Message from the CIO

This fall Eastern has been the target of an inordinate number of phishing exploits. These attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated both in terms of appearing to be legitimate email messages and becoming more difficult to block them. The most recent spate of attempts do not come from the same email address (some even come from a compromised Eastern email address). Additionally, the content of the messages varied, making it difficult to automatically block them.

While ITS employs a wide range of virus, spam and phishing protections, more and more of these messages will get through. In addition to urging caution and vigilance when responding to email messages, I wish to reiterate two basic guidelines that should ensure no one becomes a victim.

First, as always, never provide your Eastern password to anyone no matter the circumstances or the perceived identity of the requestor. This can take the form of an email from what appears to be a trusted source that links to a webpage that, while fake, appears to look like an Eastern page. One recent example of this type of phishing attempt appeared to have come from an Eastern account that included a link to a fake web page asking for your Eastern password in order that a file could be shared with you. Examine such requests very closely and call the ITS Help Desk or contact ITS Security if you have any doubts.

Second, never send anything of monetary value such as credit card numbers, gift card numbers, or bank account numbers. Legitimate email messages will never ask for such information. If you believe the request is somehow legitimate, telephone the individual supposedly making the request before responding.

In order to further protect Eastern accounts and information, ITS will be implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) this Spring. ITS will provide details on the exact launch date in later communications. Many of you already are familiar with multi-factor authentication as it is now commonly used by banks and credit card companies. It involves registering a second method of authentication to receive a verification code whenever you log into your account.

So, in addition to providing your Eastern password, you will be prompted to enter a six digit verification code sent to the secondary authentication method you setup. Only by entering both factors, will you be able to successfully log in. This authentication enhancement provides two levels of security. First, if your password is compromised, the person will not be able to log into your account because they will not have the second factor (the verification code) which is only sent to your secondary destination. Second, if you get a verification code number sent to you and you hadn’t entered your password, you will know immediately that someone has compromised your password. In that event, change your password immediately and then contact ITSecurity@easternct.edu.

Safe computing!

1  Wireless in the Eastern Residence Halls

Students experiencing wireless difficulties in the residence halls should first try using BYOD5. BYOD5 works in many locations and mitigates the interference prevalent with BYOD. EduRoam may select 2.4 GHz as the stronger signal, but the 2.4 GHz signal strength changes often and the connection may deteriorate. For the best performance, it may be necessary to select a different SSID at different locations. Continue reading

2  Center for Instructional Technology

The Center for Instructional Technology continues to provide one-on-one consulting sessions with faculty again the semester. These office sessions are designed to provide faculty with custom one-on-one consulting on any CIT related topics or questions of interest. These sessions are intended to be held in the faculty member’s office using their own computer, although faculty can, of course, still visit the CIT if that works better for them. Continue reading

3  Stop Spamming Ourselves

The Information Technology Advisory Committee recently discussed the issue of members of the Eastern Community sending email messages to global lists (such as faculty@easternct.edu or admin@easternct.edu) to which individuals, usually unintentionally, reply to the entire list with their responses by using “Reply All”. This tendency leads to many unnecessary email messages sent to the entire university community, effectively spamming ourselves. Continue reading

4  Media Upgrades

As part of the Communication Building renovation, several classrooms have been upgraded with new projection systems. These rooms are configured with same control systems as other classrooms in Webb, Eastern, Science and the Sports Center. The new rooms have laser-based HD projectors and HDMI cables for connecting auxiliary equipment. Continue reading

6  Planned Media Upgrades

Goddard Hall is currently being renovated and is expected to reopen next summer. The building will have nine classrooms equipped with AV technology, two conference rooms, a specialized projection system for the Kinesiology and Physical Education Department, and several video camera-equipped observation rooms for the Psychology Department. Continue reading

7  Banner 9 Transition

The Applications Development team is working on transitioning our current Banner 8 environment to Banner 9, also known as “BMS – Banner Modernization and Standardization”. This environment introduces new technology to our team and also a Single Sign On methodology that is key to using the new functionality introduced in Banner 9. Continue reading

8  Stop That Phish…

Email and messaging services (such as Skype, Twitter, or Snapchat) are one of the primary ways we communicate. We not only use these technologies every day for work, but also to stay in touch with friends and family. Since so many people around the world depend on these technologies, they have become one of the primary attack methods used by cyber attackers. This attack method is called phishing. Continue reading

9  eWeb Degree Evaluation tool replaced with DegreeWorks

In September 2018, the DegreeWorks tool was implemented for Students and Faculty to use for the upcoming Spring 2019 registration. This tool replaced the eWeb Degree Evaluation. This project was co-managed by the Registrar’s Office and ITS. In addition to a more user friendly interface for degree evaluations, DegreeWorks will eventually also provide an integrated four-year academic plan with a future benefit of the ability to register for classes directly from the plan.

10  WebFocus Reporting tool

As of September 2018, Faculty and Academic Departmental Secretaries have been running new reports using the WebFocus reporting tool. WebFocus is browser agnostic and accessible from both the MAC IOS and PC Windows environments. Also available since earlier in 2018 are the ability of Budget authorities to produce their Budget reports using WebFocus. WebFocus replaces the deprecated Hyperion E-Reports tool.

ITS SImple Blue2

Message from the CIO

This fall, ITS is focusing on improving technology support, especially for instruction. The Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) has rolled out a new faculty consulting service.  Faculty are invited to contact CIT to schedule a personal one-on-one consultation in the faculty member’s office.  The purpose of the initiative is to have an instructional technology staff member meet with a faculty member and work with them on their own computer to answer any questions they may have.  Many times faculty have a few questions that could really improve their productivity or classroom teaching but are not worth their time to attend an entire workshop on the topic.  These meetings are available for scheduling on Wednesdays or Thursdays between 9am and 5pm. Other days can be worked in as well.  See the article in this newsletter for more details.  Another initiative is the new Blackboard Help Desk that augments the Eastern Help Desk by providing 24×7 support for password resets.

Other improvements this fall include the completion of the voice and data campus network. Due to the improved reliability of this fully redundant high-speed network and a more featured (and less expensive) telephone system, the Fall 2017 semester began with fewer technical outages than last fall and a generally faster network. In addition, over 1,000 wireless access points are now available across campus.

Finally, the Banner team is busy moving the Eastern instance of Banner to an upgraded version wholly in the cloud. Once completed, Eastern users of Banner will have increased functionality along with improved availability and reliability of a cloud-based system that Eastern could not afford to create in the previous environment.

As is the case with the rest of the campus and the State System, ITS is coping with staff positions frozen by the Board of Regents System Office due to the State budget impasse. Fortunately, with the president’s strong support, three of six frozen ITS positions were granted exceptions to the freeze and are in the process of being filled.  Despite the staffing challenges, ITS has been working to refocus its services to better serve the core instructional mission of the university.

Garrett Bozylinsky
Chief Information Officer

Updated Computer Classrooms

All the computer classrooms were upgraded this past year with brand new, high performing Dell computers. These computers represent a significant increase in disk drive performance, storage, CPU speed, and memory.

CECE 170 has been equipped with a 65” Interactive Smartboard display. This display provides faculty with many new options for presenting and illustrating content.

Three classrooms have been upgraded with dual display projection systems as part of the 21st Century Classroom initiative. The rooms are Science 115, Science 238 and Webb 407. Science 238 and Webb 407 have been equipped with 80” touch displays.

Both students and faculty are benefiting from these investments.

CIT is Making Office Calls

The Center for Instructional Technologies (CIT) has been searching for ways to better support faculty, staff, and students.  In addition to its formal schedule of training classes, CIT is now scheduling individual office sessions for faculty to provide custom one-on-one consulting on any CIT related topics or questions of interest. These sessions are intended to be held in the faculty member’s office using their own computer.

Continue reading

EMS has replaced eReserve (AdAstra)

A new online system,  eSchedule/EMS, replaces ereserve/Astra for making reservations for campus space.  This new web app will allow faculty and staff to more efficiently request space as well as provide a more real time and user friendly application process.  Ultimately, this new app will also result in a more timely approval response.

Media Services Has Moved

Media Services has relocated to Winthrop Hall while the Communication building is being renovated. The service desk and equipment area is located in Winthrop 100a. The phone number x55304 and the email address (mediaservices@easternct.edu) remain the same.