May 2011 Technology Digest

ECU Mobile App Available in August

Slated for release in August, the ECU mobile app will keep users connected to ECU from on and off campus.

Boasting thirteen initial features, users will be able to access campus maps, check grades or class assignments, get Pirate scores or add a contact from the ECU directory to your mobile phone.

Initial features include:

Maps: Search campus buildings by name and see their location relative to your own.
Courses: Browse the course catalog and contact the instructor directly from within the app.
Learn: Get instant access to all of your Blackboard Learn™ course content. Check grades, post to discussion forums, view important class announcements, read and download assignments, upload content and more.
Athletics: View up-to-date news, schedules and scores for your favorite ECU Pirate sports team.
Directory: Contact anyone campus-wide, and add that person directly to your phone’s address book.
Events: Keep track of East Carolina University activities, from concerts and art exhibits to lectures and athletics. Browse events by name, subject, date or location.
News: Keep up with all the happenings on and off campus with news from a variety of sources including the ECU News Center and The East Carolinian.
Library: Search library resources including location, call number and availability.
Images: Browse or search numerous images. Check out scenic shots of the East Carolina University campus. Save images to your phone or save as a background to show your school pride.
Videos: Access all of East Carolina University’s video content in one easy-to-view place.
E search: Search ECU’s website for information.
InnerPirate: Stay connected with other students through ECU’s InnerPirateNetwork.
ecuAlert: Get up to the minutes alerts from East Carolina University.
OneStop: Access ECU’s campus portal for grades, schedules, pay information and much more.

Choose Appropriate Storage for Your Files

Web pages, shared research files, customer address lists, employee phone numbers—what do these files have in common? Storage! And choosing the best storage solution for any data is key to maintaining secure information. Luckily, ECU departments have several centralized storage resources from which to choose.

Web Servers

For Web pages only! Information is public, so non-public information—such as a customer address list—should never be stored on a Web server.

Departments can avoid the security pitfalls of maintaining a server altogether by housing data on the centralized resources provided by ITCS. We offer space for departments, ECU organizations, students, staff and faculty. Visit the Web Resources page to learn more.


SharePoint, a browser-based collaboration tool, allows groups such as a project team, to set up a centralized, password-protected Web space for document sharing, online meetings, event planning and more. Sites are initially limited to 500MB. To request a site for your group, submit the request form from the online IT Help Desk service request system and visit the ITCS Service Catalog SharePoint entry for further how-to resources.


Piratedrive is a server folder used for data file storage. Piratedrive folders, both personal and departmental are password-protected, secure and backed up daily.

Visit the ITCS service catalog’s Piratedrive entry for capacity, increasing capacity, administrator responsibilities and more.

Department Resources

If your department chooses to house its own Web server, follow these recommendations:

1. Do not turn on directory listing.

2. Use a “robots.txt” file so search engines will not crawl your server.

3. NEVER store any files other than Web pages on the Web server. Recently, the personal records of over 3.5 million Texans were inadvertently exposed to the public after being placed on a state computer server with Web server capability!

4. Always request a network or hardware consult with ITCS before purchasing servers, switches, routers or other equipment.

Since ITCS implements physical and technical security controls on our centralized storage resources, it’s always recommended that departments take advantage of these convenient network resources such as Web servers for websites and Piratedrive or SharePoint for departmental file sharing.

Classroom Tech Transitions to Digital

Do you teach in a technology-enhanced classroom?

According to Tony Cooke, Classroom Technology manager, the CT team is in the planning stages of a project to transition classrooms away from VGA (analog) signals to updated, lower power digital interfaces such as High-Definition Multimedia Interface® (HDMI).

Not just for flat-screen TVs, HDMI and other digital connections are the future display output for laptops, projectors, PC monitors, embedded flat panels and other consumer electronic devices. According to, leading PC companies are moving to all-digital display technology and phasing out analog connectors on notebooks and other devices. This allows for slimmer laptop designs and supports higher resolutions than VGA and will eventually mainstream features such as 3D. Digital signals provide a crisper image but use less power than analog, a technology more than 20 years old.

“Converting over is no easy task considering we have over 300 technology-enhanced classrooms on campus,” says Tony. “However, we’re starting the solution now to be ready as devices evolve to new technologies.”

What does this mean for users? You’ll still find the VGA connector for your current laptop, but you’ll eventually have the option of a digital connector for whatever device—laptop, iPad, etc.—you’ll be using in the future.

TurningPoint Audience Response Recommendation

TurningPoint is the university’s recommended audience response system. Often called “clickers,” these devices actively engage students, gauge their understanding of presented material and provide prompt feedback to instructors. Student responses are anonymous to other students, and TurningPoint AnyWhere can create instant polling questions from content on Web pages, PDFs, Microsoft Office documents, whiteboards and more.
TurningPoint systems can be purchased through Dowdy Student Stores.

For more information about TurningPoint, visit the ITCS service catalog TurningPoint entry.

Security Training Now Available

ECU is dedicated to providing a secure work environment for employees. To accomplish this goal, IT Security is offering security awareness training to all ECU staff and faculty.

Available through Blackboard, this training explains security policies and best practices for keeping safe data and a secure Web identity on your laptop, desktop or mobile device.

To view, log in to Blackboard and click the class link. Be sure to take the pre-test to gauge your IT security skills and then work through the presentation.

Centra Login Now Uses Pirate ID

All ECU faculty, staff and students can now log in to Centra using their Pirate ID and passphrase rather than the previous separate password. Here’s how Centra now functions:

ECU Users

• The new login for Centra is
• All faculty, staff and students now have a Centra account and can log in to using their PirateID/passphrase
• Meetings are still requested and set up in the same way
• Faculty and staff can still schedule open participation meetings
• ECU faculty/staff attend open meetings by first logging in to, clicking the “Attend Meeting” link in the upper left corner of the Centra interface and entering the Meeting ID.

Non-ECU users

• Non-ECU users continue to attend and play back open Centra meetings by using the “Guest Attend URL” and the “Guest Playback URL.”

iPhone/iPad users

• The iPhone/iPad app still requires users to enter their Centra password to login. This password can still be updated by clicking the “My Profile” link in the upper left corner of the Centra interface. If your iPhone/iPad app is already set up, no action is required.

Additional Centra Enhancements

• Full support for Office 2010 – Users may now upload Office 2010 PowerPoint presentations.
• Named Appshare cursor – The person in control of Appshare appears by the cursor to everyone else in the meeting.
• Auto-saved Text Chat – Every event is now automatically saved as a text document which can be downloaded by the event leader in the reports section for the event.

So What’s Different About Blackboard?

Blackboard has been unavailable (Tuesday, May 10th through Friday, May 13th) for the much-anticipated upgrade to version 9.

So, what can users now expect?

• Any summer/fall courses developed in version 8 will automatically migrate to version 9.
• The new interface includes an improved workflow – the Control Panel is now on the front page!
• Bb 9 includes some new collaborative tools: blogs, wikis, journals, enhanced groups tool

To help you navigate Bb 9, check out these resources:

• Faculty resources can be found on our Blackboard blog
• Register for an overview training session (faculty) ITCS Training Calendar (if logging in from off campus, please enter intra\ in front of your user id) through July.
• Attend an open lab session (no appointment necessary) in the Austin Building during the first week of summer session.
• Request a one-on-one Blackboard 9 desk-side training or training for your department by contacting one of the Bb admins.

Free Gartner Webinars Discuss Latest IT Trends

Gartner IT research portal is a quick way to explore best IT practices, analyze industry trends and find the right classroom tool to enrich student experience.

But did you know that as an ECU user, you are also eligible to attend any of the Gartner IT Webinars from your own computer for free?

To browse available topics, sign in to the ECU Gartner portal and click the “View Webinars” link. Titles can be filtered by topic, date or key initiative. You can register for upcoming webinars or pick from the archive list.

Not just for IT techs; Gartner has something for every user. For example:

iPad & Beyond: the Media Tablet in business
June 29, 2011

Discussion Topics

1. What are the most impactful and interesting business uses of tablets?
2. How should you deliver applications for tablets within the enterprise?
3. How do you manage and secure tablets in the workforce?

Technology and Management Directions for Smartphones and Tablets
June 30, 2011

Discussion Topics

1. How will smartphone and tablet platforms evolve over the next five years?
2. What is Gartner’s concept of Managed Diversity and how will it help enterprises manage the invasion of consumer devices?

To find your topic of interest, log in to

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