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Fall Technology Information for Faculty

Posted August 13, 2020

Cougar Courses Maintenance Schedule and Other Technology

We hope this message finds you well as you prepare for the Fall semester. IITS would like to share eight important technology updates and tips that will be crucial in ensuring your virtual semester gets off to a good start. While there is a lot of information, the updated IITS for You Faculty page is available to serve as your one-stop resource for technology support and other IT related information.

  • Cougar Courses Update Friday, August 14

    This fall Cougar Courses will look and feel as it did last academic year and will see only a small number of upgrades tied to security and functionality improvements. The upgrade will take place on Friday, August 14, and the updated features include enhanced forum functionality, improved analytics, and more. Please visit the Fall 2020 Updates and Changes for more details, complete release notes, and additional Cougar Courses resources.
  • Zoom New Privacy & Security Settings

    Zoom continues to enhance its security, so as a result the platform’s functionality will be slightly different in the fall than how it was in spring. Zoom continues to be the campus’ platform of choice for synchronous video instruction, and we recommend faculty keep their Zoom client up to date and utilize this tool to ensure students have a consistent experience across all synchronous video lectures.

    So that Zoom remains a safe and effective platform for instruction and dialog, IITS recommends faculty adopt Zoom’s best practices for securing Zoom Meetings for all public and instructional sessions. With a few easy steps, you can ensure your video lecturers are private and you can minimize any “zoom-bombing” incidents. At a minimum, faculty should use Waiting Rooms and limit access to users authenticated with their CSUSM credentials.

    In summary, IITS recommends that faculty:

    • Use Single Sign-on (SSO) when using Zoom
    • Disable Screen Sharing by your meeting participants
    • Turn off Annotation
    • Become familiar with Waiting Rooms, new Security Button Option, and dealing with disruptions.

    For more details on these recommendations and for additional Zoom guides, please visit our dedicated Zoom page on IITS For You.

  • Student Technology Equipment Loans & USU Computer Lab – Sample Syllabus Language

    As part of our technology support efforts, in the spring CSUSM loaned out 480 laptops (287 Fac/Staff and 193 Students). For fall the campus has purchased an additional 600 new laptops specifically for students. IITS will be communicating with students to offer technology loans for laptops but also for webcams and wireless hotspots. If any students contact you about lacking technology, please direct them to the IITS For You Student page so that we can reach out and provide assistance.

    To further support our students, the USU and IITS are partnering to establish a computer lab in the USU Ballrooms. The hours of operation will be Monday – Friday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Students will check in through the campus app and will be assigned to desk locations that will be tracked and cleaned. This process will allow the USU/IITS team to manage demand and ensure workstations are sanitized. Additionally, the computer lab will include free printing services.

    Please note that the open labs on the 2nd and 3rd floors of Kellogg Library are closed.

    Feel free to use the sample syllabus language included below so that your students know how to request technology support during the semester:

    Sample Syllabus Language

    • If you require support for hardware issues (computer, webcam, etc.) or with any software tools (Cougar Courses, Zoom, etc.), please visit IITS For You Student page.
    • If you need technology items for your coursework (laptop, webcam, wireless hotspot, etc.), please visit IITS For You Appointment page.
    • The new USU computer lab offers computer access and free printing. The lab is open Monday-Friday 10:00 am-4:00 pm and the computers are cleaned after every use for your safety. The computer labs on the 2nd and 3rd floors of Kellogg Library are closed.
  • Technology Loans and Refresh Computers

    CSUSM continues to provide technology loans of laptops and other IT hardware to support teaching in a virtual environment. IITS has purchased 150 iPads for faculty to use in virtual instruction as well as additional webcams, monitors, and hotspots for needs-based distribution. Despite our best efforts, at the time of this message the iPads are on backorder and may not arrive prior to the start of the term.

    If you require any equipment to meet your instructional needs, please submit your request on the IITS For You Appointment page. While CSUSM strives to provide technology to every faculty in need, due to fiscal and resource constraints we cannot guarantee that all requests will be fulfilled.

    If you are a faculty scheduled for a refresh computer this fiscal year, IITS will be reaching out to identify your hardware selection. This year we will be encouraging all faculty to choose from one of five preset options from Dell and Apple. Additional information will be posted on the Technology Refresh Program page.

  • Expanded Help Desk Hours

    Beginning this Fall, the Help Desk will be open by appointment only from 10:00 am-4:00 pm, Monday – Friday.

    Help Desk services include providing loaner equipment, in-person repairs, and other technology support. All visits are still by appointment only. Please initiate your request for on-site support by submitting a request for an appointment.

    Faculty using Inspiration Studios for the Learning Glass or to record lectures can email mpsrequests@csusm.edu to schedule a time to record. 

  • Microsoft Teams for Easy, Unified Communications

    MS Teams is an effective and easy-to-use communication tool for faculty and students that complements email as it allows for robust one-to-one or group real-time text, audio (including internal phone-like calls), and video communications in a single tool. Teams’ chat also enables real-time text communication with students who might lack reliable internet and/or appropriate space for video calls.

    Currently, Teams is used for cross-campus daily communications and for committee meetings as well as to provide virtual advising, virtual tutoring services, virtual student centers, and virtual community spaces. We encourage faculty to start utilizing this tool for your campus communications. Please visit our Teams page for more on the platform’s capabilities as well as for guides and support.

  • Protect your Research and Teaching Material with OneDrive

    Protect your Research and Teaching Material with OneDrive

    OneDrive is your private storage space in the cloud that ensures all your documents (research, teaching material, etc.) are safe and accessible from any device you own (computer, mobile phone, etc.). Storing your files on your OneDrive is as easy as storing it on your local hard drive. OneDrive has several benefits but the most important one is that if your computer crashes or your hard drive is corrupted, all your material is safe and easy to access.

    We highly recommend you utilize OneDrive in your daily workflow to avoid permanently losing your files. Visit these quick guides to start utilizing OneDrive.

  • MATLAB Free for Students, Faculty, and Staff Starting Fall Semester

    CSUSM has recently acquired a MATLAB campus license that will allow students, faculty, and staff to access this great resource and all add-ons for free. MATLAB previously had a limited license that did not license all add-ons that faculty and students would then purchase. Our new MATLAB license will make a products and add-on available. Information on how to download is available via the MATLAB support page.

CSUSM Responding to the Needs of a Virtual Campus

Supporting the campus’ educational mission with technology is critical to teaching, learning, and student success in a virtual environment. IITS has been proud to partner with faculty and staff to do our part by providing laptops, wireless hotspots, and other technology items to all who have asked for assistance. We will continue striving to meet the needs of anyone who requires technology or technical assistance.

To share some of the good things IITS has done to respond to the COVID-19 environment, we have created a page that summarizes some of the work IITS has performed in service to the campus community.