Elevating Inside.SMU to SharePoint in the Cloud

As part of OIT’s efforts to improve services across campus, Inside.SMU, our internal collaboration platform, will be moved to Microsoft’s SharePoint in the Cloud service.

Sharepoint OnlineThis change allows us to offer the latest version of SharePoint (the underlying software that ran Inside.SMU) to campus. It also provides you with additional features and a more reliable means of file storage and collaboration.

In the coming weeks, departments across campus will receive information on when their department’s data within Inside.SMU will be moved to the cloud. Usually, no action is needed on your part. If action is required, you will be notified by an OIT representative.

lyndaCampus Adoption on Campus Increases

lynda.comWhen we at OIT introduced lyndaCampus in late 2015, we were excited to begin offering a new way to learn about all kinds of business and creative skills and software. Turns out, you were just as excited!

As of April 1, almost 800 people ranging from students, faculty, and staff have logged into Lynda.com. On top of that, over 15,000 videos have been viewed, totaling around 11,00 hours of online training reviewed since Lynda.com was first offered.

Out of all those hours of viewing, here are the top courses overall that have been viewed in Lynda. Maybe some may be of interest to you the next time you log in.

  1. Foundations of Programming: Data Structures
  2. Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician Essential Training
  3. Up and Running with Canvas 2015
  4. Interactive Data Visualization and Processing

 

Inside.SMU moving to SharePoint Online

App_Icon_Sharepoint_90x86[1]OIT is  happy to announce that Inside.SMU, our on-campus collaboration tool, is moving from an onsite Microsoft SharePoint server to a Microsoft-hosted SharePoint in the Cloud service. This upgrades our SharePoint software to the latest version automatically. On top of that, we also will have greater storage and backup capabilities. Most existing sites within Inside.SMU can be moved over to the new system with ease. We are working with primary stakeholders to design a roadmap for a final switchover sometime before the end of Q2.

Even though the functionality of SharePoint remains the same, some features have been renamed and moved around. The new version will also have a look-and-feel that is reminiscent of Office 365 and Office 2016. In preparation for the conversion to the cloud service, OIT will be offering a webinar for current users interested in learning more about how the new system will function and the new features. The webinar will take place on February 26 at 2PM. Visit our upcoming workshops page to register.

 

Winter Break Brings New Classroom Upgrades to Campus

During the winter break, our Classroom Support team was hard at work to make sure classrooms in need of technology upgrades were ready for the new semester. As semesters go by, heavily used equipment becomes less reliable and older technology requires replacement to keep classrooms functional.

Almost forty classrooms received upgrades over the break with improvements including new projectors, enhanced functionality, revamped control systems and more. Here are a few examples of the work that’s been completed across campus:

  • Annette Simmons:  New projectors in 138, 144 and 218.  New lamps in 221 and 213.
  • Dedman Life Science: New projectors in 110, 127, 128, 129, 130 and 131.
  • Clements Hall: New projectors and control systems in G16, G18, 120, 126, 225, 324, 325, 326 and 334.  New computers installed in 225, G18, 326 and 334.
  • Dallas Hall: New control systems in 120, 137 and 138.
  • Umphrey Lee: New power control in 233.
  • Owens Arts Center: New power control in B150 and 2020.
  • Hyer Hall: TV/wall monitor installed in G21.

These repairs and improvements are just a small portion of the larger mission to update all classrooms on campus for a more consistent experience for faculty and students. As always, if you have any questions regarding the operation of classroom equipment, feel free to contact the IT Help Desk at 214-768-4357. If there is an immediate technical problem with the classroom, a support representative will be dispatched to your location and should arrive within five minutes.

Holiday Help? Information About the Coming Break

snowflakesAs the winter holidays approach, everyone is gearing up to take well-deserved rest and time with their friends and family. During the winter break OIT will be closed; therefore tickets and e-mails will not be processed as they normally are during regular business. If you need any emergency assistance during the break, call the Help Desk line at 214-768-4357 to be directed to our emergency line which will page the OIT employee that is on-call.

When you get ready to leave campus for the break, consider saving energy by shutting down your computer completely before you leave. Keep in mind that you will not be able to remote into your machine when it’s turned off.  So keep it on if you expect to access your computer while away.

New Embedded Support Model Brings Improved Support to Campus

OIT Support ZonesAs part of the OE2C initiative this past year, OIT has been working to increase the quality and efficiency of customer service. One method adopted was to make support staff more accessible to the University community. A new structure has been put in place by the Customer Support division that places field support and AV/Event representatives into assigned zones which include several buildings that each representative will support. These representatives will be the first point of contact for desk-side support and emergency classroom/conference room support in their respective area. They will also be cross-trained in order to assist other zones when needed for larger projects or issues.

The following individuals are currently serving in an embedded zone:

Desktop Support

  • Jesus Martinez: Umphrey Lee room 122
  • Glenn Taylor: PAB 300
  • Jim Tuley: Maguire 170
  • Paul Tubb: Maguire 170
  • Walter Hwu: Caruth 472
  • Deborah Seiter: Underwood 320
  • Brad Pittler: Underwood S302
  • Robert Burkett: 6200 N. Central Expressway 2050
  • John Blank: Prothro 208B
  • Andy Maupin: Fondren Library
  • Jawaid Hussein: Fondren Library
  • Andrea Thach: Guildhall- Plano
  • Jon Pickle: Plano
  • Richard Franks: Taos

Classroom/AV Support

  • Jim Jaeger: Prothro 208A
  • Mike Gebreselassie: Maguire 170
  • Chris Gaut: Hughes-Trigg Student Center
  • Shawn Remek: Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall
  • Winston Phan:  Underwood Law Library
  • Adam Jones: Hyer Hall

To review the zone map and the areas each individual supports, visit http://www.smu.edu/~/media/Site/OIT/AboutUs/Zone%20Layout.ashx

Lynda.com’s New Course Page: What to Expect

lynda.comAs you may have heard, SMU recently began offering full Lynda.com access for all students faculty and staff. Already, hundreds of you have logged on and began learning new things! As Lynda.com continues to improve, they have recently announced that as of November 30, they will be gradually rolling out a new look for their courses. To keep you in the loop, here are a few of the differences you can expect once the new format hits your account.

Download-View-Offline-tip

 

If you need to download exercise files, add a course to your playlist, or if you would like to share the course with someone, all of these options have been moved to the top right of the screen so they are more easily found. Don’t forget that there is now an option to download courses for offline viewing!

 

Keyboard-shortcuts-more-tip

 

Lynda.com has also added keyboard shortcuts to make navigating a course easier, which means you can focus more on learning! A detailed list of the shortcuts can be found by clicking on the icon next to the share button in the top right corner.

 

Toc-and-notes-tips

 

Video transcripts have always been a great way to keep track of where you are in a course and can also help if you simply want to read the directions given. Now, Lynda.com allows you to type notes alongside the transcript totally within the course, so you don’t have to have a separate notepad.

 

With these new features, Lynda has made it even easier to work within their courses! Again, it’s all free for students, faculty and staff, so log in and learn.

Should You Upgrade to Windows 10?

Windows 10Windows 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.

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 help@smu.edu.