CIO Updates

Tom Wolf, CIO

March 2018

Is everyone ready for the spring semester home stretch? Only three weeks are left and the campus is buzzing with activity. Don't forget that if you need a place to collaborate with friends and food, the Bernhard Center computer lab has a large collaboration area and extended hours (Sunday through Thursday open 24 hours, Friday closes at midnight, Saturday 10:30 a.m. to midnight and Sunday opens at 10:30 a.m.). The University Computing Center lab also has collaboration spaces as well as quiet spaces and flexible hours (Monday through Thursday open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday closed and Sunday noon to 10 p.m.).

Consumers Power outage: The March 27 Consumers Power outage affected a wide array of campus internet and phone services. Once Consumers Power service was restored, the Office of Information Technology quickly discovered that over 300 pieces of internet and phone equipment had been damaged by the outage and had to be repaired or replaced. Even after a week of working day and night, the Office of Information Technology staff knows that many students in WMU housing are still without Wi-Fi service. The team continues to work as fast as they can to restore or replace the nearly 200 access points in resident living spaces that were damaged by the power outage. The Technology Help Desk has created a status page showing the number of damaged access points by building and how many have been repaired as well as how many are yet to be repaired. I would like to thank the campus community for the patience and understanding they have demonstrated during this unfortunate event. I would also like to thank the many OIT staff members who rose to the occasion and have been working long hours to restore the extensively damaged, yet highly critical, campus communication and connectivity services.

virtual reality lab on the lower level of Waldo Library

Waldo Library virtual reality lab: Let me start by thanking all of you for making the grand opening of the Waldo Library virtual reality lab such a huge success! Brandon Farwell a partner at Rothenberg Ventures said "360-degree immersive VR, especially in a classroom setting, will revolutionize education methodology." Are you a faculty member who is interested in learning more about the virtual reality lab in the lower level of Waldo Library and how virtual reality might enhance the learning experience for your students? Well a great way to immerse yourself in virtual reality is by attending one of the many workshops currently taking place in the virtual reality lab. More information about the workshops as well as links to online tutorials are found on the virtual reality website learning area. You can register for a workshop on the Office of Faculty Development's website. 

Free shredding event Friday April 20Free shredding event: Don't miss this great opportunity for students, faculty and staff to shred away unwanted personal documents and media. See WMU news for more information.

Phishing spike: On March 26 cyber criminals hit WMU's campus with a series of targeted phishing emails. When the dust cleared over 100 student accounts had been compromised. The Office of Information Technology is investigating numerous technology changes they feel will help reduce the number of phishing emails that reach the WMU campus community. That said, the best defense against phishing is "education". If you would like to learn more about how to recognize and respond to a phishing email, please visit WMU's phishing website. You will find extensive phishing related tips, training and real examples of phishing attempts targeting the WMU community.

Eduroam: Have you heard about eduroam? It is a wireless networking service that allows people from participating non-WMU institutions to login to the WMU eduroam wireless network using login credentials from their home institution. Conversely, WMU students, faculty and staff who travel to educational institutions around the globe can login using their Bronco NetID and password by using the eduroam wireless networks found at other participating institutions. Learn more.

Wired versus wireless conference rooms: Are you tired of messing around with adapters, VGA cables and HDMI cables when connecting your devices to the technology in your conference rooms? Would you like to find out about wireless options? If yes, I encourage you to touch base with the Office of Information Technology's conference room support team. They are experts in wireless connectivity options such as Airmedia. You can also stop by the University Computing Center and put Tom Wolf or Arnold Taylor on the spot for a quick demonstration.

About the Office of Information Technology Help Desk: Have a WMU related technology question, challenge or issue? Not sure who to contact? Well chances are the Technology Help Desk is a good place to start. The professional staff who work at the Technology Help Desk provide a wide array of technology related services as described on the About page of their website. If the Technology Help Desk staff cannot directly address your technology needs, they will probably be able to point you to someone who can. The Technology Help Desk can be found on the second floor of the University Computing Center if you would like to meet with them in person. You can also give them a call at (269) 387-4357, option 1, visit their website and fire up a chat session, or email them at helpdesk@wmich.edu.

Personal security: The Office of Information Technology offers web pages to help students, faculty and staff better understand personal security concepts like identity theft. These pages include information on avoiding identity theft and actions to take if victimized by an identity theft crime such as fraudulent tax filing. Learn more.

free 3D printing in MakerspaceAITC Instuctional Technologies Committee survey: I would like to personally thank the nearly 300 WMU faculty who participated in the recent Faculty Senate Academic and Information Technology Council Instructional Technologies Committee survey. I would also like to extend a special thank you to the Mathematics Department for leading the way with 20 participants! Survey answers will help mold future instructional technology decisions. Several survey results really stood out, including the significant number of faculty who were not aware of the many information technology resources available to them at WMU. Over 7% of the faculty were not aware that the Office of Information Technology provides educational technology services. That number jumps to 14% with respect to the Office of Faculty Development and 20% for Extended University Programs. On a positive note, 97.5% of the faculty did know that their college provided information technology support. For the remaining 2.5%, this web page lists the wide variety of departmental IT support units at WMU. Also surprising was the fact that 14% of the faculty were not aware that there are video creation resources available on campus and 11% of faculty were not aware that the Office of Information Technology, in collaboration with the student-run interdisciplinary makerspace, offers free 3D printing as a service.

In closing I would like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Christine Browning for hosting the monthly 2017-2018 Faculty Senate Academic Information and Technology Council's Instructional Technology Committee meetings. This committee is charged with researching and recommending current and emerging instructional technologies for adoption at Western Michigan University. If this committee sounds like something that may be of interest to you, I would encourage you to contact Academic Information and Technology Council chair Timothy Broadwater and request a spot on the 2018-2019 committee. We would love to have you!

OIT services survey at /it/surveyThe Office of Information Technology would like to hear from you: The Office of Information Technology provides many services to WMU students, faculty and staff. Our OIT services survey is your opportunity to tell us what you think of our services! Your responses will be useful for us to make informed and strategic decisions as we move forward.

Did you know? The Office of Information Technology will be creating a Virtual Reality Development Studio this summer in the basement of Dunbar Hall with student employees providing the majority of the virtual reality development. If you are a WMU faculty member and have an idea for a virtual reality learning environment or if you are a WMU student who is interested in creating virtual reality environments, please reach out to Kevin Abbott to discuss the possibilities. The Dunbar Virtual Reality Development Studio may be able to turn your dreams into (virtual) reality!