Subscribe: News from Computing Services
http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/rss/allnews.rss
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
Tags:
chorus  courses  data  learning  make  new  process  project  research  service  services  support  team  users  weblearn 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: News from Computing Services

IT Services News





 



SDC (shared data centre) shutdown successful

2017-07-21T00:00:00

The existing Hall 1 of the shared data centre (SDC) was shut down over the weekend of 15th and 16th July in order to carry out essential electrical works required for the expansion of the facility with the commissioning of the new Hall 2. These electrical works were completed successfully to schedule.

The shutdown affected colleges, departments and faculties with equipment housed in the SDC and we are pleased to say that they regained access to their equipment by 2pm on Sunday 16th July.   The shutdown also meant that some services provided by IT Services (e.g. WebLearn, Nexus and Chorus) were at risk through only being available at a single site.  A few services were unavailable during the shutdown, e.g. Hierarchical File Services. All services were restored to full resilience by 9am on Tuesday 18th July.

We would like to thank all SDC users and service users for their forbearance during the shutdown.

 




Chorus delivered to 11,800 users

2017-07-05T00:00:00

Chorus (the new telephony service for the collegiate University) has now reached 11,800 users with the completion of the third implementation tranche at the end of June 2017, representing around 60% of total phones (c20,000) to be delivered.

While the original plan was to introduce Chorus in six sequential tranches, the project has reduced this to five and should complete implementation by the end of December 2017, three months earlier than originally anticipated.  By mid-July the business change team will have completed engagement meetings with all re-scheduled units and the technical team expects to complete remediation planning by the end of September.

Bringing completion forward has partly been possible due to the emergency closure of the Tinbergen building (Zoology and Experimental Psychology) that necessitated the early delivery of Chorus to the 800 staff who had to be relocated. IT Services succeeded in rapidly reconnecting telephony for displaced staff and, because Chorus assigns each individual a unique phone number which they can then access through their ‘preferred device’ (e.g. desk phone, mobile  or tablet), they will now retain that phone number wherever they are located whether temporarily or permanently.  

Find out more about the project: http://projects.it.ox.ac.uk/icp or contact icp@it.ox.ac.uk
Chorus service information and support: http://help.it.ox.ac.uk/chorus, help@it.ox.ac.uk (include Chorus in the subject line) or (01865 6) 12345.




Learning Design Model

2017-06-29T00:00:00

Funding has been granted for work to research, develop and pilot a framework to assist individual academics and course teams in optimising the use of digital technologies as they design new programmes or revise existing ones. The work, which is closely aligned with the Digital Education Strategy, will be based on the principles of Learning Design. It will draw on previous research in this field at Oxford and elsewhere, and will review similar frameworks currently in use at other leading research universities in the UK.
 
The outputs of the work will be a supportive framework appropriate to Oxford, together with associated professional development workshops and resources for academics wishing to engage with technology enhanced learning. The work will be completed in July 2018 and will lay the foundation for a service provided collaboratively by Academic IT Services and the Oxford Learning Institute.

Keep up to date on this and other Academic IT projects via the Academic IT projects web page.

 

Picture credit: John Cairns Photography




Graduate Supervision Reporting - replacing GSS

2017-06-27T00:00:00

In 2018 the Graduate Supervision System (GSS) will be replaced. The replacement is required because the vendor is withdrawing support for the underlying platform. This presents an opportunity to improve our systems in this area, and incorporate the improvements recommended by the Education Committee (this list is published on the Graduate Supervision Reporting page).

The Education IT Board has now given this project approval to advance to the development and implementation phase, and the IT Committee has been asked to approve the project scope and funding request. Assuming the project is approved by the IT Committee, development will start in September 2017.

Key aims for this project are:

  • Replacement of GSS with a new Graduate Supervision Reporting module in eVision (GSR).
  • Implementation of process changes intended to improve reporting participation and quality.
  • Technical improvements to eliminate downtime and data problems associated with GSS.
  • The Training Needs Analysis forms will be made available within GSR. The Project Board also agreed that integration with the smart phone application Inkpath, which was originally in the scope, should not be included at this stage as it is due to be piloted by various departments during the 2017/18 academic year.

The project will continue to draw on the expertise and input from a Project Board and User Group, to identify the detailed requirements for the new system. The User Group is made up of representatives from across the University, from divisions and colleges with a range of GSS user roles.

Further information, including benefits, is available from the Graduate Supervision Reporting page.

GSS: https://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/gss/




Courses for teams and groups

2017-06-22T00:00:00

The IT Learning Centre team offers over 200 IT courses in a programme open to all University members but we can also offer these as 'closed courses' for groups, where:

  • only your group of staff or students will attend
  • the course is organised at a time to suit you

All our courses are listed on our course search page.  

Closed courses are charged at a fixed rate of £120/hr for groups of up to 20 people.  A closed course covers the same topics as its corresponding open version, however, for a one-off charge, we can customise the content to fit your specific requirements.

The IT Learning Centre team is now planning the summer and Michaelmas term schedule so if you're interested in discussing a closed course, please get in touch.

Contact: courses@it.ox.ac.uk




Student Systems improvements

2017-06-22T00:00:00

Student Systems performs a continuous programme of improvement work, funded and approved through the Education IT Board.

During the 2016/17 academic year, work has been carried out to stabilise and enhance existing student systems functionality (in two separate projects). During Trinity term, enhancements will be made in the areas of factors affecting performance, submissions, undergraduate admissions, and research management. In addition, helpdesk responsiveness has been improved by tackling common problems. Data from the Student Systems Support Centre shows:

  • New support calls have reduced by 18% so far this year
  • Number of open tickets have been reduced by 65% (814 in September to 288 in May)
  • 70% of new tickets are resolved within one week (61% in 2015/16)

More information about planned improvements can be found on the Student Systems web pages.




Internal Research Award Management System (IRAMS)

2017-06-21T00:00:00

On 5 May 2017, IT Services delivered IRAMS (Internal Research Award Management System), a purpose-built system for managing internal research funds and external grants with institutional quotas.

Working closely with divisional offices and Research Services, the project aims to tighten data security and reduce the associated institutional risks. This contributes to the realisation of the University’s strategy of commitment to research by enhancing research support infrastructure. IRAMS will facilitate grant applications, selections and post-award management. This gives researchers, and research administrators, a consistent and simple interface with all their internal funding applications and awards data kept securely in a single place. Divisional officers and Research Services can add and manage funding schemes through IRAMS, while departmental approvers can follow progress of applications, see final reports, and review extension requests.

For further information please see https://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/researchsupport/applying/electronic/ or contact research.services@admin.ox.ac.uk.




VLE Review - findings published

2017-06-19T00:00:00

WebLearn is built on a platform called Sakai, which has been Oxford’s virtual learning environment (VLE) for eight years. In addition, the Michaelmas term 2016 Digital Education Strategy implementation consultation with academic staff and students raised the need for a more intuitive and user-friendly VLE. The VLE Review set out to determine if WebLearn continues to meet the University’s requirements as the primary platform to support teaching and learning.

In Michaelmas and Hilary terms 2016-17, a consultation was carried out with staff and students, including those who do not currently use WebLearn. The full report and summary of findings are available from the VLE Review findings web page.

On 8 June, the Education IT Board approved the VLE Review Project Board’s recommendation to look for a new VLE supplier. In accordance with this recommendation, suppliers will be invited to submit a proposal fulfilling a list of requirements specific to Oxford.

The main reasons for this course of action are to seek to:
1.    Provide an improved user experience to staff and students by implementing a VLE that addresses many of the concerns raised regarding shortcomings in the usability of Sakai.
2.    Benefit from simpler maintenance procedures, through these efficiencies, foster the development of specialised tools that accommodate requirements and activities specific to Oxford.
3.    As set out in the University’s Digital Education Strategy, support academic staff as innovative teachers by improving the functionality and usability of key digital platforms.

In parallel, the VLE Review User Group will further evaluate the suppliers’ platforms, focusing primarily on functionality and usability. A report summarising what is learned from this evaluation will be prepared for the Project Board aiding in the decision-making process for a preferred supplier.

Following the selection of a preferred supplier in Michaelmas term 2017, the project will prepare an implementation plan that will outline the resources necessary to transition to the new platform. The plan will include support for departments and colleges in migrating existing content to the new platform. The proposed implementation plan will then be considered by the Education IT Board.

The selection process will focus on finding a solution that supports teaching and learning. For those people who are using WebLearn for other purposes, WebLearn will remain available until an alternative is identified. Plans for this transition will be developed in collaboration with users.

Further details are available from the frequently asked questions page, and any questions can be sent to VLEreview@it.ox.ac.uk.

 




OxTALENT 2017 awards

2017-06-15T00:00:00

The OxTALENT awards ceremony is first and foremost a celebration of the creativity and innovation of participants in the competition. It's also the culmination of another year of productive - and enjoyable - collaboration between Academic IT Services and staff and students across the University to further the benefits of digital technologies to all areas of academic activity. 

This year's OxTALENT awards ceremony was held at the Oxford Martin School on Wednesday 14 June. In total, 87 entries had been received (a record!), and their quality was reflected in the number of awards made: 23 across the seven categories.

This year the entries in each category were co-judged by a member of Academic IT Services and an expert from elsewhere in the University. A number of the specialist co-judges were able to attend the ceremony and announce the award-winners; we thank Dr Julia Horn (Innovative Teaching & Learning), Tom Fuller (Digital Media), Lesley Paterson (Public Engagement) and James Slattery (Outreach & Widening Participation).

Invited talks were given by Professor Sir Paul Collier, Professor Emma Smith and two of the winners: Dr Janet Smart (Innovative Teaching & Learning) and Dr Niall Winters (Outreach & Widening Participation).

Full details of all the winners, runners-up and recipients of honourable mentions can be found in the News from Academic IT blog.

Many congratulations to everyone who took part and to the organising team - an inspiring showcase of using digital technology in education.

 

 




Adopting an agile software development process

2017-06-13T00:00:00

Over the last 2 years, IT Services’ Software Solutions have been adopting an agile software development process and an application lifecycle management platform to support it. The development methodology is based on ‘scrum’. Scrum adopts an empirical approach which is underpinned by transparency, inspection, and adaptation. All work within the scrum framework is visible to those responsible for the outcome: the process, the workflow, progress, etc. In order to make these things visible, scrum teams need to frequently inspect the product being developed and how well the team is working.

The major advantage scrum has over other methodologies, especially for teams adopting agile ways of working for the first time, is that regular testing reduces time and resource, and increases productivity as a result. Since there is visibility in progress tracking there are no surprises at the end of the development process. This means no time is wasted on having to go back and redo any part of the development process. This has the added benefit of making project timelines more predictable.

Primarily, Software Solutions use continual testing. This involves splitting the work that needs to be done into small testable units of functionality around two to three days in size that can be tested as soon as they are finished. This enables testers to ‘mop up’ any issues along the way.

To date the team have run approximately 20 software development projects through this process and currently have around 25 applications configured with continuous integration builds, automated testing and automated deployment pipelines. They are currently averaging 20 builds and deployments across four teams and a wide variety of technologies including Drupal, React + Node, Docker, .Net, Dynamics, SQL Server, and MongoDB.

The team are now at a stage where they have a good repeatable process and a fully integrated toolset. If you are undertaking some software development and are interested in taking advantage of this approach please get in touch for advice and a demo by emailing Head of Application Development, Matthew Castle (matthew.castle@it.ox.ac.uk). 




Introducing Oxford Mosaic - our new web CMS platform

2017-06-13T00:00:00

Oxford Mosaic, our new web CMS platform, will launch as a fully supported service on 14 June. Training courses for new users wishing to use the service will be available in July.

The platform has been available in a public preview phase since July 2016. The service is now generally available across the University, allowing research groups, departments, colleges, service units, academics, student societies or cross-institution partnerships to communicate their work or activities with a wider community.

The new platform is aimed at people with little or no content management experience, allowing them to focus on knowledge and content sharing rather than technology. A choice of configurable designs ensures that websites look professional, can meet accessibility standards, and are fully responsive to mobile devices.

Set-up costs are free for all users, and there is a sliding scale of charging levels. The smallest microsites, for small units such as research teams, are available at no cost. Larger, more complex sites can also be built on this platform, which continues to evolve and grow to meet the needs of larger users. The Oxford Mosaic team is currently working on a project with the GLAM division to upgrade the platform so that it can provide the world class level of engaging public-facing websites required by the likes of the Ashmolean Museum and the Museum of Natural History. The Ashmolean Museum will be the first GLAM unit to make use of this in their new site.

More details of the service, along with examples of websites built on Oxford Mosaic, can be found at http://oxfordmosaic.web.ox.ac.uk/. An interactive demo will be held each term: please email oxfordmosaic@it.ox.ac.uk to register your interest.




Chorus plans early completion

2017-05-25T00:00:00

The University has recently had to close the Tinbergen (Zoology and Experimental Psychology) building.  As part of emergency measures for Tinbergen around 800 users were moved to Chorus earlier than scheduled. Tinbergen also houses a telephony exchange to which access is now highly restricted, resulting in an increased risk to the telephony of units still supported by that exchange.

Therefore, and using the extra capacity created by moving Tinbergen staff to Chorus early, the project is proposing to bring forward a range of units, originally planned for tranches 5 and 6 (between October 2017 and April 2018), and complete implementation by December 2017. The project business change team has already contacted key people in those units affected and will be liaising closely with them in the coming weeks and months.




NVivo: Up and running course

2017-05-18T00:00:00

This 6-hour workshop provides an introduction to the basic functions of NVivo 11 through hands-on exercises in preparing, managing and analysing qualitative data. it is aimed at qualitative researchers and students from any discipline, with little or no experience of NVivo, however some knowledge and experience with qualitative research and familiarity with Microsoft Windows is required.

The workshop objectives are to:

  • Understand what NVivo can, and cannot do, for your analysis
  • Have an overview of NVivo functionality
  • Prepare sources for use with NVivo
  • Develop a coding and classification structure
  • Code text, audio, video, and image sources
  • Create video outputs: Charts, models and reports
  • Know of resources for further NVivo skills development

The workshop is taught using NVivo 11.2 and computers and software are provided.

The cost for University staff is £60, and students is £30.

We are offering the course in two formats: Evening course delivered over two evenings 24 and 31 May, 17:15 -20:15.
Book and pay

or a one day course on 5 June, 9:15-16:15
Book and pay




Changes to email and calendaring service

2017-05-15T00:00:00

The centrally managed email and calendaring service (that is part of the Nexus service provided by IT Services) is being moved to the hosted cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 service.  A pilot is being planned to start in July, to test the migration process and support model, while the remaining email accounts are scheduled to be moved to the new service between September and December 2017.

The move to Office 365 in the cloud will bring users:

  • A much increased mailbox quota – up to 50GB from 2-3GB.
  • Access to OneDrive for Business with 5TB of cloud storage (this will complement, not replace, existing shared drives and systems and is not intended for sensitive data).
  • An easier mechanism for downloading up to 5 copies of Microsoft Office 2016 to your personal machines, for personal use, whilst a member of the University.

The Nexus 365 project team is planning how the change will be implemented with as little disruption as possible, so meetings have been held with Nexus end users (both staff and students). Meetings are also being held with ITSS (IT support staff) representatives from the divisions and the colleges. 

The Information Security team has worked closely with the project to ensure the Office 365 cloud service meets the University’s information security requirements and we will be introducing additional security tools to further improve email protection for users.

For further information see http://projects.it.ox.ac.uk/nexus365 and, if this does not answer your query, email the project team via nexus365@it.ox.ac.uk.




IT Services newsletter Trinity 2017

2017-05-03T00:00:00

The Trinity 2017 edition of News from IT Services has been published. The purpose of the newsletter is to keep you informed of the projects and services within IT Services, to provide examples of how we support the work of the University and to highlight forthcoming events. In this edition, we introduce Research Computing and Support Services and its new head, Dai Jenkins, give updates on Chorus and Nexus 365 and have details of a collection of events including learning technology roadshows, the Digital Humanities Summer School, the make: series and more.

You can subscribe to receive future editions by sending an email to it-services-news-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk with the subject line 'subscribe'. To stop receiving the newsletter you can unsubscribe by emailing it-services-news-unsubscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk with the subject line 'unsubscribe'. If you have any feedback, comments or suggestions, the Communications and Web Office would very much like to hear from you; please contact communications@it.ox.ac.uk.




WebLearn Best Practice site

2017-05-03T00:00:00

The WebLearn Best Practice site will help you set up WebLearn sites that are clear, engaging and easy to use. Tips and guides include:

  • How to create new WebLearn sites and manage your sites at the end of the academic year
  • Tips on styling content and effective design and layout
  • How to use images effectively
  • How to make the most of the ‘lessons tool’
  • Information on copyright
  • Tips on making WebLearn sites accessible to all.

This site represents one of the outputs of the WISE project, capturing the Technology Enhanced Learning team’s experiences of supporting 19 departments in redesigning their WebLearn areas.

Another output of the WISE project was a set of four WebLearn site templates, using the ‘box’ design and layout: Departmental Site, Programme Site, Course Site and Tutor Site. The Best Practice site provides a link to the guide on using the site templates, which illustrates how to create a new site based on a template, and then to edit the components according to your needs.

For more information, contact weblearn@it.ox.ac.uk.




New series of make: talks for Trinity 2017

2017-04-28T00:00:00

The make: series of talks returns in May and June showcasing a range of interesting ways technology has been used by people from around the university. The following talks have already been confirmed and we hope a few more will soon be added. Further details are available from the links below which you can also use to book your place!

Talk date Speaker Talk title Booking link
08/05/17 Arno Bosse make: Kanji alive, or, The Zen of Digital Maintenance Course description and booking
11/05/17 Pauline Woolley make: Presenting Virtual Shakespeare Course description and booking
15/05/17 Alice Purkiss make: Trusted Source - Knowledge Exchange with The National Trust Course description and booking
18/05/17 Carl Wenczek make: The story of a map Course description and booking
25/05/17 Magda Kozarzewska make: Painting and drawing on your iPad Course description and booking
01/06/17 Charlotte Albury make: Mind mapping with MindMaple Course description and booking
12/06/17 Tom Russell make: Designing maps and visualisations for national infrastructure analysis Course description and booking
15/06/17 Charlotte Albury make: Using Audacity for anonymizing and editing audio data Course description and booking

 




New survey advice service

2017-04-26T00:00:00

IT Services is currently developing a new service, Survey Design & Tools, to provide guidance for researchers and other University staff who need to conduct a survey.

The service can help you to decide which tool to use according to the type of survey and intended audience, and the most suitable data protection if collecting personal data. If you have already designed your survey, the service can give your questions a ‘sanity check’ to make sure the common pitfalls have been avoided, such as asking two things at once or providing answer choices that don’t match the question.

A termly lunchtime session is currently being run entitled 'Survey design: Overview of tools and good practice'. This gives an introduction to the tools available for running online surveys. It also features guidance on the data security implications to be considered when choosing a tool, and tips for designing effective questions. The session may be of particular benefit to people who are already planning to run a survey, but it will also be of value to those with an interest in this method of data collection. The next session will be on Friday 5 May, 12.30-1.30. Please visit the course catalogue for a full course description, and to book your place.  

The service is co-managed by Meriel Patrick (Research Support) and Liz Masterman (Technology Enhanced Learning). Please email researchsupport@it.ox.ac.uk with any questions regarding the service.




Trinity term courses now available!

2017-04-18T00:00:00

Visit our course booking system to see the wide range of courses available this term. (To see a list of all our courses select 'IT Learning Centre' under 'Training Provider' and then click the blue 'Search' button).

This term we are offering a 20% discount on design and media related courses. To receive your discount use the code SPRING2017 at the end of the checking out process. This code can be used from now until midnight, 5 May 2017, to book courses scheduled to the end of July.

Courses included in this promotion include: 

  • 3d modelling: Environments
  • 3d modelling: Objects
  • Audio: Podcasting
  • Audio: Recording the spoken word
  • Audio: The Oxford podcast service
  • Blender: Up and running
  • Create an online presence with HTML
  • Create an online presence with WordPress
  • Desktop publishing: Effective workflows
  • Enhance your online presence using CSS
  • Explain anything using video
  • Illustrations: Effective workflows
  • Images: Effective workflows
  • Online presence: Taking control
  • Posters: Improving your research posters
  • Presentations: Improving your presentations
  • Prezi in Oxford - Enhancing your Prezi
  • Prezi in Oxford - The essentials
  • Usability testing: Do it yourself
  • Video: Editing and post-production
  • Video: Planning, producing and shooting
  • Video: Producing a mini documentary
  • Video: Using your mobile phone

Please read our terms and conditions.




Chorus reaches 8000 users

2017-04-04T00:00:00

The University's replacement telephony service, Chorus, has now been delivered to approximately 8000 users following the completion of the second implementation tranche at the end of March.

The review of this tranche has shown the need to re-emphasize the process for rolling out Chorus and the vital role units play in ensuring their own implementations are successful.  The key elements are:

  • to provide accurate data on telephony requirements,
  • to have networks ready for delivery of the system,
  • to agree local roles and responsibilities in advance and to  provide for these on the day(s) of implementation. 

The project team has worked hard to ensure business and technical engagemnt is undertaken sufficiently in advance to assist this work.  The implementation process is outlined on the project website http://projects.it.ox.ac.uk/icp-implementation.

Chorus implementation is due to complete in spring 2018.  The third tranche has just started (April-June) and tranche four (July-September) engagements are already underway.

The schedule for analogue telephone exchanges to be decommissioned is available on the project website at http://projects.it.ox.ac.uk/icp-timeline

Find out more about the project: http://projects.it.ox.ac.uk/icp or contact icp@it.ox.ac.uk
Chorus service information and support: http://help.it.ox.ac.uk/chorus, help@it.ox.ac.uk (include Chorus in the subject line) or (01865 6) 12345.