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ITS Info: Moodle Planned Outage June 20-23

By Dan Wheeler on June 17, 2016

Overview:

Colgate’s Moodle Learning Management System (LMS) will be offline for maintenance from Mon Jun 20 at noon until Thu Jun 23 at 4:00pm.  

During this outage Moodle will be upgraded from version 2.5 to version 3.0 and hosting will be transferred from local servers to eThink Education servers.

Impact:

System Changes:

  • Moodle will be upgraded to a new version, 3.0
  • The general interface (theme) of Colgate’s Moodle will have a more modern look and feel to enhance navigation and the user experience. Lambda
  • Standard logins will be changed to the Colgate CAS single-sign-on used in familiar sites such as the Portal
  • Account, course, and enrollments will be fully automated
  • File uploads will be limited to 64MB
  • Our Moodle servers will be hosted off campus with eThink Education

Not changed:

  • All courses and content on the current Moodle server will be transitioned automatically to the new v3.0 server
  • CAS logins still use your Colgate network username and password

Time Frame:

Moodle will be removed from service at 12:00pm (noon) Mon June 20. Service will be restored at 12:00pm (noon) Thu Jun 23.  

 

The Moodle system upgrade will continue throughout the summer as we make final configurations, add features, and adjust settings.

Affected Users:

Faculty, staff and students who use our Moodle LMS.

For more Information:

The new Moodle is documented at our new Moodle Info site at Moodle-Info.Colgate.Edu

If you have questions about this transition please contact the ITS Service Desk (see Colgate.Edu/itshelp) or contact any of the following Academic Technologies staff:


Accented Names Now Available In Banner

By mark hine on May 12, 2016

Accented Names Now Available In Banner

Colgate’s student information system (Banner) now supports the use of accent marks (diacritics). If your name includes a diacritic mark you now have the opportunity to update the spelling of your name to include the appropriate accent(s).  Employees may notify Human Resources and students may notify the Registrar’s Office to have the appropriate accented spelling of your name updated.

Names with diacritic marks will now appear properly in the online directory, in the portal, and in many other online locations. Please note that some entities, namely government and TIAA/CREF,  do not handle diacritic marks at this time so accents will not appear in those online forms or interfaces.

If you run queries out of Banner and would like to report off the name(s) with diacritics, please contact the ITS Helpline and make this request. We can show you how to build reports using names with diacritics.

Managing Diacritic Names in Banner

How to change names to hold a diacritic mark (accent mark):

  1. On the Banner form you use to enter and update names (e.g. SPAIDEN, PPAIDEN), select the person and go to the next block.
  2. Select the Alternate Identification tab.
  3. Use name type DIAC
  4. Enter the name with the diacritic mark. For instructions on how to copy & paste a special character:
    1. Windows: Use the Character Map feature found in Windows.
    2. Macintosh: Use the alternate keys function
  5. Save the change.

Please Note: Preferred first names can contain a diacritic mark in the existing Preferred First Name field and do not need to be entered in this separate location.

 


Five Ways to Motivate Unprepared Students in the Flipped Classroom (Apr ’16)

By Dan Wheeler on April 5, 2016

An article from  in Faculty Focus (Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications) (Apr 2016) isn’t strictly related to flipping (how to do you deal with unprepared students in any class?) so may provide useful information for any teacher.


Moodle Transition to v3.0 Announcement

By Dan Wheeler on April 5, 2016

Moodle Transition to  v3.0 – Message for Faculty

In June of 2016, ITS will be upgrading Moodle to version 3.0. This upgrade will provide improved functionality, as well as an enhanced look and feel of the Moodle environment. The decision to upgrade Moodle was based, in large part, on feedback and recommendations that emerged from the Faculty Moodle Satisfaction Survey conducted by the Committee on Information Technology(CIT) in 2015. Faculty satisfaction with Moodle was, for the most part positive, and the upgrade will address several of the issues identified in the survey report. Colgate will be partnering with eThink to facilitate and support this upgrade (fully managed hosting, upgrade, data migration, and testing). Additional information about the upgrade is briefly outlined below.

Timeline

Key milestones for the upgrade include the following:

 

  • April & May 2016 – ITS planning and technical preparation.
  • June 2016 – Finalize a configuration of a test instance of Moodle v3.0
  • End June 2016 – “Go live” with upgraded site.
  • July / August 2016 – User education (faculty workshops / support resources)

What will this mean for you?

While the look and feel of Moodle 3.0 will be slightly different, the overall functionality will remain the same.  We have been working to identify and summarize those changes which we think are most relevant for Colgate faculty members. The linked document below, “Transition to Moodle 3.0” presents our analysis to date. In essence, we believe there are many positive changes yet few that change your environment negatively or dramatically.

Transition to Moodle 3.0 (Google Doc) 

Education & Support for Faculty

Faculty can anticipate a range of support opportunities prior to the start of the Fall 2016 term. Specific scheduling details about these opportunities will be made available in follow-up communications.

  • Hands-on workshops
  • 1:1 consultations
  • Self-paced tutorials
  • Documentation
  • Exploring test site

Contact

Please direct any questions or requests for additional information to our project lead for the transition to Moodle 3.0, Dan Wheeler, in Academic Technologies — via email (dwheeler@colgate.edu) or phone extension 7742.

Ongoing updates and information will be made available on the following web page:

colgate.edu/moodle


CIO Roundtables Scheduled This Spring

By mark hine on January 25, 2016

In an effort to generate dialogue and enhance open communication, the CIO Roundtable events are held monthly as an opportunity for members of the Colgate community to engage in conversation with Colgate’s interim CIOs on a range of information technology topics. The roundtables are intended to be informal events to consider issues, ask questions and share information about the role of information technology services at Colgate. Each of these roundtable events will take place at Merrill House, and lunch will be provided to those in attendance. Please RSVP to Denise Bolognone (dbolognone@colgate.edu) if you are interested in joining us for any of these conversations.

 

Classroom Technology and Learning Spaces (February 24, 12:15-1:15pm @ Merrill House)

This roundtable session will provide an opportunity to explore the current and future state of classroom technologies and learning spaces at Colgate. What classroom technologies are most valuable to support teaching? Are there promising areas for experimentation? What opportunities are there to integrate learning design principles within classrooms at Colgate? Please join us to consider these and other questions, share ideas and generate some dialogue.

 

CyberSecurity (TBD)

Network security, information privacy and protecting an institution’s digital assets remains a vitally important set of issues for all organizations. The higher education context presents a unique set of challenges as we seek to provide flexible access to resources for collaboration and inquiry that support the teaching and learning mission, while at the same time providing security to support business operations. Please join us for this conversation to explore questions, and consider the importance of engaging in secure computing practices.

Research Computing (TBD)

Centralized support for research computing at Colgate is evolving, and there is recognition of the need for enhancing services for faculty members. This roundtable will provide the opportunity to identify key issues, consider essential questions, and explore possibilities for building capacity. What resources are currently available? What are important / emerging needs on the horizon? Please join us for this roundtable to share ideas about research computing at Colgate.


Security Awareness Month: October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

By mark hine on September 28, 2015

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Across the country, events are taking place to raise awareness and reduce the incidence of identity and data theft, financial loss and cybercrime. IT has become an integrated part of our lives. As our use of technology increases, so too does our risk.

Each week in October, Information Technology Services will be sending an email to the Colgate community with a focus on these important IT security topics:

Week 1: Using Strong Passwords & Windows Updates

Week 2: Phishing Prevention – Know Your Sender

Week 3: Two Factor Authentication

Week 4: IT Security Awareness

Please take a minute or two to read each of these as they arrive. You can also click a link above to preview these articles now.

Watch for these helpful and insightful emails each Monday in October. As always, please call the ITS Service Desk at extension 7111 with any questions or concerns or email us at itshelp@colgate.edu.


Security Awareness Month: If something doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t

By mark hine on September 28, 2015
  • Question changes in your browser or desktop that you did not initiate.
  • Look carefully before responding to unsolicited emails or links.
  • Files or emails that are accidently shared or sent in error should be reported to ITS.
  • Report lost or stolen devices to Campus Safety right away.
  • Big changes are announced; take note of things that are not announced.
  • ITS can help you determine if a change is legitimate – call us at x7111

 

A simple, but important, step you can take to protect your digital life is to maintain awareness. When using your computer or mobile device, note when things are out of place, unexpected, or new without cause.

Emails and websites purporting to be from reputable companies will seldom have poor grammar or spelling. Be wary of unsolicited contact by email or phone, especially when they request any confidential or sensitive information or use an unfamiliar process. These are signs of potential intrusion attempts.

Changes to device backgrounds, new icons that suddenly appear on your desktop, especially after installing “freeware” or other downloaded apps, and other changes to your computing environment may signal that someone, other than you, has access to your device. Free software and apps are more likely to contain malicious code and should be avoided.

Be vigilant when using devices and the network. Report odd or suspicious changes on your computer to ITS. We can help you determine whether your system has been compromised and offer help mitigating issues that are detected.

Report suspected unauthorized access to data, mass email mishaps and any unintended changes to data or systems to ITS. Additionally, please contact ITS if you see confidential or sensitive data in an open environment.

Report lost devices to Campus Safety by calling extension 7333 as soon as possible. Report other suspicious activity in your digital world to ITS by calling extension 7111.

For more information, contact the ITS Help Desk at extension 7111 or email ITSHelp@colgate.edu.


Security Awareness Month: Lock out Phishing Attempts with Two Factor Authentication

By mark hine on September 28, 2015
  • Two factor authentication ensures that you are in control of your device
  • A unique one time code verifies your identity in addition to your password
  • Two factor significantly reduces risk if your password is compromised
  • You can ask Google to remember your device for up to 30 days
  • Your 2-factor codes can be recovered by you or with help from ITS


“It’s easier than you think for someone to steal your password. Any of these common actions could put you at risk of having your password stolen: using the same password on more than one site; downloading software from the Internet or clicking on links in email messages.

2-Step Verification can help keep bad guys out, even if they have your password.
Imagine losing access to your account and everything in it. When a bad guy steals your password, they could lock you out of your account, and then do some of the following:

  • Go through – or even delete – all of your emails, contacts, photos, etc.
  • Pretend to be you and send unwanted or harmful emails to your contacts
  • Use your account to reset the passwords for your other accounts (banking, shopping, etc.)”

src: https://www.google.com/landing/2step/

Here’s how to enable 2-Step Verification in Google (also called Two Factor Authentication).

  1. Sign in to My Account.
  2. In the “Sign-in & security” section, select Signing in to Google.
  3. Choose 2-Step Verification. This will bring you to the 2-Step Verification settings page.
  4. You will then see a step-by-step guide which will help you through the setup process.

Once you’re finished, you’ll be taken to the 2-Step Verification settings page again. Be sure to review your settings and add backup phone numbers. The next time you sign in, you’ll receive an SMS with a verification code. You also have the option of using a Security Key for 2-Step Verification.

Note: To ensure you are able to get into your account in the future, add an email recovery option to your account as well.


Security Awareness Month: Protect Your Personal Information – Know Your Sender

By mark hine on September 28, 2015

 

  • Phishing is an attempt to gain personal information which poses as a legitimate request.
  • Emails and websites can be made to appear legitimate
  • Never send confidential information via email.
  • Assess the reasoning for the information request. Consider a quick phone call to verify.
  • If you do accidentally respond to a phishing scam, contact ITS right away.

 

Phishing is a type of social engineering that lures individuals by making, what appears to be, legitimate requests for your personal data. Most often in the form of an email, criminals pose as trusted sources to trick you into providing a password or account number but instead use this information to cause harm.

According to experts, 156 million phishing emails are sent globally every day and 10% of those make it through filters. Shockingly, eight million messages are opened and 800,000 fraudulent links are clicked. Often, the emails are convincing. Other times, emails contain misspellings, poor grammar and odd formatting – clues that the request is not on the level.

Consider the information being asked and the source of the email. Links can be spoofed (made to appear like they come from a legitimate source). Logos and familiar icons can make an email or website appear to be genuine. Usually, subtle differences are visible that indicate this type of deception. It pays to be diligent and verify the authenticity of any request with a phone call.

Colgate University, and any legitimate commercial enterprise, will NEVER ask you for your password. Hover over links and check their true destination in the status bar (bottom of your web browser). Verify links on a web page in the same manner. Check the web address in the address bar. Pay close attention to the domain suffix (.com, .org, etc.) Does it originate unexpectedly from a foreign country ( .ru, .cn, .tw)? Many phishing scams originate abroad.

Consider what is being asked of you. Is it reasonable or something you requested? Be wary of offers that seem too good to be true – they usually are. Immediately delete suspect emails.

Report all phishing emails to ITS and let ITS know if you clicked on the link.

For more information, visit: https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/alerts/phishing.html

For more information, contact the ITS Help Desk at extension 7111 or email ITSHelp@colgate.edu.


Security Awareness Month: Strong Passwords Help Protect Your Privacy

By mark hine on September 28, 2015

 

  • Creating a strong password is an essential step toward achieving good data security
  • Strong passwords are created using numbers, letters and symbols
  • Don’t write your passwords down
  • Consider using long phrases with mixed case and numbers
  • Weak passwords contain common words and familiar sequences
  • Weak passwords are a common cause of security breaches

 

A strong password is the first line of defense against falling victim to cybercrime. A password will not protect you if it’s easy to find or guess.

 

What is a weak password?

A weak password is a common word or phrase, information that can easily be discovered about you (think Facebook), and popular phrases. Any of the following password examples can be cracked in minutes. Here are some examples:

 

summer15 Any word followed by a number
bonjour! A word in a dictionary in any language
password1234 Any use of “password”
Iloveyou An obvious phrase, with no alteration
MarySmith Any personal information, such as a child, parent, or pet name
Tulsa1995 Any birthday, anniversary date, or place of birth
GoRedSox Any sports team that would be obvious from social media

 

Creating a Strong Password

A few changes could make your passwords stronger. Below are some quick strategies for building stronger passwords:

  1. Lengthen your password – the closer you get to 15 characters the better
  2. Use all the character types (upper, lower, number, symbol) and don’t place them all at the end
  3. Make the password unique by adding in something unique for the website to the password
  4. Use phrases, not words

 

One way to achieve all of these, is to have a base passphrase such as : a_S1ice0fApplePi then add a unique ending to it: a_S1ice0fApplePi3

 

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