UW Information Technology

UW-IT Insights – Fall 2014

eNewsletter sent September 18, 2014

UW-IT Insights eNewsletter Masthead
A quarterly review of what UW-IT is delivering to the UW communityContents: A paperless University? | Classroom improvements | Big Data support | MyUW Mobile improvements | HR/P Modernization updates< | Briefly noted

A paperless University? Partnership proves it’s possible

Man sitting behind a stack of file foldersA pilot project with UW Grant and Contract Accounting (GCA), Records Management and UW-IT successfully showed that using an Enterprise Document Management System along with Enterprise Workflow tools to digitize, store and manage electronic business documents can significantly streamline time-consuming, paper-heavy manual processes.

This is the first of three pilot projects that are part of a major UW initiative to leverage centralized enterprise document management and workflow tools to streamline business processes while reducing security and compliance risks and decreasing reliance on paper.

Working together, GCA, Records Management and UW-IT automated one of GCA’s 20 manual processes associated with post-award grant reporting from paper-based to paperless. GCA is now planning to automate the rest of the University’s post-award processes, using a combination of technology tools and business process redesign approaches developed through the pilot project partnership.

The end result will be significantly more efficient and environmentally friendly post-award processes that will increase productivity, reduce costs and provide better support for those involved.

21st century learning spaces for UW’s oldest building; other classroom enhancements underway

Denny HallHistoric Denny Hall will undergo major renovations starting next year, bringing the latest teaching and learning technologies to its classrooms while maintaining the building’s original character.

The College of Arts and Sciences, UW Capital Projects Office, THA Architecture and UW-IT’s Classroom Technology & Events (CTE) are working in partnership to modernize Denny Hall’s learning spaces to better support teaching and learning. Design plans now include an Active Learning Classroom, an interactive, interdisciplinary space designed for student-centered, inquiry-based learning enhanced by the use of technology. Denny Hall will close for renovation after the end of spring quarter 2015.

Under a major multi-biennium project being kicked off by UW-IT, other UW Seattle general use learning spaces and classrooms will be enhanced with modern technologies similar to those being included in Denny Hall. So far, CTE has finished work on 36 classrooms and expects to complete 37 more by summer 2015, with classroom enhancements continuing through 2021. The work is part of an overall classroom improvement strategy guided by a Provost-appointed task force of representatives from the Faculty Senate, Health Sciences Administration, the Provost’s and Registrar’s offices, Undergraduate Academic Affairs and UW-IT.

Major upgrades to UW network support research, big data

High speed research networkUniversity researchers can now tap into a 100G High-Speed Research Network (HSRN), giving them a direct path to other research institutions around the world, significantly enhancing support for Big Data science and research.

“In this era of Big Data, these new network facilities should support more efficient file transfers between and among UW’s campus research facilities, storage and compute centers, and data centers as well as with other national and international R&E facilities,” said Jan Eveleth, Director of UW-IT’s Network Design & Architecture. “This is a really big deal for the University and for our researchers.”

The upgrade allows UW researchers to connect directly to other research institutions through the Pacific Northwest Gigapop and Internet2 at speeds that were not possible before. UW-IT also expects to have completed a major upgrade of the campus network backbone from 10G to 40G by November. The upgrade will support the ever-increasing day-to-day network traffic, which recently has been doubling every 18 months. The higher network speeds also will support transfers of huge, research-generated data.

MyUW Mobile: Timely, relevant, personal

screen shot from myuw mobileA new MyUW Mobile application for students will be available this fall quarter—with enhanced features that make it easy to track registration and gather information about classes, textbooks and other critical topics on any mobile device.

“We built it with a lot of input from students who said they needed help with time management and wanted dynamic content,” said Karin Roberts, a UW-IT Service Manager for MyUW.

The display of information will change as the quarter progresses, to reflect the most relevant, personalized content at that time. At the beginning of the quarter, students will see registration, class and schedule information. At quarter’s end, links to test schedules and grades will rise to the top. Future releases will bring more useful content for students.

HR/Payroll Modernization Updates
HR/Payroll Modernization design phase nears completion—Key design decisions identified

HRPSeveral key decisions have been reached during the HR/Payroll Modernization project’s design phase, due to wrap up in October. They include moving to a biweekly pay cycle, using actual time reporting for overtime-eligible employees, eliminating unused job classifications and adopting position management as a staffing model.

These and other decisions were approved through the HR/P Modernization project governance process, pending other supporting decisions, and were made as part of a highly collaborative effort involving stakeholders from across the University. They provide direction on how to configure Workday, the University’s chosen HR and payroll system.

The next phase of the HR/Payroll Modernization project—known as configure and prototype—will run through May 2015. Because this phase will configure Workday specifically to UW’s needs, it will include extensive outreach to the University community. The new system will go live December 2015. The complex task of integrating other University business systems with Workday is being conducted by the HR/P technical team. Working with stakeholders from across the University, the team has so far identified 114 systems that need to be integrated with Workday.

HR/Payroll Intersections project underway

A companion effort launched this summer, the HR/Payroll Intersections Project, seeks to identify all of the University’s systems that use HR/Payroll data through the Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), Operational Data Store (ODS) and other UW-IT managed data sources. The goal is to simplify how Workday data may be captured and accessed by these systems.

To help UW technical partners prepare for the upcoming changes, three HR/Payroll technical update forums were held in August—with more to come. View a recording of the forum presentations.

The Intersections Project—launched by UW-IT in collaboration with HR/P Modernization—will also focus on adapting the UW’s core administrative systems (such as FAS, BGT and eFECS) to interact with Workday.

Briefly noted:
  • Students can now rate and review study spaces at UW Seattle and UW Tacoma with SpaceScout, an application that helps students find the perfect study spot. Another enhancement allows students to message friends about study spaces they’ve found and sync a list of favorite spaces across Web and iOS versions.
  • The MyPlan academic planning tool won a 2014 Campus Technology Innovators award, recognizing institutions where technology innovation is making a difference in teaching, learning, administration and operations. MyPlan was one of 11 honorees selected from 215 nominations worldwide. SpaceScout won the award in 2013.
  • You can now check the status of your UW-IT service requests sent to help@uw.edu, thanks to a new service management platform launched this summer that enhances the way UW-IT manages and delivers services to customers. When you send email to help@uw.edu, the response now includes a confirmation with a link to check the status of your request in real time in IT Connect.
  • Students can now obtain Office 365 ProPlus under the Microsoft Student Advantage program, which provides Office applications for installation on up to five Windows or Mac computers as well as on iPads.
UW Information Technology, Box 354844, Seattle, WA 98105