CTO Updates

Tom Wolf, CTO

October 2016

Leaf colors aren't the only thing changing around campus this fall. The Office of Information Technology is constantly looking for ways to help improve YOUR technology experience at Western Michigan University. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any technology related ideas and/or concerns. I look forward to hear from you: tom.wolf@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3838. Go WMU! Go Broncos!

SharePoint heading to the cloud: Four years ago we brought Microsoft SharePoint to campus. This initial on premise version of Microsoft's popular collaboration tool was only licensed for use by WMU faculty and staff. To date over 50 instances of on premise SharePoint sites have been created. Now that we have moved to Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint in the cloud became available to students, faculty and staff. WMU's SharePoint in the cloud sites can be granted to any WMU student, faculty or staff and accessed by anyone with a WMU-authenticated account. To request a SharePoint in the cloud site, faculty and staff should submit the faculty and staff SharePoint request form. Information on how students will obtain a SharePoint in the Cloud site will be forthcoming soon.

There is currently a project underway to migrate the 50 on premise SharePoint sites to SharePoint in the cloud sites. If you are the administrator of one of those sites, please email oit-sharepoint@wmich.edu to schedule your site's migration. Thanks!

My Mediasite update: In August we successfully implemented My Mediasite Desktop Recorder. My Mediasite Desktop Recorder is a lecture capture application that will eventually replace Techsmith Relay which is tagged for decommissioning on June 30, 2017. To be added to the list for My Mediasite Desktop Recorder training, to be held later this year, please email bradley.morgan@wmich.edu in the media services office. Questions may be directed to Brad at (269) 387-5363.

 Gone phishing? Phishing is an online scam involving emails with a clickable link. They appear to be from a trusted source, but are not. By clicking on the phishing scam link you may compromise your WMU Bronco NetID which could allow a criminal access to change your personal data within GoWMU. As part of our efforts to educate the campus community about phishing, we created a phishing website. In addition to generic information about phishing, this site also contains actual examples of phishing emails that have been received by the WMU community. Read more about spam, phishing and abuse email.

New Office 365 App Launcher: Microsoft continues to expand and improve their Office 365 productivity tools. They recently announced a new version of the Office 365 App Launcher with enhanced functionality, including greatly improved search features. Did you know that one in seven people on the planet are using Microsoft Office? Read more about these recent changes.

Windows 10 and Symantec: Faculty and staff considering upgrading to Windows 10 or Windows 10 Anniversary Edition on their WMU computers need to be aware that they must first upgrade to the latest version of Symantec Endpoint Protection before upgrading Windows. The latest version of Symantec may be downloaded and installed from the Software Downloads channel at gowmu.wmich.edu. It should be noted that the Symantec upgrade is not complete until your computer has been successfully restarted. Also, the automatic Symantec upgrade will be pushed to WMU owned Windows machines beginning Nov. 1. Computers with custom install package created by a unit IT support person, and computers that have already been updated will be excluded. Questions about the Symantec upgrade should be referred to your unit's IT support person, or the Technology Help Desk at (269) 387-4357, option 1.

Elearning copyrighted materials: Extended University Programs and the Office of Information Technology would like to remind the campus Elearning community that all materials uploaded into WMU's Elearning system must adhere to both copyright law and the TEACH Act. If you would like to upload materials but are unsure about the rules, policies and laws, please see copyright and ethics policies and statements.

Video VoIP phones: Video conversations are rapidly becoming the preferred communications medium for business interactions as video adds a much desired human element to business communications. With that in mind, our telecommunications staff recently activated the video function on the nearly 800 video-capable Cisco 8945 VoIP phones currently installed across campus. Faculty and staff who already have one of these phones may read more about using this feature on the VoIP Video Calling page. Faculty and staff who do not have, but are interested in upgrading to one of these phones should contact their phone service representative for more information.

Central Authenticaion Service (CAS): The Office of Information Technology is a strong supporter of WMU's Central Authentication Service (CAS). This service helps minimize the number of times students, faculty and staff are required to enter their Bronco NetID and password by supporting the concept of single sign on. By signing on once, you have access to multiple systems. GoWMU is probably the must well known campus service to be CAS-enabled. With so many systems now running in the cloud, we regularly find ourselves working closely with cloud software vendors to help improve the computing experience of students, faculty and staff through the addition of a single sign on solution like CAS. Last month, WMU's Elearning and Internet Native Banner became the latest two systems to support CAS. It is important to remember that if you have signed on using a CAS-enabled system, you should always close your browser completely once you have completed your work to prevent others from accidentally re-accessing your CAS-enable applications.

Elearning update: WMU's Elearning system, Desire2Learn (D2L) got off to a rough start this semester. The vendor, Brightspace, hosts D2L for WMU in the Amazon Web Services cloud. This is a relatively new hosting arrangement for Brightspace and as a result they experienced some growing pains, and associated performance challenges, as load on the system increased throughout the fall semester. We met with Brightspace many times in October to discuss these performance issues. As a result Brightspace made several significant configuration changes to WMU's D2L environment, thus leading to what we believe is now a stable and reliable Elearning environment. We thank you for your patience while we worked through these issues. 

Did you know? WMU's EduCable television system was converted to a completely digital system in 2014, at which point the number of channels increased from 60 to 120. See the complete listing here.