This edition of Tech Update offers lots of information, including tips for creating and grading digital assignments, as well as resources for communicating online with colleagues and others in the Northeastern community.

These periodic Tech Updates continue to highlight relevant news and resources from IT Services and are delivered in a brief format, as well as online, for easy skimming so that you can get what you need and then return to your day.

If you have any feedback about Tech Update, or if you have a topic that you’d like to see covered in a future update, please send suggestions to its@northeastern.edu.


Marcus P. Robinson
Associate Vice President, Engagement and Experience

Tech Update: November 9, 2020

Tips for Effective Exams and Assignments

When preparing for midterms and finals, consider these helpful tips for designing online exams that are both effective and secure. And when grading, consider the following tools and suggestions to help provide meaningful feedback to students:

  • Whether creating a quiz or an assignment, use Canvas SpeedGrader to provide feedback. Audio or video feedback can support a deeper connection between students and instructors, and the Canvas Grade Book feature provides an additional comment area for students to continue the conversation after receiving feedback.
  • Gradescope is also newly integrated with Canvas and offers a variety of exam-taking and grading workflows for paper-based exams in the STEM fields.
  • View tips for leaving feedback in Canvas, and if using video feedback, ensure the video uploads before clicking the “Submit” button.

Security Training 

By now you’ve hopefully had a chance to take the 10-minute security training mini-course (and if you haven’t, you can still do so). This is part of a program to raise awareness among staff and faculty and limit or eliminate otherwise preventable security incidents. Look for similar courses several times throughout the year—the plan is to respect your time by keeping them at 10 minutes or less.

Protect the Pack Online

As National Cybersecurity Awareness Month has come to a close, remember that awareness is an important part of Northeastern’s cyber defenses—and your own. Here are four key tips:

  • Always enable strong authentication for your online accounts. For your Northeastern account, get all the information you need at Get2FA.
  • Make your passwords long and strong. Consider using a passphrase – a group of words that make sense together for you, but not for anyone else – as the basis for your credential.
  • When in doubt, don’t click. Phishing links in emails and text messages are an all-too-common gateway for hackers. Please report any suspected phishing attempts right away.
  • Never stop learning. Northeastern has an overview of security basics at Get Secure.

Connect with the Northeastern Community–Anytime, Anywhere

Communities at Northeastern is a safe, online destination built exclusively for and by the university community. In Communities, which is powered by Microsoft’s Yammer platform, you can create your own communities and invite members, explore and join existing communities, and discover new connections with others at Northeastern.

Log in and get started at communities.northeastern.edu.

And While You’re There…

When you visit Communities, check out the new Northeastern Tech Talk community to hear about university technology news and updates, provide valuable feedback, and connect with others on how technologies and digital experiences are advancing learning, teaching, work, and research.

Teams Tips: Meetings and Calls

Did you know you can bookmark a Teams message for future reference? Learn more about this and other tips for getting the most out of Teams calls and meetings here.

Looking for More Tech Updates?

The Tech Talk community is available 24/7 through Communities at Northeastern. Find announcements, tips, and a place to engage with others about how technology impacts daily life at Northeastern.