News and Updates

Campus Phone Outage Resolved

At about 11:30 a.m. on September 12, 2019, Allegheny College experienced a campus-wide phone outage in which external calls had no audible sound.

The situation appears to be resolved. LITS is investigating, and we are in communication with Windstream to determine the cause of the issue.

If you experience any continued phone problems, please contact the InfoDesk ASAP at x3768, or open a Web Help Desk ticket. You can also email the InfoDesk.

Tech Tip Tuesday – Updated Working Hours in Google Calendar

Announced last week, updates have been added to the Working Hours feature of Google Calendar.

Some of the recent changes include:

  • When you schedule an event on your calendar with others, their working hours are shown in the calendar grid.
  • You will see a notification if you try to schedule an event outside of a guest’s working hours.
  • Working hours is now turned on by default.

For more information and to see the original update blog from Google, click here.

Colleague Count Day – Tuesday 9/10

Colleague will be inaccessible Tuesday September 9/10 for the Fall Count.  Individuals and departments that participate in the count process will continue to be able to access Colleague or in situations where special accommodations have been made.

WebAdvisor and Informer will function as normal.

Scheduled Network Outage

Beginning at 3 a.m. on Thursday, September 5, LITS will be conducting scheduled maintenance on the Allegheny College network infrastructure. Work is expected to be completed by 6 a.m.

During this maintenance, internet services across campus will frequently be unavailable for extended periods. This will affect both wired and wireless networks. Most campus phone systems will also be unavailable during these interruptions.

We appreciate the patience and understanding of the campus community during this necessary maintenance.

Tech Tip Tuesday – Tag Someone in a Comment in G Suite Apps

Today’s tip is short but sweet!

Did you know that you can tag someone in a comment that you add to Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets? You can draw the attention of a specific person by using “@ or + sign” and email address in the comment box. The email holder will receive a notification email about the comment or question.

If you’re not very familiar with using comments and action items in Google Apps, click here for more information from the Google Help Center.

What types of tech tips would you like to see more of? We would love to hear your feedback! Email us at infodesk@allegheny.edu.

Campus Update Summer 2019

The staff in Library and Information Technology Services (LITS) have been busy over the summer updating and improving services for the Allegheny community. To help you learn more about how these changes might affect you, we created this update:  

Organizational Updates

Accomplishments in Public Services

  • Updated technology in teaching spaces to use Windows 10 and solid-state drives (SSD).  The move to SSD reduces the length of time required to sign in to the computer, easing pressures of computer delays experienced at the start of classes and meetings.  
  • Collaborated with faculty and staff to implement new technology in Vukovich, Quigley, and Doane Hall of Art.  
    • Updated equipment in Vukovich’s media screening room providing faculty and students ability to screen video projects using current video formats. The upgrade also addresses issues with audio, provides greater reliability, and brings more intuitive user controls.   
    • Bloomberg Terminals installed in Quigley 220 allowing faculty and students in business finance courses to incorporate market research in learning activities.
    • Installed networking, computers, and projection equipment for the Innovation Center’s classroom, providing an interdisciplinary space for learning and creation.   
  • Updated Sakai to version 19 with service enhancements and access to a rubric tool that integrates with assignments, tests and quizzes, forums, and gradebooks. 
  • Refreshed the content of the FAQ tool running the LITS Ask Box to help students and patrons quickly connect to answers for common questions about Allegheny’s library and technology services.  If you have questions about our services, go to the LITS home page, and type your question into the Ask a Question Box
  • Completed a furniture assessment and small furniture purchase for Pelletier.  The result will provide more and more comfortable seating for students and patrons as they study, research, and collaborate in Pelletier.  

Accomplishments in Enterprise Services

  • Performed significant updates to the College’s virtual cluster on which most locally hosted enterprise software (e.g., Colleague and WebAdvisor) run, including an upgrade to storage capacity and cluster hardware. The updates position the cluster to meet anticipated hosting and storage needs for on-premise systems for the next five-year technology cycle.  
  • Began developing Network 2040, a strategic plan setting the course for the next twenty years of network management.  As part of that work, network management moved forward in several ways:
    • Overhauling the management of how computers, printers, phones and devices access the internet in a way that helps set us up for future growth and flexibility while also reducing costs.  
    • Doing a physical assessment of all fiber state and capacity on campus
    • Updated wireless network authentication protocols to increase ease of connecting while maintaining network security. 
    • Developing a sustainable plan for maintaining network equipment currency.
  • Partnered with a Pittsburgh based security firm for third-party monitoring of network and systems activity to address cybersecurity threats quickly and responsively. The service has already pre-emptively identified potential vulnerabilities before they could be exploited in an attack.
  • Collaborated with the Office of the Registrar to revise how student FERPA protections are managed.  The changes allow a student to identify specific individuals that may or may not receive FERPA protected information from College officials. The project also improved a student’s ability to indicate personal and emergency contact information. 

Accomplishments in Resource Management

  • Began implementation of a new way to access Library resources using a new protocol named OpenAthens. Once it is fully implemented, faculty and students accessing the subscription services of Pelletier library from outside the Allegheny network will find it easier to gain access to search Pelletier’s databases, journals, and other electronic resources with no need to go through ezproxy services. Full implementation should be completed this academic year. 
  • Allegheny’s digital collections are gaining national exposure. This year, we started sharing our collections with the Digital Public Library of America. Artstor wrote a blog highlighting one of the pieces in our Egyptian Hieroglyphics collection. You can read more about the library’s work on Allegheny News, and many more Allegheny collections will be added to the DPLA this fall. 
  • Created an online repository to store interviews of Meadville Community members recorded by Allegheny students as they learned to conduct ethnographic research in Communication Arts as part of the Meadiaville Listening Project

Focus of Work for 2019-2020 Academic Year 

  • Complete the upgrade to Windows 10 to maintain endpoint computing security when Microsoft ends support for Windows 7 security patches and updates at the end of 2019. 
  • Begin a comprehensive assessment and refinement of the Library’s print book collection.
  • Assist with enterprise wide projects in HR and Registrar implementing systems that will allow those departments to more effectively serve the Allegheny community. Community members can expect to see many services and much more user-friendly interfaces for existing services in 2020.
  • Continue planning for classroom technology, attending to the evolving teaching and learning needs of faculty and students.  
  • Continue the work of retiring WebAdvisor and transitioning services to Colleague Self-Service tools or other tools for effectively collecting, managing, and displaying data.
  • Complete network planning and continue implementing projects outlined in Network 2040, including the overhaul of the way devices connect and making network topology changes associated with the Bentley Hall renovation.
  • Assess cloud-based server solutions and develop a plan to reduce when possible on-campus server footprint in favor of cloud solutions with greater reliability, redundancy and flexibility. 
  • Complete the implementation of OpenAccess to make it easier for Allegheny community members to access library resources from off-campus. 
  • Complete the Information Classification and Security Framework and finish the transition of file storage to Google Drive wherever appropriate to assist the community with effectively and securely storing, sharing, and collaborating on files.

Tech Tip Tuesday – Improvements to Gmail Autocorrection

A recent G-Suite Update has announced that Google is introducing new spelling and grammar correction capability in Gmail. As you type your message, Gmail will make smarter spell-check suggestions while also looking for grammatical errors.

To read the full update blog or to learn more about grammar suggestions in gmail work, click here.

What types of tech tips would you like to see more of? We would love to hear your feedback! Email us at infodesk@allegheny.edu.

Telephone phishing attempts

Recently LITS has been receiving reports of phone calls and voicemails from a number that appears to be local. The caller, often just a recording, requests Google account information and sometimes threatens the recipient with deactivation of the Google account. They are very similar in style and intent to email phishing attempts.

These calls are not legitimate and can be safely ignored. Delete any voicemails from such callers as well.

It’s wise never to give out your password over the phone or share it with anyone, regardless of who they claim to be. And it’s important to be very judicious what other information you choose to give out over the phone. If you are at all unsure of the legitimacy of the call, hang up immediately and do not accept further calls from the same number.

LITS will never ask for your password, and all communication from LITS is made using official Allegheny College channels, such as the Allegheny College phone system or @allegheny.edu email.

As always, feel free to contact the InfoDesk at x3768 with any questions or concerns, or open a Web Help Desk ticket..

Recent phishing attempts

A recent phishing attempt was brought to the attention of LITS by several in the community. The message claimed to be coming from a college employee. The fact that the message did not come from allegheny.edu is what helped to identify the phishing attempt.

This particular attempt used messages like “Are you available?”, which are designed to engage the recipient in an exchange with the hacker. Best practice, if you are unsure whether the message is legitimate, is not to engage or reply.

This was a good reminder to the Allegheny community to be cautious when receiving unexpected emails.

If you get a message you think is phishing/spam you should:  

  1. Not click on links in the message
  2. Follow up by other means.  
  3. Report it as spam/phishing in Gmail

Please do not hesitate to contact the InfoDesk at infodesk@allegheny.edu or by phone at extension 3768 to report phishing attempts or obtain more information.

LITS always encourages safe account practices and would encourage you to visit the LITS website to change your password if you ever feel that your account credentials have been compromised.  In addition, two-factor authentication is an added layer of protection against this possibility.

Many thanks to those who called this recent attempt to our attention.

Tech Tip Tuesday – 10 Tips and Tricks for Google Keep

Are you currently using Google Keep? If not, you’re missing out!

Google Keep is a syncing notepad that connects to your Google Drive. Google Keep supports photo notes, voice notes, checklists, and more. See this article from PCWorld for ten tips and tricks to help you master Google Keep.

What types of tech tips would you like to see more of? We would love to hear your feedback! Email us at infodesk@allegheny.edu.