Welcome Back: Updates from ITS

Fairfax Campus leaves. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services

Welcome back, Patriots!

It is no surprise by now that this fall semester has presented challenges to all of the Mason community, including ITS. Universities around the nation that continue to face the realities of COVID-19 have responded to the pandemic in many ways. Some moved their students completely online, while some opened for mostly in-person classes. Others, like Mason, chose a hybrid learning model – specifically designed to support the health, safety, well-being, and success of the Mason Nation.

To make the most of these unique times, ITS spent the summer gearing up to provide the best experience for everyone this fall. To help with on-campus precautions, ITS joined the working group that reviewed classroom spaces to determine which areas could support instruction with the new social distancing protocols and provide live streaming. Now, these spaces are equipped with the necessary technology, follow Mason’s COVID cleaning schedule, have seating and occupancy adjustments, and are monitored by ITS Classroom Support.

In furthering our effort to keep Mason safe and secure during this time of virtual instruction and work, ITS has updated information about new technologies, ITS resources, and IT support:


After experiencing a multitude of requests and the increased popularity of Zoom over the summer, ITS officially brought the technology into our library of tools. Get started discovering enhanced capabilities with Zoom Help Center trainings, online LinkedIn Learning tutorials, download custom Mason virtual backgrounds, and hear from our very own experts.

Webex Retirement

With faculty, staff, and students moving to Zoom, Cisco Webex services are being phased out at Mason to help provide a more streamlined set of services. Now, users will transition from Webex Meetings and Webex Teams to alternative solutions like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.

Two-Factor Authentication 

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is now available for all students. Effective September 27, current students will be required to enroll in Duo 2FA before changing their Patriot Pass Password. Students are encouraged to enroll early to protect their personal information. To learn more and to enroll, visit 2fa.gmu.edu.

IT Security

ITS deployed a new antivirus (Microsoft Defender ATP) and a new protection tool (Cisco Umbrella) for Mason-managed computers to provide increased safety and online security. These efforts are designed to help decrease phishing and protect users from potentially malicious websites. As phishing continues to be one of the largest security threats to the Mason community, please remain alert as you respond to emails and do not provide your username and password or personal information. If you suspect or need help determining a phishing attempt, contact the ITS Support Center.

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. The Collaborative Learning Hub (CLUB) is open and reservations are strongly encouraged. The STAR lab will be closed for computer usage with a limited selection of video equipment available for reservation in the CLUB. Additionally, on-campus access to Adobe Creative Cloud is limited, but discounted student subscriptions are available purchase.

Citrix Virtual Lab

The new Citrix Virtual Lab is an improved method for students to acquire academic software remotely. This tool and provides access to the latest versions of software that is available in Mason computer labs, and replaces the Virtual Computing Lab (VCL). Download the app, here.

Windows Virtual Desktop

The Windows Virtual Desktop (VDI) provides secure remote access to a Windows desktop environment for access to Mason applications from off-campus, allowing for a similar experience to being on-campus in your office.

IT Support

Classroom Support is available to assist with technology-related issues in classrooms and will be attempted remotely. In-person support will only be dispatched if the session cannot proceed any other way and physical distancing can be enforced. The ITS Support Center will remain closed for walk-in appointments this semester, but is still available to assist you virtually. If you need help, contact the ITS Support Center by phone at 703-993-8870, email support@gmu.edu, or via online chat.

For more information on updates, visit our Fall 2020 Updates page. From everyone in ITS, we hope you have a wonderful and successful academic year!