Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I need to book a webconference for a meeting, what details are required to set it up?

To book a webconference for a meeting or event, please fill out this form

Q: I've heard that I should use an encrypted USB drive. What do you recommend?

University policy and established practice require that personal information (PI), if it’s not stored on a secure server, must be encrypted. The use of whole-disk encryption ensures that, if the storage device (like a USB drive or laptop) is lost or stolen, the data on it will be inaccessible and would therefore not be considered to have been exposed by the Information and Privacy Commissioner. For a long time, encrypted USB drives tended to be significantly more expensive than unencrypted ones, which slowed adoption. However, much lower-priced options have become available in recent years. Our recommendation is the Kingston DataTraveler Locker+ encrypted drive, which is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems. These drives are stocked by MedStore.

Q: Is the Discovery Commons open after 5pm for students?

Yes, the Discovery Commons foyer (MSB 3172) is available to students 24/7 with their building access swipe card.

Q: I’m finding spam messages or bouncebacks to messages in my Inbox from myself. I know I didn’t send these messages. Why is this happening?

It’s called “spoofing”. Hackers may have gotten your email address from somewhere, and rather than using their own email address to send out Spam, they are using your email address. Unfortunately, there’s very little we can do about this since the mail protocol allows anyone to put anything in the “From: “ field of a message being sent.

Q: My email was working fine before I went on vacation, but since I got back I no longer get email from outside sources in my Inbox. What happened?

You most likely enabled an auto-reply on the UTORid website. Doing this removes a forwarding that’s critical for your exchange account to function with your @utoronto email address. Contact the helpdesk to have a technician assist you with re-enabling the forwarding. To avoid this problem, please use the Outlook Out of Office assistant to notify users of your absence.

Q: Outlook just signed me out and now I have lost internet connection. Why?

It is possible that the outage is temporary. Please try again in five minutes. If the outage continues, call the Service Desk to report the outage.

Q: What are media file types?

Media file types are the various ways in which media can be encoded in order that they play back in expected ways for different purposes. File types are denoted by the 3 (or 4) characters after the name of the file and preceded by a period.

File types contain specific codecs that allow the media to be read by an operating system, media player or application. While many codecs play on many current devices, they are not standardized and universally compatible. A common file type such as one listed below may have been compressed using an uncommon or defunct codec, resulting in a file that will no longer play.

Sometimes, media files need to be converted from one file type to another to be used in an application. If the file is quite old and uses a defunct codec, it may not be able to be converted.

Common video file types are:

  • .mov
  • .mp4
  • .avi
  • .mpg

Common audio file types are:

  • .mp3
  • .wav
  • .m4a
  • .aiff

Common still image file types are:

  • .jpg medi
  • .jpeg
  • .png
  • .gif

Q: What computer security precautions I should consider as an end-user?

Here are some of the more important precautions that we advise for everyone:

  • Encrypt all mobile devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets, USB keys)
  • Don’t login to sensitive web applications from a public computer or public WiFi network
  • Don’t cache your username and password in your workstation (i.e. “remember me”)
  • Remember to log off at the end of a session
  • Use different sets of logins and passwords for different web applications and services, and especially for personal and work systems
  • Regularly change your passwords used in critical web applications
  • Report abnormal behavior to the service provider immediately
  • Ensure that the operating system and system components like Internet Explorer (browser) and Microsoft Office are fully patched and up-to-date
  • Install a personal firewall as well as anti-virus software with the latest virus signatures
  • Don’t download software, plug-ins, or browser toolbars from unknown sources

Q: What general security precautions does Discovery Commons take for web servers?

We take a range of industry-standard precautions, including:

  • We configure the web server securely according to the vendor’s security guidelines
  • We identify application files on the web server and protect them with access controls
  • We run web server processes with appropriate privilege accounts. We avoid running web server processes using full privileged accounts (e.g. ‘root’, ‘SYSTEM’, ‘Administrator’)
  • We configure web server software to prevent any leak of information such as web server software version, internal IP address, directory structure, etc.
  • We configure access rights so that server software cannot modify files being served to users. In other words, the web server software should have read-only access rights to those files
  • We apply the latest security patches to web server software

The University’s latest security baseline can be found on the ISEA website (ISEA is a part of ITS).

Q: What is the difference between webcasting and webconferencing?

Webcasting is a one-to-many technology, commonly used for broadcasting live presentations and other events where there are speakers and an audience. A camera image shows the speaker(s), microphones transit the speaker’s voice, and if there is a presentation, such as a powerpoint, that can be shown as well. An audience can be present with the presenter and view the session in person, and others can experience the live session while at their computers (this is the remote audience). The remoter audience receives a link in advance of the event, and at the scheduled time, will see and hear the webcast when they click the link. The remote audience has the option of using a chat box to communicate with other remote participants, but cannot be seen or heard by the presenting site. Often, the chat is used to allow remote participants to ask questions, and a moderator at the presenting site monitors the chat and relays questions to the presenter or answers them.  See an infographic of webcasting here 

Webconferencing technology is used when collaboration between online participants is important, such as during a course or group training session, and remote participants can all have input. There is usually a moderator who initiates the conference, and using settings, can control how much or how little input participants will have. Participants can be seen and heard via their own webcams, and can also chat. They can also be given write access to any displayed documents or whiteboards. Webconferencing requires special software, but usually only the moderator requires the full version and participants connect via a free client that is downloaded onto their own computer. Examples of webconferencing software are GoToMeeting and Adobe Connect. See an infographic of webconferencing here

A webinar is a commonly used term for a webcast or webconference that has, as its content, a seminar or training session.

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