January/February 2015

Michigan IT Newsletter from the Office of the CIO

This monthly newsletter is sent to the Michigan IT community to provide updates, answer questions, and spark conversation about campus-wide efforts to improve IT services and invest in technologies that support U-M's current and future needs. Have questions, feedback, or news to share in an upcoming newsletter? Please let us know!

In this Issue

Message from the CIO

Laura Patterson

Some of you might have noticed that with this issue the name of our publication has gone from the NextGen Newsletter to the Michigan IT Newsletter. The newsletter is now also being hosted in the Michigan IT section of the CIO website. These might seem like small changes, but it says a lot about the huge progress we've made as a campus IT community over the past several years.

The Michigan IT community is one of the pillars that supports our shared NextGen vision. We want to expand the focus of this newsletter to better reflect the work, interests, and accomplishments of the greater Michigan IT community. Please take a few minutes to fill out this four-question feedback form and tell us how we can improve our communications with you. (Note: You must be logged into your UMICH account to access the form.)

When we launched the NextGen initiative in 2011, our goal was to establish U-M as the leaders and best in providing a campus IT environment that dramatically advances the university's academic, teaching, research, and clinical programs. I’m happy to report that we are taking another step toward that goal with the creation of a new pillar within Advanced Research Computing (ARC) to strengthen the already robust research computing offerings available to U-M researchers.

ARC and ITS have partnered to create a new division within ITS called Advanced Research Computing — Technology Services (ARC-TS). ARC-TS provides access to and support for the use of advanced computing resources; guides research IT strategy; and facilitates new and more powerful approaches to research challenges in fields ranging from physics to linguistics, and from engineering to medicine. I am excited about this move and confident this new division will enable researchers to compete for funding and help maintain U-M as a leading research institution. You can learn more about this new division at the ARC-TS website.

Thank you and best wishes for great 2015!

— Laura

Download Michigan IT Symposium Materials

Materials from the first Michigan IT Symposium are available on the CIO website. You can download and review nearly 90 posters and 25 presentations, as well as photos and video from the event.

Michigan IT Symposium

Popular poster topics include

  • Data Sharing through Open ICPSR (Institute for Social Research)
  • Technology Alignment and Collaboration with Bricks (MSIS)
  • GPU Acceleration for Exploratory Analytics (MCIT)
  • Using M+Box for PHI (ITS)

More than 400 IT professionals from across U-M came together in November 2014 to celebrate the expertise, innovation, and talents of the Michigan IT community. Attendees represented 45 academic and administrative units across UMHS and the Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn campuses.

Save the Date!

The second annual Michigan IT Symposium will take place on November 24, 2015. Watch for more information.

Want to Get Involved?

If you would like contribute to making the 2015 Michigan IT Symposium a success, consider participating on next year’s planning committee. To volunteer, email the Michigan IT Steering Group at michigan-it-steering-group@umich.edu.

Faculty Group Endorses Continued Deployment of Canvas LMS

During the fall 2014 semester, U-M began piloting a new Learning Management System (LMS) called Canvas, the first major component of the Unizin digital education ecosystem. The fall pilot was intended to identify any major factors that could prevent a campus-wide adoption.

This month, the faculty advisory committee, Digital Innovation Advisory Group (DIAG), issued a report concluding there are no major barriers preventing U-M from adopting Canvas as its new LMS. An evaluation of pilot participants showed most faculty (75%) and students (58%) prefer using Canvas over CTools. DIAG identified some points of concern, including issues with high-enrollment courses and multi-section classes, but concluded these could be adequately resolved before a full-scale rollout.

U-M is currently running an expanded winter pilot. At the end of the term, DIAG will issue a second report with recommendations for transitioning from CTools to Canvas, aimed at easing this process for students, faculty, and staff. To learn more, visit Learning Management System (LMS) Pilot and see Faculty group endorses continued deployment of Canvas pilot in the University Record.

Now Available: Microsoft Office 365 Benefit Program

All U-M students, faculty, and staff are eligible to sign up for Microsoft's new Office 365 Education benefit program at no cost to individuals.

Microsoft Office 365

The program includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other popular Microsoft applications, and can be downloaded on up to five devices, including PCs, Macs, and other devices. The online version can be used on an unlimited number of devices. The program is available at U-M and other schools that have a campus agreement to provide Microsoft licensing to all staff and faculty.

Store Your Files Responsibly

OneDrive, the cloud storage space included with Office 365, is not approved to store sensitive university data. Visit the Sensitive Data Guide on the U-M Safe Computing website for more information about storage options available for sensitive university data. Also, the required user agreement is between you and Microsoft (as if you purchased a subscription).

Office 365 is intended to be used on personally-owned devices. Faculty and staff members already have Microsoft Office applications on MiWorkspace or university-owned computers, so they won't need to be downloaded again. Learn more about Office 365 Education at U-M on the Computer Showcase website.

MWireless Adds New Configuration Tool

New Year! New Gear? New Here?

Last month, ITS rolled out a new wireless network configuration tool (its.umich.edu/wifisetuptool) to help faculty, staff, and students quickly, consistently, and securely configure devices for WiFi networks across the Ann Arbor campus.

It configures devices to connect to MWireless and eduroam, then places both networks at the top of the device's preferred networks list. It also removes MGuest and the old versions of the U-M WiFi networks from the device to encourage use of more secure campus networks. Device settings for at-home WiFi networks will remain intact.

NOTE: Administrative privileges on the device are needed. Those using MiWorkspace devices will not need to use the tool, as MWireless is already pre-configured on these machines.

UMHS Gets Access to lynda.com

Based on popular demand, U-M has recently extended its campus-wide agreement with lynda.com, an online training website, to include faculty and regular staff at the U-M Health System in addition to those on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint campuses.


Unlimited Access

lynda.com offers unlimited, 24/7 access to thousands of online tutorials for business, software, technology, and creative skills for professional and personal development. The service also stays on top of evolving best practices and new software versions, many times in advance of public releases.

Under this agreement, students and temporary staff are not eligible for access. More information about the agreement terms are available online.

To get started, visit lynda.com and click Log in. Type in umich.edu as your organization's URL, and you will be directed to the U-M Weblogin page. You can then use your uniqname and UMICH password to log in. The first time you log in, you will be asked to confirm release of your name, uniqname, and U-M affiliation to lynda.com. You will also be asked to create a lynda.com profile.

More Technical Training Options

The university offers a wide variety of free and reduced-cost technical training to campus. Visit the ITS technical training page for more information and links to resources. See an overview of technical training options presented by IT4U.

Top 10 Instructional Accessibility Tips

Many faculty members at U-M want to accommodate students with disabilities so their classes are as inclusive and diverse as possible. However, the best practices for providing accommodations are not always obvious. The University of Michigan Faculty Materials Group has assembled a helpful list of tips and resources to provide a starting point. While not exhaustive, it gives faculty and the staff that support them insight on proven ways to provide significant impact with minimum effort. The page also includes contact information for U-M offices that support accessibility as well as a list of additional resources. The Faculty Materials Group includes representatives from multiple organizations within U-M who are concerned with accessibility.


Sue Schade

Sue Schade named CIO of the Year by top healthcare IT groups

Sue Schade, chief information officer for U-M Hospitals and Health Centers, was selected as the recipient of the 2014 John E. Gall, Jr. CIO of the Year Award.

The award, sponsored by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), recognizes healthcare IT executives who have made significant contributions to their organization and demonstrated innovative leadership through effective use of technology. She will receive the award April 14, 2015 at the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago.

ITS Qualtrics project selected as award finalist

The IMS Global Learning Consortium has selected the Qualtrics LTI Integration Project, led by Victoria Green and John Johnston, as a Learning Impact Awards finalist for its app Integration to Support Rich Academic Assessment. David Haines and Gonzalo Silverio were the developers on the team.

The Learning Impact Awards program is facilitated by the IMS for the purpose of recognizing outstanding applications of technology that address the most significant challenges facing the global education and learning industries. ITS team representatives will present to award evaluators at the Learning Impact Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia on May 4.

Communities of Practice Encourage Knowledge Sharing

Communities of Practice

Pilot groups bring together peer IT experts across the university

Michigan IT professionals across campus have formed collaborative groups, called Communities of Practice (CoPs), where peers can share information, experiences, and ideas around the topics that are most relevant to their work.

"CoPs are fundamentally about peer information sharing," said David Sweetman, director of LSA Information Technology. "IT professionals from diverse areas of campus are learning from each other's common areas of expertise and building on our strengths."

Sweetman is working with Catherine Lilly, senior advisor to the executive vice president/CFO, to lead a facilitators group whose goal is to identify best practices and areas for improvement to benefit all CoPs. "Each CoP seeks to be an informal, unique, but clearly beneficial experience for its members, from novice to expert," said Lilly.

Nine CoPs are being piloted to support the needs of the Michigan IT community. While there are dozens of other IT interest groups on campus, this pilot has a deep focus on a handful of groups. The pilot will end this summer when the facilitators group releases its findings and applies the lessons more broadly. "We hope to use the lessons of this pilot to sustain healthy, vibrant, and relevant communities over time," said Sweetman.

For more information, please visit the Office of the CIO webpage dedicated to Communities of Practice. Stay tuned for profiles of individual CoPs in future issues of this newsletter.

WiFi Upgrades Continue Across Campus

WiFi: Where You Are

Over the past few months, the Campus WiFi Upgrade Project has completed work in the ticketing lobbies of Hill Auditorium and the Power Center, as well as an upgrade from Meru wireless access points (APs) to new Cisco APs at the Ruthven Museum as part of the public-facing phase of the project.

Upgrades are also underway in the Michigan League and Rackham, and wireless design work is in progress for the following locations: Central Campus Recreation Building, North Campus Recreation Building, Bentley Library, Campus Safety Services Building, and Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

For a complete list of completed, in progress, and scheduled buildings, see the WiFi Upgrade Project Installation Update website.

Collaborate @ UMICH Updates & Events

Collaborate @ UMICH

Forum News

U-M's Collaboration Forum is a public discussion group where you may ask questions, exchange information, and showcase interesting uses of collaboration tools including M+Google, M+Box, and CTools.

The next forum meeting takes place 1-3 p.m., Wednesday, March 26. View previous meetings.

The Collaboration Services Advisory Group meets monthly to provide guidance to ITS on the operational management of U-M's Google and Box services.

Update Summary

IT Governance

IT Governance was formed to represent the many needs of the U. read what they're discussing and follow-up with your representative if you have questions, comments, or new ideas.

Learn more about the various committees on the CIO website

NextGen Michigan Profile

NextGen Michigan is a strategy for changing the university's IT service approach and investing in the Next Generation of technology. The success of NextGen relies on the efforts of the many people from across campus who make up Michigan IT. This feature profiles Michigan IT staff who are making NextGen a reality. If you are interested in being profiled or want to suggest someone to be profiled, please email umit-cio-newsletter@umich.edu.

Erin Dietrich

Erin is IT Program Manager for LSA Information Technology

Erin Dietrich

What is your role in the NextGen Michigan effort?

Michigan IT is piloting support for several Communities of Practice (CoPs) in which like-minded professionals will share information, experiences, and ideas around a particular IT topic. I am co-leading the Customer Advocacy Community of Practice. The purpose of forming this IT Community is quite simple. The U-M IT landscape is challenging, complex, and evolving. Customers (faculty, staff, students) need and want guidance to solve their problems so they don't have to understand and keep on top of all of the changes (e.g., organizational structures, new services, deprecated services). We wanted to join together those at U-M who help customers navigate the U-M IT ecosystem, guide customers to services that exist, and advocate for them when services don't yet exist. Please join the ITCommunity-Advocacy MCommunity Group if you are interested in participating and receiving information/updates.

What do you think are the opportunities or wins for campus coming out of NextGen?

I think the most important opportunity is that IT groups in the schools and colleges will be able to place much more focus on the unique needs of the researchers and units. In LSA, we spent time rethinking and revisioning our organization. In the past, we had teams organized around types of technology and they often worked in silos. There was a lot of overlap and redundancy between the teams, as the different types of technologies—desktops, servers, etc.—often rely on common services. This also meant each group was stretched across a broad swath of services. The result was there wasn't enough time to address the specific, unique research and teaching needs of the departments and faculty. Now our focus has shifted, we are organized around the services that will support the mission of the college and advance research and learning. Our sharing and leveraging of services across campus—not just within LSA—has increased. One example of this is Flux, which is the high performance computing cluster available at U-M. Instead of multiple computing clusters across campus, we are now collaborating on one resource for all of campus. This shift in strategy allowed us to spend less time maintaining and setting up computing clusters and more time on specific IT needs of the researchers.

What do you think are the challenges for the NextGen effort on campus?

As with all innovation and evolution, there are lots of challenges. One of the challenges has been the pace of change. I would say the changes to support NextGen efforts have been quite slow, especially from the perspective of those of us in the schools and colleges. I think another challenge is those of us who are close to the work aren't always able to get our opinions and thoughts heard by those making decisions. The result is that it can feel like the changes are happening TO us as opposed to our being part of the process and shaping it based on our expertise and experiences.

What role do you see Michigan IT staff playing in achieving the NextGen vision?

I think the most important role we can all play is to take advantage of every opportunity to participate and voice our opinions. Those of us who work directly with faculty and staff on a daily basis have a valuable perspective. It is important for us to stay engaged and positive.

What is your educational background?

I received my BA from Kalamazoo College where I majored in psychology and political science. In 2011, I received my MSI degree from U-M's School of Information where I specialized in human computer interaction.

What is the most recent book/movie you read/saw?

Captain Phillips is the most recent movie I saw. I liked it quite a bit. It was action-packed and kept me on the edge of my seat until the end. I also think Tom Hanks is just a really great actor so I like pretty much every movie he stars in. I also just finished reading the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. It was a very interesting book series about witches and vampires. It definitely kept my attention over the holiday break!

If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why? What would you order?

I would have dinner with Jim Harbaugh. I want the inside scoop on what to expect from our football team in the fall! I would order the most expensive thing on the menu since he just got a multi-million dollar contract. :-) Actually, I would order some wine and whatever sounded the best that night.

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