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Happy holidays from UIC Technology Solutions (formerly ACCC)! We hope to find you safe, healthy and well.

This month’s Tech Talk highlights the recent IT Community Update event, Blackboard updates, upcoming learning opportunities, and more. Check out the December Tech Talk newsletter!


Technology Solutions hosted a virtual IT Community Update event on November 18 where unit IT leaders shared updates on recent IT accomplishments, current projects, and upcoming initiatives in support of Technology Solutions’ mission to enable excellence through information technology. We also announced the 2020 winners of the IT Community Awards. Below are key highlights:


Learning Technology Solutions & Center for Teaching Excellence
LTS, the department that supports UIC’s teaching and learning with technology, is transitioning to the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) in an effort to centralize faculty teaching resources and promote instructional innovation.

While LTS will still maintain a close relationship with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Innovation (OVCI), effective January 1, 2021, LTS service and resource information will be located on the CTE website (teaching.uic.edu) under a new category, Educational Technology (Ed Tech). The CTE website will provide a unified location of resources for teaching including pedagogy, accessibility, teaching and learning technologies, and more.


Ed Tech Enhancements
LTS announced upcoming enhancements to educational technology tools including the much-requested Zoom integration to Panopto. With this integration, Zoom recordings will be automatically integrated in Panopto and can be accessed by students via Blackboard.

In addition, we present Acadly, a new tool available for instructors to test that enhances the use of Zoom for synchronous teaching. Email LTS@uic.edu if you would like to participate in a pilot, and stay tuned for more information to be shared on Tech Talk!


New Service Management Platform Coming Soon
Technology Solutions is looking forward to a new Service Management and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tool that is launching early next year. Being implemented across U of I Systems, this tool will enhance UIC tech support operations, centralize service requests, streamline processes, consolidate knowledge resources, and so much more with the ultimate goal to improve your experience.

With this modern, mobile-friendly service management tool, obtaining technical assistance, submitting service requests, reporting service incidents and finding solutions to technical issues will be easier for faculty, students and staff! Stay tuned for more news!


IT Community Awards
Each year, Technology Solutions distributes the Rising Star and Robert Sandusky IT Community Leadership (RSCL) awards. These awards celebrate and honor members of the UIC IT Community that demonstrate leadership, contribute to the advancement of IT services, promote diversity and inclusion in IT, or go above the call of duty to inspire excellence. We are pleased to announce this year's 2020 IT Community Award winners.


The 2020 Rising Star Award was given to Service Desk Lead Analyst Ryan Szymkiewicz. Ryan began at Technology Solutions as a student employee in 2012 and became a full-time employee in 2016. Ryan is a dedicated team member that has demonstrated excellent client service skills and a strong dedication to team success making him an asset to UIC.

This year’s RSCL Award recipient is Noelle Sojka-Howell, IT Manager at Education Information Services for UI Health. Noelle has been with UIC for 7 years and is an excellent manager that always leads by example. She is a valued team member dedicated to building community and embracing change to support the advancement of IT at UIC.

Congratulations to Ryan and Noelle, and thank you for your support and efforts! Read more about the IT Community Update here: accc.uic.edu/news-stories/it-community-update 


Blackboard Course Shells Available for Spring 2021
This Spring semester, course shells have a template that includes a branded course Welcome Page and a set of navigation links, instead of the empty shell you have seen previously. If you copy your course from the previous semester, you can easily remove any duplicate tabs or unwanted content. Please take time to reorganize your content and clean your course site.

Learn more about the new Blackboard course shell template, how to copy your course, and submit a request for a course copy: go.uic.edu/BlackboardTemplate

Don't miss the December 8 webinar on customizing your Blackboard Course. See the Learning Opportunities section for more info.


Instructional Design Support for Spring
If you need support setting up your Spring template, brainstorm ideas to create an interactive and engaging course, or just need a consultation, do not hesitate to schedule a 1-on-1 meeting with an LTS instructional designer. Schedule your appointment at go.uic.edu/IDofficehours


Using a Whiteboard for Synchronous Teaching
Online whiteboards are software applications or browser-based tools for collaboration during a synchronous presentation. Each participant logs into the same online whiteboard space and can add their content, while all the others see what is happening in real-time, and can interact with the content if needed. Learn more about using whiteboard for synchronous teaching:answers.uillinois.edu/uic/online-whiteboards


New Blackboard Content Editor
The Content Editor appears throughout Blackboard as the default editor when creating a content item, when deploying a quiz, and when students reply to a discussion post.


Blackboard has improved the Content Editor to simplify adding content, checking content for accessibility, and sending students feedback using audio and video features! Learn more about the new Blackboard Content Editor: accc.uic.edu/news-stories/blackboard-content-editor


Flash Video Support Ending Soon!
Adobe announced it will stop the development and support of Flash video technology in December 2020. 

If you use Flash videos in your teaching, we encourage you to take proactive measures to ensure your students can continue accessing content after support ends. 

To learn how to identify if your courses have Flash, how to transition content, or to schedule a consultation with LTS visit: accc.uic.edu/news-stories/flash-technology 


Don’t miss the webinar on exporting grades, the Spring 2021 Course template, and other upcoming learning opportunities:

Exporting Grades
In this webinar, you will learn to prepare your Final Grade output, set your External Grade, and export grades for upload to Banner.

      Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2020
      Time: 11:00 am -12:00 pm CT

Instructor Training for LockDown Browser & Respondus Monitor
This comprehensive training, hosted by Respondus, is intended for instructors who plan to use LockDown Browser and/or Respondus Monitor with online exams.

      Date: Thursday, December 3, 2020
      Time: 2:00 pm -3:00 pm CT

Preparing for Spring 2021: Utilizing a Template
If you’re interested in using a ready-made template to structure your course for Spring 2021, join us for the top pointers in getting your Blackboard course up and ready for your students. In this webinar, you will learn to customize the Spring 2021 template to your liking, organize your course menu, upload content, and more!

      Date: Tuesday, December 8, 2020
      Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm CT

For webinar registration information, go to the event description in the LTS Webinar Calendar. 

LTS Webinar Calendar

Holiday Cyber Scams
‘Tis the season to be jolly - don’t let cyber scammers turn you into a Grinch! Protect yourself from these email scams this holiday season.

  • Fraudulent shipping notifications - Be aware of fake emails impersonating shipping companies that contain delivery notifications, shipping status alerts and links to outside websites.
  • Fake receipts & invoices - Scammers posing as popular online retailers, such as Amazon, send emails with a fake receipt or invoice attachment that, if opened, can install malware on your computer.
  • Gift card & prize scams - If you receive an email that you won a gift card, be very careful especially if you do not remember entering a contest. The scammers will state you need to pay a “processing fee” via bank transfer before getting the “prize money” deposited to your bank account.
  • Zoom blackmail scam - This email scam tries to prey on your fears. This scammer claims they recorded you during a recent Zoom meeting while you were in a compromising or embarrassing situation. The scammers threaten to release the recording unless you make a payment or send money.

To prevent falling victim to email scams, examine your emails very carefully! Don't open attachments from suspicious senders, do not click on unknown links, and avoid entering login credentials on unfamiliar pages.

As always, be aware and be cautious of what is coming into your inbox, especially during the holiday season. Stay alert and use caution to keep your money – and your information – safe. If in doubt, email security@uic.edu with any questions.


The holidays are a time to relax. If you find yourself with some time off, use it as an opportunity to check in with yourself and take some time for you. LinkedIn Learning is available to help you destress, sharpen up a skill, or develop a new hobby. Check out the December features below:

  • Managing Stress for a Positive Change (57 min)
    Stress is often viewed in purely negative terms, however, it's possible to use stress to fuel positive change. In this course, learn how you can train yourself to use stress in more effective ways.

  • PowerPoint: Designing Better Slides (1.5 hr)
    Designed for non-designers, this course introduces average professionals to key design components and requirements for purposeful PowerPoint slide design.

  • Photography 101 (2 hr)
    Learn basics such as how to hold the camera, what various modes mean and when to use them, and even how and when to use the camera's flash. There's also creative instruction to guide you toward becoming a better photographer.
UIC LinkedIn Learning

December 18-20, 2020 Scheduled Maintenance 
Technology Solutions will be performing scheduled maintenance beginning at 9:30 pm on Friday, December 18, and ending at 11:59 pm on Sunday, December 20.

Maintenance windows are scheduled to have the least impact on operations, and service downtime is kept to a minimum. However, certain services may be unavailable for extended periods of time due to necessary updates. Affected services will be listed on the Maintenance Window status page: go.uic.edu/maintenance-window