For the latest information and additional details about Mason’s response to COVID-19, please see the Safe Return to Campus website.

Information about new educational technologies, updates to IT resources both online and on-campus, and IT support for the fall 2020 semester.

Faculty/Staff

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Classrooms and Labs

Classroom and Learning Space Changes

A working group was created to review all spaces (departmental and university) to determine what spaces could support instruction with the new social distancing protocols outlined by the university and could support live streaming. ALL scheduled classrooms in fall 2020 are now equipped with:

  • Instructor computer
  • Webcam attached to the instructor computer
  • Document camera for presenting materials
  • Microphone at the instructor station
  • HDMI connection if instructors prefer to bring their own laptop (bring your own adapter if needed)

In addition to having the standard technology setup, these rooms are on the university’s COVID cleaning schedule, have had seating and occupancy adjusted, and will be supported by ITS Classroom Support. Where possible, the spaces will be monitored remotely. Coverings will be placed on the technology (i.e., computer monitor, keyboard, touch panel, mouse, etc.) and will be changed routinely. ITS has created a Quick Guide to Fall 2020 Classroom Technologies, which is available in each classroom.

For up-to-date information about the furnishings, seating capabilities, and technologies available in classrooms, see 25Live.

Classroom Support Fall 2020 Hours

ITS Classroom Support is available to assist with technology-related issues in classrooms. If issues arise during a class session, assistance will be attempted remotely. In-person support will only be dispatched if physical distancing can be observed and the class session cannot proceed in any other way.

  • Arlington Classroom Support (Updated: October 20, 2020)
    703–993–8226
    • Monday thru Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Saturday & Sunday: Closed
  • Fairfax Classroom Support
    703–993–3456
    • Sunday to Saturday: 7 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
  • SciTech Classroom Support
    703–993–8499
    • Monday thru Thursday: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.
    • Friday: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Saturday and Sunday: Closed

Changes to Lab Spaces

Due to COVID-19, ITS lab space availability has changed. Most open computer labs will be open with amended hours and protocols to address physical distancing and occupancy limits.

Open Computer Labs:

  • Arlington Campus (Updated: October 20, 2020)
    • Van Metre Building, Room 211
      • Monday thru Thursday: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
      • Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
      • Saturday & Sunday: Closed
  • Fairfax Campus
    • Johnson Center, Room 342
      • Monday thru Thursday: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
      • Friday thru Sunday: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
      • Innovation Hall, Room 301 (CLOSED)
  • SciTech Campus
    • Katherine G. Johnson Hall, Room 250
      • Monday thru Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
      • Saturday and Sunday: Closed

STAR Lab

For the Fall 2020 semester, the STAR Lab will be closed for computer usage. A limited selection of video equipment may still be reserved via the Web Checkout system and picked up/dropped off at the Collaborative Learning Hub (CLUB). Equipment includes XA-10 and T6i cameras, with only one or the other available to check out at a time and will be limited to five checkouts a day total across all patrons (one checkout a day per patron). Additionally, the CLUB will have 7 Mac workstations and 5 PC workstations, as well as a Scantron Grading machine. Please see the CLUB service page for more information.

Collaborative Learning Hub (CLUB)

The Collaborative Learning Hub (CLUB) is open. Reservations are strongly encouraged due to COVID-19 precautions and limited amounts of resources, but walk-ins will still be accepted so long as the occupancy of the lab does not exceed the maximum of 16 people (12 for computer spaces, 2 for front desk employees, and 2 for supervisors).

  • Johnson Center, Room 311
    • Monday thru Thursday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Friday and Saturday: Closed
    • Sunday: 12 – 5 p.m.

IT Security

Phishing Safety Reminder

As businesses and universities have rapidly moved to remote work, cybercriminals have taken advantage of increased security vulnerabilities to steal data, generate profits, and cause disruption.

Phishing continues to be one of the biggest cyber threats to the Mason community. Cybercriminals continue to target faculty, staff, and students with fake job offers, threats of account closures, and other bogus claims to steal money. Please be alert as you read and respond to emails. Do not click on links or open attachments in emails from unknown sources. Be aware that cybercriminals are sending pandemic and COVID-related phishing emails about cures, testing, and vaccines.

ITS also continues to see emails impersonating Mason deans and senior officials. Please examine the email address of the sender before replying to an email asking about availability or to purchase gift cards. The fake email address may be similar to this: nameofdean[AT]gmu[DOT]edu[AT]gmail[DOT]com.

Do not provide your username and password by email, in response to a web link, or over the phone. No one from Mason will request that information from you, nor will any legitimate business.

If you receive an email you suspect is phishing and/or need help determining whether an email is a phishing attempt, contact the ITS Support Center at 703-993-8870 or support@gmu.edu.

New Antivirus for Mason-Managed Computers

ITS deployed a new antivirus and a new protection tool for Mason-managed computers to provide increased safety and online security to Mason computer users.

  • Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP): an improved antivirus solution, to continue to protect Manson-owned computers; Devices managed in MESA and Jamf previously had Symantec Endpoint Protection antivirus
  • Cisco Umbrella: a protection tool that evaluates websites to determine if they are malicious; If it detects a site is malicious, Umbrella blocks the link and advises the user

These efforts are designed to help decrease phishing and to protect users from potentially malicious websites. Toolbar icons indicate Defender and Umbrella are operating on Mason machines.

This service is provided to all managed Mason-owned computers managed through MESA or Jamf. Users whose systems are not managed can receive this service by getting their systems managed. To request to have a Mason-owned device managed, complete this form.

Unmanaged devices (e.g., personal computers, mobile devices, etc.) will be protected while the devices are connected to the Mason network.

Teaching & Computing Remotely

For the latest information about fall 2020 resources available for teaching and working remotely, see Working Remotely: A Guide to Maintaining Continuity.

Passwords Reminders for Computing Remotely

You are required to reset your Patriot Pass Password every 180 days. ITS sends daily emails to users 14 days before passwords expire. Be alert for these messages and reset your password before it expires to avoid disrupting access to Patriot Web, employee email, Blackboard, etc.

  • Mason-Managed Windows users: If you are working remotely and reset your password, you must connect to the Virtual Private Network (VPN) to sync your new password and complete the reset process.
  • Mason-Managed Mac users: Most Mac users do not require additional steps to sync their computer after resetting their password.

Additional details and instructions for syncing your computer are available at How to Sync Your Computer After Resetting Your Password.

Keep Your Computer Up-to-Date

Users on Mason-managed computers should routinely connect to the VPN to ensure that you receive timely software updates.

New Tools That Support Working Remotely

  • Zoom
    To support George Mason University’s response to COVID-19, ITS made Zoom Pro accounts available for all faculty and staff and Zoom Basic accounts for all students. Zoom is a cloud-based web conferencing tool for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems. Zoom is available at gmu.zoom.us.
  • Microsoft Teams
    Microsoft (MS) Teams is an enterprise-wide collaboration suite that lives within Mason’s Office 365 environment.  At its core, MS Teams provides chat, audio calling, video calling, screen share, and more with individuals and groups outside of a team structure. MS Teams is available via web browser, desktop application, and mobile app. as part of the Office 365 Suite, Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is required when accessing this service
  • Windows Virtual Desktop
    The Windows Virtual Desktop service is secure remote access to a Windows desktop environment that provides access to Mason applications from off-campus.  The virtual desktop provides an experience similar to being on-campus, connected to a computer in your office. As part of the Office 365 Suite, Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is required when accessing this service

Citrix Virtual Lab to Replace Virtual Computing Lab

In preparation for the 2020-2021 academic year, ITS has launched the Citrix Virtual Lab, an improved method for faculty and students to acquire academic software remotely. This new tool replaces the Virtual Computing Lab (VCL), and most academic software on www.vcl.gmu.edu has been removed. Users should go to the Citrix Virtual Lab for the latest versions of academic software. For full details, see Replacement of Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) with Citrix Virtual Lab.

Webex Retirement

With faculty, staff, and students moving to Zoom, Cisco Webex is being phased out at Mason to provide a more streamlined set of services. There are currently multiple options for users in the collaboration space, including Microsoft Teams, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Zoom, and Webex Meetings/Webex Teams. Mason is working to standardize and simplify its service offerings across multiple services. This will save the university money by reducing the number of tools supported and currently under contract. Webex services will be shut down on May 31, 2021. See Webex Retirement Roadmap for details.

What's New With Blackboard

For the latest on what features have been added or updated with Blackboard, see What’s New in Blackboard.

Event Support

ITS Support for Virtual Events

If you or your department are hosting a virtual event with high visibility or high impact for the university, please contact the Enterprise Collaboration team at ecinfo@gmu.edu or GMU-TV at gmutv@gmu.edu.

Get IT Support

ITS Support Center Providing Virtual Assistance

If you need IT support, the ITS Support Center is available virtually to assist you. Due to COVID-19, walk-in support is not available for fall 2020.

Hours of Operation

  • Monday–Thursday: 8 a.m.–9 p.m.  (*closed Thursday 3 p.m.–4 p.m. for a team meeting)
  • Friday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: 1 –9 p.m.

Browse our knowledge base articles, request a service, or submit a help ticket.

Students

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Get IT Support

ITS Support Center Providing Virtual Assistance

If you are need of IT support, the ITS Support Center is available virtually to assist you. Due to COVID-19, walk-in support is not available for fall 2020.

Hours of Operation

  • Monday–Thursday: 8 a.m.–9 p.m.  (*closed Thursday 3 p.m.–4 p.m. for a team meeting)
  • Friday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: 1 –9 p.m.

Browse our knowledge base articles, request a service, or submit a help ticket.

On-Campus Labs

Changes to Lab Spaces

Due to COVID-19, ITS lab space availability has changed. Most open computer labs will be open with amended hours and protocols to address physical distancing and occupancy limits.

Open Computer Labs

  • Arlington Campus (Updated: October 20, 2020)
    • Van Metre Building, Room 211
      • Monday thru Thursday: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
      • Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
      • Saturday & Sunday: Closed
  • Fairfax Campus
    • Johnson Center, Room 342
      • Monday thru Thursday:  9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
      • Friday thru Sunday: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Innovation Hall, Room 301 (CLOSED)
  • SciTech Campus
    • Katherine G. Johnson Hall, Room 250
      • Monday thru Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
      • Saturday and Sunday: Closed

STAR Lab

For the Fall 2020 semester, STAR Lab will be closed for computer usage. A limited selection of video equipment may still be reserved via the Web Checkout system and picked up/dropped off at the Collaborative Learning Hub (CLUB). Equipment includes XA-10 and T6i cameras, with only one or the other available to check out at a time and will be limited to five checkouts a day total across all patrons (one checkout a day per patron). Additionally, the CLUB will have 7 Mac workstations and 5 PC workstations, as well as a Scantron Grading machine.

Please see the CLUB service page for more information.

Collaborative Learning Hub (CLUB)

Reservations are strongly encouraged due to COVID-19 precautions and limited amounts of resources, but walk-ins will still be accepted so long as the occupancy of the lab does not exceed the maximum of 16 people (12 for computer spaces, 2 for front desk employees, and 2 for supervisors).

  • Johnson Center, Room 311
    • Monday thru Thursday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • Friday and Saturday: Closed
    • Sunday: 12 – 5 p.m.

Student Access to Adobe Creative Cloud

The following rooms are open this fall and have seats with Adobe Creative Cloud available for any student at Mason, regardless of college affiliation.

  • Arlington
    • Van Metre Building, Room 211
  • Fairfax
    • Engineering Building, Room 1505
    • Engineering Building, Room 1506
    • Johnson Center, Room 311 (CLUB)
    • Johnson Center, Room 340
    • Johnson Center, Room 343
  • SciTech
    • Katherine Johnson Hall, Room 250

Additionally, discounted student pricing is available for individual subscriptions of Adobe Creative Cloud ($19.99/month or $239.88/year). Please note the month-by-month option still requires a commitment of a year. Details for student pricing can be found at Adobe's Creative Cloud for Students page.

Eligibility for student pricing requires proof. If a student provides a school-issued email address during the purchase, they are instantly verified. If they do not have a school-issued email address or their email address cannot be verified, additional proof of eligibility may be requested after purchase. Additional proof of eligibility may include a school ID card, report card, transcript, or tuition bill issued by the institution with the student’s name, institution name, and current date. Details for proof of eligibility can be found at Adobe's Creative Cloud for Students Eligibility page.

Learning Remotely

For the latest information about fall 2020 resources available for learning remotely, see Working Remotely: A Guide to Maintaining Continuity.

New Tools That Support Learning Remotely

  • Zoom
    To support George Mason University’s response to COVID-19, ITS made Zoom Basic accounts for all students. Zoom is a cloud-based web conferencing tool for video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems. Zoom is available at gmu.zoom.us.
  • Citrix Virtual Lab
    In preparation for the 2020-2021 academic year, ITS launched the Citrix Virtual Lab, an improved method for students to acquire academic software remotely. The Citrix Virtual Lab, available at https://mymasonapps.gmu.edu, provides remote access to the latest versions of the same software that is available in university computer labs. To access the Citrix Virtual Lab, see How to Sign in to the Citrix Virtual Lab. This new tool replaces the Virtual Computing Lab (VCL).

IT Security

Two-Factor Authentication for Students

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) open enrollment is now available for all students – learn more and enroll at 2fa.gmu.edu today to protect your personal information. All students are encouraged to voluntarily enroll in 2FA. Beginning September 27, 2020, current students will be required to enroll in Duo 2FA before you change your Patriot Pass Password at password.gmu.edu.

Benefits of 2FA with Duo Mobile

  • Protect Mason websites and applications containing student information (Note: Blackboard/myMason and MasonLive student email are currently not 2FA enabled.)
  • Choose from multiple authentication options (Duo Push is recommended)
  • Select “Remember for 7 days” to limit how often you authenticate on your devices
  • Use the Duo Mobile App to protect your other personal accounts like Google, Amazon, and social media

Phishing Safety Reminder

Phishing continues to be one of the biggest cyber threats to the Mason community. Cybercriminals continue to target faculty, staff, and students with fake job offers, threats of account closures, and other bogus claims to steal money. Please be alert as you read and respond to emails. Do not click on links or open attachments in emails from unknown sources. Be aware that cybercriminals are sending pandemic and COVID-related phishing emails about cures, testing, and vaccines.

ITS also continues to see emails impersonating Mason deans and senior officials. Please examine the email address of the sender before replying to an email asking about availability or to purchase gift cards. The fake email address may be similar to this: nameofdean[AT]gmu[DOT]edu[AT]gmail[DOT]com.

Do not provide your username and password by email, in response to a web link, or over the phone. No one from Mason will request that information from you, nor will any legitimate business.

If you receive an email you suspect is phishing and/or need help determining whether an email is a phishing attempt, contact the ITS Support Center at 703-993-8870 or support@gmu.edu.