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Technology Update
March 4, 2014

Table of Contents

Register for the 12th Annual e-Learning Conference
Apple Security Update
Cryptolocker and Other Malware
CrashPlan Pro Backup Service
A General Note about Spam Blocking
REMINDER: Windows XP and XP Mode End-of-Support Looming
IRT Web Site Update
Use Qualtrics to Schedule Meetings!
Changes to Turnitin Submission Process
Sign Up for OLT Workshops


Register for the 12th Annual e-Learning Conference

Register today for the 12th annual e-Learning 3.0 Conference! Hosted by IRT, the conference will be held on Thursday, March 27th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building. Each year, the conference draws more than 180 participants from over 40 regional institutions to share best practices for learning enrichment and student engagement in an e-learning environment.

To register, visit the conference Web site and click "Register today!" A registration fee of just $20 for Drexel faculty, staff, and students includes welcome materials, access to the presentations and keynote speaker session, a continental breakfast, lunch, afternoon refreshments, and a door prize drawing at the conclusion of the event (winners must be present).

This year’s keynote address will be delivered by Katie Blot, head of Blackboard’s Global Services unit, a 700+ member team that provides consulting, hosting, and student services to organizations around the world. The keynote will discuss some of the emerging trends in education–from globalization and students as consumers, to the increased focus on outcomes and the student experience–and what the changing landscape could mean for the future of learning technology. In response to these trends, online educators are enabling some fundamental changes in how they look at and deliver instruction, and institutions are redefining not only their short-term plan, but also their long-term growth strategy.

All proposals have been reviewed. To view a list of all available sessions for the conference, view the Conference Program.

The conference represents a fantastic opportunity to learn from your colleagues at Drexel and other institutions around the region. Any questions or concerns can be directed to the Online Learning Team at olt@drexel.edu. We look forward to seeing you there!


Apple Security Update

On February 21, Apple revealed that serious security defects were found in the operating systems for iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Details of these bug impacts and the fixes are published in Apple’s Security Advisories at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6147 and http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6150.

Apple issued a security patch for iPhones and iPads on February 21 and released a security update for OS X Mavericks, Lion and Mountain Lion on February 25. It is important that you update your computer and/or your iOS device as soon as possible:

  • If you have OS X Mavericks, install Mavericks v10.9.2. This update includes a fix for the "GotoFail" SSL security flaw and will improve the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac.
  • If you have iPhone 4 or later, iPod Touch (5th generation), or iPad 2 or later, install iOS release 7.0.6.
  • If you have an older Apple device, install iOS release 6.1.6.

More information about Apple security updates can be found on Apple’s Web site. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact the IRT Help Desk at 215-895-2020 or consult@drexel.edu.


Cryptolocker and Other Malware

Since last fall, scammers have tricked users into opening attachments that infect their machines with cryptolocker, a particularly vicious hijacker malware, and with ever increasing frequency.

This malicious code is also known as ransomware or hijacker malware; it detects and then encrypts the personal files of both local user documents and remote shared folders, including files with standard Microsoft Office extensions, images, and PDFs. The attacker then ransoms the encrypted files for a certain amount of money.

Once your personal and shared files are encrypted, there is no known method to unlock them. The only solution is to wipe your computer’s hard drive and restore document files from a backup. While cryptolocker is not the only malware in circulation, it is one of the most vicious in recent years. Always be suspicious of unsolicited email asking you to click a link or threatening you with the expiration of your email account. If IRT needs to notify you about your email account status, we will ask you to contact us by phone or in person. We will NOT ask you to click a link and provide login credentials!

The best way to avoid cryptolocker infection is to be very wary of any email containing links, attachments, or images you are not expecting. Such emails can appear to come from legitimate businesses, advertisements, or even your contacts, but these are disguises only. Delete these messages immediately and DO NOT click or open any links or attached files. When browsing the Web, avoid opening advertisement links and links on social media sites.

Furthermore, IRT advises users to take advantage of CrashPlan backup software, or another backup solution of your choice, which will enable you to retrieve your files if your computer is ever in need of wiping and reloading. See our separate item on CrashPlan Pro.

If you suspect your computer has been infected with a virus or ransomware such as cryptolocker, contact IRT immediately at 215-895-2020.


CrashPlan Pro Backup Service

Drexel and IRT offer the CrashPlan Pro service to professional staff and faculty. Contact accounts@drexel.edu for more information or view the backup page on IRT’s Web site. CrashPlan is also available to students and all personally-owned computers directly from the CrashPlan Web site at www.crashplan.com. Various plan levels are available.


A General Note about Spam Blocking

Spam is an ever-present problem, one that only seems to worsen as time passes. Oftentimes, we overlook all of the spam that never makes it to our inbox, blocked by aggressive filtering techniques, and focus instead on the few garbage emails that squeeze through.

IRT’s systems administrators have several layers of spam protection in place, but it is an ongoing struggle — the computer security industry figures out how to block each new kind of spam, and then the spammers figure out a new way to get around the blocks. University email systems are a favorite target, unfortunately.

If you do receive spam to your Drexel account, please report it by forwarding it to spamreports@drexel.edu with full Internet headers (instructions for various clients can be found here). These reports go straight to Sophos, the company that provides our server-side spam filtration.

Currently, our biggest problem with spam involves people giving out their Drexel email account information to phishers, who subsequently hack their accounts to send out even more spam. As soon as we disable one set of spam-spewing accounts, another group pops up. You can help by spreading the word to others about the importance of verifying the legitimacy of a Web site before entering your login credentials. It is also worth paying some attention to whom you give your email address, and on which Web sites you make your email address visible.

We have some general tips about protecting yourself from spam here and here. For more help, contact us at consult@drexel.edu or 215-895-2020.


REMINDER: Windows XP and XP Mode End-of-Support Looming

On April 8, 2014, extended support will end not only for Windows XP, but for Windows XP Mode as well. These products will become highly vulnerable to compromise after April 8.

To protect your computer from security threats and prevent possible network isolation, it is imperative that all XP installations be upgraded to Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (or Windows 8 if appropriate) immediately. Contact IRT or your department’s tech support person(s) for assistance.

For more information about Microsoft product support and retirement, see Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle page.


IRT Web Site Update

If you have visited the IRT Web site recently, you might have noticed its updated look and feel. Rest assured that the update is only an improvement in appearance and functionality; all of the information provided on the old site still appears. However, some content is organized differently on the new site. If you are having trouble locating a page, please use the search box in the upper right-hand corner, or check the A to Z Index.

Also, if you bookmarked any pages on the old IRT Web site, please be sure to update those bookmarks with the new URLs!


Use Qualtrics to Schedule Meetings!

You might be familiar with Doodle, an online application that helps you find a convenient meeting day and time for your attendees. But did you know that you can also use Qualtrics for meeting scheduling? Simply create a survey with a multiple choice question that asks, "Please select your preferred meeting date/time from the following list," with a series of possible meeting dates/times as answer choices. For easier scheduling, you can change the "Answer" setting in the right-hand pane from "Single Answer" to "Multiple Answer" to allow respondents to check off all of the dates/times they are available. If you prefer to have respondents rank a list of meeting dates/times in order of preference, you can use "Matrix Table," "Rank Order," or "Pick, Group, and Rank" question types.

For help with scheduling meetings using Qualtrics, please contact the Online Learning Team at olt@drexel.edu or 215-895-1224.


Changes to Turnitin Submission Process

Recently, Turnitin released a number of changes and improvements, the most noticeable of which is a change to the assignment submission workflow for instructors and students.

As Turnitin expands the range of accepted file types, it will display an immediate image preview of the submitted file for files that contain little or no text (e.g., PowerPoint slideshows). Here is the new submission workflow from a student perspective; instructors will have a similar experience:

First, the student fills out the "Submission title" field, and selects a file to upload (from local computer, Google Drive, or Dropbox), then clicks the "Upload" button.

After clicking Upload, the student is shown a "Processing" screen, with some additional information about the submission and assignment.

A formatted preview of the first page of the submission is displayed. The student is prompted to confirm the submission. If, for some reason, a paper takes more than two minutes to generate a preview (which is rare), there is an alternate workflow in which the student can choose from several options:

  • Cancel, and try again—the student will be taken back to select a file.
  • Keep trying, I'll be back—the student can leave and will be sent an email with status information.

The student can also decide to continue waiting.

The student can zoom in on the image preview if needed to confirm that s/he has submitted the correct file.

The student is shown a digital receipt, with some updates.

Turnitin also released a new feature called Mark-Criterion Association, which is the ability to associate marks (bubble comments or QuickMark comments) on the document with criteria in the rubric or grading form. Visit Turnitin's Web site to learn more.


Sign Up for OLT Workshops

The Online Learning Team conducts training sessions on Learn, Collaborate, Camtasia, Web Content, SharePoint, and more. In addition, several brown bag lunches and workshops on technology products of interest are held each month. These training sessions are open to members of Drexel’s community as well as the general public.

To reserve a spot at any of these workshops, email us at olt@drexel.edu with your name, institution (if other than Drexel), contact information, and the name of the workshop(s) you would like to attend.

Below is a sampling of workshops taking place in March:

Learn Basics Workshop
Thursday, March 20, 9:00 a.m. – noon

Learn Full Day Workshop
Thursday, March 6, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Image Editing for the Web
Wednesday, March 26, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

University Events Calendar Training
Thursday, March 27, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Visit our Web site for our complete training schedule and workshop descriptions. If you need a separate workshop for your department or faculty group on a specific topic, you can email the Online Learning Team to coordinate a session.

Unless otherwise noted, all training sessions will be held in room 116 of the Korman Center (off the Quad on Drexel’s University City Campus, 33rd Street between Market and Chestnut Streets).