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UW Information Technology

UW-IT Insights – Spring 2013

eNewsletter sent May 30, 2013

UW-IT Insights eNewsletter Masthead
A quarterly review of what UW-IT is delivering to the UW community

Contents: HR/P Modernization | New UW-IT Academic Services leader | Canvas enhancements | Notify.UW class alert service | MyPlan new features | New UW Event
Calendar system
| UW Libraries
using MediaAMP
| IT Connect redesign | New UW Indoor Alert system | IT governance boards’ progress | Kuali Student investment renewed | In brief


HR/Payroll replacement renamed HR/P Modernization; making significant progress

HRPThe effort to replace the UW’s aging payroll system and implement an enterprise HR system has a new name, a new Web site, and has made significant progress this spring. The name—HR/Payroll Modernization—signifies this initiative is not just about replacing the UW’s payroll system; it’s about significantly improving the University’s operations. The initiative will strengthen regulatory compliance, deliver better information for decision making, and produce substantial efficiencies and productivity gains throughout UW units. Major progress includes:

  • Business Process Redesign (BPR): A major step in the effort to redesign all HR and payroll business processes across the University is nearing completion. The last of a series of workshops to collect broad input from UW campuses was held May 13. The next step is to scope, prioritize, and sequence the work needed to implement the new processes. The result will be streamlined, standardized processes that will achieve major efficiencies and pave the way for a new system. An open house on results of the BPR effort will be held in the fall.
  • Procurement: The four-stage vendor selection process is on target. Vendors are now providing demonstrations and submitting initial cost proposals. Finalists will be invited to participate in the last stage this summer, with solution demonstrations at UW Seattle in August. The goal is to make a final vendor recommendation this fall.
  • Benchmarking: The UW’s current costs for supporting HR and payroll functions are being validated and compared with UW peers. This benchmarking will supply data to more accurately evaluate efficiencies to be gained, establish a baseline cost for current services benchmarked against peers, and help identify opportunities for improvement.

Up next: Information from the above areas will be used to seek approval from the Board of Regents and the state this fall, with the intent to implement a new system beginning in early 2014.


Academic leader provides new vision, closer partnerships

Philip J. Reid Philip J. Reid, a professor of chemistry and director of the NSF Center for Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research, is also now Associate Vice Provost for UW-IT’s Academic Services division. In this new role, Reid is responsible for overseeing UW-IT’s teaching and learning technology efforts, which have been brought together into one division under his leadership.
Reid is an innovative leader who brings a deep knowledge of teaching and research needs, and a keen understanding of technology’s transformative potential. A long-time advocate for instructional technologies and for accessibility through technology, he has received several national academic and research honors including a UW Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005.

Reid remains active in the department of chemistry, where he has a joint appointment and teaches part-time. “My goal is to help maintain a stronger connection between UW-IT and the academy,” he said. Reid will strengthen UW-IT’s focus on improving the student experience through cutting-edge teaching and learning tools. He also will help ensure a continued partnership with the UW Center for Teaching and Learning and says, “We must make sure we partner in ways that are meaningful.” Learn more about Reid.


Canvas enhancements better serve users, integrate with other tools; adoption rising

students Recent enhancements to Canvas, the UW’s learning management system (LMS), focus on integrating it with other UW systems, making it easier for faculty to move existing course content from Catalyst to Canvas. Use is steadily rising, with a 22 percent increase in course offerings delivered in Canvas this spring over winter quarter. Instructors also will have more opportunity ahead of quarter start to experiment with Canvas or adapt course content for use in Canvas. Instructors can register for introductory or advanced Canvas workshops to learn the tool and best practices for instruction using Canvas. A video introducing Canvas is featured on the Provost’s 2y2d Web site.

Up next:  Enhancements planned for summer 2013 include integrating Canvas with the UW Groups Service to provide course access to non-matriculated students, guest lecturers, and others, plus ASTRA integration for authorizing access to all courses in a department for administrative or support staff. Canvas’s vendor is planning to provide better support for large courses, richer metrics for quiz questions, the ability to grade quizzes one question at a time, an easier-to-use GradeBook, and enhancements for the Android and iOS mobile apps.


Notify.UW alerts students to course openings in real time

A new service, Notify.UW, alerts students in real time if a course of interest opens or closes, enabling them to more quickly adjust their courses and register for high-demand classes. Developed in partnership with the Office of the Registrar, Notify.UW is a free subscription service that provides up-to-the-minute text and email alerts. Integrated with the Time Schedule and MyUW, the tool also will collect information that can be used to adjust course offerings. Notify.UW addresses needs that were previously being filled by a third-party solution that strained UW’s central systems and charged a fee to students.


MyPlan now in broader use; new features include course registration planning

myplan The MyPlan online academic planning tool officially launched to UW students and advisers in January, and has had more than 22,000 users log in. Now integrated with Time Schedule data, MyPlan enables students to sign up for classes more easily—they can see real-time seat availability and simply add or delete classes as well as view a single-quarter plan. In its third year of funding from the Student Technology Fee, MyPlan continues to evolve based on feedback from students, advisers, and partners in the Office of the Registrar and Undergraduate Academic Advising. Improved tools and information for registration planning was the No. 1 priority for students, making this new functionality a major achievement.

Up next:  Upcoming features include integration with Notify.UW, audits to validate that planned coursework will result in progress toward degree completion, alerts to students when sections are suspended or withdrawn, and the ability for advisers to make course recommendations and create and share sample plans with students.


New, more user-friendly UW Event Calendar coming this summer

stadium This summer, the UW will move its central UW Calendar of Events to a versatile, more user-friendly and mobile-compatible events calendar for all University public events and for departmental and college calendars. The Web-based Trumba calendaring system will provide an improved user interface, a better mobile experience, event registration, and the ability to embed calendars into Web sites. It will also allow a listing created on one calendar to appear on multiple calendars. The new service is supported by the Technology Recharge Fee. To see an example, visit the Seattle Public Library Calendar of Events. Tufts University and the Smithsonian Institution also use Trumba.


UW Libraries gets modern, flexible e-reserve system thanks to MediaAMP

MediaAmp logo A new, more efficient electronic course reserve (e-reserve) system for the UW Libraries provides students with an improved user experience, thanks to MediaAMP, UW-IT’s cloud service for asset management, storage, and distribution of digital media. UW-IT’s MediaAMP team worked closely with UW Libraries to replace a rigid, antiquated streaming technology with a modern, cost-effective, and flexible media management and publishing platform. The old system was labor intensive and had known user experience issues. The new user-friendly system is current with emerging technologies, such as social platforms, works with UW NetID authorization, and provides greater control over how, where, and to whom media is delivered through e-reserve. See more information on MediaAMP in the UW-IT Service Catalog.


IT Connect Web site being redesigned for mobile devices, better user experience

IT Connect Redesign The IT Connect Web site is being redesigned to work across mobile devices and provide a better user experience. This portal provides information technology tools, instructions, and resources for the UW community. The new site design responds to input from users, offering a simple, user-friendly design that makes it easier to find information through better search and navigation. The redesign will also offer better accessibility for people who use assistive technologies. The new site will launch this summer.


UW Indoor Alert enhances crisis communications; more improvements coming

UW Alert logo A new UW Indoor Alert system launched in February provides emergency audio and/or reader board notifications in almost all UW Seattle buildings. The system augments the UW Outdoor Alert speaker towers and enhances the overall University crisis communications program. UW-IT is focused on expanding the reach, speed, and effectiveness of UW emergency communications, with the following efforts underway:

  • UW Alert: Selection of a new mass-notification solution for UW Alert, the centerpiece of UW’s crisis communications program. The new system will improve the speed of email and text delivery and better integrate with the UW Alert Blog, Facebook, and Twitter services. Vendor selection is due by early summer.
  • Outdoor Alert: Planning is underway to expand the UW Outdoor Alert system to UW Seattle’s southwest campus construction areas and along the Burke-Gilman trail.

Sign up with UW Alert for notifications and join the more than 50,000 people already registered.


New IT governance boards focus on priorities, investments

Governance Boards Three new IT governance boards are now underway, providing advice and guidance on IT strategies, priorities, and services for the University. The goal is to create the right level of engagement across the UW to guide IT investments and priorities. Key responsibilities and actions in the first six months include:

IT Strategy Board

  • Responsibilities: Advises the President and the Provost on IT strategic directions and investments. Meets three times per year.
  • Actions: Identified guidelines for prioritizing IT investments, reviewed a recommendation on UW’s Kuali Student partnership (see next article), and evaluated support for research computing. Up next: Consider the impact of MOOCs (massive, open online courses) and other “disruptive” learning technologies and evaluate technology trends for students, including consumerization and personalization.

IT Service Investment Board

  • Responsibilities: Advises the Vice President for UW-IT and CIO on UW-IT service improvements, priorities, and funding, including annually reviewing the Technology Recharge Fee (TRF). Meets monthly. The Board is supported in the TRF annual review by the Technology Recharge Fee (TRF) Advisory Committee, which provides detailed analysis and advice.
  • Actions: Conducted annual TRF review and recommended methodology and rate levels for FY 2014, which were accepted by the Provost. Established guidelines and criteria for prioritizing major UW-IT projects. Up next: Prioritize major UW-IT projects and conduct FY 2015 TRF annual review.

IT Service Management Board

  • Responsibilities: Advises the Vice President for UW-IT and CIO on the optimal design, delivery, and operation of IT services. Meets monthly.
  • Actions: Recommended a “top five” list of new or enhanced IT services that would have significant impact on the University. See a full report of the recommendations, which call for providing more consulting support for faculty technology use; offering additional research consulting services; expanding the Enterprise Data Warehouse with a focus on analytics; consolidating servers and storage; and creating a process to manage UW-IT’s collaborative services portfolio. Up next: Identify UW-IT service priorities.

For more information, see the IT Governance Web site.


IT Strategy Board endorses UW’s continued investment in Kuali Student

Kuali Student The IT Strategy Board endorsed a recommendation to renew the UW’s investment in Kuali Student for another three years. The recommendation was made by a University-wide Kuali Review Committee, which thoroughly assessed the UW’s five-year investment in Kuali Student. The UW is a founding partner in the Kuali Student consortium of peer universities that are developing a next-generation student information system. Kuali Student deliverables include the MyPlan academic planning tool, Kuali Rice workflow functionality, and Curriculum Management, which the UW is working to implement by summer 2014. Student Enrollment and Student Accounts systems are currently in development.


In brief:
  • The Office of the UW Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) 2012 Information Security and Privacy Annual Report highlights the UW’s efforts to combat IT security threats and to raise awareness about safeguarding the UW’s information assets. 
  • Office 365 Update: Over the summer, UW-IT will release “SkyDrive Pro,” Microsoft’s cloud-based storage for personal files and file sharing. It will be the first Office 365 product to roll out. UW-IT also will be working closely with IT support staff in departments and academic units on transition plans for delivering the full suite of applications, including email and calendaring, later this year.
  • Nearly 500 students are now using Tableau, a data visualization software offered since February. Full-time students can get a free, one-year license for Tableau Desktop and use its interactive maps, charts, and dashboards to easily analyze data and spot trends. Students need to reapply for the Tableau Desktop license each year, and instructors can learn about using it in their classrooms on the Tableau for Teaching page. UW is also conducting a pilot with units on campus to determine the value of the enterprise version of Tableau for UW employees.
  • As part of a pilot to modernize HuskyTV and better serve students, a new online TV service, “Tivli,” has brought news, educational programming, and entertainment to laptops and tablets for more than 1,700 residence hall students. Read more in The Daily.
  • The FY 2014 rates for UW-IT Self-Sustaining Services, including dial tone, are now available online.
  • Additional apps recently released to the UW Google Apps service include enhancements to YouTube and Google’s Developer Suite, with more planned for this summer.
  • Two new reports from the Provost’s office examine technology for teaching and learning as part of a series on transformative changes in higher education: “Innovators Among Us: How UW Faculty Are Enhancing Teaching With Technology” (March) and “Putting Learning First: How Students Learn and How Technology Can Help” (April).
  • A recent EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research (ECAR) case study shows how UW-IT and UW’s eScience Institute support researchers’ vast technology requirements through solutions in areas including data analysis, high-performance computing, cloud services, digital asset management, and high-speed data networking.
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