Street Team: Emergency Notification System (ENS)

The winds started picking up and everyone knew it was coming. Superstorm Sandy, one of the costliest storms to ever hit the United States, was scheduled to hit Philadelphia on October 29th. Pennsylvania was in a state of emergency and Philadelphia had shut down its public transportation system.  Everyone on SJU’s campus was preparing for the storm but as Sandy hit, members of campus began to realize that our methods for communicating emergencies were lacking. The existing system served its purpose, but it could be better and reach more people.  At the time, the Emergency Notification System (ENS) was used to communicate via text and email.  In the case of an emergency, we wanted to be able to reach as many people as possible, as efficiently as possible.

The Office of Information Technology (OIT), including User Services, Media Services, Web Services, Project Management, and Telecommunications, created an updated version of ENS to better notify students, faculty, and staff in the event of an emergency. The yearlong project has been a collaboration among a number of departments on campus.  OIT’s charge was to hear from various SJU constituents what they’d like to see in the ENS and build the technology.

The first phase of the new ENS project was modifying the system so emergency communication was extended to encompass text messages, email, RSS feed (on MySJU, sju.edu’s campus status page, notification bar and the campus TV system), as well as the University’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Because we are aware that most people are plugged into some form of technology most of the time, we wanted to reach SJU employees and students through their mobile devices. The pictures below show what you would see displayed on www.sju.edu and the university’s status page in the event of an emergency:

statuspagealert

campusalert

Procedures were also simplified and clarified during this update to the ENS.  A select group of people are designated to determine the message and communication channels if and when there is an emergency on campus. These administrators then fill out a form to identify the emergency and check off what form of communication to use. This form is then sent to an alias in The Office of Public Safety and Security.  Public Safety will then sends out the outage or emergency notification to communicate the issue with the rest of campus. There are monthly tests of the system in order to test its effectiveness and key employees are routinely trained. Just last week, the emergency notification system was utilized to inform students of the Philadelphia water main break. In the future, there may be more updates to the system, but for now, it covers everything imaginable.

So, while the few emails and texts you get may be annoying at the time, you can be assured of your safety knowing our campus will be ready in case of an emergency.

 

OS X Mavericks Upgrade Policy

*This message is intended for employees and faculty members who have a Mac issued to them by Saint Joseph’s University.  If you have a computer running Windows, this email will not apply to you.*

 

On Tuesday, Apple released the new version of their operating system, OS X Mavericks.  What’s different about this release is that they’ve now offered Mavericks as a free upgrade within the App Store on all Macs running their previous OS, Mountain Lion.  As in the past, users are reminded that they should not perform an upgrade on their Mac such as this.  Operating system upgrades have many unforeseen issues, which result in hardware and software incompatibilities, application and data loss, and significant disruption to the configurations and customizations implemented by the Office of Information Technology.  An upgraded Mac may have to be wiped and redelivered with a supported version of the Mac OS X when incompatibilities arise.

 

If you have already performed the upgrade, you should contact your I.T. Liaison, or our Technology Service Center, so they can determine the next steps that should be taken.  Attached below is a picture of what the upgrade option will look like within your App Store updates.  If you are presented with this as an available update, please ignore it.  Any other updates that are available can be installed yourself or by contacting the Technology Service Center.  IT will continue to test new operating systems and work with the different departmental liaisons so that we can properly support the community and provide the best computing environment possible.

image001

 

If you have any questions, please contact the TSC!

 

 

 

Cyber Security Presentations

Just a reminder that IT Training will present “Cybersecurity: Protecting your Data, Protecting Yourself” in the Mandeville Teletorium on the following dates and times.

 

Tuesday October 22nd: 11:15 – 12:00

Wednesday October 30th: 5:00 – 5:45

 

If you have any questions, please contact the SJU Technology Service Center at techhelp@sju.edu or Ben Jezierski, IT Training Coordinator at bjeziers@sju.edu.  Additional information on this topic can be found on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/SJUTSC.

Spotlight: Media Services

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has a great deal to offer the Saint Joseph’s University campus, but there are some departments within IT that many people may not have heard of and therefore cannot take advantage of.  OIT is comprised of User Services, Application Services, Computer Services, Network Services, System Administration, Telecommunications, Web Services, Office of the CIO, and Media Services.  Over the next few months, we will be highlighting the individual areas and the work they do for campus.

Media Services (previously ITDL) is generally known campus wide as the classroom support specialists, but the department offers much more than that.  Media Services is divided into three teams: Classroom Support, Engineering, and the Production Team.

The Engineering Team focuses on upgrading technology in classrooms. The team has been working hard to create and uphold a general standard for all classrooms. Besides the normal in-class computers and projectors, they install special equipment upon request. Their goal is to create a campus where the learning spaces meet the needs of faculty and advance student learning. Their most technologically advanced classroom is Merion 174. It is a new collaborative technology classroom designed to support the expansion of the Communication Studies program. Some other technologically advanced classrooms include Mandeville 295, 310, and 313. Cool equipment they have installed includes a wireless desktop sharing system where students can project their desktop image to the class, and an interactive display that acts like a virtual whiteboard where teachers can annotate notes and save them.

 

2013-10-15_16-00-50

Classroom Support is available to help maintain the classroom equipment. Media service has offices located on both in Merion and in Barbelin to reduce wait time if a problem arises on either side of campus. The team also performs routine checks on all the equipment to eliminate problems before they start. They have a monitoring system set up so they can remotely troubleshoot issues and pinpoint troublesome equipment.

 

2013-10-15_16-03-59

The Production Team is where creativity meets technology. For students, the production team loans out equipment, such as projectors, cameras, tripods etc. They also provide troubleshooting for cameras and major-specific equipment for communications and film students. Faculty can make requests for recording, setting up and recording a class, editing, authoring and copying DVDs, or setting up live stream events for guest lecturers. The production team works with faculty and staff to create concepts for projects and can arrange outsourced services such as voice overs or sound mixing.

The production team is currently involved in some really interesting projects. They are currently compiling a documentary of the history of SJU by interviewing around fifteen people who have been on campus over various decades. The video will highlight how the campus and culture has change, especially since changing from an all-boys school. They are also working on creating a video about the Bolivia exchange trip available to faculty and staff every other year. The exchange includes an immersion trip for SJU faculty and staff to learn about the culture and lifestyle of the local people, and a trip to SJU for Bolivian educators on the off years. You can view some of the production team’s other projects on the SJU YouTube page, and occasionally in the news section of the SJU website. Past projects include the virtual tour on the SJU webpage, a video on summer scholars found at http://sju.edu/news-events/news/student-faculty-research-project-studies-turtles-local-wildlife-refuge and our own TSC video. The video they made for the TSC recently won the Communications Award of Excellence in the category of Short Promotional Video/Audio from SIGUCCS (Special Interest Group on University and College Computing Service) and can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBCHIIyktGE

Follow these links to check out some more of the production team’s videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBddZfJvGP4&list=UU1cWjIQ9s3sqr6ghbbqSGfQ&index=15

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eQvHcuxddU&list=UU1cWjIQ9s3sqr6ghbbqSGfQ&index=39

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEjiRvJgf1Y&list=UU1cWjIQ9s3sqr6ghbbqSGfQ&index=53

 

The staff that make up the Media Services department are:

Jim Wilson: Director & Chief Engineer

Mark Beideman: Manager, Classroom Services (SJU alumnus)

Ben Ellis: Manager, Media & Event Services (SJU alumnus)

Ed Basile: Tech Operations Specialist

Justin Fowler: Engineer

Mike Gallagher: Video Production Director (SJU alumnus)

Angela Gisondi: Senior Tech Ops Specialist (SJU alumna)

Gary Greco: Senior Tech Ops Specialist

Dan Moretz: Video Production Technician

Michael Troy: Tech Ops Specialist

Kyle Tucker: Assistant Engineer

Jason Ward: Tech Operations Specialist

 

To contact Media Services:

Email: mediaservices@sju.edu

Call Main Campus x1170 or Merion Campus x3360

For high-end production projects contact Ben Ellis at bellis@sju.edu

*The production team is happy to partner with other departments to improve their image!

 

Pilot Program: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Beginning today, 10/7/2013, the Technology Service Center is piloting a new program that we think you will be very interested in.  At the end of each school year, the TSC sends out a survey to SJU students to find out what technology services you like and what services you would like to see implemented.  Last year, you voiced that they would like to see more technology support offered for those of you who are not members of the Student Laptop Program.

 

We’ve listened!

 

Today, we begin our pilot BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program! If you are not a member of SJU’s Student Laptop Program, the TSC will still diagnose your problem and repair the issue for a nominal labor fee plus the cost of parts.  Regardless of the type of computer you’ve brought to campus with you, you can bring it to the TSC and we will fix the problem.BYOD

 

We believe this will benefit you in many ways. First, you will be saving heaps of money versus taking it to a computer repair store. Second, many of you may not even have transportation to those stores. Best of all, you can pay with your Hawk Card!  Our goal with this project is to provide our students with the best support possible while making it convenient and painless.  You’ll have to visit just one campus location for all of your technology needs.

Stop by SC129 for full details!

BYOD employee

 

Top Apps: Sneak Preview

As college students, many of you are already familiar with the latest apps for smartphones and tablets. In today’s high-tech world, there is literally an app for almost everything.

Here are some you may not have heard of…

  1. Songza                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Price: FREE

This app is by far my favorite of the ones on the list. It provides music playlists customized to the time of day, your activities, or your mood. When I first downloaded it, I sat in my living room with my roommates laughing hysterically about some of the playlists’ names. Examples include Hyped All Day (getting hyped for taco bell), Songs from Apple Commercials, The Twerk Tape, Ladies be Pregaming, and (for you Breaking Bad fans) Cooking with Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. Somehow this app has come in handy at least a few days a week since I downloaded it and the music always suits my mood and needs. There is also a website similar to Pandora if you don’t have room on your phone, Songza.com.

Check back in on Monday for the rest of the apps Katie recommends!

Street Team: Midterm Studying Tips

This week, Andrew Wyschynskyj, a Sophmore, Food Marketing major, has some midterm studying tips for you. Andrew has been with the TSC since he started at SJU in 2012.  He recently became a Brand Ambassador for the Office of Information Technology.  We love his enthusiasm for SJU and OIT and are thrilled to have him as a member of the Street Team!

 

Midterm Studying Tips

The new school year has started a few weeks ago, and it does not really seem to feel that new anymore. Now that there are midterms right around the corner we all start to stress out about our grades. Everyone has a different style of getting ready for their exams, but there are a few general study tips that can be useful for many people. If you have good study habits and study techniques, then you will be prepared for your midterms and keep your stress levels to a minimum.

books

The first thing you need remember is not to wait until the night before your exam to start studying.  I know many of you are procrastinators like I am, but seriously, study early!

  • Space out your studying
  • Review a little bit each night
  • Review right before/after each class. (if you ever get to class early just review your notes from last class)

 

You should learn the general concepts first. It helps to understand what you’re studying, before learning the smaller details.

  • Highlight major topics
  • Make an outline of your notes
  • Study from concept to detail
  • Make flashcards for important vocabulary words.  StudyBlue is a cool app where you can create “flashcards” and share study materials with other students in your classes. iTunes U is also a cool app that has supplemental videos and lectures on a topic you may be studying!image

Some studies have shown that you are able to remember more at the beginning and end of a study session compared to the middle of a session. This is a good excuse to use to stop studying for a bit when it is getting boring.

  • Take short breaks while studying
  • Change up the order you study the material

 

The best way to know if you are prepared for the exam is to see how much you actually know.

  • Take practice a practice test
  • Have a friend quiz you, or quiz a friend
  • Use the review questions at the end of each chapter

 

Friends and other students in the class can help make studying less boring, and make you more willing to actually do it.

  • Form study groups (with other students who will actually study)
  • Go to SI sessions

 

There can be a lot of distractions to prevent you from studying. Try to find a good location where you have access to everything you need, but will not be tempted to do anything other than study.

  • Avoid studying in your bed (or you may fall asleep, I know I have)
  • Stay away from loud, or social environments
  • Common places to study on campus (Drexel Library, Campion, dorm lounges, Claver)drexel

You know what works best for you so put your headphones in and tune out everyone else if necessary.  It’s a fact that most student’s don’t study without technology anymore, so don’t forget that if you run into any technology problems while studying, we’re here! The TSC has 24/7 phone support and walk-in hours everyday.  As Rich touched on in a past article, make sure to back your school work up and save it in more than one place (Dropbox, your Gmail account, a flash drive, anywhere)! You don’t want to lose the only copy of your work the night before it’s due.

 

Good luck!