CTO Updates February 2016

February 20 is a day that will long be remembered in Kalamazoo. And, as sad as the events of that day were, it really makes me proud to see so many Kalamazoo residents and WMU students rallying around the "Kalamazoo Strong" theme. The relationship between WMU and the City of Kalamazoo does make for a strong community and it has been very encouraging to see so many people working together to ensure that sad events like those that took place on February 20 are less likely to occur in the future. The work is just beginning, but as a first step towards improving communications between the WMU community and the Kalamazoo community, I would like to encourage all to sign up for WWMT's community news alert service.


And as always, let me take this opportunity to remind you that the Office of Information Technology is ready, willing and able to partner with you on any and all things technology-related. I would love to talk techy with you at tom.wolf@wmich.edu, (269) 547-0232 or @tomwolfjr Go Broncos!

Webmail Plus to W-Exchange, powered by Office 365

Email migration project update: The number one technology-related initiative on campus right now is the migration from our current Webmail Plus email environment to WMU's next generation of communication and collaboration, W-Exchange, powered by Office 365. If you missed it, I would encourage you to review the January CTO report as it was entirely dedicated to this major technology undertaking. On the new email website you can find information about why WMU is migrating, the differences between W-Exchange and Webmail Plus, pre- and post-migration checklists, a list of data that will be migrated, lots of training and familiarization options and much much more.

Online computer training update: Did you know that as a current WMU employee you can request a lynda.com (WMU's chosen provider for online computer training) account? At lynda.com you find a myriad of technical topics, including numerous online training courses that explain in great detail some of the more complex features of our new Office 365 email and collaboration environment, branded W-Exchange. lynda.com is also an excellent resource for obtaining ideas about how to put together professional looking online presentations. OIT recently increased the number of licenses available and added the ability to request an account online. See Online Training for more information.

VoIP phone relocation requirements: WMU recently established new requirements for relocating your University-installed VoIP phone. The requirements were put in place to improve campus safety. Details are found on the WMU VoIP Instrument Relocation Requirements page.

Important Elearning dates: WMU's Elearning environment will be undergoing some significant changes this spring and summer. As a result, the system will not be available on May 4 or July 4. If you are a regular user of Elearning, please be sure to flag these dates on your calendar. Standard University communications will occur at least three days prior to these events.

Survey policy: Have you ever had an interest in surveying a segment of the WMU community? WMU has a policy for collecting data via surveys. The purpose of this policy is to ensure efficiency, accuracy, accountability, and consistency in the administration of surveys. It is also intended to eliminate duplicate surveys, thus reducing survey fatigue, improve response rates, alert surveyors to pre-existing data, ensure the validity and security of data, ensure both privacy and confidentiality, and promote effective use of University resources. View the policy

Modems: WMU was one of the first universities in Michigan to provide dial-up modem Internet connectivity and is now one of the last universities in Michigan to still offer this service. Most universities decommissioned dial-up modem service five to ten years ago. Known vulnerabilities exist within the current WMU modem software. Costs associated with both patching these vulnerabilities and maintaining/upgrading this aging connectivity solution have led us to decide that we can no longer provide this service. An exact date has not yet been established, but we are aggressively working to establish a 2016 retirement date. If you have concerns about the retirement of this service, please call me, Tom Wolf, at (269) 387-3838 or tom.wolf@wmich.edu

Personal websites to be deprovisioned: After providing personal Web page services to WMU students, faculty and staff for nearly 15 years, the Office of Information Technology has begun planning for the de-provisioning of this service. At the time WMU began offering this service, one of the first schools in the state of Michigan to do so, other options such as Elearning, Google Apps for Education, Facebook and Linkedin were not available as they are today. As of June 30, no new personal non-course related website registrations will be allowed in homepages.wmich.edu. This initial change will not impact existing personal pages.

Faculty who require students to use homepages to complete course assignments will need to work with IT to get their students provisioned into homepages. With the support of the Faculty Senate Academic and Information Technology Council, IT staff will begin working with faculty to assist the transition to other options.

Faculty with questions who use homepages for student courses should contact Bruce Paananen. Faculty seeking more information about other options for non-course related homepages should contact the Faculty Technology Center. Additionally, more information may be found on the Help Desk's cloud services page and the Elearning website.

John Racine Memorial Essay contest: The Office of Information Technology would like to thank all of our student employees who participated in the Student Appreciation Week John Racine Memorial Essay contest and to congratulate the following students for their winning and honorable mention essay submissions:

  • Grand prize winners: Calvin Balk, Andrew Burch, Ahmad Faryami, Jordon Manchip and Mercy Mutuku
  • Subway card winners: Brittany Finkler, Britany Johnson, Venezia Jones, Jonathan Nelson and Sierra Phillips


Did you know? Food and drinks are allowed in both the Bernhard and University Computing Center computer labs.