End of support for Windows Server 2003 tests college security

Microsoft is ending support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015—colleges and universities should start planning now if they need to upgrade, experts say

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An estimated 39 percent of all installed Microsoft Server operating systems worldwide are the 2003 edition.

Microsoft’s decision to end support for its Windows Server 2003 edition next July means the clock is ticking for colleges and universities that continue to use this older server platform, industry experts say.

If institutions don’t upgrade their server infrastructure by July 14, 2015, they risk exposing their networks to critical security risks.

That’s the date Microsoft says it will end all support for Windows Server 2003, meaning the company no longer will issue security updates or non-security “hotfixes” for the software. Free or paid support options and online technical content updates will not be available after that date, either, Microsoft says.

Microsoft’s announcement also means third parties will be unable to support Windows Server 2003 security updates as of the July 14 cutoff date—and “any third-party claims otherwise are inaccurate,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.

Microsoft was unable to say how many higher-education customers are still using Windows Server 2003—but figures cited by Microsoft Research in July suggest an estimated 39 percent of all installed Microsoft Server operating systems worldwide are the 2003 edition.

Colleges and universities currently running Windows Server 2003 will need to identify which of their applications will be affected and “move forward with migration planning,” Microsoft said.

The IT consulting firm Insight Enterprises suggests that campus IT leaders shouldn’t delay, because the transition from Windows Server 2003 is “more time consuming and complex than the end of support for Windows XP,” which affected many customers who were unprepared.

(Next page: What’s involved in upgrading—and advice for campus IT leaders)

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North Central Kansas Technical College Selects Three Rivers Systems’ CAMS Enterprise as Its Higher Education ERP System

Cites improved training & support and upgraded functionality as key decision criteria

St. Louis, MO: North Central Kansas Technical College (NCK Tech), a leader in postsecondary technical education and workforce development, has selected Three Rivers Systems’ CAMS Enterprise as its new enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. A superior client support model and software features that help eliminate manual processes and duplicate data entry were key factors in the NCK Tech decision to adopt the CAMS Enterprise system.

According to Eric Burks, President of NCK Tech, “Three Rivers Systems and CAMS Enterprise met all our requirements. Its Business Analytics will provide us with the insights needed to make data-driven decisions related to accreditation, government reporting, and support of our strategic plan. And because it’s a comprehensive solution that uses a shared, single database, we can eliminate several paper-based processes that our prior solution couldn’t handle. Just as important, Three Rivers Systems will provide us with an improved level of service in the areas of training and support. Our ultimate goal is to better serve our students, and we believe this solution will help us achieve that in admissions, billing, registration, and degree audits.”

Amir Tajkarimi, Founder and President of Three Rivers Systems, welcomed NCK Tech to the CAMS Community. “North Central Kansas Technical College provides its students with high-tech, real world skills that lead to rewarding, challenging and well-paid careers. It recently celebrated 50 years of providing such career opportunities to its students, and its commitment to providing well qualified, professionally skilled workers to business and industry points to an even brighter future. We’re honored that NCK Tech selected Three Rivers Systems as its higher education software partner and look forward to helping it continue its proud tradition of providing innovative workforce development.”

About Three Rivers Systems, Inc.
Three Rivers Systems, Inc. is the only privately-held, independent provider of ERP software focused solely on higher education. Its ERP solution, CAMS Enterprise, is an easy-to-use, totally integrated academic management system that liberates colleges and universities from the administrative labyrinth of complicated software systems. CAMS Enterprise manages the entire student lifecycle – admissions, registration, billing, financial aid, student services, fundraising, fiscal management, and HR/payroll. The company has focused on innovation and service to its worldwide customers for more than 25 years from its St. Louis headquarters.

About NCK Tech
North Central Kansas Technical College (NCK Tech), an institution of higher education with campuses in Beloit and Hays, Kansas, provides life-long educational opportunities to a diverse population. The college is dedicated to providing a curriculum in a supportive learning environment which is designed to promote a personalized, educational experience. Established in 1964, NCK Tech is accredited by the Kansas Board of Regents and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

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Contacts:

Jim Clayman, Three Rivers Systems, Inc., Director of Marketing & Communications, 636-386-8616 x1501 (office), 636-395-9619 (mobile), jimc@ThreeRiversSystems.com

Mari Tucker, North Central Kansas Technical College, Marketing & Foundation Director, 785-738-9051, mtucker@ncktc.edu

Products or service names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

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What to look for in a cloud provider of Microsoft Exchange

Here are five key things to consider when looking for an Exchange Server host

microsoft-exchange-providerMicrosoft Exchange provides a rich feature set for email, which has made it a popular option among schools and colleges. And the latest version, Exchange 2013, is a more robust offering than its predecessor, delivering many improvements for schools. These include:

  • Better availability. Exchange 2013 offers higher availability and is more fault-tolerant than previous versions.
  • Greater transparency. Servers are now self-monitoring and work in teams to ensure high availability. When a server detects a problem that could affect the user experience, it transparently switches users to another database.
  • Increased speed. Exchange 2013 provides users with significantly faster speed than Exchange 2010.
  • Windows 8 interface. Microsoft’s Windows 8 interface simplifies navigation on mobile devices.
  • Improved support for mobility. The Outlook Web App has been modified for mobility and will adapt to the user’s screen, whether it’s an iPad, iPhone, another tablet, PC, or laptop.

That said, some educational institutions face challenges in setting up their own Exchange Server. It can be costly and labor-intensive to do this, and using the advanced features of Exchange 2013 requires hardware and training that aren’t financially feasible for some schools.

To overcome these roadblocks, an increasing number of schools and colleges are making the switch to Exchange Server hosting. A dedicated, remotely hosted Exchange Server enables schools to save money on administration and the total cost of ownership, while also redeploying IT staff for other projects and initiatives.

Outsourcing your messaging needs to a virtual Exchange Server can also provide you with additional services. Hosted Exchange services typically include security, antivirus, and anti-spam features. And schools usually can add even more functionality, as needed—such as email archiving, mobile device support, migration assistance, and more.

While there are good reasons to consider moving to Exchange Server hosting, it’s important to select a provider with care. Because most schools and colleges rely on email as a lifeline, a strategic means of communication, due diligence is a must when selecting a cloud service provider (CSP) for Exchange Server hosting.

Here are five things to look for in a CSP for hosting Exchange Server.

• Make sure your provider offers the latest version of Exchange.

• Make sure the CSP offers the most secure infrastructure available, provides high availability and uptime written into the service level agreement, and adheres to the industry’s strictest regulations for security and compliance.

(Next page: Three more requirements in a cloud service provider for Exchange Server hosting)

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Report: New revelations about campus IT trends

Survey provides a national snapshot of campus IT spending, cloud tech, and outlook for the future

campus-IT-cloudAlmost one in every five dollars spent on campus IT investments are made outside of centralized IT; in other words, almost $4 billion is spent in non-managed, non-measured, and redundant IT spending each year on campus technology.

This is just one of many illuminating findings of a recent MeriTalk survey—sponsored by VMware and Carahsoft—of over 150 IT professionals at public and private institutions across the U.S.

Other findings include those about department communication, centralizing solutions, the use of cloud technology, and the trends IT leaders believe will be important to invest in now for the future.

“What steps are colleges and universities taking to eliminate IT silos, deliver increased IT control, and empower users (students, faculty, administration) with flexibility and agility; and how is the cloud helping?” are all questions MeriTalk aimed to answer through its survey, administered this past June (2014).

According to the survey, the size of the higher education cloud market is huge [$4.4 billion]; yet, higher education IT pros estimate that 18 percent of their IT systems are redundant.

At the same time, institutions are struggling to keep up with growing IT requirements, which respondents say are due to the increased use of mobile devices and mobility requirements (61 percent), an increase in diversity of IT needs among end users (57 percent), and an increased number of applications (50 percent).

Also, 82 percent of IT executives surveyed say their network is more complex today than even two years ago, and there is no additional IT budget to support these new requirements.

As institutions turn to the cloud, their IT leaders give current deployments “mixed grades,” says MeriTalk. When asked to rate their satisfaction with services they have deployed using a cloud model, 69 percent were satisfied with their LMS, 67 percent with their blended learning environments, 54 percent with their MOOCs, and 47 percent with their OERs.

(Next page: Collaboration, campus support, taking action)

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HP hopes its breakup will benefit higher ed

Venerable Silicon Valley company HP is splitting into two separate firms—one for printers and computers and one for enterprise solutions

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By splitting into two companies, HP hopes it will be more nimble to compete and innovate. (Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com)

Innovations in mobile computing, 3D printing, and cloud services are what HP hopes to deliver to colleges, universities, and other customers as a result of its decision this week to split into two separate companies.

HP spokesman Jim Christensen said the move ultimately should benefit HP’s higher-ed customers.

“Our customers are at the heart of our business and strategy, and we believe this move better positions us to meet their needs in a rapidly changing market,” he told eCampus News.

The announcement comes as HP tries to execute a five-year turnaround plan that will return the company to profitability. HP has posted revenue declines in 11 of the past 12 quarters.

The breakup would create one company that sells computers and printers and a second that focuses on enterprise technology services, including data storage, servers, and software.

The split will give each company “the independence, focus, financial resources, and flexibility” it needs to innovate in the highly competitive high-tech market, CEO Meg Whitman said in a statement.

The PC and printer business will use the name HP Inc. and will retain the company’s blue and white logo. The services business will be called Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. Whitman will lead the Enterprise business and will serve as non-executive chairman of HP Inc., while current PC and printer chief Dion Weisler will be the CEO of HP Inc.

The separation is not expected to be final until Oct. 31, 2015. Christensen said information about the new points of contact for service and support at each of the two companies would be available as that completion date nears.

Ed-tech consultant Mitch Weisburgh of Academic Business Advisors said he likes the company’s move.

“I think that this could bode really well for the two entities and also for schools and [colleges],” he said. “Printers and PCs are a commodity business. HP Inc. can concentrate on driving down costs and increasing value, which should result in lower-cost devices.”

Weisburgh added: “Technology infrastructure and services is about increasing flexibility. … If Hewlett-Packard Enterprise puts its top brains on the education sector, we could see them helping drive huge infrastructure changes that will streamline schools and provide [them] with platforms to individualize learning and student mastery.”

(Next page: What the split might mean for colleges and universities)

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New MOOC for admins promises better online students

MOOC designed for administrators highlights shift in higher education to marketing

MOOC-enrollment-tocquignyIn what’s being billed as an industry first, a new MOOC for administrators promises to increase online enrollment and retention of online learners.

The free four-week online course, designed by an Austin-based digital marketing agency, Tocquigny—a company whose clients include Regent University and Rice University—says it will offer “expert insight into the strategies and tactics necessary for universities and colleges to improve enrollment in their existing, new and future online degree programs.

Regent and Rice, which have tapped Tocquigny to launch new campaigns aimed at generating applicants and lifting donor engagement, are just a handful of the company’s higher-ed clients, which are supporting this higher-ed marketing MOOC and its potential.

The online course, “Online Recruitment of Online Learners” is designed for directors of enrollment, admissions directors and marketing directors at institutions who are concerned about the number of students in their online programs.

The course will be taught by Colin Gilligan, Tocquigny’s Vice President of Media and Planning; and topics will include: digital lead generation, social media, branding, campaign measurement and analytics.

Colin has led the development of Tocquigny’s higher education client’s marketing strategies for the past five years, and has mapped trends in media consumption, competitive brand/message creation and marketing techniques to generate conversion to application for students.

“As competition for student recruitment continues to intensify, the higher education industry is in desperate need of in-depth and impactful insights on how to improve online enrollment,” said Yvonne Tocquigny, the agency’s CEO. “Online Recruitment of Online Learners will enable universities and colleges at all levels a cost-effective opportunity to not just improve, but also sustain, the number of students who continue to choose online education as a chief means of learning.”

(Next page: How the course will work; the A+ version)

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The must-know changes in distance education policy

A lot has changed in online learning practices in just a few short years—and accreditation policy is no exception

distance-program-policyDid you know that when offering online courses, collaboration options for students are a requirement? Or that faculty participation in designing the implementation of an online learning program is mandatory?

These are just a glimpse of some of the most recent (within the last two years) updates to distance education policy standards set forth by regional and national accrediting organizations in the U.S.

And as many institutions begin implementing online programs, it’s never been a more critical time for administrators and leaders to become well-acquainted with the hallmarks of quality required for both new, and currently in-place, distance-ed programs.

“The immense growth of distance education in higher education and resulting abundance of policies and guidelines has impacted the preparation of accreditation reports in many capacities, “explains Suzanne Keil, an instructional technology student and author of the study, “Distance Education Policy Standards.

The list of new or updated policies can be broken into five main categories: institutional context and commitment, curriculum and instruction, faculty and faculty support, student support, and evaluation and assessment.

[Policies listed in this article reflect the most current updates to online learning programs, ranging from January 2012-December 2013. For a full list of updates since 2011, as well as which accrediting institutions mandated these updates, read the full report. Note: Though each of these policies was mandated by a specific accrediting commission, all of these policies are incorporated in similar language into other commissions’ requirements]

Institutional context and commitment

Why accrediting commissions believe it’s important: Institutional mission should be reflected in distance education programs through planning and goals to ensure success of the program and dedication to this success from the institution, say accrediting commissions.

Most recent updates to policy:

  • Distance education programs are consistent with the mission and educational objectives of the institution.
  • Programs are integrated into the regular planning processes of the institution.
  • The institution provides sufficient resources—financial, human, physical, and technological—to support its distance education programs.
  • Operation of programming is incorporated into the governance system of the institution.
  • The programming be reviewed as part of its comprehensive evaluation.

(Next page: Curriculum and instruction; faculty)

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How Office Mix is a powerful tool for blended or flipped learning

15 features that make the free Office Mix software a resource for any teacher involved in flipped or blended learning

office-mix-learningOffice Mix is a free addition for PowerPoint 2013 that lets you turn PowerPoint documents into interactive online lessons or presentations. It takes any existing or new PowerPoint presentation to a whole new level, making it easy to create resources for flipped or blended learning. Here are 15 reasons Office Mix should be part of your “teaching toolbox.”

1. You can leverage existing resources.

Many teachers have existing PowerPoint presentations on a variety of topics. These presentations can be revisited and reused by quickly converting them to a Mix. With little time and effort, an existing teaching resource that is only moderately effective in a flipped or blended learning environment can become a much more effective learning resource. The difference between these two types of resources is outlined in the article “It’s called blended learning (not blended teaching) for a reason.”

2. Mix allows narration of presentations.

The narrations can be audio only, or teachers can insert a video of themselves narrating the lesson. The built-in microphone and camera that comes with most laptops is sufficient for recording this audio or video. Thus, many teachers already have the tools needed to begin immediately.

3. Slides can be annotated with free-form inking.

Using an on-screen pen to annotate and highlight key points during narration allows the teacher to draw the student’s attention to important points. Teachers also can write on slides in a free-form way.

4. Screen recordings and screen shots can be inserted easily.

This takes Office Mix well beyond an incremental improvement to a presentation. Teachers can record anything on their screen and include it in the Mix. For example, if the teacher is explaining some aspect of ancient Egyptian sculpture, he or she could visit a website covering this topic, record and annotate the exploration of this website, and place this recording into a slide in the Mix stack.

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The Office Mix controls within PowerPoint

(Next page: More Office Mix features)

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Blackmagic Design announces new disk formatting update for Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Fremont, CA – October 8, 2014 – Blackmagic Design today announced the immediate availability of Camera 1.9.7 software which includes dashboard on screen menus and high performance disk formatting for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.

Blackmagic Camera 1.9.7 update is available now free of charge from the Blackmagic Design website.
The new disk formatting feature allows customers to format SSD’s and SD Cards in camera so they don’t need to use a computer to prepare disks for recording. This new disk formatting feature is unique because unlike computers that format disks for general storage use, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Pocket Cinema Camera can format disks optimized for high performance video use. When formatting the camera confirms the brand of disk and other disks parameters and then formats for highest speed video data recording and playback for that specific type of disk.

This also means that as new disks are released in the future, new software can be released to take advantage of unique features of disks for maximum performance when recording high data rate RAW 4K images.

Customers also get the opportunity to choose between two disk formats, ExFAT and HFS+. The ExFAT is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X so is a good choice when customers are working on Windows or working between Windows and Mac OS X platforms as both platforms natively will read the disk. When customers are working on Mac OS X exclusively, the HFS+ format is the native Mac OS format and this allows higher performance for Mac users as well as better error protection because HFS+ supports journaling.

Allowing easy selection of the format to erase the disk, the new Blackmagic Camera Update 1.9.7 also includes the new dashboard menu that allows actions on camera functions to be selected quickly. Customers can choose to format disks, enable focus peaking, go to the settings page and other camera operations on nice big easy to use buttons.

“Following on from the popular release of in camera disk formatting on the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K last month, we are very happy to now release this feature for all models of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Pocket Cinema Camera,,” said Grant Petty, CEO of Blackmagic Design. “Having this new formatting feature in the camera means customers get increased convenience as well as getting the most out of the SSD’s and SD cards so they can record higher data rate but extremely high quality RAW formats easier then ever before!”

Blackmagic Cinema Camera Key Features

Large, high resolution 2.5K sized sensor with 13 stops of dynamic range
New PL model is compatible with extremely high quality PL cinema lenses.Wide 12 stops of dynamic range allows capture of increased details for feature film look.
Compatible with extremely high quality PL,EF and MFT mount lenses.
Built in SSD recorder allows long duration recording onto solid state disks.
Open file formats compatible with popular NLE software, such as ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, ProRes 422 LT, ProRes 422 Proxy, DNxHD and uncompressed RAW. No custom file formats.
Features all standard connections, including jack mic/line audio in, 3G-SDI output for monitoring with camera status graphic overlay, headphone mini jack, Thunderbolt, LANC remote control and standard DC 12-30V power connection.
Built in touch screen LCD for camera settings and metadata entry compatible with popular video editing software including Final Cut Pro X.
Supports Ultra HD and 1080HD resolution capture in 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97 and 30 fps.
Includes UltraScope software for live scopes via the built in Thunderbolt connection.
Includes DaVinci Resolve color grading software.
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Key Features

High resolution 1080HD Super 16mm sized sensor with superior handling of image detail.
Super wide 13 stops of dynamic range allows capture of increased details for feature film look.
Compatible with extremely high quality Micro Four Thirds lenses. Compatible with other mounts via common third party adapters such as PL mount and Super 16 cine lenses.
Built in SD card recorder allows long duration recording with easy to use media.
Open file formats compatible with popular NLE software such as ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, ProRes 422 LT, ProRes 422 Proxy and lossless CinemaDNG 12-bit RAW. No custom file formats.
Standard connections including mini jack mic/line audio in, micro HDMI output for monitoring with camera status graphic overlay, headphone mini jack, LANC remote control and standard DC 12-30V power connection.
Built in LCD for camera settings via easy to use menus..
Supports 1080HD resolution capture in 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97 and 30 fps.
Compatible with DaVinci Resolve Lite color grading software.
Availability and Price

Camera 1.9.7 is available now for download from the Blackmagic Design web site free of charge for all Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera customers.

Press Photography

Product photos of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera , and all other Blackmagic Design products, are available at www.blackmagicdesign.com.

About Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to www.blackmagicdesign.com.

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