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Preview: News from Computing Services

IT Services News


Trinity term courses now available!


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


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

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

Find out more about the project: or contact
Chorus service information and support:, (include Chorus in the subject line) or (01865 6) 12345.

New Nintex Forms tutorial videos available


Nintex Forms allows you to quickly and easily create forms in the browser of your choice. New videos are available from IT Services informing users how to navigate around Nintex Forms and make the most of the available features.

The videos can be viewed on the Oxford University IT Services YouTube channel and cover the following areas:

  • Getting access
  • Lists and permissions
  • Building forms
  • Previewing, saving and publishing
  • Viewing form submissions

We hope you enjoy watching the videos. Please provide any feedback to to help with the ongoing reviewing of Nintex Forms user documentation.

Sign up to the new termly Education IT Programme Update


The first issue of the termly Education IT Programme Update was sent to all programme contacts on Thursday 23 March. It covers all projects within the Education IT Programme’s remit; both Student Systems and Academic IT projects. These include the project to replace Graduate Supervision System (GSS) in 2018; and a review to find out whether WebLearn, Oxford’s virtual learning environment (VLE), still meets the University’s needs today or if we should consider an alternative solution. To receive the termly email Update, please contact

See also the Education IT Programme website at

IT Services Programmes and Projects website


IT Services is pleased to announce that a website has been developed for our programmes and projects, using the newly developed Oxford Mosaic platform, and is available at  This is where information about our larger user-facing projects is made available to the collegiate University.  Currently featured are the Education IT programme showing projects for Students Systems and Academic IT, the Integrated Communications Project (ICP) to introduce the Chorus telephony system and the Nexus 365 project to migrate Nexus email and calendaring to the cloud-hosted Microsoft Office 365 service.  The new site offers a more up-to-date look and feel and a consistent experience for users. Sites can be developed quickly and are easily maintained. 

Project contact details are available on the relevant pages of the website but please feedback any comments or queries about the site itself to

Meet our apprentices


The University now has at least one apprentice in 30 departments and in 17 colleges. To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week we spoke to some of our own apprentices to ask them the reasons for choosing an apprenticeship, and what they have gained from their experience with IT Services. Grace Parsons – HR Apprentice Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship? I chose to do an apprenticeship because I felt that during sixth-form I was preparing for University for the wrong reasons. I struggled at sixth-form because I learn much better by being able to do what I’m learning, and I still wanted further qualifications so an apprenticeship seemed like the perfect option. What have you gained from your apprenticeship? I have gained more qualifications than I originally thought I would be able to get. I have also gained so much more experience than I could have done by going to University. I have been able to become an apprenticeship ambassador and I get to go to many exciting events and meet some amazing people. What do you plan to do next? I hope to either to work in Human Resources in different departments in the University to learn a variety of skills by using different procedures, or to continue as an apprentice and gain more qualifications. How will your apprenticeship help you achieve this? My apprenticeship has set me up with the knowledge and skills to be able to have a career in Human Resources. It has also given me qualifications that enable me to move into a different career path in Business and Administration if I change my mind in the future. However, from my work in IT Services, I would definitely like to continue down the HR path. Edward Phillipson – Information Security Apprentice Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship? I chose to do an apprenticeship because I find it a lot easier to learn on the job rather than from a text book. I was interested in a career in IT and wanted to start it as soon as possible. What have you gained from your apprenticeship? Though I have only been here for three months I have learnt a considerable amount about a rather uncommonly talked about subject – information security. I have learnt how a small dedicated team can make a huge difference, and that the consequences of not having good information security are incredibly severe. So far my computing skills have increased but it’s not just my practical skills that have seen improvement but also my soft skills such as social interactions, the ability to answer telephones, and replying to emails in the correct manner. And I’m sure there is plenty more to learn in the next few years to come. What do you plan to do next? Hopefully I can keep a job here, if not there is plenty of choice out there. Apprenticeship degrees have recently sprung up and look quite appealing. However, I would like to stay within the University for as long as possible and further develop my endeavours into information security. How will your apprenticeship help you achieve this? My apprenticeship will help me wherever I decide to go in the future. When I finish my apprenticeship I will have three years professional job experience and money in the bank. I can choose to do an apprenticeship degree and not have to pay a student loan, as well as getting up to four more years of work experience. Or if I am fortunate I can stay within the University and gain more experience as well as having all the education perks from working for the best University in the world. Laura Wilkins – Administrative Apprentice Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship? I liked the idea of learning in a work environment so an apprenticeship seemed liked a good option. I was also interested in working in administration so an apprenticeship would give me the perfect opportunity to gain skills in this area. What have you gained from your apprenticeship? I have gained a variety of skills from observing and working with my colleagues i[...]

OxTALENT Competition 2017 - deadline extended!


Have you created a great app, or designed an eye-catching conference poster or data visualisation to support teaching, learning, research or outreach in the University? Or has someone else impressed you with an exciting use of technology in this way? You now have an extra week to let OxTALENT know! The closing date has been extended to Friday 5 May.

The OxTALENT Competition 2017 celebrates and rewards the innovative use of digital technology in teaching, learning, research, and outreach at the University of Oxford. The competition is open to students and staff across the University, including libraries, museums and central administration in addition to the academic divisions.

This year we are awarding prizes in the following categories:

  • Innovative teaching & learning with technology
  • Outreach & widening participation
  • Public engagement
  • Digital media
  • Data visualisation
  • Research posters

Visit the OxTALENT competition website for more information on how to enter. Alternatively, if you have been impressed by a colleague’s use of technology and you think we should consider them for an award, send an email to


Winner of the IT Services roadshow prize draw announced


IT Services completed their Hilary roadshows with a prize draw open to everyone who registered at the event. We are pleased to announce the prize of an Amazon echo dot was won by Pippa Jupe from the Public Affairs Directorate, pictured here.

The purpose of the roadshows is to tell people in the wider University more about what we do and what we can offer, and to gather feedback on our services and other work. The roadshows offer a mini-help desk and have leaflets, freebies and contact sheets available.

Roadshows have been held at the Andrew Wiles Building (Maths Institute), the Manor Road Building (Social Sciences), Cairns Library and the University Offices. These were well received with many staff and students stopping to talk, ask questions or find out more about what IT Services does.

If you would like your building to host an IT Services roadshow to discuss the services we offer and to help with any IT issues, please contact Ian Teasdale (

Annual PC replacement


Over the past three and half weeks, our Desktop Services Team (DST) have replaced 432 desktop machines within University Administration and Services and the Bodleian Libraries. The last of these replacements were completed yesterday.

The exercise was part of DST’s annual PC replacement service, a rolling programme that takes place at the beginning of every year.

DST’s managed desktop PCs are used by over 2500 staff within the University, as well as Readers in the Bodleian Libraries, with machines in over 75 buildings and with over 1000 different applications in use. The machines are replaced at a minimum of every five years.

Like much of the support delivered by IT Services, a lot of hidden activity went into the project. The work began in October with an audit of machines due to be replaced, followed by communication with desktop users to confirm delivery dates. In January, over 400 machines were delivered to DST’s warehouse where the software was installed and configured. The final stage was the actual replacement of the machines (and further software configuration for users with particular requirements), at a rate of about 30 per day. The work was undertaken by a third-party provider, overseen by DST staff.

Thank you to all of the teams in IT Services who helped to ensure users continued working with minimal disruption while the team carried out this work.

IT Services apprentice finalist in Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards


Congratulations to our HR apprentice, Grace Parsons, for being shortlisted for the Apprenticeship Ambassador Award in the Oxfordshire Apprenticeship Awards. Grace became an Apprenticeship Ambassador in October 2016. Ambassadors are representatives for apprenticeship schemes. They come from all over Oxfordshire and work for a wide range of companies and institutions to promote apprenticeships as a great way to start a career, using their own stories and their first-hand experience to inspire young people across Oxfordshire.

The inaugural awards ceremony will take place during National Apprenticeship Week on 8 March. The aim of the awards is to recognise apprentices for outstanding achievement and commitment to the scheme, and to celebrate the contribution apprenticeships make to businesses and institutions. The awards also help to drive and motivate the apprentices to strive to be the best in their field. Here, Grace outlines her experience of being an apprentice at IT Services:

How long have you been an apprentice at IT Services?

I have been an apprentice at IT Services since October 2015.

Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship?

I chose to do an apprenticeship because I felt that during sixth-form I was preparing for university for the wrong reasons. I struggled at sixth-form because I learn better by being able to physically do what I’m learning and I still wanted further qualifications so an apprenticeship seemed like the perfect option.

What have you gained from your apprenticeship?

I have gained more qualifications than I originally thought I would be able to get. I have also gained so much more experience than by going to university. I have also become an Apprenticeship Ambassador and get to go to many exciting events and meet some amazing people.

What do you plan to do next?

I hope to either go into a job in Human Resources in different departments in the University to increase my skillset by using a variety of procedures or to continue as an apprentice and gain more qualifications.

How will your apprenticeship help you achieve this?

My apprenticeship has set me up with the knowledge and skills to be able to have a career in Human Resources. It has also given me qualifications that enable me to move into a different career path in business and administration if I change my mind in the future. However from my work in IT Services, I would definitely like to continue down the HR path.

Further information about local apprenticeships can be found on the Oxfordshire Apprenticeships website:

Update on data centre power outage


As a result of the power outage at the Shared Data Centre, there has been an on-going issue with group permissions on SharePoint. It has been necessary to recreate and repopulate all Active Directory groups. We have written a process in order to restore any site collection / site permissions based on AD on the SharePoint service. Many Site Collections have now been fixed. Should you still be experiencing SharePoint permissions issues then please initially contact your Site Collection Administrator who will be able to inform our Service Desk: A decision was taken to close the Shared Data Centre major incident at last Friday’s major incident team meeting.

Please see the systems status page for further information. 

Nexus email and SharePoint restored


Sorry for the service disruption this morning. This was due to a temporary power outage in one of our data centres. Nexus email, calendar and SharePoint have now been restored and the IT Services website and IT Help site are up and running. Other services are being brought back online in a controlled manner. Please see the systems status page for further information.


New record for IT Innovation Challenges


The latest round of the IT Innovation Challenges has closed for submissions with a record number of ideas being shared.  This round, which was open to student only, invited ideas around the two themes ‘teaching and learning’ and ‘student welfare’. Other ideas that bring benefit to the University, its staff and/or students through digital means were also welcome. As the ideas submission stage closed, 47 ideas had been shared on the Oxford Ideas platform.  The ideas had then been viewed over 3,700 time and nearly 200 people had engaged with the ideas, signalling their support and adding comments or questions.  This is a considerable increase on previous student rounds, and the number of ideas is even higher than the most popular staff round (45 ideas, Hilary 2015).

The ideas will now be evaluated by the panel who will draw up a shortlist and invite the successful students to present a project proposal based on their idea. The shortlist will be revealed at the end of February.  Project proposals will be submitted to the panel in mid-April, and decisions on what projects to fund will be made in May after a ‘pitch event’ where the students get to present their ideas to the panel. The ideas that have been submitted to the current student round can be viewed on the Oxford Ideas platform.

Replay Lecture Capture: free training


The Replay Lecture Capture team has announced this term’s programme of training for both new and existing users. All sessions are offered free of charge and take place in the IT Learning Centre in IT Services’ offices at 13 Banbury Road. 

IT Services newsletter Hilary 2017


The Hilary 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, you can find out about how we are developing and extending our data centre provision, changes to enhance your spam protection and the latest free software available to you.

You can subscribe to receive future editions by sending an email to with the subject line 'subscribe'. To stop receiving the newsletter you can unsubscribe by emailing 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


First tranche of Chorus implementation completes


The first tranche of replacing the University’s telephone system with Chorus was completed in December, bringing the total number now using the service to around 3500.

Chorus is being installed building by building in six sequential stages running until Spring 2018. New users are issued with a replacement phone and gain access to the Web Portal allowing them to access the University’s phone directory and place calls directly from it, manage voicemails, view call histories and use instant messaging. 

The second tranche of implementation is now underway and engagement has started with the units involved in tranche three.

Lessons learned from the first tranche of implementation are being reviewed to facilitate continuous improvement.  The main outcomes so far are:

  • Work is underway to improve how we collect data on people and phone number requirements in order to simplify the process for departments, faculties and colleges. The team implementing Chorus is dependent on this data being up-to-date and accurate to ensure all users receive the new service and correct equipment in a timely manner so we urge units to liaise with the project team early if they have queries or issues with the process
  • Technical engagement is being implemented earlier to help identify potential underlying issues, with networking or difficulties with complex buildings for example, to minimise any impact.

Find out more about the project: or contact

Chorus service information and support:, (please include Chorus in the subject line) or call 01865 (6)12345. 


Learning technology roadshows


On Thursday lunchtimes our learning technologists will be on-hand to discuss the range of technologies available to assist teaching and learning.  

The learning technologists will be at the following locations on the upcoming dates:

  •  11am - 2pm, 19 January and 2 February, in the mezzanine space of the Mathematical Institute, Andrew Wiles Building.
  •  11am - 2pm, 26 January and 9 February, near the café on the mezzanine of the Manor Road Building.

You do not need to be based in these buildings to join us.  Visitors will be able to experiment with examples of technologies that could also be useful for learning, such as virtual reality.  The learning technologists are available to discuss your needs for enhancing teaching and learning in face-to-face, online, or blended scenarios, and how to take things further.

More information is available on the Digital Education Strategy website including a poster to print and display. 

WebLearn and Turnitin courses


WebLearn Courses Hilary Term 2017

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.

Plagiarism Awareness Courses Hilary Term 2017

IT Services offers lunch time sessions to support University staff in using 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.

View upcoming WebLearn courses

View upcoming plagiarism awareness courses

New version of Turnitin available from 16 January 2017


Turnitin has released a major product upgrade that will soon be available to our users. The new version of the service, called Turnitin Feedback Studio, offers all the functionalities of Turnitin, but with a simplified, more intuitive interface designed for the modern classroom. Turnitin Feedback Studio will make it faster and easier to promote academic integrity via Originality Check, and use GradeMark to provide feedback and evaluate student learning. The PeerMark product is not included in Feedback Studio, but can still be used via Turnitin Classic. Key differences between Turnitin Classic and Feedback Studio are shown in this video: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"> Date of upgrade We will upgrade our version of Turnitin to Feedback Studio on Monday 16 January 2017. Once upgraded, you can expect to see the new interface when you open a student’s paper in Turnitin. Toggle between the two versions From 16 January until August 2017, it will be possible within the document viewer to toggle between Feedback Studio and Turnitin Classic: To switch from Feedback Studio to Turnitin Classic: the button is at the bottom of the screen: To switch from Turnitin Classic to Feedback Studio: the button is at the top of the screen: Useful links: Try out an interactive demo Overview of Feedback Studio If you have any queries, please contact us via [...]

Open for booking – the ‘do:’ series of free lunchtime talks


do: is a series of free lunchtime talks that highlight the use of IT technology in support of business systems and processes in the University. The schedule of talks for Hilary term is listed below: do: SharePoint, what is it? – 23rd January What is SharePoint and how can it help you. Find out some basics and how a department is planning on using it to provide an intranet – book now. do: Creating a Web Content Strategy – 30th January In this talk Georgina (Web Project Manager and Content Creator, Ashmolean) discusses the four elements of content strategy: structure, substance, workflow, governance. She will cover reading for the web best practice, using a digital style guide and creating a Digital Knowledge Group training plan – book now. do: Getting MS Access to do it for you – 6th February MS Access is a widely available database package in which training is readily available via IT Services – so why not see if Access can do some of your work for you? This talk will run through a few problems Access can help you to avoid, pick out ten time-saving tips that might help you use Access to lighten your workload – book now. do: International Rescue – 13th February In an environment as internationally diverse as the University our Office documents have to cope with many languages, character sets and conventions. Names in many cultures aren’t “first-name surname” pairs, characters can be shredded as documents open, dates can be backwards or on different calendars and just how do you get that curly bit under a “c”? This talk explores features and tips around Microsoft Office to help you navigate around the pitfalls – book now. do: Developing a skills-tracking smartphone app at Oxford and beyond – 20th February There never seems to be enough time to track the way your skills are developing. An important part of anyone’s professional development is to keep a continuous record of the key skills, knowledge, behaviours and attitudes they are acquiring. This do: talk will demonstrate a brand new electronic tool which makes working with professional development frameworks simple, quick and useful to researchers and others. Hear about the experience of developing this tool as a smartphone app, and find out about how the project obtained funding and is about to go beyond Oxford – book now. do: new to Bristol Online Surveys? Overview and practical tips for conducting your survey – 27th February Joana will provide an overview of Bristol Online Surveys (BOS) features, including types of questions supported, skip-logic function, question pre-population, questionnaire distribution options, and results visualisation features. There will be an opportunity for supported hands-on exploration of BOS features – book now. If you have any queries, please contact [...]