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Office of Information Technology

Campus Technology News for Faculty, Fall 2019

This message was distributed to the Rice community on October 3, 2019.



Campus Technology News, Fall 2019 with photo of John Williams.
John Williams, Digital Information Accessibility Coordinator, will be offering a variety of practical workshops in October explaining how to make digital resources (such as .pdf files and videos) accessible and offering guidance on how to ensure Canvas course pages and email campaigns are usable by the entire campus community. (See Supporting Digital Access below.)


Instructor Resources

If you are new to working with Canvas or want to learn more advanced techniques for managing your courses, a variety of training options are available (workshops, one-on-one appointments, tips blog, and online tutorials). Telephone or chat support is available for Canvas–24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For chat links and phone numbers, click on the Help icon when logged into Canvas or see this KnowledgeBase article.

If you are seeking to increase your proficiency or improve your comfort level using classroom and lab equipment, request an individual training session.  If you ever need urgent technical assistance in a classroom, call 713-348-4989. (After business hours, a classroom technician will be paged to call you back and assist you over the phone.)

Research Computing

The Center for Research Computing (CRC) welcomes the opportunity to support your research computing needs. CRC staff can offer advice and set up services from high-performance computing/high-throughput computing (HPC/HTC) to research virtual machines and cloud (ORION) to research data facility (RDF).

LinkedIn Learning

Faculty and staff can subscribe to the online training resource, LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda Pro). An annual subscription license is $85, which will be prorated based on date of purchase. If interested, complete an OIT Help Desk ticket and provide your full name, NetID, email, fund/org and billing contact.

Adobe Creative Cloud

As part of an enterprise license agreement with Adobe, faculty and staff can use Creative Cloud applications (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and more). To learn how to set up your AdobeID and install the software on your computer, see this KnowledgeBase article.

CrashPlan: Backing Up Your Rice Computer

If you store files locally on your Rice-owned computer (laptop or desktop), it is highly recommended that you back up those files to protect against hardware malfunctions, accidental deletions, or other mishaps. CrashPlan is simple to use, highly efficient, and very secure. The annual cost of the service is around $80 per year and is payable with a Rice fund and org code. To learn more, read this CrashPlan article in the OIT Knowledgebase.

Free and Discounted Software

Faculty and staff are eligible for free or discounted software.

OIT Annual Report

Learn more about OIT’s projects and initiatives by reading the 2018-2019 OIT Annual Report.


Introducing a New Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System

Chris Williams was hired this summer as the new ERP Project Director and will oversee the project to implement Oracle Cloud as Rice’s new unified business system for human resource, payroll, and financial systems. Project completion is expected in the summer of 2021.

E-signatures Streamlining Campus Processes

Adobe Sign, a digital signature tool, is providing a solution for the approval of campus electronic processes. Adobe Sign has been implemented in all schools and 20 administrative departments. As adoption continues, more administrative groups will be added and digital forms and documents will continue to be developed. A notable usage example is Human Resources’ Personal Action Form (PAF), which was redesigned for digital use and has been commended for facilitating the hiring process.

Updated Registration System

This fall, new undergraduates enrolled in courses using an updated registration system that was developed in conjunction with the Office of the Registrar and Academic Advising. Students communicated the importance of being able to plan out their schedule, search by subject, keyword, course number and/or the day/time of the week. In addition, students wanted a visual representation of their schedule, links to course and instructor evaluations and other miscellaneous details about courses, all within one window. The upgraded system delivers that. All students will use the new system for spring registration.

Supporting Digital Access

Last spring, OIT hired John Williams as a Digital Information Accessibility Coordinator. He serves as an advocate for awareness and education about supporting access to electronic resources by all individuals including those with visual, auditory, motor or cognitive disabilities. In addition to offering practical advice to support Rice’s current tools and resources, John will work to improve awareness about the need for everyone to discuss accessibility with vendors when considering the purchase of any new technologies. New products should meet standards and guidelines, such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). By working with the Rice community and technology vendors, the goal is to ensure that Rice websites, web applications, online courses, and digital content can be understood and easily navigated by everyone. In October, John will host a series of awareness workshops.

Windows 10 Migration Reminder

The last remaining Rice-owned computers running Windows 7 must be upgraded to Windows 10 this fall as a campus information security precaution. Microsoft is discontinuing support and security updates to Windows 7 after January 14, 2020.  Learn more.


Technology Help

OIT’s Help Desk is the central point of contact for computing help and support. OIT Help Desk staff answer technical questions and route service requests to other OIT professionals. You can submit requests any time via an online form. You can also call (713-348-HELP (4357)) or drop by (Mudd 103) during office hours (Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, excluding holidays). Student consultants are also available in the evening on the first floor of Fondren Library (Sunday – Thursday: 7:00 – 11:00 pm).

Online Resources

To learn more about the Office of Information Technology’s services, go to the OIT web site, https://oit.rice.edu. For an easy-to-search source of instructions about services and tools, use the OIT KnowledgeBase at https://kb.rice.edu. Use the IT Status Page at https://status.rice.edu to check for any system outages or to subscribe to updates on specific services.

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