Tag Archive for ITS

Office 365 Offered to Campus Community, ePortfolio Replaced by WesPortal

You may not know it, but Office 365 is here and available to you. Office 365 is the Microsoft suite of online and locally installed applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as many others.

The online suite is available to everyone on campus through the Office 365 link in Portal under Campus Applications or by going to portal.office365.com, where you may login with your full email address. Mobile versions are available in the GooglePlay and Apple AppStore.

Karen Warren, deputy chief information officer, says that ITS is working department by department to migrate faculty and staff email to the Microsoft cloud environment, which will provide users with 50GB of email storage, a dramatic improvement over current allotments.

Warren offers additional information about Office 365:

• The Outlook online version offers a much more robust version

Wireless Technology Innovations Discussed at Wesleyan’s Eduroam Summit

The Eduroam Summit was held inside Usdan University Center on June 23.

The Eduroam Summit was held inside Usdan University Center on June 23.

On June 23, Information Technology Services hosted a Eduroam Summit to discuss innovations in wireless technology. Eduroam (education roaming) is a secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community. Eduroam allows students, researchers and staff from participating institutions to obtain Internet connectivity across campus and when visiting other participating institutions by simply opening their laptop or smartphone.

Representatives from Wesleyan, Russell Library, the Connecticut Education Network, Middletown Public Schools, and the Connecticut Commission for Educational Technology attended the summit, which included a talk by Eduroam’s U.S. founder Philippe Hanset. Employees from Wesleyan included Karen Warren, director of user and technical services; James Taft, assistant director of technology support services; Ken Taillon, network administrator; and Mohit Bachhav, network administrator.

“We implemented Eduroam for our campus community, extending access for Wesleyan faculty, staff and students beyond Wesleyan’s campus to participating institutions worldwide,” Warren said. “Now that service may being expanded to K-12 students with the goal of enabling students throughout the state to access wireless via eduroam on Connecticut’s campuses and libraries. Wesleyan wants to be at the forefront of this initiative in partnership with Middletown Public Schools and Russell Library.”

The event was coordinated by Information Technology Services in conjunction with the Center for Community Partnerships.

ITS, Library Offer Wesleyan Community Demonstrations, Lessons

Staff from Information Technology Services (ITS), Olin Library and the Science Library hosted a poster session and demonstration on Nov. 17 and Nov. 19.

ITS staff taught students, faculty and staff about EduRoam (accessing free wireless worldwide at participating institutions using a Wesleyan login); Lynda.com (online training for hundreds of software titles); WFS upgrade (Wesleyan Financial System); WesStation’s green ban on junk mail; cyber security and passwords; and the Master Calendar.

Library staff provided information on Browzine (a way to get alerts and scan through the latest issues of journals on a tablet or laptop using a Wesleyan login); “Not Just Text” (the wide variety of images, streaming videos, sound recordings, CDs, DVDs, maps and open access materials available at the library); customizing resources (class instruction, individual appointments and course-specific online guides or video demos; writing better papers; and ways to preserve the record of scholarly activity on a long-term basis.

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Hannah Norman ’16)

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Wesleyan Launches Responsive Homepage

The new Wesleyan homepage has been designed responsively, meaning that it adapts depending upon whether users are viewing it on desktops, tablets, smart phones or other mobile devices.

The new Wesleyan homepage has been designed responsively, meaning that it adapts depending upon whether users are viewing it on desktops, tablets, smart phones or other mobile devices.

Wesleyan has a new look online.

On Jan. 14, the Office of University Communications and Information Technology Services’ New Media Lab launched a new Wesleyan homepage and associated landing pages.

A new "Explore Wes" section, designed for prospective students, provides several factoids on Wesleyan's majors, faculty-to-staff ratio, student groups, affording Wesleyan, applying to Wesleyan and much more.

A new Explore Wes section, designed for prospective students, provides several factoids on Wesleyan’s majors, faculty-to-staff ratio, student groups, affording Wesleyan, applying to Wesleyan and much more.

The new design features a photo-rich look with an abundance of newsy campus content up top. As users scroll down, they’ll see links to upcoming events, President Roth’s blog, an Exploring Wes section catered to prospective students, and several more links connecting users to Wesleyan resources, tools and social media. Content, overseen by University Communications, is updated multiple times a week.

“The new page reflects current industry standards in web design, and we hope it will be more engaging for users,” explained Bill Holder, director of University Communications. “We want to appeal to prospective students and and other off-campus audiences, but also provide information and a useful navigational structure for our campus community, based on patterns of usage we’ve observed for several years.”

Wesleyan faculty and staff will see that a number of popular destinations — including portfolio and several sites currently subsumed in portfolio — are available both through a “tools” button in the top bar and through an expanded set of links in the page footer. These navigational options will be available on all Wesleyan webpages. Wesleyan students and prospective students can browse the new About, Campus and Community, Students and Academics page, which includes links to every area of study.

“Our hope is that campus users

ITS Launches Security Awareness Campaign

The ITS training videos teach computer users about cyber criminals.

The ITS training videos teach computer users about cyber criminals.

As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October, Information Technology Services launched a new security awareness campaign titled “Protecting You, Securing Wesleyan”.

The campaign consists of security awareness training videos; tips and tricks provided on the ITS Facebook and Twitter pages; posters distributed around campus; and a new website about cyber security initiatives on campus. The information will help Wesleyan faculty, staff and students be safer online, at work, home or on the road.

Exchange, Reuse Unwanted Items through Wesleyan’s Freecycle Listserv

Lisa Pinette, library assistant in Olin Library, offered this watercolor paintings recently on Wesleyan's Freecycle listserv. "They've been sitting in my closet for years. One of them is actually my own painting! I'm glad someone finds the beauty in them, and was able to take them and re-use them."

Lisa Pinette, library assistant in Olin Library, offered these watercolor paintings recently on Wesleyan’s Freecycle listserv. “They’ve been sitting in my closet for years. One of them is actually my own painting! I’m glad someone finds the beauty in them, and was able to take them and re-use them.”

Since 2006, the Wesleyan Freecycle program has facilitated the opportunity for one person’s trash to become another person’s treasure. Through its own electronic mailing listserv, Freecycle encourages students, staff and faculty to exchange unwanted items, rather than throwing them away.

Wesleyan’s program is part of the national Freecycle movement, where people give away things that they don’t need, or ask for items they do need. These items are free and recycled, hence the name Freecycle.

Jen Kleindienst, sustainability coordinator, has given and received dozens of items on Freecycle.

“Freecycle has definitely helped to build a culture of waste reduction on campus,” Kleindienst says.  “Multiple times a week people contact me to find out how to join, and it’s so rewarding to know that your ‘stuff’ is getting a new home.”“

Freecycle etiquette involves posting an email with the words OFFER, WANTED or TAKEN in the subject line, accompanied with the item’s name. A short description can go in the e-mail’s body with location of the item.  Photos also can be attached to the e-mail.

Follow these guidelines when making a post to Wesleyan's Freecycle list.

Follow these guidelines when making a post to Wesleyan’s Freecycle list.

To join the Wesleyan Freecycle list, e-mail lyris@lyris.wesleyan.edu with a blank subject and one line in the body: join Freecycle. Lyris will reply back with a confirmation e-mail link needed to confirm the membership.

Once confirmed, users can send messages through freecycle@wesleyan.edu and will receive all messages sent to that list.  For more information, visit www.wesleyan.edu/sustainability/recycling/freecycle.html.

ITS Staff, Students Speak at New England Computing Conference

Four staff from Information Technology Services and one student spoke at the NorthEast Regional Computing Program (NERCOMP) Annual Conference held in Providence, R.I. on March 26.

Karen Warren, director of user and technical services for Information Technology Services,  led a poster session on “The Best thing to Ever Happen at Wesleyan: Justifying and Sustaining LyndaCampus.”

Warren explained the successes of Wesleyan’s LyndaCampus implementation backed by usage data statistics, cost comparisons, and a description of the cross-departmental approach used to garner support campus-wide. The poster featured quotes and anecdotes from Wesleyan student users underscoring the benefits of the campus (versus a limited) implementation.

Heric Flores, manager of instructional media services; Robert Christensen, instructional media specialist; and student programmers Brian Gapinski ’14 and Justin Raymond ’14 spoke on “Cost-Effective Classroom Control: the cmdr Project.”

Built by Wesleyan, cmdr is an open-source touchscreen A/V control system that offers an alternative to the cost-prohibitive vendor solutions controlling the market. Built with Ruby, HTML5/CSS, and Javascript, the cmdr project hopes to bring innovation, budgetary savings and collaboration across higher education institutions.

Wesleyan’s New Computing Cluster Can Process Computations 50X Faster

Henk Meij, unix systems group manager in Information Technology Services, and Francis Starr, professor of physics, look over Wesleyan's new high-performance computer platform, located on the fifth floor of ITS. The new cluster runs calculations up to 50 times faster than the previous cluster, installed in 2010. The new cluster also offers an additional 50 terabytes of disk space for a total of 100 terabytes.

Henk Meij, unix systems group manager in Information Technology Services, and Francis Starr, professor of physics, look over Wesleyan’s new high-performance computer platform, located on the fifth floor of ITS. The new cluster runs calculations up to 50 times faster than the previous cluster, installed in 2010. The new cluster also offers an additional 50 terabytes of disk space for a total of 100 terabytes. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

While technology at Wesleyan is growing by leaps and bounds, the computational capacity is growing by gigaFLOPS and now, teraFLOPS.

Not to be confused with the prehistoric pterodactyl’s beach footwear, a teraFLOP is a term used in high-performance computing to quantify the rate at which computer systems can perform arithmetic operations. TeraFLOPs can perform one trillion operations per second (S), and for scientists at Wesleyan, this means calculations can be done up to 50 times faster with the new computing cluster, installed during the summer 2013.

Even when running at full capacity, the new computer cluster outputs only 78 degrees of heat. The older systems measured 100 degrees, and require more cooling power to operate.

Even when running at full capacity, the new computer cluster outputs only 78 degrees of heat. The older systems measured 100 degrees, and require more cooling power to operate.

“The new cluster has been revolutionary in my own work,” said Francis Starr, professor of physics. “I used to run calculations that would take a month or even a year to compute, and my patience would run out. Now, I can get results in two or three days.”

In 2006, Wesleyan’s computing cluster came in around 0.5 teraflops. In the 2010 at 1.5 teraflops, and the newest cluster has a theoretical capacity of 25 to 75 teraflops, depending on the application.

“By way of comparison, my Mac laptop comes in around 0.02 teraflops, so I would need 3,500 laptops to achieve the same compute power! I think I will need a bigger backpack,” Starr said.

The new technology also is “green.” While the new machine is 100 times more powerful than the 2006 cluster, it requires half the the electrical power to operate and less cooling power to run the hardware.

The new cluster is currently used by faculty and students in chemistry, computer science, physics, biology, the social sciences and the Quantitative Analysis Center. Henk Meij, unix systems group manager and a senior consultant for the QAC, manages the facility’s operation and offers support and maintenance for any software issues. He also offers training and teaches faculty and students how to submit jobs to the scheduling system.

“Anyone on campus who needs a fast computation, ITS offers this tremendous resource which can be very beneficial to your research,” Meij said. “We can now solve real world problems in a matter of days.”

The newest cluster cost $125,000,

Faculty, Staff Compete in Local Triathlon

Pictured, from left, are Mike McAlear, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry; Tom DiMauro, analyst programmer in ITS; James Taft, assistant director of technology support services in ITS; Brian Northrop, assistant professor of chemistry; and Luke Granato, a former assistant basketball coach.

Pictured, from left, are Mike McAlear, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry; Tom DiMauro, analyst programmer in ITS; James Taft, assistant director of technology support services in ITS; Brian Northrop, assistant professor of chemistry; and Luke Granato, a former assistant basketball coach at Wesleyan.

Four Wesleyan faculty and staff members completed the Litchfield Hills Olympic Triathlon held July 14 in New Hartford, Conn.

The triathlon featured a 1.5K swim, a 40K bike course, and a scenic, rural back road 10K run.

Wesleyan participants included Mike McAlear, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry; Tom DiMauro, analyst programmer in ITS; James Taft, assistant director of technology support services in ITS; and Brian Northrop, assistant professor of chemistry.

Northrop came in third place overall.

ITS Offers Campus Community Access to Online Training Library

Wesleyan students, staff and faculty can access lynda.com training programs by using their Wesleyan username and password.

All Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff now have access to lynda.com, an online subscription library that teaches the latest software tools and skills through high-quality instructional videos taught by recognized industry experts.

Using your Wesleyan username and password, (see instructions for accessing Lynda.com) the campus community can access more than 1,400 training videos on a broad range of subjects, including photography, design, music and video, home computing, animation, and web design and development. Acquire comprehensive training in popular applications such as Microsoft Office for both PC and Mac and Adobe Acrobat Professional. New courses are added every week.

Wesleyan students, staff and faculty can access the lynda.com library 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week — even from an iPhone, iPad, Android device, or mobile phone—and watch entire courses or single tutorial videos when needed. Exercise files let users follow along with the instruction as they learn, and bookmarks help users keep track of what they’d like to watch.

Karen Warren, director of user and technical services, said Wesleyan has struggled with providing training to help staff stay current on their skills without requiring time away from the office. Students, she explained, have asked for resources to expand their own knowledge and ways to get additional hard skills training to augment their liberal arts education while here at Wesleyan. And faculty have been seeking to reduce instruction time on software skills.