Unofficial Orientation Series ’14: WesTech

This is an update of pyrotechnic‘s update of lesanjuan‘s update of Syed’s 2010 post.

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I’m not sure I can survive without access to the web or my phone, so the first thing that you’ll probably do after moving your stuff into your dorm is to connect your phone/tablet/computer/laptop/other gizmo to the internet. Here’s some info for you on how to do that, and other tech things on campus.

The first thing you should know: WesTech. It refers to the kindly people who provide “technical services and support to all faculty, staff and students,” you might think. No, that’s ITS and how they describe themselves. Here’s what a previous WesLingo post says about WesTech:

WesTech is a word that will pop up every once in a while (via the ACB): “WesTech refers to everyone not DKE/Beta or mostly the ‘very Wesleyan’ population. It comes from the idea that Wesleyan has unattractive girls and bad sports and thus might as well be a technical school: WesTech.” Apparently, however, this is a term used mainly by other schools to make fun of Wesleyan, and has been appropriated by the sports teams as a label of pride (sports teams doing the ironic appropriation? Only at Wesleyan). A Techie was a term generally used by athletes to describe a “typical” Wesleyan student (artsy), or a “Techie.”

Now that you know what it means, this is required viewing: WesTech State of Mind.

Of course, we’re not really going to talk about that much (or at all after this). This is a how-to about Tech(nology).

GETTING ONLINE

When trying to access these services or other members of the World Wide Web, you might encounter issues. That brings us to Information Technology Services (ITS). ITS maintains the internet connection, the computer labs, and lots of other technology related things at Wes—be thankful for these people.  You can follow ITS on Twitter @WesleyanITS. In previous years, connections tended to slow to a crawl during peak hours. Since an upgrade a few years ago, network slowdowns have been almost completely removed. Be thankful for that too.

AIRWES WESSTUDENT AIRWES

Airwes, which used to be called Wesstudent, which used to be called Airwes, is the campus wifi network for students. It’s an encrypted network, so connecting is somewhat involved. For details, see the ITS website guide.

If you can’t get on Airwes, a work around is to use Wesguest. It’s not encrypted, so it’s much easier to access. All you need is the password W1831 to connect. It runs off the same hardware as Airwes, so it won’t work if you’re out of range.

RESNET

ResNet connects most housing to the greater Wesleyan network. Every student room has an Ethernet jack to connect to it. You will need your own ethernet cable to connect to ResNet. Note that all digital cabling is the same, so there’s no need to spend 40 dollars on a five-foot cable. Cables can be purchased at the computer store in Usdan or online from retailers such as Monoprice or Amazon.

UNIVERSITY SOFTWARE

Google Apps:

We use Google Apps, which provides everyone with essentially a modified version of Google’s Gmail, Calendar, Docs, and Pages.  Use the Google Apps Help if you don’t know how to do something or want to streamline something. There’s also a lot of sites and pages out there that tell of tweaks and other how-tos you might be interested in.

One key difference between your Wesleyan Google Apps account and a standard Google account is login. To access your account, you can use ePortfolio, go directly to mail.gapps.wesleyan.edu, or sign in at gmail.com using your Wesleyan username (e.g. yourname@wesleyan.edu). Your Wesleyan account can be synced to mobile devices just like any other Google account.

Moodle2

Moodle2 is our classroom organizing software. You can see who else is in the course, view documents uploaded by your professor, view grades, participate in forums, view video of class when applicable, etc.

Wesfiles

Wesfiles is Wesleyan’s in house file storage and sharing system. Student accounts include 1GB of space. More information available here.

MS Office

If you don’t already have a copy, the University supplies all students with Microsoft Office. You can buy a hard copy at the Computer Store or download it from Wesfiles. Versions downloaded from Wesfiles do need a serial number to activate.This is available from the ITS Helpdesk.

ONLINE RESOURCES

News Sources

It’s important to stay up-to-date on what’s been going on around campus. There are several official and unofficial news sources to tell you about what’s already happened and what will happen. Wesleying covers most of it, so we’re a good place to check. But if you just can’t shove enough Wes-related info down your brain-pipe, there are a few other outlets. Our old friend Syed used an RSS reader called Feedly to keep track of online news/blog reading. Here’s the Wes sources listed in hir Feedly account:

  • Your Class Blog can contain important updates or interesting opportunities from your Class Dean. Even if you don’t always read it, you should keep an eye out for any important updates posted on it, although most important things will get emailed to you.
  • Roth on Wesleyan is President Roth’s outreach to the Wesleyan community, where he occasionally posts his Wes-related observations and encounters.  With this and your class blog, just remember that Ms. Frizzle (link) isn’t there handing out letters to your parents anymore. You’ll get emails, but ultimately it’s up to you to stay up-to-date with deadlines and the like.
  • The Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) Blog tells of what the WSA is doing and how this affects you. It occasionally has some important notices and tips. If you’re into accountability especially, read it.
  • The Wesleyan Argus is the online edition of the official school newspaper. New issues are published on Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • The Middletown Press is the daily local newspaper for the Middletown area.
  • The Middletown Eye is a new blog reporting on news in Middletown and the surrounding area.
  • AuralWes  is an independent blog, unaffiliated with the university, that keeps track of “upcoming shows, concerts, festivals and other student-run, music-related events on campus.”
  • WesLive is essentially the university administration’s reaction to Wesleying.
  • Wesleying is a 100% student-run and student-generated blog about all things Wesleyan—what goes on at Wes, what Wes students are doing, what Wes students care about.  We’re not in any way affiliated with the university. We feature news, commentary, events, and random shit.

The Student Portfolio custom pages also use RSS feeds.  You can add more feeds by clicking ‘Add Stuff’ under the panaroma picture. You can also follow many of these sources with social networks like Facebook or Twitter.

Library

Even with resources like Google and Wikipedia, libraries are still important hubs of information. To get through these next four years, you’re going to have to know how to use the online resources of the Wesleyan library.

While most professors just post readings on Moodle, many use E-Res, short for the Electronic Reserves. If you have reading on the syllabus that’s not from a book and isn’t uploaded on Moodle, check E-Res before you admit you were daydreaming during the first class. It’s not that hard to use E-Res, though some of us find it confusing at first. After you go to the library site, click E-Res on the left hand side under Course Reserves (above About the Libraries). Once you’re there, it’s only a matter of finding the course. The easiest way is to click the right tab to find ‘Course Reseve Pages by Instructor.’ Clicking this leads to a drop-down menu, where you select whatever your professor’s name is. The courses ze uses E-Res for will appear. Now, click the Course Code for your class and then enter the password when prompted. The password for almost every single class is exactly that course code (i.e. the course WSLN101 would have the password WSLN101). If that’s not the password, then check your syllabus. There you’ll be presented with a list of files, mostly PDFs, usually organized alphabetically by author. Click the files you’ll need for that week and they should download immediately.

The other aspect of the library’s online home you should be familiar with is mainly for research.  Your average Google search won’t cut it.  At the library’s homepage, the most prominent feature, on the top left, is ‘Search Resources’. If you’re searching for scholarly articles, this is where to go.  Click the Articles tab and do a keyword search in databases like AcademicOneFile.

These are resources that the university pays a lot for—use them. You can also search through the Catalog to find books at the Wesleyan Library.  If the book you want isn’t there, you should search the CTW consortium, a ConnColl-Trinity-Wes collaboration to loan books to one another when needed.  If that still doesn’t yield your book, try WorldCat.  I strongly recommend the library tour during orientation. Though, if you find yourself over your head in a research project, you can always ask for a personal research session with one of the librarians.

 

WESACB

Don’t. Just don’t.

But just so you won’t go “huh” when someone is bound to mention it, the ACB is the Anonymous Confession Board. It’s used for everything from dishing dirt to asking questions about things you’re not sure of to engaging in scholarly discourse.  Some admit to posting or at least reading the ACB regularly, but others keep it a shameful secret. Almost everyone on campus has been there at least once or twice. Its history is complicated, but under the current management, the Wild West aspects of it have been tamed down (eh, sorta). Note that the ACB should come with a disclaimer: it’s not necessarily the best representation of the Wesleyan community.

 

For more Wesleyan related internet sources, go to the sidebar on any Wesleying page and see Links. Click the categories to drop down the individual links. Add suggestions and/or questions in the comments.