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IT Blog Posts

IT Communications Playbook

October 30th, 2014 carlin_corrigan

playbookIT has a dedicated Communications Team that oversees all of our messages to the Emerson community. It’s helped coordinate and standardize all of our communication practices and we feel it has improved our connection with the college. This playbook is intended to outline how we work, why it works well, and how you can use these best practices to improve your departmental communications with the college.

You can read the playbook here on the IT website.


New Canvas Features – October

October 18th, 2014 Christopher Connors

New Canvas Features for October 2014

The latest updates from Instructure to Canvas include some very popular requests that we’ve been getting from faculty since Canvas was first introduced here at Emerson. We here at ITG wanted to take some time and highlight the two biggest, new features! As always, the full feature list can be found on Instructure’s website, or by going here.

New Grading Symbol For Quizzes in Gradebook

When students complete a quiz that includes a manually graded question, the Grades page displays a Quiz icon instead of the current score, indicating that the quiz score is not yet complete. When students hover over the icon, students can view a message indicating that grading is in progress.

Student Grading Screenshot

The Quiz icon displays in the Gradebook for instructors as well, indicating that some questions in the quiz need to be graded manually. When the instructor assigns a score for the manually graded question, the icon for both the instructor and the student will be replaced with the complete quiz grade.

Screenshot of New Quiz Symbol For Instructors

Note: For instructors, the Quiz icon in the Gradebook can also mean that a Quiz score has been deleted and a new score needs to be assigned.

CC Yourself in Conversations

The Number One requested feature from Emerson faculty has finally made it into Canvas Conversations.

Users can set a new notification preference that allows them to receive a copy of all conversations they created. When enabled by the user, this feature allows users to see what conversations have been sent and how they appear in their specified communication channels.

Note: When a user creates a group message and clicks the Send Individual Messages checkbox, Canvas generates only one notification for the sent message. Notifications cannot be sent from the beta environment.

CC Conversations Screenshot

Reminder: In Conversations, sent messages appear in the Sent folder. When a message receives a reply, the message thread will appear in the Inbox. When a user creates a group message and clicks the Send Individual Messages checkbox, the Sent folder displays one message for each user, as replies are treated as individual messages.

As always, feel free to get in contact with us if you have any questions about integrating Canvas into your teaching. We can be reached via phone a 617-824-8090 or via email at itg@emerson.edu.


National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October 1st, 2014 hana_carpenter

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month! To show Emerson’s commitment to cybersecurity, we are partnering with the Department of Homeland Security, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), to promote the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign. The campaign is an awareness effort designed to help Americans practice safer online habits, and to encourage everyone to view Internet safety as a shared responsibility.

In the spirit of this month of awareness, Emerson IT has chosen to focus on two major issues during October: phishing and online identity protection.

Phishing is any attempt to acquire confidential information from users by masquerading as a trustworthy entity. According to Kaspersky labs, between 2012 and 2013, 37.3 million Internet users around the world were subjected to a phishing attack†. The Emerson community has been the target of phishing attacks before, sometimes even by phishers claiming to be affiliated with the College. Alertness is the best protection against phishing! Emerson IT has written a guide for simple things to look for in any email to investigate its legitimacy.

Phishing attacks aren’t the only way that people can lose control of their information online. Sometimes what we share on social media in the process of building our online identities can work against us, too. More than a third of employers use, or plan to use, social media to research potential candidates, and this number can only be higher in tech-affiliated industries. Jobs in the entertainment and marketing industries are often obtained using social networking, and arguably the easiest way to make these connections is online. If you want to verify your online identity for professionalism, accuracy, and security, a simple start would be Googling yourself and checking the results. To learn how to change your privacy settings on popular websites, visit this page on the NCSA’s website. Take control of your personal information!

Awareness is a crucial precursor to action. Throughout the month of October, keep an eye on the @EmersonIT Twitter account and your ECMail inbox for more information on cybercrime and what you can do to prevent it.

The Evolution of Phishing Attacks 2011 – 2013
http://www.dhs.gov/publication/stopthinkconnect-student-resources


File naming standards: eliminate future headaches

September 18th, 2014 Paula Damigella

There are a lot of reasons that file naming standards should be your best friends. They are rad, responsible, and reliable. Just like the three R’s of old.

But most importantly – you will not run into problems opening your files on another computer, uploading them to Canvas, or attaching them to an email. The reason? By following the tenets listed below, you have significantly decreased the chances of the file becoming corrupted or unusable. Go you!

Adapted from the University of Stanford’s list, here are some best practices to follow when naming your files:

  • Never use special characters - such as  ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) ` ; < > ? , [ ] { } ‘ ” and |. Avoid at all costs! If you’re not capitalizing a letter or generating an underscore, you shouldn’t be hitting the shift key. 
  • Keep it chronological. Using the format YYYYMMDD or YYMMDD ensures all of your files stay in chronological order, for years to come.
  • Keep names as short as possible. Depending on the software, longer file names may not work or be recognized.
  • Use zeros to ensure numerical order. When using a sequential numbering system, using leading zeros for clarity and to make sure files sort in sequential order. For example, use “001, 002, …010, 011 … 100, 101, etc.” instead of “1, 2, …10, 11 … 100, 101, etc.”
  • Do not use spaces. Some software on sites will not recognize file names with spaces. Try using these methods to denote spaces:
    • Underscores, e.g. file_name.xxx
    • Dashes, e.g. file-name.xxx
    • No separation, e.g. filename.xxx
    • Camel case, where the first letter of each section of text is capitalized, e.g. FileName.xxx

Further reading: http://library.stanford.edu/research/data-management-services/case-studies/case-study-file-naming

Across the pond: http://www2.le.ac.uk/services/research-data/organise-data/naming-files


Welcome students!

August 29th, 2014 michael_jessen

From Emerson IT, welcome! Or if you’re a returning student, welcome back!

As you get settled on campus, you may have questions about how to connect to our services, and we want to make sure you know how to get in touch with us.

Call us, email us, tweet us – we’re always here to help!

You can also use our IT Help Center at it.emerson.edu/help, which allows you to submit a trouble ticket without calling the Help Desk, or send us comments or other questions.

Connecting to ECwireless?

3 Easy Steps:

  1. Select ECwireless from your list of available wireless networks
  2. Enter your Emerson username and password to authenticate
  3. Accept and trust the certificate if you are presented with one

 

 

Online Help Guides

We have a long list of Guides available on our website at it.emerson.edu to help you every day!

 

Computer Labs

At it.emerson.edu/labs, you can find a list of all of Emerson IT’s computer labs as well as:

 

New Student Technology Guide

Make sure to check out the New Student Technology Guide!

It’s got tons of useful information and best practices.

What’s New this semester?

 

Emerson’s entire email system has been upgraded, and one of its best features is an all new and enhanced ECmail Webapp, at ecmail.emerson.edu.

You can access all of your email here as well as your calendar, and it replicates features of most regular email clients. In fact, many people use the Webapp exclusively to access their ECmail!

What do you do when you forget your password? You need to get an authorization code to reset it on your own.

Now, in addition to receiving on at your email address outside of Emerson, you can also get one by text message!

ECwireless, in addition to a 5GHz makeover across campus, received some major upgrades in the Little Building this summer, so look for better coverage and better reliability!

If you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!


Mailbox migrations are complete!

August 28th, 2014 michael_jessen

Emerson IT has worked over the recent months to migrate mailboxes to our new mail system, Exchange 2013. We’re pleased to report that as of last week all staff, faculty, and students have been successfully upgraded! Our software and hardware upgrades have resulted in improved Outlook performance and new Webapp availability to all community members.

We thank everyone for working with us during this process! If you would like to learn more about the new web app, check out our guide.


Upcoming Changes to Median

August 25th, 2014 Cyle Gage

I’m very excited to announce that there’s a new version of Median coming out next week on Monday, September 1st. The two primary updates are a refreshed interface along with a more versatile backend. The functionality of the site will remain mostly identical, it’ll just look a little cleaner. In addition, I’ve created a brand new custom video player to further accommodate the use of subtitles by online courses.

Median 6 Player

Last year Median crashed a few times due to heavy load, especially during the EVVYs submission week. It has been my goal with this new version of Median to improve stability by separating out the different mechanisms behind Median’s operations. For example, the files themselves that make up Median entries are now stored independently of the upload processes, the streaming processes, and the website itself.

Median 6

This means one piece can fail — such as uploading — without bringing all of Median down with it. Furthermore, additional servers can be “spun up” on demand to accommodate periods of high use to make sure that everyone can upload to Median without worrying about it crashing.

I’ll be continuing to improve median over the course of the year based on feedback from staff, faculty, and students. Please do not hesitate to use our online Help Center to send in feedback of your own if there are features you’d like to see! Thanks for using Median and making it such a unique Emerson experience.


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