Welcome Back, Faculty and Staff!

It’s hard to believe summer is nearly over and a new academic year is here.

Here’s the latest news for new and current faculty and staff.

WebEx vs. Skype: Is There a Difference?

With both WebEx Cloud and Skype for Business available to ECU users, how do you pick the right online meeting solution? Both tools share collaboration tools, audio and video options, scheduling through Outlook and a Meet Now feature.

However, there are also differences that make the choice clear depending on your requirements. Here’s how you can decide which is the best tool for your meeting.

Skype

Skype is part of the Office 365 download and is available to students, faculty and staff. It is currently ECU’s standard for instant messaging and desktop sharing. It is used to determine another user’s “presence” through Outlook – not available (red), green (available), yellow (away from the computer).

Skype is an excellent choice for desktop sharing and is approved to discuss FERPA information – while holding online office hours, for example. But, Skype is NOT approved for HIPAA discussion. See these security considerations.

WebEx Cloud

WebEx is currently only available to faculty and staff. Users have a personal online meeting room where the URL never changes (ecu.webex.com/join/your-pirateID). WebEx is browser-based and works well with either a Mac or a Windows computer as well as iOS, Windows and Android mobile. WebEx is also approved for both HIPAA and FERPA.

So, both Skype for Business and WebEx are excellent choices for your online meetings, with some situations favoring one tool over another. Still not sure? Visit the video and web conferencing website for more information.

REDCap’s New Informational Website

REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a secure, HIPAA compliant, web-based application used for building and managing online surveys and databases. All data is secure within ECU’s IT infrastructure.

Over the summer, the ITCS Multimedia & Technology (MTS) team made significant updates to the REDCap website by adding new user guides, frequently asked questions, security information and other resources to assist researchers in using this powerful tool.

New users must meet all prerequisites and approvals before creating an account. See the REDCap online research survey website for details.

OneDrive vs. Piratedrive: Which is Best?

ECU provides two storage solutions for your course work, research and other documents. Read on for the specifics of each.

Piratedrive

All ECU users have a 125GB Piratedrive network storage folder on ECU servers. Piratedrive is approved for sensitive ECU information – good for research data or personal documents. Your folder is named the same as your PirateID and is always available when on campus as a network connection named, Piratedrive (U:). Piratedrive can also be accessed through Pirate Port. See the Piratedrive website for more information.

OneDrive

OneDrive is a feature of your ECU Office 365 subscription. This 1TB cloud storage folder is housed in the cloud and is approved to store your FERPA data and academic schoolwork, etc. OneDrive is NOT approved for storage of sensitive information. OneDrive is different from Piratedrive in that you can share, edit and collaborate online – a good idea to use when you are working with others! You can also sync documents from your mobile or computer to your OneDrive folder. Everything you need in one place and available from anywhere. See the OneDrive website to learn more.

Don’t Forget Your Software!

Windows 10 Operating System

Over the next few weeks, ITCS is making the Windows 10 OS available to staff as a download upgrade for a nominal fee. This OS is available to those with either a PC or Apple computer. We will release more information and download links when available.

Office 365 Subscription Includes FIVE Downloads

Don’t forget that your ECU Office 365 subscription comes with FIVE downloads for Office 2016. It doesn’t matter whether you own a Mac or PC, there is a download available for each platform.

See the Office 365 features page for more apps, links to Microsoft support and Lynda.com video instruction for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Ransomware: Few Sightings at ECU

Over the last few months, ITCS has implemented multiple security tools to protect devices connected to our network. And it’s paid off; the number of ECU computers infected with ransomware during recent attacks has been low.

However, you can add even more of a protective layer around your information by following these simple steps:

  1. Do not store ECU data on your computer. See the OneDrive vs. Piratedrive article above.
  2. Create and manage a backup for data that is stored on your system. If your ECU computer becomes infected with ransomware, the hard drive will be wiped, and we will be unable to recover your data (unless there’s a backup).
  3. Do not open suspicious emails or attachments.
  4. Do not click the links in a suspicious email.
  5. Keep your operating system and other software up to date.
  6. Remove outdated plugins in your web browsers.
  7. Have one user account for everyday use like web surfing and one user account with a separate password for administrative duties like installing software, etc.

While not foolproof, these simple steps can go a long way toward keeping your data safe from hackers. However, if you find that your computer has been compromised, turn off your computer immediately and call the IT Help Desk at 252.328.9866 | 800.340.7081.

Accessible Email Announcements

Email announcements help us spread the word to the ECU community on all sorts of important topics: department events and seminars, office openings and closings, HR-related information and much more.

By designing email announcements in multiple formats and using ECU’s accessibility guides, you allow those of your audience using screen readers and keyboard-only access to understand your message. These tips are a good start:

  • Structure content using headings
  • Provide sufficient contrast between the background and text
  • Provide alternative text for images
  • Use meaningful link text
  • Use a descriptive subject line

Visit the Accessible email guidelines website to learn more. ITCS also offers a training class specifically for those who write email announcements (registration in Cornerstone).

Technology Links for Faculty and Staff

For an overview of our service catalog, visit the ITCS home page. We also have a page created specifically for new faculty and staff, but those who have been here awhile may also find something new!

Creating Accessible Email and Event Announcements

Email announcements help us spread the word to the ECU community on all sorts of important topics: department events and seminars, office openings and closings, HR-related information and much more.

By designing email announcements in multiple formats and using the accessibility guides explained in the attachment, you allow those of your audience using screen readers and keyboard-only access to read your message.

In addition to the tips listed in the attachment, ITCS is also offering a training class specifically for those of us who write email announcements (registration in Cornerstone):

Creating Accessible Email Messages and Announcements

Thursday, May 11 Joyner East 204 1:00p – 2:00p

Need one-on-one help? Submit the IT Accessibility Consultation form to request an appointment with the ITCS accessibility coordinator.

Self-paced resources include this Lynda.com course, Creating Accessible Microsoft Office Documents. This course goes step-by-step through how to format documents using styles, the accessibility checker and more.

Additionally, see our other accessibility resources in the IT Accessibility category of the ITCS services catalog.

Assistive Features Begin with Your Operating System

Both MacOS and Windows offer plenty of built-in assistive features so devices work specifically for YOU.

Here are a few options you can implement right now to make your devices more user friendly:

MacOS:

Open your laptop’s system preferences and choose Accessibility or tap your mobile’s Settings icon, then General to open the Accessibility category. Below are just a few of the features you’ll find:

  1. Display. Configure the display contrast that works best for you. There is also an option to “shake the mouse pointer” to make it easier to locate on the screen. The Display Preferences button allows quick access to your resolution settings.
  2. Zoom. Set your zoom range and configure keyboard shortcuts to zoom in or out as you need.
  3. VoiceOver. Provides spoken and brail descriptions of items on the screen. Try it out in the Apple Accessibility Support site’s Open Voiceover Training section to learn the basics.
  4. Dictation. Edit text and interact with your device using your voice.
  5. Use your mobile’s camera to magnify objects.

Visit the Apple Accessibility Support site to read about the featured topic or search an accessibility topic. You can also join the accessibility community to hear how others use these features. Apple Support is also available online to offer a suggestion or solution.

Windows

Like Apple, Windows offers a variety of assistive features to make your computing life richer. When you open the Windows Accessibility website, just choose your Windows version to find available features. Let’s take a look at a few options from Windows 10:

  1. Vision. Customize your display with high-contrast themes, text and pointer sizing and the option to turn off animations and backgrounds. Narrator, the Windows built-in screen reader, allows you to interact with apps and control your device without seeing the screen.
  2. Auditory. Replace audible alerts with visible alerts or customize your closed captions to make them easier to read.
  3. Physical. Your digital assistant, Cortana, can set reminders, open apps, search or send emails and texts or use speech recognition to dictate your documents.
  4. Cognitive. The Edge browser’s Edge Reading View option blocks distracting content from web pages so you stay focused.

To configure the Windows 10 assistive settings, open the device’s Settings area. Windows 7 and 8 systems can be accessed through the system’s Control Panel.