Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Offices are generally closed between 12:00 and 1:00 each day for lunch. The Office of IT Services is located second floor of Cone Bottoms Administration Building, Suite 250.

Cone Bottoms Administration Building, Suite 250c OBU Box 3794
Arkadelphia, AR 71998-0001
(870) 245-5567 – Phone
(870) 245-5566 – Fax
support@obu.edu

Announcements

Compromised Passwords

A security issue has been discovered that we felt was important enough to alert the campus.   Earlier this week news broke that an employee at Google and an internet security firm discovered a “bug” in the code commonly used to secure ecommerce servers.  This flaw has been termed “Heartbleed”.  Without getting too technical let me say that this has the potential to make the whole security breech at Target late last year seem like a minor event.  This program used to secure servers is called OpenSSL and it is used by, some estimates, up to one third of all ecommerce servers on the entire internet.  To underline the extent of this, Yahoo was one of the sites affected.  The Heartbleed flaw has the potential to allow a hacker to gain access to any server using OpenSSL and see usernames, passwords, credit cards, etc.; virtually anything about their customers.  At this point everyone is still trying to assess the true scope of the issue and so far I have not seen any hard proof this flaw was even exploited.  The problem is that nobody really knows, but this bug has been present for YEARS so we all have to assume the “hacking world” knows about it.

So what does this mean for you.  First, you should think about changing your password on any ecommerce site where your credit card or other personal information is stored.  The problem becomes exponentially worse for those that don’t use unique passwords!  If you used that password on one site that is affected, then they have your login credentials for  sites that aren’t even affected.  I would suggest you treat ALL of your accounts as if they have been compromised and change your passwords.  For the OBU part of this, if you have used your OBU email username and password as your username and password on ANY other site on the internet, then you need to change your OBU email password immediately. 

The only good news in this is that yesterday we checked OBU’s servers for the flaw and none of our ecommerce servers were affected.  This means that no personal information stored on any of OBU’s servers has been accessed through this security flaw.

Bill Phelps

I.T. Services Director   |   Ouachita Baptist University

 

Students: Important Network Change

Merry Christmas from I.T. Services,

As your holiday is beginning, I wanted to go ahead and tell you about a change we are implementing tomorrow, Tuesday, December 17 that will affect you when you return to campus.  First let me apologize for the length of this message, but this is very important and I strongly encourage you to read this whole message.

I am sure you are all very familiar with the Cisco Clean Access Agent that we use to grant internet access on our campus.  It has served us well for many years, but at the same time it has had its shortcomings.  The current version we have is at end of life and with the latest releases from Apple and Microsoft, our current product wouldn’t support the new versions of Mac OSX and Microsoft Windows 8.1.  This prompted us to shop for a replacement.  We found a product called SafeConnect that we feel is a better fit for our campus.  We will be implementing this Tuesday, December 17.  Below is a list of the important things you need to know:

  • You will still have to log in for internet access, but now it is only once a semester.
  • You will continue to use your Tigermail username and password to log in.
  • You no longer have to register your smartphones or tablets.  You will be redirected to a login page like the one for your computer.  You will only have to log in once a semester.
  • For other internet ready devices such as game consoles, Tivo’s etc., you will still have to register, but access will be granted immediately after you register, no more waiting to have your session activated.  You will be allowed up to three different device registrations.
    • There is a website where you can log in and manage these devices.  On that page you can add and delete devices as your needs change.  The link you will use to register devices is https://auth.impulse.com:8443/enroll.  You must be on the Student network for this link to work.
  • The new system will be brought online Tuesday December 17th.  At that time if you are still on campus, you will log in with your computer and/or smartphone/tablet, but in order for your game console or similar device, you will have to register it.  If you are away from campus, this will not affect you until you return.  When you get to campus, you will need to register your game consoles in order for them to work.  I will send you a reminder email closer to the beginning of school in the spring with details.

This product will make it easier for you to get all of your devices connected to the internet on campus.  I am certain this will be a major improvement, but realistically there are always those gotchas that pop up as new systems are implemented.  When we implement this tomorrow we will closely monitor the activity and deal with any problems as quickly as possible.  For any of you that are on campus please don’t hesitate to contact the I.T. Services office if you have problems.  Please call or contact us directly!  It is much easier to work with you personally to resolve an issue.  Twitter is NOT the proper channel for trying to get technical support.

I hope you have a restful holiday.

Bill Phelps

 

Taking Attendance in Moodle

The Attendance module is designed for teachers to be able take attendance during class, and for students to be able to view their own attendance record.  A teacher can mark the attendance status of a student as “Present”, “Absent”, “Late”, or “Excused”. These status descriptions are configurable, and more can be added. The teacher adds Attendance as an activity in a course, and then sets up the sessions whose attendance is to be tracked.

The Attendance module can generate reports for either the entire class or for individual students. Students may also see their own attendance record if the activity is not hidden.

The optional Attendance block allows teachers quick access to the Attendance functionality, and allows students quick access to a summary report for their own attendance.

For more information on adding an attendance activity to a course, see docs.moodle.org

 

Moodle’s Assignment Activity

The assignment activity module enables a teacher to communicate tasks, collect work and provide grades and feedback.

Students can submit any digital content (files), such as word-processed documents, spreadsheets, images, or audio and video clips. Alternatively, or in addition, the assignment may require students to type text directly into the text editor. An assignment can also be used to remind students of ‘real-world’ assignments they need to complete offline, such as art work, and thus not require any digital content.

When reviewing assignments, teachers can leave feedback comments and upload files, such as marked-up student submissions, documents with comments. Assignments can be graded using a numerical or custom scale or an advanced grading method such as a rubric. Final grades are recorded in the gradebook.

To read more on creating an assignment activity, see http://docs.moodle.org/23/en/mod/assign/mod.

 

Moodle’s Advanced Forum

The Advanced Forum activity enables participants to have asynchronous discussions i.e. discussions that take place over an extended period of time.

There are several forum types to choose from, such as a standard forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time; a forum where each student can post exactly one discussion; or a question and answer forum where students must first post before being able to view other students’ posts. A teacher can allow files to be attached to forum posts. Attached images are displayed in the forum post.

Participants can subscribe to a forum to receive notifications of new forum posts. A teacher can set the subscription mode to optional, forced or auto, or prevent subscription completely. If required, students can be blocked from posting more than a given number of posts in a given time period; this can prevent individuals from dominating discussions.

Forum posts can be rated by teachers or students (peer evaluation). Ratings can be aggregated to form a final grade which is recorded in the gradebook.

Forums have many uses, such as:

  • A social space for students to get to know each other
  • For course announcements (using a news forum with forced subscription)
  • For discussing course content or reading materials
  • For continuing online an issue raised previously in a face-to-face session
  • For teacher-only discussions (using a hidden forum)
  • A help center where tutors and students can give advice
  • A one-on-one support area for private student-teacher communications (using a forum with separate groups and with one student per group)
  • For extension activities, for example ‘brain teasers’ for students to ponder and suggest solutions to

Watch a demonstration of creating an advanced forum and seeing a forum from a student perspective.