Student Attendance and Early Alert Application

The Office of Student Retention and Completion, in collaboration with the Offices of the Registrar, Information Technology, and the Deans, recently launched a pilot “Student Attendance and Early Alert Application” for the Spring 2021 semester. The pilot program is designed for the early detection of students exhibiting signs of academic distress. Research on student retention supports early identification/intervention programs as high impact activities that positively affect student success. To this end, the custom app, designed by Will Geiger, IT, serves to facilitate communication between faculty, staff, and academic advisors.

The pilot comprises representation from all colleges and a cross-section of academic departments.  Thirty-five faculty participants from the departments of Accounting, English and Theatre, Health Administration and Human Resources, and Physics and Engineering, agreed to participate in their roles as course instructors. A total of 1,113 students, including graduate and undergraduate, are included in pilot outreach activities.  Since early alerts are directed to students’ academic advisors, there are many College of Arts and Sciences faculty advisors in addition to PCPS and KSOM professional academic advisors who are participating in the pilot.

The “Student Attendance and Early Alert Application” is intended to have the following student outcomes:

  • Increase student class attendance and participation.
  • Improve student engagement with professors and academic advisors.
  • Prompt students to share responsibility for their academic success by maximizing use of campus resources.

Dr. Teresa Grettano, Director of the First Year Writing Program, was one of the first faculty members to sign on to the pilot program: “Writing instructors usually encounter students in the vulnerability of their first year, and because of our pedagogical practices and assignment types, students are more likely to express or demonstrate struggles. Students need support and instruction in their transition from high school to college, but many are afraid to ask for it or don’t know that it even exists. The program lets students know there are people across campus interested in their well-being – academic, emotional, financial, spiritual, and otherwise. It is cura personalis in action.”

Dr. Dan West, Chairman and Professor in the Department of Health Administration and Human Resources, is enthusiastic about this new system as it will not only help his students, but also assist with program accreditation efforts. “The accrediting and credentialing organizations in Health Administration and Human Resources stress the importance of academic advising in overall retention efforts by undergraduate and graduate programs. Early detection of student concerns is vitally important for faculty advisors in helping students successfully navigate their academic studies and achieve positive outcomes,” states West. “Our participation in this pilot helps us to meet our criteria for accreditation and gives us information to demonstrate how we help our students.” 

Finally, Dr. Harry Dammer, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, is also an integral partner in the endeavor. Of the initiative, he writes “The CAS Dean’s office is grateful for the faculty who have volunteered for this new initiative and also excited about the work Nick Truncale and Julie Ferguson (Registrar) are doing to improve retention. This issue is of utmost importance in our current financial and enrollment situation.”

If you have any questions about the system, please reach out to Nicholas Truncale, Director of Student Retention and Completion

Tech Tips from IT Staff – D2L Video and Quiz Tips

Uploading large videos to D2L with an iPhone by Patrick J. Mullarkey, Application Administrator

If you are a  faculty member looking to upload large videos to D2L that were recorded with an iPhone, take a moment to review this free iPhone/iPad app: Video Compress – Shrink Vids.

Using the Respondus Lockdown Browser tool when giving quizzes in D2L – Tony Gazoo, Application Administrator

With the increase in online testing, we would like to provide some guidance on the use of Respondus Lockdown Browser tool within D2L. The Respondus LDB can only be properly installed by students from within our D2L instance. Our recommendation is to create a “practice LDB” quiz in each course with one or two questions and enable it to require lockdown browser.  Instruct students to open the practice quiz and they will be prompted to download Respondus LDB before actually starting the quiz. They can then take the “practice LDB” quiz and be assured that Respondus LDB works on their computer before taking a real quiz. If they use the same computer to take subsequent quizzes, then they should be successful using the Respondus Lockdown Browser.

Click here for directions on how to enable Respondus Lockdown Browser on a quiz in D2L.

Classroom Database Update: Application Search Available on the Instructor PC

Peruse the online Classroom Database to find the smart room you need for your next lecture or meeting. The database search reveals specific room equipment as well as room availability, and provides supporting materials and guides for specific technologies.

Instructor PC Update

The Academic Technology Advisory Council, whose members provide guidance and advice on academic technology at the University, requested last Fall that IT include the installed Instructor PC applications (or software) to the current database to help in the preparation and assignment of classrooms.

As such, we are happy to announce that the database has been upgraded to reflect this change. To review the Instructor PC software:

  • Go to and log in
  • Select Building
  • Select the room by clicking View
  • Scroll down to Equipment and select Instructor PC
  • This will show you a list of the Installed Applications

Use the Search feature

You may notice that the list of Installed Applications can be quite lengthy. To limit the number of results, type the application you are looking for in the Search box.

Please note that if there are student machines in the room, they will have the same software as the Instructor PC.



Mac Computer Upgrades: Legacy Software and Catalina

Since macOS Catalina is the first Apple operating system that will no longer support 32-bit applications; Apple has provided a way to identify the software that will no longer run when upgrades.

In order to find these applications follow these steps:

  • Click on the Apple logo on the top left of the screen
  • Select About This Mac
  • Click on the System Report button
  • Scroll down the left pane to the Software section and select Legacy Software

Only 32-bit software that is no longer supported by Catalina will show up in this section. If the software that shows up here is important to you, you might consider postponing your upgrade.

If you have software you know to be 64-bit but shows up on this list it means that the software has 32-bit components that cannot be guaranteed to work or work properly under Catalina.

If you have legacy software that is essential to you, you might consider contacting the vendor to find out if or when they will have a Catalina compatible version and what you should do in order to obtain it.

AWS Educate in the Classroom

AWS Educate, Amazon’s cloud-based web services platform geared specifically towards educational institutions, has made its debut at the University of Scranton as part of a pilot for the new Data Science Concentration.

The service, which grants access to virtually the entire suite of services offered through Amazon AWS, enables faculty and students to create and manage their own dedicated virtual environment free of charge from anywhere they have internet access. Through the classroom interface, a Professor can configure which services are available to their students and can connect to and manage each student’s computing environment. Virtual classrooms give students the freedom to operate on their own while still allowing the professor to effectively manage the course curriculum.

In the pilot, Dr. Jason Graham of the Mathematics Department is introducing his students to the R programming language and its IDE, RStudio. With AWS Educate, his students are able to deploy their own dedicated EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) virtual machine with all of the required software pre-configured for its immediate use all in a matter of minutes. Not only does this save the students from having to install complex software on their personal machines, it also saves Dr. Graham from having to devote precious class time to troubleshooting issues caused by disparities in student hardware.

Cloud-based services are becoming more and more common as user and organizational needs change. By having services like AWS Educate available for students, we’re giving them the opportunity to learn valuable skills which will serve them well when it comes time for them to leave the University. After all, the future of IT is in the cloud!

Get Started with AWS Educate

Faculty members can register as an educator using their University email address at This will associate their email address with the University of Scranton’s AWS Educate institutional account and allow them to create and manage virtual classrooms.

Please note that as you enter the required information, you will be prompted to either enter an existing AWS account or sign up for a “free” Amazon Educate account. If you sign up for the free account, it’s good for a year but doesn’t require any credit card information. We recommend the alternate option where you associate your AWS Educate account with an AWS account, which requires a credit card. This option is permanent and doesn’t cost anything as long as you stay within the credits allocated through AWS Educate.

Two Step Required in

Two Step (through DUO) will be required when using our remote (VDI) environments. This does not apply to VDI in classsrooms.

What does this change mean?

After August 19th, when you log into and you enter your credentials (Royal ID and Password), you will receive a push notification on your mobile device. As soon as you authenticate by selecting the green checkbox, you will be able to access remote. If you are using a token, you will be prompted for a temporary code on the login page.

Video Instructions

Summer Computer Updates

Lab Computers

Many device updates were completed in the computer labs: Biology (1 new PC); CAS Dean (43 new zero client laptops); Chemistry (9 new PC’s); Communication (33 new PC’s); Classroom systems (34 new instructor’s PC’s); Library (7 new iMacs, 8 new PCs); Math (40 Chromebook mobile lab); Physics (13 new PC’s).

All lab and classroom Windows computers have been updated to include Office 2019 replacing Office 2016. Many software applications have also been upgraded in our computer lab facilities including SPSS, MatLab, Minitab and Maple. All lab and classroom systems received operating system and many third party application updates.

As we expand our virtual desktop program, we are pleased to provide faculty with the ability to utilize a virtual lab. The virtual lab provides access to virtual Windows 10 machines preinstalled with University licensed software from a personal device eliminating the need to use rooms with lab machines when University licensed software is needed. Students can utilize their own laptops to access standard applications allowing faculty to create a lab in any room that they are teaching in. Review additional virtual lab information.

Office Computers

Over the summer months, the desktop windows operating system and many of third party applications (Firefox, Flash, Java, Adobe, etc.) received security patches through KBOX or Microsoft update. If you have not used your computer over the summer, these updates may automatically begin to download to your system when you turn it on. As the critical patches are installed, machines may experience a temporary decline in performance. We advise faculty to take this into consideration and allow time for the updates to take place.

MS Office 2019 will be available for faculty and staff on University owned office computers upon request.

Intersession Classroom Upgrades

At the end of the Fall semester, Academic and Media Services will be upgrading five classrooms in the Loyola Science Center.  The rooms included in the upgrade are 233, 333, 334, 433 and 437.  The rooms will be receiving a full-scale upgrade that will include removing the equipment from the closets and putting it in the podiums where possible.  All A/V components, including the projector(s), switcher, controllers and cabling will be replaced.  All rooms will get an updated program that will be more user friendly and intuitive than what is currently in place.  All upgrades will be completed by the start of the Spring semester.

Summer Computer Updates

Classrooms & Teaching Spaces

This year we have refreshed the switching and control technologies in the following rooms: LSC 114, 116, 118, 123, 125, 126, 127, 141, 212, 226, 325 and 326. Throughout 2018 and 2019, we will work to upgrade more classrooms in LSC.

As a reminder, our classroom database contains details and instructions for each of the mediated spaces. A link for the classroom database can be found on the website. The classroom database is only accessible while on campus. Faculty can obtain assistance for any of our mediated facilities by contacting the Technology Support Center at 570-941-HELP.

Office computers

Over the summer months, the Microsoft Windows operating system and many third party applications (Firefox, Flash, Java, Adobe, etc.) received security patches through KBOX or Microsoft update.
If you have not used your computer over the summer, these updates will automatically begin to download to your system when you turn it on. As the critical patches are installed, machines may experience a temporary decline in performance.
IT advises faculty to take this into consideration and allow time for the updates to take place.

Lab/Classroom computers

Many device updates were completed in computer labs:
– KSOM (14 new PC’s, 70 zero clients)
– Library (1 Mac, 1 PC, 105 zero clients)
– Communications (6 new Macs)
– Chemistry (4 new PC’s)
– Psychology (2 new PC’s)
– Physics (4 new PC’s)


The latest MacOS, Mojave, is coming this Fall. This is the last MacOS release that will support 32-bit applications. If you are running 32-bit applications, now is a good time to start looking for alternatives. If you aren’t sure, we can help.