Reftool Updates Recap (8/26/19)

Hello all,

This blog post’s purpose is to recap a couple of RefTool updates. There was an update last Friday and there will be one after hours today.

Friday Update

The former update concerned the change in time format in the Account Created and Password Changed fields in RefTool. In the past, RefTool displayed these times in the 12-hour time format, but without indication of AM/PM. This update implemented proper 12-hour time.

Additionally, the update freed the OSU profile photo integration from third-party dependencies. Previously, RefTool relied on Team Dynamix to obtain an ONID user’s university ID, then used it to request a photo from OSU Operational Data Store (ODS). This is no longer the case. RefTool now requests the ID directly from ODS, then uses it to request the photo. In the case that Team Dynamix is down, we expect the photo integration to be unaffected.

Today’s Update

The update deployed after hours today will bring some backend improvements to the photo integration.

That’s all, folks! If you have questions or comments, let me know.

Clean up work spaces


As we head into a new academic year, this is a good time to clean up our work spaces.

If you have computers or other equipment at your desk that have been there for a while, please consider storing them either on the wire racks in 213 or in a gray cabinet in 213A. Please update any tickets as needed. Less used items can go in the storage room downstairs.

If you have USB sticks at your desk, make sure they get returned to the correct color-coded tray. Please also return power adapters and tools to their proper locations.

Please avoid storing anything on the floor as this creates a trip hazard and makes the space look very cluttered and uninviting. Each of our work spaces – student and staff spaces – should have enough desk space clear for a customer to sit down and work on an issue with a technician.

Cleaning wipes are in the storage cabinets in the hall in 213A. Please note that while the cleaning crew vacuum and take out trash for us, they do not clean our desks or keyboards, and it gets awfully dusty in here.

Be kind to our customers; be kind to your coworkers. Thank you. šŸ™‚

Duo mandatory for students

The Registrar’s office will be sending the following notice to all students this week:


Once this email goes out, students will no longer be able to opt-out of Duo. If customers complain about that change, please make a ticket assigned to the Duo team.

If a customer requests an exception, please say: “Opt outs are no longer allowed. I will escalate your request for an exception, but please know that it is unlikely to be granted. In the mean time, can I help you with Duo sign-up?”

When Customers Call

We can expect an increase in requests about Duo following the Registrar’s email. Please remember that our role is to help customers sign up for Duo, not to argue with them about its merits. If they ask why they should use it, please tell them the advantages, but you don’t need to talk an angry customer into signing up.

If customers would like to know when they will be Duo mandatory, please direct them to the Duo site:

Students can of course sign up for Duo now. They do not need to wait until their mandatory date. However, we should remind folks that it’s better to sign up as soon as possible in case they need help with the process.

Security Key Option

For students who are not in Corvallis and are unable to use their phone with Duo, we can now recommend a security key such as the Yubikey as an alternative to Duo tokens from the Beaver store. Security keys can be purchased for about $20 from anywhere, and can be used with other services beyond OSU such as Facebook, personal Gmail, Dropbox, etc.

For more information, see: Use a Security Key or Yubikey


For those of you who like the details, read on!

There are about 50,000 active student accounts that will become Duo mandatory in waves of about 10,000 accounts each. The first wave will be October 23, 2019. See for the full schedule.

Grouper groups will be populated to show how many mandatory users have yet to sign up for each wave. The mandatory date will also be shown in RefTool. These changes have not yet been made. Please direct customers to the Duo site to determine their Duo mandatory date.

Students who are approaching their mandatory date but who have not yet signed up for Duo will receive reminder emails until they have signed up. This is similar to the process that was used for employees.

We will plan to staff up a bit for the last few days heading into the first mandatory date on October 23rd. We will probably use the overflow split on the phones again as well, and the Duo project team have offered to help take calls. Depending on how that first wave goes, we will adjust our plans for the others.

There will be several promotional activities and sign-up events to make students aware of this change. More details will be provided later on the Duo site.


Ask Kirsten or Richard!

Office 365 licensing

Team: there has been a lot of confusion about how Office 365 licensing works and we have given conflicting information to customers. Please read on for a better understanding!

I am currently testing the exact behavior/user experience when the license has expired. It’sā€¦. funky. On our side, we immediately (within 1 day) revoke a person’s ProPlus license when they are no longer an employee with a current job or a student registered for classes.

On Microsoft’s side, there is a 30 day grace period after we revoke someone’s ProPlus license. The user does not see this at all. The Office apps will still have full functionality, will let you sign out and back in, and will not tell you they are about to die. However, it will not let the person do a fresh install of Office. And if you login to the portal, you can check your current license status and see that it is dead. It does not show when it will die completely.

After 30 days, the Office apps will break for real and will be in “reduced functionality mode” where you can view but not create or edit documents. Microsoft says this happens “eventually”. Anecdotally, it seems to be at some point well over 30 days, usually some time over the summer, based on the timing of the complaints we typically get. This is the part I’m testing right now.

To help us better troubleshoot these issues, I’ve updated the Office 365 eligibility KB article:

Please take particular note of the section about how to look up your license status in the portal.

Customers can do this themselves, or we can walk them through it. If they are not eligible they need to take action to get eligible. For students, this means signing up for at least one credit. For employees, it means checking with their business center to make sure they have a current job listed in Banner. There is no other action we can take if they are not eligible, and no reason to escalate the request to IAM.

If they are eligible we can help troubleshoot authentication and install issues. It usually boils down to them not logging in correctly, or having other Office apps installed (e.g. Visio) that conflict with the Office 365 version of Office. Again, no reason to escalate to IAM.

Questions? Please let me know!