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Happy November and season’s greetings from Technology Solutions (formerly known as ACCC). This month’s Tech Talk invites you to help reshape UIC IT-related communications by participating in a survey, highlights Microsoft Safe Links - a major improvement to UIC security capabilities, and announces the reopening of the student tech loaner program.

We also want to share the availability of a helpful Daily Briefing email you may have noticed in your inbox from Cortana. Read about it, and more, in our November newsletter! 


Help Reshape IT Communications at UIC
As many of you may know, the university's central IT department, previously known as the Academic Computing and Communications Center (ACCC), has been restructured and rebranded as Technology Solutions.

With these changes, we are taking the opportunity to rethink the way we communicate IT-related news with the UIC Community.

Technology Solutions is conducting a short survey to gather feedback from you, our valued instructors, to understand your interests, needs, and help reshape the ways we communicate with you on matters related to technology.

With the survey results, we hope to launch an improved and unified UIC IT website, optimize communication channels, and share relevant technology updates and news efficiently with community members. We value your input and kindly invite you to participate in this 7 to 10-minute survey. Please submit your response by Wednesday, November 25, 2020. 

Take UIC IT Communications Survey

Microsoft Defender with Safe Links
Technology Solutions has secured licensing for Microsoft Defender, software that provides new functionality critical in today’s working environment, such as endpoint detection and response capabilities (EDR), to identify and mitigate cyber threats on university devices.

Also included is Microsoft’s Safe Links protection in Exchange email and other Office products. Safe Links protects individuals by automatically adjusting links to resources outside of the University of Illinois, checking them for security risks and redirecting you to a warning page if malicious content is identified. Learn more about Safe Links here: answers.uillinois.edu/uic/105912

Whether on or off-campus, the Technology Solutions' Security team is committed to protecting the online safety of the UIC Community, and providing the best in class cybersecurity solutions. Contact security@uic.edu with any questions.


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

As a reminder, Spring 2021 course shells are now available in Blackboard and contain a new template that includes a branded Welcome Page and a pre-created Course Menu, instead of the empty shell that you may be accustomed to. Learn more about the Spring template features at go.uic.edu/Spring21_CourseTemplate 


Flash Video Support Ending Soon!
Flash video technology may not work in the near future as Adobe has announced that it will stop development and support 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.  LTS is providing faculty with assistance and guidance to get Flash content transitioned. 

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 


Student Laptop & Hotspot Loaner Program Reopens 
Technology Solutions is happy to announce the reopening of the laptop and hotspot loaner program effective November 2. This program was initially launched in March 2020, and has benefited over 1,000 students by giving them access to the technology resources needed to continue their pursuit of academic excellence at UIC. 
Any students still struggling with access to reliable internet or a computer can submit a request at: accc.uic.edu/forms/laptop-request.  Please email LTS@uic.edu with any questions.


VoiceThread New Assignments App 
The VoiceThread New Assignments App makes VoiceThread easier to use, provides more control for instructors and helps deliver better feedback to students.

In New Assignments, VoiceThread content will no longer appear on the VoiceThread home page. Instructors are now able to create Assignments so a VoiceThread will live in an Assignment, making it clear to students of the assignment workspace.  

With the revised interface, students are guided through assignments with easy to follow, step-by-step instructions that appear on a static sidebar panel. VoiceThread Grader was also updated with an improved organization to make grading faster for instructors. 

Learn more about VoiceThread and how to enable the New Assignments: accc.uic.edu/news-stories/voicethread-new-assignments


Cortana Notifications
You may have noticed emails from Cortana (cortana@microsoft.com) in your Outlook inbox with the subject: “Your daily briefing.” Please note, these automated notifications were recently turned on by default by Microsoft and can be a handy tool to help you stay organized. Daily briefings are intended to list your commitments, summarize action items, and help you to plan your day based on your Outlook email and calendar activity. 

Cortana securely uses data and summarizes actionable tasks in Outlook, including top results in your daily email. If these tasks are related to any upcoming meetings, they’ll be listed in context with the meeting. Meetings listed will include links to any attachments or potentially related documents so you can review them beforehand and be prepared.

Cortana Briefing emails are private and not accessible by anyone else in your organization, including your manager or IT admin. 

We hope you find the Briefing email useful in helping you stay on top of your commitments, remind you of upcoming meetings, summarize follow-ups and help you stay organized. Learn more about Cortana at: docs.microsoft.com/en-us/briefing/be-faqs

To manage your subscription to the Briefing email, go to cortana.office.com and log in using your NetID and password, or follow the instructions found at the top of the daily briefing emails.


Google Hangouts Update
In early November 2020, classic group video calls on Classic Hangouts will be moved to Meet. You will need to click on a Meet link to join a group call. Meet will also be an option for 1-on-1 calls.

After early November, you will be able to share Google Meet links to start and join secure video meetings from classic Hangouts.

Those using the phone calling or SMS texting features in classic Hangouts will see an alert informing them that phone calling and texting functionality will be going away. As an alternative for video calls, please begin using our Google Meet service.

Find out more at go.uic.edu/google-meet. For messaging, take a look at Google Chat at go.uic.edu/google-chat.


Learning Technology Solutions is hosting webinars on various Blackboard tools including grading, video assignments, and groups. Don’t miss these Blackboard and other upcoming learning opportunities:

Using Panopto Video in Assignments (Flipped Webinar*) 
Learn how to create a quiz and assignments for student recordings in Panopto. 

      Date: Thursday, November 12, 2020
      Time: 12:00pm-1:00pm CT

Mobilizing Remote Learning in Traditional Teaching hosted by Echo360
In this session (hosted by Echo 360), Melissa Gleckler, educational technologist at The University of Toledo, will review how UToledo Online met the massive demand for support and training for users new to Echo360. This session will also feature Echo360 user cases and testimonials followed by participant discussion and Q&A. 

      Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2020
      Time: 10:00am-11:00am CT
      Echo360 Registration Page

Getting Started with Blackboard Groups  (Flipped Webinar*)
In this flipped webinar, you will learn to create group sets, group assignments, and grade the group assignments.

      Date: Tuesday, November 17, 2020
      Time: 1:00pm-2:00pm CT

Benefits of Using Open Educational Resources (OER)
Open Educational Resources (OER) are materials for teaching that have been released under an educational license to be freely used, changed, or shared. Janet Swatscheno from the UIC Library will lead us as we discuss the benefits of OER and how you can incorporate it into your course design.

      Date: Wednesday, November 18, 2020
12:00pm-1:00pm CT

Exporting Grades 
In this webinar, you will learn how to prepare your final grade output, set your External Grade, and export your final grade to Banner.

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

*Flipped Webinars require viewing a video before the webinar. The webinar time will be used to field questions regarding the video content.

To access video recordings for flipped webinars, event details, and registration information, go to the event description in the LTS Webinar Calendar.

LTS Webinar Calendar


 November Challenge PDF
 November Challenge PDF

This month, we invite you to participate in the LinkedIn Learning November Challenge, kicking off November 9. During this season of giving thanks, let us take time to reflect and practice gratitude in our daily life. 

Download the November Challenge PDF and complete each daily activity designed to help you embrace an attitude of gratitude. 

Don’t have time? Check out some of the quick tips below:

November Highlights:

The Power of Gratitude (2 min)

Focus on What’s Good & Build Gratitude (4 min) 

Ideas for Giving a Bit Back (4 min) 


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