November 2021

ITS Gift Guide – 2021

It’s time for our annual ITS Gift Guide! As the gift-giving holidays approach, the ITS team have once again come together to share our nerdiness with the campus.

This year, similar to most of our community, we’re hopeful that we can spend the holidays with family and friends in ‘real-life’. As a result, we’re excited to highlight the techy, low-tech and even no-tech gadgets that we’ve bought this year or have on our holiday wish lists.

If you still have questions about your technology purchases after reading through our recommendations, give us a call! Click here to contact us.

Joe Kalinowski and Oculus Quest 2

Joe Kalinowski – CIO, VP for IT and our fearless leader – recently got an Oculus Quest 2, a virtual reality headset, and he and his family have been loving it. It’s been a great source of entertainment for those using it, and just as much for those watching. At its most basic, the headset is an Android cell phone with special glasses to allow for an immersive experience for the user.  Additionally, the visuals can be cast to other devices so that a larger group can watch along. One thing to make sure is that you have a large enough space to move around freely when using it.

Ben Gardner and That's Entertainment

This year, Ben Gardner, Business and Data Analyst, is excited to go no-tech instead of high-tech. Staying local, he’s planning to go on a shopping spree at That’s Entertainment, Worcester’s “Pop Culture Emporium” which sells comics, video games, card and board games, collectibles, and decorations. He has his eye on some new board games with the hopes to play in-person with family and friends. New to board games? Ben recommends Codenames, Spirit Island and Tsuro.

Dan Meyer and Solo Stove

Another low-tech item on the ITS wish list is the Solo Stove. Dan Meyer, Enterprise Systems Engineer, is eager to gather around his new Solo Yukon. Solo is one of a few companies now offering portable stainless-steel smoke-free fire pits for a cozy backyard experience. In addition to the award-winning pit, the company offers a range of accessories – from stands to allow you to use it on any surface, to smores kits, grill stands and color packs that change the color of the flames.

Wanda Rouillard and Kindle Kids

Wanda Rouillard, our Operations Manager, is always on the lookout for gifts to wow her two grand-daughters. This year, the Kindle Kids has been a hit with kids, parents and Wanda alike. Available with fun covers, the Kindle Kids comes with 1 year of Amazon Kids+ that allows unlimited access to thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, tv shows, educational apps and games, including the complete Harry Potter book series.

Jason Trinklein and Kasa Smart

Jason Trinklein, Director of Infrastructure, moved into a new home this year, and is excited to fully-embrace the smart-home concept. While there are many options for creating a networked home, Jason has been exploring the TP-Link’s Kasa Smart product line. Using your existing Wi-Fi network, Kasa provides smart switches, plugs, bulbs and cameras. While simple to use, Kasa also provides advanced options for those who like to dabble in APIs and services like IFTTT (If This Then That) all at very reasonable prices. As Jason said “At this price point, your imagination – rather than your wallet – is your only limit!”

Melvin Vargas and Framework

For those of our community excited to get their hands a little dirty with technology, Melvin Vargas, our Endpoint Administrator, is very interested in Framework. The company is built on the ethos that computers should be easier for you to build and fix, and therefore better for the environment. Instead of retiring a laptop because of a broken screen, dying battery, or old connector, Framework makes it easy to repair devices that are sleek, well-designed and customizable. Additionally, the company offers a robust support section to help you learn as you go.

Alex Magid and Tapplock Lite

True to his profession, Alex Magid, our Information Privacy and Compliance Analyst, is eager to get his hands on the Tapplock Lite. When using this smart padlock, there’s no need to remember numeric codes or find that teeny-tiny key. Instead you can use the finger print scanner, unlock it using the Tapplock app, or even set a Morse code combination. The lock can allow you to store up to 100 fingerprints and manage multiple users access via the app.

Stay on Track with Moodle

Decorative: Moodle Logo in a cloud

In a world full of deadlines, we can always use a reminder or two. With our recent update, Moodle now has new tools to help teachers and students stay organized by tracking what work is due and what has already been submitted and graded.

These tools are available now and include the Timeline block, Upcoming Events block, and additional information in the Collapsed Topics course format.


This new feature provides a way to keep track of activities and deadlines across all of your Moodle courses. Located on the right-hand side of your dashboard (the first screen you see when logging into Moodle), this block allows you to sort by overdue or upcoming due dates (for all courses), or sort by due dates for each course.

Student and faculty view of the timeline block

Upcoming Events

The Upcoming Events block shows deadlines within and specific to a course. The block is located on the right side of the course page and displays activities and assignments that have due dates, as well as other calendar events. Users may click an item to preview details and navigate to the activity to be completed.

Detail of the the upcoming events block

Collapsed Topics: Additional Information

When using the Collapsed topics format (a Moodle course that has sections that you can toggle open and closed), users will now see additional information about the status of many activities, including assignments and quizzes. Directly from the course home page, users can see at a glance the due date, submission details and if feedback is available for a range of activities.

Collapsed topics and additional information

Remind me to Grade by

For faculty and TAs a new assignment option can now remind you when to grade submissions. To add the reminder, under the Assignment Availability settings, set “Remind me to grade by” to a date/time on or after the due date. The notification will display to faculty and TAs in the Timeline and Upcoming Events blocks.

Screenshot of how to set up Remind me to grade by

We hope these changes enhance your ability to better plan and prioritize your work. If you have questions about these or other Moodle features, reach out to your Academic Technology liaison.

Hacking and the Holiday Season

Decorative: A person holding a credit card and using a laptop with holiday lights in the background.

With the holiday season upon us, hackers, scammers and online thieves are gearing up for creative ways to steal your information. As millions of online shoppers begin looking for the best deals, hackers are looking to take advantage of people by searching for weaknesses in their devices, internet connections and failure to update to current software versions.

There are several key ways to prevent leaving yourself open to hackers and giving your information to the wrong individuals:

  • Stop, Look, and Think before you click on unknown links! When in doubt, if a message or email is real visit the company’s website or verify the sender through another method.
  • Never install unapproved software or download attachments without verifying they are safe. Always ensure your computer is up-to-date with the latest approved security patches.
  • Don’t download any e-gift card or other links if you do not know the sender. Downloading links from unknown senders can lead to ransomware installs and encryption of data.
  • Secure your devices by keeping them close and using strong passwords.
  • Password managers are a great tool, and help to create and store strong passwords. They make it secure and easy to not use the same password for all websites, and accounts – a bad practice. If one site is compromised, then the hackers will try the same password on many other sites.  If the password is unique per site, then you only have one account to worry about instead of all your accounts!
  • Make sure not to leave any devices unattended or connect to any unknown Wi-Fi networks. When possible, always use MFA.
  • Be cautious of websites that are not well known and offer special deals or promotions if you sign up.

With these steps, you can minimize your risk of browsing online and have a happy and secure holiday season.

Get to Know Us: Melvin Vargas

Melvin Vargas and his beautiful ginger cat, PitoThis month, we meet Melvin Vargas, Endpoint Administrator. While Melvin only joined Clark about 6 months ago, he’ll be a familiar face to the students, staff and faculty in the Becker School of Design and Technology after joining the Clark team directly from Becker College after 15 years of service.

Prior to Clark and Becker, Melvin graduated from VOKE here in Worcester and has worked with telecommunications, hardware, networking and many other specializations in IT at various schools and colleges. While he’s modest about what he does, saying that he just “fixes computers”, Melvin knows that helping our clients can help make their day that much better.

When not tinkering with technology, Melvin spends time with his 2 beautiful daughters, plays Call of Duty and Forza Horizon, and laughs along with the FX show “What We Do In The Shadows”. Finally, we can’t finish this introduction without mentioning Pito, the beautiful cat in Melvin’s picture, who sadly died earlier this year at 20 years old. But supposedly Melvin’s new cat TJ is helping to fill his shoes!

Interested in requesting pictures of TJ from Melvin, or chatting about his favorite car to drive in Forza? Click here for contact information.

Tool Spotlight: Software Center

Software Center allows quick and easy installation of common software on Clark-managed Windows devices across campus. The software available in Software Center will differ depending on the location of the device but common software includes:

  • Foxit PDF Reader
  • VLC Player (for video playback)
  • Skype
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Chrome and Firefox
  • 7Zip File Extractor

In addition to these, some Clark computers will also allow you to install specialist academic programs such as Anaconda Python, ArcGIS (Maps and Pro), RStudio and much more.

Installing Software from Software Center

When using a Clark-managed Windows computer while on campus or connected to VPN:

1. Click on the search icon in your Windows taskbar. (Don’t see a search icon? Click here for more instructions)

A picture of the windows dashboard and an arrow highlighting the search icon

2. Type Software Center and click on the icon to open

a screen shot of the software center icon

3. In Software Center you’ll see all of the software that you have the ability to install on the device.

4. Click on the software you wish to install. You will see information including the version.

5. Click install to begin the installation. If there is only an “Uninstall” button, that indicates that the software is already installed on the device.

For more information on Software Center, or the different software available to you to install on a Clark device, please contact the Help Desk (, 508 793 7745)