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2017 Faculty Newsletter

Hello CSUSM faculty and welcome to the Fall 2017 semester. This newsletter is to update you on some of the activities that Instructional & Information Technology Services (IITS) has been undertaking over the summer to get ready to help you with your instructional technology and other IT requirements for the new semester.  We hope you will find the time to review this update, as many of these items will touch on your use of technology in your teaching and other uses of technology.

Important Information on Upgrades to Cougar Courses

As you kick off the Fall Semester, you will see that we have made several changes to Cougar Courses to help make it a bit more efficient.  First off, you will notice that your prior year courses are still available, as we implemented new backend systems that do not require us to archive the prior academic year.  This should make it easier for you to reference and import prior year course content.  Secondly, we have changed the authentication method for Cougar Courses to provide integration and availability within the CSUSM Campus App.  This provides students with ready access to most Cougar Courses features from their smartphones.  An additional benefit is that if you are using a campus provided Windows computer (not a lab or instructor station), you will now just need to click on Login and you will be automatically signed in.  This new method will use your campus credentials to provide Single Sign On when you are on campus and using a browser that supports this integration.  Apple computers and the Firefox browser does not support this type of integration.  Please note when using a computer from any off-campus location, you will be prompted to login with your CSUSM username and password.

Other helpful information:

  • We’ve created a document with tips to help you get your course up and running smoothly and quickly. 
  • Faculty help guides are updated
  • Registration for Cougar Courses trainings are scheduled for the following topics:
    • Instructors new to Cougar Courses
    • Creating Quizzes
    • Creating Assignments in Cougar Courses and Turnitin
    • Forums
    • Using the Gradebook
    • Mediasite Desktop Recorder

Classroom Technology Upgrades across Campus

Across campus, faculty will find new technology in many classrooms.  This includes 126 new lectern station computers and over thirty-six (36) classrooms that were fully rebuilt in Academic Hall (ACD) and University Hall (UH) with new computers, larger screens, brighter HD projectors, and touchscreen monitors.  In response to faculty feedback requesting more whiteboard space, IITS has moved the new and larger 9-foot screens into an offset configuration that allows for simultaneous board and screen use.  The new projectors will also bring 1080p HD quality images and greater brightness that will effectively double what the old projection systems provided.  In combination, all of these changes will provide students with a larger and clearer image for viewing content.  Additionally, IITS has installed new 24" Touchscreen Monitors with USB connections on the side of the monitor, new digital document cameras, and HDMI connections for laptops.  These monitors do support on-screen mark-up of projected content.  The ACD and UH classrooms also have physical pushbutton controls, so you will no longer have to use the PC to control the projection systems.  Additional classroom changes include the removal of VCRs from classrooms, removal of VGA laptop connections in ACD and UH, and the installation of HDMI laptop connections in SBSB.

Another option that is becoming available is being untethered from the instructors’ station while you present.  IITS has wireless projection devices that can allow faculty and students to connect and share content from almost any device.  For more information, please contact Classroom Technology Services ( to discuss your goals.  Further information, including guides and videos on classroom technology are available at the CTS website.

In addition, faculty training will be available in the new Technology Resources Center (TRC) if you have questions about using any of this classroom technology. 

New Professional Development Opportunity

IITS (Instructional Development Services and Classroom Technology Services) and the Faculty Center are offering a new lunch and learn workshop series – Tech Bites.  These 50-minute workshops introduce targeted, practical instructional technologies and techniques organized around three themes: The Fundamentals, Promoting Student Engagement, and Technology & Multimedia.  Attend any five within a theme to earn a certificate.

Technology Resource Center (TRC) Kellogg Library 2414

Good news!  We knocked down walls and opened up more space for faculty to work and receive assistance and training from Instructional Development Services (IDS) staff.  In addition, new offices have been added within the TRC in order to build a shared space that facilitates your work and assistance from the Instructional Developers.  As with any remodel project, there were some delays, but final approval happened on Friday and the TRC had a soft opening on Monday, August 28th.   We expect to be fully setup within the next week.  For faculty who do not have a designated office, we will be adding twelve faculty lockers to securely store personal items.  Another addition will be a mockup of our current classroom technology for training and familiarization with new equipment and software.  To set up an appointment to meet with an instructional developer, contact

Computers in the Technology Resource Center

Cougars Affordable Learning Solutions (CALM)

As a result of increased funding from AB 798 (College Textbook Affordability Act of 2015), seventeen (17) new faculty CALMed their courses in academic year 16-17 through the adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) or adopted lower-cost course materials.  This program is making a huge impact, as the savings to our students was approximately $370,000 in the prior Academic Year.  Since 2013, participating faculty have saved students approximately $2.3 million. Reducing your textbook costs in just one class can have a powerful effect semester over semester and CSUSM is generating significant textbook savings. The graphic below shows CSU San Marcos leading the savings among the CSU system. We invite everyone to submit a proposal.  SB 1359—Identifying Courses with Free Course Materials in Course Schedules, as of January 1, 2018, the public-facing course schedule that students are directed to within the pre-registration and registration process must include the zero-cost course materials (ZCCM) designation for appropriate courses. The ZCCM designation should include all courses that have zero-cost course materials for students for all formats (digital or print). A new ZCCM icon will appear in the Class Schedule next to courses meeting the criteria.

 Graph showing CSU and community colleges savings 

Qualtrics Research Suite

A powerful survey and research tool is now available to all faculty and students.  Earlier this year CSUSM purchased a university-wide site license of Research Suite for use by all faculty and students for survey data collection and assessment. 

Updates for Classroom Response Systems

iClicker update:

  • New Branding: iclicker software v6.2 - v7 is now called iClicker Classic.
  • Please remember to notify the bookstore of the sections you will be using clickers so that the correct inventory is available.
  • Cost: The price of clickers keeps going up. It is now over $60 at the bookstore and rentals are over $30. If you are interested in using a system that is free to your students, but does the same things as iclickers, notify and we will be happy to discuss your options.
  • If you are teaching and using clickers for the first time, please contact Instructional Development services ( to assure that your room(s) has a receiver and you get the proper software as well as to receiving training on how to integrate it into your teaching.

Poll Everywhere:

  • New functions have been added. Once you login to your Poll Everywhere account, you can click on the "new features" button in the upper righthand corner to see the new functions.
  • For a CSUSM Poll Everywhere account, please contact
  • Poll Everywhere is free for both students and faculty using mobile devices and computers.

Reminder that Office 365 is Free to Faculty, Staff and Students in addition to other Campus Software

Did you know that Office 365 is available free to all faculty, staff, and students for both download and use from both CSUSM and individually owned computers?  To access all of the features of Office 365, simply login at  Share this Office 365 student help link to give students the tools they need to be successful.  Additionally, we have over 50 software programs available for faculty and student use. 

Box to OneDrive Migration

As a reminder, the campus has started our transition to OneDrive from Box cloud storage.  This transition must be completed by December.  Online training materials are available now and IITS in-person training opportunities will be available as well.  The move to OneDrive will not only enlarge the amount of cloud storage available to you at 1TB ( was limited to 50GB), but also supports easier file sharing with students, and saves the campus tens of thousands of dollars as OneDrive is free to CSUSM.  For more information, contact our OneDrive team at as soon as possible to schedule your migration.

Enhancing System and User Security

IITS replaced our old, homegrown password management system over the summer.  This new application has several new features like an enrollment setup, self-service challenge questions and a mobile ready format.   The rules had to change slightly, as you can’t reuse more than five consecutive characters of your last password.  This will take a little getting used to, but you can use versions of a previous password by varying use of uppercase and special characters, i.e. bingo -> b1ngo -> B!ng0, etc.  Learn more about this change on the password frequently asked questions page.

In addition, IITS is evaluating alternative access methods for providing local administrative access for campus computers.  Many situations where a malicious program is accidentally installed without permission can be avoided if the user does not have local admin rights on the system*.  To address this, IITS is working to implement methods that maintain your flexibility to install software while at the same time changing account permissions so that these malicious activities are contained.  As security continues to be an important factor in protecting campus resources, it is an important item that we intend to address in a way that can provide the same access so as to not impede your ability to conduct work and research.

*New Windows refresh computers will not run with admin privileges.  Faculty can request local admin access by logging a ticket through the Faculty Help Desk.  Email or call 760-750-4790 Monday through Thursday, 7 am to 7 pm and Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.

Media Production Services (MPS)

Over the summer the campus switched from Relay to Mediasite Desktop Recorder (MDR) for lecture capture.  Please check out the link to learn more.  Additionally, all faculty and students have free pro Zoom account for web conferencing.  Even if you don't use it for instructional activities, it can add additional options for supporting office hours and/or live presentations.  Lastly, if you want to record lectures with drawing/diagramming, check out the Learning Glass system by contacting and setting up a time for a demonstration.

Mapping (GIS)

CSUSM has upgraded ArcMap Desktop to version 10.5.1 and we also have ArcGIS Pro v 2.0 available for installation.  For new and/or applied GIS users we have also enhanced access to ArcGIS Online and ESRI's Community Analyst Online.  Visit our GIS website to learn more about using GIS in your classes. Additionally, new presentation technology has been added to the GIS Lab (SBSB 1108) that will now allow students to present their computer screen utilizing the classroom’s projection system.  If you teach in this classroom, or would like a demonstration, please contact

Innovation Opportunities

Interested in virtual, augmented, and/or mixed-reality? So are we. Contact about opportunities and become part of our VR community!  Want to try a new technology in your class?  Schedule time to meet with an instructional developer to discuss your idea by emailing your availability. Thinking about teaching online, flipped, or hybrid?  Contact about our training opportunities.