ITS Guide for New Students
Getting Started Right at SUNY Plattsburgh
Information Technology Services can help you to achieve a strong start in your studies at SUNY Plattsburgh. We provide the resources and expert services that students need to excel. We believe that diversity contributes to student success. Here’s an introduction:
Four Essential First Steps for New Students
1. Log in to Our Systems
All of these systems ask you to log-in using your personal NetID and password.
- Banner — If you have not already done so, go to the log in page and follow the instructions. Banner is where you’ll check your registration status, view your progress toward degree completion, add or drop courses, view your class schedule, check your grades and transcripts, review tuition charges and payments, check the status of your financial aid, and more.
- Email — Your SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinal Cloud email account is the official channel of communication
that the college uses to send you critical information. Learn more about Cardinal Cloud.
- Moodle is the college’s course management system. Your instructors will use it to share materials related to your studies. Learn more about Moodle.
- 2. Make a Note of Helpdesk Services
3. Learn How to Get Connected — Without All the Wires
Our campus wireless network gives you laptop access that lets you email, use the web, and IM. It’s available in many designated areas across campus.
4. Make Feinberg Library a Favorite Destination
Academic libraries are unfamiliar territory for most new students. Trust us here: you’ll want to get up to speed quickly and make Feinberg Library a favorite place to visit on campus and online.
Technology Questions & Answers
15 Great Tech Questions to Ask Colleges
The non-profit group EDUCAUSE* has composed a list of top technology questions for prospective and new students to ask colleges. Here are our answers to an adapted selection of those questions. If you don’t see your particular top question, we invite you to call, email, or read a list of additional questions and answers to find the answers you need.
- How does the campus use technology to enhance teaching and learning?
SUNY Plattsburgh’s foremost concern is to use the best-available technology to support academic programs, tailoring the technology to the requirements of individual programs and making sure you — the student — understands how to use it. Many disciplines use specialized technology and facilities as an integral part of subject learning. Examples include graphic design, journalism, photography, earth and environmental science, geography, and music.
- Is there technology in the classrooms?
Yes! Plattsburgh’s classroom tech support ranges from complete computer-equipped classrooms (where every student can work conveniently at a computer) through “smart” classrooms (where the instructor has a networked computer and projection console).
- Does the school have multimedia labs I can use to work on projects, and is help available?
Yes. Our Feinberg Computer Lab provides multimedia capability, and a staff assistant is always on hand to help you with questions or problems. Our Graphic Design Lab in Myers Fine Arts building offers more comprehensive capability.
- Can the Library deliver documents to me electronically? Is there a cost?
Feinberg Library’s Interlibrary Loan service delivers documents from a large network of libraries to students via email. Any items not converted to electronic format are sent through the regular mail system. It’s all done at no cost to the student.
- What help does the library provide for research assistance, and when is it available?
Helping students to conduct quality research is our business. Various assistance is available online and in-person. In addition to walk-in help, students can call the Research Help Desk at 518-564-5290, chat online with a librarian 24/7, or make an appointment for more in-depth assistance. Check online now for services and availability.
- Does the campus offer training programs that will ensure I am fluent in current information
Absolutely! In fact, learning information and technology literacy is a mandatory requirement that can be met by taking the required class or by proficiency exam. Information-technology skills are further infused and reinforced throughout the general education program. For example, journalism students use desktop publishing software to produce newspaper and web publications. Accounting majors use specific accounting software to develop financial statements and reports. Education majors use special software to develop lesson plans.
- What personal information can I view and update online?
A lot. From the time of application to graduation, you’ll find many key transactions online. You can view mailing and email address information, emergency contacts, and general student information (e.g., major, advisor, class level, etc.). You can view grades, your degree audit (showing your progress to graduation), financial aid awards and refunds, your bills and balances, and more. For your convenience, Plattsburgh lets you make online updates to your own address info, emergency contact information, and email information. You can make course adjustments, financial aid and student account transactions (e.g., accept aid, adjust your bill, make payments, etc.).
- How does the campus manage email spam and spyware problems?
The entire campus community is covered by virus and spyware protection software. Spam is managed via controls on our campus firewall, intrusion detection systems, and on the mail server. Support staff will also help you to choose tighter restrictions by applying personal rules on the server or on your particular mail client.
- What public access for computing is available to students?
We offer open-access, walk-up computers at locations in most buildings across campus. We also maintain a large open lab for student use. Wireless service is available in many public spaces and has been introduced in a number of lecture halls and classrooms.
- Does the campus provide email accounts for all students and use email as an official
medium of communication?
Yes. All students receive email accounts upon enrolling. The campus has an email policy designating assigned email accounts as an official means of communication.
- What technology-supported career-planning services are available for students?
The Career Development Center has many computer and Internet-based tools to help with career exploration which lead into career inventories. It has over 80 on-line job lists that help the student divide the opportunities into geographic and subject areas. It also makes available many free industry-based special purpose packages.
- What technology fee is charged? What does it cover?
The Educational Technology Fee funds an array of technology that is critical to a your academic life. It’s meant to ensure that you have optimal — not simply minimal — support. The fee funds both services and facilities, including technology-enhanced classrooms, computer classrooms, discipline-based computer labs, network infrastructure, instructional technology, academic software, student information systems, and electronic databases.
- Will I be required to purchase my own computer equipment and software?
Maybe. The answer depends upon your major. Students in some business degree programs take courses that integrate laptop computers. These students need to purchase a laptop compatible with assigned projects. All other students do not need to purchase computer hardware or software. While there are plenty of computer labs across campus, some students find that owning their own equipment is more convenient.
- If I do purchase computer equipment, what hardware and software standards apply?
We recommend that students use Windows-based systems where possible, as there is generally more support for such items. Our Helpdesk does handle Linux and Apple support, though not in as great a depth. For best application support, we recommend using Microsoft Office as a base package. For hardware, we generally recommend going with a name brand system, bundled with a good warranty and printer. Where possible, we encourage students to buy systems from vendors with whom we have been certified to offer repair service (currently Dell or Gateway).
- What kind of tech support is provided, and when is it available?
Our exceptionally talented Helpdesk professionals and student technicians are available to assist you with a variety of technical issues. Help covers triage (figuring out what the problem is, who should handle it, and when it will get fixed), configuration (we can tune your system and software so they work well together and allow you to work well with them), repairs (our technicians are certified for most vendors on campus and for some that are not used on campus), and more. Our Helpdesk is also the home of special services like Cardinal Computer Care Services and Residential Networking (ResNet).
*EDUCAUSE describes itself as “a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology.”
- How does the campus use technology to enhance teaching and learning?
College Use of Technology Resources FAQs
Will I use technology to collaborate with other students in both introductory and advanced courses?
While there is no requirement for instructors to do so, this is done in practice as an ever-higher percentage of instructors use course management systems to augment their face-to-face classes.
Does the school give credit for courses taken online from other institutions and sources of instruction?
Courses from accredited colleges and universities transfer into SUNY Plattsburgh no matter what presentation format the course was offered in. If it was awarded credit at that school it follows the normal transfer guidelines that any other course uses.
Are library collections and resources available online and accessible off-campus?
Feinberg Library’s online catalog, full-text electronic journals, e-books, online databases, and course reserves are available on and off-campus to our students, faculty, and staff.
What technology resources and help are available to students with special needs?
All special services are coordinated through Student Support Services (SSS). This office provides devices that produce Braille, scan books for conversion to audio, and create large fonts. They can also produce a closed-caption equivalent to a lecture.
Administrative Uses & Services FAQs
Can I update personal information online myself?
Students can update their local address, emergency contact information, and email information. In addition, all course adjustments, financial aid and student account transactions (e.g., accept aid, adjust bill, make payments) can be performed online.
Can I transact admission, financial, and course-related business online?
A personalized letter is used to communicate admissions decisions. Many other services above can be performed on the web (e.g., register for courses, add/drop courses, view and accept financial aid awards, pay bills, review grades, view/print unofficial transcripts, check degree requirements and progress to graduation).
What campus and community services are covered by debit-card, smart-card, or one-card systems?
Our one-card system is used on campus for door access, meal plans, and payment of certain fees (e.g., Fitness Center, athletic fee, computer care). This debit card can be used in dining facilities, the campus store and vending machines. In addition, several local vendors accept the card.
Is the school catalog (including course descriptions, degree requirements, academic policies, and the semester schedule of classes) available on the web?
Yes. The college catalog is updated on the web annually. The course descriptions and class schedules perform real-time selects from the student administrative systems in order to present the most up-to-date information.
What security and privacy policies are in place to protect student information?
SUNY Plattsburgh takes seriously its responsibility to protect the security and privacy of individuals. Various policies and protections can be found on our policies page.
How does the campus educate students about and protect them from identity theft?
Our LITS Information Security Analyst regularly communicate with the campus community on information security issues. Identity theft, privacy, scam awareness, and best practices for keeping information secure are common topics. Learn more about information security.
How does the campus notify students of their rights under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)?
The Registrar’s Office is responsible for notifying students of their rights under FERPA. Each year, the college catalog is updated with campus FERPA information. In addition, the campus FERPA policies are always available on the web.
Campus Technology Support FAQs
Does the campus provide and support electronic space for personal student web pages?
Is network bandwidth limited for peer-to-peer software, gaming, web cams, or other programs requiring high levels of network services?
Yes. We do this to ensure the best possible service for all students. SUNY Plattsburgh currently has a managed 45MB connection to the Internet. Bandwidth management is needed since P2P applications can consume all available bandwidth on a network. An unbalanced network would result in inconsistent network performance, denial of services, and a lack of priority for network services supporting the academic mission of the campus.
Is there a campus code of behavior about using computer resources?
SUNY Plattsburgh has a Responsible Use of Technology Resources policy that clearly outlines the campus code of behavior that governs computer use.
Does the campus have policies addressing peer-to-peer file sharing, computer viruses, and copyright violations?
SUNY Plattsburgh takes these issues seriously and uses a three-stage process for Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) violations. We have a well-developed computer services area where students take their machines for assistance in the removal of unwanted peer-to-peer sharing software and viruses.
Is contact information for students, faculty, and staff readily accessible electronically?
There are two directories in common use. One, accessible to anyone, provides name look-up and returns email addresses for the matches for students, staff and faculty. The second is more secure as it requires login as a student, staff, or faculty; this provides student information for email, phone, and physical address.
Does the campus make online communities available (e.g., forms, bulletin boards)?
No. Students have access to Microsoft 365 through their campus accounts, but we do not support this service.
Are there websites for student organizations and clubs?
Students can create websites for free through Microsoft 365, using their campus account.
Will I be required to purchase my own computer equipment and software?
It depends upon your major. Students in two of the business majors (general business and accounting) have had a set of courses designed to integrate the use of laptop computers into classes and assignments. These students will need to purchase a laptop compatible with those projects. All other students do not have to purchase specific hardware or software, and there are many computer labs across campus and in the library.
Does the campus make computing and network access financially accessible? Is special student pricing offered for computers and peripheral equipment?
There is no charge for computing or network access on campus, although portions of such services are funded by a technology fee. Special pricing for computers, software, and equipment is provided by our College Store.
What hardware and software standards, if any, does the campus require, recommend, and/or support?
The campus recommends that students use Windows-based systems where possible, as they will generally find more support for such items. Our Helpdesk also handles Linux and Apple support, but not in as great a depth. As for application support, we recommend using Microsoft Office as a base. For hardware, we generally recommend going with a name-brand system, bundled with a good warranty and a printer. Where possible, we encourage students to buy systems from vendors with whom we have been certified to offer repair service (Dell and Gateway).
What technology-support services are provided by the campus, and when are they available?
Our LIB courses cover the basics of common software, such as the Microsoft office products. In addition the Feinberg Library Reference Service is a student resource for formatting, printing, and saving assignments and projects. Professional librarians staff the reference desk during regular semesters. They are available to help students in person and online.
Does the campus have a plan for keeping its hardware and software current, and if so, what is the replacement cycle?
Yes. For hardware, we operate on a four-to-five-year cycle for faculty/staff desktops and a three-to-four-year cycle for labs and classrooms (which also includes projectors and other AV systems). As for software, we maintain a Campus Agreement with Microsoft to handle desktop operating systems and Office applications. Other software upgrades are evaluated as needed and funded through departmental budgets or campus educational technology funds.
If I bring my own computer to school, what kind of technical support can I expect from the campus?
The campus Helpdesk offers free assistance for the basics of connecting to our campus network and configuring such items and mail clients and antivirus software. For more extensive support, we encourage students to sign up for our Cardinal Computer Care Services.
How does the campus support printing for students, and is there a charge for this service?
Black and white laser printing is free in campus labs and classrooms. We do charge for color laser printing, large format/poster printing (plotter), and other related services such as laminating and binding.
Does the campus provide wireless network coverage? If so, how much of the campus has wireless connectivity?
Yes. Lounges, lobbies, meeting areas, and study locations are wireless. Additional wireless upgrades are expected in 2007-2008; these will provide additional coverage for classrooms, labs, and lecture areas. We are also adding a controlled wireless environment in the residence halls.
What security measures (e.g., antivirus software) are provided by SUNY Plattsburgh, and what is my responsibility as a student?
The majority of measures are managed by our IT staff. The student is responsible for maintaining a system that is current in its operating-system patches and anti-virus software. Students are also responsible for using good judgment in the services they use or activities in which they engage on our network.
Does the campus include the cost of technical accessories in its technology fee, or are students required to purchase these items separately?
Students are generally required to purchase such individual-use items separately.
Does the campus support the purchase and use of e-textbooks? Do the baseline hardware and software standards support this technology?
A number of courses have adopted this capability. Computer labs are plentiful on campus, and ensuring that e-books work on these machines has become part of our e-book implementation process.