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Preview: News from Computing Services

IT Services News


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

Increasing spam protection


The number of unwanted, unsolicited emails (known as spam) is increasing. For users receiving such emails, this is annoying, timewasting and, at times, offensive. There is also an increasing number of spam emails sent from within the University, for example, from phished email accounts. The hundreds of thousands of spam emails that these accounts send every month damages Oxford's reputation and leads to blocklistings, which impede email delivery for everyone.

Our Oxmail email servers have rated, or spam scored, email for a long time. You are probably already using these scores to filter email yourself. From 10 January 2017, IT Services will no longer just score emails but will actively reject emails with a high probability of being spam. This has been discussed at various meetings, including Network Advisory Group (NAG) and ICT Forum, and agreed by the Infrastructure IT Board.

In addition, to address the issue of phished University email accounts sending spam, we will also be scoring outgoing Nexus emails, and may reject them.  If you use the Nexus email service, you will receive an automatic, non-delivery report (NDR) for any email you send to someone outside the University which scored highly and was therefore rejected.

 A similar notification will be sent to the relevant sending system for all rejected incoming emails, however there is no guarantee that this will be relayed to the original sender.

Other measures will be introduced in due course and the system will be monitored and adjusted as needed.

If you have any questions or concerns, please see your local IT support staff or contact

For information on avoiding email scams, using email safely and more, see the Information Security website.

Please note:

Email is *not* a guaranteed delivery system, just like the post. If it is a vital email, ensure you have an additional, alternative way to check it has been received by the intended recipient, eg phoning.

IT Services already rejects the vast majority of incoming emails classified as ‘hostile’ (if they contain a known virus file for example. See Mail Relay Statistics). Initially, we expect to only reject an additional 0.25% of emails using their spam scores.

January-March IT courses schedule and early-bird discount


Our schedule for Hilary term 2017 is now live!

(To see a list of all our courses select ‘IT Learning Centre’  under “Training Provider” and then click the blue ‘Search’ button).

We are offering an early-bird 20 % discount!

To receive your discount use the code JAN2017 at the end of the checking out process.

This code can be used from now until midnight on 22 January to book courses scheduled Jan-March 2017.  Further inforrmation on our terms and conditions are available.

Also, don’t forget Lynda!  You can use anytime, anywhere. Go to to login.

The IT Learning Centre Team


Site-licensed software now available to download

2016-12-21T00:00:00 to 2017-01-16T00:00:00

Great news for site-licensed software users!

SPSS, NVIVO and ArcGIS software files, codes and instructions are now available to download from IT Services.

Go to - click Manage Accounts - log in - then click Software.

In addition, Endnote X8 Upgrade is also available at a discounted education price and Office 365 is free to download from our partner, Kivuto.

Visit and log in with your SSO.  (Endnote is under 'More Software').  Details regarding Office 365 online are available on our Help site

Please note that all site-licensed software is for academic use only.

Free research skills workshops for graduate students

2016-12-15T00:00:00 to 2017-01-21T00:00:00

The Research Skills Toolkit is coming in January 2017, week 1 of Hilary term. Kick off your new term with some great ideas for tools and techniques that will make a real difference for your research. These 2-hour workshops – developed for 1st and 2nd year graduate researchers – give you a hands-on encounter with a range of practical IT and information tools to support your research. Research Skills Toolkit is an initiative run jointly by the Bodleian Libraries and IT Services and allows you to try out relevant software, online services and libraries techniques. There are individual sessions tailored for Humanities, MPLS, Medical Sciences and Social Sciences, running between 16 and 20 January 2017: please click on the links to see the full details and to book your place:     Choose date in January and book your place Research Skills Toolkit for Humanities Read details 16th 10am – 1217th 2 – 4pm18th 2 – 4pm Research Skills Toolkit for MPLS Read details 17th 10am – 1219th 12:30 – 14:30pm Research Skills Toolkit for Medical Sciences Read details 18th 10am – 1219th 3 – 5pm20th 10am – 12 Research Skills Toolkit for Social Sciences Read details 16th 2 – 4pm19th 9:30 – 11:30am20th 2 – 4pm In addition, you may also be interested in the Research Skills Toolkit website where you can explore a much wider variety of tools in your own time, with links to more resources, video playlists, and tutorials. For more information please contact [...]

Chorus cost model approved


The costing model for ongoing charges for the Chorus service was agreed at the November 2016 IT Committee meeting.  While licencing and equipment charges had been agreed prior to then, IT Committee approved the concept of an annual charge for phone numbers and a flat rate fee for call charges for all users.  The levels of the charge will be set at an audit in December 2017 and the costing arrangement will start on 1 August 2018, taking over fully from the current Telecomms service.    The call charge flat rate component is initially set at £5, but the levels of calls will be monitored and the rate is subject to change to ensure recovery of all external call costs. Therefore, it is recommended that a 10% contingency is added for in budget setting.

Please see the Service Implementation and Usage information for colleges and departments on the ICP website .




Freshers survey 2016 report now available


IT Services, and OUCS before it, has run a survey at Freshers’ Fair since 2004. The aim is to capture the prior experiences, and more recently, opinions and wishes, of freshers to inform IT Services’ strategy, focus and resources. The survey also provides a wealth of data for divisions and others to use as they see fit, for example, to explore the support requirements for students or assess what proportion would own the appropriate technology to access facilities divisions or colleges might provide.

The 2016 report is now available. Highlights include:

  • 77% of respondents have a tablet, either a stand-alone device or as part of a hybrid computer.
  • The majority of respondents (46%) brought 2 internet enabled devices with the average being 2.8; the same as 2015.
  • The number of respondents using Windows OS has continued to decrease and is now 55%.
  • 27% of respondents don’t have, or don’t know if they have, anti-virus software. This continues to increase.
  • While 65% of respondents use YouTube, only 8% follow the University’s YouTube channel.

See our Reports and publications page for Freshers survey report from 2016 and previous years.

New service catalogue launched


We have launched a new online service catalogue in order to facilitate our support and delivery of IT across the University: .  With a new user interface, user-specific views and more information about our services than before, this promises to be the hub for all central IT service information.

The catalogue has been restructured, services re-categorised and a new data store and website built in order to improve the service information available and the user experience. It will bring together contact, user and business information to provide a holistic view of each service, enabling users to discover key information, for example:

  • How do I raise an incident for a particular service?
  • Who do I contact for support?
  • Is there training or more information available?
  • Do I have to pay for the service?

Please take a look and if you have any questions or comments contact our Service Management Office


Latest addition to the new WebLearn videos


New videos are available informing WebLearn users about enhancements and new features following the successful upgrade to WebLearn 11 during Summer 2016.  The third and most recent addition to the series explains how Weblearn supports Oxford tutorials and can be viewed on the Oxford University IT Services channel.  

The other videos are tailored to staff and student audiences as follows:

Staff audience:

  • New mobile-friendly design of WebLearn, enhancements to the interface, and improved tools such as ‘Lessons’, which can be used to build learning pathways of content and activities for students.

Student audience:

  • Benefits and new features for students, including how to customise your profile and your favourite sites, and how to subscribe to your WebLearn calendar from other calendars.

We hope you enjoy watching the videos and trying out some of the new WebLearn features. Please provide any feedback or suggestions to

VLE Review survey: help to shape the future of WebLearn


WebLearn has been Oxford’s virtual learning environment (VLE) for some years. We want to find out if it still meets your needs today or if we should consider an alternative solution. To better understand requirements, we are consulting students and staff across the collegiate University, including people who do not currently use WebLearn. You are invited to participate in a survey to review our VLE: By completing the staff survey, members of staff could win one of four £25 Amazon vouchers; students completing the student survey could also win a prize.

We will use the responses, together with the findings from workshops, interviews and previous research to draw up a set of recommendations. Further information, including frequently asked questions (FAQs), is available from the VLE Review page.

In addition, academics and representatives of teaching and learning committees are also encouraged to contribute to a broader survey of the technologies they currently use in teaching. These results will be used to help the Education IT Board determine priorities for funding. For further details please visit


If you have any questions about the VLE Review, please refer to the VLE Review web page and FAQs, or contact us at

Top tips for using IT


Have you ever felt there were better ways you could use IT to assist with your work? That there must be some tool out there to do that thing that takes up so much of your time? That if only you could talk to other administrators to find out what they do?

If so then you will be pleased to hear that IT Services has put up a site full of advice and with a place for you to share your own short cuts and tips. This was a result of an internship over the summer, where over 30 administrators from UAS, departments, and colleges were interviewed to find out what areas they really needed help on related to general IT use, and any good tips they have that they were willing to share.

The Admin IT Forum site is open to any member of the University (via SSO)

In this you will find a guide based around tasks commonly undertaken by administrative staff (also available as single printable documents). An area to share tips and advice (just start a ‘new discussion’ to post your idea) already populated with handy suggestions. And rather than keep revisiting it you can set up the‘alert me’ feature.