Spring 2007

Hints for New Email System

Due to an unusually large increase in email usage in the Fall 2006 semester, ITD unveiled a new email system in November 2006. This system new Mirapoint system improves the response time for current users and is designed to handle expected increases in email usage in the future.

Given that the entire campus is adjusting to a new email system, here are a few tips to help ease the transition:

  • When starting the Web Mail client for the first time, you will notice your email is in reverse chronological order. In other words, the oldest email is presented first. However, you can customize the setting for your email. If you are using Web Mail or PipelineMT, go to the main page. There are options listed on the left side of the page. Choosing "Preferences"; will list a number of options that can be used to personalize the email interface. The heading reads "Display Most Recent Arrival."; There are two choices - "First"; and "Last."; The default setting is "Last."; To change the order and make sure the messages are listed in traditional chronological order, select "First.";
  • Also in the "Preferences"; window, the message count can be set. If you have a slow Internet connection, set "Message Count"; to a low number, such as 10. The system load will be decreased for each Web Mail page display. If you have a fast Internet connection, a high message count will not affect system performance.
  • Other options in the "Preferences"; window include signatures and receipts. If you are having difficulty modifying emails to your specifications, the "Preferences"; window is an excellent place to start remedying the situation.
  • If you are using a Netscape 4.7 browser on a Mac OS system, garbage characters may be inserted into the body text of a message. This difficulty is caused by a limitation in Netscape Communicator on the Mac OS platform. To alleviate this problem, choose a different browser for Web Mail messaging.
  • If your address book exceeds the amount of allowable contacts or groups, an error message will be sent. However, these values are configurable. Contact the ITD Help Desk at ext. 5345 to have the allowance increased.
  • On the main page, there is an "Empty"; link next to the "Trash"; link on the left side of the page. You must hit this "Empty"; link periodically because deleted emails will stay in the trash box until the trash is emptied. Emails in the trash are counted against the quota and thus have the potential to be problematic for incoming emails.

If there are further questions, please contact the ITD Help Desk at ext. 5345 or help@mtsu.edu.

MTSU 'On the Record'

MTSU's weekly news program "MTSU On the Record,"; hosted by Gina K. Logue, is now a podcast available for a free download on iTunes. Listeners can subscribe to the weekly 30-minute program and have it automatically downloaded to their computer. After the podcast is downloaded, listeners can tune in to their computers or have the file transmitted to an iPod or other MP3 player. To find the "MTSU On the Record"; podcast, log on to iTunes and do a search for Middle Tennessee State University.

ACT Classroom

The Cingular Wireless Advanced Classroom Technology Laboratory (ACT) located in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building is a laboratory in which students are provided alternative learning methods. Originally, the ACT laboratory was built as a student study room with computers in library-style study carrels. It became apparent not long after the building opened that students were not using the room as it had been envisioned. Students preferred studying in informal groups and were more likely to be found in the hallways grouped around a laptop computer. Lucinda Lea, vice president for Information Technology and CIO, was called by the dean of the college, Dr. Phil Mathis, to assess appropriate technologies and capabilities for the room to enhance student learning and determine the best possible options. The decision was made to redesign the room. It was decided the room would become a next-generation master classroom.

The main technology components installed in the ACT are the Walk and Talk Teacher Station, the Thunder digital projection display and collaboration product, four LCD projectors, projection walls, 16 tablet PCs, four plasma screens, and class recording equipment. A summary of each component is listed below. A Crestron control panel controls most of the computer-related equipment. The room also has wireless and hard-wired networking, a storage closet for recording equipment and tablet PC charging, and wall controls for adjusting lighting and window shades.

The Walk and Talk Teacher Station

(Annotation on presentations, videotapes and DVDs, pull-up plasma screens)

The Walk and Talk Teacher Station gives students more interactive learning experiences. The station allows instructors to input information and control certain functions using a pen, a remote control (change slides, mouse functions, pen functions with practice), and the station's tablet PC. Teachers can use the pen to create annotations over PowerPoint slides, among other things. Annotations can be saved for later reference. The Walk and Talk Teacher Station can display media from videotapes, DVDs, and the classroom document camera.

The Thunder System

(Electronic flip chart, annotate on DVD and scanned images)

The Thunder system behaves much like an electronic flip chart. Instructors can draw on the screen with Thunder's electronic pen or with their finger. Pages that are created on the screen can then be posted on the walls of the classroom. Six pages can be displayed when the screen is in portrait mode and three pages when it is in landscape mode. Each page created is auto-numbered and can be displayed, edited, saved, and retrieved. Pages are saved in PDF format. Faculty can send these PDF files to students or post them on a Web site for retrieval by students. Images from the classroom scanner or DVD player (no audio) can be displayed on a Thunder page, and faculty and students can use the pen to make annotations on the imported media.

Another benefit of the room is that it allows the Walk and Talk and Thunder Systems to be used together.

Plasma Screens and 16 Tablet PCs

Students can gather around the four plasma screens in the room to work on problems, case studies, etc. One of the students can hook up his/her tablet PC to the plasma display to facilitate group collaboration. The instructor can display any of the plasma screens through either the Walk and Talk central projector or the Thunder projectors.

Record Class Sessions

A camera and recording equipment installed in the room allows instructors to record class sessions for self-study or for creating podcasts for students to use in their review sessions.

MTSU's Wireless Network

MTSU has an extensive wireless network available for usage. Coverage zones include several courtyards, most eateries, the Walker University Library, many lounges, all residence hall lounges, and most classroom areas. Additionally, higher speed coverage (54 Mbps 802.11g) is available in some areas. Coverage is constantly expanded and upgraded.

Map of wireless network coverage

To use the MTSU wireless network, you need an "802.11b" capable wireless network card. These cards will say "WiFi" on them and/or on the package. "WiFi" means that the card adheres to the WiFi standards and should work without problems with the MTSU WiFi compatible network.

For wireless access within the coverage area on campus, simply configure the wireless software to use the wireless network WLANMTSU. Make sure WEP and WPA are turned off (this is usually the default setting). It is important to choose "Infrastructure Mode" in the wireless software. Choosing "Any Available Network" or "Ad Hoc" modes could create an unsecured situation by connecting your computer to another wireless computer. Open a web browser to any page, and it will automatically be redirected to the MTSU Wireless Network login page.

To begin your session, enter your PipelineMT username and password for full access or simply click "Guest Access"; for web access only.

The nature of wireless activity makes the network occasionally weaker in some areas and stronger in others. Most wireless network software includes a small graph that can be utilized to determine the strength of the wireless signal in a particular area. Machines with internal wireless cards may notice slightly less coverage, as the internal antennas may not capture the wireless signals as well as external type adapters. The coverage area map is a general schematic; actual coverage varies based on numerous factors that include but not limited to: type of network adapter, PC battery power, number of people in the area, and season.

Wireless technology is also less secure than connections used on a home computer. It is recommended that for any transactions that involve sensitive data that SSL or SSH encryption is used. Many web pages are SSL-enabled. Look at the web address to determine if the site is SSL-enabled. If the URL begins with "https"; instead of "http"; and has a small padlock icon appearing at the bottom of browser window, then it is SSL-enabled and any data sent and received is encrypted.

If you have any questions or problems, please call the Information Technology Help Desk at 898-5345, or you can stop by the Help Desk in the basement of the Cope Administration Building during the following hours when ITD assistants will be on hand to handle all your laptop questions:

Monday - 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday - 12 p.m.
Wednesday - 12 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Thursday - 1 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Friday - 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

InfoMT Kiosks

There are four InfoMT kiosks on the MTSU campus. The kiosks are self-service devices that allow students and visitors to access various kinds of information.

With InfoMT students can:

  • search for open course sections
  • view their personal information such as:
    • grades
    • student account balances
    • financial aid status
    • addresses
    • degree audit progress reports
    • admission status
    • class schedules

Campus maps and frequently asked questions are also available on InfoMT.

Locations are:

  • Keathley University Center (1st floor)
  • Kirksey Old Main (main floor)
  • Business/Aerospace (south entrance)
  • Walker Library (study room at main entrance)

Computer Labs

MTSU has a plethora of computer labs available for student use.

Seven "University Computer Labs" are available for all students, faculty, and staff with a current MTSU ID. These labs are:

University Computer Lab, College of Business
Business and Aerospace Bldg., S137
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for university holidays and when classes are not in session
898-5515

University Computer Lab, Computer Science Department
Kirksey Old Main, KOM 350/351/360
Monday through Thursday - 7:30 a.m. - 9:15 p.m.
Friday - 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday
898-2144

University Computer Lab, Instructional Technology Support Center (ITSC)
McWherter Learning Resources Center Pentium Lab 101A
Monday through Thursday - 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday - 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday - 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday - 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
898-5191

Instructional Media Resources Computer Center
McWherter Learning Resources Center LRC 101
Monday through Thursday - 8 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday - 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday - 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday - 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
898-2740

University Computer Lab, Health and Human Performance
Alumni Memorial Gym, Room 204
Monday through Friday - 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Closed Saturday and Sunday
904-8042

University Computer Lab, James Walker Library
James Walker Library, second and third floors
Monday through Thursday - 7:30 a.m. - 12 a.m.
Friday - 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday - 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday - 1 p.m. - 12 a.m.
898-2772

University Computer Lab, Adaptive Technology Center
James Walker Library Room 174
Monday through Thursday - 7:30 a.m. - 12 a.m.
Friday - 7:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday - 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday - 1 p.m. - 12 a.m.
904-8550

Residents of Corlew, Lyon, Smith, Womack Lane, and WoodFelder residence halls have access to computer labs in their buildings.

  • In addition to the University Computer Labs, many departments have labs for classes, research, and general use.

Protecting Cell Phone Information

Is the information on your cellular telephone secure? As wireless technology continues to evolve, the common cellular telephone is beginning to become a data warehouse. Users rely on a phone's ability to store address book information, and many are now dependent on their phones to provide calendar, email, and document access. Because of the information phones now contain, it is important for users to be more diligent about what happens to their cellular telephones when they are discarded.

There are some excellent resources available to users via the Internet which give step-by-step instructions on how to erase sensitive information from surplus cellular telephone equipment. One such resource can be found at www.wirelessrecycling.com/home/data_eraser/default.asp. Users are directed to select manufacturer and model number from a menu, which will then display instructions on erasing data specific to the phone. On most phones, the manufacturer and model number can be found by removing the battery from the phone and then viewing the manufacturer's label printed within the battery compartment.

Once the data has been erased, your cellular telephone can be safely discarded. Most cellular telephone companies provide a recycling program. In addition, there are a host of other recycling programs throughout the community and online, including Secure the Call Foundation. This foundation takes donated cellular phones and reprograms them to be used as free 911 emergency phones, which are then distributed to domestic violence shelters, senior centers, and any other agency with an immediate need for emergency access. Most recycling programs only need the phone and battery. Chargers and other accessories are not needed. For additional information on cellular telephone recycling, contact your wireless telephone provider or visit www.donatemycellphone.org.

Five Easy-to-Do Computer Maintenance Tips

  1. Restart your computer. This lets everything reset and refresh.
  2. Delete your cookies and temporary Internet files. Many computers have a "Disk Cleanup"; option. Disk Cleanup looks for unnecessary files on your computer. After this function has identified the inconsequential files, you can get rid of them and compress your old files.
  3. Download "Search and Destroy"; from ITD's server. Go to the Start menu, click on "Control Panel"; and then "Add/Remove Programs."; Click on the button to the left called "Add new programs.";
  4. A great thing to make a habit of doing is running the defrag utility. As you create and delete files, the hard drive can become fragmented with parts of a file in different places on the hard drive. The defrag tool pulls those parts together to one location. This utility takes time to run, so we suggest letting it run during the night, every few weeks or so.
  5. If all else fails, reboot again.

Student Support Update

ITD is no longer providing support for Windows98 and earlier versions. Microsoft has also discontinued support for this operating system. ITD is also discontinuing support for Apple OS 9.2 and earlier versions.

Reaching the Help Desk

The MTSU Help Desk is here to assist on all technological needs throughout the University. The ITD Help Desk is available from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in the basement of the Cope Administration Building. At all other times, the Help Desk can be found in the Business Lab. The Help Desk is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week except on University holidays and when classes are not in session. You can reach the Help Desk by dialing ext. 5345 or by emailing help@mtsu.edu.