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Service Desk is the new Help Desk

Over the last year, a variety of changes have been implemented across Campus Technology Support (CTS) to help improve efficiency and better assist our faculty, staff, and students. Many of these changes have had a strong impact on the Technology Help Desk, evolving the unit’s traditional role into that of a Technology Service Desk. As a Service Desk, the unit will be able to better track, prioritize, and escalate technology issues affecting the university community. Continue reading »

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4 tips to help prevent drive-by downloads

If you have ever installed a software program, you are probably familiar with having to click on an “accept”, “confirm”, or “agree” button before the program will install.  A drive-by download is a download of adware, malware, or software not authorized by the user.  A drive-by download can happen as you visit websites.  The downloads happen in the background with the most common purposes of recording sites you visit and searching for passwords on your system. Continue reading »

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A crash course in Syncplicity

If you haven’t already activated your Syncplicity account, now is the perfect time to do so. IMG_1739The time between summer sessions is perfect for organizing and backing up your work-related data so that you can access it from any device, at any time. If you have already activated your Syncplicity account, there are a variety of features that might not know about that will help you easily manage all the work you have stored on your computer, particularly if you just received a summer replacement computer. Continue reading »

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CIO Waters accepts leadership position with national IT organization

Christopher Waters headshotChristopher Waters, CIO at Elon University, was recently appointed to a one-year term as Director-at-Large for the Association for Communication and Information Professionals. His appointment came during the association’s annual conference, held this year in Dallas, Texas, where he was already giving a presentation on managing information technology in higher education. This opportunity will give Elon a chance to participate in technology conversations at a national level.

His new appointment

Waters was offered the chance to sit on the association’s Board of Directors as a Director-at-Large for the upcoming year, a privilege annually extended to one member of the organization.

“The incoming president gets to appoint one member from the membership to sit as a director for a year,” Waters said. “That’s because that president is looking for a skill set, input, and set of values [to add to the group.] I was honored to be that appointee.”

As Director-at-Large, Waters will have monthly phone meetings with the Board of Directors to discuss goals and pursuits of the organization. Waters says he is excited for this opportunity to work so intimately with an organization that can help his employees here at Elon.

“I get to help shape an organization that could help our own staff,” Waters said. “I like having the opportunity to be in the company of different institutions from all over the nation. I’ll be sitting around a table with people who are my peers from other universities.”

His presentation

Waters also gave a presentation entitled “Leveraging Information Technology Resources in the Changing Higher Education Landscape” with Sue Workman, the associate vice president of client services and support from Indiana University.

“We covered topics like staff development, budgeting resources, infrastructure, teaching and learning impacts, organization structures,” Waters said. “We took all things we deal with in our daily jobs, and created interactive presentation in which we asked the audience what they were doing in their universities. We wanted to do something more than just telling people how things worked.”

What it means for Elon

Waters walked away from Dallas this year with a new position and four days worth of new information he can apply to his day-to-day operations as Deputy CIO. He says he values these opportunities to learn new practices and ideas he can share with his team at Elon.

“Any time you’re exposed to what your peers are doing, you learn something,” Waters said. “Having the opportunity to look outside the walls of Elon and hear what other larger and smaller universities are dealing with helps you make more informed decisions in your own organization.”

While he learned a number of things that he can apply to his position at Elon, Waters says the most striking and rewarding parts of these conferences is the reassurance that he and his team at Elon are doing the right things.

“You always walk away from these conferences with feeling good about where you are,” Waters said. “When I hear about universities struggling, I remember that I am supported and we have a strong staff that’s developed. I’m very proud of what is happening at Elon.”

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Android worm, Selfmite, discovered

Android_Robot_100Android is one of several operating systems such as, Windows and iOS, which runs mostly on mobile devices.  We all know mobile devices are not immune from malware and AdaptiveMobile confirmed last week in a blog post of a worm called Selfmite on Android smartphones.  A worm is a form of malware which replicates itself on different machines, servers, or devices.

Selfmite was able to replicate using SMS (text messages).   A shortened goo.gl URL was sent in a text message which actually pointed to the Selfmite worm.  If the user clicked on the link a message appeared asking to download and install a package called ‘The self timer’.  Once the user agrees to installing, the malware begins to search for 20 contacts on the phone and sends a text message to each of them with the same goo.gl shortened URL and the cycle continues if the contacts click on the link.  These text messages happened without the user’s knowledge which could lead to a higher phone bill if the user has a limited number of text messages per month.

The good news is once the worm was discovered it was reported to Google who has disabled the goo.gl URL.  This discovery is a reminder of our responsibility in helping to protect our devices.  Know what operating systems are running on your devices so you will quickly know if your devices are affected when you hear of new threats.  As always, be careful when clicking links in unsolicited emails and text messages.  Read the article, Are shorten URLs safe? to see how to test a shorten URL’s location before actually going there.

Image by Google / CC by 3.0

 

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Book Review: The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game by Lee Sheldon

Cover - The Multiplayer ClassroomTeaching pharmacology in a physician assistant program means delivering a HUGE quantity of evolving information in a short amount of time. I look for class days where I can decompress material and review. Enter gamification, not a new concept but one relatively recently applied to education. Gamification takes game concepts and applies them to things that aren’t games. If you’ve ever collected frequent flyer miles or shopping rewards points, you’ve participated in gamification.

I introduced games into my classes with the Jeopardy Powerpoint template. It’s a great way to review material and break complicated information into separate parts for easier understanding. I have also been able to adapt several board games such as Pictionary, Apples to Apples and Clue to review class materials. However, as with many gamers, I have a desire to ‘level-up’ by delivering new content or offering methods for the students to individually review concepts in a game format. Continue reading »

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Prepare your device for online courses

Students at laptopTaking an online course during the summer is quite different from your normal run-of-the-mill classroom courses of fall and spring. Even though the first summer session of classes is well underway at Elon, the second summer session of courses is right around the corner. Here are some tips to help students beginning summer classes succeed from the very beginning. Continue reading »

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Have you checked your credit report lately?

When was the last time you requested your credit report?  A credit report includes how you pay your bills,  if you ever filed for bankruptcy, any loan defaults, and a listing of your opened and closed credit accounts.  It is important to make sure your credit report is accurate to guard against identity theft and to check for errors which could cause you not to get a loan or the best loan rates.   The good news is checking your credit report is free. Continue reading »

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Summer computer replacements begin

Last week,IMG_1435 Campus Technology Support (CTS) began its annual summer replacement program for computers that have completed their four year life cycle. The replacement program targets Elon University faculty, staff, and computer labs on the main campus, as well as at the Law School. If your computer is up for replacement, there are a few tips you can keep in mind to help keep the transition as smooth as possible. Continue reading »

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Protect your building access

Card accessSometime or another you may have a key or access card to gain access to a building.  Whether it is the building you work in, your apartment, or the building you attend classes, the key or card authorizes you to get into the building.  Have you ever swiped your access card and let someone behind you in as a courtesy?  Has anyone ever slipped in behind you before the door closed?  Both of these are breaches of building security and they are usually overlooked. Continue reading »

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