University continues to implement, troubleshoot SDSUid

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David Cortez

Film Critical Studies major Colton Krob logs into Blackboard.

by Paulette Villicana, Staff Writer

San Diego State is still implementing its new SDSUid system — and ironing out problems, too.

After a year-and-a-half process, students can now use their SDSUid, which is an sdsu.edu email address, to log into Blackboard and WebPortal, rather than using their RedID number.

Director of Enterprise Technology Services Infrastructure and Operations Kent McKelvey said the goal of creating the SDSUid is to ensure that students don’t have to use a different password and ID for every new system implemented on campus.

SDSU currently has around 25 to 30 systems integrated — including WebPortal and Blackboard — and will continue to add more applications.

“We have a list of over 80 systems that we want to integrate and the goal is that if you walk into a lab or we get a new application that comes online, or registration or whatever the case may be (…) they don’t have to have a different password and different ID for every system that they walk into,” McKelvey said.

Instructional Technology Services Associate Director Marc Pastor said the main issue students were complaining of was the inability to log back into Blackboard without logging out of a Microsoft portal also associated with their SDSUid email addresses. This resulted in a black screen that said “Blackboard SDSUid Timeout Error.”

“It’s an issue where you log in to the Microsoft Portal and then you log in to Blackboard you’re fine — you come back in and you try to log in and you get this Blackboard error page,” Pastor said. “Then you have to go back to the Office.com portal, log out and then you can log in clean again.”

Pastor said the problem has been fixed since Monday, Jan. 29.

The problem, Pastor said, was a mismatch in timing sessions.

He said the Microsoft portal session is 24 hours by default. However, since Blackboard holds grade and assignment information, the university didn’t want as generous of a policy, and it was given a shorter session time.

Pastor said because the errors were frustrating for many people, they matched the Blackboard session timing to Microsoft’s 24 hours. But there are still ongoing issues with session timing, he said.

“When you log into Microsoft, it asks ‘keep me logged in yes or no.’ If you say ‘yes’ then that 24 hours becomes 180 days and there are other things that can extend the session time,” Pastor said.  “So that’s really the root cause of the error, is this mismatch in allowed session times because Blackboard we want to keep more secure.”

WebPortal Project Manager Kevin Cartlidge said the main complaint he received was uncertainty about how to log in from applicants, who receive RedID numbers but not an SDSUid email address.

“That was a lot of the confusion I heard,” said Cartlidge. “They weren’t sure if they were logging in to the right site. Applicants thought they could use their SDSUid even though they didn’t have one.”

Cartlidge and Pastor said they waited until the spring semester to implement the change in order to avoid overwhelming new students.

They said although this new SDSUid login system is what the university will use from now on, the option to use a RedID or non-SDSUid for both Blackboard and WebPortal will still be available on both sites.

“That (Red ID login) will stay because there are cases of students like in Extended Studies or open university who use Blackboard but they don’t have an SDSUid,” Pastor said.

“And it’ll be true with WebPortal as well,” said Cartlidge. “We have to serve applicants every year no matter what and applicants aren’t provisioned SDSUids so we have to allow for that way to log on, and the same for any former student who can also access WebPortal.”

McKelvey said it’s also important for students to claim their SDSUid, as that’s how they get access to eduroam, SDSU’s secured and encrypted wireless network.

“Eduroam is the other piece that is critical for people to use because what people don’t realize is if you’re not using eduroam, you’re not using a secure wireless network,” McKelvey said. “That’s one of the reasons were encouraging folks to get get their SDSUid, claim it and configure and connect their system to eduroam because it provides a secure connection.”

He said eduroam provides connectivity from any campus, building and facility that also has eduroam.

It’s all throughout Europe and from a convenient standpoint that’s the other advantage of eduroam,” McKelvey said. “You travel, you go to other campuses and there’s a lot of airports, libraries, a lot of government facilities now that are also jumping on eduroam.”

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