Spring 2023 Communicator
Vol. 31, No. 1 [pdf version]
BLUEWIFI expanding across campus
Many MTSU students and staff have been pleasantly surprised this semester to find
the new BLUEWIFI network continuing to spread across campus.
April Magnuson is one of them. Her role as Student Health Services clinical office manager sometimes takes her away from the main Campus Rec office to other locations at the University. In certain locations she would need to access Student Health records on a laptop and found it difficult using WLANMTSU, the legacy network that is being replaced.
"It was so frustrating that it was almost not worth taking my laptop," she said.
Windows laptops in particular are required to go through a security check when using WLANMTSU. In those situations, Magnuson would have to call her colleagues back at the main office to ask them to look up information.
But that changed in mid-January when Magnuson was working in a building on campus that had been recently equipped with BLUEWIFI. She said:
I was able to get on our system to look up information for students. Before I couldn't do that and had to call the office. Now I can go right in from BLUEWIFI and it doesn't drop it like before,
"I got back to the office and they asked why I didn't call them to look up any information. I said, 'I did it—I just logged in myself,'" Magnuson said.
The University’s Wi-Fi network is scheduled to be completely replaced by the new technology infrastructure with a new name by June:
- In academic and administrative buildings, WLANMTSU is becoming BLUEWIFI.
- In residential facilities, RESNET is becoming HOUSINGBLUEWIFI.
More than 80% of campus facilities have been upgraded at this point. To see your building’s
status or projected upgrade date, as well as instructions for connecting Windows,
macOS, and Android/iOS devices, please visit https://mtsu.edu/itd/bluewifi.php.
If you have never connected to BLUEWIFI, check to see if it is an available network when you enter a building.
If it is available, connect using the instructions for your operating system: https://mtsu.edu/itd/bluewifi.php.
Once access is established, devices will automatically connect each time you enter a building with BLUEWIFI. For buildings not yet upgraded, continue using the WLANMTSU or RESNET Wi-Fi networks. For instructions, visit https://www.mtsu.edu/itd/wireless.php.
Important Information for HOUSINGBLUEWIFI users
The Help Desk has received reports that some older versions of devices like the Roku Express media player, the original PlayStation 4, and some Smart TVs are having difficulties connecting to HOUSINGBLUEWIFI.
For devices that see HOUSINGBLUEWIFI but cannot connect, please contact the ITD Help Desk and have the device’s MAC Address ready.
If you have any further questions or need assistance, please contact the ITD Help Desk at email@example.com or at 615-898-5345.
KUC elevator work starting in May will
lead to alternative accessibility plan
Work on replacing the elevator in Keathley University Center (KUC) is set to begin
May 24 and continue until approximately July 18, said Michelle Christian, project
manager with MTSU Construction Administration/Renovation.
The ITD Help Desk is located in KUC 320 near the elevator. ITD is developing an alternative plan to provide students and employees who cannot use stairs with in-person tech assistance.
Prior to the project, a temporary ramp will be built at the top of the concrete ramp on the southwest corner of KUC, Christian said. This is designed to provide second-floor access, but the third floor will be accessible only by stairs until the project is complete.
Students and employees who will not be able to access the third floor should contact the Help Desk at 615-898-5345 or firstname.lastname@example.org and schedule a meeting with a tech consultant in the KUC second-floor seating areas.
Details of the alternative meeting plan will be finalized and announced in coming months. Other students and employees will be able to use the stairs to visit the Help Desk until the new elevator is available. The Help Desk schedule is:
- Sunday: 2 p.m.–9 p.m.
- Monday-Thursday: 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
- Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
The Help Desk operates on an adjusted schedule when classes are not in session.
Tech Tips & Tricks
What's in a username? More than you might expect
“What is my username,“ is sometimes a complex question at Middle Tennessee State University.
I hope to shed some light on this seemingly simple question in the following paragraphs.
To begin, what your username is depends on two factors:
- Where you are in your admissions process
- and what your relationship is with the University.
Applicants to Middle Tennessee State University create their own username and generate
a pin when applying to MTSU. For many they use it just once.
What that means for a student is that if they start their application and don’t finish it, but have forgotten their created credentials, we can’t currently recover them. It would require the applicant to start over with a different username and password.
Once the application is submitted the student-created credentials can be used to check up on the application if they are remembered.
Once the application is processed, a PipelineMT username is generated for students. That username is the student’s email address and contains for most their initials followed by a random number and letter and ends in @mtmail.mtsu.edu. For example, Marion Robert Morrison’s address would look like Mrm3d@mtmail.mtsu.edu.
Students may discover their username in email correspondence or University documentation, but the surest way is to use their M#, discovered in their acceptance letter, and go to https://www.mtsu.edu/getstarted and use the links there to discover their username and set their first password. The username provided there will be used for email, D2L, registration of personal devices, login to computers and most other University portals.
University employees have a different style of usernames than students. The most obvious differences is that the username typically will contain the employee’s first initial and last name and end in @mtsu.edu. For example, if Marion Morrison were an employee his username would be email@example.com.
Another divergence is that an employee’s username is not their email address. To reach an employee you will need to use their first name and last in the email address like so: Marion.Morrison@mtsu.edu.
Staff and Faculty tend to receive a packet with their username and email address after paperwork is signed and processed. I hope article clarifies usernames. If you still have concerns you can contact the ITD Help Desk but expect to provide your M# and verify your identity.
New cyber threat alerts in PipelineMT
If you only rarely visit the PipelineMT homepage, you may be missing out. ITD has begun to post more content intended to provide insight into cyber threats such as one recently posted about Phishing emails.
Some announcements come from other parties as well offering dates for grant applications, or important admissions deadlines.
The page even offers a View All Announcements button to see everything current and a Read More links to get details regarding post content.
Visit PipelineMT more often and don’t breeze past the notifications—they can be very important.
Jeremy Stanley is an IT Help Desk Computer Laboratory Technician. He can be reached at Jeremy.Stanley@mtsu.edu or 615-898-5736.
Staff Profile: Aaron Dill
Career at MTSU combined
his two longtime interests
For Aaron Dill, ITD Classroom Control System programmer, his career paths can be traced back to
growing up in Kingsport, Tennessee, with his three siblings.
“I always enjoyed tinkering with things and problem solving from a young age. I worked on cars and small engines. I also enjoyed building things—tree house, catapult, stage risers,” said Dill. “When I was in high school, my twin brother (Luke) and I wanted to try and record some music. This is when I got interested in recording and more of the technology side of things.”
Dill has been “building things” at MTSU for nearly seven years now, first as a continuation of that interest in recording and now focused on improving classroom technology. Dill earned a Bachelor of Science in Recording Industry in May 2015 and spent several years as part of the Production Services team.
I came to MTSU thinking I would want to work in a recording studio. My last semester at MTSU I took a live sound class. I really enjoyed this, and it also got me connected to Production Services before I graduated.
“I started as a student worker in 2015 and then worked as an hourly worker after graduation,”
he recalled. “I began as a crew member, quickly became a technician, and then began
leading crews and supervising other technicians. I was hired as assistant director
In Production Services, he helped with coverage of several big events on campus. One of his favorite assignments was the MTSU Eclipse event in 2017.
“This event was one of the largest events I was a part of,” he said. “It required a lot of planning and coordination to make sure all the equipment was set up on time. We had multiple events several days in a row using the same equipment. It was great to see the whole University pitch in to make this event happen.”
Other major projects included a Signature Event with Ludacris, where he worked as the monitor engineer, and several Crash the Commons and Week of Welcome events.
Then in 2020 he and his wife, Rachael, learned they were expecting their first child, and “I needed a better work-life balance.”
“I enjoyed what I was doing at Production Services, but there were a lot of long days. I also was looking for a way to progress/promote in my career,” Dill said.
He had worked with James Copeland, ITD director of Classroom Technology, a few times while with Production Services. Dill learned about an audiovisual technician position with that team and jumped at the chance.
The position checked a lot of boxes for me: Provided a more structured work schedule, allowed me to use my audio experience and technical skills while also providing multiple areas to grow and learn.
“There was also the potential to promote internally,” he said.
That has happened as Dill earned several certifications including Extron Control Professional in May 2021, AV9000 Certified Quality Assurance Technician-AV in July 2022, and AVIXA Certified Technology Specialist—Design in January 2021. Those accomplishments helped him achieve the recent promotion to Classroom Control System Programmer.
During Dill’s time with Classroom Technology, the team has undertaken several major initiatives including a campuswide upgrade of control and audiovisual systems in 200 classrooms.
“We are working to standardize the control systems. Improve the audiovisual quality—replacing analog with digital—enhance the lecture capture experience with ceiling microphones, and lastly, implement remote monitoring so that we can resolve problems before they cause loss of class time,” he said.
Over the past several months I have been testing and updating the programming in the template files for the new Extron control systems. Over 100 systems were installed over the winter break.
On its website, Extron recently recognized ITD’s Classroom Tech team for that innovative
use of its products for the “touch-panel-based user interface that is both beautiful
and intuitive,” according to the company’s website.
For Dill, it all started growing up in the Tri-Cities area of Tennessee—Kingsport, Bristol, and Johnson City.
“Kingsport is a great small city in the mountains of northeast Tennessee,” he said. “I have an older brother (Seth), an identical twin brother, and a younger sister (Callie). I lived in the same house my whole childhood—my parents still live there.”
Growing up he enjoyed playing basketball, playing piano at church, and making music with his twin brother.
“I spent a lot of time at church growing up. I had many opportunities to serve our local community and go on mission trips,” Dill said.
All four children in his family were homeschooled through high school, and Dill was able to dual-enroll at Northeast State Community College to get a head start on his college education before coming to MTSU.
His interest in music continues as he is part of the worship and production teams at New Vision church, where he serves as a deacon.
Rachael works as a dietitian at the VA hospital in Murfreesboro. Their daughter, Ellie, is now 2, and the couple is expecting their second child in June.
ITD's Qualls, Myers earn master's degrees in December 2022
ITD staff members Yen Qualls and Craig Myers received master’s degrees in MTSU’s Dec. 10, 2022, commencement ceremony.
Myers earned a Master of Arts in International Affairs, and Qualls a Master of Science in Information Systems. Myers is editorial assistant for ITD, while Qualls is systems analyst 2 for the division’s Administrative Information Systems Services.
“It has always been in my goal to attain a master’s degree since I graduated from (University of Tennessee at Martin) in May 1992,” Qualls said. “I was accepted and planned to attend graduate school at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in fall 1992. However, my plan got deterred when I received a great job offer that summer. Just like that, getting a master’s degree was no longer in my focus as I began a new job, purchased a house, then got married, had children, and raised a family.”
Then in 2018, her son applied to universities to begin his college studies in fall 2019, and she thought it would be "cool" to go to college at the same time. Qualls said:
I chose to concentrate in Business Intelligence & Analytics because I am very interested in data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning and how we use these technologies to support decision-making, develop intelligent agents, make great predictions which ultimately improve our lives.
"My graduate study also helps me to expand my knowledge in the fields directly related
to my current position.”
Qualls has a B.S. in Computer Science from UTM. After teaching math in middle and high school for five years, Qualls joined ITD in 2014. She also is a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) for Internet Information Services.
Qualls’ ITD responsibilities are managing the ARGOS System and developing and maintaining its applications, datablocks, and reports; managing PipelineMT content and security and the Ellucian International Student and Scholar Management (ISSM) system; integrating Banner system with third-party systems; and providing technical support to functional users. Qualls also is helping convert PipelineMT to Ellucian Experience and serves on the Admissions CRM Review task force.
Prior to MTSU, Qualls worked at Packaging Corp. of America (PCA) in Counce, Tennessee, and Weyerhaeuser Pulp and Paper Complex in Columbus, Mississippi.
Qualls enjoys traveling, running and shopping. She lives in Walter Hill with her husband, Eric. Her son, Grant, graduated from Tennessee Technological University in May 2022 with a B.S. in Computer Science. Her daughter, Rachel, is earning a master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Alabama with plans to graduate in May 2024.
Back in Class
Myers returned to the classroom for the first time in nearly 30 years when he began
working at MTSU in 2016. He graduated from Troy University in 1987 with a major in
“I learned about the MTSU employee tuition waiver program and thought, ‘What a great benefit. I don’t want to leave that on the table,’” he said. At first he finished a course in Russian language.
“Then I thought, ‘Maybe I should actually get a master's degree,’” he said. In considering programs, he settled on the MA in International Affairs based on a longtime interest in foreign policy, diplomacy, war, and political science.
“I didn’t want to study journalism again after working in that field for a quarter century,” Myers said.
So I figured I would study something I was interested in. I’m glad I did—it turned out to be engaging and challenging, with great instructors and many opportunities to write. It was fun to be the ‘older guy’ in class because I lived through many of the topics we read about, which gave me a different perspective.
His practicum this past summer involved helping to start a new Christian NGO focused
on providing food and medical care in Moldova and Ukraine. He traveled to the region
in May 2022 to help with that group, called Kingdom Bridges.
Taking part in commencement was bittersweet for Myers as his mother, Barbara, passed away in late November 2022. She was a "woman of genuine love and faith," a longtime educator who urged her children to be lifelong learners, he said. Myers has taught several journalism classes at MTSU.
After graduating from Troy, Myers worked as a reporter for the Daily Mountain Eagle in Jasper, Alabama, and for the Pensacola (Florida) News Journal. It was there he investigated the famous Gulf Breeze, Florida, UFO case and published stories with evidence that it was a hoax. He wrote a book about the experience titled War of the Words. Most of his career was with the Mobile (Alabama) Register, where he worked as a reporter and editor from 1995 until the industry began to downsize in 2010.
Myers and his family relocated to Murfreesboro, and he joined ITD in 2016 writing about technology on campus. He and his wife, Julie, and son, Cade, attend World Outreach Church. Myers enjoys playing guitar, basketball at Campus Rec, and serving in college ministry.
Learn about MTSU's employee tuition waiver program at www.mtsu.edu/policies/personnel/829.php
Digital Defense by Deb Zsigalov
Beware the inventive new invoice email phishing scam
Other security professionals and I have noticed a new tactic being used in phishing attacks that I want to share with you.
Most of you are aware of the standard phishing scam red flags that have become commonplace:
- The email comes from someone posing to be an entity you know and trust.
- The email has logos, signatures, and addresses that look similar to that of the trusted entity.
- There is a call to action in the email asking to click the embedded link to validate or confirm something.
- There is a tone of urgency in the email.
All standard “we know this is a phishing scam" stuff, right? Well, here is the new twist:
- The latest phishing scam appears as an invoice that is so outrageous that it is obviously not intended for you.
- The only “action” available on the invoice/email is a customer service phone number.
- The customer service phone number is a call center run by malicious users.
- Once on the phone, the malicious user uses various social engineering and scare tactics to get personal information out of their victim.
What to do:
Report any of these phishing attempts using the “Report Phishing” feature in Outlook so that the phishing emails get blocked.
Share this information with family and friends who might be less “phish” savvy.
Learn to use the “Report Phishing” feature in Outlook that can be found at this link: https://www.mtsu.edu/security/report_phishing.php
Yes, this is a link to click, but you can determine the legitimacy by using your list
of red flags to check.
Deb Zsigalov is ITD’s assistant vice president and chief information security officer.
Access Success by Lance Alexis
Virtual interpreting now available for MTSU employees
While there is a significant legal component to accessibility, compliance is not the
overarching goal. That goal is replicating personal interactions as closely as possible.
A colleague, student, or visitor with a disability should have similar expectations to those without. Our access initiatives always have that concept at their cores. One such initiative that we are happy to launch this semester is an established contract with Bridges for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Nashville for Virtual Remote Interpreting (VRI).
How often does someone need to have a short meeting or have one or two questions for an office? If someone uses sign language interpreting, that interaction can be cumbersome.
People who use sign language interpreting do not have interpreters with them at all times, unless an individual would be willing to cover such a cost.
The University arranges in-person interpreting for courses, events, planned meetings, etc. So, drop-in meetings require written notes or texting back and forth to facilitate communication.
With a camera, microphone, and computer (a setup that we have become accustomed with as Zoom or Microsoft Teams use has become commonplace) you can easily connect to a sign language interpreter.
Anyone who wants to utilize this service should contact the ITD Help Desk at 615-898-5345 or firstname.lastname@example.org for the information needed to access it.
The cost is covered by Institutional Equity and Compliance. VRI is not a substitute for in-person interpreting.
In-person interpreting is the superior method and more cost effective, so VRI should only be used for situations that cannot be preplanned.
Lance Alexis is director of ADA compliance for the MTSU Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance and can be reached at Lance.Alexis@mtsu.edu.
ORSP is now using Cayuse as its
electronic management system
The MTSU Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is now using the Cayuse Electronic
Management System as a repository for submissions and records, as well as an organizational
node for grant proposals, award management, and research compliance.
ORSP started the process to purchase Cayuse in Fall 2021 through a partnership with ITD. Some modules went live in November 2022. Prior to that time, ORSP was a paper- and file-based office. Dawn McCormack, who was ORSP interim director before new Director Rachel McGinnis started Jan. 31, said:
Cayuse is a sophisticated and comprehensive tool that was favored by a faculty committee looking at a solution for research compliance, and then when we began to look for software for other aspects of the research office, it emerged as the best option for our needs overall.
MTSU has purchased a number of Cayuse modules that are currently active, including:
▶ Sponsored Projects (SP)—This is the heart and soul of Cayuse—through this component, faculty, staff, and graduate students can submit pre-proposals and proposals. Pre-proposals are important for communicating basic information concerning a project to ORSP. They are due at least 30 days in advance of the deadline for submitting the grant. This gives the office time to contact the Primary Investigator, work with that person on the proposal components and budget, and help locate any information needed from other offices in the University.
The proposal contains the remaining information and a copy of the full submission. This is due at least seven business days prior to the submission date. That deadline allows the ORSP staff to properly review the proposal to make sure all sections are complete; check for compliance with federal, state, and university laws, guidelines, and policies; and ensure that the proposal is submitted before the deadline. This component also houses post-award information, replacing the paper Grant Notification Form, a summary of the grant funds, requirements, staffing, and other details.
▶ System to System (S2S)—This module allows ORSP to submit a federal grant directly from Cayuse.
▶ Human Ethics—This module replaces the paper forms for the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and allows for management and easier review of documents by this committee which oversees all types of human research. This can range from surveys to medical studies, and is required to protect the rights and well-being of those being studied.
▶ Animal Oversight—Animal oversight is similar to Human Ethics, except that it supports the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, which oversees the welfare of animals in research.
▶ Outside Interests—This module allows ORSP to have a Conflict of Interest form specifically related to research. Anyone who is submitting a proposal or has an active project must complete this form annually. Once someone has completed the form, they can simply review and edit or reaffirm in the following years. This process is required for federal compliance.
▶ Hazard Safety—Like Human Ethics and Animal Oversight, this module supports the Institutional Biohazard Committee.
ORSP is working on two additional modules that are scheduled to launch during the latter part of the Spring Semester:
▶ Fund Manager—This module will allow for PIs to have 24-hour access to their grant spending, in a form like a bank statement, giving PIs up-to-date budget information at their fingertips.
▶ Time and Effort—ORSP is required to track any compensated time spent working on a grant and to verify these expenditures with the PI. This software will streamline our time effort reporting process and keep us in compliance with the federal regulations.
“In creating the forms in the modules above, ORSP has partnered with many faculty and staff across campus. We have worked with Cayuse staff to customize our forms to match or improve our processes. We conducted training for faculty and staff in November for SP, and we are working on materials to help everyone navigate these products. Anyone beginning a submission in any of the modules should check the relevant websites before they begin for important information and tips,” said McCormack.
As MTSU has become an R2 institution, the number and dollar amount of sponsored projects and researchers is increasing. Thus, a system was needed that would support
that growth. The goal is to provide exceptional service for the faculty, staff, and students at MTSU and an electronic management system is critical to this mission, she added. McCormack added.
“The tools provided by Cayuse, once fully implemented, will give PI’s more day-to-day control of their grant budgets. The hope is that it will free up PI’s so they can spend more time on their research. I am excited to assist faculty in their grant submittals and research compliance areas through Cayuse. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly with any questions,” said McGinnis, who can be reached at Rachel.McGinnis@mtsu.edu.
Note that emails for Cayuse come from email@example.com. These emails will provide links when tasks or notifications require review. Faculty and staff can also enter Cayuse through the Employee Resources box on the PipelineMT home page. Students who require access to Cayuse for IRB or other modules should view the relevant website for a form to request that ORSP create an account for them. See the following websites for more information:
Find ORSP and Cayuse forms at https://www.mtsu.edu/research/untitled.php
Get more details on IRB training, forms, and instructions on submission at https://www.mtsu.edu/irb/
See a schedule for the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and membership information at https://www.mtsu.edu/iacuc/
For more information, contact Julie.Darbonne@mtsu.edu.
MS Teams offering several new features:
Ready to give chat, file-sharing app a try?
What’s new in Microsoft Teams? Here are several things:
▶ Schedule Chat Messages in Teams
You can now schedule a message to arrive at a specific time for your recipient. Perfect for working with international teams. Similar to the delayed delivery option in Outlook, you can manually select a future date and time for your chat messages to be delivered to an individual. Right-click the send button to schedule your message.
▶Filter your Activity Feed
Now, when you go to Activity, you can turn on the Unread Only toggle to filter out all notifications except for the ones you haven’t read yet.
▶ Add Poll to Teams Channel or Chat
Presenters can launch a poll without preparing in advance. Simply ask your question aloud, and people can answer by selecting one of two answers (yes or no, thumbs up or down, heart or broken heart).
▶ Automatically see more videos in Teams meetings
Teams meetings now automatically will show you up to 49 participants’ videos by default. You’ll no longer have to switch to the large gallery view.
▶ Assign seating in Together Mode
Meeting organizers and presenters can now assign seats to attendees in Together mode. To assign seats once you’re in the meeting, select More > Together mode. In the window that pops up, check the box at the bottom to Select Together mode for everyone, then select Assign seats.
From there, you can drag and drop people’s icons to the seat you want them assigned to.
▶ Record a Video Clip in Teams
Create a short video clip in chat. Select Record a video clip next to Send, then start recording. You can even edit the clip before sending it. The recipient of the video clip can reply with a message or a video clip of their own. Note: Video clips can’t be recorded during meetings and calls.
Ready to Try Teams?
Remember, all faculty, students, and staff are licensed for Microsoft Teams.
For those unfamiliar, Teams is the chat-based workspace in Microsoft 365 that makes it easy to have conversations, host meetings, share files and collaborate on documents, and get work done with teams across the organization.
Teams lets you work in a natural, conversational way—with everything you need in one place—available anytime, on any device.
If you’re ready to try it, log into Microsoft Teams using your MTSU email address and password: https://teams.microsoft.com/.
All Office 365 users have access to Teams within their O365 apps. Learning and Support Resources:
Microsoft Teams Help & Learning: https://support.office.com/en-us/teams
Microsoft Teams Video Training: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/microsoft-teams-video-training-4f108e54-240b-4351-8084-b1089f0d21d7
There are also numerous sessions through LinkedIn Learning. If you are not familiar with LinkedIn Learning, click here for more information on how to log in with your MTSU credentials. Once you are signed in, search for Microsoft Teams.
Silvia C. Fernandes is UC Systems Administrator for ITD Enterprise Server Services and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-904-8368.
ITD Help Desk
Sun: 12pm – 6pm
Mon-Thurs: 8am – 9pm
Fri: 8am – 4:30pm
Sat: 10am – 4:30pm
For students and staff who are unable to access the main Help Desk located in KUC 320, please call or email to schedule a meeting at our satellite office located in the ROTC Annex.