Infomration Technology Services
ITS' electronic newsletter highlighting technology services & initiatives
 

Need Help? New contact options for the UIS Help Desk!

In an effort to make it easier for our customers to contact us, the UIS Technology Support Center has changed its name in the address book to the UIS Campus Help Desk!

We've also added three new email addresses to those you can use to email us. In addition to our techsupport@uis.edu address, we have added help@uis.edu, helpdesk@uis.edu, and support@uis.edu. Mailing any of these addresses will route your request to our mailbox.

We are now easier to find on the global address list as well. If you start an email and type in either 'help' or 'support' in the To: field, then hold down the control key and hit the 'k' key it will display the UIS Campus Help Desk as a match that you can pick from the list.

These changes are meant to supplement our existing contact methods and we still would love to see you in person at the helpdesk. We are located in HSB 110 and have a walk-up customer service desk available. We can also be contacted via phone at 217.206.6000 or or 217.206.TECH or 877.847.0443 (Toll Free in the United States) and live chat by visiting our website.

Office 2011 (for Macs) Comes to UIS

Office 2011 (for Macs) was released in late October and is now available to faculty/staff for free via the Technology Support Center.  Students may purchase Office 2011 at a discount through the WebStore.

 

Microsoft focused on three things with this new release: better compatibility across platforms, improved collaboration tools, and a more refined user interface. Also, Outlook has replaced Entourage as the e-mail client. Office 2011 also boasts the Ribbon interface that was first introduced on the Windows platform with Office 2007. In addition, Office 2011 performs more quickly with applications that open faster than those in previous versions of Office. Workshops showcasing the new features and functionality are available.

 

Bomgar Now Available!

 

The UIS Campus Help Desk is now using a new tool to remotely connect to your computer to assist you. Bomgar allows us to connect to any computer with an internet connection both on and off campus! This new tool enables us to support your service needs with greater efficiency with improved security features and multiplatform support.
 

Wireless Network Expanded for Campus Housing Residents and Guests

 

UIS has expanded the coverage of the UIS Guest network to include all of the housing units on campus. In an effort to better utilize the latest standard in wireless technology (802.11n), ITS has opened the UIS Guest network to student guests. If you would like access for a friend or family member, please contact the UIS Technology Support Center (HSB110) at 206-6000.

Along with the expanded coverage to the student areas of campus, ITS has enhanced the login page for the Guest wireless, giving more detailed information and providing clearer instructions on how to obtain access. The UIS Guest network is an open unsecured wireless network that allows users to VPN into their secure sites.

For residents of campus housing in the Clover and Sunflower courts, ITS installed new Cisco Access Points to the interior of the buildings, greatly improving the wireless signal strength. Bluebell and Larkspur courts are next to have Cisco AP units installed inside the buildings. Bluebell should be completed during the Christmas break, and the improved wireless should be functioning when students return for spring semester classes in January. Larkspur will be done building by building in the spring, due to the ongoing construction project.

Desktop Refresh Program Status Report

 

The 'Desktop Refresh Program' has launched for all faculty and staff in Academic Affairs with the goal of covering all faculty and staff workstations by fall 2011. Under the program, every full-time faculty and staff receives a desktop or laptop computer once every four years. The main objective is to ensure that faculty and staff have the most current technology available, while making the replacement process seamless and cost-efficient. The savings will come from standardization and planned replacement cycles (reduced support costs), volume pricing, central purchasing and inventory control, and redistribution of replaced PCs to part-time faculty, graduate assistants, etc. A total of 99 computers are being replaced this fall:

Desktop Refresh Chart

Coming Soon: Exchange 2010

 

During the break between semesters, ITS will begin upgrading the UIS email system to Exchange 2010. The transitioning of employee mailboxes to the new system will begin at that time. With this upgrade comes some exciting new features and functionality:

  • Larger mailbox size (up to 2 GB from 250 MB)
  • A new interface for Webmail with many additional features, more closely resembling the functionality of Outlook
  • Tighter integration for Mac users (with the upgrade to Office 2011, Mac users will now use Outlook for their email client)
  • An improved voice messaging system that notifies you when you have missed a call and transcribes voicemail messages into text
  • The introduction of Outlook Anywhere, which allows Outlook 2007/2010 to be used outside the firewall without using the VPN
  • Easier viewing of others' availability when scheduling meetings
  • Notification if an Out of Office message is on before a message is sent

In preparation for a smooth transition to the upgrade, please clean up your inbox by deleting messages that are no longer needed, emptying the Sent Items and Deleted Items folders, and/or moving messages into Personal Folders or Archived Folders. Step-by-step instructions for cleaning up your inbox are available.

Student accounts will be upgraded in Phase 2, planned for the summer of 2011.

Check Out Our Instructional Support and Training Blog

The Instructional Support and Training [ISAT] team encourages you to visit our blog, blogs.uis.edu/isat. We plan to use this blog to highlight technologies that are being used to help enhance curriculum, announce training opportunities, and encourage conversations within the campus community about technology used for teaching and learning.

We hope that this blog will provide another avenue for us to provide support to you and also provide you with an opportunity to share with us and with others how you are using technology or would like to use technology. We encourage you to use the Comments feature to post stories, concerns, feedback, and more.

 

 
Faculty Showcase

Dr. Juanita Ortiz, Assistant Professor in the Criminal Justice Department, recently shared with us how she uses Turnitin in her teaching.

Dr. Juanita OrtizI began using Turnitin as a graduate teaching assistant, when I would use it solely for its plagiarism-checking capacities.  In fact, most faculty members I know around the United States are familiar with this program’s plagiarism-checking and gradebook options.  However, prior to my second year at UIS, I took advantage of online workshops offered by Turnitin to discover the many other tools that are available through this program.  These tools are all part of Turnitin’s WriteCycle series, and I would urge professors with a heavy writing component in their course to attend the WriteCycle Academy online trainings and to implement these tools into their courses. 

As a member of the UIS Criminal Justice department, I teach our major’s introductory writing course.  During my first semester with this course, it was pretty obvious that most students did not ever create a first draft, solicit any peer reviews, or proofread their assignments and make revisions before submitting them.  I knew these steps were essential to improving our students’ writing, but I wasn’t certain how to ensure each student engaged in each step of this process.  My first solution was to require students to submit multiple copies of their assignments, which I would code to protect each student’s identity, in order to manually distribute these to students for peer reviewing.  Yet this process was very cumbersome for me and the students, and it led to the writing process taking longer, as I could not gather the assignments until the next week’s class period.  I’d then have to give the students time to incorporate the peer reviewers’ revisions into a final draft.  The students also complained that their printing costs were getting to be pretty high, as they had to submit multiple drafts of each assignment, as well as a final draft of each assignment at the end of this process.  While I had engaged the students in creating first drafts, peer reviewing, and revising their work, it was not a popular process for me or the students. 

Entering my second year of teaching this course and having completed the online WriteCycle Academy trainings, I excitedly started implementing the first draft, peer review, and final revision stages for each assignment through the Turnitin system.  It has been a lifesaver for me and my students!  As this class meets once a week, I typically give the students a week to submit their first draft of an assignment.  I can set up the Turnitin peer review system to automatically and anonymously distribute a set number of peer reviews to each student after our class meeting.  This peer review system also allows me to create questions to focus the students’ attention on issues like thesis statements, organization, APA citation formatting, etc.  The students are also instructed to use the peer review system to suggest grammar/spelling revisions.  After the deadline expires for each peer reviewing session, Turnitin automatically distributes the peer reviews back to the original author.  I then give the students four days to consider the peer reviewers’ comments and revisions, and the final draft of the assignment is due to be submitted back through Turnitin by the next class period. 

This process is now an invaluable tool for my class for several reasons.  First, it saves me valuable time by avoiding having to gather physical paper copies, code them for anonymity, distribute them for peer review, gather them back, organize them by author, hand them back to each author, and then give each student time to submit a final draft of the paper.  What used to be a two to three week process is now a one-week process.  This process also ensures the students’ anonymity as author and reviewer, as all of the papers and feedback are typed, so students can’t figure out each other’s handwriting.  Finally, this process is also in line with our campus environmental sustainability goal, as it has eliminated enormous amounts of paper, since the entire process takes place online.  I thus greatly recommend these less-known Turnitin tools to all faculty members with a writing component in their class, as it streamlines our students’ engagement in all of the necessary processes toward writing improvement, while also making this process manageable and environmentally sound for everyone involved. 

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

Introducing...

ITS is pleased to introduce Bill Cox to our team.

Bill Cox is the newest member of the Instructional Support and Training team. Bill has 22 years experience as an Instructor/Trainer/Network Administrator in the Information Technology field at the college level. He looks forward to the new challenges and hopes his expertise will be of service to the University of Illinois community. We encourage you to visit Bill in the Media Lab (lower level of Brookens).

ITS would also like to acknowledge our Students of the Month for September and October.  Jon Vongkorad has worked in our Media Lab for the past 4 years.  He will graduate this May with BS in Business Administration.  Blake Bengtson has worked in the Technology Support Center for nearly 2 years. He will graduate in December with a BS in Computer Science.  We appreciate the exceptional level of support that Jon and Blake have provided and continue to provide to the UIS campus community.


Contact Us:  Technology Support Center | 217/206-6000 | techsupport@uis.edu
Media Lab | 217/206-6550
UHB 2000 Lab | 217/206-7100