How do I… submit an Event Registration Form?

The campus Event Registration form has undergone some big transformations over the past year.  We’ve tried to improve the level of detail in the form, while at the same time streamlining the form-filling for time spent and ease of use.  The feedback that we’ve received from those of you who use the form has been invaluable.  Thank you for your patience and contributions to the process!

Representatives from all support departments on campus meet as the Facilities Committee every Tuesday morning at 8 am.  At that time, the committee discusses newly submitted Event Registration forms for feasibility and logistics.  The form has become the primary tool for groups to describe their events to the committee for support.  The committee requests that the form be submitted no less than six weeks prior to the first day of the event in order to best overcome any logistical challenges that may arise.  Also, the person filling in and submitting the form should be someone from the campus, and a faculty or staff member – not a student.

Let’s take a look at the form itself.  I’ve created some images that will allow us to look at it step-by-step so that we can clarify its use.  First, to access the form, go to the Penn State Mont Alto home page:  www.ma.psu.edu.  Click on “Faculty & Staff,” then find the “Event Registration Form” link and click on it.

 Below is what the top of the Event Registration form looks like.  Note the links at the top of the page.  Policy information is there, as well as a listing of fees that events may incur, and templates for room layouts for the MPR.  Every field that has a red asterisk is a required answer in order to submit the form.  The difference between Event Sponsor and Group Contact is that if an outside group comes in to do an event, the sponsor would be the campus person who acts as liaison and the group contact is the non-PSU contact for the group.  For most campus events, the Event Sponsor and the Group Contact are the same person.

 When you reach the point at which you need to fill in date and time, simply clicking in the field brings up a calendar and slide controls for time selection.  Once you’ve entered information for the first day of your event, you can click “Expand Dates” link to add more dates:

Please share as much about your event as you can in the comments section.  Great details to include here may be whether you’re requesting a tech support person or custodial services for your event, temporary computer accounts, menu requests, etc.  The more information our support staff has as the event is planned, the more likely that we’ll be able to overcome any logistical challenges that arise.

 When you select each location that you’ll need for your event, the appropriate contact person for reserving the space should appear on the right side of the screen with telephone number.  Please reserve each space before submitting the form.  Likewise, when you select an item of equipment, a line will appear at the bottom of the Equipment section that allows you to specify quantity and location.  If you need to request an LCD projector in two different locations for example (see below), just click LCD projector twice so that you can list a different location for each one.

The Logistics section of this form pulls together some relatively unrelated, but important, information for the committee.  If minors will be present for this event, it is imperative that you choose that option so that the campus can be sure to comply to all the requirements of PSU Policy AD-39. 

 The Housing and Food Services section is auto-filled with NO answers to save you time: many events don’t involve meals or food.  If you answer yes to any of the meals or snacks, please take a moment to use the text fields to the right of the option to state where that setup will be needed.  When you’re done, click the “Submit Form” button.

 The following image is what you should see when you submit the completed form.  After you double-check your information, you can either click the “Edit Again” button to change your information, or click the “Form is Correct” button to continue with the submission process.

 This image will pop up to remind you to agree to the policy terms at the bottom of the next page:

 Until you click the “Accept Agreements” button at the bottom of the next page, your form is NOT YET submitted.  We’ve listed everything so that you have access to the entire policy.  When you’re ready, click the “Accept Agreements” button.

Congratulations!  If you see this image, you’ve successfully submitted the Event Registration Form.  Note the three email addresses listed – one copy goes to the Facilities Committee, one to the Event Sponsor, and one to the Group Contact.

If the committee has any questions upon review of your form, we’ll send a message asking for clarification.  You’ll receive confirmation when your event is approved.  Thank you for helping us provide your event with good support.  Don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions.

Media Commons: are you taking advantage of it?

We’re a small campus, but we have great services available to us through University Park by virtue of the fact that we are part of the Penn State system.  Some examples of these resources  are computing resources, library resources, and instructional design resources.

One service that combines all three of those categories is the Media Commons, located in the campus Library.  Have you heard of Media Commons?  Have you used the studios?  When Media Commons first came to Mont Alto years ago, it was called Digital Commons.

Media Commons on our campus is comprised of a recording studio and three editing studios, outfitted with great equipment like professional-grade video camera and lights, a green screen, broadcast-quality microphones, and Apple iMac computers with numerous media-editing applications installed.  There are telephones installed in the editing studios that dial directly to the Media Commons Help Desk, where a Media Commons professional can connect remotely to the computer and help troubleshoot issues that arise.

What uses does Media Commons have?  Students are encouraged to use this equipment for audio and video projects.  Faculty and staff, likewise, have opportunity to generate media as creative as they can imagine.  Our campus has a number of different classes in different disciplines that rely heavily on the Media Commons technologies for semester projects.  Our PT384 class has been requiring a semester video project for many years – when Digital Commons arrived here, it was a great fit for what the students need to do.  Click here to see the case study for this class use of Media Commons, complete with a sample student video and an interview of Renee Borromeo:  http://mediacommons.psu.edu/pt384.

What if you don’t know how to use the equipment or even how the studios might benefit you in your efforts?  You’re in a good place to ask.  Nick Smerker, a Traveling Media Consultant from the University Park Media Commons team, visits the Mont Alto campus regularly to assist faculty, staff, and students with current projects and to plan future ones.  He’ll be here on January 7, and he has availability to meet with you!

If you’re interested in meeting with Nick on January 7, or another date, please email mediacommons@psu.edu.  It’s not too late to consider incorporating these technologies into your Spring semester.

In other Media Commons news, we’re bringing a Penn State specific technology to campus soon…  It’s called a One Button Studio, and we’ll be posting more information as we have it.  Here’s a link, in case you’re curious:

http://mediacommons.psu.edu/onebutton

How do I… connect to my files on PSU computers from home?

You may never have heard of PASS space or UDrive, but if you’ve used any public computers on campus, you’ve used one of them.  Both PASS space and UDrive are servers on which your personal files are stored with lab computers and podium computers.

You can access those files from other computers, like faculty laptops and personal computers at home.  How?

If you’re connecting from a computer on campus (wired or wireless), please skip this step.  Computers that are NOT on campus must use the VPN tool first.  You can download the tool here (faculty laptops already have it installed).  You’ll have to log in to download the software.  Once you’ve installed it, you must use it each time you connect to PASS or UDrive from off campus.  Select the “ISP to PSU” connection when you launch the VPN software.

Faculty computers and staff computers that our department has disbursed all have a little program installed called “Map Pass and Udrive.”  If you click on your Windows button in the bottom left-hand corner of your desktop, then select “All Programs,” you should see it listed near the top.  It has a little smiley face on a folder as an icon.

If you’re using your personal Windows computer, you can get the Map PASS and UDrive software here.  If you’re using your personal MacIntosh computer, you can download it here.  Install it, and you’ll have the same shortcut with the smiley face.

The following image is what the software looks like when you launch it.  Enter your Penn State Access account, your password, then click connect.  You only need to connect to your user folders – not the root folders.

Congratulations!  You should now have easy access to the folders where your files are stored on public computers!  If you’re not sure which to use, don’t hesitate to give us a call (717-749-6300) or send us a quick message to the Help Desk (helpdesk@ma.psu.edu).  We’d love to assist you in your accessing everything that you need, no matter where you are.

Lab News

Many thanks to the helpful staff of the Academic Support Center: they’re partnering with ITS to extend the hours of availability for the General Studies 101A Computer Lab and Collaboration Space! New hours for  standard academic weeks are as follows:
8:30 am – 7:00 pm, Monday through Thursday
8:30 am – 4:00 pm, Friday

Students who need to use public computers during hours not listed here can use the Library, which has also partnered with ITS to extend hours of availability for students.  Regular hours for the Library are as follows:
8:00 am – 10:00 pm, Monday through Friday
4:00 pm - 10:00 pm, Saturday
Noon – 10:00 pm, Sunday

We will be extending lab hours at the end of the semester to accommodate student computing needs for finishing projects and papers.

Other lab news is VERY exciting!  We are piloting a new program introduced by CLM (Cooperative Lab Management at University Park – the group that manages lab computers here).  This program is called LabChat and is currently available on all lab and public computers supported by Mont Alto campus ITS.  Users who are logged into lab and public computers can now click on a shortcut on the desktop that will open a chat window.  Lab consultants are available through LabChat to answer basic questions about computer and software use.  In the case that a question is asked that requires help from our local department, the consultants will immediately contact us for support.  LabChat adds one more resource for assistance for our campus computing community.  Try it and let us know what you think!

 

Online Training Opportunities

Are there computer applications that you’d like to better utilize?  Penn State partnered with Lynda.com to deliver free online training opportunities to all Penn State students, faculty, and staff.  Content ranges from digital imaging (Adobe Photoshop) to office productivity (Microsoft Office) to web building (Dreamweaver), and so much more.

If you click on the Lynda logo below, the link will take you to the Penn State login page for Penn State.  Use your Access Account credentials to log in (the same user name and password you use for Webmail, ANGEL, eLion, etc).

Some of the features that enhance the learning experience through Lynda include the ability to bookmark your lesson and return to a specific point, certificates of completion upon finishing courses, and a history that allows you to track your progress through lessons.

Enjoy!

 

Oh no, the printer!

“What IS the process for letting ITS know when I’m having printing problems?”

I’m so glad you asked!

Many of the printers that we install around campus have hyper-early warnings about low toner: hyper-early as in 40% remaining.  When we use cartridges that produce 36,000 pages, that means that we start receiving warnings when there are approximately 14,400 pages left in the cartridge.  Granted, not all our toner cartridges yield so many pages, but there’s still usually a good deal of printing in the life of cartridges when we receive our initial warnings.  If this is the alert you’re seeing, please disregard it.

If you see the quality of printing diminish, though, please call us immediately.  We do not want the hard work that you do to be impeded by something like an empty toner cartridge.  We’ll do everything within our power to remedy the issue right away.

Likewise, if there is a mechanical problem of any kind with the printer, please call us immediately.  We do not want the hard work that you do to be impeded by something like a printer jam.  We’ll do everything within our power to remedy the issue right away.

We have a regular paper route scheduled for our student workers throughout the week to ensure that student-use printers always have sufficiently full paper drawers.  Our students will preemptively deal with printer problems when they are visiting each printer.

If your printers don’t appear when you log into your University-issued computer, try logging out, making sure that your computer is connected to the network, making sure that your wireless switch is in the OFF position, and then logging in again.  If printers are still not available, give us a call.  We can assist in troubleshooting this issue.

Requests for new printers should be directed to the Help Desk.  Just send an email with your request to helpdesk@ma.psu.edu.

Please don’t forget that we recycle used toner and ink cartridges – even cartridges from off-campus printers.  The points that we gain in sending those cartridges for recycling are then transformed into AV equipment that can be used by our students.

Our Help Desk telephone number is 717-749-6300.  If you’re on campus, just dial extension 6300.  As always, it’s our pleasure to assist you with your IT needs.  Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Hello, IDS(es)!

We’ve set up a special email address so that you can contact our traveling IDSes! Just send an email to ids@ma.psu.edu and they’ll all receive a copy of your request.

Brian, Heather, and Jeff will be visiting again on Wednesday, October 17, from 9 am to 2 pm. They’ll be available for a meet and greet in the upstairs Library conference room for a good portion of the day. This team hopes to meet faculty and have discussion to better discern faculty needs. Here’s a short list of technologies/interests their group can help with:

Penn State Supported Services:
Voicethread
Blogs
E-Portfolio
Clickers
Streaming Server
ANGEL

Other areas of interest:
Classroom Assessment
iPad as a classroom tool (Doceri)
Educational Research
Yammer

Would you like to know more about them?

Brian has been working within Education Technology Services consulting with faculty for a number of years at Penn State. His main focus has been technologies used for classroom teaching, such as clickers, and iPad projection (Doceri). Prior to coming to Penn State, Brian has worked as a middle school History teacher, has developed curriculum for an online high school. Brian has also worked at the University of South Carolina assisting in the development of an online Public Health Training Center. He earned a Masters degree in Instructional Technology as well as his Secondary education History degree from Bloomsburg University.

Heather is completing her Ph.D. in Art Education at Penn State, where she studies activity in a large-scale online social network. Heather also has several years of experience as an instructor and instructional designer at Penn State. She has taught both online and residence courses and managed a University art gallery. Most recently, Heather worked at Education Technology Services on research and pilot studies of new education technologies.

Here’s the announcement that describes their objectives in working with us:

“Education Technology Services (ETS), a unit of Teaching and Learning with Technology within Information Technology Services, is happy to announce it is now offering pedagogical consulting services to instructors located at the Commonwealth Campuses. Beginning with the fall 2012 semester, two instructional designers will be available to assist instructors interested in using technology to improve the teaching and learning experience.

The primary mission of ETS is to provide leadership and support in the appropriate use of technology for teaching, learning, and research. By trade, our instructional designers work with instructors with the design of a new course or to modify an existing course by assisting with the arrangement of content and how it is delivered to the students. The goal is to help improve student performance by designing a course where the acquisition of the required knowledge and skills are optimized by creating a learning experience that is both appealing and productive.

Instructional Designers Brian Young and Heather Hughes are available to consult with instructors on good teaching practices potentially involving the use of technology. Both Heather and Brian have a long history of success working with instructors with the utilization of technology to improve instruction. Instructors at the Commonwealth Campuses are encouraged to contact Heather and Brian for consulting assistance on any number of technology tools including, but not limited to, our more mature technologies such as ANGEL, Adobe Connect, blogs, and podcasts as well as the newer and more experimental technologies such as Yammer, Doceri, and clickers. Heather and Brian are available to consult with instructors remotely via telephone, email, or other collaborative tools. They will also periodically visit your campus for group sessions covering multiple topics.

Please note, ETS is able to provide consulting services and is not able to support with the building and maintenance of a course. It is recommended that instructors work with their existing support team, instructional designers, multi-media specialists, teaching assistants, IT and help desk support as they are the best and most efficient way for your immediate needs to be met. Instructors should continue following the established support protocols at their respective campuses. Instructors at campuses currently providing instructional design support should continue to use their design team as their primary means of assistance. Instructors located at campuses that currently do not have the support of an instructional designer can contact ETS directly.

ETS is excited to be able to provide this consulting service to instructors at all the Commonwealth Campuses. We hope it will be a great resource for learning about and experimenting with the latest technologies to impact teaching and learning. “

Collaboration – to build better collaboration!

Our department collaborated extensively with many people this summer to deliver our students better spaces in which to work in our dated public computer lab in General Studies 101A. We consulted with Media Commons from University Park, imagineered with EFS to customize furniture, planned and troubleshot with our Physical Plant on campus to do the hard work that needed to be done, and put our ITS heads together to compose the best possible combination of function, practicality, and aesthetics.

Until the renovation, this lab was configured as it had been for many years. Twenty-eight student workstations filled the room in four rows of tables. We provided a scanner, a signature station, a black laser printer, and a color laser printer in this space for student use. Collaboration happened in this room, but only awkwardly. Thanks to Nick Smerker for taking pre-construction shots of the lab in use, last spring:

Problems in the room ranged from issues with running cabling from the walls down the rows of desks to poor lighting to minimal space for movement to old paint and carpet and furniture. Students used the space, but primarily as a place to do the bare essentials of computing.

We set out with several goals in mind. First, we didn’t want to lose any more workstations than possible for the room. It has only been rarely that the lab fills to capacity, but during those busy parts of the year, we can’t spare any seats. We managed to use twenty-six regular desktop computers, with seating for six laptop users – an improvement of four computers in the space. Second, we wanted to provide more effective spaces where collaboration can happen. The two collaboration tables that we imagineered each allow for two public computers with smart podium monitors to work alongside three individual laptops – when the large digital displays are turned on, all you have to do is click the “Share” button on your cable for your screen to show on the TV. The standing computer stations allow for students to use the computers to print jobs quickly without the hassle of settling into seats. Our department can adjust the station heights as we see fit, and two of them are exactly in the prescribed range for chair-bound users to use. Also, we desired to deliver a warmer, more welcoming environment – one that aligns with the beauty of the campus. Finally, we did what we could to conserve both energy resources and money. Those tables that line the walls of the new room are cycled-down from a classroom computer lab.

The feedback that we’ve received since opening the lab has been overwhelmingly positive. Students who returned this fall from previous semesters are astounded at the difference. Students who arrived for their first semester a few weeks ago have made themselves at home in the space. Use of the room seems to have increased, and if we have the opportunity to add more good collaboration spaces in other areas of the campus, we’ll seriously consider it. What do you think?

How do I… Use Identity Finder to deal with PII?

First, what is PII? Some of you know the answer to this question – it’s the personally-identifying information that may allow an identity thief to steal your digital identity. Social security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and even some other digital data can count as PII. The University has been on a mission for years to eradicate PII on University computers. There is a risk involved in having it: if you have PII on your hard drive and your computer becomes compromised with a virus, that digital information is no longer secure on your system. It may be in the hands of the wrong people. When campus computers are found to be compromised, and then PII is discovered on those computers, the University (specifically, our campus) is legally required to spend whatever money it takes to inform people whose PII may have been exposed that their identities may be at risk. Even if your own social security number is found on your own assigned (compromised) computer, the campus is required to inform you.

There is a great tool that we have use of to discover and remediate PII. Identity Finder is installed on all faculty and staff computers on our campus. That software was recently updated, and now it’s even more sensitive to potential PII data than before. It is imperative that everyone regularly scan their systems to find what PII may be there, and then clean it. The software isn’t perfect – it will find data that are relatively meaningless and that represent false positives. Identity Finder can be trained through use to disregard those files that contain what you know for sure to be false PII. Let’s take a look…

First, go to your Windows button and select “All Programs.” There, you’ll find Identity Finder in the Identity Finder group of shortcuts. Select it.

If you’ve never created a profile for Identity finder before, the software will prompt you to create a password. This is important! You need this profile to train IDFinder not to find false positives. Did you create a profile before? Enter the password. If you can’t remember it, go here for instructions.

When the Identiy Finder Search Wizard appears, click the button labeled “Start Search Now.” You can start this in the morning, then allow it to work in the background all day while you perform other tasks on your system.

This is what the window looks like while the search is being performed:

Okay. The search is done. It’s time for you to do your part. The first time that you do a PII search, IDFinder may find a large quantity of files. In fact, because Identity Finder was recently upgraded, we’re certain that you’ll have more results than you may be used to. It’s okay. You can designate false positives so that the software no longer lists those files in subsequent searches. Look at the image that follows… I can see that the number on the right is obviously not PII by the context of the file. So, I put a check mark in the box next to the file (on the left), then go to the menu at the top and select “Ignore” -> “This Item Location.” I personally like to look down through the results, then put a checkmark next to ALL files that have false positives so that I can IGNORE them all at once.

What if it’s real PII? What if I look at the content of the file in the preview pane on the right and see that it’s a real social security number? There are two options. First, in some kinds of files like Microsoft Office Word documents, “Scrub” is an option. It cleans the PII information only out of the file and preserves the rest of the file to be used normally. Some files cannot be scrubbed, though. In these cases, the appropriate action to choose is “Shred.” This choice destroys the file with PII and makes a note in the log that it was dealt with in this manner. Using IDFinder to perform these actions is really important so that a record of how it was remediated is preserved.

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If you can’t remember your previous password, you can delete your profile and start over. This represents increased work for you – if you delete your profile, you lose the logs of files that you previously marked as false positives. The software will find those files again. Nonetheless, it’s important to use the profile for the next time, so if you can’t remember your password, follow these steps. When the password screen appears, click “Skip” and log in with a guest profile.

Go to your “Settings” button on the “Configuration” tab. Click “Settings.”

The Profile option in the Settings window is what you’re looking for. It’s the first in the list. Select “Profile,” then click the “Delete” button on the right, next to “Delete Profile.” Click through the prompts to finish the process, then close IDFinder. Launch the software again, and you’ll be prompted to create a new password for your new profile. Please try to remember this – it’s what allows you to train IDFinder.

This work may not be the best Friday fun, but it is of utmost importance. Thank you for taking the time to do it. As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us at the ITS Helpdesk at 717-749-6300, or helpdesk@ma.psu.edu.