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Blackboard Downtime Planned for Wednesday, May 18


Boise State’s Blackboard Learn system will be unavailable due to a planned upgrade from 12:01 a.m.-noon on Wednesday, May 18. Instructors are asked to plan accordingly.

This upgrade will include performance and security improvements, but will not include any new features or interface changes. All course enrollments, content and contributions will remain intact during the downtime and upgrade process.

If you have questions or concerns about Blackboard being unavailable, or about the upgrade itself, please contact the Help Desk at (208) 426-4357, or email

Max’s Minute: Cybersecurity is a Team Sport

Images of a security lock

In his latest video, Max talks about cybersecurity at Boise State being a team sport, with the University, Office of Information Technology, and you working together to keep your personal and work data private.

Video Transcript

Hi, this is Max Davis Johnson, Boise State University, Office of Information Technology. Today I want to talk about cybersecurity. And specifically cybersecurity here at Boise State.

Cybersecurity is a team sport. The University is one of the players, OIT is one of the players, and you are one of the players.

There are many things that you can do to help protect your own personal identity, and your own personal devices. You know, making sure that your operating system is up to date. If it’s a Boise State-managed machine, we are updating your applications, we are updating your operating system as appropriate. If it’s your personal machine, please make sure your updates are turned on, you are updating your operating system, and you are updating your applications as appropriate.

Also, at Boise State we’ve got a cybersecurity website: There are daily tips, weekly tips, best practices that you as an individual can follow.

Higher ed is unique in the cybersecurity world. We run open networks, which means thousands of people, literally, come in on a daily basis, connect to our networks with their own devices. You know, obviously, students, faculty, guests to the University. That creates its own challenges. We have wide-ranging networks that aren’t necessarily controlled by everybody, so sometimes we have some inconsistencies.

There are a lot of things going on at the University that require us to be extra-vigilant. We have a lot of exposure. So, one of the things that the University does (and OIT does), you are asked to update your password, change your password, every 90 days. It’s important. I know it’s a pain. It’s a pain to me. It’s a pain for everybody that has to do it because we have multiple devices.

It is important. It is important that, from a vulnerability standpoint, that you have a strong password that you change frequently. It makes it harder for people to get into your personal information, it makes it harder for people to get into the University, and it protects not only the University assets, but it protects your assets that are online.

It’s a best practice.

Another thing that we will ask you to do at some point in the future, depending on what information at Boise State you’re going to be accessing, is something called two-factor authentication. You may be familiar with this from your bank. Basically you log in, you get a numeric code sent via text to your personal phone device, and you enter that. Another layer of security if you’re doing important things here at Boise State.

From an email standpoint, our biggest vulnerability comes in through email. We refer to it as phishing. The idea is that it looks like an official email, they ask you to download and open an attachment, the attachment contains some type of virus or malware that infects your machine. That in turn affects the network.

When in doubt, do not open an attachment if you’re not sure of the source or you’re not sure what the attachment is.

Also, Boise State will never ask you in an official Boise State email to provide your password or login. So if you get something like that, odds are really strong that it’s not from us. So do not respond.

Again, cybersecurity is a team sport here at Boise State. It involves the University, it involves OIT, and it involves you.

One of the other things that we do here at Boise State that we do get emails about, and some complaints, is the idea of timeouts, where the system will automatically log you out whether it’s myBoiseState or certain key systems like the PeopleSoft Student Center or like other PeopleSoft systems. And the idea here is that we have a lot of public computers, people get on a public computer, they do their work, and then they walk away from that machine without logging out.

We do this because it’s for your own personal protection, and it’s a best practice.

We are constantly evaluating the length of these timeouts, we’re constantly evaluating if there’s a better way to handle this, but for now timeouts are definitely needed, and we will continue to use this because it is a best practice. Especially where we’re dealing with public computers or computers in an office.

Contact Max

Send your feedback to Max at


We’re Removing QuickTime for Windows (and You Should Too)

Quicktime logo

The Office of Information Technology is in the process of removing QuickTime for Windows from University computers supported by OIT, as well as public computers on campus. This removal requires no action on your part.

QuickTime for Windows was recently found to contain two major security flaws, and these flaws will not be corrected by Apple due to Apple’s decision to no longer support the software.

If you previously used QuickTime for Windows to view .mov files or other video or audio files, you can use Windows Media Player or other software as an alternative.

If you have files that used to open in QuickTime for Windows and aren’t sure how to view those files going forward, please contact the Help Desk at, or call 208-426-4357.

If you have personal computers with QuickTime for Windows installed, we recommend you also uninstall the software as soon as possible.

Note this only applies to QuickTime for Windows; Apple will continue to support QuickTime for Mac OS X.

Reminders Added to Google Calendar and More Apps Updates

Google Calendar

Google has added the option to create reminders in Calendar on the web! (Previously, reminders were only available using Calendar mobile apps.) This is the update many of you have been waiting for!

You can set a reminder for a certain day and time that will carry forward until you mark them as done.

To create a reminder, click on a time on your calendar. Select “Reminder” on the pop-up window.

create reminders on web
Image: Create a reminder in Google Calendar

When you no longer need the reminder, just click on the reminder and click the “Mark as done” button.

mark reminder as done
Image: Marking a reminder as done

For more information about using reminders, please visit Google’s support page.

Other recent Google Apps updates:

If you have questions about these updates or need assistance using them, please contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at (208) 426-4357 or



Get to Know REEF, Our New Classroom Clicker System

reef info and getting started sessions

In December, the Technology for Learning and Teaching Group unanimously approved REEF Polling as our campus-wide student response system (clickers).

Get to know REEF at the following informational and getting started sessions. All sessions take place in River Front Hall (RFH) 301.

Register for these sessions on the OIT Learning Technology Systems OrgSync page.

Informational Sessions/Feature Demo

Discover the features of REEF and some clever ways to use clickers to improve learning and engagement in your classroom. These informational sessions take place in River Front Hall (RFH) 301 on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, April 12, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 13, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 14, 10 – 11 a.m.

Getting Started Training Sessions

Come learn the basics of REEF like: how to set up your class, polling and more. These training sessions take place in RFH 301 on:

  • Tuesday, April 19, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, April 20, 1 – 2:30 p.m.

Additional Info

For more information about the student response system evaluation, read the OIT news release or contact Daniel Gold in the OIT Learning Technology Solutions team at 208-426-2648 or

Bronco Appathon 2016 Highlights and Winners

Bronco Appathon 5

Four Boise State students each took home $750 as winners of the First Prize and Best Design categories at the 5th Annual Bronco Appathon, March 4-6.

Colby Morgan, Daniel Quatrone, Kaylee Morgan and Mikayala Jones created a relaxation app called Lilt, which featured several mini-games designed to reduce stress. They were awarded $500 each for wining the First Prize category, along with an additional $250 each for winning Best Design.

This year’s Appathon focused on designing apps for social and civic good. Student participants had 42 hours to design a mobile app from scratch.

Other apps developed included:

  • An app to control home appliances
  • A travel app to connect and meet with locals in a foreign land
  • A social app displaying posts based on GPS location
  • An app to display availability of Help Desk @ the Zone devices for checkout, and make a device reservation.

The overall quality of apps this year exceeded those of previous Appathons, and all of the judges were highly impressed by the skills of the students and their dedication throughout the Appathon weekend. According to Karen Toon, Appathon Coordinator, “The maturity and thought process of the participants is second to none.”

Video Highlights of the 2016 Bronco Appathon

More Information

For a complete list of winners and prizes, visit the Bronco Appathon website.

The Office of Information Technology thanks all of this year’s Appathon sponsors for their gracious donations!


Convert Text to Columns in Sheets and Other Cool Google Apps Updates

Google Apps

Google recently added several new features to Google Apps!

Google Sheets: Convert Text to Columns

Quickly convert text to columns in Google Sheets, just like you can in Excel! For example, if you have a column in a Sheet that contains full names, you can easily split the text into separate first name and last name columns. Simply select the columns you want to convert and click Data > Split text to columns.

Google Docs: Issue Commands When Voice Typing

Not only can you type with your voice in Google Docs, you can tell it to format as you go! All you have to do is pause while dictating, say commands like, “select paragraph,” “bold,” or “align center” and let Google do the typing and formatting for you. Note: This feature is only available in Chrome browsers.
Watch this 30-second video for a demonstration:

Google Docs: New Templates Added

Google partnered with five experts, including intuit QuickBooks and Reading Rainbow, to develop new templates for Docs, Sheets and Slides.  These new templates include an annual business budget, a pitch presentation,  lesson plan, and science fair template.

Google Docs: New Outline Tool Improves Navigation

Navigate lengthy documents more easily with a new navigation tool. This outline tool will appear in a pane on the left side of your Doc and will show headers for different sections. By clicking on the headers, you can quickly jump from section to section. If you haven’t identified headers in your Doc, Google will do it for you! To activate the outline tool, simply click Tools > Document outline.

You can read more about any of these features by clicking the header titles above.  For questions about these updates or Google Apps in general, please contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at (208) 426-4357 or

New Features in myBoiseState

my boise state

The new version of myBoiseState allows us to add new features and enhancements on a regular basis. We’ll announce these features here on the OIT News site.

What’s New?

Course Search Enhancements

Course Search within myBoiseState now provides options to search for courses by location and mode of instruction.  And, we’ve added links to our campus map to show you where onsite course buildings are located.

Course Search

Account Summary Privacy

Several items of student feedback related to concerns about prominent display of account summary info under My Accounts tab in the Student View. We’ve now collapsed the display of this info, so you’ll need to click the link to view your Account Summary info.

account summary

Clear Your Cache

Problems seeing these changes in myBoiseState? You may need to refresh your browser cache.

For assistance, please contact the Help Desk.

Much More to Come

We have a ton of additional new features and fixes in the oven and on the way. Thank you for your feedback!

Free Spring 2016 Training Classes Available


Want to learn more about WordPress, Camtasia Studio, Excel, or Google Apps? The Office of Information Technology’s Communications department is offering free technology learning opportunities for faculty and staff. To register or learn more about these training classes, visit or click the class links below.

Using WordPress at Boise State

Tuesday, February 16, 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Tuesday, March 8, 8:30 am – 11:30 am

WordPress for Site Administrators

Tuesday, February 23, 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Thursday, March 17, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Camtasia Studio Drop-In Labs

Friday, February 12, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Monday, March 21, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Friday, April 8, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Excel 2013: PivotTables

Friday, February 19, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Excel 2013: VLOOKUP

Tuesday, February 23, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Getting the Most Out of Google Apps

Monday, April 4, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Gmail: Organizing Your Inbox

Wednesday, February 17, 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Thursday, April 7, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Google Drive

Thursday, March 3, 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Tuesday, April 19, 9:00 am – 10:00 am

Google Docs

Friday, March 18, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Tuesday, May 24, 10:00 am – 11:00 am

Google Sheets

Thursday, March 31, 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Friday, May 13, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Group Learning Opportunities

Office of Information Technology staff will evaluate your learning needs and create (or facilitate) customized training for Google for Education, Microsoft Office, and other enterprise applications. Visit the OIT Training website for more information.

For questions about technology learning resources at Boise State, contact the Office of Information Technology Help Desk at (208) 426-4357, email, or visit our website at

Bronco Appathon 5: Write Some Code, Win Cash Prizes!


The 5th Annual Bronco Appathon returns to Boise State March 4 – 6, 2016!

Open to all registered Boise State students, Bronco Appathon is a weekend marathon of coding to earn cash prizes and awards. Free food and beverages are provided to participants and raffles will be held throughout the weekend.

Students form teams of up to four members and begin developing an app on Friday evening, then present their work to a panel of judges on Sunday afternoon.

Cash prizes of up to $500 per team member are available, with additional awards for Best Design, and a new category this year for Best Novice App.

This year’s focus is on creating apps for social or civic good. Additional consideration will be made for teams featuring gender or ethnic diversity.

Registration is open to current Boise State students through Wednesday, February 24, and is free of charge.

More information about Bronco Appathon 5 is available at