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.

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.

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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.

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.