Windows, Surfaces, Bluetooth, oh my!

IITS has deployed a number of new technologies in various parts of the campus this summer. Some faculty received Surface Pro 4 computer/tablets, for example, running Windows 10. Potentially, the library is also getting an upgrade to Windows 10, while all labs and teacher stations will be getting Office 2016.

If you’re one of the lucky faculty to be the first to test our Surface Pro adoption, here’s how to turn on the Bluetooth mouse that came with your machine– yes, there is a mouse, but you may not have been able to tell…

QAM tuners and 802.11-G-only devices: Orientation tech concerns

During our Summer Orientation process, we’ve informed incoming students that IITS has a few minimum requirements to access some services on-campus. While many won’t be too affected by these requirements, it seems fair to outline them a little bit so you can be more informed!

To get access to the campus cable system, your TV must have a QAM tuner

QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) is a digital television standard by which digital cable channels are encoded and transmitted via cable television providers. Most newer HDTVs will have a QAM tuner, but it’s best to check your manual. Can’t find the manual? That’s okay. If you can (even at home) access channels like 3.1, 3.2, 13.5, and others with decimals in them, then you have a QAM tuner and your TV is ready. Many value-brand televisions may not have a QAM tuner or may have a lower quality QAM tuner that may be unable to tune all of the channels. If you’re shopping, be sure to ask or check the specs!

If you love your TV, but don’t have a QAM tuner, you can always find a digital converter box to get access to the cable system!

To help, we borrowed this informal reference for newer devices.

  • Dynex – Only limited models have a QAM tuner
  • Insignia – Only limited models have a QAM tuner
  • LG – Most models since 2007 have a QAM tuner
  • Samsung – All models since 2009 have a QAM tuner (fifth digit of model number must be B or higher)
  • Sony – Most models since 2007 have a QAM tuner
  • Sylvania – Do not appear to have QAM tuners
  • Toshiba – Most models since 2007 have a QAM tuner
  • Vizio – Recent models have a QAM tuner
  • Westinghouse – Some models require QAM tuner activation

Be sure you’re buying a TV, not a monitor! The worst case scenario is that you bring a TV without a QAM tuner, and you run out to an electronics store to purchase a compatible QAM set-top converter.

We can no longer support 802.11-G-only wireless devices on our network

The 802.11G specification is a standard for wireless local area networks (WLANs) that offers transmission over relatively short distances at up to 54 megabits per second (Mbps), compared with the 11 Mbps theoretical maximum with the earlier 802.11B standard.

Many newer devices support G, but also support other standards, like AC, H, N, and S. You can check the specs on your computer:

  • Windows users can follow this tutorial.
  • Mac users can go to Apple > About this Mac > More Info > System Report > Network > WiFi and look channels listed that are above the number 11. If these are present, your computer will get online!

Alt-facts: Not acceptable in your paper

The rise of terms like “alternative facts” and “fake news” in the media is a really great reminder to vet your sources for their legitimacy when you’re doing research. It’s easy to find sources and information that agree with your thesis or hypothesis, but is it ethical to ignore all the other information out there? You can learn a whole lot about this by spending time with our Library Staff (tweet them @KCLibrary_PA), but if you feel like doing some investigation on your own, our friends at Atomic Learning also have some ideas to get you thinking about how you’re thinking:

Moodle 3.1 upgrade

Over the holiday break, our hosting provider is upgraded us to Moodle 3.1, featuring several improvements to the core Moodle interface. No, seriously– improvements, not just changes!

The biggest change students may notice is enhanced feedback for assignments because of a browser-based mark-up system that’s finally easy to use in this version. At the bottom of a graded submission, students will see a button that says View annotated PDF…

From there, a popup will show all your professor’s comments in detail.

With more comprehensive feedback, you can better understand your grades!

Cutting distractions, staying focused

screenshot_2016-11-03-12-25-21For all the technology we have around us, it’s sometimes hard to stay on task. With emails, texts, and other notifications sounding off every few minutes, how can you concentrate on the paper, lesson, or project you’re putting together? What’s more, it’s easier to check Twitter than to get started on writing a new story, article, or presentation. That’s where Forest can help you grow!

Forest is a slick app that gives you a fun, visual way to stay focused. You set a timer (for as many minutes as you’d like) and pick a tree, then click “Plant” to begin the timer. If you can stay on task (not checking your phone), then your tree will grow to full size when you reach the time you set. After days and weeks of growing, you’ll have a forest of productivity and hopefully some great resulting work, too!

Download Forest for Apple, Android, or Windows phone. You can also get browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome, in which you can set up a blacklist of distracting sites (like email or social media) that you can’t visit while you’re growing/working.

Missing Moodle emails? Check Clutter!

Several reports of missing Moodle emails have been reported. The most common issue is emails are ending up in the Clutter folder in webmail. The Clutter feature is designed to identify email that is “cluttering” your inbox and pull it out so you can focus on the important stuff, but your course information and announcements are very important, so while we try to fix Clutter, you can take the following steps.

1. Turn Clutter off.
2. Check your Clutter folder regularly.
3. Check your course News Forums regularly. This forum is located at the top of every Moodle course, unless your instructor hides it because they’re not using it, then you won’t need to check it anyway!

From the desk of User Services…

In case you missed this important announcement in your email, here’s all the details regarding PaperCut, a new campus initiative to raise awareness on waste and improve environmental footprint.

IITS would like to take this opportunity to introduce a new sustainability initiative being deployed across campus.

After a year of careful review and consideration and with a cooperative spirit with the Green Initiative, we have identified a software based solution that will help support our campus goals for sustainability and good stewardship of resources.

PaperCut is a product designed to heighten your awareness of your printing habits on campus. It is designed to save paper, save budgets, and save the environment all at the same time. Read more…

Download the Fall 2016 Registrar Calendar

IITS Logo with title redOn behalf of IITS, we want to offer you this download of the Fall 2016 semester calendar. It’s in .ics format, so you can import it into your Office 365 calendar, Outlook client calendar, Google calendar or any other service you use. It covers all the dates found on the Registrar’s page, but in a format that will travel with you! Note: Details for some events will be in emails, so check often. This is our small gift to you as you begin the new school year. We hope it makes your scheduling a bit easier.

http://goo.gl/kmeyv7

Read more…