ITS' electronic newsletter highlighting technology services & initiatives

Blackboard 9 Upgrade


This summer UIS will upgrade to the latest version of Blackboard complete with new features that students want and improved browser support. This upgrade features a host of new tools, including:

  • blogs

  • journals

  • a What's New module that automatically populates with any changes to the course since the last log in

  • a To Do module that highlights overdue work and assignments that are coming due

  • a nightly digest sent via e-mail highlighting any changes to the course that day


The upgrade also includes improvements in several areas, including:

  • an easier-to-use Grade Center

  • a separate drop box available for each assignment

  • the ability to drag and drop to customize the layout

  • simpler creation and management of self and peer assessments and groups

  • an integrated Control Panel making the addition of content much simpler for faculty


For more information visit the Blackboard 9 Blog. Training on Blackboard 9 is available for both students and faculty/staff.

AnyConnect: UIS' New VPN Client

ITS has implemented the AnyConnect VPN client that will replace the older Cisco VPN client. The new AnyConnect VPN client is fully compatible with all versions of Windows and Macintosh operating systems and is available free of charge for all UIS faculty, students, and staff. Also, because the UISWiFi network is now campus-wide, a VPN client is no longer needed for connecting to the campus wireless network. The AnyConnect VPN client will only be necessary for those wishing to connect to the UIS network from off-campus. For more information about downloading and installing the new VPN client, please visit the AnyConnect VPN webpage.


Coming This Fall:  Windows 7

This fall, all classroom and lab PCs will be upgraded to Windows 7, Microsoft's latest operating system.  Windows 7 comes with many benefits for our campus, including ease of use, additional functionality, and improved security.


For those interested in upgrading to Windows 7 on office PCs, please contact the Technology Support Center.  We will verify that your computer meets the system requirements and help you backup your files before we upgrade your machine.


For those interested in upgrading at home, Windows 7 can be purchased from the WebStore.


Windows 7 workshops will continue to be offered throughout the summer and fall.  Upcoming workshops for May will be held in BRK 141B on:

  • Thursday, May 20:  2pm - 3:30pm

  • Wednesday, May 26:  10am - 11:30am

UHB Laptop Checkout


The University Hall Computer Lab (UHB 2000) is now offering laptop checkout service to students. Windows-based laptops with wireless internet connections are available for loan without charge for periods up to 4 hours (1 per person). Eligible patrons will need to provide a valid I-Card upon checkout and return.

All users are required to follow UIS policies regarding:


Fines will be assessed for late returns as well as missing / damaged equipment. Patrons with fines/revoked privileges will not be eligible for laptop checkout.

For more information, please visit our website.

my.UIS Upgrade

We are excited about the many ways that the portal is being used at UIS and are now pleased to announce that a new version (3.1.1) of the my.UIS portal has been unveiled. We believe that the upgraded portal better reflects the expectations which users have for current interactive websites.  Details about the new features, including ease of navigation and faster customization, are available on the my.UIS webpage.


We have also extended the time-out period to 3 hours for faculty/staff.  Student sessions will continue to be timed-out after 1 hour of inactivity.


Faculty Showcase

In this issue, we are showcasing the work of Dr. Keenan Dungey, Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department. 

This semester, Dr. Dungey is teaching a large chemistry class (more than 50 students) and has been using a SMART Podium installed in UHB 2034, along with Camtasia Relay, to help with delivering his lectures.

Camtasia Relay was introduced to UIS last semester, and Dr. Harshavardhan Bapat pioneered its use in a large lecture class (more than 90 students). He used it in conjunction with a Tablet PC to capture his lectures for streaming to Blackboard so that the students could review the material. Since Dr. Dungey is teaching the same students, he decided to try the technology.

The Podium is like a Tablet PC, only it’s installed in the classroom, replacing the normal computer screen. It has a stylus that can be used for making notations directly onto the monitor. The user can create drawings, sketches, highlight text, handwrite, and access the mouse functions with the stylus. Since it’s plugged into the classroom computer, the notations are projected so that the entire class can see them.

In CHE 241 Principles of Inorganic Chemistry, this tool has been very useful, allowing Dr. Dungey to show students how to solve problems by writing out each step of a calculation, as well as drawing chemical structures. His approach to each class session is to organize his lectures notes with Microsoft PowerPoint and make the slides available for the students to download before class. During the lecture he makes notes directly onto the PowerPoint screen. He has the flexibility to engage the students with questions (ConcepTests and Guided Inquiry worksheets) and respond to their questions. It is all recorded in real-time with audio using the Camtasia Relay software and a directional microphone installed in the classroom. The Camtasia Relay software automatically links the captured lecture into his course Blackboard site so that students can review it later.

For years with this course (and others), Dr. Dungey had been handwriting his notes onto printed PowerPoint slides, projected with the classroom document camera. The SMART Podium technology is much better. It was easy to learn and automatically takes care of posting the notes for the students.

To learn how we can support you in incorporating technology into your curriculum, please contact Kara McElwrath.

How Do I...

Learn more about Windows 7?  Watch this short video to learn how.

Please keep in mind that you can easily embed any video file from Atomic Learning into your Blackboard course or course website, allowing students to review or learn new skills that will help them complete course assignments and projects.

Technology Support Center, HSB 110
• (217) 206-6000
• (877) 847-0443 [Toll free]

Media Lab, BRK 180
• (217) 206-6550

UHB Computer Lab, UHB 2000

• (217) 206-7100