Culture of learning?

In sitting in an online session on culture yesterday, a question was asked about where we think our higher education institution sits in having an operating culture of learning. Naturally, the first answer was “duh, that’s what we do”. But is it? Of course that is the environment we create in the classroom and I think we do a great job of it. But, what about in our own offices and I say that coming from a support department in an area that changes nearly overnight. And why does it matter? We already focus on efficiency, communication, trust, and all those things that are important.

This culture is is important and here is why. As I watch the trends of the questions we are asked by the campus on a daily basis, they are changing. There was a time when the role of IT was to determine and control the technology of the campus. Today that is no longer the case. Consumer technologies are driving the way we connect and process. Our job today is to facilitate as best we can. So back to culture of learning, it is more than just knowing how to do the next thing. It is about having created a supportive environment that encourages both individual and group autonomous inquisitiveness. Without it, we have created teams that work only from a top-down model that awaits further instruction and the real talents and passions of our colleagues are never brought forward. We cannot facilitate today’s needs and goals based on purely hierarchical models.

So what do we need to do? It is encourage our colleagues to tackle something new. Allow for mistakes and silly questions. Remember, negative criticism doesn’t belong in this space. And yes, question your teacher and your boss.

Fred Brittain
Executive Director for Information
Technology Services

Changing Your Password

You may have received a message recently in regards to a new UMS practice requiring password changes every 180 days. For those who haven’t received the message, most likely because you’ve changed your password in the last 180 days, you can find the email below. It’s been policy to require frequent password changes for quite some time now, but there was no technical enforcement mechanism. The University of Maine System is now at the point of making this policy a requirement.

So, as always, we won’t ask you to send your password to us (through email, over the phone, etc), nor will we provide you with a link to change it. When your password is nearing expiration, you’ll receive an email from If you doubt the authenticity, please contact the UMF Helpdesk at either 778-7300, or drop us an email at All management of your userid can be accomplished in myCampus. When you login, a UMS ID Management menu item should appear on the left hand side. Included here are all of the account management tasks your likely to perform. To determine the last time you changed your password, click the Account Information link. The menu also includes handy links for changing your password, resetting your password, and changing email forwarding.


From: UMS Account Management Services
Date: Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 6:59 PM
Subject: Notice: University of Maine System password management changes

This email is to inform you of changes in password management for your University of Maine System password. This is the password that you use to gain access to such services as UMS mail, Mainestreet and Blackboard.

Passwords will now expire every 180 days. If you don’t change your password before the 180 day mark, you will no longer be able to log into any service that is dependent on that password, including those listed above. You will, however, still be able to change your password for the next 180 days, and then you can resume normal use of your credentials with the new password.

You will be informed that your password is expiring 30 days before its expiration, and then again at 2 weeks, 7 and 3 days prior to expiration.

New passwords should meet the guidelines in section 8.3.1 of the UMS Information Standards ( and in particular must be at least 8 characters long and contain both upper and lower case letters, at least one number or special character.

Be careful where you change your password!

A common practice by hackers is to pose as local IT service people in mail and ask you to change your password or confirm you are using your account by supplying your password. This is a ploy to gain access to your account, and is called Phishing.

Here’s how you can distinguish between a legitimate password expiration notification and a Phishing attempt:
– we will never ask you to send us your password in mail – password expiration email will always come from – we will not send a direct link to the password change page, but will tell you how to get to it. – the password change utility will always be on a URL

The web page for changing your password is at and choose the “Change your password” link. You may change your password anytime – you don’t have to wait for your notification email..

If you ever have a question about password expiration or any question related to your UMS userid or password, don’t hesitate to contact your campus IT helpdesk as listed below.

Campus – Email – Phone
UM – – 1-207-581-2506

UMA – 1-207-621-3475 (Augusta)
– 1-888-867-5434
– 1-207-262-7746 (Bangor)

UMF – 1-207-778-7300

UMFK – – 1-207-834-7818

UMM – – 1-207-255-1237

UMPI – – 1-207-768-9626

USM – – 1-207-780-4029

ITS Techsupport – – 1-800-696-HELP (1-800-696-4357)

Why Personal Wireless Routers and Printers are Not Your Friend

I know, they seem so convenient, but bringing your own wireless router or printer onto the UMF network causes more problems than it solves.  The reason is those devices cause interference that slows down the real UMF wireless access points that supply internet access to everyone.

The reason is most wireless routers broadcast on one of three frequency channels, and they’re the same channels that our (or just about anyone else’s) wireless access points use.  For example, if your device is broadcasting on channel 6, and it’s near one of ours that’s also using channel 6, neither one will work well.  (And it wouldn’t help even if you changed your channel, because ours are using all three – not to be selfish, but because it lets use provide more wireless coverage.)

Any time two devices are competing for the same channel, they have to take turns communicating, and that slows down both devices.  It’s similar to what happens when you’re driving, and the radio goes back and forth between two stations as you move from town to town.  If you’re able to pick up both signals, the radio can’t play one or the other all the time.

Some people bring wireless routers, thinking it will help them get a better signal. But it actually does the opposite–and it affects your neighbors. You should be able to connect just fine without it, and if you can’t, please stop by the Help Desk or call us at 778-7300 to let us know, so we can fix it. Or, if you have a wireless printer, most of them also have an option to connect directly using a USB cable.

Finally, if you’re still on the fence about whether to give up your wireless router, it might help you to know that we can see all of them, and when one becomes a problem, we can disable it remotely to prevent its interference. It would probably be easier to just turn it off yourself, and your neighbors will thank you.