Students Staff

April 30, 2018

Retiring the Online Resource Bank (ORB)

Filed under: Elearning, Lynda, Moodle, ORB — Benjamin Steeples @ 9:43 am

As agreed with Education Committee, we are planning to retire the Online Resource Bank (ORB) service at the end of the 2017/18 academic year, after the resit examinations in September 2018.

Why are we doing this?
There are several reasons behind this, but the primary ones are:

  • Majority of departments are now using Moodle, which offers more engaging learning activities;
  • Limited resources available to support ORB, both in terms of hardware/software and pedagogy;
  • Improving the student experience and reducing cognitive overhead by presenting learning materials in a single location and in a consistent manner;
  • Enabling the use of more engaging learning tools which require no special technical skills;
  • Moving towards a single point of entry for learning materials, reading lists, lecture recordings, and coursework deadlines.

When is this happening?
ORB will be retired on the 14th September 2018. At this point ORB will no longer be available to students, and all existing signposting will instead point to Moodle.

Staff will continue to have access to materials stored in ORB via existing publishing methods, but will be unable to add new materials or change existing. Staff access will be withdrawn and the service fully retired on 14th January 2019.

What support is available to help the move from ORB to Moodle?

We are offering support via various routes:

  • The Technology Enhanced Learning Team (TEL) will be running ORB to Moodle drop-in sessions throughout the summer. Staff can book themselves on these sessions by visiting HR Organiser, and searching for TEL or Moodle training.
  • The Learning Technology Team (LTT) will be approaching departments with a high number of ORB users to arrange basic Moodle training sessions, and helping move past examination papers to a new home.
  • Staff will be guided to relevant training videos offered by

What happens if I do nothing?
Students will lose access to materials held in ORB on the 14th September 2018.

Where can I get further information?
Any enquiries about ORB’s retirement should be directed to the Learning Technology Team (

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

April 23, 2018

[Service Alert] [Resolved] Website Disruption

Filed under: University website, [Resolved], [Service Alert] — Kyle Cooke @ 11:16 am

We unfortunately experienced some disruption with our main site between 6:30 – 9:30am, engineers urgently responded and resolved the issue. Apologies for the disruption to service.

No other services were affected during this outage.

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

April 16, 2018

[RESOLVED]Emergency server maintenance

Filed under: Corporate systems, File storage, SharePoint, [Resolved], [Scheduled], [Service Alert] — Trevor Smith @ 3:09 pm

The issue with sernt72 has now been resolved and the server is back online.


One of our core servers will be undergoing emergency maintenance from 6am tomorrow, Tuesday 17th April.

This could have an impact on lots of our services and applications, including the systems, listed below, which may be inaccessible whilst we carry out these works.

Please do not contact the IT Services helpdesk during this time, as we will be focusing on the emergency server maintenance.

If services are not fully operational by 9am, we will let you know with a further update on the IT Services  Blog.

Please note that email and internet access should be unaffected.

Affected systems:

  • Accommodation and events management (Kinetics)
  • Attendance and engagement monitoring
  • Car parking
  • Essex website (includes intranet and Enrol)
  • Graduation ticket booking
  • Lecture capture (Listen Again)
  • Mobile apps (Pocket Essex) Campus M
  • Online assessments (Questionmark Perception)
  • Online coursework submission (FASER)
  • Online payments
  • Online Resource Bank (formerly Course Materials Repository)
  • Post Room software
  • Graduate training in Proficio
  • Results Processing System (linked to ESIS) – Student facing
  • Sharepoint (including ESF and EAF)
  • SMS messaging
  • Student document ordering
  • Staff and Student Printing (Papercut)
  • Student records and information database (ESIS)
  • Timetabling – Teaching (CMIS)
  • Timetabling – Exams (CMIS)
  • Virtual learning environment (Moodle)
  • Account and Group Management (User Database/CID)
  • Library Management System (Essex Libraries)
  • SQL Server Reporting Services
  • Identity management
  • External staff interface
  • Cross System Interfaces
  • Uniface
  • Cohort (Occ Health)
  • We are smile (mentoring)
  • Building access control (something we need to come back to)
  • Customer and relationship management (Dynamics)
  • HR management (Midland iTrent inc BO)
  • Library Management System (Sierra)
  • Planet (Estates Management)
  • Research management software (RMAS via Agresso)
  • Sports Centre Management
  • Surveys (Qualtrics and EVASYS)
  • Careerhub


The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

April 10, 2018

Important changes to remote network access – OpenVPN update required

Filed under: Network — Dan Jolly @ 12:27 pm

If you use OpenVPN, this information applies to you

Due to recent changes to our OpenVPN service, you must download and install a new configuration file to continue to use the service.

The latest configuration file contains the necessary security settings your computer or device needs to be able to connect to the University network remotely.

The old configuration file will expire in May 2018 and you will no longer be able to connect if you don’t update. You may have already noticed a message appear on your home computer warning you about this.

We also recommend you update to the latest version of OpenVPN.

Update instructions for your home computer

  1. Go to the OpenVPN website and download the latest version. We recommend you download the Installer, Windows Vista and later version.


  2. Download the Essex University v2.opvn configuration file.
  3. Open OpenVPN.
  4. Right-click on the OpenVPN icon in the system tray (bottom right of your screen).
  5. Choose Import …
  6. Browse to where you saved the Essex University v2.ovpn file and import it.

When you connect in future choose Essex University v2.

  1. Check that you are running the latest version of TunnelBlick: Open TunnelBlick, click the TunnelBlick icon -> VPN Details -> Preferences -> Check Now – install update if required
  2. Download the Essex University v2.opvn configuration file.
  3. Drag Essex University v2.ovpn onto TunnelBlick icon on the top menu bar to import the file.
  4. You should now have at least two options when you try to connect – please try Essex University v2.
  1. Download the Essex University v2.opvn configuration file.
  2. Open the Essex University v2.opvn file.
  3. This should launch the OpenVPN app and allow you to import the file.
  4. In future, connect to Essex Univesrity v2.
  1. Download the Essex University v2.opvn configuration file and preview the content.
  2. Tap the box at the top right with the up-arrow.
  3. Scroll across to Copy to OpenVPN.
  4. Complete the import.
  5. In future, connect to University v2
  1. If you know what you did before, do it again but with the new Essex University v2.opvn configuration file.
  • Sorry – we’re still working on an update for Chromebook.
The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

April 3, 2018

Mahara Upgrade

Filed under: Elearning, [Resolved], [Scheduled], [Service Alert] — John Maydew @ 2:14 pm

The Mahara e-portfolio system will be unavailable on Tuesday, April 10th between 7am and 9am while we upgrade to version 18.04. The following service(s) will be affected:

This upgrade will provide a number of performance and reliability benefits, as well as new features introduced in versions 18.0417.10 and 17.04 (links to release notes will open in a new window).


  • 08:20am – The upgrade has been completed successfully
The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.