News from IT that isn't just for geeks

Get up to Speed on Recent IT Enhancements

Posted on: January 12th, 2015 by

Welcome! The Office of Information Technology (IT) has been busy preparing for new and returning faculty and students. Below are some of the important changes we completed over the winter break.

Paperless Time Entry for Employees

After an extensive pilot process involving several departments within the Administration and Finance division of the University, the Offices of Human Resources (HR) and Information Technology (IT) are offering the Employee Self-Service (ESS) Time Entry and Time Approval application to all permanent employees who do not record their time against Physical Plant or Telecommunications work orders. Details and instructions are available online.

Online Effort Certification System Goes Live

In December 2014, the new online effort certification system went live.  This system, which is part of the overall SAP Grants Management Project, allows principal investigators and department administrators managing sponsored research dollars to certify their effort online.  The system replaces a legacy, paper-based system and ensures the University remains in full compliance with the regulations governing the use of sponsored research funding.

Blackboard Learn Upgrade

Blackboard Learn was upgraded to the latest stable release (April 2014).  A noteworthy addition includes the integration of SafeAssignments in the Assignment Tool, allowing instructors to avoid creating a separate assignment to check for plagiarism.  The upgrade also provided Student Preview, a new feature showing the instructor the student view within Blackboard. Check out all the new features and contact the FTDC if you need assistance.

Attendance Tracking

During the break, IT deployed six (6) attendance tracking scanners in Anderson Hall, specifically rooms 11, 137, and 231.  In addition, instructors will soon see enhancements to the attendance tracking interface within myOleMiss, including improvements to the scanner enable functionality as well as a CSV file download of class attendance data, which can be imported into your preferred spreadsheet application.  To learn more, faculty can sign up for training online or simply show up at Weir Hall, Room 107 on Wednesday, January 14, at 2 p.m., or Tuesday, January 20, at 10:30 a.m.

Learning Management System (LMS) Review

In April 2014, the Instructional Technology Standing Committee (ITSC) was charged with leading an evaluation of the different LMS offerings in order to select the platform that will be in place at the University for the next five (5) years. Currently, faculty have the opportunity to evaluate LMS functionality and provide feedback to the ITSC.  The ITSC has established a timeline for the evaluation process to be completed by February 2015.  If you have questions or would like to participate, contact


The application deadline for the Technology Acquisition for Curricular and Instructional Technologies (TACIT) was December 1, 2014.  Soon after, the Provost’s Office finalized the list of TACIT recipients, and the purchase requests for computers and tablets have been made.   Faculty recipients will receive the latest Apple and Dell computer hardware, and we expect to make equipment deliveries by late-February. Stay tuned.

Distance Learning

Instructors teaching distance learning (DL) courses at the Jackson Avenue Center (JAC), Guyton Hall and Farley Hall will see technology improvements ready for your spring courses.  JAC enhancements include a TV facing the instructor to support one-on-one and group discussions with individuals at our regional campuses.  Technology enhancements within existing DL classrooms in Guyton Hall and Farley Hall allow instructors to take advantage of Adobe Connect, our platform for remote instruction.  For more information, please contact Outreach IT at or 662-915-1401.

Students and Faculty in Technology Studies

In February 2015, the EDUCAUSE Center for Analytics and Research (ECAR) will conduct both students and faculty studies to evaluate your experiences with technology at the University.  IT values your participation and uses the results of these studies to guide technology and customer support decisions.  Once again, student participants can opt-in for a drawing to receive a $50 or $100 Amazon gift certificate. Thank you for your participation in previous studies, and we look forward to receiving your feedback in 2015.

Important Links and TECHNews Articles

The links and articles below point to information and sites used every day on campus.

  • Get Started – IT has links to commonly used websites for employees, parents, and students.
  • Students, check out these Top 10 Technology Tips.
  • myOleMiss – Grades, registration, and other services.
  • UM Mail – Do you need to check your employee email from a web browser?  UM Mail is the answer.
  • Blackboard – Our learning management system used by our instructors to interact with students; Don’t forget about Blackboard Mobile for your smartphone.
  • UM Box – IT promotes UM Box for file storage. FERPA and HIPAA content can be stored on UM Box, and we have the capacity to expand the file storage space beyond the default 15 GB limit. UM Box is a great solution for faculty needing a shared class repository and individuals storing shared content for a department.
  • Google Drive – Google provides unlimited storage to Google accounts associated with our Google Apps for Education domain, While FERPA or HIPAA content cannot be stored on Google Drive, it is a good choice for storing video screencasts, large documents associated with a course and personal files that do not contain sensitive information. If you need a UM Google Drive account, please sign up.
  • Vault – I suspect all UM employees receive a high volume of emails.   Consider using the vault, which gives you an additional 5 GB of disk space.  Your UM Mail, including the vault, remains on University servers on campus. To get started, contact the IT Helpdesk and request the vault today.

Final Comments

If you have additional questions, please contact the IT Helpdesk at 662-915-5222 or   You can visit us in Weir Hall, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. CST – 5 p.m. CST.   We hope you have a great semester!