Tag Archives: suny

SUNY Provost Laursen calls for expansion of online courses

SUNY Provost Tod A. Laursen said during a visit to Suffolk’s Ammerman campus Feb. 21 that the state system is planning an aggressive expansion of its online courses and several other innovative initiatives to help it grow and adapt.

“We’re going to make a real push into the online space,” said Laursen, who was appointed in September as SUNY’s chief academic officer, to a group of more than 100 faculty, staff and students in the Montauk Point Room of the Babylon Student Center.

“Even though the system was early [in offering online courses], we don’t have very many exclusively online learners.”

Laursen said the courses not only offer flexibility to some potential students, but also are important to advancing the system’s reputation.

Laursen also said SUNY is looking at “micro-credentialing” options.

The system’s ultimate goal, Lauren said, is not to just enroll students, but to have them complete their degrees.

“I think the challenge for the system academic office is to try to actually help where it can and stay out the way where it can,” said  Laursen, whose job is to work with all of the system’s 64 campuses.

In response to a student’s question about how SUNY gets students involved in the process of developing new programs, Laursen said he believes there’s room for students’ voices to be more prominent. 

Laursen also touched on open education resources, or materials developed by faculty. OER materials could be used to dramatically reduce textbook costs and provide up-to-date information. 

While not many faculty members in the audience said they used OER material, Paul Beaudin, vice president for academic affairs, said Suffolk is the third-largest user of OER materials in SUNY, and the college has received a small grant from the system to support its initiatives.

Two conferences were held on the subject and another workshop on this is planned for Professional Development Day on March 12, he noted in a follow-up email to faculty and staff.

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Email scam targets SCCC students’ tuition refunds

An email phishing scam aiming to steal student tuition refunds has targeted SCCC students, according to a warning sent by the college’s Information Technology Services department earlier this month.

Rochelle Tharpe, a 20-year-old criminal justice major at SCCC, received the phishing scam email, which sought to trick students into entering their school account information, but fortunately did not fall for it. She said she the experience was nonetheless unnerving.

“It was from that moment on that I began to fear for my cybersecurity,” Tharpe said.

SCCC student, Rochelle Tharpe, showing the phishing email scam warning she received from Suffolk on Feb. 14. Photo courtesy of Paula Schultz.

“The email looked like it came directly from the Suffolk IT department. It states that you must enter your student email and password in order to have access to your tuition refund,” Tharpe said. “Thankfully, I was too busy and did not go through with entering my information. This whole mess made me question if student information is really that safe from cyber-crime.”

Tharpe said she received a warning from Suffolk information technology department before she fell for the scam.

On Feb. 2, students attending any SUNY institution were informed about a phishing scam that has targeted SUNY students through email. By Feb. 14, an updated email announcement informed Suffolk students the email scam had reached them.

Just how many students were affected is not yet known.

In the most recent email, students were instructed to delete the scam email and empty their trash folder.

The email that SCCC sent out to students, warning about the active phishing email scam. Photo courtesy of Paula Schultz.

“Phishing scams seem to have become a commonplace in educational institutions these days and they have increased over the last year or so,” Steve Rios, the educational technology specialist on the Ammerman campus,  said in an emailed statement. Rios has worked for the college for 28 years and is in charge of setting up and maintaining the classroom technologies.

“Most of the time it’s a group of people trying to scam users’ information for many different illegal reasons, like stealing money from someone’s bank account,” Rios stated. “Scammers send out hundreds and even thousands of emails to try to get someone to email their logon and password or other information that will allow the hackers to penetrate the user’s computer, work or home network, and or bank information.”

For cybersecurity concerns such as this, the Office of Information Security at Suffolk works to analyze trends in cybersecurity and keep student and school data protected. Information security officer Jason Fried makes it clear that protecting student information is an ongoing effort.

“We strive to continuously enhance our controls, policies, procedures, and training. The National Cybersecurity Alliance is one of many organizations that provide free training and materials that guide people through making good decisions about their online activity,” Fried said.

“I encourage students to review the Information Security Policies on the College Website …. Also, please regularly install security patches on your personal computers and mobile devices,” Fried advised.