May 25, 2024  
2023-2024 Student Handbook 
    
2023-2024 Student Handbook

IT Support & Computer Usage Policies


MyWit
MyAccount FAQ
The Higher Education Opportunity ACT (HEOA)  
Computer Conduct
 

MyWIT

Https://my.witcc.edu is your web-based student portal to the world of WITCC. You will find campus and class information, student email, message boards, and chat rooms available for your use. Select classes to take, get your assignments, and much more!

Your login and password are a privilege. Do not share your password with others. Any unauthorized use or misuses of your my.witcc.edu account will have consequences. The Computer Conduct Code is found in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Section.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How do I Login?
    • Your WITCC Login ID is “wit” plus your seven-digit student ID number including zeros followed by “@witcc” (example: wit0456789@witcc).
    • Your password is your first initial capitalized and last initial lowercase plus your eight-digit birth date followed by “witcc” (example: Flmmddyyyy).
      • Example:
      • Mary Smith
      • Birthdate: January 15, 1950
      • WIT Student ID Number: 0456789
      • Login ID: wit0456789@witcc
      • Password: Ms01151950witcc
      • For assistance, call the Help Desk at 712-274-8733, ext. 1461
  • What is my email address?
    • Your student email address is generally your first name.last name@my.witcc.edu. Example: mary.smith@my.witcc.edu.
  • How do I access my email from home?
  • What if I have problems?
    • If you have problems logging into my.witcc.edu ask your instructor or the Help Desk staff for assistance, extension 1461.

 

MyAccount FAQs

Where can I access MyAccount?

  • The MyAccount link is located under “FINANCES” on MyWIT.

What is MyAccount?

  • MyAccount is a quick, easy way to view your student account and make payments.

Can I pay my bill online with MyAccount?

  • Yes, we now offer an easy to use online payment option with no service fees. Click the tab Make A Payment to get started.

How do I setup a payment plan?

  • Payment plans may be setup through FACTS Tuition Payment Plan. Apply online by selecting Payment Plan on MyWIT.

What does a negative balance mean to me?

  • A credit balance (negative balance) means that your charges are less than any payments or financial aid on your account and that your account is paid in full.

Is my credit balance my refund?

  • No, not necessarily. You are viewing a snap shot of your MyAccount. Any additional transactions from the time you view your MyAccount and the processing of refunds will change your balance.

Can I print a statement?

  • Yes, click on View Statement. An Adobe PDF file will open providing a printer friendly view of your MyAccount. You can save or print this document.

Can I view past terms?

  • Yes, under Term there will be a list of any term you have attended WITCC. You may select any term displayed.

 

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) Intellectual Property Rights


This message is delivered to all students that attend Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC) to provide information about the lawful use of copyrighted materials on WITCC’s computing networks and in WITCC facilities, as well as to provide information about the consequences of illegally uploading, downloading, and sharing music and movies.

This message is not intended to be a comprehensive treatment of the copyright laws; it is intended to provide you with basic information to help you understand the differences between legal and illegal file sharing. You are urged to read this message carefully and ask for assistance if needed to understand the contents.

Over the past few years, many students from institutions of higher learning have ignored the consequences of illegal file sharing and as a result, have been sued and have paid substantial amounts in financial settlements for infringing on the copyrights of music and movie companies.

Risks of Illegal File Sharing

U.S. Federal law treats the unauthorized uploading, downloading or sharing of copyrighted material as a serious offense that carries serious consequences. Any WITCC computer account holder who infringes copyright laws risks a lawsuit by the copyright holder, loss of access to the WITCC computer system and disciplinary action by WITCC.

In recent years, copyright holders and their trade associations - especially the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have aggressively pursued copyright holders’ rights and have been increasingly focused on college students. In some cases the cost of settlement has ranged from approximately $3,000 to $8,000 or more for the initial offense, which may have been no more than the download of a single song. Subsequent offenses have brought more severe amounts. You also risk a possible criminal record by participating in infringing behavior.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) was signed into law on August 14, 2008. The proposed regulations for implementing the act were issued by the Department of Education on August 21, 2009, and final regulations were issued on October 29, 2009. Enforcement of the HEOA provisions formally began July 1, 2010.

WITCC prohibits any infringement of intellectual property rights by any member of the WITCC community. It is against WITCC policy to participate in the violation of the intellectual property rights of others. WITCC’s policies regarding use of WITCC computing resources can be found on MyWIT under Students and Employees homepage listed and under Quick Links and in WITCC Board Policy 400.48 & 504.3

Understanding Copyright Infringement

WITCC is committed to the education of its students. Over the past few years, WITCC has increased its efforts to make students aware of the policies that govern the use of its computing facilities and systems and to encourage the responsible use of WITCC computing resources. These efforts include providing information about copyright laws, particularly with regard to file sharing.

In an effort to protect you and the college from legal actions, we want to help you better understand the acts that constitute violations of federal copyright law, especially with regard to peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. If you use WITCC’s network to access, download, upload or otherwise share copyrighted materials without permission, without making a fair use, or without falling under another exception under copyright law, you are likely infringing copyright laws.

In general, copyright infringement occurs whenever someone makes a copy of any copyrighted work such as songs, videos, software, cartoons, photographs, stories or novels without permission (i.e., a license) from the copyright owner and without falling within the specific exceptions provided for under the copyright laws. These exceptions include, without limitation, “fair use,” which is briefly described below and provisions of the Audio Home Recording Act, which allow for noncommercial copying of lawfully, acquired music onto recordable compact discs or other electronic media storage.

P2P File Sharing and Copyright Infringement

Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing is a powerful technology that has many uses. P2P networks can be used to share and exchange music, movies, software and other electronic materials. The use of P2P networks to upload, download or share copyrighted material such as movies, music and software can violate the right of copyright owners.

In the P2P file-sharing context, infringement may occur, for example, when one person purchases an authorized copy and then uploads it to a P2P network. When one person purchases a CD, creates an MP3 or other digital copy and then uses a P2P network to share that digital copy with others, both the individual who makes the file available and those making copies may be found to have infringed the rights of the copyright owner(s) and may be violating Federal copyright law.

Although some artists and smaller labels release music under “generous” licenses, such as Creative Commons licenses, all of the major labels consider sharing MP3 files of their music over P2P networks as copyright infringement.
WITCC advises all computer account holders to use extreme caution when installing P2P software on personally owned computers and to read all user agreements carefully beforehand. Make sure that you read all available documentation from the P2P software provider and understand how the P2P software is configured and operates. You are forbidden by the WITCC Computer Conduct Agreement to install P2P software on any WITCC computer.
Some P2P programs have default settings that index the files on your computer and make music or film files that you have legitimately acquired available to other users of the P2P network without your being aware of the activity. In such cases, you may unwittingly participate in copyright infringement. In this context, not being aware that your computer is making files available to other users will not be a defense to copyright infringement.

You are responsible for all activity that transpires through your computing account and the devices that are registered to you.
Infringing conduct exposes the infringer to the risk of serious legal penalties, both civil and criminal. Civil penalties may include actual damages and profits or statutory damages (ranging in the thousands of dollars per work that is infringed). Moreover, the court can also award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs and increase the damages in the case of a willful infringement. Criminal penalties can include fines and imprisonment.

Organizations such as the RIAA and the MPAA monitor P2P networks, obtaining “snapshots” of users Internet protocol (TCPIP) addresses, the files that users are downloading or uploading from their P2P directories, the time that downloading or uploading occurs, and the Internet service provider (ISP) through which the files travel.

Copyright owners have been known to target both those who upload music over the P2P network and those who download from the network. In addition to monitoring networks and obtaining TCPIP address “snapshots,” copyright owners have been known to use P2P networks themselves, uploading copyrighted content while keeping a legal record of the downloading actions of other users.

Once a TCPIP address and other information have been obtained, the RIAA, MPAA and other copyright owners and their representatives can file a “John Doe” lawsuit and issue a subpoena to the ISP demanding the identity of the user connected to that IP address.

Copyright Infringement Notification

As an ISP for its students, faculty and staff, WITCC receives notices from the Iowa Communications Network and Long Lines, LLC., identifying the TCPIP address being sought by the RIAA and MPAA of WITCC account holders believed to be sharing copies of copyrighted music and videos without authorization. WITCC will revoke the identified individual’s access to the WITCC computer system. In serious situations, further disciplinary sanctions may also be appropriate.

The RIAA or MPAA has often presented an option for the alleged illegal file sharer to settle the lawsuit out of court for some amount of money. If the user is determined to have infringed copyrights, whether through P2P networks or other means and has not settled, he or she may also be subject to sanctions such as monetary damages and the required destruction of all unauthorized copies. In certain circumstances, federal authorities can criminally prosecute copyright infringement. By participating in illegal file sharing, you may be subject to a lawsuit even after you have destroyed any illegal copy or copies of copyrighted material that were in your possession.

Fair Use

Copyright law provides no blanket exception from liability for college students based solely upon their status as students. There are limited circumstances where use of copyrighted materials without permission is allowable. One of these circumstances is under the legal doctrine of “fair use,” such as for purposes of news reporting, criticism, commentary, or teaching. Whether use of copyrighted material without permission is “fair use” depends on a very detailed, case-by-case analysis of various factors. For a better understanding of these factors, please visit the U.S. Library of Congress website: www.copyright.gov.

There Is an Alternative: Legal Downloading

When you buy music or movies online or buy a CD or DVD, it is important to understand the answers to the following questions:

  1. What permissions come with the product? These range from very broad Creative Commons permissions that allow for redistribution under certain conditions to very restrictive requirements that allow play on only one machine or allow only streaming, etc. It is incumbent upon you to understand these permissions.
  2. What digital restrictions, if any, are used with the product? Many services use digital rights management (DRM) technology to control the use of the music or other digital works they sell. DRM usually reflects the permissions and can range from allowing unlimited burns to CD to preventing any copying at all. DRM models can also limit what kind of devices you can play the music on. DRM with a subscription-based model may render the music unplayable if the subscription is not maintained. Some services do not use DRM.

In conclusion, you need to be aware that sharing music, videos, software and other copyrighted material may be a violation of law and can expose you and those with whom you share materials to civil and criminal penalties. Please be responsible in your use of copyrighted materials.

 

Computer Conduct

College computer systems are provided by WITCC for use by students, faculty, and staff for the purpose of furthering the educational mission of the College. This includes course work, college-related educational endeavors, and business operations. Each user is expected to follow established computer conduct policies and not to interfere with or disrupt the orderly processes of WITCC resources. Users accept the responsibility for utilizing services in ways that are ethical, that demonstrate academic integrity and respect for others who share this resource. Users must follow all existing federal, state, and local laws as they relate to computer conduct.

Acts of misconduct which will be the cause for disciplinary action up to and including discharge, as well as possible legal and/or civil action:

  1. Unauthorized copying of anything that is licensed or protected by a copyright. This includes, but is not limited to, any software (including operating systems, programs, applications, databases, or code), multimedia files (including music, movies, or audio), or text files.
  2. “Computer hacking” (i.e. unwanted or unsolicited entry into a computer system). This includes, but is not limited to, successful acts of hacking, unsuccessful attempts, possession of the tools used for computer hacking, or running programs that attempt to identify passwords or codes.
  3. Knowingly introducing a “computer virus” to a computer or network (i.e. a program - either harmless or damaging - which attaches itself to another program and/or has the capability to reproduce in order to infect other computers).
  4. Gaining unauthorized access to information that is private or protected or attempting to do so. Willful damage or misuse of systems, applications, databases, code, or data. Attempting to gain network privileges to which you are not entitled.
  5. Unauthorized alteration of system configuration. This includes, but is not limited to, interrupting programs that protect data or secure systems, or attempting to do so. Downloading and/or installing software, or attempting to do so.
  6. Introducing or using profanity/obscenities on the network, including, but not limited to, the campus network, Internet, or any other communications configuration which is accessible by or connected to College computers or computer systems.
  7. Using the network to conduct business or solicit services, and/or develop, introduce, or circulate inflammatory comments or subjects.
  8. Sharing of assigned logins with anyone else for any reason. Unauthorized use of another person’s login or attempting to do so. Unauthorized use of a generic login outside of the context for which that login was created. Each student/employee will be responsible for all activities under his/her assigned login.
  9. Inappropriate or misuse of e-mail. This involves sending unsolicited e-mail (including junk mail, jokes, or chain letters) to users of the College’s e-mail system that is of a non-business nature.
  10. Installing unauthorized personal hardware or software to any computer or network.
Respectful Exchange of Ideas and Information


Computer systems and networks allow for a free exchange of ideas and information. This exchange serves to enhance learning, teaching, critical thinking, and research. While the constitutional right of free speech applies to communication in all forms, we encourage civil and respectful discourse. College policy and local, state, and federal law do prohibit some forms of communication, to include:

  • obscenity, lewd, or sexually harassing images or text
  • defamation
  • advocacy directed to incite or produce lawless action
  • threats of violence
  • harassment based on sex, race, disability, or other protected status
  • anonymous or repeated messages designed to annoy, abuse, or torment
Personal Responsibility

Each individual who is given a computer and/or e-mail account, or uses the computers and network resources made available by Western Iowa Tech Community College, must understand that you are accountable for the policies set forth in this document. In addition, users assume responsibility for:

  • protection of your password
  • reporting any breach of system security
  • reporting unauthorized use of your account
  • changing your password on a regular basis
  • frequently making backup copies of your work to ensure against loss
  • clearly label works and opinions as your own before they are widely distributed
Authority

The Information Technology department may access other’s files for the maintenance of networks, computers, and storage systems. Data, information, and files stored in electronic form on college-owned equipment and/or transmitted across college-owned networks is the property of Western Iowa Tech, and no right to privacy can be assumed. Office staff may also routinely monitor and log usage data, such as network connection times, CPU and disk utilization for each user, security audit trails, and network loading. Data collected may be reviewed and further investigated should evidence of violation of policy or law occur. If necessary, staff may monitor the activities and files of specific users on the college computers and networks. Any staff member who believes such monitoring is necessary should discuss the problem and strategy for investigation with the executive director, Information Technology.

Any student who violates the policies set forth in this document is subject to disciplinary action as defined in the Student’s Rights and Responsibilities section of the Student Handbook. Faculty and staff who violate these policies are subject to disciplinary action as defined in the Employee Handbook. All violators may be subject to arrest according to local, state, and federal law.