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WSU Vancouver IT Director, Grisha Alpernas, shares Information Technology campus update

WSU Vancouver students are finding it easier to connect on campus this year due to expanded wireless coverage. Grisha Alpernas, director of information technology at WSU Vancouver, said his department was receiving complaints of poor Wi-Fi reception in some campus buildings.

To remedy the problem, the IT department installed 60 additional Wi-Fi access points across campus this fall, increasing the number of access points by 27 percent. Wi-Fi is now available on all floors of every campus building and within close proximity to all building exteriors. Improved connectivity comes at a price: Each transmitter cost approximately $700.

Be our guest
Until this year, WSU Vancouver provided two internet networks: one for students and one for staff and faculty. In August, a third campus network went live. The new network, “WSU Vancouver Guest,” is intended for people who visit and do business on campus, but lack a network ID allowing them to sign in as an employee or student.

“As soon as the guest network went live, students began using it,” said Alpernas. “The problem is, it’s a very slow network. It is not intended for doing school work.”

Alpernas suggests students continue to log in to the more efficient and robust “WSU Student network.”

Fresh Apples
Alpernas said a fresh load of Apples is on its way to campus — Apple computers, that is. Because of heavy demand for Mac-based capability, IT is in the process of increasing the number of Macintosh computers in campus computer labs by 20 percent this year.

An Angel among us
A change in the university learning management system may also be in the works. WSU will use Angel Learning Management System throughout this school year, but Alpernas said various departments are looking at what to do next and are assessing the university’s options.

“Change [in our learning management system] is inevitable,” Alpernas said. “It is a question of when and what kind. It won’t be this school year. Any change must be planned, tested and prepared.”

Alpernas said the university will look for a system with the right combination of price and functionality.

Last year, WSU and other Washington colleges that use Angel were concerned when Blackboard bought the system. Blackboard initially said they would no longer support the learning management system. However, Alpernas said Blackboard has since decided to continue offering Angel due to the system’s popularity. The company’s decision reduced the pressure on WSU to select a new learning management system, at least this year.

“Most of these discussions are happening in Pullman,” Alpernas said. “Our use of technology is only growing. It is not a luxury, it has become a necessity.”

Gone phishing
Not everything is good news in the world of information technology. Alpernas warns students to be wary of phishing attempts and viruses.

“If you get a link in an email, remember you do not have to click it. If it came from someone you don’t know, it can harm you,” Alpernas said. “If it sounds like Christmas in July, like something for nothing or like you’ve been selected for a prize, it is most likely not true. Don’t open it.”

IT Happens!
The latest news on potential computer threats, information security, technology tips and other relevant information is included in the campus IT department newsletter, “IT Happens!” Alpernas recommends students, staff and faculty read the newsletter each month to stay abreast of the latest information technology updates. The newsletter is accessible through the Information Technology link on the WSU Vancouver homepage.

Campus Computer labs

Library building (VLIB) Room 102
(360.546.9546)
Monday through Thursday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Engineering/Computer Science building (VECS) Room 123
(360.546.9671)

Monday through Thursday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday through Sunday: Closed

Multimedia building (VMMC) Room 101
(360.546.9543)

Monday through Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: Closed

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