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UW Information Technology

UW-IT Insights – Winter 2014

eNewsletter sent February 13, 2014

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

Contents: HR/P vendor approved | New Enterprise Architecture initiative | UW Profiles and Tableau training | New document management system for UW | Discounted Windows Azure | Canvas enhancements | UW Tower Data Center energy certified | UW-IT help desk integration | MyPlan new tools | MediaAMP course support | MyUW major redesign | In brief


New HR/Payroll system vendor approved; implementation begins in March

HR/Payroll Modernization and WorkdayThe UW Board of Regents this week approved implementation of a new HR/Payroll system for the University, with Workday as the system vendor, and IBM providing consulting services. The next step is state review and approval. Project implementation is scheduled to begin in March and will take 22 months, with go-live in January 2016. This project is a major undertaking for the University, touching all faculty and staff. It will produce key efficiencies, deliver better information for decision making, strengthen regulatory compliance and reduce the UW’s financial and strategic risk. The new system and accompanying business process changes will bring significant improvements, including:

  • Better access to information: A single portal will provide UW employees with quick access to earning statements, leave balances, time-off requests and more, allowing easy updates to personal information, direct deposit selections and W2 withholdings.
  • Automated HR/Payroll procedures will improve how managers and administrators handle transactions and obtain reports, eliminating most paper forms and making work faster and more accurate.
  • Easier manager reviews: Managers will be able to more quickly and easily review employee schedules, approve time-off requests, track credentials and recommend training opportunities.

Other major higher education institutions implementing Workday’s HR/P solution include New York University, University of Texas-Austin, and Yale; current users include University of Southern California, and Brown and Georgetown universities. Up next: On February 20, a Technical Information Session will be held for UW unit and departmental system owners, computing directors, unit administrators and other technical audiences. In the spring, sessions for UW leaders will introduce the team, review timelines and expectations and answer questions. A formal project kickoff is expected in April.


Enterprise Architecture initiative to align business and technology strategies

Enterprise Architecture A University-wide initiative on Enterprise Architecture (EA) has been launched to address the opportunities and challenges of adopting and merging new technologies into the UW’s complex and dynamic environment. EA offers a methodology to help ensure solutions are scalable, cost-efficient and support innovation—with a focus on effective communication among stakeholders. UW-IT’s new Director of Enterprise Architecture & Strategy, Jim Phelps, will work with UW’s business and IT stakeholders to align business and technology projects with each other and UW-wide strategic directions. The effort includes facilitating discussions; capturing requirements, use cases, and issues; creating standard EA documents; and developing EA roadmaps. “We’re in an era where IT and business strategy are intertwined,” Phelps said. “My job is to help weave them effectively and efficiently so we can be agile in responding to changing needs.” Phelps also will lead the EA Steering Group responsible for creating EA strategy for the University. Learn more on UW’s Enterprise Architecture website.


UW Profiles and Tableau: Training available, more UW Profiles data coming soon

UW Profiles New training is available to help UW staff access and analyze key institutional data using UW Profiles, a set of Web-based dashboards that provide access to valid, defined data from the Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), UW’s source of major institutional data. Training also covers Tableau, a powerful data visualization tool selected for use with the EDW. Use of UW Profiles has rapidly increased since being introduced this fall: 1,294 UW faculty and staff have accessed the dashboards more than 3,146 times to explore and understand trends in student enrollment, credit hours, degrees awarded, progress toward degrees and more. Later this year, UW Profiles will include data on student cohorts, financial expenditures, research awards and proposals. UW Profiles were created jointly by UW-IT and the Office of Planning & Budgeting. The Tableau data visualization tool is available to the UW community with discounted licenses.

Training opportunities include:


New document management system for UW; pilot underway

file folders put into desktop folders Work is underway to prepare for a University-wide rollout of a new Enterprise Document Management System (EDMS) in late 2014 or early 2015. The EDMS will capture, store and provide secure access to electronic business documents and other content, saving paper and time, while increasing efficiencies. UW-IT, in partnership with Records Management, will work with several UW units in 2014 to create standards for offering the EDMS across the University, with an initial pilot underway in Grant and Contract Accounting. The EDMS initiative is a collaborative effort of UW-IT, Financial Management, Office of Research, Office of Planning & Budgeting, UW Bothell, Student Life and the School of Medicine.


Windows Azure high-performance cloud computing service available at discount

Azure logo Microsoft Windows Azure—a high-performance cloud computing service for storage and more—is now available to UW researchers and units at a 30 percent discount, thanks to an arrangement UW-IT secured with Microsoft through the Internet2 NET+ portfolio. Azure supports big data, disaster recovery solutions, application building and virtual machines through Microsoft’s computing clusters. UW-IT’s new Self-Managed Azure Subscription is HIPAA- and FERPA-compliant and is available with a UW budget number. Existing Azure subscriptions can be switched to the lower rate.


Canvas enhancements enable new teaching and learning opportunities

people around a computer Students can now connect with librarians and research resources directly from their online course materials in Canvas, the UW’s learning management system, thanks to a collaboration of UW Libraries and UW-IT to integrate Library Subject Guides. Canvas also now integrates with TurningPoint student response clickers. Students register their clickers through Canvas, and instructors can import clicker response data into the Canvas grade book to track participation, quizzes and other scores, all in one location. Up next: Instructors will be able to use the 4.0 grade scale, supporting their typical grading practices. UW Professional & Continuing Education and the UW School of Medicine will migrate courses to Canvas beginning autumn 2014.


UW Tower Data Center earns EPA ENERGY STAR certification

energy star logo The UW Tower Data Center is one of just 27 in the country to earn a 2013 EPA ENERGY STAR certification for reducing power consumption, lowering its carbon footprint and slowing the growth of power needs. In addition, the UW is one of only two universities in the U.S. to have ever received this voluntary certification. The energy efficiency gains have translated into lower rates, attracting new co-location customers. The UW Tower Data Center provides managed space, power and cooling of critical infrastructure services to IT departments across the UW. Faculty, staff, researchers, and academic and administrative units from all campuses, plus UW-affiliated organizations, can reserve space in UW-IT’s physically secure, environmentally controlled data center facilities. See Server Co-Location/Data Center Services in the UW-IT Service Catalog.


UW-IT to offer one-stop shopping for help and support; 24×7 availability

help desk illustration Starting this summer, UW-IT will offer a single point of contact for all of its help and support services, with many available around-the-clock. All UW-IT help desks and the UW-IT Service Center are being integrated, with just one email (help@uw.edu) and phone number (206-221-5000) for help with learning technologies, password resets, virus protection, UWare software, classroom support and more. When the integration is complete later this year, assistance for all UW-IT Service Catalog offerings will be available 24x7x365.


New MyPlan tools will simplify student class registration

people at a computer This summer, students will be able to send schedule information they create in MyPlan, the UW’s online academic planning tool, directly to UW’s registration system using a new data bridge, eliminating the need to enter their schedules in both places. In spring, students will have a new visual tool to build their schedule. “Schedule Builder” will show their course and section information as well as work and activity schedules. They also will be able to send information created with Schedule Builder directly to the registration system when the data bridge is ready. These enhancements are being made in response to student input. MyPlan, funded in part by the Student Technology Fee, is a collaborative effort between UW-IT and students, advisers and central partners in the Office of the Registrar, Graduate School and Undergraduate Academic Affairs.


MediaAMP offers better support for online courses

mediaamp logo MediaAMP, the UW’s cloud service for automating the management, storage and distribution of digital media, offers even better support for online courses and recorded lectures because it now works with UW lecture capture tools, the Canvas learning management system and UW NetIDs. UW Libraries is using MediaAMP to make its large video library of course reserves available for all three campuses, with UW NetID integration in the media player allowing content to be restricted to the appropriate course. The Foster School of Business, Applied Mathematics, Professional & Continuing Education and other UW academic units also will be using MediaAMP to manage large collections of recorded lectures and pre-recorded content that support online courses and flipping the classroom. MediaAMP now also supports more detailed reporting and analytics.


Redesigned MyUW to provide more dynamic, personalized content for students

A major redesign of the MyUW portal is underway to offer a mobile-friendly dashboard with more personalized content and more frequently updated data. UW-IT conducted student interviews and focus groups to gather input for the redesign, and is collaborating with campus partners to provide information in MyUW such as important dates and deadlines, campus events, account balances, course reserves and more. Newer core technologies that integrate better with UW teaching and learning tools and library systems will make it easier to enhance MyUW in the future, and allow for more cost-effective development. The full release of the new MyUW for students is planned for winter 2015, with an earlier version available for students this summer. Up next: Faculty and staff will get a significantly enhanced MyUW beginning in 2015.


In brief:
  • SpaceScout, the mobile and Web app that helps students find ideal study spots, now shows students real-time computer availability in Odegaard Undergraduate Library and Mary Gates Hall.
  • Simplified, secure wireless network access through eduroam allows UW students, faculty and staff to use their UW NetID to connect to Wi-Fi networks when visiting any of 5,500 participating institutions worldwide. Visitors from eduroam-enabled institutions can use their own log-in credentials to connect to UW’s Wi-Fi. Eduroam offers authenticated, encrypted network access.
  • Individual quotas for U Drive, a personal UW file storage service, are being increased from 5GB to 10GB per user to optimize resources, enable new uses and meet additional demands for space. U Drive offers UW students, faculty and staff general-purpose, backed-up, electronic file storage that is accessible anywhere, anytime. The Student Technology Fee Committee funds U Drive for students; staff cost is supported by the Technology Recharge Fee.
  • The teaching, learning and research tools previously found on the Learning & Scholarly Technologies (LST) website are now on IT Connect to take advantage of its mobile-friendly, accessible design. Check out the new Teaching and Learning Tools page.
  • UW faculty and students involved in piloting Panopto, a Web-based lecture capture tool, are reporting positive results. The new tool will continue to be evaluated during winter quarter. Captioning, accessibility features and support for non-native speakers of English also are being explored. Panopto works in large lecture halls Tegrity can’t serve, and is being assessed as a possible replacement.
  • A new solution for authenticating to the UW’s Wi-Fi network, ClearPass, enables future enhancements, including an encrypted Wi-Fi service, and better management and sharing of wireless printers and devices, specifically AppleTV and Google’s Chromecast for HDTV content.
  • The 2013 UW-IT Annual Report is now available, highlighting collaborative efforts to help UW students, faculty, researchers and staff leverage technology to be more productive and effective.
  • The recently redesigned IT Connect website received an Excellence Award from the Puget Sound Society for Technical Communication in the User Support category, recognizing writing clarity and consistency, and organization and design of information.
  • Two new apps in UW Google Apps offer a broader ability to work collaboratively. With the Individual Storage app, users can increase the storage quota for their accounts and pay for it using the Google Wallet app (ProCard compatible). These two apps provide the frequently requested ability to increase capacity in Google Drive and Gmail.
  • A sample of UW students and, for the first time, faculty, will be asked this month to participate in an EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) survey about their technology use at UW. See an infographic of which technologies UW students use to support their academic success, based on the 2013 survey results, plus a benchmark report comparing technology use at UW with other institutions.
  • A UW TechConnect Conference on March 25 will bring UW’s information technology community of students, faculty and staff together to make new connections, share and learn from one another, address current challenges and explore future trends. It will take place at UW Seattle from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with details to be announced.
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