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Preview: News from Computing Services

IT Services News


Chorus plans early completion


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


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


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 and, if this does not answer your query, email the project team via

IT Services newsletter Trinity 2017


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 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

WebLearn Best Practice site


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

New series of make: talks for Trinity 2017


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


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 with any questions regarding the service.

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 woul[...]

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.