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We’re Here to Help!

We are the Office of Information Technology at Boise State University and we’re here to help! Visit our website, stop by one of our Zone locations, or give us a call at 208-426-4357 (HELP): We’re here to help.

Video Transcript: We're Here to Help

Intro music with an aerial view of the Boise State University “B” sign in front of the administration building.

>> MICHELLE: We are the Office of Information Technology

>> EMILY: and we’re here to help.

>> NARRATOR: Whether you’re a student wanting help with your free copy of Microsoft Office or an instructor wanting Camtasia Studio for your laptop, we’re here to help. And, we can install most software over the network while you’re on the phone.

Do you need immediate help with technology in a classroom? Our Classroom Support team is here to help. Just call the help desk and we’ll be there in minutes.

>> HARDWARE TEAM: We’re here to help.

>> NARRATOR: Drop by any of our three Zone locations for immediate support. Whether you want to check out an iPad or camera, update your personal laptop, or use one of the BroncoPrint stations, we’re here to help.

>> HELP DESK STUDENTS: We’re here to help.

>> NARRATOR: And, we’ve just opened the “Faculty Support Center” on the third floor of the Micron Business and Economics Building. We’re here to help faculty and staff understand the technology in our classrooms, check out equipment, or just get your computer tuned up.

>> MARC: And we’re here to help.

>> NARRATOR: Blackboard, clickers, Collaborate, and lecture capture: our Learning Technology Solutions team is here to help with all your teaching and learning technology needs.

>> LTS TEAM: We’re here to help.

>> NARRATOR: Do you want to improve your skills with Microsoft Office, our Google G Suite Apps, or video production? The OIT Communications team is here to help.

>> COMMUNICATIONS TEAM: And, we’re here to help.

>> NARRATOR: Do you have a question about a technology invoice or bill? Our OIT Business Services office is here to help with with all your billing research.

>> ISOBEL: And we’re here to help.

>> NARRATOR: Get your website up to date and tuned for accessibility and search engine optimization. Our WordPress and Web Accessibility teams are here to help.

>> WORDPRESS TEAM: We’re here to help.

>> NARRATOR: Do you need storage or compute power for your research? The Office of Research Computing is here to help.

>> RESEARCH COMPUTING TEAM: We’re here to help.

>> NARRATOR: Are you ready to implement or upgrade technology in your area? The OIT Project Management Office is here to help.

>> LTS TEAM: We’re here to help.

>> NARRATOR: Whatever your technology needs are this semester, we’re the Office of Information Technology, and we’re to help.

>> ALL: We’re here to help.

Introducing Google Team Drive

Google Team Drive

Google Team Drive is now available for Boise State students, faculty and staff.

Google Drive was originally designed for individuals, not teams. A constant problem is dealing with files owned and shared by individuals when they leave Boise State. Who becomes the owner of those files? How do we keep track of who has appropriate access to files?

The new Google Team Drive solves this. With Team Drive, files are owned and shared by a Team. When an individual leaves the Team, files and permissions remain.

Google Team Drives are shared spaces where teams can store, search and access their files anywhere, from any device.

Team members automatically see the same files regardless of who adds or reorganizes them.

Learn how to use Google Team Drive on our website. Additional information about using Team Drive is available in the G Suite Learning Center.

For more information, contact the Help Desk at (208) 426-4357, or email helpdesk@boisestate.edu.

Max’s Minute: Features Coming Fall 2017

Max Davis-Johnson, Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer, announces enhancements and new features the Office of Information Technology will release at the end of this summer for fall 2017 including student rosters in myBoiseState, push-button grade transfers from Blackboard to PeopleSoft, and a new look for Blackboard.

Video Transcript: Max's Minute: Features Coming Fall 2017

>> MAX DAVIS-JOHNSON: Hi, this is Max Davis-Johnson, Boise State University Office of Information Technology.

Today I want to talk about some of the things we’ve done over the summer and some of the neat things we’re going to be rolling out this summer. We do a lot of things behind the scenes and if we do them right, you don’t even notice, and some of those things:

We’re continuing to expand our infrastructure. What I mean by infrastructure: I mean our storage capacity, our server capacity, and our network capacity.

Another thing that’s going to be rolling out here in between now, and the beginning of the semester, is we’re going to be rolling out a new Blackboard user interface. It’s a much more disability accessible interface. It certainly improves where we’re at.

An important thing too though is that’s going to bring a consistent look and feel and navigation experience to all our students and faculty in Blackboard. And that’s very important.

Another really neat thing that we’re rolling out here at the end of the summer are some improvements to the faculty pages in myBoiseState. These improvements were developed by students. So in this case, it’s students schooling faculty.

We’re having some improvements to the class roster that will allow you to print it directly from myBoiseState including a picture version with the students’ pictures.

And what’s really nice is that we’re now putting in place an interface, integration, between the Blackboard gradebook and PeopleSoft.

Prior to this semester that was a manual operation where faculty literally would take their gradebook in Blackboard and enter it by hand in PeopleSoft. Now we’re going to have automation that will allow faculty to just do that directly when they’re ready to do it.

And another thing we’ve been building on, and will continue to build on, are our adoption of the cloud. We’re starting to do a lot of our web and mobile development in The Cloud, specifically the Amazon Web Services or AWS. When appropriate, we’re moving, looking at moving, infrastructure and other applications into The Cloud.

Oracle Financial Cloud is our first really large scale cloud-based application. We rolled it out a year ago and we’re continuing to invest time and effort improving processes, improving reporting, and the application itself.

We’ve already gone through multiple updates with improved functionality. So we’re certainly not done with that and will continue to improve it and make it a much more viable and usable system for all of campus.

Two additional things I do want to talk about are things that we’ve been working on for more than just this summer.

Currently OIT manages 150 of the classrooms here on campus. And so what that means is, one, over time we try and get a standard level of technology in that classroom. We directly support that classroom. More importantly, we do preventative maintenance, preventative activities in those classrooms so that they’re always available when needed.

And so we’ve done a lot of automation where we check in with those classrooms on a nightly basis. And this has actually allowed us to reduce the number of classroom support calls by 80 percent.

And again, the idea is to get a consistent experience in all our classrooms, not only for students, but also for faculty.

And another area where we’ve been, this has been a work in progress for the last couple of years, we have literally reduced the number data centers here on campus. We’ve consolidated.

We had 11 data centers that we have consolidated down to 2. And we’ve been able to do this through our highly virtualized infrastructure that we have.

We’ve essentially, if you look at the replacement costs of those 9 data centers that we’ve merged into 2 data centers, you know we’re talking saving the University over $500,000 in hardware replacement costs.

Some of the things we do they certainly take time. But we’re always looking how we can improve. We’re always looking how we can do better. And hopefully every semester, not hopefully, but every semester that students come back in the fall that we have made improvements from the prior semester. And, that’s one of our goals.

So, thank you for listening and we’ll see you next time.

REEF Polling is Now iClicker Cloud

iClicker Cloud

REEF Polling has changed its name to iClicker Cloud!

This change is simply branding. All of the features we love about REEF Polling are still intact, and the company hasn’t changed anything with regard to their support or future plans.

Things to know:

  • Same application, new icon. The instructor software has been updated on OIT-managed classroom computers.  Look for the new blue circle/white cloud icon to launch your polling sessions.
  • Update or reinstall on your personal computers. The new version of the application fully installs on your computer, making future updates easier to manage. Download the new iClicker Cloud software now to get started. We’re hoping this is the end of re-downloading the app and replacing the old version with each new release.
  • The LMS Sync settings are now labeled “Grade Sync” in Course Settings.  This reflects expanded integration opportunities with other Macmillan products. The gradebook interface will only show grade sync elements relevant to the type of integration selected.
  • Timer.  Select the timer on the polling toolbar to “Count up” to manually select when each poll will end, or to “Count down” to automatically end polling when time expires (or when the poll manually stops).
  • New attendance feature is moving out of beta! With this update, the much anticipated attendance feature is now publicly available as a free preview through Fall 2017.  Attendance allows students to check-in to class with their mobile devices or iClicker remote. This feature allows you to take attendance using geolocation technology that recognizes if students are within range of your classroom when they check-in. Check out the iClicker Cloud attendance feature overview on our website for more information.

If you have any questions about the re-branding of REEF Polling to iClicker Cloud, if you’d like help updating your personal computer, or if you want to learn more about the new attendance feature don’t hesitate to email lts@boisestate.edu, or schedule a private consultation with an instructional technologist.

You can also contact the Help Desk at (208) 426-4357, or email helpdesk@boisestate.edu.

10-Digit Dialing is Coming August 5th

telephone

Get Ready for Local 10-Digit Dialing

Due to Idaho’s new 986 area code, 10-digit dialing will be required for local phone calls beginning Saturday, August 5, 2017.

Local phone calls will no longer work correctly if you only dial seven digits. You must use the appropriate 208 or 986 Idaho area code before your local call is connected.

All of Boise State’s telephone systems configured with automatic dialing must be updated to use the new 10-digit local calling. Examples include fax machines, alarm systems, life safety equipment, and security systems.

In addition, University phone numbers listed on campus websites, business cards, letterhead, and marketing materials should be updated to include the area code.

New telephone lines may be assigned with the 986 area code after September 5, 2017.

Here’s What Stays the Same

  • On-campus calls to University phone numbers using 5-digit extensions (e.g., 6-4357) will not change.
  • Your existing telephone number and area code will not change.
  • A local call will remain local when using the 10-digit number.
  • Dialing “1+area code” for a long distance call is still required.
  • 911 or 8911 calls remain the same.

For questions or additional information about the 10-digit dialing change coming August 5, contact the Help Desk at (208) 426-4357, or email helpdesk@boisestate.edu.

Introducing Google Meet

Google Meet

Google Meet is coming to Boise State on Thursday, July 27.

Google Meet is a new video and conference calling service in G Suite (Google Apps) at Boise State focused on enterprise-friendly use. Think of Google Meet as more robust version of Google Hangouts.

As many as 25 people can participate in a Google Meet session using desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, and dialing in or connecting to Meet sessions is simple.

Participants can join Google Meet sessions through the Chrome browser, a calendar invite, a meeting link URL, a meeting code, or by using the Google Meet app on an iOS or Android device.

Learn how to start and join Google Meet sessions on the Office of Information Technology’s website.

Google also has comprehensive information about Google Meet online.

For more information about Google Meet, contact the Help Desk at (208) 426-4357, or email helpdesk@boisestate.edu.

Spotlight on Web Accessibility: Non-Distinguishable Links

Web Accessibility

The number one cause of web accessibility errors on the Boise State website is non-distinguishable links. Nearly 15% of pages on the Boise State website have at least one non-distinguishable link. That’s over 5,000 pages!

So, what exactly is a non-distinguishable link?

Non-distinguishable links occur when the same link text is used for links going to different destinations on the same page.

A classic example of non-distinguishable links is multiple uses of “click here,” “read more,” or “view here” on the same web page. This is an accessibility issue because viewers might not know the difference between the links without additional information, particularly if they are using assistive technology.

To avoid non-distinguishable links when you are creating a web page, writing a blog post, or sending an email, add some contextual information to your links. For example, if you are linking to an office on campus, include the page name as well so viewers know where they are going.

For example, your links could be written as “Registrar’s Office – Academic Calendars” or “Registrar’s Office – Final Exam Schedule” instead of “Click Here” or “Read More.”

Similarly, if you link to an article or webpage, add the name of the page or article to the link to provide additional context. E.g., “Read the Article on Neurobiology Research.”

For more information about non-distinguishable link accessibility errors, and how you can use our Siteimprove tool to find and repair those errors on your website, visit WebGuide.

For assistance with WordPress or web accessibility, contact the Help Desk at (208) 426-4357, or email helpdesk@boisestate.edu.

Add Money to Your Bronco Card for BroncoPrint Through myBoiseState

Bronco Print

We add $15.00 to each enrolled student’s Bronco Card at the beginning of every semester for use with BroncoPrint throughout campus.

While many students don’t print enough during the semester to go through their $15.00, some do quite a bit of printing and find they need to add money to their Bronco Cards.

We’ve now made it easy to quickly add money for BroncoPrint to your Bronco Card (and check your balance) through myBoiseState no matter where you are.

How To

Just log in to myBoiseState, go your Student view, and select the My Account tab.

Select BroncoPrint to view your current balance, and click the Add Funds button to add money to your Bronco Card using a credit or debit card. $5.00 is the minimum amount.

Bronco Print in my Boise State

Hopefully this will make it much easier to track your BroncoPrint costs throughout the semester, and add money to your card without having to seek out an Add Value machine.

For questions about using BroncoPrint, contact the Help Desk at (208) 426-4357, email helpdesk@boisestate.edu, or stop in and see us at any of our Zone locations.

Improving Lecture Capture to Increase Faculty Adoption and Student Engagement

Tech Smith

TechSmith recently published a case study on how the Office of Information Technology consolidated lecture capture technology to increase student engagement and faculty adoption, and save $350,000 each year.

In our ongoing efforts to standardize classroom technologies, we found the multiple lecture capture solutions in use due to decentralized decision-making were causing confusion for faculty, difficult to manage by technical support staff, and unable to accommodate flexible learning environments. Engagement with students was on a downward trend.

These multiple solutions were also costing the University an enormous amount of money each year.

By moving lecture capture to TechSmith Relay, we replaced hardware with software, thereby reducing onsite support costs. Lecture captures are now hosted in the cloud, eliminating the need for onsite hosting equipment. We can now make lecture capture available in any general classroom. Faculty now have consistent, streamlined tools available to edit and manage their content.

As a result, not only are we saving $350,000 annually in support, licensing, maintenance and hardware costs, but student engagement with lecture capture has markedly increased.

Read about the case study at https://www.techsmith.com/customer-stories-boise-state.html.

For additional information about lecture capture at Boise State, contact the Help Desk at (208) 426-4357, or email helpdesk@boisestate.edu.

Coming May 30: Additional Security Questions in PeopleSoft

Images of a security lock

On Tuesday, May 30, the Office of Information Technology will implement additional security measures to protect your privacy when accessing certain information in PeopleSoft (also known as Student Center).

Beginning May 30, you will be asked to verify your identity by entering your date of birth and last 5 digits of your social security number in order to view direct deposit and W-2 information.

Screenshot of additional security questions in PeopleSoft

If you have questions about this change or need assistance with the additional security steps, please contact the Help Desk at (208) 426-4357.

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