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Preview: News from Computing Services

IT Services News





 



Plagiarism awareness courses for Hilary term 2018

2018-01-10T00:00:00

IT Services offers a variety of taught courses to support the use of the plagiarism awareness software Turnitin. There is also one course for students, to raise awareness about plagiarism and how to avoid it.

All sessions are free of charge but places are limited and booking is required. Click on the links provided to book a place, or for further information.

Plagiarism awareness courses (Turnitin):

Plagiarism: WebLearn and Turnitin

Thurs 8 Feb

12:30 – 13:30

Week 4

Plagiarism: Interpreting Originality Reports using Turnitin

Thurs 15 Feb

12:30 – 13:30

Week 5

Plagiarism: Awareness and avoidance (for students)

Thurs 22 Feb

12:30 – 13:30

Week 6

Staff User Group meeting:

Turnitin User Group

Fri 23 March

14:00 – 16:00 + refreshments

Week 10

 




WebLearn courses for Hilary term 2018

2018-01-09T00:00:00

IT Services offers a variety of taught courses to support the use of WebLearn. All courses are free of charge and course books for the formal courses (3-hour sessions) can be downloaded for self-study.

Places at the face-to-face sessions are limited and booking is required. Click on the links provided to book a place, or for further information.

WebLearn courses (3 hours each):

WebLearn: Fundamentals (once per month)

Fri 26 Jan

09:15 – 12:15

Week 2

or

Wed 7 Feb

14:00 – 17:00

Week 4

or

Wed 28 Feb

09:15 – 12:15

Week 7

WebLearn: Design and content

Wed 14 Feb

14:00 – 17:00

Week 5

Byte-sized lunch time sessions:

These focus on particular tools with plenty of time for questions and discussion

WebLearn Bytes: Site Management and Resources

Fri 26 Jan

12:30 – 13:30

Week 2

WebLearn Bytes: Assignments tool

Fri 9 Feb

12:30 – 13:30

Week 4

WebLearn Bytes: Lessons tool

Fri 23 Feb

12:30 – 13:30

Week 6

WebLearn Bytes: Surveys

Fri 2 Mar

12:30 – 13:30

Week 7

Staff User Group meeting:

WebLearn User Group

Wed 21 Mar

14:00 – 16:00 + refreshments

Week 10

 




VBA: Kick-off

2018-01-08T00:00:00

The VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) programming language is available in all the major Microsoft Office applications and can be used to write programs to carry out repetitive tasks or complex operations. This workshop will introduce you to a real VBA program and under guidance from your teacher, you will explore how a typical VBA program works without getting into the detail of the language syntax.

The version of VBA used will be VBA for Excel, however the basics are the same for all versions of VBA. Once you have seen how a program works, you will be encouraged to start an online Lynda.com course that will give you a more formal introduction to the language. The online course can be continued after the workshop, and for the following three weeks you will have access to the workshop leader to ask questions about the course or to get clarification about the concepts. 

Objectives

  • Recognise the structure of a VBA program
  • Identify components such as variables and constants, selection and repetition structures, functions and objects
  • Be able to make simple changes to a VBA program
  • Have engaged with an online Lynda.com course to learn the basics of programming in VBA.



Improvements to the University web search (Funnelback) service

2018-01-04T00:00:00

The University web search service utilises Funnelback search technology to facilitate improved site searching across the Oxford ox.ac.uk domain. The service is maintained and managed by IT Services and is the preferred method for providing University searching and internal searching.

In recent months the Web and Emerging Technologies team has been making improvements to the University web search service using Funnelback. Result accuracy for web searches across Oxford sites has increased, as has the number of tools available to site owners. Specific enhancements include:

Click tracking enabled. Funnelback can track which results are clicked and this data can be used to provide improved result rankings. This will be used to improve the quality of search data on Oxford sites.

Curator rules available. Site owners can define a trigger and resulting action to customise search results on a site; for example, for a specific search result you can specify that a certain page or document should be promoted based upon a user's query (also known as 'best bets'). Site owners can also define synonyms for common search terms to ensure users are presented with the best results.

Improvements to indexing schedule. It now takes less time for Funnelback to crawl sites meaning that pages get indexed more quickly, results are more up to date and the process is much more efficient.

If you are a site owner interested in utilising these enhancements, please email help@it.ox.ac.uk and the Web and Emerging Technologies team will provide guidance on setting up a dashboard. If you have any general enquiries about Funnelback, please refer to the information on the Help site or email the team ssm-wet-team@maillist.ox.ac.uk.




Sign up for an IT course in Hilary term

2018-01-03T00:00:00

The schedule of IT classroom-based courses and workshops for Hilary term (Jan-March) is live and waiting for you to book! 

A full list of courses can be found on the IT Learning Centre web pages or login to our course booking system (using your Oxford Single Sign On) and see what's available. Tips on searching for a course can be found here

Online courses are available instantly through the University’s subscription to Lynda.com – see the Lynda website for details.

For more information or advice on which courses would be beneficial to you, email courses@it.ox.ac.uk.

Happy New Year!




IT support arrangements for Christmas 2017

2017-12-18T00:00:00

IT Services will close for Christmas on Friday 22nd December at 4pm. We will reopen on Tuesday 2nd January 2018 at 8:30am. If you need help and support for IT over the festive period our out-of-hours phone support line will be operational. This can be reached using our normal help line number of 01865 (6)12345.

IT Services and partnering service units will operate support services over the Christmas 2017 period. Please view our closure information for details. 




Learning paths from Lynda.com

2017-12-15T00:00:00

There are over 6,000 courses available in Lynda.com - a high quality online library of video-based courses that can be watched anytime, anywhere. As a member of the University, you have free access to these courses through your Single Sign-On (SSO) account at courses.it.ox.ac.uk/lynda. One of the few 'criticisms' about Lynda.com is that there are so many courses it is hard to know where to start! To help with this, Lynda.com has introduced learning paths - collections of courses that lead you through gaining the skills you need. For example, there is a learning path called 'I want to be a web designer'. In addition, the IT Learning Centre has selected around fifty Lynda.com courses that we think are particularly useful to the University. You can see this collection at courses.it.ox.ac.uk/whats-on and look for courses which have a format of 'online'.




Free Research Skills Toolkit workshops

2017-12-13T00:00:00

Are you using the smartest tools and strategies to get your research organised?

Sharpen up your research skills in the new year, with a free Research Skills Toolkit workshop. The teams from IT Services and the Bodleian Libraries bring you a hands-on encounter with a range of tools and techniques for your study and research.

We’re planning separate workshops, to focus on the work of each Division - choose one of the 2-hour sessions in January and book your place now!

Medical Sciences

15 January

Book your place

 

17 January

Book your place

Social Sciences

16 January

Book your place

 

18 January

Book your place

MPLS

16 January

Book your place

 

18 January

Book your place

Humanities

15 January

Book your place

 

17 January

Book your place

 

19 January

Book your place

Read more at the “workshops” page of the Research Skills Toolkit website or follow us on @OxResearchSkill.




How to contact the central IT Service Desk

2017-12-11T00:00:00

The staff on our central IT Service Desk are here to provide help on a wide range of IT issues and to direct your requests to the appropriate team within the department. They are on hand to answer a huge range of queries – from lost passwords and broken laptops, to business system enquiries and issues of information security. In addition to local IT Support Staff, our central team supports students, academics, and administrative staff, whether they are working in Oxford, at home or abroad.

There are a number of ways to contact the team and get help from IT Services:

  • Telephone – 01865 612345 (open 24/7), the best way to contact the team
  • Emailhelp@it.ox.ac.uk
  • Self Service – an online portal available via the ‘View requests’ link on the IT Services website and Help site. Via the Self Service Catalogue you can make a service request online from anywhere at any time. The online forms are designed to capture all the essential information required by our support and service teams, making the process more efficient.

Over the coming year we plan to expand the range and scope of self-service requests available to our customers through the Self Service Catalogue. Next time you need to make an IT service request, give the Service Desk a call and one of our friendly team will guide you through the process.

 

Image credit: John Cairns Photography




New content and homepage on the IT help site

2017-12-08T00:00:00

The IT help site (http://help.it.ox.ac.uk) has been refreshed and updated to improve access to essential information. After consultation with students and staff, the content has been re-structured to aid discovery and direct you to the information you require.

What has changed?

•        The most popular requests and login links are available directly from the homepage, such as how to access wifi, login to Nexus email and manage passwords.  

•        The homepage also features 12 topics areas for browsing the site.  Each one leads to a page providing content links, related help areas and resources. 

•        Once within a topic, clear navigation is provided directing you to the information you need.

We encourage you to visit the new-look site and provide us with some feedback. Send your comments to carla.thornley@it.ox.ac.uk.

 

 

Image credit: iStock - ajt




Further restrictions on executable email attachments

2017-11-24T00:00:00

On Tuesday 28 November, IT Services will introduce further restrictions on executable email attachments as part of measures to reduce the risks of email-borne malware. 

These will be in addition to the restrictions introduced in September, and follow further analysis and evaluation within the University's Information Security Team. 

The restrictions will cover the file extensions listed below, and will apply to attachments to all messages passing through Oxmail, whether entering, leaving or internal to the University. 

If any attachment has a name ending in one of these extensions, the message will be rejected, with a brief summary of the reason for rejection and a link to the IT Services Help website for further information.

The vast majority of messages with such attachments are malicious in nature, but a handful of people may require assistance in finding alternative methods for sharing their files, for example using a passworded .zip file, or the OxFile service. We also note that .lnk shortcut files may occasionally be emailed in error, rather than the target of the shortcut.

The new restrictions will apply to the following file extensions:

  • .bat - DOS batch file
  • .cmd - Windows NT batch file
  • .cpl - Windows Control Panel addon
  • .lnk - Windows Command shortcut
  • .msc - Microsoft Management Console snap-in
  • .msh1 - Monad (old PowerShell)
  • .msh1xml - Monad (old PowerShell)
  • .msh2 - Monad (old PowerShell)
  • .msh2xml - Monad (old PowerShell)
  • .msh - Monad (old PowerShell)
  • .mshxml - Monad (old PowerShell)
  • .pif - DOS Shortcut
  • .ps1 - PowerShell
  • .ps1xml - PowerShell
  • .ps2 - PowerShell
  • .ps2xml - PowerShell
  • .psc1 - PowerShell
  • .psc2 - PowerShell
  • .reg - RegEdit file
  • .scf - Windows Explorer command file
  • .swf - Shockwave Flash 
  • .vb - Visual Basic script
  • .vba - Visual Basic module
  • .vbe - Visual Basic script (encrypted)
  • .vbs - Visual Basic script
  • .ws - Windows Script file
  • .wsc - Windows Script Component
  • .wsf - Windows Script file
  • .wsh - Windows Scripting Host

For reference the following file extensions are already blocked:

  • .com - DOS Executable
  • .exe - Windows Executable
  • .gadget - Windows Vista Gadget
  • .jar - Java Archive
  • - JavaScript
  • .jse - JavaScript encrypted
  • .msi - MS Installer
  • .msp - MS Installer Patch
  • .scr - Screensaver

These blocks cover filetypes we consider to pose significant risk but which are least likely to cause problems for legitimate email traffic. Many other filetypes can of course contain malware, and some may come in the form of archives such as .zip files.

University's Information Security Team will continue to investigate further email security measures with a view to implementation over the coming months.




Michaelmas term issue of the Education IT Programme Update now available

2017-11-15T00:00:00

The Michaelmas term 2017 issue of the Education IT Programme Update is now available. This issue features updates about all Student Systems and Academic IT projects within the remit of the programme, including:

  • Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Review – selecting a supplier and next steps
  • Graduate Supervision Reporting - replacing GSS
  • Tutorial Management System - replacing OxCORT
  • Research Thesis Digital Submission – rollout in 2018
  • Student Progression – moving forms online (including GSO forms)

To subscribe to future issues of the Education IT Programme Update, send an email to edu-it@it.ox.ac.uk.




New Chief Information Officer appointment

2017-11-10T00:00:00

Professor Anne Trefethen, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Resources and Information Systems), has announced the appointment of a new Chief Information Officer for the University; Dr Sean Duffy will begin work on 5 February 2018.

Sean is currently Director of IT Services at the University of Birmingham, where he has led the development of IT since 2009. In this role Sean has had overall responsibility for the use of IT in support of academic research and teaching as well as business systems.

Previously, Sean has held a number of IT posts in both academia and manufacturing industry. He was responsible for revamping corporate systems and global infrastructure in one of ICI's global businesses. At Birmingham, he has been a key contributor to the implementation of a new virtual learning environment, and projects to transform HR, finance and payroll systems.

At the same time as welcoming the new CIO, Professor Trefethen thanked Dr Stuart Lee – who took on the role of interim CIO at the beginning of October – as well as the IT Senior Management Team who have supported him. Stuart will continue as the interim CIO until Sean arrives.

 

 




Secure your data with backup

2017-10-23T00:00:00

Backing up your data is essential for maintaining data security. IT Services offer the centrally funded HFS backup service providing data backup and long-term archiving services to Oxford University staff, senior members and postgraduates. If you are unsure if your data is backed up please speak to your local IT support staff and refer to the introductory information on our Help site. There is also a short video available which provides a helpful introduction to the service.

Various courses are available to help you manage your data safely and securely using the HFS backup service, from the basics of installing and running the software to more advance training for those managing backups for a numbers of users or servers. Find out more on our Help site.

If you have any queries, please contact our Service Desk on Tel. (01865 6)12345, email help@it.ox.ac.uk.




Introducing Workplace Finder

2017-10-20T00:00:00

The University has over 150 workplaces, from college and department libraries to common rooms and cafés. Students are often completely unaware of this wealth of choice available to them, and often end up crowding into the flagship libraries or studying in their rooms.

Workplace Finder is a University of Oxford Innovation Challenge project which seeks to change this by providing a simple but comprehensive directory of the University's workspaces. Using the site, users can browse photographs of potential workplaces, consult opening hours and input search criteria in order to find somewhere which fits their particular needs and preferences. For example, you might need to find a quiet workplace where you can bring a hot drink and plug in a laptop. Another student might be looking for somewhere which will be open from 9am, has a livelier atmosphere and plenty of light.

Integration with Single Sign-On allows the site to know each user's college and/or department, and tailor the list according to which places they are allowed to access. All results are displayed on a handy map which also shows the open status of each workplace. The site was successfully pitched to the University's Innovation Challenge last Trinity term by DPhil student Joseph Poore, and was developed over the summer by the Web and Mobile Applications team in IT Services. The site is tailored for mobile or desktop use, and is powered by a variety of javascript-based technologies including React, redux, node and mongodb.

 




IT Services newsletter Michaelmas 2017

2017-10-18T00:00:00

The Michaelmas 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, In this edition, we review our achievements in 2016-17 as well as looking forward with the latest updates on Chorus, Nexus365 and the VLE replacement. We have news on the Live Data project, a new remote support tool 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.

 




Internal Research Application Management System Success

2017-10-18T00:00:00

The IRAMS (Internal Research Application Management System) project has recently extended the old John Fell Management system so that it can host all internally managed research awards. Since going live in early May, more than 300 applications have been made to 15 different research funding schemes, with the number of schemes rising steadily.

IRAMS is a purpose-built system delivered by IT Services for managing internal research funds and external grants with institutional quotas. Working closely with divisional offices and Research Services, the project has aimed to improve, through the use of IT, the currently inefficient processes, tighten data security and reduce the associated institutional risks, contributing to the realisation of the University’s strategy of commitment to research by enhancing research support infrastructure. IRAMS facilitates grant applications, selections and post-award management giving 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 and see final reports, as well as review extension requests.

For further information please see research support or contact research.services@admin.ox.ac.uk.




New Ashmolean website launches on the Oxford Mosaic web platform

2017-10-13T00:00:00

The Ashmolean Museum became the first department within the Gardens, Libraries and Museums division to create a website on the Oxford Mosaic web platform, launching a brand new Ashmolean Museum website (www.ashmolean.org) on 27 September.

The engaging new site is the home of the museum online, providing a rich virtual experience for the online visitor. The website’s ambitious brief envisioned a high-level of quality design and functionality to showcase the Museum’s exceptional collections and treasures, and engage the public in its calendar of exhibitions. It also highlights to the academic community and subject enthusiasts the range of the department’s research projects, and provides a gateway for the public to engage with its research.

Delivering the website to the challenging specification provided an exciting opportunity for the Mosaic Web Platform Team to extend the platform to deliver a range of enhanced designs and features, suitable for use by the University’s world-class museums. The Project brought together a multi-partner project team comprising the Museum’s digital content specialists, the Mosaic project team, and two external digital design agencies. Following an initial analysis and design phase involving the agencies, Ashmolean Museum and wider GLAM staff, the 5-month technical build was undertaken with the Mosaic project team working to the supplied design brief. Working in 2-week sprints, enhancements were regularly demonstrated to the project partners to ensure the delivery remained closely aligned to the spec.

Georgina Brooke, Web Project Manager at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology commented of her experience: ‘We worked with Oxford’s Mosaic team on a challenging project to radically develop the platform for a new and demanding audience in a short amount of time. … It’s evident that a huge amount of work has gone into the platform and I wish the team every success for the future.’

The changes added enhancements across many areas of the Mosaic product, meaning code from the existing platform needed to be refactored to accommodate the needed features – an effort well justified by the result. In contrast to usual, one-off web projects not using the platform, all these changes are implemented in the core Mosaic codebase, meaning they will also be available to other GLAM units adopting Mosaic to use in future website projects. Existing Mosaic users will also be able to benefit from these changes – for no charge – as they are rolled out during the course of Michaelmas Term.




Plagiarism awareness courses for Michaelmas term

2017-10-10T00:00:00

IT Services offers a variety of taught courses to support the use of the plagiarism awareness software Turnitin. There is also one course for students, to raise awareness about plagiarism and how to avoid it. All sessions are free of charge.

Places at the face-to-face sessions are limited and booking is required. Click on the links provided to book a place, or for further information.

Plagiarism awareness courses (Turnitin):

Plagiarism: WebLearn and Turnitin

Thurs 2 Nov

12:30 – 13:30

Week 4

Plagiarism: Interpreting Originality Reports using Turnitin

Thurs 9 Nov

12:30 – 13:30

Week 5

Plagiarism: Awareness and avoidance (for students)

Thurs 30 Nov

12:30 – 13:30

Week 8

 

Staff User Group meeting:

Turnitin User Group (with refreshments)

Fri 10 Nov

14:00 – 16:00

Week 5

 




WebLearn courses for Michaelmas term

2017-10-10T00:00:00

IT Services offers a variety of taught courses to support the use of WebLearn. Course books for the formal courses (3-hour sessions) can be downloaded for self study. All courses are free of charge. Places at the face-to-face sessions are limited and booking is required. Click on the links provided to book a place, or for further information.

WebLearn courses (3 hours each):

WebLearn: Fundamentals (once per month)

Tues 17 Oct

14:00-17:00

Week 2

                                                                    or

Wed 1 Nov

09:15-12:15

Week 4

                                                                    or

Thurs 23 Nov

09:15-12:15

Week 7

WebLearn: Design and content

Mon 6 Nov

14:00-17:00

Week 5

 

Byte-sized lunch time sessions:

These focus on particular tools with plenty of time for questions and discussion

WebLearn Bytes: Site Management and Resources

Tues 24 Oct

12:30 – 13:30

Week 3

WebLearn Bytes: Assignments tool

Tues 31 Oct

12:30 – 13:30

Week 4

WebLearn Bytes: Lessons tool

Tues 7 Nov

12:30 – 13:30

Week 5

WebLearn Bytes: Surveys

Tues 21 Nov

12:30 – 13:30

Week 7

 

Staff User Group meeting:

WebLearn User Group (with refreshments)

Wed 8 Nov

14:00 – 16:00

Week 5