Welcome back to K!
The Information Services (IS) team is here to help get your technology in order for the new academic year! View all of the helpful resources below to see how to get connected, access your accounts, and who to contact in need.
Remember, Information Services is here for you! We’re open Monday – Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For Fall 2020 please contact us by sending an email to HelpDesk@kzoo.edu.
Fall 2020 – Quick Guides
Fall 2020 Start Guide to Work Remotely – We have updated our Start Guide for the Fall 2020. Please reference this post for virtual resource centers and other tools to help you work remotely.
Tips for Working Securely from Home – View the top 5 tips for working securely from home.
Popular Faculty and Staff Tools
Visit the Faculty Tools page for more information on other resources to utilize throughout the year.
View the Staff Tools page for more information on other resources to utilize throughout the year.
Who Should I Contact?
Contact us for:
- Campus email
- Wireless access
- Telephone service
- Hornet Hive Portal, etc.
Center for New Media Design
Contact us for:
- Graphic design
- Camera checkout
- Image editing
- Desktop publishing
- Color printing
- Large format printing
Video Production Studio and Editing
Contact Josh for:
Help with integrating technology into teaching, including Moodle, 3D printing, virtual reality
Contact us for:
- Audio/visual questions
- Scheduling computers
- And/or public address equipment for classes and events
- Video acquisitions
Our ultimate goal is to support you with your technical needs throughout this difficult time. See our resources below to assist you while working remotely.
Virtual Resource Centers
Specific Tools to Work Remotely
Internet Access to Michigan Residents
We know how important access to a reliable internet connection where you are is, and that it is a challenge for some. The solution to your circumstances will be unique, depending on your location, local providers, others in your living environment, and other factors.
Phones, Voicemail, and Email
- Voicemail Quick Reference – allows you to check your voicemail off campus, listen to your messages and to record a new greeting
- Forwarding Calls – Forwarding calls is only available to local phone numbers with a 269 area code. If you would like to forward your calls to your local phone number please complete the forwarding calls form.
- Email and Webmail – Review our documentation on using your Kalamazoo College email via Outlook (if it was installed on your device) or anywhere on the go with webmail.
File Sharing, Instant Messaging/Chat, and Videoconferencing
- File sharing – There are many ways faculty and staff can share files remotely. Feel free to choose which K approved method(s) works best for you and your team!
- Instant Messaging/Chat – Learn more instant messaging though Microsoft Teams or Pidgin.
- Videoconferencing – Do you need to meet with your colleagues virtually? Learn how you can do so with our newest platform.
If you are unable to find the information you need from the resources listed or from the IS website, you may contact the Help Desk. Please understand that the Help Desk team is experiencing a high volume of requests and response times may be longer than usual.
Need to consider new technology to better serve your students or department? Information Services is here to help! Contact the Help Desk to get started.
We are eager to be your partners in the investigation and acquisition of new technology, whether you are considering hardware, software, or services; for on campus implementation, a subscription on a vendor site, or developed in-house.
We can best help when you involve us early in the process. We’ll help you identify and document your needs and features, and help you determine if there are already solutions available, and if not, work with you to identify and acquire appropriate solutions that are compliant, integrate well with existing systems and data, and provide a good user experience.
For more information, see the Information Technology Acquisition Policy, the Business Office purchasing policies, and our web accessibility policy. Contact the Help Desk early in your search so that we can help!
In response to faculty feedback, spring Moodle courses will remain accessible to students to finalize the increased number of Incompletes from spring. Information Services will not automatically hide Spring 2020 Moodle course sites until the seventh week of Fall Quarter 2020. They will be moved to the Past Course Sites category, but this does not alter their availability. All instructors are welcome to hide their sites earlier if they wish.
To our campus community:
As many of you know, our department typically publishes content related to technology resources, system maintenance, and user education of our tools. We’re reminded that questions of technology, digital access, and data are not separate from social justice and racial equity. We must further admit that, although we try to be as helpful and proactive as possible, we have the privilege to wait for our users to come to us.
Essentially, you tell us what you’re trying to accomplish—what you need. However, with the unjust events that have transpired and continue to occur in our country it is our time to come to you. To our Black community we understand that there can be no peace without justice, and we stand with you, we support you.
The Information Services Staff
Resources to Be an Ally
Please refer to the list below to support the Black Lives Matter movement and the victims of these heinous crimes. Also recognize this is the first step to becoming an ally and it is critical that you continue to educate yourself, to listen, to watch, to raise your voice, to engage, and to act.
We’re pleased to share that Microsoft has successfully implemented a 3×3 camera view in Teams and this is now available at Kalamazoo College!
The ability to view nine participants simultaneously should be activated by default for all Calls participants. Seeing additional participants has been a popular request, and we hope this will encourage more users to explore Teams as a video conferencing, chat, and collaboration tool.
Microsoft has expressed an intent to expand beyond nine cameras as part of their roadmap but not offered a target date. We will keep users updated on any new features that enhance Teams functionality.
For more information about using Teams Calls, please visit the Videoconferencing page on the Information Services website.
Additional Information on Teams
Are you new to Teams and need further instruction on how to use this tool effectively? View our Microsoft Teams Tour video or visit the Microsoft Teams page for more specific information and instruction.
Would you like to talk more about using Teams with students in class? Feel free to email the Educational Technology Specialist, Josh Moon at email@example.com.
Information Services would like to announce the revival of our video series, Tech Talk!
Tech Talk is the Information Services channel on Microsoft Stream answering good questions and providing even better solutions. On the Tech Talk channel you can watch tutorials showcasing the technology offered at Kalamazoo College. All K College faculty, students, and staff have access to use Microsoft Stream with their campus Office 365 account. Popular videos currently on Tech Talk include:
Do you have a suggestion for a Tech Talk video? Feel free to email the Web Services Specialist, Katrina Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is information that, when used alone or with other relevant data, can identify an individual. Many employees work with PII about students, staff or alumni. Find a more detailed definition of PII and Kalamazoo College’s policy for protecting it on the IS Policies page.
- Follow the steps in our earlier post “Tips for Working Securely from Home.” In particular, employees should be extra vigilant when working from home against social engineering attacks. It might be harder to tell if that email from your supervisor or colleague is legitimate when you are not located down the hall from them. If you receive a request for PII, we suggest that you get verbal/video confirmation from the requester.
- Try to minimize how much PII you work with from home.
- Never send PII through email
- If you need to work with PII, the best way to keep it secure is to store it on a computer that is on campus under IS management. This would include the KFiles server. We do not recommend storing PII on cloud-based services or on your device at home.
- To work with PII, you can also use remote access via our VPN to connect using Remote Desktop to a campus computer. Another advantage to connecting with remote desktop is that if your home internet connection is unstable, your work is preserved on the campus desktop if you get disconnected.
- If you have further questions or need help getting set up for remote access, please contact the Help Desk.
The Information Services Team has worked to produce extensive content to support online learning and collaboration during Spring Quarter. You can follow our COVID-19 Online Learning Plan Updates and Faculty Tools pages. Recent posts include information about virtual computer labs, tips for working securely from home, and student writing in Moodle.
- Response to Microsoft Teams has been strong. We currently support over 425 various Teams including courses, committees, departments, and more. We intend to continue to refine and expand support for Teams in the future.
- We’ve welcomed faculty new to Moodle for their asynchronous course communication and supported returning faculty in developing further skills. The number of Moodle courses is up 35% from Spring Quarter 2019.
- Early adoption of Microsoft Stream has provided another robust platform for video communication and eased the burden on other hosting sources.
- Classes that require software that is available only in on-campus labs can now access them remotely. This has maintained learning opportunities with programs like SPSS, MATLAB, and ArcGIS that would have been otherwise lost.
What’s Not Working
Moodle Supporting Large/Long videos
Moodle users began experiencing “500 – Internal server error” messages last week. We believe the major cause is lengthy videos hosted directly onto Moodle. Therefore, we have expanded our support of Microsoft Stream and encourage comfortable users to post to YouTube when appropriate. Currently, we are asking faculty to refrain from posting any videos longer than five minutes directly to Moodle.
Stream and Privacy
Many course videos of student introductions and instructor content are currently posted as available for anyone at the College using Stream. It is important that users not inadvertently share with larger audiences than they intend. Please know that the Quick share option available via the Stream phone app publishes video with the permission Allow everyone in your company to view this video. For more control, disable Quick Share and then use Save as draft. For further discussion of permissions in Stream, please visit the Video Streaming page of the IS website or watch our video overview.
Choice of Videoconferencing platforms
We have received extensive feedback about user experiences in Zoom and Teams. We know that Zoom’s expanded display of video and some of its scheduling features are appealing. However, we are also aware of increasing concerns over “Zoombombing” and the challenges of conducting College business in unsupported platforms. Microsoft recently posted that they are working to accelerate their implementation of increased number of concurrent video displays in Teams. Information Services believes that the benefits of using a more secure tool that is integrated to our software architecture is the best choice. We’ve published a post titled Moving from Zoom to Microsoft Teams that addresses some of the most common questions and attempts to provide solutions for success.
Teams Calendar Event Feature
Some Microsoft documentation references “Meeting” and “Calendar” tabs inside Microsoft Teams. These are integrations that are not available at the College. Windows users with Teams and Outlook 2013 or later versions can use Outlook to schedule Teams meetings. For additional strategies on initiating and managing calls, please refer to Moving from Zoom to Microsoft Teams.
Return to all COVID-19 Online Learning Plan Updates
Microsoft Teams is our institutionally supported videoconferencing application and offers many collaboration features. Due to its integration into the College’s technology infrastructure and the requirement of login credentials, it is more secure than other clients that are increasingly targets of disruption and attacks. We do recognize that many users are comfortable with certain features in Zoom and are hesitant to sacrifice them by moving to Teams. We would like to offer some support and practices that might make this shift easier.
Easy ways to schedule a meeting
If you need to schedule a meeting, set up a Channel on your Team labeled “Meetings.” This becomes the consistent site to begin Calls and the online meeting spot.
There are multiple benefits to this approach:
- Everyone knows where to go at the appropriate time (like a physical classroom).
- The Channel’s “Meet Now” button allows you to quickly initiate meetings and get started.
- If you record or otherwise add Meeting-specific content, it avoids clutter on your other Channels.
Managing a Call with four concurrent videos
The ability to see all participants in a call is one of the most popular features that Teams currently lacks. While Microsoft has suggested that they are quickly working to introduce this, productive calls can still be held without out this functionality. Some tips include:
- Encourage all participants to mute their microphones. This is a generally helpful practice in videoconferencing to avoid crosstalk and ambient noise. In turn, encourage individual users to unmute and interject when they would like to comment or contribute a question. “Excuse me, Professor, can I ask a question….” It can be that simple even without a visual. Microsoft Teams will automatically transition one of the video feeds to the person who is speaking.
- Utilize the Call’s accompanying Chat conversation to draw out questions and commentary. It can be difficult to facilitate conversation and monitor the Chat simultaneously. Give students responsibility for helping to bring questions and comments into the Call from the Chat.
- Set an agenda for your Meeting Call. Even with four users, having a free flowing conversation can be difficult in an online conference call. Help everyone know when to participate and what the expectations are by sharing an agenda ahead of time if appropriate.
- If the audio and video quality of a call is inconsistent, encourage some users to turn off their camera to improve the experience. Also, be aware of using too many features at once during a Call that might make it increasingly challenging for some students to participate.
Such techniques have been successful in navigating Teams Calls with two dozen faculty members and is the weekly model for Information Services Computer Meetings that include twenty participants. It can be done!
Hosting Office Hours in Teams
The lobby feature of Zoom to form a meeting queue is helpful, but it has also become one of the prime vulnerabilities for introducing unwanted participants. With Microsoft Teams, the certainty that the user is who they claim to be is much higher.
To facilitate hosting Office Hours with Teams, try this:
- Let students knows when you’ll be on Teams with your status set as available and welcome them to contact you. You can set a status message in your profile to make clear your preparation to receive calls.
- If you are busy in a Call with a student, encourage students to send you a Chat message to let you know they are waiting to speak with you. Quickly acknowledge them and let them know you will be with them shortly. If you wish to just use the text chat, experiment with balancing multiple Chats at once as you are comfortable.
The College is committed to continuing to support Microsoft Teams in the future and exploring more ways to take advantage of its collaboration and communication features as well as to introduce new functionality. If you’d like to talk about how to make the resource work for you, there are multiple avenues of support. We have the videoconferencing and Microsoft Teams pages on the IS website. A new Tech Talk channel is now on Microsoft Stream and you are always welcome to contact us for personal support.
Return to all COVID-19 Online Learning Plan Updates