Library and Information Technology Services carries out 2019 changes

By Anna Mann

The Library and Information Technology Services (LITS) implemented several changes to campus-wide Wi-Fi, Banner login, and Banner password reset this January. Diane Camper, Director of Strategic Digital Infrastructure (SDI), and Associate Provost for Information Technology Services Dr. Vicki Sells have been planning the changes since the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.

The most pertinent change will be the application of the eduroam global Wi-Fi network to Sewanee’s campus. The international wireless internet service for higher education schools allows students and faculty to access Wi-Fi with Sewanee credentials at any of the 600 institutions in the United States or 100 worldwide that currently employ the service.

Sells explains that when a Sewanee student visits another campus with a device signed in to eduroam, the device will automatically connect to the university’s Wi-Fi without the need for a visitor to sign in to the guest network. The LITS page on Sewanee’s website offers easy instructions to configure devices to the wireless network.

Camper explained that there are 1,800 student associated devices linked to Sewanee Guest as of the past month, which has its downfalls. She explained that Guest has only a 30 days access window and a significantly slower browsing speed, with Sewanee Secure and eduroam boasting 3x the bandwidth.

The LITS faculty remain unsure about why students continue to log on via Guest. However, in response to the influx of devices brought back after Christmas break, the SDI staff added an additional wireless access controller to help the overflow of internet traffic on January 28, which may have been slowing down Secure.

“If we can get students not to connect through Guest, they’re going to have such a better experience. This is why we want to promote eduroam, once students are on it there are so many benefits,” explained Sells.

In addition to the Wi-Fi changes, Sells was very excited about the modifications made to Sewanee’s Banner login page and password reset. The new Banner landing page not only allows students more control over their account, but has a more aesthetically pleasing layout.

“[Banner] was problematic for students studying abroad due to time-zone differences. We did Skype and Google chat to help people unlock their accounts because we really needed to know we were talking to the student in question. We wanted a tool that made [password reset] available 24/7 for students,” said Camper.

Camper and the SDI faculty worked to make password reset easier for students both on campus and abroad. Instead of traveling to the Library Help Desk to reset a password, students can now use two security questions to do so themselves by setting security passwords when they enroll through Banner.

“They’re not the most earth-shattering things,” states Sells. “But they’ll make students’ lives easier. We want to make things easier and less frustrating.”