The computing environment at Rice is very diverse and flexible, comprising individual student and researcher owned devices, staff support systems, IT managed classroom and lab systems, IT managed common services and applications, departmental and research group owned systems, and IT managed high-performance computing systems. Below is a menu of the most common services and support systems.
Office of Information Technology (OIT)
The Office of Information Technology is intended as a one-stop-shop for all information concerning campus-wide OIT provided services. The site contains self-service documentation concerning a variety of technologies and services, such as configuring networking on various devices, printing, email, and other related services.
For those items which are not documented or covered by the OIT, or otherwise requiring the assistance of the OIT staff, the Helpdesk is available to answer any and all questions you might have concerning IT at Rice.
If you have any question concerning IT systems or support, the Helpdesk should be able to assist you and help you locate the appropriate IT staff member to assist you with your request, or provide some kind of guidance in the event that the request is not something that the OIT department typically supports.
Your Rice NetID is a single account that can be used with most of the common services provided by the OIT department, and so obtaining a NetID is often one of the first steps needed to use any OIT-provided resource on campus. Examples include ESTHER and Blogs.
Learn more about setting up and configuring settings associated with your NetID.
One important thing to note is that unless special provision is made, access and data on all NetID associated systems is typically removed shortly after leaving the institution, so it is important to consider future access and collaboration needs as you prepare to complete your studies at Rice.
Network / WiFi / VPN Access
The Rice network is available throughout most of the campus via both wired Ethernet and WiFi. A vast majority, if not all of the engineering-related buildings, have Gigabit Ethernet connectivity in all offices and labs, and wifi coverage is typically quite good throughout the campus.
Although public WiFi access to the internet through the 'rice visitor' network should be available without any special configuration, connecting with your NetID to the 'rice owls' network is usually the best method for access over WiFi, as it gives you access to some on-campus systems which are not otherwise publicly available, and often has more bandwidth available. Users with more demanding connectivity concerns should consider enabling their systems for Ethernet access in their offices or other locations where their device will typically be used, as this can provide much better performance and reliability.
To enable a device for wired access, please open a ticket with the IT Helpdesk. Please providing the wall port label and your ethernet MAC address with the request if available for the best service.
For off-campus access to protected rice resources, a VPN (virtual private network) is available for your use. See the OIT documentation site for specific details about configuration and setup.
Rice Storage, File Sharing, Backup Solutions
A variety of options are available to you, some but not all are highlighted below. Click here for information.
Storage.rice.edu is a simple network shared drive suitable for storing documents and other small files. It is available for your use while you are an actively affiliated member of the Rice community. This drive can be useful for keeping important rice related files that are backed up nightly to protect your data. This space is accessible as a Windows-style shared drive and should be compatible with most operating systems, including macOS & Linux. Details are available on the IT wiki.
Rice students can sign up for Rice Box which provides 30g of shareable storage space, much like DropBox.
The department also offers space on its server. Any ECE affiliated student, faculty, or staff member may request an account on the ECE server, for the purpose of storing information or publishing information on the Web. Account creation must be sponsored by a faculty member or department administrator. A purpose for the account must be defined when requesting the creation, and you must provide a non-Rice email as a form of contact. A maximum of 2g is provided (exceptions may be possible). To request an account, contact the helpdesk.
ECE Server User Responsibilities: it is the responsibility of the account holder to log in every 4 months and keep the account updated. Accounts identified as stale will be locked. Stale accounts are defined as an account with no logins for at least two years. Account access can be reinstated by contacting the Helpdesk. Stale accounts will remain stale for 3 years before they are removed from the server and files archived. The storage is for your own personal use, though all websites are encouraged to use the provided template and provide a standard set of information. Accounts must abide by all local, state, and federal laws, as well as the University Honor Code. Accounts found to be violating this policy will be removed from the server immediately, and the user will lose privileges. Temporary Accounts may be provided, those will expire and be archived after one year unless a request for extension is made.
All ECE students are strongly encouraged to create and maintain a website to log academic efforts during the course of their time at Rice. If you do not already have a site and wish to create one, many resources are available to you. Two main OIT provided web publishing options are available for your use via your NetID from campus services, OwlNet, and blogs. Please recall that any service using NetID for login will no longer work shortly after graduation.
The 'OwlNet' method involves simply saving plain HTML files to your storage.rice.edu space in a public_html folder.
The blogs platform allows for the self-service creation of multiple WordPress blogs via logging into blogs.rice.edu.
Center for Research Computing
OIT’s CRC maintains various High-Performance Computing (HPC) systems which can be used to run large scale computations or simulations. Access and use of these systems is typically on a fee basis. Support and access requests for these systems is provided via the OIT helpdesk who will work with the appropriate member of the OIT CRC group to follow up on your request.
Departmental Research Support
Some departments purchase common computing systems for use within their departments which is then maintained by OIT staff according to the wishes of the department. In the case of ECE, the ECE server can be used for research storage and collaboration. See the previously stated information under "storage". Support and access requests for these systems is provided via the helpdesk who will work with the appropriate member of the OIT group to follow up on your request.
OIT-Supported Research Group Systems
Individual research staff can elect to have OIT staff manage their IT systems, provided they meet common criteria for IT support (supported OS, up to date hardware, etc). These systems typically are used to run custom applications directly related to the focus of the research group, with access being given upon system owner requests as users begin to collaborate with that research group. Support and access requests for these systems are provided via the helpdesk who will work with the appropriate member of the OIT group to follow up on your request.
Self-Supported Research Group Systems
Individual research staff can also elect to self-manage their IT resources. Use cases are similar to those discussed in the case of the "OIT-Supported Research Group Systems," but with support and maintenance performed by a member of the research group team.
In these cases, OIT staff can assist in a 'best effort' capacity for some common issues, but the primary point of contact is the member of the individual research group charged with keeping the systems up to date.
Departmental Miscellaneous Information
Please follow us on our social media channels, where we share faculty, student, and staff news and events!
The ECE Department maintains a series of listservs to send official communication to students, faculty, and staff. If you have a message that you need to be sent out, contact the visibility specialist, Andrew Knotts, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be aware that logins tied to your NetID will be deactivated after your graduation. Any shared files for research groups stored under your personal account should be transferred to another owner.
PowerPoints & Brand Standards
Rice University has achieved a distinctive position among America's top research institutions as a small university with a great impact. By presenting a clear, coordinated brand identity, we give Rice a face that more people can recognize and value.
For a Rice Engineering PowerPoint template, visit the school's Marketing & Communications.