Technology Reference Guide
Welcome to the Technology Reference Guide, published by the Office for Information Technology (OIT). This guide contains an overview of the computing services and resources available to the Williams community as well as a set of information guides on various computing topics, and provides an introduction to the information technology environment on the Williams campus.
Services & Resources
- Faculty/Staff Support Desk: 413-597-4090
- Student Support Desk: 413-597-3088
- Instructional Technology & Department Liaisons
- Media Services: 413-597-2112
- Classrooms & Computer Labs
- Media Education Center & Production Studios
- Technology Training
- GLOW (Course Management System)
- Equipment Loan Center: 413-597-4091
- Williams Students Online: WSO
- Purchasing a Computer
- Passwords & Accounts
- Viruses & Safe Computing
- Working From Off-Campus
- Setting up Web Pages
- Network Data Storage & Backups
- Green Computing
- Downloading Software
- Printing to a Network Printer
- Computing Policies
Services & Resources
Faculty/Staff Support Desk 413-597-4090
This Support Desk is the primary contact for faculty and staff technology questions. There are several people dedicated to answering the phones, but somtimes all lines are in use. More »
If your call is not immediately answered:
- You may choose to remain in a holding queue for the next available specialist
- Leave a voice-mail message
- Stop by the support desk at Jesup 210
- Email Desktop Systems at email@example.com
- Use the online form to request assistance
Academic hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday
Summer hours: 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday
The help desk is closed but available to receive messages from 12:15 pm to 12:30 pm. For weekend and after-hours help, call the Student Support Desk (413-597-3088), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or email email@example.com. Although OIT can’t guarantee a response off-hours, it’s likely that an STC or Desktop Systems Specialist will read the email and offer help.
Student Support Desk
The Student Support Desk is the primary contact for student technology questions. It is staffed by Student Technology Consultants (STCs). Visit them on the first floor of Jesup, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Academic Year Hours:
10 am – Midnight, Monday – Thursday
10 am – 8 pm, Friday
Noon – 6 pm, Saturday
Noon – Midnight, Sunday
Instructional Technology & Liaisons
Instructional Technology provides support for faculty interested in using technology in teaching and research. This includes:
- academic projects & multimedia development and project assistance
- clickers (classroom polling devices)
- Glow (course management system)
- digital collections online for teaching and research
- GIS and maps
- IDeaL Initiative: Integrating Digital Literacies (IDL) with Media Mentors
- streaming videos
- workshops & in-class workshops
- electronic classrooms
- major presentation venues (such as Chapin Hall or Brooks-Rogers)
- training and consultation for using electronic classroom equipment
- support for lectures and presentations by faculty and guest speakers
- analog and digital video and audio format conversion and copying
- videotaping major college events for academic or college use
Media Services hours when classes are in session:
8 am – 8 pm, Monday – Thursday
8 am – 5 pm, Friday
Media Services is located in Jesup 317 and provides presentation facilities and related support for academic work and extra-curricular events.
Classrooms & Computer Labs
All registrar scheduled classrooms have a full set of presentation equipment, including a PC, a Mac, laptop connections, a CD/DVD/VHS player, audio system, and data projector. Some classrooms have slide projectors or document cameras, and most have transparency projectors. These rooms are scheduled by the Registrar’s office through the drop/add period, and through the online room scheduler for the remainder of the semester.
Computer Labs, specialty labs, and collaboration stations are also available.
Media Education Center & Production Studios
Media Education Center (MEC – Jesup 316)
Explore usage and creation of all types of media for learning and beyond. The MEC has support for flatbed & slide scanning, poster and color printing, audio, video & animation production, digital sending, copy-stand work, video conferencing, and more. It’s the primary location for individual or small group training and support. The MEC is open weekdays, 9-5 with staffed “drop-in” support hours from 10 AM – noon and 2 -5 PM weekdays. Other hours or individual appointments can be made by contacting email@example.com.
Additional OIT Supported Media Production or Collaborative Work Studios:
- Jesup B03 – “The Cellar” – includes a large screen collaborative workstation
- Jesup 101 – “The Aquarium” – student staffed evenings and weekends
- Jesup 204 – includes a replica of the music dept recording/composing work station and Lynda.com dedicated self-training station
- Spencer 216 (Art Studio Building)
- Dodd Annex
Studios are configured to match production equipment in the MEC. Some spaces are reserveable for project work or collaborative meetings. Send queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
OIT offers a wide variety of technology training:
- Workshops, which include software training, web and media development, and programming
- In-class training
- One-on-one training
- Online software training: Element K, and Lynda.com
Integrating Digital Literacies (IDL) with Media Mentors
OIT will provide Student Media Mentors to faculty for course-specific training and support of students undertaking multimedia projects as part of their regular course assignments. The media projects are designed to integrate research and content with digital literacy concepts including: information fluency, visual literacy, media scholarship and digital publishing. If you are interested in exploring the use of a Media Mentor, please contact your ITech liaison.
GLOW is a web-based course management system that is used for the majority of classes offered each semester at Williams. It provides easy-to-use layouts and tools for faculty to put their course materials online. It also allows both synchronous and asynchronous online communication between faculty and students. Using GLOW, Williams faculty can develop web-enhanced courses seamlessly and efficiently with no HTML knowledge.
Equipment Loan Center: 413-597-4091
Digital and analog equipment may be borrowed for academic or college use. Most equipment circulates for up to 3 days at a time. The Equipment Loan Center is located in Dodd Annex. We recommend making a reservation early, at least a few weeks in advance. The center can also be reached at email@example.com.
Academic hours: 9 am – Noon and 1 pm – 5 pm, Monday – Friday
Summer hours: 9 am – Noon, Monday – Friday
Williams Students Online: WSO
Williams Students Online (WSO) is an independent student organization at Williams College that creatively supports the computing needs of the College community. WSO Services include personal and student-organization web sites, listservs, interactive web tools, and computer instruction.
WSO holds weekly meetings. Newcomers are welcome; there’s always room for more programmers, publicity folk, graphic designers, or people willing to learn- no experience is necessary.
You can access the WSO web site at http://wso.williams.edu/.
Suggestions and questions concerning WSO should go to firstname.lastname@example.org. More specific contact addresses include:
- email@example.com – for questions about WSO listservs.
- firstname.lastname@example.org – for questions about the WSO facebook.
Purchasing a Computer
Minimum specifications & current recommended models. Computers that don’t meet minimum specifications will still receive Help Desk support, but they invariably take longer to configure or repair and we cannot guarantee network connectivity. Questions regarding computer purchases can be sent to email@example.com.
We strongly recommend that students purchase Microsoft Office (the Academic Standard version).
We are licensed to install Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and Access) on home computers used for work by faculty and staff.
Anti-virus software is provided for all faculty, staff, and students. Keeping virus definition files up to date is required.
Other essential software may be downloaded from the Williams servers after connecting to the network. OIT provides a library of downloadable software available to current faculty, staff, and students for college related work.
Passwords & Accounts
A single user name and password are used for most computing services at Williams (email, wireless, printing, the wiki, network storage, etc.). Your desktop/laptop does not automatically use that same password, but it’s possible to synchronize them. Meeting Maker and PeopleSoft do NOT use this password- OIT recommends that you use different one for these.
Williams provides emails addresses in the format: firstname.lastname@example.org and First.M.Last@williams.edu. All new user names are in the format initials + sequence number. For example, email sent to Ephraim.A.Williams@williams.edu and to email@example.com go to the same account.
Email can be access from our webmail site or via desktop software (Thunderbird, Outlook, etc).
Viruses & Safe Computing
We have a virus scanner that automatically checks the emails going through our system. Other email accounts (like Hotmail or Yahoo) which you can access while on our network are not being scanned by our server. This means that if you open an attachment from an alternate account your computer can become infected. Also bear in mind that anti-virus definitions always come out AFTER a virus is introduced to the Internet. There may be a one or two day delay between the propagation of the virus and our ability to detect it.
If a known virus is detected in your Williams email, the virus scanner will delete it, preventing infection.
Faculty and staff computers provided by OIT come with virus scanners installed. Students should install the anti-virus software provided to them by OIT. A virus scanner is only as good as its definitions. Old virus definitions cannot adequately protect against the latest threats. Your virus scanner should automatically update when the computer is restarted. To update your Sophos Anti-Virus definitions manually, double-click the icon in the task bar that looks like a blue flower.
Safe Computing Practices
Following safe computing practices, along with an updated virus scanner, is your best defense:
- Maintain up to date antivirus software and software definitions.
- Scan all downloads and attachments for viruses before opening them.
- Do not open any attachments you weren’t expecting to receive.
- If you don’t want to delete it immediately, contact the sender to verify that the attachment is safe. Viruses “spoof” their return address. Even emails that appear to come from trusted colleagues and family members could contain viruses.
- Don’t download software from the Internet and run it unless you trust the source.
- Beware of file sharing programs (Napster, BitTorrent, Gnutella, KaZaa, eMule, etc). The email virus scanner will not protect you from viruses obtained through those programs.
- Do not trust email messages from “administrator” or “admin.”
For general information about viruses and hoaxes, visit http://www.vmyths.com/.
Working From Off-Campus
You can use many of the computing services provided by Williams from off-campus. Email and MeetingMaker can be accessed via a web browser. You can run Keyserved applications like Photoshop or Dreamweaver from a Williams owned laptop using VPN (Virtual Private Network).
Setting up Web Pages
- For classes, we recommend using Glow- contact your instructional technology liaison for assistance.
- For departments & organizations- contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For personal sites/blogs, just log in at sites.williams.edu with your standard Williams user name and password, and a WordPress site will automatically be created for you.
- For classes: you can use Blackboard. Contact your instructional technology liaison for assistance.
- For student organizations: contact wso.williams.edu.
- To request a listserv: fill out the listserv request form.
- To administer your listserv: visit http://listserv.williams.edu/.
- To retire a listsev: contact ListservAdmin@williams.edu.
The Office for Information Technology is pleased to provide a wireless network connection to registered users of the Williams Network. Wireless is available in all campus buildings. It is available outdoors where you are close enough to a building to connect. Please report any in-building locations where you can’t connect so that we can fix them.
To get started, connect to the Purple Help network, where you can find detailed directions on using Purple Air.
Network Data Storage & Backups
Personal File Server Space
All Williams users have their own personal file and web space on one of the Novell Netware servers: Achilles for students; Helen or Hector for Faculty and Staff; Jasper for OIT staff. New accounts are created with 150 MB of space. On Dell computers configured by OIT, this space is configured as the F: drive. The space is also accessible via netstorage.
Department File Server Space
Departments may share files using space on one of the Novell Netware servers. On PCs, this is the G: drive. The space is configured so everyone can share some files, and other files can be limited to individuals or groups. Contact the Faculty/Staff Support Desk at 413-597-4090 for more information. The space is also accessible via netstorage.
Academic Project Storage Space
The “Projects” server can be used for short or long-term storage of large files to be used in classes or research. Faculty should contact their instructional technology liaison for more information.
All network storage is backed up daily. However, keep in mind that backups are retained for one month. It would be impossible to retrieve a file from our server backup that you deleted two months ago.
Livebackup is a tool that backs up the changes you make on your local computer as they happen. It allows you to recover deleted files or revert to previous versions of files. We highly recommend downloading the client for your work computer.
Green (i.e. sustainable) computing is about finding a balance between what we need to do and the impact that has on the environment. There are three main considerations in green computing: the energy the computer system uses; the resources used indirectly when working on the computer (ranging from paper for printing to the air conditioning that keeps the machines from over-heating); and what happens to old equipment when it’s replaced or no longer needed.
OIT manages the institutional systems and supports programs with this in mind, but there are steps individual users can take as well. The three quickest and easiest things you can do are:
- Turn off (or hibernate / deep sleep) your computer. Whether you’re away from your room for the day, or out of your office for the night, shut down your machine before you leave (or set it to shut down automatically). You will not hurt your computer by turning it off and on each day.
- Don’t use a screen saver. For many people the screen saver is the most energy consuming application they run. Instead, have your screen go blank, or better yet set your monitor actually go to sleep (set via the power management system for your computer) – it uses less energy and it’s better for the screen.
- Don’t print what you don’t need. Williams goes through incredible amounts of paper, and much of it is never even picked up from the printer. Print double sided if your situation allows, print only the necessary pages, and pick up and use what you do print.
OIT provides a library of downloadable software available to current faculty, staff, and students for college related work. Most of the applications are controlled by a license manager called KeyServer. Therefore, your computer must be connected to the Williams network and have the KeyServer client installed for the application to run.
- Visit our software download page to see the list of what’s available.
- Make sure you have the KeyServer client installed.
- If your computer was set up by OIT, you already have it.
- If you do not have it installed, download “KeyServer client”
- Find the software you want to download, and click on the appropriate icon (Windows or Mac) to download it.
- An installer will appear on your desktop. Run the installer. You may need to restart your computer before the application is available.
Printing to a Network Printer
Williams uses a print server so you can print to networked printers all over campus. The print server also helps us monitor the environmental impact of campus printing. You will need to install a client on your computer to access public campus printers. Instructions on how to set up campus printing can be found in our printing FAQ.
Many printers on campus support duplex printing (printing on both sides of a sheet of paper). Please use this option unless you really need single sided printing. Duplex is the default on public lab printers that support it.
Student Printing Quota
Students are given a limited amount free printing per semester ($50 for underclassmen, $75 for seniors), which should cover all their academic printing needs. Additional credits can be purchased online or through the bursar.
back to top