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Website made to support students sustains difficulties

Brittany Schock / Asst. photo editor

My.osu.edu, the new university account-management website built to increase Internet security, has been preventing many students from accessing wireless Internet.

According to the Office of the Chief Information Officer community blog, which provides the Ohio State community with updates from the OCIO, my.osu.edu was built to combine “the once disparate processes of: creating individual accounts, managing email delivery, changing passwords and managing sponsored guests.”

The new website requires all students and faculty to activate their provided OSU login and prompts frequent password changes for added security.

The OCIO community blog also says “another improvement in service is the ability for anyone with an OSU username to use self-service reset of a forgotten password.” Resetting a password previously required assistance from the Office of Information Technology.

Cathy Bindewald, director of communications for the OCIO, said in an email that from Sept. 18 to Sept. 23, more than 1,100 students, faculty and staff needed assistance accessing wireless Internet because of problems with my.osu.edu.

The website went live on Aug. 15 and users started to experience problems with the program shortly after its creation, according to system logs.

In the OCIO logs, several issues have surfaced since the creation of my.osu.edu. Most of the problems, ranging from email problems to internet connectivity issues, have since been resolved.

However, the students waiting for help at OIT walk-in centers, like the Buckeye Bar, and those calling the OIT help lines were not as enthusiastic about the new system.

Affected students include many first-time osu.edu users and students attempting to connect wirelessly to the OSU network, especially in residence halls.

Jordan Vasko, a first-year student in Spanish and psychology, said she encountered problems with the website when she moved in to Paterson Hall early as an OWL. Many other residents in the building also had trouble logging into the wireless network, she said.

“I went down to the front desk at Paterson and asked for help and nothing worked,” Vasko said. “Later that night … I was able to change my password again and get the wireless running. I just kept trying new passwords.”

Though she was frustrated that it took a call to OIT and almost 24 hours to get her Internet working, Vasko said she doesn’t hold a negative view of what happened.

“I think it was handled well,” she said. “There’s just a lot of people trying to get on the system. I understand that there are going to be problems.”

There are four main causes of the problem, said Bindewald. Students using the same password they used before, incorrect usage of wireless devices, impatience with password changes on the system and passwords not successfully going to wireless after a password change are the cause of the majority of the problems. Most of these have simple solutions like double checking passwords and connectivity troubleshooting, others have been identified by OCIO officials and have been resolved.

“In some instances the new password is not successfully going to wireless after a password change,” Bindewald said in an email.

Bindewald said the OCIO is currently working on streamlining the process to eliminate these issues.

For students still experiencing problems with my.osu.edu, Bindewald said the OIT is able to help students via phone, email or in person at a walk-in center.

“We are also developing videos to help students log on to wireless from both Macs and PC’s,” Bindewald said.

Last year’s security breach shows why a more secure account-management system was needed, according to the OCIO community blog, but the incident and the website’s creation are unrelated, according to Bindewald.

“The website has been in the planning for several years and has nothing to do with the security incident,” Bindewald said.

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