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ITS status update and resources

March 28, 2020

Greetings! 

I write today to offer an update regarding technology resources on campus as we approach Monday, the beginning of the great adventure.

As a reminder, here are the applications and environments that ITS is working to support:

Moodle 

Used by faculty to provide students with course materials and resources including documents, videos, surveys, blogs, and chat. The menu is organized by courses and all faculty and students have appropriate access to their courses and sections. Shawn Beattie is hosting daily drop-in Q&A sessions for faculty beginning at 11 a.m.  

GoogleMeet

Ideal for synchronous group communication and collaborative work. Students can access Google Meet via any phone, smartphone or other devices equipped with a microphone (and optionally with a camera for video). The service supports screen sharing. Meeting access information is created with every Google calendar event and automatically shared with all invitees. We have successfully hosted 120 attendees. Be sure to mute your microphone when not speaking.

GoogleSuites 

GSuite (Docs, Sheets, Forms, Slides) is ideal for those working collaboratively on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. GSuite tools offer similar functionality as the Microsoft Office suite.

Google Drive 

Google Drive (or Google File Stream) offers unlimited storage of data, compatibility with all data file formats, and user-defined sharing of files for collaborative work. 

Linkedin Learning 

Linkedin Learning is a learning resource that provides short videos that cover many topics including those above.

Creative Cloud suite 

Adobe has granted free access for Augustana students and faculty to use through May 31, 2020. 

Remote Access

Virtual Viking continues to be the remote access service of choice. During the past week, our network team has added three of our retired servers to the service which has proven effective towards increasing user capacity. In several weeks, we anticipate receiving a new high-powered server to add to the cluster.

Use of Virtual Viking is being limited to academic software and critical administrative processes. Academic applications installed on Virtual Viking are: ArcGis; PowerBI; SPSS; Delta; Putty, XLaunch, Xming, and Remote Desktop connections.

Currently, Virtual Viking does not support remote desktop for Macintosh to Macintosh connections.

Fortinet VPN continues to limit the number of connections to three to five despite hours of research. We will continue to work with Fortinet engineers next week as, once fixed, the solution can support many more connections than VV as well as Mac to Mac remote desktop connectivity

ITS documentation and resource links

ITS documentation and resource links offer information for faculty on all of the distance teaching tools outlined above as well as links to campus applications and an FAQ link answering many of the issues discovered this week.

Students cannot access the password-protected Covid Response resource page for security reasons. However the same FAQs and pointers are available. As we encounter new common questions we will add them to the list.

Monday expectations

Be patient and have a backup plan for technology. Not only will Augustana's tech resources be taxed, but much of the world has also adopted a "from home" strategy. Google, Microsoft, Zoom and many other online services have experienced overloads this past week. On Monday, many more institutions will be dependent on the same internet resources. There will be increased traffic. Expect delays. 

Students, please notify faculty regarding any technical issues you are facing. They may offer alternative strategies or raise a flag in Starfish. You can also enter a work order into the IT work order system or by email a request to Helpdesk@Augustana.edu.

Faculty and staff, please use the ITS work order system to communicate questions or problems with technology. Be as detailed as possible when describing your issue. Using the work order system will help to ensure requests are not lost and allow ITS to focus resources on the highest priority or most in-common issues. Feel free to reach out to me for time-sensitive or "ultra-critical" challenges, however, appreciate there may be a queue of "ultra-critical" challenges. We will get to you. 

Campus computing lab resources will be available in Olin for students in need of academic resources. However, for the health and safety of our students the Dean of Students Office and Campus Safety ask that any students who have a need to use Olin resources, send a note to Jessica Schultz in Academic Affairs to request access. At this time, only students who have been approved by Academic Affairs will be allowed entrance into the building (via ID). Strict social distancing will be monitored and enforced.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge how hard everyone across campus has worked to ensure our students continue to have the best educational experience possible — on campus, across the nation, and around the world. Our Augustana community has demonstrated, once again, we "walk the walk" of our Community Principles and are dedicated to our mission.

Well done! Go Viking!   
 
Chris Vaughan
Information Technology Services Team
Augustana College
639 38th St. Rock Island, Illinois 61201
309-794-7293