Training and Tips

G-Day is coming...Really!

“G-Day is coming…,” really it is. During the Fall semester, the Office of Information Technology had announced the upcoming release of a new mail system robust with features. Delays in the deployment of Google Applications for Education resulted as OIT worked to ensure that the authentication method used to connect the user to their Google account was solid and met the standards set forth by the Chief Security Officer.  After much planning, discussion and testing, OIT has arrived at an acceptable solution that meets the needs of both the user community and network security. Users will connect to Google Apps using their UAUsername and password.

OIT still plans to deploy Google Apps early this semester following a major update to the UAF Blackboard system that is taking place this week. As a result students, staff and faculty at both UAF and the Statewide Offices will have access to tools including email, shared calendars, instant messaging, word processing, spreadsheets, and slideshow presentation applications all at their new @alaska.edu address.

The conversion process will be very easy for the end user. Account creation will be automated as it is for many systems. When email users first claim their accounts via their favorite web browser, they will be directed to the university’s central authentication service (Authserv) where they will enter in their uausername and password and they will be in. For users of desktop mail programs such as Outlook or Thunderbird, there will be instructions for directing their mail program to Google instead of the local servers. Overall the process will be quite painless.

Once the new email system is online we expect to give everyone the full academic year to migrate their mail over to the new service and announce their new email address. Your address will remain @alaska.edu on the new Google platform. Migration assistance will be provided.

Google Apps for Education allows the university to give Google's communication and collaboration applications to the entire campus community for free. All services are hosted by Google and are available to users via any internet-connected computer and many mobile devices. Google Apps
includes the following services:
•    Gmail™ - provides gigabytes of email storage, highly effective spam filtering and powerful search;
•    Google Calendar™ - allows easy coordination of work or class schedules, meetings and events online;
•    Google Talk™ - supports free PC-to-PC voice calls and instant messaging;
•    Google Video-free desktop video chat for both PC and Mac
•    Google Docs™ - allows users to create and collaborate on documents and spreadsheets in real-time;
•    Google Sites™ - team website creation, embedded videos, images and gadgets
For more information, FAQs and updates, visit our project website at:

Supervisor Media Training

Join Kate Ripley, Public Affairs Director for the UA System, for a presentation on “Media 101."  The university is a major newsmaker in the state, and, as a manager, you may receive press inquiries on any number of issues.  Do you know what makes something newsworthy? Why does the press do some of the things they do? If you are contacted by the media about a university program or policy, do you know what to do or say?
DATE:              January 26, 2009; Monday
TIME:                2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
PLACE:            Butrovich 204, Sherman Carter Conference Room
AUDIENCE:    University supervisors and managers
Register here:   http://www.alaska.edu/hr/training/showEvent.xml?id=51&showDate=2009-01-06   A confirmation will be emailed to you.  Space is limited to 25 (in-class) participants.
University supervisors may also join this session from Anchorage (Bragaw Office Building, Room 209) or remotely from their desk.  When you register, please indicate in the “Comments” box if you will be “calling in.”   A copy of the handouts will be emailed to you with the audio bridge line and PIN.
Topical areas.
·         What Makes Something “Newsworthy”
·         Dealing with Reporters and Understanding What They’re Looking For
·         Supervisors and Managers Role and Responsibilities in University Communication with Media
·         Protocol in Receiving/Handling Media Inquiries
Format:  60 minute presentation with time provided for a Q&A.  The session may end earlier depending on participation and questions
Presenter/Facilitator:  Kate Ripley, Public Affairs Director for the UA System.  Kate is responsible for UA’s statewide communications, media relations, marketing and publications. She oversees UA’s award-winning statewide advertising campaign, which most recently received a national Best of Show award from the 23rd Annual Admissions Advertising Awards for 2008. The campaign won gold and silver medals in the 2007 CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) national competition.  Ripley came to the university as public affairs director in November 2004.  Prior to that, she had 15 years of professional experience in daily journalism, writing, editing and public relations.  As a journalist, she was a recipient of the national Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism (Annie E. Casey Foundation/University of Maryland College of Journalism) for a three-part newspaper series on daycare and working families. 

Employee e-learning with SkillSoft

The University of Alaska and SkillSoft signed a three-year contract for online training and development resources for active University employees.  The contract will provide University employees with access to resources, such as Books 24x7 starting January 31, 2009. 

Information about the added resources will be posted at the SWHR website and demonstrations to familiarize University employees with the resources will be scheduled in the coming weeks and throughout the contract period. 

The three year contract is being sponsored by all MAUs and is a cost efficient way to provide employee development across the state. 

Employees can access the “Employee e-learning” through UA Online, MyUA and at the Statewide HR website http://www.alaska.edu/hr/training/e-learning/skillsoft.xml  

Employees can still access the resources under our current contract, which includes thousands of online courses and job aids by using any desktop computer. The available courses cover business skills, desktop (Microsoft Office—Word, Excel, etc.), information technology and preparatory exams for certification, environmental, health and safety and workplace compliance topics.  

The online courses which are free to all active University employees, offer an opportunity to develop new skills on their own time or ask approval from a supervisor to complete job-related training and development during their work hours.  The online materials can be used to supplement traditional learning methods and provide for skill development as a stand-alone resource. The online program offers job aids and scenarios or simulations to practice new skills.  Participants may take the courses or view the material at their own pace and when they need it. They also may use the course completion credits toward recertification.  

As a timesaver, the online courses allow for pretesting so employees can skip material where they already have a proficiency level. Employees may also exit the course and re-enter the course where they left off because of a built in bookmark feature.  This is beneficial, if, for example, an employee needs to exit the course after 5-10 minutes and wants to re-enter on a different day.

The e-learning courses are not intended to replace instructor-led sessions or university courses for which employees request tuition or fee waiver.  Nor will these courses replace UA-specific training. The online material may supplement current employee development offerings or provide an option at campuses where employee development offerings are not as readily available.  This online option gives employees an opportunity to initiate or restart a conversation with their supervisors about their professional training and development needs.  Supervisors will benefit from the development their employees receive.  Relevant learning increases an individual's knowledge, skills and abilities and the value of contributions one can make to the university.

OIT Tip of the Month

Got questions about Microsoft Office or Adobe InDesign?
Can't wait for a training class?
Good News!
UA's e-learning contract with Skillsoft has been renewed for three years.

If you are not familiar with our skillsoft portal go to http://www.alaska.edu/hr/training/e-learning/skillsoft.xml to learn how to log in.

Once in you can find a wide variety of training on MS Office, Adobe products, (and even some training on other subjects).

If you do a search for Microsoft Office 2007: New Features  you will find short sections on each of the revised applications.

OIT Training Schedule

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