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July 3, 2012

DoIT News Moving to myUMBC Groups

As of today, the DoIT News will be published through the DoIT Group on myUMBC, which in turn feeds the new DoIT site at As such, we will no longer be maintaining this Movable Type blog. However, it will remain for archive purposes.

FYI to DoIT Group members:

How do I post a new blog in myUMBC groups?

If you have questions, please contact the Technology Support Center (TSC) located on the first floor of the library next to the RLC or call 410.455.3838.

Posted by fritz at 9:19 AM | TrackBack

July 6, 2006

Collier Jones to Speak at UK Portal Conference

Collier Jones, OIT's Portal Architect, has been invited to speak at "Portals and Portlets 2006" which runs from July 17-19 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

He will give a half-day talk on customizing the uPortal user experience, and he'll preview the new features and functionality he is helping to develop for the next version of uPortal (uPortal 3) coming out later this year. The conference is sponsored by the National e-Science Centre (NeSC).

In June, Collier presented several sessions at the JA-SIG 2006 Summer Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. His presentations included:

- Content Management and User Interface Customization in uPortal
A look at managing content and customizing the uportal interface.

-One Tab, Two Tabs, Red Tabs, Blue Tabs
An overview of design strategies and the process for the new myUMBC

-uPortal 3 User Experience Requirements
A group discussion on the features and functionality needed in the next version of uPortal

-Ask the Experts Panel
Fielded questions from the audience on various uportal-related topics.

Posted by at 1:41 PM

May 22, 2006

Victor Aulestia Retiring

After 33 years of service, Victor Aulestia, left, OIT's Director of Classroom Technology, will retire from UMBC on July 1. OIT had a retirement party for Victor on Friday, May 19.

Posted by at 5:13 PM

May 18, 2006

Spring 2006 OIT Newsletter

What's New

Web/Portal Redesign Update

Shibboleth is Key to Single Sign-On

Computer Lab Now Open 24x7

Computer Replacement Initiative

The Continuing Battle Against Spam

Help Desk Switching to Parature

New Email List Management Coming This Summer

UMBC Video Classics Now Online

Classroom Technology Update

Spring 2006 Blackboard Update

Reminder: End of Semester Checklist
Spring 2006 Courses Expire on 6/15
Summer 2006 Course Shells Created on 5/18
Digital Drop Box to be Discontinued on 6/30

From the CIO

Save the Internet


OIT and New Media host Digital Storytelling Workshop

Bovine Benefit from Blackboard Community


Victor Aulestia Retiring

Collier Jones Joins OIT at Portal Architect

Paul Iwancio Performs at Kennedy Center

Kudos: Aaron Weidel

Kudos: Deb Arnold

Posted by at 4:46 PM

May 12, 2006

UMBC Video Classics Now Online

In honor of UMBC's 40th anniversary, the New Media Studio has added select film and video features from our archives to the Streaming Media @ UMBC website. The new UMBC Video Classics collection features early student works from the Screen Arts department (forerunner of the Department of Visual Arts). In addition you will find early studio productions, including “The UMBC Basketball Show”, promotional and recruiting videos and rare performances from the Theatre and Music departments.

You will find a link to the Classics collection on the Streaming Media @ UMBC website, or visit it directly at:

Posted by shewbrid at 2:48 PM

May 11, 2006

Shibboleth is Key to Single Sign-On

In March, UMBC joined the Shibboleth community to allow single sign-on to some web-based applications.

Shibboleth is a "standards-based, open source middleware software that provides Web Single SignOn (SSO) across or within organizational boundaries. It allows sites to make informed authorization decisions for individual access of protected online resources in a privacy-preserving manner," according to its official web site. It is part of the Internet2 project.

With Shibboleth, UMBC users can access programs that are not part of the campus's web presence by using their UMBC login and password. As of now, those include the alumni site and a new music sharing service available through the University of Maryland System. More applications will be added later.

The Shibboleth Community currently consists of about 40 institutions, with more planning to join.

Posted by at 1:54 PM

May 9, 2006

Computer Lab Now Open 24x7

To accommodate the needs of students and others who need late-night computer access, OIT staff worked during spring break to set up a 24-hour computer lab in Room 021 of the Engineering Building.

Students, faculty and staff can enter the room at any time of the day or night using their Campus One-Card to open the door.

The lab houses both personal computers and Macintosh computers, and a pay-for-print service that uses the same campus-one ID card that allows access to the room.

For security purposes, the room is under video surveillance and is equipped with a panic alarm that notifies campus police when activated.

Posted by at 3:24 PM

Computer Replacement Initiative

The Office of the Provost is working with all units that report through them to subsidize upgrading office and lab computers that don't meet minimum standards.

Minimum requirements are defined as below a Pentium 1.0 GHz or a Mac G4.

As part of the replacement initiative, OIT has worked with Dell to negotiate special volume pricing so computers can be purchased at far less than regular prices.

OIT is encouraging any department that plans to buy computers at the end of this fiscal year or the beginning of the next to contact Mike Carlin, OIT's Director of Infrastructure and Support, and arrange for all orders to be part of the discount package.

Orders are scheduled to be placed June 12. Complete details about minumum requirements can be found on the replacement website.

Posted by at 1:53 PM

The Continuing Battle Against SPAM

OIT has stepped up its efforts to eradicate SPAM, but it's a stubborn problem that will never completely go away.

For one thing, said Jack Suess, Vice President for IT, 20 percent of the SPAM the UMBC community receives is from phishing scams, and SPAM filters don't block addresses that look legitimate.

Phishing is the practice of sending SPAM from e-mail addresses that appear to be legitimate and asking users to provide personal information, often to "verify" or "update" an account. Ebay and Amazon are among the return addresses used in Phishing scams. And since those are legitimate company names, SPAM filters won't block them.

However, OIT has made changes that are helping to block other forms of SPAM. In late January, filters were set to automatically reject messages that had a high score as likely SPAM.

While some faculty members have complained that some legitimate mail could be blocked, Suess said the change was necessary because of the huge volume of unsolicited, unwanted e-mail that passes through UMBC's mail servers each day.

The university receives approximately 500,000 inbound e-mail messages every day. Between 60-70 percent, or as many as 350,000, appear to be SPAM. Many messages are filtered into Spam folders where users have the opportunity to review them to assure they really are unwanted e-mail.

Messages more than 21 days old that have been labeled as SPAM are deleted from campus e-mail accounts. This is necessary, Suess said, because of the huge amount of space those unwanted, unread messages consumer on UMBC's mail servers.

Suess said OIT continues to monitor and re-evaluate the SPAM problem, and will continue to look for innovative solutions for blocking unwanted e-mail.

Posted by at 10:38 AM

May 8, 2006

From the CIO--Save the Internet

As Congress looks at updating the 1996 Telecommunications Act, one part of the revision could severely limit the Web sites available to you through your Internet service provider.

As it is now written, the Telecommunicaitons Act requires "Network Neutrality." That means regardless of which service provider you use, you have access to any site on the Internet. The service provider can't block you from visiting any site you want to see.

But big companies like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T are hoping to change that. They're lobbying Congress to allow them to choose what Web sites you can see, based on who pays them the most.

Many--including myself--feel that Network Neutrality is a critical element that we want to see in whatever bills come out of Congress, and we need to let our representatives know.

You can help assure that free and open access to the Internet remains a fact of life by contacting your Congressional representatives and letting them know how you feel.

The website makes it easy by providing a form that automatically determines who your representatives are, based on your home address. You can also sign up for a mailing list that will keep you up to date on what's happening with the Telecommunications Act revision and how to get involved in preserving network neutrality.

Posted by at 12:59 PM

Help Desk Switching to Parature

This summer, OIT will begin using Parature, a web-based support product that offers unlimited site licenses, a knowlege base to help users resolve issues more quickly, and an easy, Web-based user interface that allows users to file a help request form and check on the status of tickets they have previously filed.

UMBC purchased Remedy, the current Help Desk system, in 1998. Since then, the number of tickets filed annually with the help desk has increased to 25,000. Remedy has not been able to keep up with that demand.

"We identified shortcomings in the way Remedy supports the community," said Jack Suess, Vice President of Information Technology. "Parature is a better platform for UMBC."

Among other enhancements, the new product is Web based and does not require those managing tickets to install software on their computers. It also offers options for use by departments outside of OIT, and provides a knowledge base so users have an opportunity to resolve their problems immediately, without contacting the Help Desk.

The Help Desk will begin using Parature by the end of July. However, PeopleSoft support will not migrate to Parature until later. OIT will work with the offices of Finance and Human Resources to migrate to the new product at a later date.

Posted by at 12:49 PM

New Email List Management Coming This Summer

Beginning this summer, OIT will migrate e-mail lists from listproc to Sympa, an open-source application that offers flexibility and stability, and allows users to control more aspects of their lists.

Sympa offers an easy-to-use web interface and works well with other UMBC applications such as Webauth.

Sympa's features include:
-Configuration options are accessed through an intuitive user interface.
-Easy management of list owners, managers and subscribers.
-Searchable, threaded Web archive with access control.
-Each list has a Web-based file sharing repository with access control, moderation and an optional quota.

OIT will migrate mailing lists from listproc to Sympa this summer. Lists will still be accessible through myUMBC.

For a sneak-peak of Sympa, visit

Posted by at 10:45 AM

April 18, 2006

Calendar Training Kudos

Stan Khan wrote:

"Hi Deb,

Thanks so much for training over twenty of the Enrollment Management staff on Corporate Calendar. We sincerely appreciate you holding three different training sessions in order to accommodate a variety of schedules. I received very positive feedback from the attendees.

Once again, many thanks!"

Posted by at 12:47 PM

April 10, 2006

Collier Jones Joins OIT as Portal Architect

Collier Jones is UMBC's new Campus Portal Architect. He has been tasked with helping to make myUMBC a more engaging way to interact with the university by improving its functionality and usability. In addition to leading UMBC's portal redesign efforts, Collier is helping to lead UMBC's awareness and adoption of Web standards, as defined by the World Wide Web Consortium.

Collier is also part of the collaborative team of staff from the Offices of Information Technology and Institutional Advancement (also known as "Emedia") that is redesigning UMBC's strategic Web presence. Co-chaired by Jack Suess, Vice President for Information Technology, and Lisa Akchin, Associate Vice President for Marketing and Public Relations, Emedia meets monthly and is principally focused on development and maintenance of UMBC's portal and external campus Web site.

Before coming to UMBC, Collier was the User Experience Designer for Virginia Tech's portal, My VT, which was built using the same open source uPortal framework now being used by myUMBC. Collier's work with My VT and uPortal was so well received by the uPortal community that he was asked to join the Portal developers group and is now designing part of the next version of the uPortal.

While at Virginia Tech he held lead web-related roles for several university departments, including the role of university webmaster. He has also consulted for Macromedia on some of their web development tools.

In addition to his behind-the-scenes work with the uPortal development team, Collier speaks twice a year at uPortal community conferences about portal design strategies.

Collier's office is located in the New Media Learning and Development suite, 101 ECS. He can be reached by phone at 410.455.3599, or by e-mail at

Posted by at 11:35 AM

Kudos: Aaron Weidel

Aaron Weidele, a Web/Multimedia Specialist in the New Media Studio, will begin work on a Master of Fine Arts in Integrated Design at the University of Baltimore in Fall, 2006.

Aaron's New Media Studio portfolio includes the interactive campus map and the Center For History Education: Teaching American History lesson plans site.

Posted by at 11:18 AM

April 6, 2006

Spring 2006 Classroom Technology Update

1. During the winter Classroom Technologies staff installed presentation systems in four classrooms in the Academic Four building and in the History Department Conference room.

2. Classroom Technologies designed and built a prototype AV cart. The new cart is called "The Trolley." This prototype, with few changes, will replace the old carts. Classroom Technology plans to build five more "Trolleys" during the Summer Session.

3. When funds become available the Classroom Technologies media specialists will upgrade 6 more classrooms this summer.

Posted by at 12:09 PM