IT Services
Training Tips

Training tips and tricks to help you get the most out of the wide array of useful technologies and services available at the University of Chicago. Check out IT Services on Twitter every Tuesday for the latest #TrainingTipTuesday.


Training Tip: Make Digital Learning Materials Accessible

IT Services, in collaboration with Student Disability Services, recently released a blog series on how faculty and instructors can make digital learning materials more accessible for students with disabilities.

The first post explores how different types of students need texts in an electronic format that can be accessed through the use of assistive technology.

The second post shares how to convert image-only PDFs into more accessible text formats.

Finally, the third post provides details on how to update course materials to accessible formats when copying material from a previous course in Canvas.




Training Tip: Create a Strong CNet Password

A strong CNet password is your first line of defense against anyone trying to gain access to your University account. The guidelines for a secure University password is one that contains at least 12 characters and combines letters, numbers, and symbols.

Alternately, you can choose a passphrase, which contains at least 19 characters, including punctuation and spaces between words or letters. These University password guidelines also provide best practices to follow when creating a password for any website login.

Get more detailed tips about creating strong passwords and keeping your passwords secure. Also, remember to update your password regularly.




Training Tip: Store Your Logins with a Password Manager

It can be difficult to remember your login information for every account, especially when you are using are strong, complex passwords. Many web browsers and email clients offer to store passwords and passphrases for you, but this is not the most secure solution. Instead, consider using a password manager.

Some popular password managers to consider are:

  • LastPass
  • 1Password
  • Keeper
  • Dashlane

To compare features among these and other password managers, view a list from PC Magazine.






Training Tip: Kick Off the Quarter with a New Website

UChicago Voices offers faculty, students, and staff the ability to build websites, blogs, and portfolios for projects you’re launching this quarter and beyond. For instructors, Voices offers a platform to host content for your students in a user-friendly way or to assign blogging as a means for students to document and reflect on their learning experiences.

Regardless of the application, Voices allows you to choose an easy-to-use theme to personalize your site. View the Getting Started guide for step-by-step instructions on how to build a website, including details on how to select a theme.





Training Tip: Stay in Touch with the Outlook Mobile App

This spring break, you can easily stay in touch over email with the Outlook mobile app. For Office 365 users, the Outlook app allows you to access your UChicago email account to send and receive email, attach files, and schedule meetings all from your mobile device.

The app is available on Android and iOS and only takes a few minutes to configure. To set it up using your O365 account, view instructions for Android or iOS.





Training Tip: Avoid Email Scams

IT Services has been monitoring an active, persistent scam that is targeting staff at the University as well as many other institutions. These types of email scams use messaging to press a recipient to act quickly, usually asking the recipient to purchase gift cards for a manager who has no time to talk.

If you receive an unusual urgent email requesting money (via wire transfer, gift card, or other means) from your supervisor or member of leadership, contact the sender by phone call, chat, or in-person to verify it before responding. View Information Security’s blog post for specific examples of emails and more tips to identify and avoid these email scams.




Training Tip: Use Do Not Disturb While Studying

As a student preparing for exams, you don’t want phone calls, texts, and other notifications distract you from studying. With the help of your device settings, you can limit tech interruptions.

On your iPhone, turn on the Do Not Disturb setting when you’re studying. You can also schedule Do Not Disturb for a specific time, like at night when you should be sleeping.

As an Android user, you can also use the Do Not Disturb setting on your mobile phone. Check with your device manufacturer for specific features and instructions.

You can also turn off or manage app notifications on your computer. Get instructions for Windows 10 or macOS.




Training Tip: Create Accessible and Effective Hyperlinks

Hyperlinks add useful content to websites and emails. They work best when the link text makes sense out of context. It’s best to avoid non-informative link phrases such as “click here” or “more” in your website or email message.

Using a descriptive link makes it more accessible to all readers. For example, screen reader users often navigate from link to link, skipping the text in between. If the link text says “click here” there is no indication where the link will lead. Also, search engines use link text to index target files, so it is a good idea to include keywords in your link text to effectively describe the content of the link.

For more information on creating accessible and useful hyperlinks, visit the following resources:






Training Tip: Enhance Your IoT Device Security

The Internet of Things (IoT) encompasses many devices such as smart TVs, smart speakers, wearables, and smart appliances. Many of these devices are now being leveraged for application development, research studies, and teaching and learning.

One thing to consider is that IoT devices pose some unique security threats, especially when they are connected to your mobile device. Here are a few steps to increase your IoT device security:

  • Choose a strong password and enable two-factor authentication when possible.
  • When using on your home network, use a strong password for your router and check it’s using a secure Wi-Fi standard.
  • Disconnect old devices that you’re no longer using from your network.

Read more about securing your IoT devices.