Michigan IT Newsletter: November 2015

Michigan IT Newsletter from the Office of the CIO

This 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 or feedback about the newsletter? Please let us know! Or use our submission form to send us content and story ideas.

In this Issue

Message from the CIO

Laura Patterson

November is one of my favorite times of year, and it's not just because of Thanksgiving or the wonderful fall foliage in Michigan. For me, this month's Michigan IT Symposium represents the culmination of what Michigan IT is all about: creating connections, sharing knowledge, and celebrating the exciting technological innovations occurring across all our campuses.

At last year's inaugural event, more than 400 members of the Michigan IT community came together to learn how members of our IT community are employing strategic, technical, and creative solutions to advance the university's mission. More than 40 IT staff members gave presentations and shared their creations, insights, and discoveries with the community. Nearly 90 posters covered a wide variety of topics, including analytics and data, cloud technology, IT training, research, and communications.

This year's event, which takes place November 23-24 at the Michigan Union, will be even more rewarding. I'm thrilled that President Schlissel will deliver the keynote. He is a strong advocate of Michigan IT and fully supports the work we do. More importantly, he understands and appreciates how the IT environment can help advance the university's academic, teaching, research, and clinical programs.

I believe a desire to learn and constantly improve our services is a hallmark of our Michigan IT community. Events like the Michigan IT Symposium, last month's inaugural Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) Symposium, and the eleventh annual SUMIT Conference remind me how lucky we are to be working in a world-class educational environment like the University of Michigan. I look forward to seeing you at the symposium later this month!

— Laura

Laura McCain Patterson
CIO and Associate Vice President, University of Michigan

Michigan IT Symposium Preview

Michigan IT Symposium

by Elizabeth Rohr and Heather Kipp, ITS Communications

Members of the Michigan IT community are encouraged to register for the 2nd annual Michigan IT Symposium, which will be held at the Michigan Union this month. Attendees will learn how their colleagues are employing strategic, technical, and creative solutions to advance the university's mission.

"We are really excited about the program this year," said Ted Hanss, medical school chief information officer and event chair. "We will have 13 presentations, six panel discussions, and dozens of posters on topics ranging from exploring data integration to Web migration best practices."

All are welcome to attend a special poster preview reception on Monday afternoon, November 23. The opening keynote address for the full-day event on Tuesday, November 24 will be delivered by U-M President Mark Schlissel. See the full schedule. There is no cost to attend either day. (Breakfast and lunch will be provided on Tuesday.) The event is sponsored by CIO Laura Patterson and hosted by the Michigan IT Steering group.

Here are a few other interesting activities that will take place:

  • During lunch on Tuesday, there will be several tables hosted by Communities of Practice (CoPs) in which attendees can join facilitated discussions about group-related topics. For example, the Customer Advocacy CoP might facilitate a discussion about helping customers navigate the U-M IT ecosystem.
  • Attendees can also have a free, professional headshot taken throughout the day on Tuesday. A new photo can enhance your online avatar, conference speaker profile, or social media sites like LinkedIn and Google+.
  • Attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food donation for Food Gatherers, a food bank program serving Washtenaw County. Bins for donated food items will be set-up throughout the Union during the event.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for U-M IT staff from all campuses to build stronger professional relationships with other members of the Michigan IT community and hear from campus leaders and innovators," Hanss said.

Ready, Set, Present!


by Rita Girardi, ITS Communications

You've got a great story to tell about a successful IT project or innovative idea, so you signed up to present at the Michigan IT Symposium. Congratulations! Now comes the hard part: How do you translate your enthusiasm and share your knowledge in the most compelling way? After all, your expertise is in IT, not communications.

Help is on the way. Symposium organizers have put together useful guidelines, tips, and resources in a document called "Giving Better Presentations and Talks at the 2015 Michigan IT Symposium." The document discusses steps you should take in advance of the symposium for creating great posters, presentations, and slides, and for giving the best talk you can. It also provides guidance on how you can minimize stress for both yourself and event staff while there.

"We want to make the symposium experience as rewarding and enjoyable as possible for everyone involved, not just for attendees but for presenters as well," says Josh Simon, a systems administrator senior with LSA and member of the symposium organizing committee. "Giving a presentation or creating a poster requires extra time and work. We're very grateful to the many Michigan IT staff who are helping to make this event successful, and we hope this information makes their preparations go more easily."

SUMIT_2015: An Outstanding Success

by Joel Iverson, ITS Communications

The 11th annual Security at University of Michigan IT (SUMIT) was held on Thursday, October 22. As the university's flagship event for National Cyber Security Awareness Month, SUMIT_2015 helped raise community awareness of timely IT security and privacy issues. This year's event featured nationally recognized speakers such as:

  • The Honorable Rick Snyder, Governor of the State of Michigan
  • Ari Schwartz, former Senior Director for Cybersecurity U.S. National Security Council Staff, White House
  • Colonel Jon Brickey, Army Cybercommand and West Point Cyber Center

Videos of all SUMIT_2015 presentations and panel discussions are available to view. Presentations from previous SUMIT conferences are also available on the Safe Computing events page.

SUMIT_2015 broke all previous registration records with 899 people registering and 466 attending the event at Rackham Auditorium. An additional 260 unique viewers watched the live stream webcast throughout the day. These individuals represented more than 160 universities, corporations, small businesses, and nonprofits from around the country.

Social media played a key role in keeping the conversation about SUMIT_2015 going. On the day of the conference, 75 people sent 341 tweets with the hashtag #sumit15. Those tweets reached nearly 400,000 individuals, and were seen nearly 2 million times. As a comparison, on an average month, @umichTECH tweets are usually seen 20-40 thousand times.

Governor Rick Snyder served as the SUMIT keynote speaker in the afternoon. Don Welch, U-M's chief information security officer and host of SUMIT_2015, sat down with the governor after his speech for an interview.

U-M Professor J. Alex Halderman (center) moderates a lively panel discussion between Ari Schwartz (left) and David Sobel (right) on privacy, IT security, and politics.

John Townsend, manager of information protection and security for DTE Energy, kicked off the afternoon session with his presentation, "The Top Ten Threats Facing the Electric Sector."

U-M CISO Don Welch (not pictured) moderated an afternoon panel discussion on advanced persistent threats with (left to right) Tom Winterhalter, Colonel Jon Brickey, Jen Miller-Osborn, and Randy Hegarty.

Blue Jeans Gets Even Better

Blue Jeans

by Ken Caldwell, ITS Communications

Since June 2014, ITS has offered Blue Jeans free-of-charge to all U-M faculty and staff members. With the ease of the UMICH sign-on, Blue Jeans delivers high-resolution telepresence videoconferencing, content sharing, and real-time video sharing. Now the service has even more to offer with two new features: HIPAA compliance and "Primetime" interactive event hosting.

HIPAA compliance

Blue Jeans conferencing is now an option for members of the university community who deal with health records protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). U-M recently signed a business associate agreement with Blue Jeans Network to enable the secure transmission and recording of conferences involving Protected Health Information (PHI). Note that some types of sensitive university data may not be shared at all using Blue Jeans. For details, see the Sensitive Data Guide for Blue Jeans Video Conferencing.

Primetime event hosting

U-M has also issued a purchase order for Blue Jeans Primetime, an add-on service designed for large-scale, interactive events. With Blue Jeans Primetime, event hosts have access to moderator controls that allow them to mute participants, pin presenters, promote attendees, and record the event, all while streaming to thousands of viewers. Presenters and attendees can join from a full range of video or audio devices, including room systems, computers, and mobile devices.

To learn more about Blue Jeans service and how to register for an account, visit Blue Jeans Videoconferencing Services at U-M.

Communities of Practice: Successes & Future Plans

Communities of Practice

by Ken Caldwell, ITS Communications

Over the 2014-2015 academic year, the Michigan IT Steering Group held a pilot program to identify approaches for developing, supporting, and facilitating Communities of Practice (CoPs) for the Michigan IT community. As part of the pilot, David Sweetman, director of LSA Information Technology, and Catherine Lilly, senior advisor to the executive vice president/CFO, led a group of CoP facilitators whose goal was to identify best practices and areas for improvement to benefit all CoPs.

What's next for Michigan IT Communities of Practice?

The initial pilot period has ended, and the facilitators' group has thoroughly examined successes and opportunities to continue to grow CoPs this year. We featured eight CoP pilot groups in the March, April, and May issues of this newsletter.

A strong connection to Michigan IT

CoPs enable like-minded professionals to share information, experiences, and ideas around a particular IT topic in support of the university's missions. Responses to a year-end survey indicate an overall positive experience for those who have participated. According to the survey, membership resulted in a greater connection to the IT community (89%), gaining valuable knowledge (86%), feeling supported (86%), and feeling personally fulfilled (79%).

As for the specific benefits of being involved with a CoP, members cited an increased understanding of IT-related needs across campus, sharing notes about relevant tools, books and conferences, and creating reusable technology.

More groups, greater purpose

Based on pilot findings, the Michigan IT CoP facilitators group has made several recommendations to ensure the ongoing success of CoPs. Among other things, they emphasized alignment with core university missions, action orientation, organizational support, increased recruitment, and ongoing facilitation.

While the pilot CoPs will continue, eleven new groups will form this year:

  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
  • Cloud IaaS (AWS, Azure, Rackspace, and more)
  • Data Integration
  • Lean in IT
  • Agile Development
  • Support Centers (help desks, service desks, etc.)
  • Classroom Technology (including lecture capture)
  • Project/Program Management
  • Web Hosting
  • Google Apps Development
  • Iterative Interest Group

For additional information about the communities of practice, visit the CIO Website. Several CoPs will have a poster at the upcoming Michigan IT Symposium to be held on November 23 and 24.

Kudos & Campus News

Got some news to share or know someone who deserves a shout-out? Let us know!


UMHHC "most connected"

U.S. News and World Report has named the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers to the magazine's Most Connected Hospitals list for 2015-16. The designation means UMHHC uses digital technology and electronic connectedness to improve satisfaction and treatment for patients. Read the story in UMHS Headlines.

Michigan IT at EduCOMM

In early October, Mandy Grabowski and Chris Gardner (ITS) presented at EduCOMM Expo 2015. Grabowski talked about Emergency Alerts: A Multi-modal Approach to Reaching the Entire Campus and Gardner gave a presentation on Navigating the Best Wayfinding Techniques on the College Campus. Their presentations were well-received and published by the American School & University website.

Privacy in a connected world

What is public? What is private? Is privacy even possible in a hyperconnected, interdependent, "Internet of things" world? Sol Bermann, campus privacy officer, addresses these issues in his recent article, Your Evolving Digital Life: Privacy in a Connected World, published in EDUCAUSE Review.


Not using your MToken? Return it!

Do you have a hardware MToken you no longer need? Return it! MTokens are expensive and can be reused. This is especially important as U-M wraps up the vendor evaluation portion of a project to expand and enhance the use of multifactor authentication on campus. You can return MTokens in person to any MToken Distribution Center or send them through campus mail to ITS Access & Accounts, 2019 Administrative Services Building (ASB), campus zip: 1432.

WiFi calling on campus

Many large cellular carriers have recently enabled WiFi calling on select devices. This could improve calling capabilities in campus locations that have inadequate or no cellular coverage. To learn more, visit ITS's new WiFi Calling webpage. The site includes an overview of the carriers providing this service, what devices are compatible, and links to carrier websites with further information.

Computer Showcase

Computer Showcase holiday sale

Got the holiday shopping blues? The Computer Showcase has you covered this season with a great lineup of events and services including an Apple One-Day sale for faculty and staff, delivery to locations across campus, "Gift of the Week" selections, and a new trade-in program for instant in-store credit. All the details will be published November 9 on the Computer Showcase website.

MIDAS symposium

Slides and video are now available from the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) kickoff symposium held on October 6 in the Rackham Auditorium. U-M speakers included Provost Martha Pollack, Interim Vice President for Research S. Jack Hu, MIDAS co-directors Brian Athey and Al Hero, and Associate Vice President for Advanced Research Computing Eric Michielssen. Daniel Goroff, vice president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, gave the keynote address.

BusinessObjects users forum

Attention BusinessObjects users! Join the new U-M BusinessObjects Users Forum Google Group. This is a public discussion group for you to ask questions, exchange information, and share clever solutions in BusinessObjects. The content of this forum is public but only UMICH group members can post, so please subscribe using your UMICH account if you wish to participate.


Streaming video services

The Library has recently added two new streaming video services. U-M's Kanopy collection has over 600 arts-related documentary and feature films. Docuseek2 provides access to over 750 documentaries covering a wide variety of subjects. Both resources are accessible to authorized U-M users via validated sign-on. Get more information.

Training & Events

Contact us to get your event listed.

U-M Canvas

Canvas Training

Now through December at various locations. All UM-Ann Arbor courses will be taught in Canvas beginning in fall 2016—nearly 2,000 courses have already moved to the new learning management system. Want to learn more about Canvas? Check out Canvas at Michigan for details about in-person workshops and online support materials.

Tableau Users Group

Tuesday, November 3, 1-3 p.m.; Rachel Upjohn Building. The autumn TUG event will spotlight news and takeaways from the October Tableau 2015 Conference in Las Vegas. A Webcast will be available for those unable to attend in person. Join us for the chance to network and talk with people who share a passion for data analytics and the Tableau tool set. For more info visit the U-M Analytics and Business Intelligence G+ Community page.

IT4U53: Merging Multiple Data Providers in BusinessObjects BI4

Monday, November 9; 9-9:45 a.m.; online. Jeanne Mackey (ITS) shows how to merge data from multiple datasets in BusinessObjects. Level: Intermediate. Register in My LINC. View the closed captioned YouTube recording of the previous 43-minute IT4U webinar on Creating Reports in BusinessObjects BI4 and the Google doc with related resource links, including presentation slides.

GIS and Mapping Workshops

November 9-20; various times and locations. LSA IT and the Clark Library will offer workshops on a variety of geographic information system (GIS) and mapping topics, such as an introduction to Web GIS and basic mapping and spatial analysis (ArcGIS Online), gathering data in the field with mobile devices (Collector for ArcGIS), how to tell a story with your data (StoryMaps), image analysis and remote sensing, R-ArcGIS integration, and enterprise GIS best practices. Workshops are open to all members of the U-M community. Pre-registration is required.

Teach Fest

Teach Feast

Friday, November 13; 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Modern Languages Building Media Lab. The Teaching Technology Collaborative (TTC) invites you to join its second annual fall conference of mini-workshops and presentations on tech tools, topics, and techniques. See the agenda and register.

ITS Innovation Lunch

Wednesday, November 18; noon; Boyer 111 and Friday, November 20 (note change from usual Thursday meeting date); noon; Arbor Lakes Building 1, room 1412. This month's topic is Google Apps scripting. Meetings are open to everyone. For more info, join the ITS Innovation Lunches MCommunity group and read the ITS Innovation Lunches blog. If you have topic suggestions, would like to give a presentation, or want to help plan the lunches, email the planning team.

IT4U54: Intro to Google Calendar

Thursday, November 19; 9-9:45 a.m.; online. Google Calendar is more powerful than you realize! Jennifer Mruk (ITS) shows you how to add a Google Hangout, set notifications, add time slots and your work hours, include an attachment to an invitation, use the mobile app, and more. Level: Introductory. Register in My LINC.

U-M Google Apps Developers

Thursday, November 19; 1-3 p.m.; 2001 LSA Building. This month we'll be talking about OAuth (in general) and some specific Google Apps Script case studies. Desserts, workshop-style discussion, and problem-solving will follow the presentation. Join the U-M Google Apps Developers G+ Community or MCommunity group to get notifications about upcoming meetings and to participate in group discussion.

Michigan IT Symposium

Michigan IT Symposium

Monday, November 23 and Tuesday, November 24; Michigan Union. The Michigan IT Symposium is an event highlighting the expertise, innovation, and personality of the U-M IT community. Registration is now open!

BusinessObjects Open House

Thursday, December 3; 9 a.m.-noon; Wolverine Tower, Room 18. This open house will feature data experts from central offices and ITS. No recordings. No web connection. No presentation. This is a hands on, in-person event so bring your questions. Stop in anytime between 9 am-noon.

IT4U55: Formulas and Variables in BusinessObjects

Tuesday, December 8, 9-9:45 a.m.; online. Leverage the power of formulas and variables in BusinessObjects reports, including numeric, character, document, and logical functions. With Jeanne Mackey (ITS). Level: Intermediate. Register in My LINC.

Safe Computing


Tips for Safe Online Shopping

The holiday season is just around the corner, and most of us will be ordering things online (even more so than usual!). See Online Shopping Tips to Protect Your Personal Information on the Safe Computing website for tips to help you protect your personal information when you shop online. The tips fall into three categories:

  • Secure your environment
  • Know who you are dealing with
  • Avoid the traps

Please check out the tips and share them with your colleagues, family, and friends.

Project Updates

Working on a project you'd like share with the Michigan IT community? Let us know!


MiWorkspace project team members are collaborating with the Mobility Transformation Center to finalize their move to the service on November 2, and coordinating with Taubman College on their faculty migration timeline. For additional details, view the MiWorkspace project website and academic unit implementation status.


On October 30, 2015, SiteMaker sites were taken offline and are no longer viewable or accessible. Sites can now only be archived or deleted, and SiteMaker will be decommissioned at the end of November. As the project enters its final phase, the team has intensified its communication activities and has increased resources to respond to all remaining user requests. View the project roadmap and read the latest project updates for more information.

UMHS Wireless

The U-M Health System WiFi network sees more than 35,000 phones, tablets, and workstations connect daily through more than 5,000 access points...and the numbers continue to grow. To respond, UMHS is putting the finishing touches on an upgrade that will make WiFi available across 10 million square feet and 67 remote clinical and business locations. Read the full story in UMHS Headlines.

WiFi Upgrade


If you've been traveling across the Ann Arbor campus, you might have seen the Campuswide WiFi team as they work on upgrades in the following 16 buildings:

  • A full building upgrade is now complete at Mason Hall.
  • Full building upgrades are underway at Art & Architecture, Angell-Tisch, Haven Hall, Duderstadt, Chemistry Building, Chrysler Center, Dow, Bagnoud Francois-Xavier Building, Tappan Hall, Victor Vaughn, and the Undergraduate Science Building.
  • Site survey and network design are scheduled or in-process at Pharmacy, CC Little, Modern Languages Building, and Oxford Residence Hall.

Visit the project site to learn about the most recent progress on WiFi upgrades across the Ann Arbor campus.

Shared Service Updates

If your unit or group provides a shared service to campus, this space is available for short news items and updates to the Michigan IT community. Send us your information.




In October, ITS refreshed the MiDesktop service with new hardware, software, and features including:

  • Graphics processor unit (GPU) support that offers unprecedented application performance by offloading compute-intensive portions of the application to the GPU
  • Increased performance in CPU and storage that will support demanding workloads
  • HTML Access makes it easy to access your Windows virtual desktop from an HTML 5-based browser. No need to install any software.

Many services and groups across campus including Sites, the College of Engineering, and the School of Natural Resources and Environment use MiDesktop for remote secure access, class work, labs, and more. For more information, go to the MiDesktop service page or email 4help@umich.edu to schedule a meeting with the MiDesktop support group.


On October 23, the newest Mac operating system, OS X El Capitan (10.11), became available in the Managed Software Center as an optional upgrade. We strongly recommend upgrading to El Capitan if your MiWorkspace Mac is running OS X Mavericks (10.9) or an older operating system. Apple typically does not provide security updates and patches for older operating systems. Get more information and instructions on how to upgrade.

PharmWeb 2.0

The Department of Pharmacy's PharmWeb 2.0 portal (that many UMHS HTML and other policy-related docs link directly to) moved to a new Microsoft SharePoint-based version on October 12. The new portal is called "PharmWeb 3.0". The target date to shut down the old PharmWeb 2.0 portal is the first week of November, 2015. Get more information.

UMHS CoreImage

Internet Explorer (IE) 11 was deployed to UMHS CoreImage devices between October 19 and October 29. There will be no change to users' Internet Favorites and no impact to how users search or use a browser. Please note: some CoreImage workstations will remain on IE 8 because they use clinical applications that are not certified to work with version 11. Learn more.

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