(eNews Extras are late-breaking stories not included in the printed version of this newsletter)
Students can now access a UW computer lab node from any remote location that has an Internet connection – anywhere in Wyoming or anywhere in the world.
The UWStudent Remote Lab Pilot Project is a collection of 48 specialized lab computers designed to be accessed from a remote network connection. The remote lab computers have configurations identical to the UWStudent lab computers found in campus computing labs. Access to student H: drive storage, roaming profiles, and specialized software are all available through the remote lab computers.
Through generous funding from the Central Student Technology Committee, Information Technology purchased equipment and software that allows students, faculty, and staff with a UWYO domain account to access the remote lab.
The remote lab pilot project will be extensively expanded with funding recently received from the Wyoming State Legislature. IT is in the process of evaluating software and hardware options to significantly expand and improve the remote lab pilot project’s capabilities. Over the next two years, improvements will be made resulting in a robust computer lab and software delivery system available from on- or off-campus. The improved system will have several hundred remote computers for access.
To read more about the current UWStudent Remote Lab system or to test it out, visit microlab.uwyo.edu/uwsremote.
The University of Wyoming is very serious about the protection of personal data for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other members of the university community. Many efforts have been made to secure this data, ranging from hardware and network security, to software protection, to changes in university business processes. One particular area of focus over the last two years has been the elimination of Social Security numbers (SSNs) as the primary personal identifier. While there are a few instances where UW still must collect SSNs (including tax and payroll purposes), great strides are being made to eliminate the use and availability of SSNs from other areas:
Using the W Number in place of the SSN is a good step in protecting data, but there is much more that needs to be done. Individuals can do a lot to protect their information, but departments also have an important role to play.
The University of Wyoming takes the protection of personal data very seriously. Data protection is everyone’s responsibility.
IT is available for discussions regarding data protection and privacy. Please contact Dan Ewart at 307-766-4866 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Alice Freeman, Information Technology’s Training Program manager, is retiring after more than 25 years of service to the University of Wyoming. Twenty-two of those years have been spent working in Information Technology.
Alice began her career at UW in 1981working for the Home Economics Department. In 1984, she transferred to what was then called Computer Services as the coordinator for Microcomputer Services. Yes, what we now know as PC support started with Alice Freeman over two decades ago.
In the mid 1980’s, Alice embarked on a long and successful trek towards building service programs geared toward computer skills development for UW employees. She dedicated herself to life long learning and employee professional development from the infancy of computer support, helping people with computers and software programs, and managing the IT Training program.
For the past 15 years, Alice has focused on the IT Training Program and educating about computing resources, offering 60 courses a year on popular software and specialized topics. She has delivered presentations to the UW Board of Trustees, at Faculty Orientation, and to the campus community as a whole.
What is a W Number and where can I find mine?
The W Number is your new personal identifier at UW. In most instances, it replaces the use of your Social Security number (SSN). Everyone who has a computer account at UW has a W number. With the rise of issues such as identity theft, it is desirable to eliminate the use and availability of SSNs wherever possible. The best opportunity to replace SSNs as identifiers was with the implementation of the new student information system and WyoWeb.
For students, the W number is available in WyoWeb. Log in, go to the Student Resources tab, find the Registration Tools channel, and click the Health Insurance Coverage link. The W number is on the right side of the screen, near the top, followed by the student’s name.
For faculty, your W number is also available in WyoWeb. Log in, go to the Faculty tab, find the Faculty Dashboard channel and click on the name of one of your courses. Your W number is on the right side of the screen, near the top, followed by your name.
While WyoWeb changes are in progress to allow staff to easily find their W number within WyoWeb, for now staff should contact either the Office of the Registrar or Human Resources to obtain their W number.
Why do I have to answer security questions when I first log in to WyoWeb?
The purpose of the security questions is to provide a mechanism for you to reset your own password if you happen to forget it. If you forget your password, go to the WyoWeb log in page (http://wyoweb.uwyo.edu). On the left side of the screen, in the Secure Access Login box, click “Forgot your password? Click here.” The system will ask for your username and then ask you to answer three of the security questions (answers are case sensitive). If you answer the questions correctly, you will be allowed to enter in a new password.
If you have a password issue that you can not resolve, please contact the Information Technology Help Desk at 307-766-HELP (6-4357), option 1.
Can I make WyoWeb look the way I want it to?
You certainly can! Most channels can be deleted or moved, as can most tabs. New tabs can be created and entire web sites can be embedded in tabs. Some people have simplified the portal so that all their key information is on the home tab, eliminating the need to click around to find information. Others have added many new tabs to organize information to accommodate the way they work best. The key to configuring WyoWeb to your tastes is logging into WyoWeb and clicking the Content/Layout link in the upper left corner of the screen. More detailed instructions can be found within WyoWeb by clicking on the Help button (the question mark) in the upper-right corner of the screen.
Why WyoWeb? What was wrong with Hole-in-the-Wall?
Hole-in-the-Wall was based on software purchased from and supported by SunGard Higher Education. SunGard announced a few years ago that they would stop supporting the software. Because Hole-in-the-Wall assisted students, faculty, and staff with critical administrative functions, it was necessary for UW to identify a replacement product that would have long-term vendor support, while offering even more of the functionality of Hole-in-the-Wall.
WyoWeb is UW’s branded name for SunGard’s Luminis portal software. Luminis was chosen because it works well with UW’s new student information system. Furthermore, it includes useful features such as email integration, online groups, news, chats and other communication mechanisms.
How can I make suggestions for improvements to WyoWeb?
In WyoWeb, click on the Suggest button in the upper right corner of the screen. This will provide a form you can fill out to offer your suggestions. We have received many good suggestions already. Some can be completed very quickly, some will take longer. WyoWeb will continue to improve especially if users let us know what they would like to see. We appreciate all the suggestions and hope that they keep coming!
In the past, many UW departments have implemented their own Microsoft domain servers in order to self-manage departmental computers, accounts, and software.
A new service is now available that allows departments to manage their own resources and also participate in the university-wide Active Directory domain, UWYO. This service allows departments to phase out support of separate domain servers but still have control of departmental resources.
UW departments that have technical staff available can submit a request to have an Organizational Unit (OU) created for their department in the Active Directory. Departments can then create and manage group and computer hardware objects within their assigned Organizational Units.
Spam email has become a growing nuisance for all email users. The amount of spam grows each month. The University of Wyoming has taken steps to identify and tag spam email, which allow users to process spam more efficiently. Additional steps will be taken to further reduce the effort required for users to deal with spam.
The first phase of spam processing was implemented in fall 2003 to identify and tag spam email as it arrived on the university’s central email gateway. A committee evaluated several products and determined that the Sophos spam filtering product had one of the best spam detection capabilities and was also affordable. That holds true today.
Spam tagging has enabled users to create simple Outlook rules to manage spam (usually by deleting or moving it to a junk folder). Tagging involves adding identifying text to the email subject line and modifying the imbedded email headers to allow for more sophisticated filtering. For an in-depth explanation of the filtering process go to www.uwyo.edu/spam. Also see the SPAM and Emails with Viruses article in the Winter 2006 edition of ITnews at www.uwyo.edu/InfoTech/aboutit/news/newsletter/2006/06winter.asp#spam.
The next phase of spam processing will be implemented in the coming weeks. In this phase, email identified as spam will be quarantined and held on the central email gateway rather than delivered to users’ mailboxes. A daily digest of held (quarantined) spam email will be sent to each user. Users will have the ability to select specific held messages for delivery. After a period of time, held spam email will be deleted.
Any users, including those who have developed Outlook (or other email client) rules to process spam email, will have the option to opt out of having their spam email quarantined. Additional information and instructions well be sent via email as this phase of spam email processing nears implementation.
The Division of Information Technology recently conducted its annual technology survey of students, faculty, and staff. The on-line survey is designed to help IT better understand the needs of our users and to help us improve our offerings and services. There were 1,440 responses from students and 1,230 responses from faculty and staff. Respondents who completed the questionnaire were entered to win their choice of an Apple iPod Nano, a Canon PowerShot digital camera, or a Toshiba portable DVD player. The winning student, selected at random, was Andrew Allgeier of Casper. The faculty/staff winner, also selected at random, was Rod Skaggs of the Civil Engineering department. Results will be posted for comparison with 2004 and 2005 data at www.uwyo.edu/itsurveys/.
The 2006 responses indicate a significant increase in laptop ownership – 64 % of students and 51 % of faculty and staff responding to the survey reported owning laptops – up from 52 % and 45 % in 2005. This change drives increased use of UW’s wireless network – 32 % of students and 26 % of faculty and staff reported routinely using the wireless network – up from 22 % and 18 % in 2005.
Upcoming IT projects include a new high-speed Wireless Access Network covering the entire campus that will meet the need for students, faculty, and staff to use mobile computers. Along with more wireless access, remote lab access ranked among the top student requests for new and improved computing services. IT’s Remote Lab Initiative is well underway and, when fully implemented, will provide remote access to the UW Student Computing Lab System from anywhere that Internet access is available. Both the new Wireless Access Network and the Remote Lab Initiative are funded by the Wyoming Legislature. Thanks to all who responded to the survey and made suggestions to help identify how to improve technology offerings and services at UW.
The Division of Information Technology is committed to maintaining high standards of security for data that the university treats as confidential. In today’s environment of increasing risks to private data, a priority for IT is protecting privacy through compliance with all relevant laws, regulations, policies, and procedures relating to data privacy while pursuing appropriate actions required to provide high-quality, timely, and reliable computing services.
IT employees use the electronic systems and computing resources to which they have privileged access in an ethical, professional, and legal manner that is strictly within their authorized job functions. All IT employees demonstrate their individual commitment to advancing the ethical and responsible use of the university’s computing resources. They promote a culture of respect for privacy by signing a Confidentiality Agreement that recognizes each individual’s responsibility to respect individual privacy and abide by the standards of the Agreement.
The Confidentiality Agreement is posted on the Web and may be viewed at: www.uwyo.edu/InfoTech/aboutit/confidentiality/.
To learn about laws and regulations for securing private data and how they relate to you: Federal and State guidelines and University policies regarding confidentiality of data include, but are not limited to, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA); Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (GLB); and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA). Links are:
Confidentiality Training Program:
In recent years, the maturation of computer networks, increased use of email, and the portability of electronic data has heightened the importance of data encryption. Data encryption is simply the concept of scrambling data is such a way that only authorized persons can read it.
For several years, the University of Wyoming has implemented secured Web servers using a technology known as SSL (Secure Socket Layer). Secure Web sites have URLs (Web addresses) that begin with https. You should never enter a username, password, credit card number or other sensitive data on a Web page that is not secure.
In addition to encrypting data sent to/from Web sites, there is a growing need to encrypt email and data files. Email is generally secure; however, there is no guarantee that others cannot read your email as it is being transferred to or from the Exchange email servers. This is especially true when working from off campus without a VPN connection or when using a non-encrypted wireless network connections from areas such as airports or cafes. Data that resides on computers can also be easily accessed if hackers have physical access to the computer. This is true even if the computer is up to date with patches and uses secure passwords. The best way to ensure the protection of email content or data files is to encrypt the data. Laptops have the greatest risk of data compromise because they have less physical security than other computers.
There are a number of methods and software products that allow individuals to encrypt email messages and data files. The products vary in price, ease of use, degree of protection, and recoverability. Recoverability is a problem if a password is forgotten or if the password is known to only one person.
Information Technology will soon be implementing a new encryption security system that will allow individuals to encrypt email and data files. In the event critical data is encrypted and decryption passwords lost, the university will have a mechanism to recover the data. The encryption technology will also allow individuals to digitally sign messages. The digital signature guarantees that information has not been modified.
The new encryption security system will be based on a technology known as PKI (Public Key Infrastructure). PKI allows trusted third parties to issue to individuals electronic keys that can be used to encrypt and decrypt data and email. The keys are also used to digitally sign email. Each key comprises a public key and a private key, which work together. A person’s public key can be given to anyone and may even be published in the Microsoft GAL (Global Address List). The basic concept is that data can be encrypted using anyone’s public key – but can only be decrypted using the associated private key (which is known only to the owner of the key set). Thus, encrypted email is sent to a recipient using the recipient’s public key – and the email can only be read (decrypted) by the person holding the associated private key.
A number of UW faculty members have expressed an interest in supplementing course materials or providing customers with information via podcasts. According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia,
Podcast content and podcast feeds are fairly easy to create. A new UW Web site (www.uwyo.edu/podcasts) was created to assist with the development of podcast content and podcast feeds. The site also provides a directory of University of Wyoming related podcast feeds.
Most podcast content consists of MP3 audio files. Many people use Apple iTunes, RSS Radio, or other podcast receiving software to download podcast content into an iPod or other mobile MP3 players. Although podcast content, i.e. episodes, can be downloaded to a mobile device, you can also listen to podcasts directly with a computer connected to the Internet. By following links on the www.uwyo.edu/podcasts site, you can select and listen to individual podcast episodes.
Plugged in and tuned out? Maybe not. The familiar white ear buds of Apple iPods may no longer be the tell-tale sign of students listening to music; rather it may be the new sign of students reviewing past lectures and preparing for exams.
Information Technology is exploring the best methods to deploy podcasting to the UW community. In addition to the podcasting site mentioned in the previous article, IT is exploring iTunes U.
iTunes U is a free, hosted service for colleges and universities that provides students with easy access to educational content, including lectures and interviews, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The implementation of iTunes U would allow faculty members to post audio and/or video content of their lectures to the Internet for students to download using Apple’s iTunes program. Once the lectures are downloaded, they can be viewed using a PC, MAC, or – for truly mobile access – an Apple iPod, for instance.
The test program, which began in the fall of 2005 at several well-known universities such as Stanford, Duke, and Brown, has been a success, and Apple began taking requests from other universities in the spring of 2006.
IT was approved as a participating member of Apple’s iTunes U program. For more information on the iTunes U program, please see: www.apple.com/education/solutions/itunes_u/. The UW site should be ready for use by the beginning of the 2007 spring semester.
In the Winter 2005 issue of IT News, we listed our Top Five Recommended Help Sites. Our number one recommendation then and now is Ask IT at www.uwyo.edu/AskIT.
The AskIT site provides three types of documents: How To documents, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and Online Forms and Resources. Each type of document includes information and directions so that you can find answers for yourself at times when the Help Desk may not be available.
All documents are classified in logical groups by subject and range from changing passwords to installing software and configuring email. Additionally, current issues, hot topics, and the documents that are accessed most often are listed on the AskIT home page and are updated monthly.
There are over 100 different How To documents that provide instructive information in text and graphic formats. Each document describes, in a step-by-step manner, how to perform tasks to complete a process. The text steps are easy to follow, but if you prefer to look at a graphic, most of the documents include embedded images of pertinent computer screens that can be revealed by clicking a link.
Sometimes, just finding the answer to a question is helpful. FAQs, or Frequently Asked Questions, are written in a question and answer format that provide specific information that may not be provided elsewhere. Within each FAQ document is a set of questions and answers. If a How To document will assist in answering the question, a click on a link within the answer will quickly take you to a specific document.
The last group of documents available on the AskIT site is online service request forms and other helpful resources within Information Technology. Forms are available to request Administrative Account set up, email distribution list creation, computer hardware repair, remote computer support, and Web site creation and management. Information regarding the UW Computer Security Initiative (CSI:UW), software licensing, and computer training class opportunities are also included. Again, just a quick click on the provided link will take you to the form or informational page where instructions will walk you through the request.
Each of the document types is updated with new and/or revised information on a continuing basis. A quick survey appears on each page to give you an opportunity to provide feedback about the information provided or to suggest new topics. Of course, if you cannot find the information you need, please don’t hesitate to contact the Help Desk (766-4357, option 1) or email email@example.com.
Information Technology provides free antivirus software for home computers. The vendor, Trend Micro, recently released its latest version of the antivirus, anti-spam, anti-spyware software licensed by the University of Wyoming. Information Technology has updated the activation codes for the new software. All current and new PC-cillin users should upgrade their personally owned computers to PC-cillin Internet Security 2007.
For installation and upgrade information go to www.uwyo.edu/antivirus/pccillin07.
The Wyoming Legislature provided funding to the University of Wyoming to purchase the Microsoft Campus Agreement for students. The purchase allows enrolled UW students to install Microsoft Office, Office Mac suites, and Windows operating system upgrades on their personal computers. Each student is entitled to one copy of each product.
UW students can browse to www.uwyo.edu/software/students, where they will have the option to:
Software downloaded from the UW Web site is free. CDs that are ordered must be paid for by the student. Students may choose to have the software disks shipped to them directly (CDs plus additional shipping charges) or pick them up at a campus location (charge for CDs only). UW Information Technology provides the free download and contracts with e-Academy for distribution of the software CDs. Not all software is available for download from UW. Selections and costs include:
* Costs are subject to change. For current pricing go to www.uwyo.edu/askit/displaydoc.asp?askitdocid=941&parentid=1. Credit card required to place order for local pickup and shipped CD.
Distribution partners and pickup locations are:
For additional information students should browse to www.uwyo.edu/AskIT/displaydoc.asp?askitdocid=941&parentid=1. Alternatively, look for the Microsoft Campus Agreement with Student Option FAQ on the Ask IT Web site.
The latest versions of application suites and operating systems will be made available after Information Technology is able to evaluate and implement distribution methods based on Microsoft licensing management solutions. CDs are expected to be available for ordering in the spring of 2007. More information will be published on the WyoWare site (www.uwyo.edu/software/students/) as it becomes available.
In the last session, the Wyoming State Legislature provided ongoing funding of approximately $1 million per biennium to help maintain the University of Wyoming’s data network. This is the first time since the data network was installed in 1988 that the university has received legislative funding specifically to meet our growing networking needs.
The funding allows the IT Network Services group to replace many old Ethernet switches that are no longer supported by the manufacturer and have been the cause of several network problems in the last two years. In addition, new hardware will be added to the core of the data network to increase the redundancy of the campus backbone network.
The equipment upgrade and replacement process has already started. In the next few months Ethernet switches in almost every building on campus will be upgraded or replaced. The new switches will increase reliability and provide for the extension of more network services to the buildings. All of the new switches support services such as Multicast (used for access to video distribution services) and better support for wireless access (see Campus-Wide Wireless Network article).
Most of the work to replace the older switches is occurring during the normal network maintenance period on Sunday mornings; however, some of the projects will require additional weekend time to implement. Network outages may occur at those times.
Planned outages outside of the systems windows will be posted ahead of time to the IT Hot Page at http://it.uwyo.edu. Only equipment is being upgraded by this funding. Cabling upgrades in buildings still must be paid for by individual departments.
The University of Wyoming recently connected to the National Lambda Rail (www.nlr.net). National Lambda Rail, or NLR, is a high speed optical research data network that connects leading research universities and private sector technology companies in the USA. NLR is a major initiative that provides a national-scale infrastructure for research and experimentation in networking technologies and applications. The NLR backbone network operates at 10 gigabits-per-second. UW’s connection to the NLR supports speeds of up to 1 gigabit-per-second.
The term "lambda," in the context of optical fiber communications, refers to the concept of wavelength division multiplexing (WDM). In WDM, different wavelengths (colors) are used to transmit different signals. This technology allows for a significant increase in capacity over a single strand of optical fiber.
NLR’s nationwide advanced optical network infrastructure is capable of meeting the needs of the most demanding network and scientific research. Because NLR owns the underlying fiber optic cable and optical equipment, as well as other networking equipment, it can cost-effectively implement multiple, diverse experimental and production networks on its nationwide optical fiber footprint with unprecedented flexibility and responsiveness.
A core set of basic services are available to NLR member organizations and users that are sponsored by a member organization. Variations of the core set of basic services, as well as additional services, are available upon request. For additional information, contact Robert Morrison, Director of Telecommunications and Systems Services, firstname.lastname@example.org, 766-4880.
In the last session of the Wyoming State Legislature, funding was provided to upgrade the University of Wyoming’s wireless data network. This one-time funding level of $500,000 is expected to provide wireless data networking in most UW campus buildings and some campus outdoor areas.
In the coming weeks, a Request for Proposal for accomplishing the upgrade will be issued to wireless equipment vendors. In addition to campus coverage, the vendors will also be asked to provide information for future off-campus wireless network access options using other technologies such as WiMAX (see www.wimaxforum.org/home).
For the last several months, the University of Wyoming has been busy replacing its old Student Information System (SIS) with newer systems from SunGard Higher Education (www.sungardhe.com).
Banner is the new student administrative suite of application software. Luminis is the new WyoWeb portal. The implementation of these new systems is nearly complete. As a result, the IBM mainframe and the old SIS system will be retired in coming weeks. Production status of the IBM mainframe is planned to end December 1, 2006.
How do you easily find a name and email address using Outlook and the UW Global Address Book (GAL)?
There are a couple of easy ways to find the name of a person in Outlook if you don’t know their username.
First, try the Check Names feature:
Another way to find a person in the UW GAL is to search the Address Book:
Many additional helpful facts on searching are available by selecting the Help menu and clicking Microsoft Office Outlook Help from within Outlook.
The UW GAL includes both students and employees, and UW employees have detailed information listed. To limit your default view and search to employees only or students only, see How to Change the Default Address List in Microsoft Outlook at www.uwyo.edu/askit/displaydoc.asp?askitdocid=161&parentid=1.
While we’re talking about Outlook and names…
Occasionally, users will ask this question about UW’s Exchange email environment: “Why are the names in the Global Address List in alphabetical order of the first name instead of the last name?”
Names are in order of first name and then last name, as the display order also determines how a message appears when someone receives an email from you. So, if someone were to receive a message from Jane J. Doe, the message will appear to be from Jane J. Doe. If the opposite solution had been implemented, the message would appear to be from Doe, Jane J. This can be especially confusing when several names are listed in address fields.
Information Technology has recently discontinued our computer equipment rental program. Over the last few years, the number of equipment rentals has been steadily declining. As equipment prices have fallen, departments have been purchasing their own equipment and not needing to rent equipment from IT. The IT Rental Program was not generating sufficient revenue to maintain a level of newer equipment in the rental pool. The majority of the equipment in the pool was becoming old and obsolete.
The Ellbogen Center for Teaching and Learning maintains an equipment checkout program that is free of charge to faculty with a departmental account number to serve as a deposit (or to anyone else so authorized by a department). Items available include laptop computers, including a Tablet PC and a Toughbook running Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux; LCD projectors; a Tablet PC; USB memory; external drives; solar chargers; and more. For details, please visit www.uwyo.edu/ctl/Equip_Checkout/.
Because of security and management issues, all wireless access points installed on the UW data network are required to be registered and approved for use by Information Technology. Numerous problems arise when unplanned and/or improperly configured wireless access points are connected to the university network.
One of the main concerns with unregistered access points is security. To a large extent, the security of access points depends on the configuration of the hard-wired network jack to which those points connect. Therefore, it is important that all wireless access
points connect to the network through a data port specifically configured to accommodate them.
To register new wireless access points, go to the New Wireless Access Point Registration Form (www.uwyo.edu/infotech/services/network/wireless/waprequest.asp) on the UW Wireless Web site.