CIS Goals: Enhancing Security at HMC

CIS has numerous goals we work on throughout the year and security has been a priority. It’s a multi-faceted topic with a number of areas to consider and we’ve addressed it through the following:

  1. Duo Security Two-Factor Authentication: Many of you have already heard about two-factor authentication. Duo Security provides an extra layer of security for users. Rather than relying on a password alone, users can verify their identity through their mobile phone or a hardware token. This greatly enhances security and helps us protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII), both your own and that of others. Duo Security is being rolled out in waves across campus to different departments and will eventually be utilized by the entire HMC campus.
  2. Trend Micro: We’ve been rolling out Trend Micro Antivirus protection to all staff and faculty systems on campus. Trend Micro automatically runs by default every day at 12pm to ensure systems are protected. Currently, we have the software available for both PCs and Macs, with the option to have either a CIS staff member help you install it, or instructions on how you can do this yourself here.
  3. Encryption: We’ve also been working with all faculty and staff on campus to encrypt user systems. By encrypting users’ systems, we are better able to securely protect data and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. If a system is stolen or lost, encryption keeps the data on the machine safe.
  4. User training: Those who have access to sensitive data are often targeted through phishing scams and other methods. We’ve implemented more in-depth user training to minimize the likelihood of a data breach.  This training is offered through LawRoom, the company that provides annual training regarding sexual harassment. If you are interested in early access to the IT security training, please get in touch with the Help Desk.
  5. OpenDNS Umbrella: The rollout of OpenDNS Umbrella has helped us reduce the likelihood of a user visiting a malicious site. If someone were to attempt to visit a known malicious site, they are automatically redirected to a benign webpage. If for any reason a website is improperly listed as malicious through OpenDNS, we are able to work directly with them to address it accordingly. You can learn more about OpenDNS Umbrella in our Services Catalog.

Although we are implementing all of these changes to enhance security at HMC, phishing scams and other malicious attempts at accessing PII will continue to evolve. We are continuing efforts to stay ahead of these changing trends to ensure our students, staff, and faculty are outfitted with the latest security technology and tools to keep their data protected.

Think you can spot the difference between a legitimate site and a phishing scam? You can take the Phishing Quiz from OpenDNS to put your skills to the test. Let us know how you did!

Autodesk and HMC

With the wide range of educational pursuits available on Harvey Mudd’s campus, there is no shortage of potential software needs. Luckily, Autodesk has provided us with the resources to utilize software titles for architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and media industries. Best known for AutoCAD, which encompasses a range of titles for design, engineering, and entertainment, Autodesk makes educational versions of software available at no cost to qualified students and faculty in their Autodesk community.

In addition to making software free, Autodesk sponsored a Harvey Mudd clinic a few years ago. The clinic team focused on the issue of world water issues; specifically, recontamination and the fact that if water is not used directly after being purified, it still has a high chance of becoming recontaminated. Autodesk helped connect Harvey Mudd students to resources around the world to address the issues many face, and allowed them to do so utilizing numerous titles including SketchBook Pro and Fusion 360. With their cloud-based solutions, they could design and interact with people around the world through a single shared project. They were able to manufacture a prototype and submit it to their collaborators for further testing. This is only one of the many projects Autodesk software has been an asset in. You can learn more about the project through this video.

Harvey Mudd has primarily used software provided through Autodesk to support Engineering clinics through designing and building prototypes. However, the list of titles available through Autodesk is extensive, and we are excited to offer you the ability to explore other opportunities. Students and faculty are eligible for free Autodesk software and we strongly encourage you to explore the tools and resources made available through their website.

If you’d like more information regarding Autodesk, you can find it by visiting the Autodesk Education Community Home Page.

CIS Summer Projects

With half of summer already gone,  CIS is knee-deep in projects.  Thankfully, we have an excellent team of interns helping us this summer:

  • Chris Butler ’20
  • Harry Fetsch ’20
  • Andrew Pham ’20
  • Aomsin Pongpiriyakam ’20
  • Kainoa Correa ’20
  • Xingyao Chen ’20
  • Anthony Romm ’18
  • Johan Hoeger ’17

Our team of summer interns is working on multiple projects that scale in size from small updates to improve workflows, to a complete overhaul of the HMC website to improve accessibility.  They are helping us support multiple departments throughout the college.

Here’s a glimpse at some of the projects we are working on currently:

Accessibility Project
Perhaps the biggest task our interns are undertaking is the accessibility project. Students are evaluating HMC’s website to determine whether the documents, forms, and structure are in the most accessible format. Students have met with the Communications department to outline the task and obtain access to the college’s WordPress site. We are already in the process of converting documents to webpage formats, making them easier to use. Over 800 PDFs and pageviews have been collected! The owners of the documents have been identified and the level of access to these forms has been determined as well. While this is a major undertaking, these changes are critical to improving users’ experiences online! You can learn more about this project here.

Electronic Forms Project
Students are putting their coding skills to work by converting the Registrars’ paper forms to Google Forms. Goals in this project include reducing the use of paper forms and adding automation and efficiency for tracking the status of requests and approvals between students, faculty, and the Registrar Office. Many of these forms have both student and faculty versions that are designed to automatically store responses and send reminder emails to advisors for approval. Students are currently testing the Transfer Course Approval form and the Independent Study form. More information about this project is outlined here.

Help Desk Chat Support
CIS is always looking for ways to expand on the service we provide faculty, staff, and students! While you can always call, email, or visit the Help Desk, we wanted to integrate another option for users on the go: chat support! Utilizing Google Hangouts, the chat service is currently being designed to provide automated responses and direct users to information for after-hours support. Faculty, staff, and students can also receive real-time support from CIS staff via the chat option. If a response is not received within a specific amount of time, the chat bot will provide an automatic response. Our interns are using programming to develop and deploy the service. You can learn more about the chat bot project here.

HMC Lecture Capture Migration
Many students on campus have taken at least one class that utilizes the Lecture Capture service. Faculty may request semester-long recordings of their lectures and provide them to students. In addition, the service may be used for special presentations, events, and guest lectures throughout the academic year. All recorded media is migrated from MediaSite to an HMC Google Drive maintained by the CIS department. Our students have already successfully archived the 2016 Fall – 2017 Spring academic year! You can find out more about this project here.

Shanahan Center Audio Visual Equipment Checks and Repairs
You may have seen the CIS staff throughout the course of the semester testing classroom equipment in the Shanahan building. Our interns join alongside us during the summer to ensure all equipment is tested and ready to go for the upcoming fall semester. No task is too small – classroom functionality is critical to the success of our faculty and students!

These projects represent only a handful of the responsibilities our interns are taking on this summer. Several other projects will be starting up later this summer and we’re excited to share our progress with you! If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to stop by Sprague this summer! You can always call or email the Help Desk too!

2016 Year in Review

The CIS department at HMC has spearheaded many initiatives that have made meaningful changes for faculty, staff, and students across the Claremont Colleges. Through the hard work of our staff and partnerships with departments across campus, we have introduced innovative projects, much-needed updates, and new processes to be a more effective support team for HMC and others.

We’ve seen many changes throughout the year and want to highlight some of the most impactful and memorable accomplishments we’ve made. If you’d like more information on any of our projects, please contact the Help Desk and we will gladly connect you with those who can provide additional updates.

Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs): In 2016, the CIS department inherited the responsibility of managing and maintaining MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) for the HMC community. These courses are designed to offer HMC-styled courses to students and teachers across the world. High school-aged students and younger can take courses that are roughly based on our own CS 5 course. This year, we relaunched SCRATCH, created by Colleen Louise, and CS 4 All courses to serve as introductory Computer Science courses. All videos created for the CS 4 All course were created by HMC students who are passionate about teaching computer science. To date, the SCRATCH course has had over 20,000 students enroll while the CS 4 All course has had over 23,000 students.

Data Assessment Team (DAT): In response to the cabinet’s desire to learn more about how data flows through HMC, our Data Assessment Team (DAT) set out to assess and document the way in which Harvey Mudd College collects, creates, and consumes personal data. The project results were delivered to the Data Standards Management Team (DSMT) to help Harvey Mudd improve current practices. Based off the data gathered, DSMT is able to help in a number of ways including: identifying process overseers, eliminating redundancies, streamlining the flow of student data, and monitoring data security. The progress made in this project has served as preparation for more impactful changes set to take place further down the line.

ETS Impact Report: The Educational Technology Services team published their first Impact Report this fall. The report focused on the team’s activities in the 2015-2016 academic year in the areas of support and outreach, projects and pilots, instructional design, and research computing. You can pick up a print copy of the report at the CIS Help Desk or read it on our website on the IT Matters page.

Research Computing Growth: HMC is the first and only institution in the Claremont Colleges to support advanced, high-performance computing for student and faculty research projects through XSEDE. This year, several HMC math and engineering students utilized XSEDE Campus Champions supercomputer allocation for research, including senior thesis and clinic projects. HMC also hosted several well-attended  XSEDE Big Data, MATLAB, and R workshops. All workshops HMC offers are open to students, faculty, and staff in the Claremont Colleges. For more information, contact the Help Desk or Dr. Jeho Park.

Lingk: We have started investigating the use of Lingk to deliver data via a standardized application programming interface (API).  Through the use of Common Education Data Standards (CEDS), college course information is readily available in a format that matches that of other institutions that utilize this same standard. Students can easily search for courses, see who is teaching, and plan their schedules with this information. In fact, several students created a portal project that allows students to browse the HMC course catalog and plan a schedule for upcoming semesters. It even allows students to see a visual representation of what their schedule may look like based on selected courses. (You can find it here: Standardized data can make it easier for HMC to work with new vendors and integrate new products. While the partnership with Lingk has provided us with immediate benefit, it has also set us up to more easily extract and migrate data in the future.

Single Sign-On for HMC Applicants: At the request of Admission, we started this project to allow for single sign on single sign-on to Slate and NetPartner, the two applications used by applicants. It automates the creation of Slate accounts and the creation of CX records. Additionally, it also automates the process of removing CX records for applicants who do not become students as well as the provisioning/deprovisioning of accounts in NetPartner/PowerFAIDS.

Educational Technology Project Program: This year, the Educational Technology Services team began a formal program of accepting and supporting faculty projects in instructional design and technology. The team has supported twelve faculty projects, including designing lesson plans and workshops, creating customized technology solutions, and consulting on useful classroom tools. We’re excited to continue our project program in 2017 – please feel free to email project ideas to

Upgrades to Portal: Several areas of the Portal were upgraded in June with the implementation of System Maintenance Order (SMO) 13000.  The SMO software provided by Jenzabar allowed our campus to work toward resolving many long-standing issues and requests for enhancements.  Since the upgrade, we have been able to make progress on issues and requests that included information presented and formatted on official and unofficial transcripts, display of GPA and sessions, GPA field for student degree audit, wait-list functionality, cross-listed courses, email notifications, and student biographical information.

These projects represent only a fraction of the work completed by CIS this year. We’re already gearing up for 2017 with numerous projects well underway and other proposals in the works. If you have any ideas for future projects or collaborations, you can reach us any time through the Help Desk by calling extension 77777 or writing an email to Even if you’d just like to share feedback with us on something we’ve implemented, we’d love to hear from you!

We look forward to continuing great work with the Claremont Colleges in 2017! Enjoy your break – we’ll see you next year!