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End of Semester Message from GTS

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

This spring semester has drawn to a close for many of you. For Gallaudet Technology Services (GTS), however, our work is never done. We are still supporting the Clerc Center’s ongoing spring semester, we are preparing to support online summer classes, and we are preparing for what our learning and work environment may be in the upcoming fall semester and beyond.

Checking in with you:

To get a sense of your experiences with technology and technology support these past few months, we have a short survey we encourage you to fill out. Your responses will be kept confidential and will help us understand better what worked, what didn’t, and what we can do to improve the experience.

New features and support options:

We have implemented and/or fine-tuned some new support features to address the needs of our sudden and unexpected shift to a fully-online experience.

As you may know, our IT Service Desk is now open and running 24/7. We have students and staff responding to tickets. We now have virtual agent capabilities and you can get live support via text or video. We are also updating and adding new Knowledge Base (KB) articles to help you with common questions. In the past two months, we have added or updated over 350 KB articles.

eLearning has offered multiple weekly workshops (via Zoom) on a variety of commonly asked about topics such as Zoom features and etiquette, Blackboard Grade Center, Echo 360, Kaltura, Microsoft Office 365 and much more. These workshops are open to everyone. If there is something you would like training in, please contact eLearning by submitting a ticket with the IT Service Desk. Check the schedule for upcoming workshops.

Zoom has quickly become everyone’s favorite way to stay in touch, right? Its popularity made it a target early on in the pandemic crisis that exposed some security issues. Zoom has worked hard to resolve these issues and they have kept in touch with us about their upgrades and new features. Some security features were available but have recently been turned on by default. For example:

  • A meeting host can enable a waiting room and password for attendees.
  • We turned on a feature that notifies attendees the meeting will be recorded and give them the option of opting out. This may be configured for certain groups as necessary.
  • Zoom is compliant with privacy requirements such as HIPAA.
  • We integrated Zoom with some familiar third-party apps such as Doodle, Asana, and more.

Find more information about Zoom and the new features.  

Some other new tools available include:

  • Secure file sharing
  • Grammarly, an app tool to help enhance clear and effective writing
  • Virtual lab and other apps that allow students to use specialized software without needing to purchase. Check the KB article for how to use Virtual Lab to see the available apps.

Your home network, security, and working on personal devices:

One of the most pressing concerns with this sudden move to online work and study is that not everyone has access to internet service or to a sufficient level of service. We have compiled a list of available options and have a guide on how to determine what level of internet service you need.

This leads to concerns about network and data security at home. You are responsible for protecting sensitive data so please work with your internet service provider to ensure you have the most up to date security measures in place. We have a knowledge base article with a check list of suggestions.

Gallaudet owned computers—security and software updates:

If you are using a Gallaudet-owned/maintained computer or laptop at home. You need to make sure these machines are receiving the latest updates and security patches. Mark it on your calendar to do once a week.

In most cases you will just need to connect to the Gallaudet VPN (virtual private network) by going to and logging in. Leave your computer logged in and the KACE agent will push the updates to your computer. You may be prompted to restart your computer once the update has been installed.

Our vendors and partners:

The GTS staff are keeping in touch with our technology vendors and partners to make sure our services are available and accessible to everyone who needs them. We are also keeping up with what other colleges and universities are doing to support their students and employees.

In fact, our community’s reliance on visual and video communication gives us an advantage over those who are scrambling to use this as their primary way of communicating.

This unexpected “experiment” in remote learning and working gives us a unique opportunity to help shape best practices, standards, and development of the various products and services to meet our community’s needs and requirements that ultimately are beneficial to everyone.

Final thoughts:

The paradox of this time we’re in with the global coronavirus pandemic is that, even though we are physically distancing ourselves and may feel like we are going through this alone, this is a situation that everyone around the world is navigating through. What that means is that whatever you are feeling and experiencing is shared by many, many others. You’re not doing it wrong, it will get better, and we’re here to help however we can.

Thank you to everyone for working together to make it through this unprecedented semester. We look forward to continuing to work with you throughout the summer and into the fall.

And, on behalf of everyone at GTS, congratulations to the Class of 2020!

Posted by Darlene Prickett | Posted May 19, 2020 at 1:40 PM


800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002


800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002