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Audio/Visual Solutions Implements Record Number of Classroom Technology Upgrades

While many students and faculty depart campus for the summer, the teams in the Office of Information Technology are busier than ever. The Office of Information Technology’s Audio/Visual Solutions (AVS) team was hard at work this summer upgrading technology in a record-breaking number of classrooms and meeting spaces.

In a typical summer, AVS upgrades 12 classrooms. This summer they upgraded a total of 38 spaces with audio/visual equipment including 25 classrooms, 4 conference rooms and 9 additional spaces.

“We strive to provide cutting-edge technology and tools to create a modern learning environment,” said Greg McDonald, manager of AVS. “We want to compliment traditional learning with tech-based solutions.”

The AVS team works to create flexible spaces that foster a collaborative environment and maximize communication.

“When designing modern classrooms, we’re thinking about instructors first,” said Josh Adams, assistant manager of AVS. “Their needs are always at the forefront of our discussion and continue to be a driving factor in the functionality, layout and the hardware and software provided in classrooms.”

Instructors can look forward to new, user-friendly technology in several classrooms on campus. The AVS team upgraded one classroom in each of the following halls: BB Comer, Capital Hall, Gorgas Library and the Old Capstone Medical Building. Upgrades were completed in two classrooms in Farrah Hall, Garland Hall, Gordon Palmer Hall and SERC, three in Rowand Johnson, four in Reese Phifer and six in Graves Hall for a total of 25 classrooms.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a role to play in the selection of certain upgraded equipment in a few classrooms.

“The pandemic influenced the technology upgraded in some spaces such as cameras, web cameras and in-ceiling microphones in classrooms,” said McDonald. “Where possible, these tools help provide a more seamless learning experience for students.”

AVS strives to enable real-time classroom participation through hardware and software in classrooms equipped with tools for interactive video conferencing. In classrooms with this equipment, students and instructors can look forward to interactive and largely automated technology that provides almost immediate feedback.

A few equipment highlights include new technology that promotes interaction from smartphones and laptops, improved audio for lecture capture, larger desktop monitors with annotation capabilities, height adjustable podiums, as well as projector improvements for a high-resolution viewing experience. In Reese Phifer Hall, AVS was able to implement new pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) cameras in some rooms capable of capturing both instructor and audience participation.

“This technology provides students with interactive resources during and after lectures through Panapto, promoting engagement and keeping them connected to the course material,” said Adams. “Our detail-oriented team has worked tirelessly to make the Fall 2021 semester a great experience for UA students and instructors.”

Along with upgrading equipment in classrooms, AVS provides support and maintenance, consultation, design, installation, and training for a variety of audio/visual resources. Visit the OIT website to learn more.

Welcome back students! Check your email!

In case you missed it, OIT migrated student Crimson email from Google to Microsoft O365. Students should regularly check their Crimson email to stay connected and receive campus news. Below are 4 ways students can access email.

  1. Log into myBama.ua.edu and click the Crimson Email link
  2. Visit mail.crimson.ua.edu
  3. Add your account to the Outlook desktop app
  4. Add your account to the Outlook mobile app

The OIT website has email best practices and step-by-step video guides for accessing email at oit.ua.edu/crimson. If you experience any issues accessing your Crimson email account, please reset your myBama password at myBama.ua.edu, then log in again.

Returning to campus? Update your computer!

In the coming weeks many faculty members may be returning to campus for the first time in months. OIT recommends that returning faculty perform updates to their University-owned computers before returning to campus. Updated computers are secure computers. Plus, by performing updates before coming to campus, you can be sure your computer is ready for #FirstDayUA!

Update Windows

Windows operating systems can be updated by first connecting to the campus Virtual Private Network (VPN) through the Cisco AnyConnect application. Instructions for connecting to VPN are available on the OIT website.

Once connected to the VPN, search for “check for updates” in the search area. The network will recognize your machine and begin to perform system updates. OIT recommends that you leave your computer on and connected to the VPN overnight to allow for updates. Restart your computer once updates are completed, then check for updates again. Repeat this process as needed, several rounds of updates may be available for machines that have not been connected to the campus network in a while.

Update Mac OS

Mac operating systems can be updated by visiting System Preferences > Software Update. Only update to the latest version of your installed OS. Please wait until tech support is available to assist you in updating to Big Sur as updates must first be performed to antivirus software.

*Please note, only supported operating systems are permitted on the campus network. Check the OIT website for a list of supported systems.

Update Applications

Software applications and web browsers should also be updated to the latest version. Open each application or browser and check for updates.

  • Internet Browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, etc.)
  • Adobe Creative Cloud/Adobe Acrobat DC
  • Office 365

Check Junk Folder Regularly

Some “good” mail may be intentional delivered to your junk folder, and some junk may be delivered to your inbox. By labeling messages as “junk” and “not junk” users can train their mailbox to recognize what’s junk and what isn’t.

Blackboard Clean Up

Beginning July 15, the Center for Instructional Technology will remove old course content from the Blackboard Learn system. This is accordance with UA’s LMS Course Retention Policy, which states that materials more than two years old will be removed from the system. Students and instructors should save any materials they wish to keep.

How to Back Up Blackboard Content – Students
At the end of each semester, students should save anything they may want to keep. Courses will be made unavailable according to the LMS retention policy but can also be made unavailable by the instructor any time after a course is completed. Visit the CIT website for guidance on how students can back up Blackboard content.

How to Back Up Blackboard Content – Instructors
Instructors have several options for backing up content or copying content into another course. More information about each of these options is available on the CIT website.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact CIT at 205-348-3532 or cit@ua.edu.

OIT to Remove Access to Crimson Gmail

Effective Tuesday, June 8, OIT will no longer allow users with Crimson email accounts to access Crimson email at gmail.com. Crimson accounts must be accessed in O365 at mail.crimson.ua.edu.  After June 8, if users attempt to access their Crimson email account in Gmail, they will receive the following error message.

access email in O365

Gmail not enabled

The Outlook mobile and desktop app is also available, visit our Crimson email webpage for more information.

Crimson Email Migration Update

More than 130,000 Crimson email accounts have been migrated from Gmail to Microsoft O365. This includes incoming and future UA students, currently enrolled students, and alumni.

Students can visit mail.crimson.ua.edu to access their Crimson email accounts. Note – two-factor authentication is required for email access. Future and current students should use Duo two-factor authentication, and alumni should use Microsoft multi-factor.

More information about the migration, including step-by-step guides for adding a Crimson email account to Outlook mobile and desktop apps, is available on our website. If students or alumni experience any issues accessing their email accounts, they should change their password.

Eduroam WIFI Change

Wednesday, May 5, the Eduroam WIFI network will require users to connect with their myBama email address.

Currently, users can connect to Eduroam with a myBama username and password. On May 5, users must connect with their username@ua.edu or username@crimson.ua.edu email address and myBama password. This change is required to be in compliance with Eduroam guidelines.

If users have previously connected with a username and password, they can forget their existing connection and rejoin with the proper credentials. On May 5, if users have not joined with proper credentials, they will lose their connection to Eduroam and must reconnect with the proper credentials.

Instructions on how to forget a network and how to connect to Eduroam is available on the OIT website.

Email Service Interruption, UA O365 to Crimson Google

Some UA students may have may not have received email from OIT-supported faculty and staff O365 email accounts sent from 11 p.m. Wednesday, March 10 through 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 11.

If UA faculty and staff sent messages to students during this time window, OIT recommends that those messages be resent to ensure message delivery.  Faculty and staff can visit their “Sent” folder and resend messages to students.

No issues have been reported regarding mail sent from external sources to student Crimson Google accounts or from student Crimson Google accounts to student Crimson Google accounts.

We understand email is a critical service, and we apologize for this error and inconvenience. The email routing issue that caused this service interruption has been resolved. We are working with Strategic Communications to send this notice to UA faculty and staff.

Note – this disruption in service is in no way related to a Microsoft cybersecurity vulnerability, this was caused by a mail routing issue.