Thursday, September 20, 2018

Do You Have a Personal Backup Plan?

Most of us would like to say that we are extremely diligent about protecting our data and backing it up on a regular basis. However, we know that this is not always the case. 

Fortunately, backups are easier than ever before thanks to a plethora of options available to most end users. It is critical to create a backup plan for important files and make sure those backups are stored in a separate location (physically or in the cloud) so you can avoid losing valuable information if your computer is lost, stolen, compromised, or simply fails to turn on one day. 

When it comes to backups, just like security, you want to find a balance of being thorough but efficient. We have all heard disastrous stories of losing homework due to the blue screen of death or a misplaced cell phone that tragically stored the only copy of family photos. In addition, you could fall victim to ransomware or another malicious attack that leaves you with no choice but to reinstall your computer's operating system (OS). It never hurts to consider your backup strategy and come up with a plan that leaves you feeling safe and secure. Here are some tips to get you started.
  • Data loss happens all the time, but it is entirely preventable. You just need to create a backup plan.
  • Your critical data should never reside in a single place.
  • The ideal backup strategy will typically include both an online backup service (Google Drive) to ensure your data is secure no matter what happens to your mobile device or computer.
  • Running consistent, automatic backups is a straightforward process that will take little time to set up and will require even less to maintain.
  • Backups can be configured to run in real time when files on your computer are changed.
  • Routinely test your backup solution to ensure you can recover your data in the event that you do actually need to restore from a backup.
Manhattan College IT Services provides unlimited cloud storage with your JasperNet credentials to faculty, staff and students so you can back up your files. If you upload your files to Google Drive you can access them from anywhere. IT Services recommends Google Drive File Stream for storage and back up of files.



Sleepwalking is the only thing you should be worried about. #lockdownURlogin Lock Down Your Login
Source: STOP. THINK. CONNECT. 
Partially reposted from September 2018: Do You Have a Personal Backup Plan?

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

ITS Service Catalog is Full of Features

In addition to tracking any tickets you submit to the ITS HelpDesk the TeamDynamix Service Catalog has a variety of useful services.

The ITS Service Catalog screen offers a variety of productive applications.  This screen provides a snapshot of IT Services: from Equipment loan, to A/V & Event SetUp and Support,  to customized  Google Email and Calendar services:

Another useful feature: if you follow highlighted instructions, the "Ticket Request" tab offers a quick way to check on your outstanding ITS tickets:



Moodle Scheduled Maintenance Saturday 9/22 7AM-9AM


The Manhattan College Moodle system will be OFFLINE for system maintenance starting at 7AM on Saturday 9/22 to apply system updates. We anticipate that the maintenance will be completed between 7AM - 9AM during which time the Moodle system will be UNAVAILABLE.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Digital Accessibility Challenge Week 4

Creating Accessible Google Docs

Objective:  

Manhattan College ITS is encouraging employees to begin to take some simple steps that will
structure your documents so that your documents are more accessible. When creating documents,
spreadsheets or presentations it is important to provide an organized structure to all your documents
in a way that allows them to be accessible. Fortunately many word processing tools such as Google
Docs are advanced in the accessibility area and allows you to use features generally available
within each tool.

Last week’s focus was on creating accessible MS Word Docs. This week’s challenge
we will dive
deeper and focus on best practices, incorporating clear layout and design in creating accessible
Google Docs. Instructions, video tutorials and links are also included.
Please note these tips will focus on making documents created with Google Docs more accessible.


How Does Digital Accessibility Impact Manhattan College Faculty, Staff and Students?


Faculty creating instructional materials and presenting lessons.
Employees creating documents, forms, newsletters and correspondence for distribution.
Students writing reports and preparing presentations.

The following tools are important to include when making Google Docs accessible:

1. Outline feature



image of Outline feature in Google Docs


Outline features headers for each section of your document, making it simple to quickly jump from section to section. The outline tool collates headers from whatever you are working on, and allows you to jump quickly from introduction to index very easily.


To turn on Outline view, navigate to View in task bar and select Show document outline from the dropdown menu.

2. Headings

Paragraph headings provide context and a way to navigate quickly for users of assistive technologies like screen readers.
Such technologies ignore text size and emphasis (bold, italic, underline) unless certain paragraph styles such as Headings, are used. As an added benefit, Headings can be used to automatically generate a Table of Contents or bookmarks in a document. Additionally, styles modify the formatting of all occurrences in a document, so you can quickly change the format of all Headings of a particular level (you can still override global settings by changing the format of an individual piece of text, regardless of style assignment).
Headings should be selected based on their hierarchy in the document. Start the page with a heading that describes overall document content (Heading 1). Follow it with sub-headings (Heading 2) and sub-headings (Heading 3), etc.. Items of equal importance should be equal level headings, and heading levels should not be skipped (i.e., a Heading 3 can't be the first heading after Heading 1; Heading 2 can't be skipped).
To make an item a heading in Google Docs, select the Styles drop-down menu, located to the left of the font drop-down menu. The Headings can also be called with keyboard shortcuts: Ctrl+Alt+1 (Heading 1), Ctrl+Alt+2 (Heading 2), etc.
Change from Normal Text to Heading 1, Heading 2, or Heading 3, using the appropriate heading levels depending on your content structure (as described above).
Any of the three heading styles can be used to help a screen reader navigate through the Google Docs page. Heading 1 should be used as the page title, and Headings 2 and 3 should be used as subsections and sub-subsections respectively.

3.  Images

Make sure all images have text representation or alternative text with all images
Include alternative text for images, drawings, and other graphics. Otherwise, screen reader users just hear "image."
  • Upload and embed the image
  • Click the image file
  • Format > Alt Text
  • In the Alt Text window, enter your alternative text in the Description field of the Image Properties window that appears
image of Manhattan College Campus Map with Alt text highlighted
The Alt text for this image would be "Image of Manhattan College Campus Map with Alt text highlighted"

4. Color Contrast

To find instances of color-coding, visually scan your document. You can also look for text in your document that’s hard to read or to distinguish from the background.

People who are blind, have low vision, or are colorblind might miss out on the meaning conveyed by particular colors.

If your document has a high level of contrast between text and background, more people can see and use the content.

5. Lists

Like headings, using the list tools to create bulleted and numbered lists ensures that screen readers can effectively read list items. Manually inserting any of the list items will not help.

Any numbered list that has multiply layers should use a different numbering scheme for each level.

Use the Insert List icons on the formatting toolbar to create a list.

  1. Example A 
  2. Example B
  3. Example C
When you highlight these items, you can see the numbered list icon is selected in the toolbar.
This lets you know the list is properly structured:
image of numbered bullted list in Google Docs

6. Legibility

Make sure to make your document is easy to read, not only for those with assistive technologies, but also those that don’t use them.

Sans-serif fonts are considered more legible fonts for monitors than serif fonts.

Color plays an important role in any document. The color scheme itself should have contrast between light and dark without going to the extreme. Too little or too much contrast can make the document difficult to read for those who are colorblind or with low vision. Certain color combinations, such as bright colors, can cause headaches and make it uncomfortable to read what has been laid out.

7. Table of Contents

To improve quality of navigation for assistive technologies, it is recommended to add a table of contents. Throughout the document you must designate headings, because these are what used to generate the table of contents section. Using headings is also an accessibility best practice within documents. Doing so also provides other advantages for the author including the ability to rapidly modify the overall document style without having to change each individual header.

Select Insert > Table of Contents

Summary

Google Docs is the widely used word processing application through Google Drive. The methods in this blog post will increase the accessibility of documents produced through Google Docs. As the program can be used in a collaborative basis, the importance of making it accessible is necessary.

In this blog post, the accessibility of Google Docs was covered through:
  • Outline Feature 
  • Headings 
  • Images 
  • Color Contrast 
  • Lists 
  • Legibility 
  • Table of Contents 
  • Creating an Accessible Template
Once you complete reviewing the materials from the fourth week of the Digital Accessibility Challenge take a few minutes to answer these questions: 
Week 4 Accessibility Questionnaire  

Participants who complete all 5 weeks of the Digital Accessibility Challenge will be awarded a Credly Digital Badge in recognition of their effort, for more information review ITS to Launch 5 Week Digital Accessibility Challenge.


Other Resources:

Accessible Google Documents (NC State IT Accessibility)

Google Docs: Table of Contents, Headers, & Outline Tool


Monday, September 10, 2018

Dorm Wifi Feedback Form

Students, welcome back to another semester here at Manhattan College! 

ITS is making strides to improve the wireless networks in the dorms across campus. Over the summer, The Networking Team worked diligently to upgrade the wireless access points installed throughout Overlook Manor in hopes to improve the wireless reliability. We are working on upgrading wireless access points in Jasper Hall as well. If you are experiencing any wireless issues in your dorm, please let us know by filling out the Dorm Wifi Feedback form!

There are a couple of ways you can access the form to provide your wifi feedback:

  • You can visit the following link to access the form: https://go.manhattan.edu/dormwifi


  • Access the form from the GlanceMC app, found under the Featured Links section



Sunday, September 9, 2018

Digital Accessibility Challenge Week 3

Creating Accessible Word Docs

Objective:  
Manhattan College ITS is encouraging employees to begin to take some simple steps that will structure your documents so that your documents are more accessible. When creating documents, spreadsheets or presentations it is important to provide structure to all your documents in a way that allows them to be accessible by people with different abilities. . Fortunately many word processing tools such as MS Word are very advanced in the accessibility area and allows you to use features generally available within each tool.


In this week’s challenge we will dive deeper and focus on best practices, incorporating clear layout and design in creating accessible Word Docs. Instructions, video tutorials and links are also included.


How Does Digital Accessibility Impact Manhattan College Faculty, Staff and Students?

  • Faculty creating instructional materials and presenting lessons.
  • Employees creating documents, forms, newsletters and correspondence for distribution.
  • Students writing reports and preparing presentations.



The "Outline" view features headers for each section of your document, making it simple to quickly jump from section to section. This only works when you apply headings in the Outline view.
See below for more details on how to use the built in headings in MS Word: Image of how to show Document Outline View


To turn on Outline view, navigate to View in task bar and select Show document outline from the dropdown menu.



1. Include alternative text with all visuals

Visual content

Includes pictures, clip art, SmartArt graphics, shapes, groups, charts, embedded objects, ink, and videos.
Alt text helps people who can’t see the screen to understand what’s important in images and other visuals.
Many text editor environments, including programs such as Word, allow you to include ALT text for images.


Avoid using text in images as the sole method of conveying important information.

If you must use an image with text in it, repeat that text in the document. In alt text, briefly describe the image and mention the existence of the text and its intent.



2. Add meaningful hyperlink text and ScreenTips


To determine whether hyperlink text makes sense as standalone information and whether it gives readers accurate information about the destination target, visually scan your document.


People who use screen readers sometimes scan a list of links. Links should convey clear and accurate information about the destination. For example, instead of linking to the text Click here, include the full title of the destination page.
  • Example: Avoid writing: "Click here to view our course offerings..”
  • Instead write: “Explore our courses.."

3. Ensure that color is not the only means of conveying information
To find instances of color-coding, visually scan your document.
You can also look for text in your document that’s hard to read or to distinguish from the background.
People who are blind, have low vision, or are colorblind might miss out on the meaning conveyed by particular colors.


If your document has a high level of contrast between text and background, more people can see and use the content.

4. Use built-in headings and styles
Image demonstrating how to apply headings in MS Word
How to apply headings in MS Word
To preserve tab order and make it easier for screen readers to read your documents:
For example, organize headings in the prescribed logical order.
use a logical heading order and the built-in formatting tools in Word.


Use Heading 1, Heading 2, and then Heading 3, rather than Heading 3, Heading 1, and then Heading 2. And, organize the information in your documents into small chunks. Ideally, each heading would include only a few paragraphs.


5. Use a simple table structure, and specify column header information



Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split, the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point. Blank cells in a table could also mislead someone using a screen reader into thinking that there is nothing more in the table. Screen readers also use header information to identify rows and columns.


Follow the same format for Excel, PowerPoint & Outlook

Watch this video to gain an understanding about the impact of accessibility and the benefits for everyone in a variety of situations.
Web Accessibility Perspectives: Clear Layout and Design

Summary:

Improve page readability by using using the Outline view in MS Word to help you set up a clear, easy to read document.  
Use links that are easily noticeable and understandable.
  • First, don’t make users hunt around the page in search for clickable elements. 
  • Second, don’t force users to read the text surrounding a link to determine where it leads. 
  • Use color, built in headings, styles and simple table structure when creating documents.
Once you complete reviewing the materials from the third week of the Digital Accessibility Challenge take a few minutes to answer these questions:

Participants who complete all 5 weeks of the Digital Accessibility Challenge will be awarded a Credly Digital Badge in recognition of their effort, for more information review ITS to Launch Five Week Digital Accessibility Challenge  

Other Resources: