Unofficial Orientation Series 2017: WesTech

This is an update of michelle‘s update of kitab‘s update of alt‘s update of pyrotechnics‘ update of lesanjuan‘s update of Syed’s 2010 post.

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This is part of our 2017 Unofficial Orientation Series. A quick reminder that you can check out the welcome post here and past years’ series here.

Welcome to the internet, dear prefrosh. We’re so glad you came.

You have already proven that you have some knowledge of how to navigate the digital multiverse (delete your WesAdmits bio before you get to campus, trust me), but there’s a lot to learn when it comes to figuring out the digital landscape here at Wesleyan. Rest assured, I’m gonna try to demystify the finer points of all things technology at Wes.

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.

If you’re confused, don’t worry: I’ve never heard anyone use the term WesTech, which probably means I’m a techie. Huh. Anyway, for instructions on how to be technologically savvy at Wes, read on.

GETTING ONLINE

students-on-laptops-tablets-smartphones

This could be you, because homework is *definitely* what happens on Foss.

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.

The student helpdesk website is the best place to go for guides that explain ‘how to get online, get mail on your phone, connect gaming consoles to the network, print, and much more.’ Rumor has it that ITS helpdesk workers are going to be in all of your dorms during move-in day to help you connect to the internet if you need it. You can also mosey on down to the literal helpdesk, located in Exley 116. The student workers sometimes bump tunes.

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. Everyone complains about it all the time, but it works more or less the same as previous WiFi networks, meaning that it’s horrible around 9 pm in any of the libraries but works decently well otherwise.

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 Cardinal Tech in Usdan or online from retailers such as Monoprice or Amazon.

I legitimately have never used this but it’s there still?

As freshmen, it’s unlikely but still possible that you’ll need to get on the Internet in a woodframe, but each woodframe house has its own wireless network. Its name corresponds to the address of the house.

EDUROAM

Wesleyan is now part of the eduroam network, meaning that you can use your Wes username and password to log into any eduroam network at another university, even internationally. Try this when there’s a network outage or when you’re trying to be shady.

UNIVERSITY SOFTWARE

Google Apps:

We use Google Apps, which provides everyone with essentially a modified version of Google’s Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Docs, Pages, etc. 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.

If you use another Gmail account regularly, you can integrate them so that you receive all emails in one inbox and can choose which email outgoing messages are from. Just be careful not to send your profs emails from your sixth grade email address.

Moodle

Moodle1718 is our classroom organizing software, which you access through your student portfolio. You can see who else is in a course, view documents uploaded by your professor, view grades, participate in forums, view videos of class when applicable, etc. Many professors require Moodle posts on readings over the course of the semester; remember to do these even though they’re super annoying—it can impact participation grades quite a bit.

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 the latest version of Microsoft Office. There’s a lot of conflicting information about how to download the software on the Wesleyan website, but it seems as if the most accurate information is this:

“Wesleyan provides Microsoft Office to its faculty, staff, and students.  Students can self-register to download and install the latest versions of Office as well as use Office 365.  The self registration is at https://products.office.com/en-us/student.  Click on Find Out if You’re Eligible and enter your Wesleyan email address.  Microsoft will email you a link to complete the self registration process.”

This spring, Wesleyan also rolled out Office 365 (kinda like Google Docs, but with Microsoft products) for free to anyone with an active Wesleyan email address. To access it, you just log in with your Wesleyan username and password. You can read more about all that newfangled stuff here.

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 (2016 update: lol does anyone even use RSS feeds anymore?; 2017 update: michelle, I actually have an RSS update send directly to my email about Ribosome news) to keep track of online news/blog reading. Here’s the Wes sources listed in their 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 a community blog run by the administration. They post newsworthy clips and seem to mostly aggregate posts from other departments.
  • 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 also follow many of these sources with social networks like Facebook or Twitter. The E-Portfolio got an update over the summer, and its UI seems nicer, although I’m still adjusting. If you’re looking for something specific within the menus, the best way to find it is to use the search feature. I’m sad that the new portfolio doesn’t have themes anymore.

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. They got a huge makeover over the summer, and it’s amazing. We also got a new librarian last year, and the WesLibNews Twitter presence has improved dramatically (probably because of Dan’s practice with his amazing personal account).

 

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 “Course Reserves” on the red bar next to “Databases.” 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 they use 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 is OneSearch. If you’re are trying to search for academic resources or books to check out, this is where you search. It is designed like a search engine and will check every single resource that Wesleyan has access to through its physical holdings, online subscriptions, and InterLibrary Loan (ILL) partnerships. Make sure you’re logged into your E-Portfolio before using OneSearch (this isn’t essential, you’ll just be prompted to do so as soon as you do search for something). If what you’re looking for isn’t listed in the OneSearch results, you might try doing a more refined perusal of Wesleyan’s database subscriptions.

 

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. I also highly recommend checking out these video tutorials created for the new library WesTech, and these FAQs.

To see and manage the items you’ve checked out from Olin, SciLi, or through a partner library through InterLibrary Loan (ILL), you can access your personal library account here. You can renew your books there, so long as no one else has requested the book (you can theoretically do this until you graduate).

If you are looking for something (typically a newly published monograph or other scholarly work) that exists nowhere in the catalog or through ILL, you can suggest a purchase. This is very cool and under-utilized in my opinion. If the library folks agree to purchase your suggestion, they’ll send you an email notification that will include when the book should arrive. They’ll also hold the book for you after it arrives!!!

The Wesleyan library can help you even when you’re not physically at school, or when your paper is due in 4 hours and Olin is closed. Many books are available electronically, through various platforms, and some can be downloaded and read on e-readers. It’s also possible to download a certain number of pages in pdf form, which is great if you’re like me and have inherited the desire to have offline access to everything you’ve ever read.

 

 

WESCAM

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You don’t need to worry about this until next spring, but because it will inevitably come up, and so that you can be the cool frosh who knows how it works, here’s a pretty good description.

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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. Happy internetting.