Tag Archive for ITS

Local Youth Learn How to Use Technology for Social Good at “Hackathon”

Thafir Elzofri ’19

Thafir Elzofri ’19, at left, assists Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. participants in Beckham Hall.

On Feb. 24, Wesleyan hosted a “hackathon” for social good in collaboration with Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. The free event introduced more than 50 local children in grades 4 through 8 to technology and showed them how it could be used to create solutions that benefit nonprofit organizations. About half the children came from Middletown, while others came from as far away as Greenwich, Griswold and West Hartford to participate.

Seven Wesleyan students and two staff members served as volunteer mentors, working with the children to devise computer applications that addressed a range of problems facing local organizations. Five nonprofit social good organizations founded by Wesleyan students through the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship were the beneficiaries of these apps. Using MIT App Inventor, students learned the basics of app design, as well as the ideation and brainstorming process required to build a successful prototype mobile application.

Ahmed Badr ’20 gave a keynote address, in which he discussed Narratio, the platform he created for refugees to tell their stories.

Wesleyan Will Host Youth “Hackathon” for Social Good, Feb. 24

Wesleyan, in collaboration with Random Hacks of Kindness Jr., is hosting a “hackathon” for social good for students in grades 4 through 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24. This free event, to be held in Beckham Hall, will show local youth how technology can be used to create solutions that benefit nonprofit organizations. The hackathon is open to the public and requires no prior coding experience.

“Participants will be working with Wesleyan student mentors to create technology for social good,” explained Patrice Gans, president and executive director of Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. “By the end of the day we hope they will see how technology can have a positive impact on someone’s life.”

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.