University of West Florida

Information Technology Services

 

May 2009

Help Desk News

Google Apps for Education

At the end of March, UWF completed the pilot test of Google Apps for Education, a new solution for e-mail and calendar services. Over one hundred UWF faculty and staff partnered with Information Technology Services to explore the feasibility of replacing UWF’s current Exchange e-mail and calendar system with Gmail and Google Calendar. Based on the positive results of this pilot test the ITS Google Project Team is confident that Google can be strongly considered as a possible future messaging and calendar platform. ITS senior leaders will continue to review the findings to determine whether this course of action will be recommended to UWF senior leaders.

Many colleges and universities are now considering Google Apps as a feasible alternative to in-house e-mail and calendar systems. Google Apps is free for educational institutions, is maintained by Google’s support team, and can deliver unparalleled availability. In addition, Google’s position in the market provides advantages that UWF could not achieve on its own at a reasonable cost. This includes certain aspects of security. As online threats increase exponentially, it will become increasingly difficult for UWF to face these threats without a partner with the resources such as Google.

There is a lot to be considered before we proceed. ITS is continuing to evaluate Google Apps as we work toward a final recommendation. For more information, see http://www.uwf.edu/helpdesk/google/.


ArgoNet Printing Services

Since the advent of student printing services in the early 1990s, the university has provided some level of free computer-based printing for students. In the early days, students could print as much as they needed at no charge and with no quotas being imposed. Over time, however, the cost to the university of providing free printing services for students has skyrocketed. In the university’s major open access computer labs, including the library, printing costs have reached $60,000 to $70,000 in a single fiscal year. With regard to the university’s current budget pressure, the university can not afford to continue providing free printing.

Over the last 10 years, the university has systematically implemented a shared model where students receive some free paper. Once that balance is exhausted, students may purchase additional pages at a cost of $0.10 per page. UWF’s current model, which is similar to other university and college models, is to give newly admitted and enrolled students 100 free pages, to facilitate their initial interactions with the university in processes such as orientation and registration. When that balance has been used, students may purchase additional pages from the Cashier’s Office or online via Nautilus card or credit card. Visit the My ArgoNet tab in Argus for more information.


Did You Know?

Not only is your H: drive a convenient place to store documents, but it’s also incredibly safe.  Your data is stored on servers in the university's data center which are backed up hourly.  If for some reason an older file needs to be retrieved, enter “H:\~snapshot” in a windows address bar to see these backup versions of your H: drive going back days, weeks, and even months.  It is also possible to have your “My Documents” folder redirect to your H: drive, so that your work is always protected and available, even if your computer is disabled.

Making the H: drive safe and secure requires storing many versions of your files at different times. This can dramatically increase the amount of space consumed! Since all UWF employees and students essentially share parts of the same storage system, care should be taken for what is stored on it. Make sure you use it for its intended purpose: to safeguard the documents and work you produce and use at UWF. Please do not use it for personal photos, music, or personal video files.

For more information about backing up your files using the H: drive, feel free to call or e-mail the ITS Help Desk.  You can also visit our knowledgebase article to learn more about H: drive storage and how to connect to your H: drive remotely, even from home.


Changing Your Password Is Important

When was the last time you changed your password? If you're like most of us, it's been a while. Did you know that over 60% of UWF faculty and staff have NEVER changed their passwords?

Changing your password on a regular basis is important for ensuring that your personal information and university information remains secure. Over the last several years, there has been an increase in the number of attacks on university systems and data. Loss or compromise of data is not only embarrassing; it can also create financial and legal liabilities. Your ArgoNet password provides you access to various university information systems, many which contain sensitive information. Your ArgoNet password is also your e-mail password and it is the key to all the e-mail in your inbox and outbox. UWF employees should make every effort to keep intruders and hackers away from sensitive university information, business files and correspondence, and personal information. Good password practices, such as choosing a hard-to-guess password and changing your ArgoNet password periodically, are instrumental to this security.

One method for creating and remembering a new password is called the pass phrase. The pass phrase takes the first letter of each word of a phrase and creates an acronym. Letters are sometimes substituted with numbers and special characters. For example, the acronym for the phrase "Fred and Wilma like to spend money" could be "FaWl2s$". For more information and help on changing your ArgoNet password using a pass phrase, go to http://uwf.edu/itsecurityawareness/Passwords/changepass.cfm.  


Information Navigator – Procurement and Contracts

Did you know that Procurement and Contracts has over 40 different reports in Information Navigator? Popular among PCard reports is PROC000004 and PROC000009.  The PCard Auto Post Report (PROC000004) shows you what PCard charges have not been approved by the manager in Banner, and the auto-post date by which the charges need to be approved. Areas that need updating are highlighted for easy reference.  Charges that were posted without approval (and that now pose an audit exception) can be seen in the PCard Posted Not Approved Report (PROC000009). For more indepth information about these reports and any other reports in Information Navigator, click on the word HELP located on the same line as the report title.

Information Navigator is located in Argus, under the "My Office" tab in the Banner ERP System Channel and in the Administrative Tasks channel.


Wait to Install Internet Explorer 8!!!

Microsoft recently released Internet Explorer 8. This new release is not fully compatible with all applications used at UWF. The ITS Help Desk is currently testing Internet Explorer 8 and is not prepared to support any problems related to the web browser at this time. If you run Windows Updates, you should remove Internet Explorer 8 from the download list before proceeding. If you have questions, please contact the ITS Help Desk at (850) 474-2075 or helpdesk@uwf.edu.


Cable TV In Classrooms

Cable TV in the classroom was intended to foster the use of cable television programming and content to expand and enhance learning for students. The Cable in the Classroom (CIC) organization was founded in 1989 to promote the use of cable TV content in the classroom, working in close partnership with service providers in industry. The original audience for the service was K-12 educational institutions and was later expanded to include colleges and universities. Though an excellent idea for institutions of higher learning, there were many logistical barriers to using cable TV programming in the classroom. For instance, program scheduling rarely, if ever, coincided with course scheduling, and the use of content had to follow the vague and many guidelines related to copyright and fair use. For these reasons and others, use of cable TV programming in college and university classrooms was not able to be institutionalized.

The University of West Florida has made available cable TV programming in classrooms since the 1990s. Having the service available in all classrooms on multiple campuses is an expensive undertaking. A recent informal survey of academic department chairs and conversations with several faculty revealed that cable TV is not used by instructors as a pedagogy at UWF. In light of these facts coupled with current budget pressures, cable TV programming in university classrooms has been discontinued as a cost-saving measure. For more information, please contact Dr. Michael White at 473-7234 or michaelwhite@uwf.edu.

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