November 2020

Who Loves LinkedIn Learning? We Do!

Since LinkedIn Learning, the online learning platform formerly known as, was launched on campus in August it has found many fans. This month we talk to three of our most active users.

Affoue Koffi – Graduate Student, School of Management

Affoue, a student in her first semester of a Masters in Finance graduate degree, was thrilled when she heard that Clark was providing access to LinkedIn Learning. Initially she was just hoping to get a refresher on finance basics prior to taking her Financial Accounting class this semester (click here for Financial Accounting videos), but then became hooked. She has since progressed to more in-depth financial videos, giving her a head-start on important skills and concepts for her dream of becoming a Corporate Financial Analyst (click here videos from the Becoming a Financial Analyst course).

To make time for extra-curricular learning in addition to her regular course work, Affoue sets herself a weekly goal that equates to about 20 minutes a day. When watching the videos she takes notes in a notebook, and takes advantage of the replay option for more complex topics that may require a second watching. By sticking to this reasonable goal, she’s made impressive progress in her learning paths, and is one of our most active LinkedIn Learning users.

John Freyermuth – Faculty, V&PA

This semester saw a new way of teaching and learning for many faculty and students. John Freyermuth, a faculty member in V&PA, turned to LinkedIn Learning to keep his teaching engaging and authentic. For his Computers and Music course, John wanted his students to see and hear complicated concepts covered in class demonstrated in professional environments. A series of curated LinkedIn Learning videos offered this opportunity to students, with John stating “the ability to visualize an auditory phenomenon has been beneficial for a lot of students.” They were particularly excited to watch animations of Microphone Polar Patterns, and on and off-axis microphone frequency responses (Click here to watch videos from the Digital Audio Foundations course.)

For John, the videos offered by LinkedIn Learning don’t offer an alternative to opportunities in the classroom, but actually enrich the learning from a different perspective. He’s excited for other faculty to consider using LinkedIn Learning but warns that with so many wonderful videos it can be easy to post too many!

Michelle Johnson-Sargent – Assistant to the Director, IDCE

Michelle Johnson-Sargent, Assistant to the Director in IDCE is one of Clark’s most active LinkedIn Learning users, and a true life-long learner. “I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient and work smarter not harder…LinkedIn Learning has definitely helped with that.” Michelle has spent lots of time learning more about Excel (click here for the Master Microsoft Excel videos), particularly how to format and present data better and be more effective at using formulas.

While working in a very busy role in IDCE, Michelle makes time for extra learning by multi-tasking. “It’s easy to have a topic of interest playing in the background or with the screen minimized.  When I really want to focus on a topic, I log in and learn on the weekend.” Next on Michelle’s agenda? Project Management – a skill she knows will align well with her work in the department (click here for Project Management Foundations.)

Interested in LinkedIn Learning

If Affoue’s, John’s and Michelle’s stories have inspired you to check out LinkedIn Learning, click here for more information, and get learning!

Mac Users: Big Sur and Purchasing Advice

This week, Apple held its long-awaited One More Thing live stream. During the session Apple announced, as expected the release of its new Operating System – Big Sur (Mac OS11). It also announced hardware lines that will use a new M1 processing chip.

Continue reading to learn more about how these announcements may impact you and your work at Clark.

Big Sur: Don’t Upgrade Just Yet.

As of today (November 12th) users can now install a new version of the Apple operating system, called Big Sur or Mac OS 11.

We know it’s exciting to upgrade your computer and see the new features, but upgrades to operating systems are complex, and may significantly change the way your computer works. Many software manufacturers need time to update their applications to be compatible.

In the past, users who upgrade too soon have experienced problems with applications failing to run, and had difficulties logging in, or connecting to the network.

Faculty & Staff

If you’re using a university-owned Mac, please do not upgrade to this new Operating System until ITS can verify that essential applications are compatible with this new version. We will follow up with an email when we have a better understanding of the compatibility concerns. An upgrade could result in the computer no longer working properly.

If you are a using a personally-owned Mac, we also recommend that you do not upgrade when the new Operating System is released.


As many of the applications and programs that you rely on as a student may not yet be compatible, we are recommending waiting until ITS announces that all critical software is compatible before you upgrade. In the coming weeks ITS will email again with further information.

Purchasing new Apple Hardware

With the introduction of a new processor to their line-up, if you’re considering purchasing new Apple laptops or desktops in the next few months, research carefully which option is best for you. Apple has announced a new type of processor – the M1 – will be included in some of their new devices, while they will also continue to offer their tried-and-true Intel devices. Click here for more information on this announcement.

While this new processor will be extremely fast, it may cause some issues with software compatibility. The M1 is a brand new technology, and all programs and applications will need to be redeveloped to work on these devices. While big companies like Adobe and Microsoft will prioritize that development over the next year, smaller academically-focused companies may take even longer. For example, it’s projected that Adobe won’t have an M1-compatible version of Photoshop for over 6 months.

As a Clark community member, if using a wide range of software is important for your success, we’re recommending waiting before making the switch to an M1 device and looking at Apple’s Intel chip devices in the meantime.


If you have any questions about our recommendations, please contact us at

Working from Home: Advice from an Expert

Don Lutz, ITS’s Manager for Online and Instructional Technology, joined Clark in December 2019 and had been on campus less than 12 weeks when the college’s COVID response moved the Academic Technology Services group to remote work. However, prior to Clark, Don had decades of experience working fully remotely with his previous employer, leading teams of more than 14 remote workers, and completing a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree fully online.

As staff, faculty and students prepare for more remote work in the coming months, Don offers some of his invaluable advice. He believes that the following tips can make all the difference when working, learning and leading from home.

Create Space for Work – both Physical and Mental

Balancing work and home during COVID times is different to remote work prior to 2020. However, especially with these additional strains, creating space can make all the difference.

Physical: If possible, find a space in your home that can be defined as your workspace. While many of us aren’t lucky enough to have the space for a dedicated home office, finding a corner of your living room, bedroom, or kitchen that can serve as a workplace can make a difference in creating boundaries. Even if that space is repurposed in the evenings and weekends, the defined area can help to create structure. This is even more important if you have multiple members of your household trying to work, teach or learn in the same home.

Mentally: Where possible try to preserve some of your workday rituals. Showering, dressing, and brewing your morning coffee creates routine. Some of ITS are even continuing to enjoy a morning ‘commute’ by heading out for a 5-10 minute walk around the neighborhood before sitting down to work and repeating that at the end of the day. Similarly, taking a regular lunch break, closing your laptop at the end of your regular work day, and setting aside time for chatting to colleagues can help.

Use Technology Thoughtfully

While there have been many times when we’ve felt Zoomed out over the past 9 months, the ability to connect, collaborate and meet with each other is important during these difficult times. However, by being thoughtful about our choice of communication, we can help create a better learning or work environment for everyone.

Just like when we’re on campus, before scheduling a zoom meeting, consider if it is the best choice for that particular discussion, or would an email, phone-call or teams chat be more appropriate. Additionally, consider if everyone you’re inviting needs to be present.

And don’t just use technology to connect for formal work purposes. Working remotely can feel isolating, so be sure to reach out to classmates, colleagues and managers to chat, check-in or just say hi.

Ask for Help

As we all move back to a more remote version of Clark, remember that there are many groups to support your work and your mental health and wellness. Take advantage of some of the social outreach being offered by HR, Staff Assembly, Faculty groups, and student organizations.

And finally, from a technical perspective, remember that ITS is here to help. The Help Desk will continue to be available by phone and email throughout the Winter Break and Intersession semester. Please don’t hesitate to reach out us, or your favorite ITS person, if you have any questions, challenges or projects that we can help with.

Firewalls: The First Line of Defense

As you may have read in the media and in your email inbox, cyber-attacks of all types are on the increase, and each of us need to be more vigilant than ever before clicking on links in emails, or responding to unknown senders.

But you’re not alone in the fight against phishing, viruses and malicious links. ITS is working hard to minimize our users’ exposure to nefarious attempts at attacking the institution and our data. And that work starts with a strong Firewall.

A Firewall is, first and foremost, a wall! It provides a barrier between our internal network – including systems such as Banner, WordPress and Outlook – and the external internet. Our Firewalls allows us to monitor traffic requests into the Clark network, and refuse traffic that is malicious and looking to compromise our users and our data. The easiest way to demonstrate how important the Firewall is to our security, is to share some numbers.

Since the beginning of the semester our Firewall has blocked over 2 BILLION attempts to access our network from general malicious actors and over 70,000 specific attempts to spoof Clark University email addresses. Additionally, our partnership with Microsoft has blocked over 5 million additional spam emails, and 12 million instances of malware. The technology that we use leverages machine learning, so that it identifies trends in new threats, learns from our users’ behavior and becomes more effective every day.

Without this technology, it would be impossible to run our campus effectively or securely. It allows us to communicate with Clarkies and external partners and greatly minimizes the percentage of attacks to reach your inbox. From there, we rely on you. So, don’t forget to ‘think twice, click once’ and follow our guidelines (click here to read) to help prevent cyberattacks on our network and data.

Get to Know Us: Chuck Wyatt

This month, we meet a Clark veteran with 19 years, 11 months and 1 week under his belt. So if you chat to Chuck Wyatt, our Manager of Web Technical Services on December 1st, 2020 wish him a Happy 20th Clark Anniversary.

Chuck is originally from Texas, but moved to Massachusetts to attend Harvard Divinity School. From there he worked in web-design and web-programming at non-profits before arriving at Clark. When asked about his role, he modestly states that he “works on the website” but anyone who’s worked closely with Chuck knows that his work is far more wide-ranging and that he’s creative, detail-oriented and always focused on offering wonderful service.

As for outside of work, Chuck has a love of Ireland having visited many times, enjoys reading and watching The Americans and is excited to hone his new-found love of sailing. However, one of his most interesting and life-long hobbies – amateur radio operator – has provided great stories and friendships. These include communicating with some of the residents at Jim Jones’ People’s Temple in Guyana back in 1978, and making scores of friends across Europe from his radio during a recent trip to Ireland.

If you’re interested in talking with Chuck about his radio adventures, his new home in Newtown, Connecticut, or of course, the website, click here to contact him.