Tech Xpress Spring 2023
Let the esports begin ...
Imagine chanting M-T-S-U as a team of University students battles for victory in .
. . the video game “Call of Duty.”
That scene is moving closer to reality as the College of Media Entertainment and ITD have begun planning and equipping facilities to be used by an official University competitive gaming team.
“There is a lot of support for us moving to the next level,” said MTSU Animation Professor Richard Lewis, who has been the advisor for the MTSU Esports Club since 2020. “Right now it is a club sport through the Rec Center. But we are building the esports footprint.”
The biggest milestone was reached with official MTSU approval to use space at the Miller Education Center for the esports team to play its matches. The National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) requires a dedicated facility and university official in charge of recruiting for a team to be recognized, Lewis said.
Blueprints for the competition space show rows of computers for two teams to face off in a glass arena, with a large wall of LED screens displaying the competition in esports games including "Call of Duty," "Overwatch," "Rocket League," "Smash Brothers," "Minecraft," and "Valorant."
“The president agreed to give us space there, and they are remodeling a section of rooms,” he said.
But the program also needs a place to study, practice and plan, and that will be in BAS 137 next to the University Computer Lab. ITD has installed 24 dual-use computer stations there.
Each station has a button that switches the CPU between a Dell Micro computer for regular lab users, and a more powerful one for gaming.
ITD has been an integral part of the planning and implementation of the esports program, Lewis said, and will continue to be when work on the competition space begins.
Beverly Keel, dean of the CME, is also big supporter of the esports program, Lewis
The long-term vision is to include esports as part of a curriculum that would also incorporate sports management, sports and leisure, media management and game development programs. Esports team members could earn scholarships, he said.
Funding for the program could come from a combination of University and private sponsors, he said, and competition could begin in a year.
Lewis said that when COVID-19 hit the University, sending nearly everyone home for distance learning, gaming remained a great outlet for students to connect online.
It is a great recruiting tool. They engage and socialize in that way in middle school and high school now—it is a big part of their lives.This can be not only competition, but also used in the classrooms.
STA program helps him find some work-study harmony
Sadika Anderson has performed live music in front of crowds at church and in his high school marching
But recently the MTSU graduate student in the Recording Arts and Technologies program
has had to perform live in a different situation—working on classroom tech equipment in front of anxiously
“Sometimes you just don’t know what you’re about to get into,” he said of answering
calls about issues with instructional technology. “It adds a little bit of angst trying
to work under a time clock. Sometimes they’re feeling the stress because they’re about
But the ITD Student Technology Assistant said it can bring great satisfaction when
“you figure it out.”
“You’re under pressure, everybody’s watching and it actually comes together and it
works,” he said.
Anderson grew up in Marietta, Georgia, with two sisters and a younger brother, who
passed away in 2012. Anderson originally wanted to be band director, completing an
undergraduate degree in Music Education, but has found so much enjoyment in mixing
and recording that he wants to focus on that in his career.
At first I thought I was going to band direct and now it’s like, ‘Nah, I want to chase this creating thing. I like this creating thing.
Anderson said the STA program is something every student interested in practical experience
with IT, and earning some money, should check out.
Anderson had first worked in the College of Media and Entertainment as a technology
assistant, then learned about a classroom tech position in the ITD STA program and
applied for it.
“I think I’ve always been interested in things with screens,” Anderson said. “I never
was someone who took stuff apart as much, but I always liked hooking things up and
getting something going.
"Like if my parents had an issue, I would get their computer going, or my sisters
wanted to play a video game or switch between the DVD player and a game, I was usually
the one who was unplugging stuff and putting it back.” The way he sees it, he now
does a similar thing for faculty as part of the ITD classroom technology team, trying
to resolve issues ranging from the complex to the simple.
“Sometimes they need a new display, or we have new computers going in that need configuring
and setting up," he said. "Sometimes it’s just someone’s taken out the HDMI cable,
and I just have to put the cable in.”
As his academic career draws to a close, his goal has changed from wanting to teach
and direct music, to recording and producing his own music, mostly Hip Hop, Rap, R&B,
House, and dance music.
“Yeah, I’m really just going all in with the artistry side of music, instead of doing
the formal band and orchestra kind of thing,” he said.
It’s like figuring out a puzzle—how to get all the sounds to really complement each other. I would love to just record and mix all day.
His longer-term plans may take him back to the Atlanta area, but he said staying around
Nashville would be fine too.
“I kind of like the vibe here, but you know it’s wherever the good Lord takes me and
wherever he has an opportunity for me,” he said.
Anderson said his faith is a big part of his life, including singing and playing saxophone
at his church in Marietta.
"I've definitely been involved with my church back home and when I go there sometimes
I play back home with them. And I try and like keep up with them on Sundays and watch
the live stream," he said.
He also enjoys gaming,skating, and skateboarding.
The STA work will help in his career because of all the technology involved in recording
and mixing his original music, and making it available online and in social media.
“I will say it definitely helps because being in recording studios, you usually have
to have a bunch of screens,” Anderson said.
Interested in STA program?
The Student Technology Assistant (STA) program is designed to give students an opportunity
to learn and earn.
STAs provide front-line assistance to computer lab and Help Desk users on a wide range of computing-related issues, with an emphasis on customer service.
The STA program utilizes Microsoft Office Specialist and LinkedIn Learning resources in three levels of training: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced.
For more info or to start the application process, visit mtsu.edu/sta.
New BLUEWIFI/HousingBlueWiFi spreading
across campus offering simplified sign-in
Work is continuing this spring on replacing the University’s Wi-Fi network with new technology infrastructure with a new name:
- In academic and administrative buildings, WLANMTSU is becoming BLUEWIFI.
- In residential facilities, RESNET is becoming HOUSINGBLUEWIFI.
To see your building’s status or projected upgrade date, as well as instructions for connecting Windows, macOS, and Android/iOS devices, please visit https://mtsu.edu/itd/bluewifi.php.
Important Information for HOUSINGBLUEWIFI users
- The Help Desk has received reports that some older versions of devices like the Roku Express media player, the original PlayStation 4, and some Smart TVs are having difficulties connecting to HOUSINGBLUEWIFI. ITD is actively investigating this issue.
- For devices that see HOUSINGBLUEWIFI but cannot connect, please contact the ITD Help Desk and have the device’s MAC Address ready.
- If you have never connected to BLUEWIFI, check to see if it is an available network when you enter a building. If it is available, connect using the instructions for your operating system: https://mtsu.edu/itd/bluewifi.php. Once access is established, devices will automatically connect each time you enter a building with BLUEWIFI.
- For buildings not yet upgraded, continue using the WLANMTSU or RESNET Wi-Fi networks. For instructions, visit https://www.mtsu.edu/itd/wireless.php.
If you have any further questions or need assistance, please contact the ITD Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (615) 898-5345.
Don't get caught by this inventive
new invoice phishing technique
Other security professionals and I have noticed a new tactic being used in phishing
attacks that I want to share with you.
Most of you are aware of the standard phishing scam red flags that have become commonplace:
- The email comes from someone posing to be an entity
you know and trust.
- The email has logos, signatures, and addresses that look similar to that of the trusted entity.
- There is a call to action in the email asking to click the embedded link to validate or confirm something.
- There is a tone of urgency in the email.
All standard “we know this is a phishing scam" stuff, right? Well, here is the new twist:
- The latest phishing scam appears as an invoice that is so outrageous that it is obviously not intended for you.
- The only “action” available on the invoice/email is a customer service phone number.
- The customer service phone number is a call center run by malicious users.
- Once on the phone, the malicious user uses various social engineering and scare tactics to get the personal information out of their victim.
What to do:
Report any of these phishing attempts using the “Report Phishing” feature in Outlook so that the phishing emails get blocked. Share this information with family and friends that might be less “phish” savvy.
Learn to use the “Report Phishing” feature in Outlook that can be found at this link. Yes, this is a link to click, but you can determine the legitimacy by using your list of red flags to check.
Deb Zsigalov is ITD’s assistant vice president and chief information security officer.
MS Teams offering several new features:
Ready to give chat, file-sharing app a try?
What’s new in Microsoft Teams for the new year? Several things:
▶ Schedule Chat Messages in Teams
You can now schedule a message to arrive at a specific time for your recipient. Perfect for working with international teams. Similar to the delayed delivery option in Outlook, you can manually select a future date and time for your chat messages to be delivered to an individual. Right-click the send button to schedule your message.
▶Filter your Activity Feed
Now, when you go to Activity, you can turn on the Unread Only toggle to filter out all notifications except for the ones you haven’t read yet.
▶ Add Poll to Teams Channel or Chat
Presenters can launch a poll without preparing in advance. Simply ask your question aloud and people can answer by selecting one of two answers (yes or no, thumbs up or down, heart or broken heart).
▶ Automatically see more videos in Teams meetings
Teams meetings now automatically will show you up to 49 participants’ videos by default. You’ll no longer have to switch to the large gallery view.
▶ Assigned seating in Together Mode
Meeting organizers and presenters can now assign seats to attendees in Together mode. To assign seats once you’re in the meeting, select More > Together mode. In the window that pops up, check the box at the bottom to Select Together mode for everyone, then select Assign seats.
From there, you can drag and drop people’s icons to the seat you want them assigned to.
▶ Record a Video Clip in Teams
Create a short video clip in chat. Select Record a video clip next to Send.
Then start recording, you can even edit the clip before sending it. The recipient of the video clip can reply with a message or a video clip of their own. Note video clips can’t be recorded during meetings and calls.
Ready to join Teams?
Remember, all faculty, students, and staff are licensed for Microsoft Teams. For those
unfamiliar, Teams is the chat-based workspace in Microsoft 365 that makes it easy
to have conversations, host meetings, share files and collaborate on documents, and
get work done with teams across the organization.
Teams lets you work in a natural, conversational way—with everything you need in one place—available anytime, on any device.
If you’re ready to try it, log into Microsoft Teams using your MTSU email address and password.
All Office 365 users have access to Teams within their O365 apps. Click on these links for Learning and Support Resources:
There are also numerous training sessions through LinkedIn Learning. If you are not
familiar with LinkedIn Learning, click here for more information on how to log in.
Once you are signed in search for Microsoft Teams.
Silvia C. Fernandes is UC Systems Administrator for ITD Enterprise Server Services and can be reached at email@example.com or 615-904-8368.
What's is your University username? Answer is not always simple
“What is my username,“ is sometimes a complex question at Middle Tennessee State University.
I hope to shed some light on this seemingly simple question in the following paragraphs.
To begin, what your username is depends on two factors:
- where you are in your admissions process
- and what your relationship is with the University.
Applicants to Middle Tennessee State University create their own username and generate
a pin when applying to MTSU. For many they use it just once.
What that means for a student is that if they start their application and don’t finish it, but have forgotten their created credentials, we can’t currently recover them. It would require the applicant to start over with a different username and password.
Once the application is submitted the student-created credentials can be used to check up on the application if they are remembered.
Once the application is processed, a PipelineMT username is generated for students. That username is the student’s email address and contains for most their initials followed by a random number and letter and ends in @mtmail.mtsu.edu. For example, Marion Robert Morrison’s address would look like Mrm3d@mtmail.mtsu.edu.
Students may find their username in email correspondence or University documentation, but the surest way is to use their M# from their acceptance letter, and go to https://www.mtsu.edu/getstarted and use the links there to discover their username and set their first password. The username provided there will be used for email, D2L, registration of personal devices, login to computers and most other University portals.
New Cyber Threat alerts in PipelineMT
If you only rarely visit the PipelineMT homepage, you may be missing out. ITD has begun to post more content intended to provide insight into Cyber Threats such as one recently posted about Phishing emails.
Some announcements come from other parties as well offering dates for grant applications, or important admissions deadlines. The page even offers a View All Announcements button to see everything current and a Read More links to get details regarding post content.
Jeremy Stanley, computer lab technician with the ITD Help Desk, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KUC elevator work will lead to alternative Help Desk accessibility plan
Work on replacing the elevator in Keathley University Center (KUC) is set to begin
May 24 and continue until approximately July 18, said Michelle Christian, Project
Manager with MTSU Construction Administration/Renovation.
The ITD Help Desk is located in KUC 320 near the elevator. ITD is developing an alternative
plan to provide students and employees who cannot use stairs with in-person tech assistance.
Prior to the project, a temporary ramp will be built at the top of the concrete ramp
on the southwest corner of KUC, Christian said.
This is designed to provide second floor access, but the third floor will be accessible
only by stairs until the project is complete.
Students and employees who will not be able to access the third floor should contact
the Help Desk at 615-898-5345 or email@example.com and schedule a meeting with a tech consultant in the KUC second floor seating areas.
Details of the alternative meeting plan will be finalized and announced in coming
months. Other students and employees will be able to use the stairs to visit the Help
Desk until the new elevator is available.
The Help Desk schedule is:
- Sunday: 2 p.m.–9 p.m.
- Monday-Thursday: 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
- Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
The Help Desk operates on an adjusted schedule when classes are not in session.
Student Tech Handbook Available Online
A digital version of the Technology Handbook for students is now available on the ITD website.