CTO Updates

Tom Wolf, CTO

July 2016

I hope everyone had a chance to participate in one of the many parent orientation sessions held this summer in the main lobby of Sangren. The enthusiasm of the parents was contagious. If the incoming freshman class has half the energy that their parents have, then WMU is going to have a fantastic 2016-17 academic school year. I can't wait! With that in mind, let me share with you the following Office of Information Technology news and updates and as always, if you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you at tom.wolf@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3838. 

W-Exchange update: In April of 2015, shortly after WMU's cloud email service provider announced plans to discontinue offering email as a service, the Office of Information Technology extended an open invitation to the entire campus community to participate in a search for a new email system. A committee was formed and five months later the Information Technology Executive Advisory Board approved the committee's recommendation to migrate the campus from Webmail Plus to W-Exchange, powered by Office 365. As of July 31 96.99% of WMU's roughly 60,000 email accounts have been migrated to the new email/collaboration system. The remaining 1,821 accounts are scheduled for migration in October, 2016. In the meantime if you have any questions or issues related to your email account, please contact the IT Help Desk or visit the official email website where you will find an abundance of W-Exchange training opportunities.

MyMediasite update: As mentioned in the March CTO Updates, WMU is planning to replace the current lecture capture application, Techsmith Relay, with Sonic Foundry's MyMediasite Desktop Recorder. As part of the same project, WMU is also planning to migrate from an on premise version of Mediasite to an off premise version of Mediasite. The exact dates are still be negotiated but current expectations are that the existing WMU hosted Mediasite will be shut down between August 22 and August 25 so data can be migrated to our new cloud-based Mediasite solution. Note that from September of 2016 until June of 2017, faculty will be able to use both lecture capture solutions with the Techsmith Relay product eventually being decommissioned in June, 2017.

Digital badges: Digital badges were first made available to the WMU campus community in July, 2014 as a stand-alone solution. As of the completion of the July 4, 2016 upgrade of WMU's Elearning solution, Brightspace by D2L, digital badges are now fully integrated into the Elearning system. If you are a faculty member who is interested in leveraging digital badge functionality (called Awards), please contact the Faculty Technology Center for more information.

Michigan Battle of the BuildingsBattle of the Buildings: WMU had six buildings competing in the year long GreenU sponsored multi campus Michigan Battle of the Buildings energy reduction and conservation through education, outreach and awareness competition. Final results were made available this month and four of WMU's six buildings ended up finishing in the top 10 state wide in the "College" category. The University Computing Center was ranked second highest among six WMU buildings and fifth overall (out of 26 college buildings). I would like to both thank and congratulate facilities and OIT staff for all their hard work during the 2015-2016 Michigan Battle of the Buildings competition.

Ransomware: A very dangerous form of malware known as ransomware is making the rounds. It comes in an email with subject lines that appear legitimate, usually asking you to look at the "requested documentation" and including an attached file. OIT periodically pushes out public service announcements reminding staff to never open unexpected attachments sent via email. If you receive an email and have any question about the authenticity you should always contact the sender before opening any attachments. In most cases you need do nothing more than delete the message, although it always appreciated if you choose to first forward the message as an attachment to abuse@wmich.edu so the message can be investigated further and corrective actions taken to hopefully block future emails from this cyber-criminal. See the FBI handout on ransomware.

Scholarship phishing: Cyber-criminals have also been busy sending emails to prospective foreign students claiming they are affiliated with WMU and claiming that the student will receive a WMU scholarship once they send a wire transfer to cover the cost of their visa. If your office receives any inquiries about these fictitious scholarship emails, please try to obtain a copy of the email the prospective student received and forward it as an attachment to abuse@wmich.edu. Thanks!

Single Number Reach: Tired of missing phone calls? Tired of maintaining multiple voicemail boxes? If you have a WMU VoIP phone, our telecommunications team may have a solution for you. It is a service called Single Number Reach. I have been using it for years now and with Single Number Reach, calls to my desk phone ring simultaneously on my cell phone. It can actually ring on up to four additional phones at the same time. Read more about this productivity enhancing service

Student food bank: With an influx of diverse students on campus comes an influx of diverse needs, so let's all work together to make the third year of WMU's highly successful Invisible Need Project even better than the first two years. This project continues to be a point of pride for the Bronco community.

Cloud storage: Hey students, faculty and staff, did you know that you have one terabyte of cloud storage on the Microsoft 365 based One Drive and unlimited cloud storage on the Google Apps for Education Google Drive?

Did you know? How many of you know that Waldo Library is in the process of creating an Internet of Things (IoT) research space? If you are interested in find out more about this exciting cutting edge project, feel free to reach out to Associate Dean of Libraries Information Technology May Chang or Office of Information Technology Senior Director of Research Support Matt Tomczak.