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Admin I.S. Newsletter

Better late than never: we've been a bit busy with early-semester work, as you'll see below.
We'll try to be more reliable. Thanks for your understanding!

Feature Article:

Sungard-SCT's BANNER system is our mission-critical student and finance database. It houses current and historical records for current and past students, as well as budget, expenditure and other fiscal data for the College. In one way or another it touches virtually everything that goes on at Dowling.

In the June newsletter we reviewed some of the key functions we use on-campus (Internet-Native Banner or INB); here we will cover BannerWeb which is accessible from anywhere. We'll focus particularly on the features most useful to Faculty.

Recently, many new features have been added to this system. Faculty members can now:

  1. Look up your Schedules, Class Lists (Rosters),
  2. Look up your Advisees and Students (phone, address, email, schedules, academic history, transcripts),
  3. Enter grades.

As requested by the Division Chairs, all Faculty can now look up course enrollments, and students can look up their class schedule and view a transcript of current and past classes. Registrar strongly encourages Faculty to enter final grades into BannerWeb rather than on paper. Below we'll show you how to do some of these things. First let's review some basics.

How do I get there?

From the upper right corner of the Dowling home page, click on the "Faculty, Staff" link. This will take you to the Intranet; click on the "Banner Web" link in the upper right corner.

How Do I Get In?

Use the same username and password as you use for network and email access. We assign each faculty, staff and student a network account, and at the same time we also create an email and a BannerWeb account. One username and password is used for all three accounts; when you change your network and email password, your BannerWeb password automatically follows. If you have difficulty logging in:

  • First check whether you can login to the Dowling email system. Since the username and password are the same, this might give us a clue where the problem is.
  • Then call the Help Desk at 244-3445 and tell us whether you're having problems with BannerWeb, email or both.

For more information about usernames and passwords please see this link on the Dowling intranet Technology @ Dowling page.

I'm in BannerWeb, now what?

Let's see how faculty can use BannerWeb for common tasks. Examples:

A faculty member may want to enter grades for his/her students at the end of the semester:

  1. Click on Faculty Services.
  2. Click on Term Selection.
  3. Select "Fall 2005" (or the relevant semester) from the drop down list and click on Submit.
  4. Click on CRN Selection.
  5. Select the CRN from the drop down list and click on Submit.
  6. Click on Final Grades.
  7. Use the drop down list next to each student to set the grade and then click on Submit - you will be brought back to the same screen, but the grades will be as you had set them.
  8. Click on Faculty Services on the top menu.
Repeat steps 4-8 for each CRN you are teaching.

A faculty member needs to look up his/her class rosters at the beginning of the semester:

  1. Click on Faculty Services.
  2. Click on Term Selection.
  3. Select "Fall 2005" (or the relevant semester) from the drop down list and click on Submit.
  4. Click on CRN Selection
  5. Select the CRN from the drop down list and click on Submit.
  6. Click on "Summary Class List".
  7. You can print this page if you'd like.
  8. Click on Faculty Services on the top menu, or click on "Return to Previous" at the bottom of the screen.
Repeat steps 4-8 for each CRN you are teaching.

A faculty member needs to review his/her teaching schedule for the coming semester:

  1. Click on Faculty Services.
  2. Click on Term Selection.
  3. Select "Fall 2005" (or the relevant semester) from the drop down list and click on Submit.
  4. Click on "Faculty Detail Schedule".
  5. You can print this page if you'd like.
  6. Click on Faculty Services on the top menu, or click on "Return to Previous" at the bottom of the screen.
Repeat steps 2-6 for each CRN you are teaching.

A faculty member is the assigned advisor for a number of students. S/he needs to see who his/her assigned students are, and lookup the transcript for one of them:

  1. Click on Faculty Services.
  2. Click on Student Menu.
  3. Click on Term Selection.
  4. Select "Fall 2005" (or the relevant semester) from the drop down list and click on Submit.
  5. Click on Advisee Listing.
  6. You can also lookup the student's transcript using the appropriate link next to the student's name.
  7. Click on "Faculty Services" at the top of the page once you are done.

Faculty can look up course enrollments in BannerWeb:

  1. Click on Faculty Services.
  2. Click on Lookup Enrollment at the end of the list of menu items.
  3. Set your search parameters - most probably all you will need to set is the semester and discipline, and click on Submit.

We have recently enabled many new features in BannerWeb to enhance your ability to look up student records and to advise more effectively. We encourage your to look at our new Frequently Asked Questions page with step-by-step procedures in the Technology @ Dowling section of the Dowling website.


Please contact Tim Kelly at the Instructional Technology Support Services, x3157. He will be happy to setup a one-on-one walk-through with you.

Blood Drive

We would like to encourage you, especially if your last name begins with A thru K, to join us in donating blood at the Dowling Blood Drive on November 9 at Brookhaven and November 10 at Oakdale. It would be OK if the rest of you donate as well. Thanks!

Windows Updates

As you have probably already noticed, we have recently been sending out Windows updates via the network to all faculty, administration and staff PCs. The current set of updates takes a short time but does require a reboot. We'd like to remind you that it's good security practice to shut down your PC at night, because (1) a shutdown PC cannot be compromised, (2) updates are delivered when you login the next day. More security advice for on-campus PCs is here and there.

Banner Maintenance

We post our maintenance schedule here. The monsoon of October 8 thru 14 made for unstable electrical power hereabouts, so we postponed the October 12-13 process. Barring earthquakes, more floods or other disasters we'll try again on November 9.

Registration Packets

Historically we have sent out a registration "wrap" containing class schedules, registration forms and various other information. We are now moving much of the information online, sending students an email pointing to a "Registration Central" page and including advisor information and credit status. The email will, for the time being, be replicated in snail-mail, but we hope eventually to evolve to an all-digital system.

Infrastructure Improvements

Around the end of Summer we installed more powerful switches in several areas of both Oakdale and Brookhaven campuses, and moved the existing switches to the Residences to replace outdated equipment. The result is a significant throughput improvement in both networks. We're still working out a few kinks on the Administrative network, especially between Racanelli Center and Fortunoff Hall, but things seem to have settled down now.

Something for Nothing

We managed to convince our Internet Service Provider to give us a 10Mbit circuit in place of a 1.5Mbit circuit without increasing the price. (Kudos to Das, whose skills transcend the mere technical.) The new circuit now connects the Brookhaven residence network to Oakdale, from where it connects to the outside. As a result, students' bandwidth more closely resembles the broadband speeds they get at home.

E-mail Policy

A memo was distributed on September 1 announcing Dowling's email policy: all correspondence containing personal or academic information MUST be directed towards people's "@dowling.edu" email address. A copy of the memo is here.

Some people are concerned that Dowling's email system is (1) unreliable, (2) not private. Concerning reliability: we invest a great deal of energy toward assuring that the system is stable, so if you are experiencing otherwise we would be grateful to hear from you, so we can fix whatever problems you might be experiencing. Concerning privacy: communication between our mail system and your PC (whether at home or at work) is encrypted so that we cannot intercept it to read it; stored email cannot be viewed except if we change your password, which you would certainly notice. We'd be happy to discuss your concerns -- please call Chris at x3076, or our email administrator, Patrick Petersen, at x3460.

GroupWise Upgrade Coming

We're planning to upgrade GroupWise to version 7 (currently at v6.5) after its initial shakedown period. We don't want to be the first guys on the block. GW7 sports a neater, more "Outlook-like" appearance in its Windows version, and the Web version carries more functions than earlier versions that previously were only accessible in the Windows version. We can install the feature-rich Windows version on any PC on campus, and we will provide a copy for you to install on your home PC as well -- call x3445 for further information.

Good Security Practices

Early in September we distributed an email reminder about security on Dowling networks and PCs. Lots of good tips here. The most important: keep your mission-critical files on your J: drive so they'll be backed up every night, not on your local hard disk, and CERTAINLY not on floppies.

Banner Upgrade: Presidents Day

Once again we have avoided being the first kids on the block with the new toys, but Banner 7 has been available for more than a year now, so it's time to upgrade. The new version's web interface will be quite different in appearance, but the plan is to do the upgrade during a relative "lull" in activity (if there IS such a thing), provide training, and allow several weeks of fumbling before registration begins in earnest during April. Banner 7 will be available for testing during the next few weeks, and documentation will be made accessible.

Blackboard Upgrade

The server which houses Blackboard has received a significant boost in storage as well as a modest speed improvement. While not unlimited, space is less an issue than previously. We continue to encourage everyone to utilize Blackboard, not only for course support and communication but for special projects that require collaboration among numerous people. Training and advice: Tim Kelly, x3157.

Follow the Money

In the Nixon era Deep Throat's advice was to "follow the money." There is an interesting article on spyware at PCWorld. Spyware is big business -- the article has a number of links to related info that are worth checking. This is also an opportunity to recommend that you visit our own PC security page.

Cosmic Rays

For years that's the excuse I've been giving for why computers misbehave. And all of you have been snickering at our advice to reboot. Well, now we have scientific support for these notions: read the articles here and here.

Library PodCasts

The Dowling Library announces the availability of its first episode of Omnibus, an online compilation of interviews, updates and reports, which can be accessed here. You can listen right from your computer or download the file to your iPod or other MP3 player. The first show features a discussion on computer security, a talk with the student who founded the Humanitarian Club, and a presention of the history of the Idle Hour mansion through readings from the Library's Special Collections.

Input, Output

What would you like us to write about? Would you like to contribute to an article or news snippet? Please help us make this newsletter more useful to you.