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Technology Update
June 25, 2013

Table of Contents


Commencement 2013 Webcast in HD

For the first time, this year’s Commencement ceremonies were webcast and archived in full high-definition (HD)! To view the archived webcasts, visit the Commencement Web site. Silverlight is required for some platforms (click the download link at the bottom of the Commencement Web site linked above).

On average, over 200 viewers, including those in the overflow room at the Earle Mack School of Law, watched each ceremony.

Also, this year marked the first year that viewers could watch Commencement ceremonies webcast live on mobile devices, including iOS devices (i.e., iPads and iPhones).


Voice Mail and Voice Menu System Upgrade

To accommodate continued University growth, Drexel has upgraded its voicemail system.

As of the upgrade on June 21, the method for accessing voicemail from off-campus has changed. When calling 215-895-4900, you will be prompted to identify your mailbox by your 10-digit office phone number, beginning with the area code. Entering the 10-digit phone number replaces the previous identification method of entering “3” followed by your four-digit extension.

This upgrade only impacts University telephone numbers beginning with (215) 895- or (215) 571- and configured to use voice mail or voice menus.

If you have questions or concerns regarding this upgrade, please email telephone-request@drexel.edu or call 215-895-6666.


Internet Explorer 10 Becomes an "Important" Update

According to Microsoft, Internet Explorer (IE) 10 is now an “important” instead of an “optional” update. Although a policy in place on the Drexel domain prevents the automatic installation of IE 10, no such policy is in effect for computers that are updated outside of the domain (off-campus or otherwise). It is therefore important that Enterprise system users update their computers while connected to the domain, and continue using IE 8 or 9. IE 10 has known incompatibilities with Enterprise applications.

If your computer is not on the Drexel domain and you wish to forgo installing IE 10, you will need to manually verify and install new Microsoft updates and deselect the one for IE 10.

For questions or concerns, please contact the IRT Help Desk at consult@drexel.edu or 215-895-2020.


Accounts and Computer Services Information for Graduating Students

Congratulations to the graduates of 2013! We would like to call your attention to the changes that will take place this summer with your computer accounts and, in particular, the continuing computing services that Drexel's Office of Information Resources and Technology (IRT) will provide to you.

IRT services for alumni are detailed at drexel.edu/IRT/NewAlumni. Some key points:

  • Drexel domain accounts close approximately 30 days after graduation
  • DrexelOne, full email service, and DUNX1 accounts stay open for up to two years after graduation (unless you request that they be closed sooner)
  • At account closing, you can request extended email forwarding for your user ID and official address
  • LinkEdu accounts remain open indefinitely

Please be sure to keep track of your passwords. Once you cease to be an active student, it will be difficult for IRT to verify your identity in order to help you reset your password.

IRT provides these services to recent alums in order to facilitate a smooth transition upon graduation. We hope they will be useful to you. If you have any questions, send an email to accounts@drexel.edu or call 215-895-2020. Good luck in the future!

Note: For those of you continuing at Drexel in an active role (you are going on for an advanced degree, you are an employee, teaching, etc.), your computer account privileges will continue as appropriate.


Drexel Joins Internet2 Innovation Campus Pilot

The Office of Information Resources and Technology is pleased to announce that Drexel University has joined the Internet2 Innovation Campus Pilot along with 30 other research organizations. As part of the pilot, IRT will provide innovative network technologies to support science research and enable a new generation of unique applications that would not be possible with other network technologies. Drexel is currently the only pilot institution in the northeastern United States.

For more information, see the Internet2 Innovation Platform FAQ. To find out more about Drexel’s participation in the Innovation Campus Pilot, contact Kenneth Blackney at Ken.Blackney@drexel.edu.


Departmental Email Accounts

University departments have the option of requesting a departmental email address for office business. When does it make sense to have your staff use a departmental email address, rather than their own individual email addresses? One possible reason might involve advertising. An address such as alumni@drexel.edu or "sports@drexel.edu" is catchy and easy for potential customers to remember.

Another possible reason might be to allow a group of people to share the correspondence workload. For example, any of IRT’s Help Desk consultants can handle questions sent to consult@drexel.edu.

Finally, consider what will happen to critical or sensitive emails when an employee leaves. IRT can easily remove access to a departmental address from a departing employee and grant it to someone else.

The situation is complicated further if the departing employee continues on at Drexel (as a student, or working in another area), since the employee will continue to use his or her personal Drexel email account.

If you are interested in requesting an account(s) for your department, contact IRT’s Accounts team at accounts@drexel.edu.


End-of-Support for Windows XP

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will officially end support for the Windows XP operating system. This means that, after this date, computers running XP will no longer receive security updates or patches for either the operating system or the XP applications they are running.

Users should upgrade out of Windows XP (Windows 7 would be a reasonable choice) no later than April 8, 2014. Applications vendors are continually working on any remaining compatibility issues, and for those who absolutely need XP to run an application, Microsoft includes an XP virtual machine option in Windows 7 Professional and higher versions. Using this virtual machine software would help to protect your computer and personal data.

If you have an older machine, and aren't sure if it can run Windows 7, try the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor first.

In the long run, users will save time and money by planning an upgrade now, instead of waiting until the last minute. The sooner, the safer—for both Drexel and personal computers.

For more information about the risks of sticking with XP, see Technibble’s Web site, as well as TechRepublic’s article. And, of course, contact your IRT tech support staff for assistance.


Discussion Board Strategies

A recent update to the Blackboard Discussion Board has given us the much awaited “Post First” discussion feature that requires students to create their own discussion threads before being able to read others’ threads. The update has also given us a dizzying number of options. This article in AskDrexel will look at just a few of these options and suggest two general strategies for structuring your discussion forums.


Discussion Board Posts Not Appearing in Learn

There have been a number of issues where discussion board posts containing "bad" HTML code cause first-level replies not to render on the page (replies to replies are unaffected). Until Blackboard releases a fix, there are several steps students can take to strip out the “bad” HTML code. See the full article on AskDrexel.


Do Not Use Special Characters in Assignment Filename(s) in Learn

If an assignment submission in Learn contains a special character (%&#<>=\+/',":!?$@|[]{}) in the name of the attached file, the system will accept it but will generate an error message when a student attempts to submit the assignment or an instructor attempts to review it. We are working with Blackboard to implement a fix that will disallow submissions containing these characters and generate a clearer error message.

To avoid problems with assignment submissions, please make sure that any attachments to an assignment submission do not contain special characters in the filename. Only alphanumeric characters (a-z, A-Z, or 0-9) should be used.

If you have any questions, please contact the Online Learning Team at olt@drexel.edu or 215-895-1224.


Short Class Surveys

Instructors can use the survey and test tools in Blackboard Learn to easily obtain anonymous or student-identified feedback from an online or on-campus class. (Surveys are anonymous in Learn, but they can be created as “tests” in order to identify student responses.) For example, an instructor might include two class surveys in every course: one identified survey at the beginning of term to find out the best times for online meetings, and one near the middle of term to get anonymous student feedback on how the course is progressing. 

A survey at the beginning of term can reveal problems with student access to Learn. Such a survey might contain a few simple questions—just enough to ensure that students have access, ascertain appropriate meeting times, or to learn more about the students.

For longer surveys, you can edit questions in Word and use the Respondus exam editor to upload the survey to Learn. The Respondus exam editor (for Windows) is licensed for faculty use; you can download the installation file and license key by clicking on the “Content Collection” tab in Learn and navigating to the “Institution Content” > “Software” > “Respondus” folder.

Short surveys, on the other hand, can be created directly in Learn. For example, if you want to create a one-question survey that will identify respondents, you can set up the survey as a “test” in Learn by following these steps in AskDrexel.


Sign Up for OLT Workshops

The Online Learning Team conducts training sessions on Learn, Camtasia, DragonDrop, Web Basics, Mac OS X, Respondus, 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 July and August:

Learn Full Day Workshop
Friday, July 26, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Free/Open Source Media Editing Options
Monday, July 22, 10:00 a.m. – noon

University Events Calendar Training
Thursday, August 29, 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).