These days I get plenty of e-mail, particularly from my fellow Penn Staters, with unnecessary e-mail attachments. I say unnecessary because all Penn State Access Account holders have access to at least 50MB of shared enterprise wide file storage space. This space, which we refer to as Penn State Access Storage Space or PASS (http://cac.psu.edu/ait/storagespace.html) is the same space which we use for your Personal Pages (http://www.personal.psu.edu/), your WebMail service (http://webmail.psu.edu), the Penn State Student Portal (https://portal.psu.edu/), and CAC UNIX Cluster home directories.
The technology behind PASS is a network filesystem known as the DCE Distributed Filesystem or simply DFS. DFS is not the first network filesystem, it is not the only network filesystem, and it is certainly not the most widely used filesystem, but it is one of the best designed network filesystems available. Using software from IBM Transarc or Entegrity Solutions, PASS is available directly on most UNIX variants (AIX, HP-UX, IRIX, Solaris, Tru64), Windows NT, and the IBM Mainframe OS/390 operating system. Software will soon be available for Windows 2000 and Linux. Users of Windows 98, ME, and soon MacOS will be able to access their PASS space through gateway software running on NT or UNIX servers (see: https://www.work.psu.edu/pass/)
PASS users can share files with each other via the filesystem (link to SMB and NT DFS client), the Web, or the file transfer protocol (FTP). Access to your PASS can be controlled by modifying the Access Control Lists (ACLs) on the files and directories, to allow or disallow reading, writing, or modification (see ACL explorer link) by other users or groups of users. I personally use this to allow my students to "drop off" their homework assignments in my PASS space. By setting the ACLs properly, each student can view his work and not that of anyone else. This way, my student's assignments don't get lost in the 200 or so e-mail messages I receive daily. The date stamp on the file proves to me that the homework was handed in on time.
Returning to e-mail, while people will continue to send e-mail attachments, allow me to suggest alternatives. I often receive e-mail from someone, with the text of the message saying, "Here is the draft of our strategic plan" or "Here is my latest cut of ..." and an e-mail attachment containing several megabytes of text, Word Documents, PDF files, or Powerpoint slides. I am not the only one to receive this, often it is an entire academic department or even a College. In one case, I received an e-mail about viruses on e-mail attachments which went to over 300 individuals. The attachment was 1.5 MB, and since most of the recipients use the Access e-mail system, that's almost 450 MB of space used on one message. When I point this out to people, they say, "yes, but that was a special message." The problem is that this argument doesn't scale. If everyone felt this way, we would very quickly run out of space on the Access e-mail system. The irony was not lost on me that this was an e-mail warning about e-mail attachments.
So, what you ask are the alternatives? Instead of attaching a draft of a document to a list of reviewers, give your reviewers a URL to the draft. Since it is a draft, you can revise the document as you receive e-mail from the reviewers and notify them that the draft has been updated without sending them the whole text again.
I often give people two URLs, one of the form "http://" and one of the form "file:/". For example, this article can be found at:
If the user doesn't have access to PASS, the first one works, if the user has access to PASS, they both work.
If this article was being written by more than one person, I could set permissions on the file using ACL Explorer to allow my co-authors to view and even write the file. I could enable my whole "articles" directory (or folder) for writing by someone I work with often. This method can also be used to allow multiple people to access and edit the same web space. This is how we create Departmental Web Space (http://www.psu.edu/dept/) for Penn State Departments and Colleges.
As the old saying goes, "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Hopefully, this article and the links contained within it will provide additional tools which allow you to collaborate with your fellow Penn Staters.
Even Instructional Designers sometimes have difficulties answering that question! In simplest terms, Instructional Designers of the Center for Education Technology Services (CETS) work with Penn State faculty and administration to effectively implement technology so that the Penn State educational experience is enhanced. Instructional Designers are not only technical "wizards" knowing the basics of Web page design, software applications and Penn State networking, Student Computing Lab issues, but are also experts in learning theory, technology usability and course module design.
What does that mean on a day to day basis? Depending on the project, an Instructional Designer can be a faculty consultant, Web specialist, seminar instructor, project manager, technical writer, pedagogical researcher or a combination of any of the above. I have answered faculty questions about forwarding Penn State e-mail, posting software in the Student Computing Labs and installing foreign language keyboards. Here are just some of the projects I was involved in 2001.
When the Spanish Department was interested in adding on-line exercises to their introductory Spanish classes, CETS provided advice on the best solutions. In addition, on-line help Web pages were developed so students could learn how to type accents and listen to audio in the Penn State Student Computing Labs.
A Penn State resource on plagiarism on the Internet was developed for both faculty and students.
A Tour of Web Sites in the Arts and Humanities ( http://cac.psu.edu/ets/presentations/ArtsHumanities )
A seminar showing different types of Web resources and examples in humanities and arts.
Other Instructional Designers at the CETS (and elsewhere in the Penn State system) have worked on projects ranging from guiding the development of Java applets for an Engineering course and developing the Penn State survey creation tool ASK, to creating a seminar on Web Accessibility and a Teaching with Technology certificate for graduate students. Some things are the same on every project. Everyone wants technology that is easy to use, adds value to a course, is easily accessible to students regardless of platform or location, yet is flexible enough to meet the changing needs of faculty and students.
One lengthy project I was involved with was the Statistics 200 (Elementary Statistics, http://stat200.psu.edu) project done for this statistics introductory course which enrolls about 1,000 students each semester in sixteen or more sections. For that project, CETS consulted with the faculty to develop a Web-based tool which allows faculty to post course materials on-line including data sets, syllabi, announcements and study guides. In addition, faculty can easily manage student enrollment across multiple sections and post course materials in a searchable archive, allowing faculty to share and re-use course material.
In my role as Instructional Designer, I had to:
The core of the technology team however was a faculty member from the Statistics Department, the lead programmer and myself. Together, we worked to ensure that each part of the tool was easy for faculty to use and did what the faculty needed it to do. In some cases, some research was required to find out how other Penn State tools, such as eLion and TestPilot, work in order to make sure the tool interfaced with these other programs correctly. This part of the process is very time-consuming because everyone has his or her idea of what is best, but in the end, everyone contributed some excellent ideas, and the tool was well received by the Statistics Department. In fact, they are so satisfied, they are hoping to be able to expand it to other courses.
In addition, other CETS staff members greatly contributed their talents to the project. A graphics artist created a basic look and feel for the Web site and a Unix specialist was responsible for configuring the server, then making sure it was securely transferred to the Statistics Department, including changes in Web address. In addition CETS coordinated efforts with the Schreyer Institute for Innovation in Learning to provide an updated course structure incorporating more hands-on activities.
So what does an Instructional Designer do? A little bit of everythingsome of it fun, some of it exacting, but all of it educational. Faculty who are interested in CETS and other technology services can go to the WISH page at http://cac.psu.edu/wish. Faculty who are interested in applying for CETS project assistance for a Faculty Technology Initiative project can learn more at http://cets.psu.edu/ftiinfo.html .
On October 16th and 17th Penn State hosted the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) TechForum 2001, a conference that enabled participants from research universities nation-wide to come together to explore complex information technology service and management issues
This year's TechForum was designed around the theme Managing IT Services and Infrastructure in a Climate of Change. J. Gary Augustson, vice provost for information technology at Penn State, and Mort Rahimi, CIC CIO chair, vice president and chief technical officer at Northwestern University, delivered opening remarks to an audience of 130 conference attendees. During the two-day Forum, featured speakers, Carole Barone, vice president of EDUCAUSE and Milton Glick, senior vice president and provost of Arizona State University, addressed the challenges and opportunities facing universities in shaping the role of information technology in higher education.
One of the highlights of the Forum was a question and answer session with Penn State president Graham Spanier entitled "Conversation with a President." Other session topics included planning and management issues, providing 24/7 services, Windows 2000 migration, Web portals, helpdesk management, network security, and copyright.
CIC TechForums are annual events designed to foster cooperation and synergy among research universities by creating greater awareness of common IT goals. The CIC is a consortium of Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago that focuses on enhancing institutional events through cooperative activities. To learn more about the CIC go to: http://www.cic.uiuc.edu/index.html on the Web. To review the conference presentations please see: http://www.cic.uiuc.edu/L-IT_Dept/Ed_Prof_Ops/TechForums/TechForum2001/WelcomePage_TF2001.htm
"E-learning's real potential as a tool for developing leaders is around interactivity and networking, but accomplishing its potential is going to take dynamic e-platforms"
"Everyone sees the potential of e-learning, but the movement forward is at a glacial pace at this point. What people are looking for in a learning experience is the opportunity for learning and exchange," says Al Vicere, professor of Strategic Leadership in Penn State's Smeal College of Business. He has co-authored several studies on e-learning and leadership development, and his research is featured in a white paper, "Hope or Hype? Can Leaders Be Developed Online?" for the Linkage Learning Network.
He envisions a new role, called an e-coach or personal learning consultant. Such an advisor diagnoses each learner's developmental needs and connects them to the right resources, based on his or her time, budget, bandwidth, and personal needs. The entire relationship may be conducted online.
"New technology can enhance coaching and leadership development if it enables people to engage in spontaneous, interactive exchanges, versus longer, prescheduled meetings. We need to stop thinking about learning as a set of discrete events or transactions, he says, and instead approach it as an ongoing, interactive process. To do so, we'll need to redefine how we manage our time and expectations about interpersonal access," says Vicere.
Instant Messaging and other ways of getting people interacting and more engaged are going to drive the field forward.
"We've got a generation of kids who have grown up with Instant Messaging. They've got no problem sitting in front of the screen. What keeps them engaged is not just the content or the flash of the graphics. It's the opportunity to connect spontaneously. Learning is, to a very large extent, sharing. So if we get people interacting and sharing on the network, we're going to create a learning platform inside a company that will be pretty intense."
This will be a huge benefit to learners as well as leadership development instructors and coaches but it's time to rethink what industries mean by accessibility. Instead of the traditional, 50- or 60-minute coaching session, Vicere predicts the advent of much shorter, online coaching session, which will benefit clients.
"When I first started out in an organization, I had a couple individuals who thankfully took me under their wing and gave me advice and actually helped me along. If you think about that natural interaction, it wasn't by appointment. I just ran in to this person and I'd say, 'Do you have three minutes? Can I share this with you?' Or they happen to be walking by my office and they say, 'How's it going? You look a little perplexed.' In the real world, interaction with a mentor and a coach is very spontaneous, kind of catch-as-catch-can. It's done in three-minute bursts or 20-minute bursts, not in formal, regularly scheduled appointments," says Vicere. "If we start to look at where coaching and mentoring need to go, we've got to get out of the formal mode of let's-schedule-an-appointment. We've got to have the platforms in place so it becomes more spontaneous."
Currently, e-learning for leaders is alive but not all that well, reports Vicere. "Two factors are slowing the growth. First, there's the complexity of the e-learning field. People are still trying to figure out what kind of platform to use, how to migrate more activity to that environment, how to make things work and make them engaging and exciting. That leads to the second problem: Unless there's some teeth in the system, like certification requirements, it's just really hard to get people to stick with an e-learning process."
Vicere likens it to where companies were a few years ago with enterprise software.
"Back then, you could see there were great opportunities, wonderful leverage to be gained, but there was also the complexity of deciding what platform do I use? What system's going to work? Are we willing to go through all the pain that's necessary to get one of these things up and running? It's the chaos and confusion around it. And anything that's complex and involves technology is also very expensive. You have to spend tons of money to deal with all of this. That's exactly where I saw people a few years back when they were reviewing SAP and Oracle," says Vicere.
Writing is a rule-driven means of communication, but we're not always aware of these rules, which are more often part of our enculturation rather than explicitly taught. Yet their implicit presence is what allows two usersin this case a writer and a readerto communicate. Even the amount of freedom one has to break the rules is governed by "rules" of practice, or discourse conventions, among group members. Friends often accept a more relaxed grammar, sometimes becoming almost a private shorthand of communication, and some disciplines/professions are so jargon-laden that their communications would be barely intelligible to an outsider.
Despite writing's evolution from the scroll, to the codex, to the printed book, and now to the World Wide Web site, all of those forms of written communication are governed by rulesrules that have evolved with each new type of writing. Even as new media for writing came into vogue, as is happening now with the growing proliferation of electronic communication and the World Wide Web, the rules for print-based texts are applied, adapted, and adopted to govern these new texts. New media borrow from the conventions of older media, while improving some of those conventions and inventing others, which are sometimes in turn adopted by the older media. In short, neither media is the same as a result of this process, part of what Jay David Bolter calls "remediation".1
Making those rules, both new and old, and the connections between them, more palpable for students is one of the goals of my writing classes. Seeing those connections (and eventually being able to manipulate their own connections), gives students the comfort of common rules and practices in the face of the discomfort over new ones. To show the connection between the type(s) of text-based writing taught in required composition courses and the hypertextual "writing" (graphics, sound, arrangement, and text) that many of our students "read" daily on the Web, I want students to see how the rules that govern text-based writing are applied and transformed to produce hypertextual "writing." In the following examples, I will discuss how integrating web site analysis and simple web site construction into my first-year writing courses (and a newly designed, upper-level hypertextual writing course) allows students to see that they can apply text-based writing "rules" learned in required composition courses to writing "rules" for this new E-learning environment.
ENGL 015 Rhetoric and Composition
In this course, required of all Penn State graduates, students practice applying rhetorical principles to construct arguments through various forms of writing (traditionally all print-based).
ENGL 030 Honors Freshman Composition
This course, an Honors version of ENGL 015, has many of the same goals as that course; however, students' already competent writing skills allow a faster pace with more sophisticated readings and assignments. Although writing for these two courses is traditionally print-based, because the rules that govern writingin fact the very definition of writing itselfare evolving, newer forms of writing that allow students to practice those same rhetorical principles are certainly appropriate.
These constructed Web sites are the contemporary counterparts of the traditional academic essay, and as such require students to adapt the rules for that genre, to Web site construction. For example, although these Web sites are still thesis-driven, the thesis may be expressed by a visual design motif, rather than a discursive statement early in the essay.
ENGL 420 Writing for the Web
(A new course, designed as part of Capital College's proposed Writing Minor)
This course, designed for writers and potential writers, will explore the unique opportunities and constraints of writing for the Web. As a writing course, it should appeal to students in the Humanities; however, because of the growing importance of Web texts in fields like business and the social sciences and given the opportunity to compose/construct a variety of fictional and non-fictional, "creative" and informative/persuasive Web texts, this course should be of value to students across the College.
In this course, students will survey a wide variety of Web texts: webs, electronic journals and books, learning to analyze these as to their efficacy in light of each text's rhetorical situation. As students learn to compose and construct such texts themselves, rhetorically based principles of audience awareness and persuasive appeal will be emphasized. Rather than focusing on writing html codes and java scripts, this course will build on the rhetorical principles taught in first-year writing courses, teaching students how to apply those principles to more sophisticated, multi-sensory, multi-media hypertextual writing. Visual rhetoric (the text's appearance) and site functionality (the means by which a "reader" moves throughout the hypertext) will be considered, but the main emphasis will be on the ways in which hypertextual writing environments influence, and are influenced by, writing and thinking
The course will be taught primarily in a hands-on workshop environment, in a PC computer lab or laptop-equipped classroom, using word-processing and basic html editing software, as well as the hypertextual writing software, Storyspace, http://www.eastgate.com/Storyspace.html. Although no prior Web writing experience is required, some experience with Web navigation and computer word-processing will be helpful. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their participation/attendance in the course's workshop environment, written web analyses, and constructed web texts.
A Final Note
Taking students into the eye of remediation to see the point at which rules blur and change is not the only reason for these assignments. As an educator, I believe strongly in the responsibility to foster students' technological literacy; a responsibility that Cynthia Selfe, longtime technological-literacy pioneer, proponent, and educator, assigns to literacy educators.2 However, I would argue that it is a responsibility for educators across the academy, not just literacy educators. Furthermore, although technological literacy is a worthwhile end in itself, as Fred Kemp notes, integrating technology into a course can also bring about a powerful change toward a collaborative pedagogy "in a way that nothing else can".3 While the above examples deal with assignments in various writing courses, those and others like them can certainly be used in other disciplines. Any discipline requiring student research can likely benefit from training their students to be more discerning researchersand given the wealth of research material available on the Web, I believe we owe it to students to teach them to use that information critically. Furthermore, the sharing of knowledge, scholarship, and documents is becoming increasingly at home on the Web, so students should know not only how to access that knowledge, but also the rules that govern contributing to that knowledge and scholarship. Not only can such assignments illuminate writing rules, they can also show that writing "rules" as a form of communication, as well as a valuable tool for learning.
1Bolter, Jay David. Writing Space: The Computer,
Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print. Mahway, NJ: Erlbaum, 2001.
2Selfe, Cynthia L. Technology and Literacy in the Twenty-First Century: The Importance of Paying Attention. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 1999.
3Kemp, Fred, and Rebecca Rickly. Presentation. "Technology in Writing Programs: Responsible Development, Responsible Development, Responsible Implementation, Responsible Assessment." WPA Conference. Charlotte, NC. 15 July, 2001
Most people realize that they should back up their computer files, but don't bother because it can be tedious, time consuming, and costly. This inaction can cost many hours of work and the loss of irreplaceable data.
Although you may not realize it, your computer programs and data are at risk of loss or damage from a number of potential threats. These include computer viruses, hardware failure, intentional malice, and human mistakes. Although there are various preventative measures you can take to reduce the chance of these individual threats--nothing you can do can completely eliminate them. However, there is one very important and very simple step you can take to ensure your ability to recover successfully from file loss or damage. This step is to make backup copies of your computer programs and data files and store them in a safe location.
Why make computer file backups?
All programs, data, pictures, sounds and numbers are stored as computer files. These files are simply strings of bits that may be interpreted by a computer or program into something meaningful. These bits are encoded onto a magnetic media that records the pattern of bits making up that particular file. Files are typically stored on flat magnetic-coated disks (floppy or hard) or magnetic-coated plastic ribbon (tape).
The purpose of a computer file backup is to ensure that a good copy of the file is available in the event that the "main" copy of that file is somehow damaged. The process of making a copy of the file for safekeeping is called "making a backup" of the file. The process of recovering a file from a backup copy is called "restoring" the file.
How to Make Backup Copies of Computer Data Files
There are various ways to make backup copies of your computer data files. The best way for any individual user is whichever way will be most convenient -- since this convenience will lend itself to making regular backups. (People tend to avoid inconvenient procedures, regardless of their importance.) Although I will be using Ms-Windows terminology, everything I describe here will work as well with a Macintosh or Linux system.
The approach I use is based on a simple mixture of inexpensive hardware and some organizational forethought. The hardware I use is an Iomega Zip drive. Zip drive diskettes come in 100 MB and 250 MB sizes. They are small, fast and convenient. The purpose of the Zip drive is to provide a high-density removable storage medium.
Organizational forethought is essential to having a convenient file backup strategy. The way you choose to arrange your files can make the job easy or hard. The arrangement I developed has all of my data files under 3 subdirectories -- one for electronic mail, one for web sites and pages, and one for all other data documents.
When I want to make a complete data file backup, I pop an empty Zip disk into my Zip drive and launch Windows Explorer. I select the 3 subdirectories containing my data files and I instruct Windows to copy these subdirectories (and everything under them) to the Zip disk.
I also rotate the disks -- for added protection. The reason for rotating disks is so that you do not encounter the problem where your system crashes during the backup creation, possibly resulting in the destruction of the original files AND the backup copy. By rotating disks you always ensure that at least one copy is in good shape.
What about Program Files?
Programs are a special case. In general, I do not recommend backing up programs because their components may be spread throughout the system in such a way that you cannot guarantee that you have actually backed up all parts.
Instead - I recommend making a backup copy of the original installation files for the program. If you acquired the program on CD or diskette, it may be sufficient to store that media in a safe place. The idea here is that you can re-install the program, if neccessary, from the original disks. If you download any additions or patches after installation you may want to save these also.
Programs and hardware are replaceable. Data files are irreplaceable. Therefore, data files should be backed up on a regular basis. Program files need only be backed up once.
In some cases specialized mass storage hardware subsystems may be useful in supporting file backups. Users connected to a local-area network in an office environment may be able to backup local hard-disk files on a remote server. You will want to check with your LAN administrator to see if a service like this is available to you.
Where Should I Store My Backup Copies?
It is usually NOT a good idea to keep your backup file copies in the same location as your regular files. This is important because the cause of damage to your files could be environmental (heat, smoke, water, etc.) and would be as likely to damage your backups as your originals. One good option is to store your backup disks or tapes in a watertight plastic box on a closet shelf in a different room of your house. Departments or offices may want to designate a special location for storage of all file backups for their users.
Making backup copies of your computer files is like wearing a safety belt in an automobile--both are intended to minimize potential loss in case of an accident. With regular file backups, the damage resulting from hardware failure, virus infection, or accidental deletion will be limited.
BE SAFE--BE PREPARED!
Can't figure it out? We can help. Computing assistance to students, faculty, and staff is available through our User Services division.
This division provides consulting support as well as electronic and printed information to the faculty, students, and staff of the University to help them efficiently use technology to accomplish their academic, research and administrative responsibilities. Full-time professional staff in two locations, the Computer Building and Willard Building, provide the services. In addition, graduate assistants and undergraduate students provide front line assistance at the help desks in these two locations via walk-in, phone and email support. Most Student Computing Labs also have student consultants available to help with the use of the labs.
For further information please see the CAC consulting Web site at http://cac.psu.edu/consulting. The Internet software package CACPAC is available on CD at Help Desks, through FTP, and on the Web at http://ftp.cac.psu.edu/access/cd/. For details, see the Internet Access Guide. The CD and guide are available at CAC Help Desks in 2 Willard Building and 215 Computer Building at University Park. At other locations, contact your local computer support staff.
The Internet Access Guide is mailed at the beginning of the fall semester to faculty at all locations, and to staff at University Park. Additional copies are available at CAC Help Desks and in the Student Computing Labs. To obtain copies by campus mail, contact Danette Yakymac at (814) 865-4757 or email@example.com. The most current version was published August 21, 2001.
For your convenience, the Internet Access Guide is updated throughout the year on the World Wide Web at http://cac.psu.edu/internet.
What Program Goes with What File Extension
If you have a Windows file it has a File Name and a File Extension. For example, myfile.txt has file extension, .TXT and so would be an ASCII text file. The search engine to find out what software is associated with what file extension is: http://extsearch.com/
Computer Abbreviations, Acronyms, Definitions,
Too often computer prose is peppered with abbreviations and acronyms. You can look them up in the following places: http://www.geocities.com/ikind_babel/babel/babel.html or http://www.acronymfinder.com/
Sometimes a Dictionary of Computing or Glossary of Internet Terms will also help. Visit these at: http://wombat.doc.ic.ac.uk/foldoc/index.html and http://www.matisse.net/files/glossary.html respectively.
Also, see Webopedia, an on-line encyclopedia and search engine dedicated to computer technology: http://www.pcwebopedia.com/, http://www.webopaedia.com/ and http://webopedia.internet.com/quick_ref/
Recovering Word Documents
Another trick not listed in the above is to do an FILE/Open and choose File Type: Recover Text from Any File.
Electronic Statistics Textbook
Need a refresher course in Statistics? A searchable, indexed electronic Statistics textbook may be found at: http://www.statsoft.com/textbook/stathome.html. All of these, and many more "Information" references may be found at:
Windows Error Message Information
The Web page: http://www.aumha.org/kberrmsg.htm gives Microsoft Knowledge Base articles by clicking on actual Windows Error messages. You should use Microsoft Internet Explorer for this. Another trick to get a particular Microsoft Knowledge Base article is to use the : MSKB or MSKB kbarticle# in place of a conventional URL. E.g., MSKB Q273738
File Format Descriptions
The Web site: http://www.wotsit.org/search.asp has a search engine that will send you an information file that is a detailed description of file formats for a rather wide variety of files. You would need this information if you needed to write code to process an application's (binary file) or if you needed to understand better what was included in same.
For example, if you chose "Text File/Documents" and then "Microsoft Word 8" it will offer to download the file: wword8.zip. If you unzip that file you'll get wword8.html which is an indexed description of the many details of the binary format of a MS Word Version 8 file.
A virus/worm designated "W32.Nimda.A@mm" or more familiarly "Nimda" appeared on the computer scene on Tuesday, September 18, and has spread through an estimated hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide running Microsoft operating systems.
Nimda has the capability of infecting Windows 9x, ME, NT and 2000 operating systems through a variety of vectors including e-mail, unpatched security holes and network shares.
For more information about Nimda, including suggested patches and strategies for disinfecting your system, check the following sites, as well as your preferred anti-virus vendor:
If you receive mail that you believe contains a virus, or you think your machine may already be infected with a virus, contact the Center for Academic Computing (CAC) Help Desk at (814) 863-1035 or (814) 863-2494. General information and guidance on viruses can also be found on the CAC Virus Information and news web site at http://cac.psu.edu/infotech/virus.html.
The latest version of Microsoft Outlook 2002 from Office XP has a bug that makes it incompatible with our email servers. Unlike previous versions of Outlook, the software connects to the server to download mail, disconnects, and then reconnects to remove the mail from the server. This new method conflicts with the two-minute minimum time limit we have on our servers. The long-standing two-minute time limit continues to improve overall performance of our email servers by preventing abuse of the system. While it is not possible to override this bug in Outlook, a couple of alternatives are available. First, we recommend using an earlier version of Outlook, another email client such as Eudora, or using our new WebMail service, https://webmail.psu.edu/. Second, one may disable the setting that removes mail from the server. One may then use the WebMail service periodically to strip the old mail off the server.
We are working with Microsoft to fix this problem.
Faculty, do you wish to incorporate technology into your classroom or put your course on-line? Staff, do you need to learn software to increase your efficiency, manage a database, or construct a Web site? Students, do you need the technology skills to deliver impressive papers, design on-line projects, manage bibliographies, or streamline your thesis layout? Penn State's technology learning opportunities, many offered at no cost, serve all these needs and more, catering to a variety of skill levels, learning styles, and time constraints.
You may sign up for scheduled offerings or arrange for your group to be trained at a time and place most convenient to you. You may choose to receive group instruction or study alone. You may take a "blended learning" approach, complementing face-to-face instruction with work done at your own pace.
Some of the venues for technology training are free seminars, Training on Demand, Human Resource Development Center computing skills courses, Web-Based Training, and the Teaching and Learning With Technology lunchtime seminar series.
According to the Center for Education Technology Services Training Group staff, this academic year, additional sections of popular seminars have been opened to reduce the number of people on waiting lists. The number of Web-based courses has been increased, now totaling over 750 options. Also new this year is the Program Management Tool, which allows faculty and supervisors to assign specific Web-Based Training courses to students or staff and receive feedback on their progress.
Lisa Lacombe, manager of the Training Group, says, "We try to offer something for everyone. Our services are continually responding to the changing technology training needs of the Penn State community."
Computer & Information Systems (C&IS) offers both hands-on and lecture-style workshops throughout the fall and spring semesters at various skill levels, usually lasting two to three hours. The dozens of free offerings are designed to fit in with busy schedules and emphasize techniques learners can practice on their own time. The seminar selections cater to faculty, students, programmers and developers, staff assistants, and presenters, among others.
Here are just a few enthusiastic comments from seminar attendees this fall:
"I learned a lot from this seminarcan't wait to try back at my office."
"Great presentation. I look forward to the other classes I signed up for. Thanks!"
"Very thorough, well-paced, clear presentation."
"I found this seminar extremely helpful in beginning to meet work and personal goals to create a Web site."
"Wonderful class! Wonderful instructor!"
For registration and further information, please see
Training on Demand
For some, a specially planned session will best meet the training needs and schedules of a particular group. Training on Demand (TOD), provides the flexibility you need. You may schedule group training at a convenient time, at your own site or in the Wagner Computer Training Center (WCTC), consisting of two labs designed for teaching Windows and Macintosh software applications. You may mix and match topics from the seminar offerings to meet your group's specific skill-building needs. TOD offers qualified instructors, group learning, flexibility, convenience, cost-effectiveness, and guaranteed seating. These sessions could make a highly positive impact on your class or organization.
Groups may additionally rent the WCTC for their own training purposes; members of the faculty may reserve the labs for teaching Penn State credit courses.
See the Training on Demand link at
Web-Based Training (WBT) provides free access to technology training to anyone with a Penn State Access Account userid, available anytime from anywhere. Over 750 self-paced tutorials are now available on the Web to help faculty, staff, and students learn new technology skills or enhance existing knowledge. New or updated courses are added to the WBT Web site once a year. Pre-and post-assessments are built in to each course to help gauge progress, as well as set up a Precision Learning Track. This valuable feature reduces the amount of time spent by customizing the course to target only topics missed during assessment. The most recent addition to the WBT Web site is the Program Management Tool (PMT). The PMT provides faculty members and supervisors with the ability to assign custom programs to an individual or group by organizing WBT courses into an easy-to-use curriculum. By combining courses into a program, a faculty member or supervisor can help students or staff learn skills to fulfill their academic or professional development needs. See http://wbt.cac.psu.edu/
For faculty, staff, and teaching assistants
Teaching with Technology lunchtime seminar series
Faculty and staff interested in instructional development and technology in the classroom should plan to attend the remaining sessions of this fall's free Teaching with Technology lunchtime seminar series, sponsored by the Center for Academic Computing and Center for Education Technology Services. On October 26, the Penn State Digital Media Group presents "Digital Media at Penn State." On November 30, the Center for Education Technology services presents "ANGEL (A New Global Environment for Learning)." Connect with others interested in using technology in teaching, and be made aware of potential resources available.
See http://cac.psu.edu/training/, click on "Register for Seminars," and select "Technology in the Classroom" and "Lecture."
Each year during the first week of January, free technology workshops are held for faculty and staff. This year's event focuses on Penn State's Course Management System, ANGEL (A New Global Environment for Learning), allowing instructors to create on-line courses. A similar Summer-Fest is also offered annually between terms.
Information and registration will be available later this year at http://cac.psu.edu/training/.
Human Resource Development Center Programs
A wide selection of in-depth computing skills training for beginning through advanced levels is offered to faculty and staff through the Human Resource Development Center (HRDC). Skills covered include administrative topics, Windows and Macintosh topics, tools for information technology professionals, and others. Programs last from four to twelve hours and are offered for a fee. To ensure your space in a program, HRDC must receive your registration two weeks in advance. See http://www.ohr.psu.edu/hrdc/home.htm
Together educators and students are discovering how the sounds, colors and images of multimedia make the concepts they are discussing more accessible.
If you are interested in using multimedia in your courses but aren't sure how, making an appointment with the staff at the Faculty Multimedia Center (FMC) is a good place to start.
At the FMC, you can discuss your ideas with consultants who are experienced with audio, video, and graphics tools. They can show you how to use software and equipment to create and edit materials. They can demonstrate how to convert the media that you already use, like slides, photographs, and video recordings to digital format. And they can help you learn how to incorporate your digital media into a seamless, computer-based presentation or Web page.
If you are already familiar with multimedia tools, you can arrange to work independently on FMC workstations.
Multimedia has the potential to help you bring your students closer to the topics you teach. Consider how the Faculty Multimedia Center can help you expand your options for teaching!
Faculty Multimedia Center, e-mail to FMC@psu.edu, on the Web go to http://www.cac.psu/fmc or by phone (814) 863-7051. Please call for an appointment.
The Office of Administrative Systems (OAS) reports that automated administrative functions can now be packaged as Web services and accessed by departmental computer systems using AXIS.
AXIS or AIS XML Information Server, is a set of tools for managing and facilitating the exchange of information between various departmental computing systems and Penn State's central Administrative Information Systems (AIS) Database. Currently, several project teams are building applications that will access the AIS Database via AXIS.
For example, the Human Resources Development Center is developing a Web registration system with Cold Fusion that will validate account numbers using AXIS. Financial Aid is developing a loan scholarship application also using AXIS in conjunction with Cold Fusion to update data in the Integrated Student Information System (ISIS).
Angel, the new course management system, and the newly developed employee vacation cards are other services now retrieving information using the AXIS Information Server.
Finally, as part of the Web Integrated Business Information System (IBIS) project, all IBIS functions are being converted to Web services that can be accessed from any Web application using AXIS. For more information about the AXIS project see the preliminary Web site at: http://atsc44.oas.psu.edu/axis
Penn State WebMail is a Web-based e-mail client, similar to Yahoo! Mail, that provides you with anytime, anywhere access to your Penn State e-mail via a Web browser. Authentication to and e-mail storage in WebMail are made possible via your Penn State Access Account userid and password. Your e-mail is stored on our server. The easy-to-use interface lets you check and send mail via a secure connection, create and organize mailboxes, access directory services, create and add personalized signatures, and change settings. New features continue to be developed and added. The client is now available to the University community for use.
To use WebMail, go to https://webmail.psu.edu/ and click on the "Click To Enter" link. Authenticate with your Penn State Access Account userid and password. Instructions for use are available on-line via the WebMail interface. Inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Penn State Portal: Your View of Penn State
The Penn State Portal is your personalized view of University and Internet resources. Similar to My Netscape or My Yahoo!, the Penn State Portal lets you collect all of your favorite content in one place. You decide what you want to see and how you want to see it by editing the customizable Web page channels and channel content.
Portal channels provide a means by which customizable Web page information is displayed. The Penn State Portal channels contain two essential parts: the title bar and the content. The Penn State Portal contains channels like: Did you know-facts about Penn State, My Calendar-personal calendar, My College Career-links from Career Services about obtaining a job, internship, or summer employment, My Collegian-your personalized view of The Digital Collegian, and much more!
Getting access to the Penn State Portal is easy, all you need is an active Penn State Access Account, personal Web space, and then go to http://portal.psu.edu.
Everyone is invited to use the Portal!
Penn State Virus Page Expanded
Penn State's virus page at http://cac.psu.edu/infotech/virus.html on the Web has been expanded. The site is intended to help students, faculty, and staff protect their computers and files from computer viruses and other forms of malicious code. The following topics are presented: what a virus is, what viruses do, how to protect your machine, how to find news and information about viruses and hoaxes, how to receive automatic notification about virus threats, and how to get help. If you receive mail that you believe contains a virus, or think your machine may already be infected with a virus, contact the Center for Academic Computing (CAC) Help Desk at (814) 863-1035 or (814) 863-2494. For locations and hours, see the CAC's consulting services page at http://cac.psu.edu/consulting/consult.html on the Web.
WISH (Web Instructional Services Headquarters)
WISH (Web Instructional Services Headquarters) has received a reorganization and facelift. In addition to being a great bookmark resource for Penn State faculty to virtually wander the halls of the Computer Building for Instructional Technology Resources, links to relevant topics are also available. For example, in addition to centralized information on tools such as ASK, Quiz Wizard, and Coursetalk, or account information for COLA and SODA, and information on student labs and technology classrooms, faculty can include in their course policy pages links for "What is Cyberplagerism and How to Avoid It," "E-mail Tips and Strategies for Faculty," and direct links to WBT for the over 750 online tutorials. WISH also provides faculty the outlines to the numerous face-to-face seminars taught by the CETS. These include: "Gradebook using Excel," "Managing your Bibliographies and Communicate with LIAS," "Creating Accessible Websites," "Mentoring Students Online," and "Creating Good Questions for Online Discussions." For further information, please see http://cac.psu.edu/wish/.
Fall semester 2001, after a period of extensive research and testing, the Behrend Computer Center initiated a pilot project to see how wireless computing might be used on campus. At Behrend, wireless computing adheres to the 802.11b standard. This service allows users to establish a wireless connection in order to browse the Web and to use electronic mail.
Wireless computing is available in Bruno's Café, the Reed Wintergarden, the Hammermill Food Court area, Roche Hall, and the Reed Mail Room area. In order to use the wireless network, users need a wireless interface card for their laptop. The Computer Center has established a program whereby students may borrow a wireless interface card at no cost. In addition, instructions and a driver disk are provided to the students.
Faculty, staff, and students may also choose to purchase a wireless interface card for their laptop computer. In this case, the Computer Center provides support if one of the following interface cards is purchased: 3Com AirConnect, Lucent Orinoco, or Enterasys RoamAbout.
Wireless users are authenticated on the Penn State network; however, the College does not guarantee the security of the network due to the nature of wireless computing. As a result, users of the wireless network are advised not to transmit sensitive information such as credit card numbers.
Although wireless computing is in its early stages at the College, it appears to be fairly popular among many students.
According to Ronald Hoffman, Manager of Network and Information Systems at Penn State Erie, "Wireless networking has been around for about 5 years now and I wanted to get some experience in implementing and managing a wireless network in anticipation of future needs. I also wanted to get some data on how students would actually use wireless on campus in order to better plan for future campus wireless systems. We decided to go slow with a "prototype" network."
Faculty members and staff supervisors now have a convenient and valuable tool enabling them to create customized information technology curricula for groups or individuals. The Program Management Tool (PMT), a newly developed Web site serving as a gateway to the more than 750 existing Web-Based Training courses available at Penn State, was launched in September by the Center for Education Technology Services (CETS).
Primarily an organizational and communication vehicle, the PMT allows instructors or supervisors to choose the software or technology topics for which their students or staff need the most training, receive feedback from the users on their progress and scores, and compare pre- and post-assessment scores.
According to developers from the CETS Technology Training Group, a need emerged in the past few years for faculty members and staff supervisors to be able to cost-effectively assign technology training of their own choosing to specific groups of students or employees. These individuals needed a way to point people to the right course--in the right version--for their needs, and to maintain control over the training process.
The Training Group perceived that if it were left to each individual to randomly choose from the extensive list of Web-based tutorials offered, each of which takes about eight hours to complete, he or she might select a course not as pertinent as another, thus wasting time and energy.
In response to this need, CETS developed the PMT, a single entry point to the wider scope of Web-Based Training. The new tool is a means for faculty members and supervisors to provide direction for technology training, and receive feedback on the performance of their students or staff members. No special training is necessary to use the PMT, according to the Web-Based Training team.
There are numerous ways the tool can be used, commented Marilynne Stout, director of Education Technology Services (ETS). "For example, an instructor teaching a communications course might decide that the most useful training for the students would be for everyone to know Microsoft PowerPoint, in order to work in groups and make class presentations. Assigning the training of this specific Web-based course would guarantee that all the students would be 'on the same page' and direct their energy toward learning skills immediately applicable in a course and common to all fellow students," she said.
If a supervisor required a staff member to be trained toward certification as a technical specialist in a certain area, such as networking, the PMT has already grouped bundles of the courses necessary for various certifications. "These packaged offerings can be selected from a convenient drop-down list," Stout added.
Another important feature of the PMT is that it provides feedback to the faculty member or supervisor acting as "program manager." After completing some or all of a course, tutorial users may e-mail their training status and scores to the program manager to demonstrate their progress. The program manager can also request that users take a pre-assessment to compare to the post-assessment score.
Linda Spangler, administrative assistant in the Political Science Department, recently utilized the PMT to assign training to her staff. "This is an excellent tool for managers and supervisors," said Spangler, who especially noted how simple it is to use. "I take the mentoring of my staff very seriously," she said, "and I have implemented this type of training for my new hires for the areas in which I feel they need more training to do their job effectively. It worked great. My staff have become more efficient at their jobs." Spangler feels that a unit needs to have the support of a supervisor for Web-Based Training to work. Spangler also felt that assigning group training through the PMT resulted in the unit working as a team. Staff who did not require particular training backed up their teammates when needed, she observed.
The main selling point of the PMT, according to developers, is that it does not detract from the existing Web-based course offerings. What it does is provide organization, control, and feedback so faculty members and supervisors can get the appropriate people trained in the appropriate areas of information technology without having to be an information technology expert.
"We are excited about launching the Program Management Tool," said John Harwood, senior director of CETS. "Faculty will be able to track the training progress of their students; supervisors can track the training of their staff. The PMT will be a great asset."
Those interested in learning more about the PMT may call (814) 863-7768 or visit http://wbt.cac.psu.edu.
It is very active at this time of the semester in our Student Computing Labs. In each of the 13 labs located across campus, CAC consultants are stationed to answer users' questions about hardware and software. The Pollock Library location is even open 7 days a week and 24 hours per day.
The User Services Group of the CAC created the lab consultant position in the early 1990's. Previously, attendants were assigned to each lab simply to oversee the security and general upkeep of equipment. However, people who used the labs frequently asked questions the lab attendants had not been formally trained to answer. The need for specialized lab consultants became clear.
This year over 100 students, mainly sophomores and juniors, make up the staff you see in the 13 Student Computing labs which offer regular consulting hours.
Because the lab consultants are often the only contact a user may have with the Center for Academic Computing, the responsibilities of this position are not taken lightly. Applicants are hired based both on the extent of their technical experience and their ability to interact with people.
Consultants receive three days of training at the beginning of each semester. During training, Henry Moeller, the Lab Consultant Supervisor, and his colleagues review the software and hardware installed in the labs with the newly hired consultants. They detail preferred methods for assisting users, make known the best resources for references, and explain the CAC's expectations and policy.
Moeller advises consultants to treat the user as a customer. The lab consultant "should aim to help the user solve his/her problem, or be able to refer him/her to someone who can." But consultants are not simply placed in labs to solve problems. They are reminded to view every request for assistance as an opportunity to educate. Consultants are encouraged to leave the mouse in the hands of the user and to walk him or her through the steps of resolving the problem with verbal and visual cues. Senior consultants know from experience that most people want to solve problems for themselves and that when they teach the user how to solve his/her own problem, it's one less question for the consultant to answer the next time.
Consultants are prepared to answer questions about a myriad of computer-related subjects varying from access accounts to commands in a specific software package or on a specific platform (i.e. How do I set margins in Word? or How do I print on a Mac?).
There are, however, a few limits to the service they provide. Consultants cannot be expected to provide personal software instruction to a user, or obviously, to complete coursework for a student.
The CAC encourages all users to take advantage of the presence of consultants in the labs. Do not hesitate to ask the consultants for assistance; they are there to help you.
For more in-depth instruction on software, programming languages, and a wide range of computer-related topics, visit the Technology Training Group (see related article in this issue of the newsletter) available online at http://cac.psu.edu/training. This group is dedicated to providing high quality, convenient technology training through a variety of channels to Penn State faculty, staff and students in order to facilitate teaching, working, and learning effectiveness.
You may also visit the University Learning Center located in room 7 Sparks Building (For more information call 863-4392, e-mail email@example.com, or visit http://www.ulrc.psu.edu).
Please direct comments regarding lab consulting service to Henry Moeller, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Departments must order free LICENSES from the Microcomputer Order Center (MOC) using an IBIS GREQ before media can legally be installed. MEDIA can also be purchased (at a nominal fee) from the MOC via GREQ. Sorry, Penn State Purchasing Cards cannot be used for purchase under this program.
Please refer to the following MOC Part#s when placing
Part#CDR-1010 OS X.1 Media set (includes 9.2.1) (NO LICENSE) cost: $2.06
Part#CDR-1313 OS X Developer Tools (Media Only) cost: $1.55
Eligible Penn State students will receive free licenses when they borrow and install the media from their Campus Contacts through the Lending Library. Students not attending classes at a campus can have their software shipped to their residence by using the Lending Library form for Free Microsoft and Mac products. Please see the Web site http://moc.cac.psu.edu/products/OSX.1.html for details. (Note: This offer is not available to faculty/staff for personal order.)
The Microcomputer Order Center (MOC), a division of the CAC and a service of Penn State, sells a full line of hardware, software and peripherals at low, academic prices.
Educational discounts are offered to Penn State by the manufacturers and, because Penn State is a non-profit institution, these savings are passed along to the academic community. Products are chosen based on demand and the ability to offer advantageous prices. If the MOC does not currently carry something you need, please ask.
If you are interested in purchasing a computer, you can now order on-line from several top vendors at special Penn-State prices. Apple, Compaq, Dell, Gateway, IBM and Tangent have all created Penn State-only Web sites which allow you to make purchases on-line and have your order shipped directly to you. Hewlett Packard, Canon and Lexmark printers can also be ordered on-line through the special Daly Penn State Web page. Visit the MOC Web page at http://moc.cac.psu.edu for links to these pages.
Consulting & Evaluation
The MOC has a showroom located in 12 Willard Building where a variety of products are set up for hands-on evaluation and non-commission consultants are available to answer questions and demonstrate products.
All Penn State students, faculty, and staff are eligible to purchase from the MOC. Incoming first-year students may order after registration fees are paid. Please contact the MOC or visit our web page at http://moc.cac.psu.edu/ for full information about placing your order.
The price, description, and availability of all products are subject to change without notice. We strongly recommend that you talk with a MOC consultant before placing your order.
MOC Computer Store, Sales and Consulting
12 Willard Building
Phone: 814-865-2100 or 800-251-9281
MOC Warehouse, Sales & Pick Up
122G Computer Building
Hours: Mon.-Fri. (except holidays), 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
TSM (Tivoli Storage Manager), formerly ADSM (ADSTAR Distributed Storage Manager), acts as a file backup and archive server for the disk drives of any workstation or personal computer connected to the Internet. TSM runs as a server on the IBM RS/6000 SP under the AIX operating system. In addition, TSM supports 25 different platforms as clients and offers disaster recovery and Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM).
TSM is available to Penn State faculty, staff, and departments. There is a fee to use this service. To request the TSM service, please see the information provided in the TSM section at the CAC Computer Accounts Office Web site at http://cac.psu.edu/accounts/. Additional information can be found on the Tivoli Storage Manager Web site at http://www.tivoli.com/support/.
The Tivoli Storage Management clients can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.cac.psu.edu/pub/tivoli-storage-management/maintenance/client/. Mac users should refer to Important Announcement for Mac Users notice which describes problems with and solutions for the Mac version of the TSM client.
For additional information, please refer to the TSM FAQ at http://cac.psu.edu/ait/tsm/.
The Center for Academic Computing (CAC) has created a Co-location Center to meet the University community's demand for machine room environmental conditions. The new Co-location Center, a central-housing facility for computer systems, is now available to Penn State departments and units for a monthly fee. The fee is based on the amount of needed and consumed resources, such as the volume of space required, network connections, and power connections. Environmental conditions provided by the Center include a raised floor, conditioned air, UPS power, and secured physical access. The Co-location Center, located in Room 140-C Computer Building, can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, via your Penn State ID+ Card. Once you apply for and are granted Co-location Center space, your ID+ Card number will be added to the card reader for Room 140-C.
For additional information, please visit http://cac.psu.edu/colo/, direct e-mails to email@example.com or call (814) 865-8208.
This newsletter is published by The Pennsylvania State University, the Center for Academic Computing (CAC) and the Center for Education Technology Services (CETS), 214 Computer Building, University Park, PA 16802. The newsletter is also produced as a set of Web pages and Acrobat PDF files at http://cac.psu.edu/news/ on the World Wide Web. A printed version is mailed to full-time faculty and staff at all locations. Copies are available at the Computer Building at University Park. To obtain copies by campus mail, contact Danette Yakymac at (814) 865-4757 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Center for Academic Computing and the Center for Education Technology Services encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please call (814) 865-0800 in advance of your participation or visit.
Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity and the diversity of its workplace. This publication is available in alternative media upon request.
Your comments and suggestions are welcome. Please contact the editor, Margaret Smith, 214 Computer Building, University Park; (814) 865-4757; e-mail email@example.com.
CAC and CETS Directors
Kevin Morooney, Senior Director
John Harwood, Senior Director
Vijay Agarwala, Director, Graduate Education and Research Services
Steve Kellogg, Director, Advanced Information Technologies
Jim Kerlin, Director, Education Outreach Services
Kathy Mayberry, Director, User Services
Marilynne Stout, Director, Education Technology Services
Al Williams, Director, Distributed Systems Services