. Since you authorized and granted access to a Single Sign-On service, you will also be granted access to all the SSO services without additional login prompts until you quit out of the web browser.

For example: you log in to Canvas on a classroom computer using Internet Explorer.  You close the IE browser tab for Canvas but do not close the entire browser.  Another student walks up to the computer shortly afterwards. The student accesses IE and then navigates to my.SMU.  Your browser login is still active and will take the student directly in to your my.SMU page.

You may be asking, “How do I prevent this?” The easiest solution is to log off the computer when you are done working or restart the computer completely. If  you are stepping away from your computer, we recommend locking your screen while away.

Please note: if you use the Chrome browser, the session is not closed when you simply quit the browser itself.  We recommend using Incognito mode whenever you access services using SSO on a public computer.

This change is a prerequisite for our upcoming Duo two-factor authentication implementation.

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Should You Upgrade to Windows 10?

WindowsWindows 10 has been out in the wild for about three months now. A frequent question we get here at OIT is “How is it?” and “Should I upgrade?” In the IT industry, we always like to thoroughly test things out before putting our approval stamp on it. After a few months with Windows 10, we can now make some recommendations.

The familiar Start menu is back

Windows 10 brings the familiar Start menu back but in a new way that allows you to customize it with the things that are most important to you – your favorite apps, people, and files.

As many people know either by personal experience or word of mouth, Windows 8.1, the previous version of Windows, was a very divisive iteration. The Start button evolved into the Start Screen, a strange mix of menus and giant colorful buttons that left a bad taste in the mouths of many. Windows 10 has backed off of the Start Screen and tile concept, bringing back the good ‘ol Start button and start menu, albeit with some changes.

One feature that has carried on from Windows 8.1 is the recommendation that a Microsoft Account be used to log into your computer. This allows the majority of your computer settings, from font sizes to wallpaper, to be synced to all of your computers and devices that also use your Microsoft Account. Your settings will even carry over to a friend’s computer if you use this account. If this type of feature isn’t your cup of tea, you can always create a regular local account like you could in Windows 7 and versions previous.

Microsoft Edge

The all-new Windows 10 browser that takes you beyond browsing to doing. One that is personal, responsive, and productive – for getting things done online.

A very noticeable change from previous versions of Windows is the web browser. Gone is the ubiquitous Internet Explorer that has graced Windows since 1995. The replacement is Microsoft Edge, and has a familiar looking blue E for its logo. Although the logo may be similar, the two browsers couldn’t be more different. Edge is a very lean, stripped-down browser. It’s fast and simple to use, but has significant drawbacks in that it has very little customization features and does not currently allow add-ons like IE. Microsoft intends to add back the add-on capability next year. In the meantime, we recommend using a different browser like Firefox or Google Chrome if you need a little bit more flexibility.

Other cool features include better multiple display support, Cortana; a voice-activated search tool and “personal assistant,” as well as improved built-in programs for e-mail, paint, etc.

Another huge factor in recommending Windows 10 is its reliability. So far, we haven’t found many major issues regarding program compatibility or glaring bugs that would negatively affect the user experience. Issues that you may run into could include hardware driver compatibility problems if the manufacturer has not provided a Windows 10 compatible update for your particular device. Apart from this, there have been few issues that would be considered severe.

Overall, Windows 10 has proven to be a solid and enjoyable experience in its first few months of life. If your machine meets the minimum requirements, you can upgrade without much worry. If you use Windows 8 or 8.1, we definitely recommend the upgrade in order to revive much-needed usability.

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What happened to Qualtrics?

If you’re reading this then you’re likely to have signed into Qualtrics one afternoon hoping to quickly retrieve some piece of data and was shocked to see the new look and feel.


After being a user of their previous version this overhaul certainly took me by surprise. So, what is different in Qualtrics? With the latest update to Qualtrics, you’ll see over 20 feature enhancements. Below is a quick synopsis of just a few of features.

Landing Page – One of the first changes you’ll notice is the new My Projects landing page. This page replaces the old My Surveys page. You’ll also notice the Projects, Contacts, & Libraries section has moved to the far right of the menu.

Editing Your Survey – The former Edit Survey tab has now been replaced by the Survey module. Don’t worry too much, this is mostly a cosmetic change.

Distributing your Survey – There are a number of updates to the  Distribute Survey tab which is renamed the Distributions Module. Page changes include:

  • Added a new Distribution navigation page for the first time you enter.
  • Combined Email Survey and Email History into the new Emails tab.
  • Relabeled Generated Links as Personal Links.
  • Updated social media options.

View Results tab = Responses & Results Modules – Qualtrics identifies the items below as the major changes for the Results tab. The visualization options take a little getting used to but could prove very helpful. Visualizations include word clouds, charts, gauges tables, and more. Click here for a sneak peek.

  • Removed the Advanced Options menu in Responses and shifted its functionality to other areas.
  • Relabeled Download Data as Export Data and moved it to the Tools menu in Responses (Import Data is found here as well).
  • Moved all response-related actions (viewing, exporting to PDF, etc.) to the Actions drop-down menu in Responses.
  • Moved Cross Tabulations to the Report Options menu in Results.

Library – Gone are the different libraries (surveys, block and questions). They’ve been combined into a simplified and enhanced library.

Contacts – If you’re looking for Panels, they are now relabeled to Contacts. It seems the primary goal was to ease navigation in order to switch between categories. If you used panels previously, then you’ll probably want to view this Contacts Summary.

Give yourself some time to get adjusted to the new look and feel for Qualtrics, there is certainly an abundance of change to get used to! Also, if you need a little help getting started with Qualtrics, we will be offering in-person training in the spring.

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Protect Yourself: Methods to Protect your SMU Accounts and Data

We’ve all been there. After a long busy day in classes you rush to print out that big project at the library. Your class is just five minutes away, so you rush away without logging off of the public computer. We always like to think of our fellow classmates as trustworthy and caring people, but with security breaches on the rise, it’s best to take every precaution possible when using your SMU account.

News articles constantly talk about “hackers” gaining passwords to an individual’s account. One of the most recent victims was none other than CIA director John Brennan. The high-schooler that “hacked” Mr. Brennan’s personal AOL account didn’t really use any hacking or technical expertise to get access to the account; he just simply acted as if he was Mr. Brennan during a fake technical support call. Many other examples include nefarious individuals simply calling people asking for their passwords. This makes it extremely important to keep your personal information private and to never offer it to others.

The best way to keep your SMU information yours is to always fully log out of any services you use when you’ve finished using them. Always log out completely from any public computers on or off campus to prevent anyone from walking up and accessing your information. Most public computers on campus are set to completely wipe any information saved on them when restarted.  Restarting the computer, if possible, would be the most secure option.

Here’s a few other quick tips that can make your account more secure:

  • Use a PIN or touch pattern to lock your smart phone or tablet. The longer and more complex the better!
  • Use a password manager like LastPass, 1Password or KeePass to save your passwords securely and to generate random and secure passwords automatically.
  • NEVER give your password to anyone, even if asked by someone saying they provide technical support.
    For example, the SMU Help Desk will never ask you for your password, so if anyone claims they are from SMU and asks for your password, end the conversation and contact the Office of Information Technology immediately!
  • Don’t leave your personal devices logged on and unattended. Not only could the devices be physically stolen, but the perpetrator can also steal your information. If you must leave your device, make sure it’s at least locked.

By following these tips, you can help make your information even safer from the threat of cyber attacks. If you have any questions on how to stay secure, call the Help Desk at 214-SMU-HELP or drop us a line at

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Mathematica 10 in Education and Research

MathmaticaSMU Physics will be hosting a “Mathematica 10 in Education and Research” seminar on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 from 4:00-5:00 in Heroy, Room 153. This talk illustrates capabilities in Mathematica 10 and other Wolfram technologies that are directly applicable for use in teaching and research on campus. Topics of these technical talks include:

  • Enter calculations in everyday English, or using the flexible Wolfram Language
  • Visualize data, functions, surfaces, and more in 2D or 3D
  • Store and share documents locally or in the Wolfram Cloud
  • Use the Predictive Interface to get suggestions for the next useful calculation or function options
  • Access trillions of bits of on-demand data
  • Use semantic import to enrich your data using Wolfram curated data
  • Easily turn static examples into mouse-driven, dynamic applications
  • Access 10,000 free course-ready applications
  • Utilize the Wolfram Language’s wide scope of built-in functions, or create your own
  • Get deep support for specialized areas including machine learning, time series, image processing, parallelization, and control systems, with no add-ons required

Current users will benefit from seeing the many improvements and new features of Mathematica 10, but prior knowledge of Mathematica is not required.

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How do I change my greeting in the new voice mail system?

Unified MessagingWe have begun migrating faculty and staff to our new voice mail solution, Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging. A common question is, “How do I record a custom voice mail greeting?” UM offers a few options, including allowing separate greetings for when you are away from the office.

To change your greeting:

In Microsoft Outlook:

  1. Click File -> Manage Voice Mail
  2. Click “Call me to play or record the selected greeting…”
  3. Enter your phone number and click “Call.”
  4. You will receive a call which will allow you to record your greeting.

There are multiple other configuration options available from this screen as well.

In Webmail:

You can get to the same screen above by logging on to

  1. Click options -> See all options.
  2. Click Phone.
  3. Click “Call me to play or record the selected greeting…”
  4. Enter your phone number and click “Call.”
  5. You will receive a call which will allow you to record your greeting.

Via Phone:

You can also change your greeting by phone.

  1. Call 214-768-8673.
  2. Enter your 5-digit extension and your PIN, and then say “personal options” at the voice prompt.
  3. Press 2 and you can record your new greeting.

The prompts will walk you through these steps when you dial the number.

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Thinking of Using SMU Email for Your Marketing? Think Again.

Private Tutor Email
With over 11,000 students available to you through the Outlook address book, you might think this is a great group to market your services or product. They are SMU students. You are a SMU student. You have that natural connection and why wouldn’t they like the bag you designed on Etsy that is perfect for Boulevarding. Or maybe you speak four languages and really could help that struggling student in German, if they only he knew you were available. The problem occurs when you click that send button. At that point, your email becomes a violation of SMU policy and that can cause problems for you.

As George Finney, Chief Security Officer at Southern Methodist University, explains, “This is a violation of our bulk email policy and it also uses SMU resources for a commercial venture… As a non-profit, SMU’s tax exempt status requires us to not allow this.” If you are found in volition, OIT will prevent further email distribution by you, and block access from campus to any 3rd party email address listed in the message. You basically get marked as a spammer. Also, your account will be reviewed and if  further action is warranted, it will be taken.

If you have questions about email policy, please feel free to contact the Help Desk at 214-768-HELP. For more information on University policies, please review the official University Policy Manual at

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IT Training: Upcoming Training for Qualtrics, Sitecore, and

We have added additional IT Training Workshops through Winter Break, including a new course in Qualtrics. Take your skills to the next level by engaging in one of our online or instructor-led trainings.

lyndaCampus Now Available 

We understand not everyone can make our in-person training sessions due to scheduling conflicts, a busy week, or life just getting in the way. In an effort to provide quality training that works with everyone’s schedule, OIT has licensed lyndaCampus for the university. The lyndaCampus provides a vast online library of instructional videos covering the latest software, creative, and business skills. Taught by accomplished teachers and recognized industry experts, is a high-quality resource for students, faculty, and staff looking to develop skills in Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, project management, social media, and a wide range of other topics. You can even view courses on your iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, or other mobile device at your convenience — anytime, day or night.

To begin, just go to and log in with your SMU ID and password.

lyndaCampus Webinars

If you have never used before we invite you to join us for the + SMU: Formal Overview webinar presented by

Register: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 3pm – 3:45pm CST
Register: Thursday, October 29, 2015 3pm – 3:45pm CST

Sitecore Basics

Are you new to Sitecore, SMU’s Web Content Management System? Have you been using Sitecore, but not regularly enough to remember what to do when you log in? We can help. OIT is offering a special hands-on Sitecore Basics class to the SMU community. Not only will we cover everything you need to know to get started using Sitecore, but will walk you through building out a complete site within Sitecore.

Register: Wednesday, November 11 from 2:30pm-4pm

Advanced Sitecore

Sitecore, SMU’s Web Content Management System, does a lot of the work in creating your pages, but sometimes it needs a little wrangling to really get it to shine. In this advanced class, will cover basic HTML usage in Sitecore and how to spice up those pages by adding CSS formatting, using widgets, and creating forms. This class is for advanced users.

Register: Wednesday, November 18 from 2:00-3:30

Photoshop for Sitecore

Learn how to take advantage of Photoshop to add slide shows and format images for use in Sitecore. In this advanced class, will cover basic Photoshop usage and how to upload the items to the Media Library in Sitecore. We will also discuss the slide show widgets.

Register: Wednesday, December 9 from 10:30am – 12:00pm

Updated 11/12/2015 to remove Qualtrics courses.
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lyndaCampus Now Available

LyndaThe Office of Information Technology is pleased to announce lyndaCampus is now available for faculty, staff, and students. The lyndaCampus provides a vast online library of instructional videos covering the latest software, creative, and business skills. Taught by accomplished teachers and recognized industry experts, is a high-quality resource for students, faculty, and staff looking to develop skills in Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, project management, social media, and a wide range of other topics. You can even view courses on your iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, or other mobile device.

To begin, just go to and login with your SMU ID and password.  With more than 2,500 courses taught by industry experts, is designed for all levels of learners and is available whenever you’re ready to learn.

If you have never used before, we recommend you watch the How to use video.

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