Supporting Instructors

A big priority for us right now is ensuring good support of instructors who are trying to figure out how to teach courses remotely.

The Service Desk will be the first point-of-contact for instructors. If there question is IT-related, we should help them as usual.

If their question is more pedagogical in nature (e.g. they are asking how to design their course or exam for remote delivery), we should gather as much information as we can, create a ticket, and escalate the ticket via assignment to Canvas Consultation (Group) in TeamDynamix. The Canvas team will triage and hand the request to the appropriate people, which may include staff from AT, CTL or Ecampus.

If instructors are asking for resources, we should direct them to the Keep Teaching website. In particular, we should recommend they review the checklist:

COVID-19 Information

Service Desk Student Employment during COVID-19

Our CIO Andrea Ballinger has confirmed that Service Desk students are considered vital employees. As such, Student Techs who wish to work will be enabled to do so throughout this process. More details to come!


We have started a new KB article to serve as a landing page for IT-related COVID-19 information:

In particular, please note the official OSU COVID-19 website and information number for general, non-IT questions about OSU’s response:

Instructors, students, employees and other community members will have a lot of questions and concerns. Please direct non-IT questions to the resources listed above, and be patient and kind with our customers who may be frustrated or upset about university policies.

You should also review the “Keep” sites, linked on the KB article and in RefTool:

If you have feedback about the “Keep” sites or any other documentation issues, please contact me (Kirsten). I will coordinate with the IS communications team.

Customers Working from Home

We are working with administrative units whose employees handle personally identifiable information (PII) to identify priority people who will receive OSU loaner computers to work at home. Chris Sinnett is the point-of-contact for all such requests. We have ordered laptops to set up for this purpose. More on this later.

Infrastructure are working to stand up an RDP gateway to allow employees to remote into their work computer without needing to use VPN. Richard Turk is the point-of-contact about that.

We should encourage customers not to use the VPN if they don’t have to. A list of services that need or don’t need VPN can be found here:

CN-Share, CN-Home and Box

Accessing network drives (such as CN-Share) from off-campus requires VPN. CN customers can also use MyCN for web access to their files, but they have to download files to edit them.

We should encourage customers who will be working from home to move the files they need to Box.

Service Desk Logistics

Starting Saturday 3/14/2020 we will close the walk-up service. We will still maintain our regular hours, but will support customers primarily via phone, web and email. We will only schedule in-person appointments for urgent matters; this can include walk-up work by appointment.

We will be moving some technicians to other locations (involves moving computers and phones, too) to spread our team out for “social distancing”. Max Cohen is taking point on this.

We are working with Telecom to test soft phones, to enable us to sign into the Service Desk split from off-campus. More on this later.

Supporting Teaching

We might add another menu option (option #4) to our phone line to support instructors, operated by staff from Academic Technology. I created a reference document for everyone who will be supporting faculty here:

For now, Service Desk should support instructors as best we can. If we get a question that is more about course delivery, course design, or exam delivery, escalate to “Canvas Consultation (Group)” in TeamDynamix. Please collect good details in the ticket before escalating.

Soda Fridge Has Died

I’m sorry to report that the soda fridge in the break area has died. It defrosted itself all over the place and refused to turn back on.

I moved the food items to the other mini fridge, but they got leaked on and may not be edible. In particular, a bag of ground coffee looks damp (sorry).

As a reminder, there is another break area downstairs by the elevator that has a standard size fridge. You are welcome to store food items there.

New VPN Clients

The NOC team have provided us with new Cisco AnyConnect clients. Note that the VPN server does not install the latest version, but customers can install manually via these files:

Included are clients for Windows, Windows on ARM, macOS, and Linux.

Our KB articles for setting up VPN have been updated with steps to install the latest client (thank you, Pelkey!):

NOC have also updated the connect message on the VPN server to include the new download location.

If you are wondering, yes, that helpdocs link still works.

Jim tested the Windows client, as well as the pre-login feature. The Corvallis and Bend MDT servers have been updated with the new client.

Please let me know if you have any questions.