Testing Web Page Accessibility

As part of the ongoing efforts to ensure accessible web pages, Syracuse University has published an “Accessible Technology Toolkit”.

One of the most useful tools to check your web pages for accessibility is the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool.

You can run the WAVE tool two different ways:

1) You may visit the WAVE WebAim website and paste in one web page address to test.

Wave URL


2) You may install the WAVE web Browser Extension in either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox and then click the button to initiate the accessibility scan on the page you are currently visiting.

WAVE Button


Results from the WAVE Test

You will be presented with your web page’s accessibility results upon submitting a URL or clicking a WAVE browser extension button.  While much detailed information is showing in these results, we will be prioritizing the correction of Errors that are reported here:

WAVE Results


Excel Training and Certification Program

Microsoft Excel is an industry-standard tool in the business world.  Having a solid foundation in Excel will set you apart from your peers in today’s competitive job market.  Recognizing this, the Maxwell School and College of Arts and Science is offering students access to the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Excel 2016 certification program that is recognized around the world. Becoming a certified Microsoft Office Specialist in Excel is proof-positive of your proficiency with this tool. This MOS certification is being provided through Certiport which is the premiere certification organization endorsed by Microsoft for their office products.


Who Can Enroll in the Program?

The Excel Training and Certification Program is available to Maxwell School and College of Arts and Sciences matriculated students who are actively enrolled in courses during the semester in which they are attempting to participate in this certification program. If you have not declared a Major or Minor in the Maxwell School or the College of Arts and Sciences, and are not actively enrolled in courses, you are not eligible to participate.


How Do I Study and Prepare?

Study Excel on Lynda.com

Lynda.com is an online library of high-quality video tutorials, created by industry professionals teaching a wide variety of software tools and skills. The full range of these tutorials are available to current faculty, students and staff.  Learn more about how to access this resource on our Lynda.com web page or on Answers.syr.edu.

You will find a wide variety of Excel training courses in the Lynda.com library including the Cert Prep: Excel 2016 Microsoft Office Specialist (77-727) course, which specifically relates to the MOS Excel Certification.

Demonstrate your advanced knowledge of Microsoft Excel by becoming a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS). This course, created by Microsoft Certified Trainer Jennifer McBee, helps you prepare for the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exam for Excel 2016, which focuses on creating and managing worksheets and workbooks, managing data cells and ranges, creating tables, performing operations with formulas and functions, and creating charts and objects.The course begins with an overview of the certification program and how to prepare for the exam. Next, Jennifer walks you through all the certification objectives. Throughout the course, she provides you with opportunities for hands-on practice with exercises and chapter challenges, and wraps up with a full-length practice test that emulates exam 77-727.

Topics include:

  • Creating and managing worksheets and workbooks
  • Managing data cells and ranges
  • Creating tables
  • Performing operations with formulas and functions
  • Creating charts and objects

Take Practice Exams through GMetrix.com

GMetrix is a service offered by the Maxwell School and College of Arts and Sciences that provides practice tests for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam.  These practice tests help students accurately determine their skill and knowledge level prior to taking the certification exam.  GMetrix tests are provided as a service to better prepare students for their Excel Certification examination.  You must pass five GMetrix exams with a score of 800 or higher in order to qualify for the Excel Certiport certification exam.  GMetrix allows you to familiarize yourself with the testing software and overall experience. You can take each practice exam an unlimited number of times.  Registration information for your GMetrix account is below.

Using GMetrix, and fulfilling the GMetrix requirements, is the greatest predictor of success on the actual exam.  University studies demonstrate when students properly utilized GMetrix, their certification pass rate was over 95%.  Learn more about GMetrix on their site.

GMetrix has two modes: Training and Testing.  Training mode provides step-by-step help for each test question, with no time limit.  Testing mode simulates the test as closely as possible: there is a time limit, a specific number of questions, and no help.

Registering for GMetrix

  1. Qualified Maxwell and College of Arts and Sciences students must go to the GMetrix web site and create an account using your @syr.edu email address.
  2. Email your Syracuse University ID number to TestingCenter@maxwell.syr.edu and someone from the ICT Testing Team will provide you with an authorization code.
  3. Once your account is created, you can start taking practice exams.  There are nine practice exams that cover all the skills required to pass the MOS Excel Exam.  Six are delivered as question/answer, and three are delivered as a cumulative project.  Any of these nine exams will count towards the requirements.  Exams that are specific to the Excel Specialist certification have names that start with “Excel 2016 core”.  (The Certification exam is project based.)

Prospective test candidates should also be aware that taking a very small amount of exams (such as 1-2) repeatedly and scoring above 800 in testing mode does not constitute adequate preparation and does not fulfill the preparatory requirement.

As there are nine exams that are applicable to the preparatory requirement, you should take five different exams, with at least one being a project based exam.  You can see how many Gmetrix exams you’ve taken, their scores, and what areas you need to work on, by logging into gmetrix.com using your Gmetrix username and password, and clicking the “Completed” button on the left side of the page.  You may take an unlimited number of GMetrix practice exams in preparation for your actual certification exam.


Ways to access GMetrix Practice Exams

  • Windows Laptop – If you own a Windows laptop with Microsoft Office 2016 installed, you can log into your GMetrix account and download the software.  Unfortunately, GMetrix is not available for Apple computers and laptops.
  • Maxwell Department Labs – GMetrix will be installed in all Maxwell department labs if you already have lab access.
  • Labs in Arts & Science (when available) – GMetrix software will be installed on the following labs:
    • 124 Carnegie (Math)
    • 231 Sims (African Studies)
    • 005 Heroy (Earth Sciences)
    • 530D Huntington (Psychology)
    • 621 Skytop (Communications and Sciences and Disorders)
  • Public Labs on campus (more info):
    • Brockway 202
    • CST 1-114
    • Goldstein Student Center 107
    • Graham 016
    • Huntington 020
    • Kimmel 029
    • Lawrinson 202
    • Physics 115
    • Schine Student Center 126A
    • Schine Student Center Ludwig Lounge 035

Remote access available for Mac laptop owners.  Email TestingCenter@maxwell.syr.edu to request access. 



Register for the Certification Exam

Requirements:  Any Maxwell or College of Arts and Sciences student desiring to take the MOS Excel Certification Exam will observe the following required steps:

  • Complete five different practice exams using GMetrix. Please note, the following criteria must be met:
    • Each qualifying practice exam will have a minimum score of 800.
    • Each qualifying practice exam will be taken within one month of your desired exam date.
    • At least one practice exam will be in Multi-Project format.
  • Satisfy these requirements before registering for the exam.

After ensuring the above steps are taken, email TestingCenter@maxwell.syr.edu and include your Syracuse University ID to request your test date.  The Maxwell School Testing Center is located in Eggers Hall room 030.  The test is given on a first-come first-serve basis.

Spring 2018 testing hours: Mondays 2:00pm – 2:50pm and Fridays 9:00am – 9:50am through May 11.

Students must register for the exam at least 48-hours in advance of the test date in order to reserve a seat.  

  • Before arriving for your exam, create an account with Certiport.  This account will be used to log into the exam: Certiport User Registration.
  • You must arrive at the Testing Center 10-minutes prior to the start of the exam.
  • Students must present their SU ID in order to take the exam.
  • Maxwell and College of Arts and Sciences students are allowed two attempts at the Certification exam at no charge. Students wishing to take the exam after their second attempt must pay for subsequent exam attempts.


Facts About Certification Exams

A certification exam follows a general but specific guideline: you will be tested on your knowledge of specific categories/topics that have been selected specifically to demonstrate proficiency in a particular skillset or area.

While the categories are specific, the questions will be random. This means that you probably won’t see the same questions you saw using Gmetrix, but you’ll probably see questions that are topically similar. This is because a certification exam is designed to certify that you know how to solve a problem – not just that you know the answer. It’s the same reason your grade-school math teachers asked you to show your work: “How” is important!

  • The exam you will take is called: Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Excel 2016.
  • The test is delivered by Certiport, a Microsoft Partner and Authorized Testing Authority. This means that Microsoft has approved all of the test content.
  • The score required to pass is 700.
  • You are required to have scored 800 or better on at least five exams using GMetrix, taken in testing mode.
  • Ideally, these scores should be consecutive.
  • It is a time-metered test – maximum allowable time is 50 minutes.
  • The exams will be taken in Eggers Hall room 030, our testing center, unless otherwise noted.
  • Your test will be administered/proctored by Maxwell staff.
  • Cell phones and/or other network/internet connectable devices are not allowed during the test.


Orange SUccess

The Orange SUccess (aka Starfish Retention Solutions) initiative is in alignment with Syracuse University’s 2015 Academic Strategic Plan and was conceptualized as part of the conversations during the University-wide Fast Forward Syracuse initiative. It is a web based advising tool intended to improve the way faculty, advisors and undergrads (available to grad students in the future) work across all schools and colleges. This system will allow faculty and advisors to help many more students to be successful at Syracuse University.

Orange SUccess tools will be available across all colleges and schools Fall 2016. It provides an efficient way to quickly offer coordinated support to students ensuring they receive the right type of assistance/intervention to keep them on track. For more information please visit the Orange SUccess web site.

New ITS Accessibility Offerings

ITS adds walk-in consulting and expands workshops for improving the accessibility of documents, web pages, and videos

SU seeks to ensure that all people regardless of individual ability or disability can effectively access University communications and technology. Information Technology Services (ITS) is pleased to announce their new Walk-in IT Accessibility Help Desk hours. New this semester, the IT Accessibility Help Desk provides consultation on related topics, including video captioning, remediation of your PDF, PowerPoint, or Word documents to ensure accessibility, and identifying and fixing accessibility issues on your website. This new service is available Mondays and Thursdays, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the ITS Service Center, in room 1-227 Center for Science and Technology.

Accessibility training workshops available

ITS is accepting registrations for three training workshops that will build faculty and staff awareness of, sensitivity to, and proficiency in ensuring the accessibility of information communications and technologies. Creating Accessible Documents focuses on course materials and documents, Evaluating Your Website for Accessibility focuses on websites and online resources, and a new workshop called Video Captioning covers the basics of adding captions to video content.

The workshops will help participants understand accessibility, put it into practice on the job, and support Syracuse University’s efforts to ensure accessibility of documents, systems, and communications across campus.

The workshops will be presented by Sharon Trerise and Kara Patten from ITS’s Academic Services team at the dates, times, and locations shown below. Each session has space for 12 participants.
Seating is limited, so register early! There is high demand for this training, so registration is on a first-submitted, first-enrolled basis.

Learn more and register here for any of the workshops

Windows 10 upgrade

ITS, the campus IT group, has released the Windows 10 desktop operating system software. Windows 10 is very similar to Windows 8 but adds back the Start Menu, which was removed by Microsoft after Windows 7. ICT will begin upgrading the public computers and computer labs in the Maxwell School to Windows 10 between Monday, December 21st and Tuesday December 22nd. ICT will make computers available for students who need them while their area is being upgraded. The registrar classrooms will remain untouched until Learning Environments begins upgrading the classrooms on campus to Windows 10 sometime next year.

While the formal migration to Windows 10 for Maxwell faculty and staff will begin after the spring semester, anyone who wishes to have their computer upgraded earlier can do so by emailing service@maxwell.syr.edu and we will set up a time starting in January. Upgrading to Windows 10 is an easy process and training will be provided.

Easy Photo Galleries

Cincopa Photo Tool

Early in 2015 ICT learned that SlideShowPro, the slide show tool we had been providing to the Maxwell community, was being discontinued and eventually shut down.  We’re happy to say we’ve found a very good replacement for SlideShowPro and we believe it’s a better, more flexible tool for managing and presenting photos in our web sites. Continue Reading

Annual SU NetID password change

Security at Syracuse University badge

Starting November 3, anyone with a SU NetID password will be required to change their password at least once a year. Information Technology and Services (ITS)—in collaboration with University leadership, key campus constituent relationship managers, and the IT directors of the schools, colleges and departments—developed and will implement new measures to notify all SU NetID password holders when their passwords will expire, and, after several advance notifications, to disable accounts with expired passwords. Continue Reading

SU Students can now get Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus

Microsoft Office 365It’s official!

As a benefit of Syracuse University’s campus agreement with Microsoft, current SU students can get Office 365 ProPlus, FREE!

Under Microsoft’s Student Advantage program, students can use their SUmail student email accounts to download and install Office 365 ProPlus applications (including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) on up to five computers (PC and Mac) and five mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone, Windows Phone).

Faculty and staff are not eligible for this offer, unless they are current students.

Please visit the SU Answers Office 365 web site for complete details and instructions.


Cropping Photos in Photoshop & Irfanview

Adobe_PhotoshopLearning how to crop photos before uploading and posting them to your web site is great skill to posses!  Please visit this page to see tutorials on how to use two common tools for doing just that (Adobe PhotoShop and Irfanview). Continue Reading