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Office of Information Technology
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Helpdesk: ECS 020 / 410-455-3838 / Email:

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April 30, 2012

UMBC Blackboard Update: SU2012

UMBC Blackboard update is provided by the Division of Information Technology for students, faculty and staff using Blackboard at UMBC. If you have questions or need help, please consult the Blackboard Help tab inside Blackboard or directly at You can also contact the Technology Support Center (formerly the Help Desk) at 410.455.3838 or submit an RT (Request Tracker) ticket via the myUMBC Help menu or directly at


1. SU2012 Bb Course Shells Created on April 16
2. SU2012 Blackboard Drop-in Schedule
3. Hybrid Teaching and Learning Resources Lunch & Learn on May 7
4. Hybrid Course Redesign Workshop on June 8
5. Bb Collaborate Training Webinar Links Now Available
6. FA2012 Lab & Lecture Hall Software Request Deadline is May 1
7. FYI: Turning Technologies Overview of Product Enhancements - Lunch & Learn May 9
8. All Students Required to Create Account Security Questions by May 22

Posted by readel at 1:23 PM | TrackBack

Bb Collaborate Training Webinar Links Now Available

Blackboard Collaborate is the web-based conferencing system that DoIT staff installed on the UMBC Bb servers in December, 2011. It allows faculty to incorporate live, multi-way audio and video, a basic whiteboard with mark-up, application and desktop sharing and other tools for interactivity. It can also be used asynchronously; faculty can narrate a lecture presentation (including Power Point slides), save the recording, and make it available for students to access via Blackboard.

Recently Blackboard Collaborate, Inc. provided 4 two-hour training sessions to staff from DoIT, the AOK Library, and CPS. These sessions were recorded and are now available for anyone to view. The first session is an overview of the basic features of Bb Collaborate. The second session includes advanced features appropriate for faculty interested in running synchronous online sessions with their students. The third session covers the use of the software packages Plan! and Publish! Plan! allows faculty to prepare complex Collaborate sessions with many features (such as slides, interactive white board exercises, and quizzes) ahead of time. Publish! is a tool that allows you to download a recorded presentation in several formats including as an .mp4 video file. The final session focuses on the integration of all of the previously covered features. Links to these sessions are below:

1. Bb Collaborate Essentials
2. Bb Collaborate Beyond the Basics
3. Bb Collaborate Plan! & Publish!
4. Putting it all together

First time Bb Collaborate Users are encouraged to go to the First Time User support page first, to ensure that the computer is equipped appropriately. Bb Collaborate also offers an On Demand Learning Center with many training resources.

Posted by readel at 12:47 PM | TrackBack

SU2012 Bb Course Shells Created on 4/16

Bb course shells for SU 2012 were created on April 16, and will continue to be updated daily. Bb shells are available for all courses (designated as lecture, lab, or discussion) listed in the UMBC Schedule of Classes (SOC), provided that there was an instructor of record listed. The addition of new course sections and instructors will result in new Bb shells being automatically generated each morning. Student enrollment in Bb will continue to mirror the official registration in SA, and will update hourly.

If you are an instructor, and your name is not associated with the course you are teaching in the SOC, please see your departmental scheduling coordinator to get that issue resolved.

Additionally in situations where one instructor is teaching multiple sections of the same course, by default all sections will be combined into one Bb course shell. If you want to have separate shells for different sections, or if you need a shell for for a research or independent study course, please submit a new course request or submit an RT ticket with your request.

As a reminder, all Bb course shells are initially unavailable to students until the instructor makes it available.

Posted by readel at 11:39 AM | TrackBack

DoIT Launches Annual User Survey

As part of its annual assessment plan, the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) invites the campus community to complete the following annual survey of information technology services.

This brief (10 minute), anonymous survey will help us in our planning for academic year 2012-2013 and provides important feedback to understand what technology services are important to you and how well we are meeting your needs.

Note: if you are prompted to login, this is ONLY to limit access to the survey to the UMBC community. The survey itself is anonymous.

If you have any questions about this survey or need more information, please contact our Technology Support Center located on the first floor of the library or call 410.455.3838.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and assistance.

Jack Suess
VP of Information Technology and CIO

Posted by fritz at 7:37 AM | TrackBack

April 23, 2012

Data Center Shut Down Friday, April 29th

In preparation for the campus wide power outage scheduled on Sunday, April 29th, DoIT will be shutting down one of our two campus data centers. During the power outage there will be no backup cooling available to the Public Policy (PUP) Building data center so a shutdown of the hardware in this location is necessary.

Beginning at 4:00pm on Friday, April 27th the PUP data center will be shut down. There are two services that will be unavailable during this time (April 27 4:00pm through Noon, April 30th). All other services will be unaffected.

Affected Services:

* iStrategy (REX) Finance Only - (Student Will Remain Available)
* Peoplesoft Development

We anticipate having the PUP data center and all associated services fully restored by noon, April 30th.

On a positive note we have a new data center lease agreement with Allegis in UMBC’s research park. DoIT will begin moving many of our production systems currently hosted in the PUP data center to the new data center late this summer. The new data center has fully redundant power and cooling which will enhance UMBC’s redundancy and disaster recovery.

Posted by mikec at 3:30 PM | TrackBack

April 17, 2012

Blackboard Down for Maintenance 10 pm Fri. 4/20 - 1 am Sat. 4/21

The UMBC Blackboard server will be down during the regularly scheduled maintenance window from 10 pm Friday, April 20 to 1 am Saturday, April 21. DoIT staff will be applying updates necessary to fix a reported problem with the wiki tool.

We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconveniences that this down time may cause.

Posted by readel at 7:36 PM | TrackBack

Gmail Service Disruption

The Technology Support Center (previously known as the Help Desk) began receiving reports around 1:15pm today that UMBC's Gmail system was not working. This does not appear to be affecting all Gmail users. Google has confirmed there is an issue. The status can be monitored at:

Posted by mikec at 1:33 PM | TrackBack

All Students Required to Create Account Security Questions by May 22

To facilitate self service, all students will be required to create security questions only they can answer by Tuesday, May 22, so they can access their account and reset their own password. A notice will appear to all students without security questions starting on April 19.

Typically, more than half of DoIT’s weekly Request Tracker (RT) tickets involve a manual password reset by three full time staff members at the Technology Support Center (TSC). Most of these tickets are from students without security questions. As a result, TSC staff can ONLY reset someone’s password with verbal confirmation of secure data in real time, which is often preceded by several “phone tag” voice mail messages to schedule an appointment to do so. Since DoIT resolved more than 23,000 tickets last year (37 percent within a day or less), improving user self-service should increase our capacity to help resolve more complex issues.

To create your own security questions, visit the following Frequently Asked Question (FAQ):

How do I create my security questions to reset a forgotten password?

If you have any questions or need help, please submit an RT Ticket or contact the Technology Support Center (TSC) at 410.455.3838.

Posted by jamie at 12:07 PM | TrackBack

April 16, 2012

Known Issue: Error Accessing Blackboard Wiki Tool (RESOLVED)

UPDATE: DoIT staffed installed the patch for the Blackboard wiki error during the downtime on Friday, April 20, and the wiki tool is now functioning normally.

UPDATE: Blackboard has verified that the wiki error we are experiencing is a known issue (LRNSI-5667) and is due to a Java resource leak which results in unexpected behavior of the tool. DoIT is currently testing the patches provided by Blackboard, in anticipation of installing them on the production server Friday night.


DoIT is tracking a problem involving the Blackboard Wiki tool. When users try to create or access an existing Bb wiki, an error is generated. DoIT staff are working with Blackboard, Inc. to troubleshoot this issue and we hope to have a solution soon.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Posted by readel at 12:44 PM | TrackBack

April 10, 2012

SU2012 Blackboard Drop-in Sessions

DoIT is offering drop in Blackboard Drop-in sessions to assist and help faculty prepare for summer courses.

The following drop in sessions will be held in Engineering 025. A DoIT staff member will be available to work one-on-one with with users who show up during the designated times. Please note that this is not a formal Blackboard training class. Users may show up or leave at any point during these sessions.

Additional dates and times may be added as demand warrants.

SU2012 Blackboard Drop-In Schedule
Tu 5/812-1 pm
Tu 5/1512-1 pm
M 5/214-6 pm
Tu 5/2212-1 pm
Th 5/2412-1pm
W 5/3012-1 pm
F 6/112-1 pm
M 6/412-1 pm

Posted by readel at 10:03 AM | TrackBack

April 6, 2012

Blackboard Down for Maintenance from 10 pm Fri. 4/13 to 1 am Sat. 4/14

The UMBC Blackboard server will be down for three hours of scheduled maintenance from 10 pm Friday, April 13 to 1 am Saturday, April 14. DoIT staff will be applying security updates required by Blackboard during this time.

We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconveniences that this down time may cause.

Posted by readel at 4:24 PM | TrackBack

April 3, 2012

FA2012 Lab & Lecture Hall Software Requests Deadline is May 1

In order to load all lab and lecture hall PCs with our standard set of software (known as an "image"), all requests for additions or changes for Fall 2012 must be received by Tuesday, May 1. For Spring 2013, the lab & lecture hall software "image" deadline is Monday, October 1. All software requests must be made each semester (they do not carry over from semester to semester).

To be added to the lab & lecture hall image, DoIT must have the following:

* Proof of purchase/licenses
* Media and software installation instructions

Please submit an RT ticket containing the required information or contact 410.455.3838 and a Technology Support Center (TSC) staff member will assist you. If the request is not received by the deadline, there is no guarantee the requested software will be made available.

For an instructor-only demo of software, please use a laptop. If you don't have a laptop, you can reserve and pick up one at AV Services (020 ENGR Bldg).

If you need software installed on the lab image for a one-time purpose (for example, a 2-day workshop in which all users need access to the software), the request should be submitted no less than six (6) weeks prior to the first lab reservation for that class. The software will be removed once you are done.

An e-mail will be sent to the requester once the software is installed, typically 1-2 week(s) before the first use of the software; faculty/instructors need to then test the software to ensure everything is working as expected for class. Support for the software is the responsibility of the instructor or department who requested that the software be installed.

Again, proof of purchase and/or license must be provided for as many copies as will be needed for the students in the class. We cannot install software without appropriate proof of licensing.

Although DoIT will make a reasonable effort to get all software packages to work, we can not guarantee that they will. Some packages may not function because of the network, computer hardware, and lab setup. DoIT cannot be held responsible for software that does not work by class time. Please contact the TSC at 410.455.3838 if you have any additional questions.

Posted by readel at 4:35 PM | TrackBack

Hybrid Teaching and Learning Resources Lunch & Learn on 5/7 at 12 pm

Are you interested in learning more about hybrid teaching and learning? Are you curious about what resources are available to you on campus? Bring your lunch and join the conversation on Monday, May 7, from 12-1 pm in ENGR 023. Representatives from DoIT and the Office of Summer, Winter & Special Programs will give an overview of the Hybrid Course Redesign Workshop, the Alternate Delivery Program, and resources available through Quality Matters and the SLOAN-C College Pass program. All faculty are welcome to attend. Cookies and beverages will be provided for registered participants. To register, please go to this event on the myUMBC Training site.

Posted by readel at 4:15 PM | TrackBack

Hybrid Course Redesign Workshop, 6/8

DoIT and the Faculty Development Center will be offering the Course Redesign/ Hybrid Course Redesign Workshop on June 8, 2012 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm in ENGR 023 on UMBC's Main Campus. In the morning participants will learn the principles of good course design, including designing assignments and assessments that help students achieve the goals for their learning. Lunch will be provided and participants will hear from a panel of faculty experienced in teaching hybrid courses. In the afternoon faculty will apply the principles of good course design from the morning session to planning a hybrid course (part-online, part face-to-face), and gain hands-on experience with some of the technology tools that are effective in online teaching. This workshop is open to all full or part time UMBC faculty and is limited to 14 participants. To register, please go to this event on the myUMBC Training site.

The workshop will also help meet the requirements for a one-time course-redesign stipend through the Alternate Delivery program (ADP), which is sponsored by both the Office of the Provost, and the Office of Summer, Winter and Special Programs (OSWSP).

Posted by readel at 4:05 PM | TrackBack

Office of Information Technology • Main Office: ECS 125 • Phone: 410-455-3838 • Email: