UW Information Technology

UW-IT Insights — May 2020

Table of Contents

When the UW moved everyone to remote learning, it took more than technology to make it happen
Massive response to unprecedented pandemic keeps UW running at full speed
New authentication method for eduroam offers more security
Two-factor authentication widens its reach at the UW
IT recommendations for the UW call for enterprise solutions to maximize efficiency and collaboration
Slight increases in TRF will help address cybersecurity risks
ITF program hires new director, makes strides despite challenging times
In brief
Security tips to keep you safe with Zoom

When the UW moved everyone to remote learning, it took more than technology to make it happen

When UW’s three campuses emptied out in early March, and about 60,000 students and thousands of faculty members switched to remote classes through spring quarter to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the teams that support the teaching and learning experience worked at breakneck speed to smooth the transition.

The sudden crisis showed how critical to sustained instruction were the sophisticated enterprise-wide teaching and learning online tools the UW has acquired and deployed over the past several years. But it also underscored the value of dedicated staff members who are deeply committed to students and a top-notch teaching and learning experience, no matter where it takes place.

“True learning is happening with our students,” said El Schofield, a senior computing specialist in the Office of the Provost’s Academic Technologies. “And it’s happening online in very challenging times. It’s an honor to get to do this work, to continue to collaborate to support our faculty and their students. It’s what motivates us and keeps us going.”

Schofield is one of dozens of staff members in various UW units supporting faculty and students as they navigate their way through online learning. Working as one, colleagues in the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), Academic Technologies and UW-IT’s Academic Experience Design & Delivery (AXDD) assembled a plan and a path — in about a week’s time — to support the UW’s shift to remote learning.

These partnerships have not only benefitted our University community, but universities around the country facing the same challenges. Learn how they made it happen.

Massive response to unprecedented pandemic keeps UW running at full speed

When UW President Ana Mari Cauce announced that the University would transition to remote work and instruction, it set in motion a massive operation to support tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff through the transition.

Read how multiple departments and units across the University partnered with UW-IT to help with the shift to remote work and learning, and how these special circumstances encouraged tight alliances and made us think about the meaning of remote learning.

  • On the frontlines of COVID-19: UW-IT and UW Medicine came together to develop innovative technology solutions to support doctors and nurses on the frontlines, in locations never before attempted — and in record time.
  • No one left behind: Long before Zoom became an enterprise solution for the UW, UW-IT experts worked with the vendor to ensure it was accessible to all — enabling people with disabilities worldwide to continue to participate online.
  • And the work must go on: From increasing the capacity of tools for remote work, such as Husky OnNet VPN, to developing new ways to support remote onboarding of new staff, UW-IT teams have come up with novel solutions to ensure University staff got what they needed to do their work.
  • Digital transformation pays off big during pandemic: A major effort to move the paper-based admissions process for thousands of transfer and post-baccalaureate applications online pays off big.
  • History’s place in an online world: A UW Bothell professor’s decision to move his world history class online this spring, after forty years in the classroom, teaches him a new lesson — you’re never too old to learn.
  • Help a phone call away: As support calls spiked, the UW’s investment in modern infrastructure meant UW call centers were ready to respond.

New authentication method for eduroam offers more security

UW-IT is making changes to improve security and offer additional enhancements for eduroam, the University’s preferred and encrypted Wi-Fi connection service. The changes mean students, faculty and staff need to reconfigure their devices.

While the changes will occur on May 30, you may re-onboard your devices at any time, either remotely or on campus, following the directions below. After May 30, you will not be able to connect to eduroam until you have re-onboarded your devices.

What is changing:

  • Improved over-the-air security for your devices
  • Improved authentication for your devices
  • Remove the need to re-onboard devices when a UW NetID password changes
  • Better roaming, faster authentication and reconnection to the network
  • Meet modern and emerging industry standard for secure access to Wi-Fi networks

What you need to do:

  • Follow the instructions in the Eduroam Onboarding Guide on IT Connect
  • You can do this from home or another remote location, or from campus

If you are re-onboarding your device in a location where eduroam is not available, you may see an error message indicating that “you’re not in range of an eduroam signal.” If you encounter any issues, are unable to connect or have questions please visit our Eduroam FAQ in IT Connect or contact help@uw.edu for assistance, with “eduroam onboarding” in the subject line.

Two-factor authentication widens its reach at the UW

The need to reduce enterprise risk while enhancing collaboration means the use of two-factor authentication (2FA) is expected to grow at the UW in the coming year.

Students, faculty and staff already rely on Duo 2FA to access protected websites such as Workday. Next up is Office 365, the email and collaborative application.

“We now have customer demand to implement a 2FA option for some of our product offerings, such as O365,” said Brad Greer, associate vice president and Chief technology officer. UW-IT is also exploring options to expand 2FA for other UW apps available through the web, he said.

UW-IT recently enabled the “remember me” option for 2FA. The option reduces how often users have to sign in with 2FA on the same web browser. It’s safe to use on trusted computers, and lasts for 30 days.

IT recommendations for the UW call for enterprise solutions to maximize efficiency and collaboration

The need for a cultural shift to encourage a more consistent approach to delivering services to the UW community underlies each of the top seven technology priorities for the University recommended by the IT Service Management Board in a February report.

The board, which wants to encourage the use of common tools and processes to create efficiencies, recommends:

  • Investing in enterprise Service Management, including UW Connect
  • Adopting Zoom as the preferred University-wide video conferencing solution
  • Promoting and support the implementation of 25Live for space scheduling and management
  • Standardizing and consolidate Admissions applications and review systems
  • Implementing Student Database improvements and application interface
  • Developing a centralized online software registry
  • Developing and publish guidance for “pre-qualified” Customer Relationship Management system

One recommendation — to adopt Zoom as the preferred campus-wide video conferencing solution — has already been accomplished. The shift was made in March in record time when the University transitioned to remote instruction in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board, chaired by Mike Middlebrooks, IT director for the School of Medicine, identified investing in enterprise Service Management (UW Connect) as its top priority, with many benefits to the UW. Currently, there are multiple service management systems that help departments or units manage communications with their customers. At the UW, all these systems are managed independently, with different software packages and costs, and little transferability.

The current situation is not optimal for students, faculty or staff seeking help, said Karalee Woody, assistant vice president of UW-IT’s Customer Service & Support.

UW Connect Service Management is currently used by 25 organizations across UW, including the Integrated Service Center, Foster School of Business, Health Sciences Shared Service Center and UW Bothell IT. While UW Connect is now established as a successful service, its cost has been a barrier to many organizations that are interested in adopting it, said Mary Mulvihill, director, UW-IT Service Management.

In the coming year, UW-IT will explore how best to pay for a common platform that would facilitate collaboration and service delivery across organizational boundaries. In the meantime, UW-IT is working on a slimmer and lower-cost version of UW Connect for departments and units that don’t require the full suite of services. Visit UW-IT to read the Board’s recommendations.

Slight increases in TRF will help address cybersecurity risks

The FY 2021 Technology Recharge Fee, which becomes effective July 1, will increase slightly for academic, administrative units and medical centers to help address cybersecurity challenges faced by the University.

The FY 2021 rates will be: $58.28 per month per capita for all academic and administrative units, a 1.3 percent increase. The current rate is $57.53; and $52.18 per month per capita for the Medical Centers, a 0.8 percent increase. The current rate is $51.75.

The new rates were recommended by the IT Service Investment Board, which is charged by the Provost with conducting an annual review of the TRF rate level and methodology. The Provost approved the Board’s recommendation for the slight increase to support an additional $250,000 in permanent funding to help address the increase in cybersecurity risk at the UW.

The Board also recommended that the existing cost allocation methodology for the TRF should remain the same until after the implementation of UW Finance Transformation. At that time, the methodology will undergo a full review and recalibration.

ITF program hires new director, makes strides despite challenging times

The UW-IT Finance (ITF) program has made significant progress since it was established to support UW-IT’s work on UW Finance Transformation.

During the first quarter of 2020, ITF continued to move forward despite COVID-19 pandemic challenges, hiring new staff and a Program Director, Gail Rogers.

Rogers will shape the program’s direction, planning and resourcing activities. She has an extensive background in programs and projects with a concentration on Enterprise Resource Planning implementations. She reports to Vice President and CIO Aaron Powell, who is a UWFT sponsor and the ITF program executive sponsor.

UWFT is a collaborative redesign of the University’s current finance policies, processes and systems for predictable, real-time and informed decisions.

In brief:

Check out new dashboards comparing cost of attendance

A new dashboard available in UW Profiles provides a comparison of UW’s cost of attendance to peer institutions around the country. You can explore the data by different peer groups and view just tuition and fees, the total cost of attendance, or check out details from peer institutions like the cost of room and board, fees, and books and supplies. If you can’t access the dashboards, visit this website for help.

Don’t forget to update Zoom

Beginning May 30, 2020, Zoom users must have version 5.0+ in order to join any meeting. Learn how to check your version and how to upgrade now. The Zoom version 5.0 includes several new security features.

UW TechConnect Conference will be online Sept. 2

The seventh annual TechConnect Conference will be held online Sept. 2 — another step to keep our IT colleagues safe and to match today’s reality: everything is online! The conference, which is aimed at sharing information with those that work with, support, or simply enjoy technology, drew more than 400 guests last year. More details about the conference will be shared in the TechConnect Conference website soon.

Malicious hackers using Emotet malware to target universities

Get some tips for how to protect yourself from their tactics in a new eight-minute video from the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer.

Increased storage space for productivity platforms

Storage space for UW Office 365 OneDrive for Business accounts has been expanded to 5TB. Learn more about UW OneDrive for Business, including information on individual file size limits. Storage space for UW Office 365 SharePoint Online sites, Microsoft Teams, and Office 365 Groups also has been expanded to 25TB

Free video captioning is still available

Free captioning for certain UW videos is still being offered by Accessible Technology Services (ATS). If you are interested in applying for this service — or know someone at the UW who may be interested — please complete the UW Captioning Service Application.

Security tips to keep you safe with Zoom

Updating Zoom software will help you improve security, and so will these tips from IT Connect.