Michigan IT Newsletter: March 2016

Michigan IT Newsletter from the Office of the CIO

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Message from the CIO

What do typewriters, telephones, scanners, and AutoCorrect have in common? The answer might surprise you: They are all examples of technologies originally designed to assist people with disabilities that evolved to become invaluable tools for a broader audience.
 
While technological accessibility is a requirement because of legal obligations, it is also an imperative because of our core values. The university is deeply committed to diversity and to creating a welcoming environment for all people, as evidenced by the president’s wide-ranging Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative.
 
It is also reflected in the guiding principles within the 2016 Strategic Plan, which states that "Services will consist of all elements required for the adoption and best use of the service, including training, support, appropriate funding, and accessibility for all."
 
It’s equally true that good accessibility dovetails with overall good design. Following web accessibility guidelines, for example, generally means that your web pages will work better with multiple browsers and mobile devices, and that more people will be able to understand and interact with your web content.
 
The university is fortunate to have accessibility support from many campus units, including the Office of Institutional Equity, the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, the Council for Disability Concerns, Information and Technology Services, Flint, Dearborn, and University Health Service. But accessibility isn’t the responsibility of just one subset of staff members. Like security, it needs to be everyone’s concern.
 
This issue of the Michigan IT Newsletter is designed as an introduction to tech accessibility for those new to it, and as an update for those who are already practitioners. We invite everyone to join the conversation.

— Laura

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


GPII: A New Model of Universal Access

by Jane Vincent, ITS Assistive Technology Manager

Implementing assistive software in a public computer lab is tricky. You don't know who needs accommodation, or for how long, or what the specific accommodations are. If you select and install one brand of assistive technology—say, a text to speech program for people with learning disabilities—then users of a different brand might complain. From a user perspective, even if a public lab has their software of choice installed, they might still need to take valuable time to re-customize each time. Not an ideal situation.

Enter the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII). GPII is a collaboration project among academic, commercial, and non-governmental organizations that implements access to assistive technologies, via the cloud, on any Internet- or intranet-connected device. It will provide a personalized, BYOD-friendly environment that permits new levels of opportunities for students, employees, and other technology users with disabilities. GPII will be a free technology delivery system, although there will be costs associated with using some of the technologies it provides.

As an example of the power GPII will represent, imagine a blind U-M freshman who acquired screen reading software for Windows while in high school. Once GPII is implemented, she will be able to go to any computer on campus—even a Mac or Linux computer—enter her confidential ID number, and bring up the software she already owns. GPII will ensure her settings are automatically in place and make adjustments so the software will run on the device she is using.

Over time, she will be able to access this same software from the checkout kiosk at Kroger, from her roommate's cell phone, at the research institute in Sweden where she's conducting her Fulbright scholarship studies, and on her first day of work at General Motors. If she purchases a new version of the software, the upgrade will occur automatically. If she needs assistance, customer support will be available at no charge 24/7 in multiple languages.

U-M is currently one of the few places in the country participating in the initial tests of GPII. If you would like a demonstration or information, please contact Jane Vincent, ITS assistive technology manager.


Accessibility: The Ongoing Response

by Jane Vincent, ITS Assistive Technology Manager

Accessibility has many things in common with other broad IT concerns, such as security and mobile compatibility. None of these are a "one and done" situation—they all require attention throughout the service lifecycle. Although ITS and the Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) perform significant accessibility testing, regression can and does occur. It is often the result of new software features, versions, add-ins, and other variables. In addition, users sometimes report issues not caught in formal testing procedures.

There are a variety of ways U-M maintains vigilance on accessibility. Michigan IT staff fix or identify accessibility issues in-house where possible. Planned acquisition of an enterprise web checking tool will empower programmers and designers throughout campus to catch and fix issues early in the development process. Where corrections need to be made by an external vendor, OIE and ITS are involved throughout the product adoption and maintenance process. This includes testing candidate products, adding accessibility requirements to RFP and contract language, and participating in multi-campus product reviews.

U-M's involvement has influenced major vendors to improve their product accessibility. Google commented that U-M is unique in its dedication to genuine usability for people with disabilities, not just legal compliance. Ongoing dialog with Google has resulted in significant improvements, such as the ability of blind users to take advantage of the simultaneous editing capabilities in Google Docs. U-M also participated in an extensive review of Canvas with peer institutions, including Washington and South Florida. The Canvas vendor will soon address many of the issues identified in that review.

Ongoing attention to accessibility is not only a legal requirement—it is a core university value. It supports U-M's commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by ensuring the university recruits and retains talented disabled students, faculty, and staff through a commitment to do everything possible to provide accessible tools and address accessibility issues.


STEM Materials for the Visually Impaired

by Brandon Werner, ITS Support Services

Access to materials in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is a challenge for people with a sight impairment. Today, most blind individuals read and write this material in a hard copy braille format. Braille materials are expensive to produce and existing textbooks are few in number. Producing braille on a typewriter works well. However, the output must be sent to a transcriber for conversion so it can be viewed by a sighted instructor—a manual process that can have long turnaround times. With advances in technology, there are now a number of methods that make it easier for blind individuals to complete their work. Currently, this population uses several main types of assistive technology:

  • Text to speech: This is likely the most common access method used today. A program runs on the computer that gathers text information from the screen and verbalizes it.
  • Refreshable braille display: This hardware device has pins that are raised and lowered electronically. Software on the computer gathers information from the screen and sends it to the braille device.
  • Recorded audio format: With the advent of digital storage, this has become a successful and popular option for blind individuals.

Problems with current digital formats

The most common methods of digital delivery do not function well with the first two technologies above.

  • Many digital textbooks available online are scanned images of print pages, which cannot be read by text to speech software.
  • Consumer braille displays allow the user to read only one line of text at a time and also have limited dot density, which makes them impractical for displaying images. Even when books are in a text format, supplemental information such as equations are still images.
  • Recently, an audiobook format called DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) has become available. DAISY allows a user to move by page, chapter, or section. But even with these advancements, rewinding and fast forwarding through an audiobook can be difficult.

LaTeX: Working towards a solution

Although the most common content-delivery formats present a challenge for those who are blind, there are some digital technologies that work very well with current assistive technologies. One of these, LaTeX, was conceived as a way for textbook authors to create nicely formatted books with equations using only plain text and a keyboard during the writing process. Because both text to speech and braille displays are centered around a stream of text, these source documents are an excellent way for blind individuals to interpret math equations. LaTeX is also a great solution for blind users who need to produce documents because they can create the equations in the source format using their assistive technology and then print a professional quality copy.

MathJax: Math in the web browser

LaTeX is not for everyone because of the relatively steep learning curve. For example, users who only need to take one or two math courses might not be best served by learning LaTeX. Instead, they could use MathJax to display LaTeX on a web page. MathJax communicates with screen readers to allow math content on web pages to be spoken. One standout feature of MathJax is that the screen readers pronounce the equations as a sighted teacher would. This means that, apart from the screen reader's navigation commands, the blind user does not have to learn any new information.

Conclusion

Today, STEM fields offer many job and research opportunities. Because of the challenges imposed on blind individuals trying to enter this field, many choose other degree paths once they reach college. With options like LaTeX, they can significantly reduce the barriers that exist for mastering STEM subjects.

Resources


The Knox Center: Aiding Students with Accessibility Needs

The James Edward Knox Center Adaptive Technology Computing Site (Knox Center) is a quiet and accessible computing site for students registered with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities and is a source of computer accommodation information for campus. The center provides specialized hardware and software on multiple Windows and Macintosh computers, all of which have 21" or larger high-resolution monitors. The Knox Center, located in room 2064 of the Shapiro Undergraduate Library, is open during library hours. ITS supports the Knox Center as part of Campus Computing Sites. Most of the assistive software available at the Knox Center is available on all Sites machines. There are also adjustable tables in several Sites locations. Visit the center's website and watch the short video below to learn more.


New Effort Aims to Standardize API Management

by Glen Sard, MSIS Communications

On January 29, approximately 40 IT professionals from across the university gathered to kick off the development stage of the U-M API Manager Project. Once completed, the project will benefit faculty, researchers, students, and developers by providing a consistent interface for finding and accessing APIs and establishing governance structures and guidelines for developing, accessing, and using APIs.

APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, are building blocks of software that enable secure access to data assets and processes. The API Manager will be a single university-wide repository for tools that provides standardized access to relevant, real-time data—and will eliminate the need to locate data, format it to be useful, and create local infrastructure for secure storage.

The project is sponsored by Ted Hanss (Medical School CIO), Laura Patterson (U-M CIO), and Dr. Andrew Rosenberg (Hospitals and Health Centers Interim CIO). The effort represents a unique degree of collaboration and cooperation among the three large IT organizations and other university units. It is also an important step towards the strategic goal of providing an environment where information is easily leveraged to strengthen U-M's leadership in collaborative research and learning, with appropriate levels of security and privacy. The project team is also working with consultants from IBM who have significant experience developing similar enterprise-wide systems.

Fall launch expected

The API Manager is expected to launch by fall 2016 and will become a core component of a university-wide "API Economy"—an architecture model for designing and implementing communication, and promoting agility and flexibility, among technology components. When complete, the new resource will serve both the Ann Arbor campus and UMHS, as well as the Flint and Dearborn campuses.

The new resource will allow developers and users to subscribe, publish, run/invoke, and audit the demand and use of APIs, both locally developed and licensed, and will incorporate robust security measures that ensure information is only available to authorized users.

The initiative is expected to improve the effectiveness of research, and learning and clinical informatics programs by liberating data in a more flexible manner. It also aims to reduce costs by providing easier access to data services and sets, and by allowing existing duplicative services to be combined. It is also expected to provide additional benefits including the ability to provide analytics around API usage, enabling the ability to provide secure access to the cloud, and empowering the IoT (Internet of Things) using enterprise data.

A collaborative effort

Dr. Rosenberg says members of the project team represent a wide variety of organizations and skills, and are divided into work-streams focused on infrastructure, development, and governance. They will spend February through April defining project parameters and installing and configuring the necessary software; May through July working on API development and establishing governance structures and guidelines; and August and September conducting testing and fine-tuning.

"We are very proud to be involved in this innovative and promising project," says Dr. Rosenberg. "President Mark Schlissel and UMHS EVPMA Marschall Runge have been encouraging us to break down silos and develop new modes of collaboration across the institution," he says. "We think this project is an excellent example of what the future at Michigan is going to look like—and the fact that this initiative is focused on providing better, more cost-effective support for research, education, and patient-care efforts across the university makes it even more exciting."

Visit the API Manager Project site for more information.

PICTURED: The U-M API Manager Project Lead Team. From left: Chris Eagle (ITS), Sol Berman (ITS), Tom Amerman (ITS), Kranthi Bandaru, Glen Sard (MSIS), Cassandra Callaghan (ITS), Teresa Kidder (MCIT), Mary Hill (MSIS), Tony Markel (MSIS), Ram Palkodaty (MCIT), Pierre Clement (MSIS), Dr. Richard Medlin, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and of Learning Health Sciences.


Michigan IT Symposium Summary & Save the Date

by Stefanie Horvath, ITS Communications and Nancy Herlocher, LSA

Nearly 170 people shared their feedback about the 2015 Michigan IT Symposium, with an overwhelmingly positive response. The keynote talk by President Schlissel and the opening remarks by CIO Laura Patterson received the most positive evaluations, and 98% of those surveyed would recommend the event to a colleague.

Top areas for improvement included making the poster session easier for attendees to navigate, offering more break-out sessions that are applicable to specific job roles, and moving the event to a location with more parking options. We also heard that the hallways were too crowded, and that you wanted more break-out spaces to convene small groups. For complete survey results, read the Michigan IT Steering Group’s 2nd Annual Michigan IT Symposium Final Report.

Save the Date: November 21-22, 2016 at the Michigan League

In response to your feedback, we’ll be holding the 2016 Michigan IT Symposium in the Michigan League, with keynote presentations taking place in the Mendelssohn Theater. Holding the event in a central location will give nearby faculty, students, staff more visibility into the contributions of the IT community—as well as provide more university and public parking options nearby. The symposium will continue to take place the same time of year as previous events, based on 85% of survey respondents being satisfied with the time frame.

Get involved

The IT Symposium is one of several activities sponsored by the university CIO and organized by the Michigan IT Steering Committee to build community and encourage collaboration among U-M's 2,700 IT professionals. Planning for next year's event has already begun. If you'd like to participate on the planning committee for the 2016 Michigan IT Symposium, email michigan-it-symposium@umich.edu.


Communities of Practice in Profile

Data Integration

Shelly Turner & Mike Sheppard, (ITS); Mary Hill & Fusen Li (MSIS)

What does your Community of Practice cover?

This group is for those interested in sharing data integration best practices and experiences. It will focus on development platforms, professional networking, and knowledge sharing.

Who might want to join your group?

IT professionals like solution architects, developers, business analysts, and data architects who are interested in exploring new solutions to their data integration challenges.

What is the best way to reach your group to get involved?

The group site is hosted in Google+ as the Data Integration Community of Practice and people can self join. There is also a self-joinable MCommunity Group called Data Integration Community of Practice MCommunity Group.

Can you tell us about a recent project that your group worked on that you are particularly proud of or one that you feel had a big impact in the Michigan community?

This group first met in January 2016, so we are still in our infancy. Initial meetings have been very valuable in allowing different schools and colleges to connect on initiatives.

What are some interesting discussions going on in your CoP that you'd like to highlight?

We had a lot of discussions around the types of tools being used by various groups on campus. Through "lightning talks" we have been able to connect various groups who are sharing similar technology. We are encouraging members to participate in the Hack with Friends Event as an opportunity to collaborate with one another and put ideas discussed in the CoP into action.

Does your CoP have working relationships or partnerships with other CoPs or campus units?

We are partnering with the Data Management Community of Practice. Many members attend both.

Does your team have tips for other Michigan IT groups to make their partnerships/relationships more successful?

This community has a well thought out structure for meetings. There is time allotted for general updates, lightning talks (quick presentations by members on something exciting or interesting), collaboration time (including requests for help solving a problem), and presentation time. The initial meeting was also focused on having participants provide ideas for future meetings.


Kudos & Campus News

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

Hackers Tackle Assistive Technology

David Chesney, a lecturer at the College of Engineering, and current computer science students are once again contributing to the development of assistive technology. On Thursday, January 28, Chesney and his team launched Hacking for the Greater Good, a six-hour hackathon that allowed students to work on projects that centered on assistive technology.

New CISO for UMHS

Jack Kufahl assumed the position of chief information security officer for the U-M Health System on February 8. He replaces Joe Kryza, who served as interim CISO for the previous 18 months. In his new role, Kufahl will help shape the future of security strategy and services for the Health System. He will serve on both the MSIS and MCIT leadership teams while directly reporting to U-M CISO Don Welch as part of the ITS Information and Infrastructure Assurance organization. Additionally, he will have shared reporting and accountability to Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, the UMHHC interim chief information officer.

Girls Just Wanna Hack Fun

This year, the organizers of MHacks, U-M's student-led hacking event, worked hard to bring in more women and other underrepresented students, as well as more beginners. "Right now there's a serious problem with gender inequality in the tech industry," said Shayna Mehta, director of logistics for MHacks and an undergraduate studying computer science in LSA. "At MHacks, we wanted to create a more inclusive community, in terms of finding others like you there. I feel like we've helped nurture that feeling. We've made a significant culture change here."

President Recommends New VP for IT

On February 18, the Board of Regents approved President Mark Schlissel's recommendation to create the new position of vice president for information technology and chief information officer for U-M. Schlissel said the ability to harness the power of information is key to the university's future success as a world-class organization.

Security vs Transparency

Don Welch, U-M's chief information security officer, was quoted in an Inside Higher Ed article about a network-monitoring program at the University of California that is stirring controversy due to lack of transparency.

Making Braille Better

Today, blind people fluent in braille can read computer screens through refreshable mechanical displays that convert the words to raised dots—but only one line at a time. Sile O'Modhrain, an associate professor in the School of Music, Theatre and Dance and the School of Information, has teamed up with engineering researchers at U-M to build a better braille display. "What we're trying to build in this project is full-page tactile screen for something like a Kindle or an iPad where you could just display refreshable text in real time," says O'Modhrain, who is blind. "Relative to what's done today and how that's done, it's a complete paradigm shift."

Trade Up Your Tech. For the Kids.

You have old tech. You want new tech. Now is the time to use your tech for good, helping Computer Showcase raise funds that make a real difference in kids' lives. Every qualifying trade-in made now through April 2 results in a donation to Dance Marathon equal to 10% of the trade-in value. That's what we call a win-win.

Mobile Apps Challenge

Have you created a great mobile app? The 2016 Mobile Apps Challenge is open to the entire U-M community, including staff members. Apps can be submitted in three categories: academics, social/campus life, and entertainment/games. The challenge is an opportunity to showcase your talent and gain recognition in the Michigan mobile developer community. Prizes will be awarded to the top three apps based on creativity, usability, and utility. First prize is a $1,500 gift card to the Computer Showcase. Submissions are due by March 15 and must include a video discussing the app.

Teaching and Learning and Unizin

Unizin's Teaching and Learning Advisory Group met in Corvallis, Oregon in February to discuss the teaching and learning goals of the consortium. It was their third meeting in nearly a year. The group is creating strategies and reaching goals to leverage strengths across institutions concerning affordability, open content, open standards, and the development of tools and analytics. “We are exploring multiple initiatives that will encourage participation from more people at each of our 11 campuses,” said Meg Bakewell, assistant director at the U-M Center for Research on Learning & Teaching. “There will be great opportunities for U-M faculty who are interested in working on these projects across institutions.” Learn more from the Unizen blog and the video below.

New Project/Program Management CoP

We are pleased to announce a new Community of Practice (CoP) for Project and Program Management. The purpose of this group is to connect people who have an interest in project and program management. Visit the PM/PgM CoP website and G+ Community page for more information, and join the MCommunity group to get reminders about upcoming meetings. Looking forward to seeing you at our first meeting on March 29!


Training & Events

Contact us to get your event listed.

Community of Practice Meetings

Visit the Communities of Practice page for more information and to subscribe to the CoP calendar.

  • Lean IT: Tuesday, March 8, 3-4:30 p.m.; Arbor Lakes Building 3, North & South Dome.
  • Contact Centers Quarterly Social Event: Thursday, March 10, 4-6 p.m.; Bar Louie, Ann Arbor. More info and RSVP.
  • GIS: Tuesday, March 15; 3-5 p.m.; location TBD. More info.
  • Agile Development: Tuesday, March 15; 3:30-4:30 p.m.; location TBD.
  • CoP Facilitators: Wednesday, March 16; 2:30-4 p.m.; 2001 LSA Building.
  • Project/Program Management: Tuesday, March 29; 2:30-4 p.m.; Palmer Commons, Great Lakes Central Room.
  • Data Integration: Wednesday, March 30; 9-11 a.m.; Arbor Lakes Building 3, South Dome.

U-M Analytics & BI Meeting on Data Visualization

Wednesday, March 2; 2 p.m.; Arbor Lakes Dome. Topic: Data Visualization Best Practices. Jason Pasinetti (MCIT) will speak about data visualization best practices to improve interpretation. Topics will include choosing the best visualization, correctly formatting it, and accurately representing data. If time permits, we will open the forum to members to discuss their best practices and techniques here at the university. More info and details on how to participate online.

Hacks with Friends

Thursday, March 3 & Friday, March 4; 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; NCRC, Building 18, main cafeteria. Hacks with Friends 2016 ia a spirited two-day hack event where you are encouraged to break out of your normal routine and have some fun doing what you do best! Form a team, build a project (a.k.a. "hack") from beginning to end and show it off in a fun, friendly competition. Who knows—you might start something that could develop into new technology that would benefit the whole university! Sponsored by U-M CIO Laura Patterson, Hacks with Friends is open to all Michigan IT professionals in all practice areas.

ITS Innovation Lunch: Bipedal Robotics Lab Tour

Wednesday, March 9; 11:30 a.m.; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building, Atrium. Professor Jessy Grizzle will provide a tour of his Bipedal Robotics Lab. Grizzle and his students have successfully created several walking/running robots, one of which is now housed in the Field Museum in Chicago. Attendance is limited to 50 people, so registration is required.

Detroit Tableau User Group

Wednesday, March 9; 5:30-7 p.m.; Pet Supplies Plus, Livonia. "Developing a Visualization CoE" presentation by Ben Pope (General Motors) followed by Tableau product news and a Q&A session. This is an opportunity for you to connect with your local Tableau community, share best practices, and learn new approaches to Tableau with other users in your area. More info.

Penny Stamps Speaker Series: Guruduth Banavar

Thursday, March 10; 5:10-6 p.m.; Michigan Theater. Dr. Guruduth Banavar is VP of cognitive computing at IBM Research, and leads a worldwide team responsible for creating the next generation of cognitive systems known as Watson. He and his team build a range of cognitive systems that learn from massive amounts of data, reason towards specific goals, and interact naturally with people to perform a variety of tasks. This event is free and open to the public. More info.

GIS Workshops

Monday, March 14 to Friday, April 1; various times and locations. LSA and the Clark Library will offer nearly two dozen workshops on a wide variety of GIS (geographic information system) topics, including introduction to GIS, story maps, collecting data in the field, working with imagery, LiDAR, crisis mapping, free and open source GIS tools, themed explorations of spatial analysis, enterprise GIS, and much more. Wondering which workshops are right for you? Explore the offerings and consider attending the kick-off session, "Intro to GIS Workshops," to learn more about what each workshop covers and the intended audience.

Penny Stamps Speaker Series: David OReilly

Thursday, March 17; 5:10-6 p.m.; Michigan Theater. David OReilly is an award winning animator, filmmaker, and game developer who works at the intersection of art and technology. His projects have incorporated Tumblr games, iPhone hologram apps, Twitter-based comic strips, and virtual reality environments. More info.

IT4U60: Organize Your Google Mail

Thursday, March 17, 9-9:45 a.m.; online. Is your Google Mail inbox out of control? Learn how to get and stay organized with shortcuts, filters, labs, and extensions. Presenter: Rick Sawoscinski (ITS). Level: Basic to intermediate. Register in My LINC.

Digital History Workshop: Archiving and Data Management

Friday, March 18, 12-4 p.m.; 1014 Tisch Hall. Sean Takats of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University will introduce tools for archiving and data management, including a new tool the Rosenzweig Center is currently developing. Takats, who did his PhD at U-M, will discuss how he got into the field of digital history and what kinds of opportunities it offers. More info.

IT4U61: Using BusinessObjects with Financial Data

Tuesday, March 22; 9-9:45 a.m.; online. Kim Strickland (Student Life Budget & Finance) shows how to modify a canned query and build your own in the Financial data set. Level: Introductory. [Rescheduled from February.] Register in My LINC.

Great Lakes Business Intelligence & Big Data Summit

Thursday, March 24; 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Somerset Inn, Troy. The 4th annual Summit expects to bring together more than 250 business and technology leaders from across the Midwest. The one-day event will consist of 15 breakout sessions, two keynote sessions, interactive demos, opportunities to meet with top solution providers, and numerous networking opportunities. More info.

Transduction and Medial Conversion: Line—Letter—Trace

Thursday, March 31, 4-5:30 p.m.; 202 S Thayer Building, Institute for the Humanities Common Room, #1022. Patrick Feaster of Indiana University, Bloomington specializes in the preservation of early time-based media. He has been actively involved in locating, identifying, and contextualizing many of the world's oldest sound recordings and has pioneered a number of digital processing strategies for bringing historical sources to life as audio, video, and 3D imagery. More info.

Enriching Scholarship 2016

Monday, May 2 to Friday, May 6; various locations. (Registration opens April 4.) Enriching Scholarship is a week of workshops, discussions, and seminars focused on the role of technology in enhancing teaching, learning, and research. The conference is organized by staff from the U-M Library, ITS, CRLT, LSA, SOE, and the Medical School. It's open to all faculty, students, and staff and is a fantastic opportunity to pick up some applied skills and see how many of IT services are used to support the core university mission. All sessions are free, but do require registration.


Safe Computing

Shared Document Email Scams Are Increasing

Have you received an email about a shared document that just didn't look right? Trust your intuition. Don't open the document.

There has been a marked increase in these emails over the last few weeks, with hundreds received at U-M daily. The emails might appear to be from someone you know. They usually tell you a document has been shared with you and include a link. If you click the link, you are asked to log in to see the document. When you enter your password on the fraudulent login screen, your password is stolen.

Always hover over links in emails with your mouse to see the actual URL in the bar at the bottom of your window. If it looks suspicious, don't click.


Project Updates

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

65% of Courses Now in Canvas

As of early February, over 2,800 winter 2016 courses were being taught using Canvas. Faculty and support staff can request Convert2Canvas assistance to migrate materials from CTools into Canvas. Providing all requested information expedites the migration process and ensures Canvas courses are available within 3-5 business days.

Speech Recognition at UMHS

Since its deployment in August 2015, the Dragon Speech Recognition Enterprise Project at UMHS has made great strides. Dragon Medical 360 is a leading front-end speech recognition solution intended to improve clinical staff's experience by decreasing the amount of time spent in daily documentation to the Electronic Health Record, or EHR. By providing easy, centralized, user-management, and enhanced dictation performance, Dragon's acceptance, implementation, and use by staff have far exceeded the expected outcomes.

Nursing to Move to MiWorkspace

The project team is working with the School of Nursing to plan their move to the service in early April. For additional details, view the MiWorkspace project website and academic unit implementation status.

WiFi Upgrades Continue

  • Recently completed upgrades: Herbert H. Dow Building, Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Building, Undergraduate Science Building, 202 South Thayer Building, College of Pharmacy.
  • Currently under construction: Lurie Biomedical Building, Literature and Science Building, CC Little Building, Modern Languages Building, Oxford House, William W. Cook Legal Research Library, Hutchins Hall.
  • Network design underway: GG Brown Building, Lorch Hall, School of Nursing, North Quad, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building (EECS), School of Education, Mary Markley Hall.
  • Site surveys scheduled/completed: Dana Building, Henry Frieze Vaughan Public Health Building (SPH I), Joan & Sanford Weill Hall, Francis Thomas Jr. Public Health (SPH II), Couzens Hall, Alice Lloyd Hall, Stanford Hall, Mosher Jordan Hall, Bob and Betty Beyster Building, Revelli Rehearsal Hall, Stearns Frederick Building, Walgreen Theatre, Health Management Research Center, and Stamps Auditorium.

We are happy to announce completion of a new website for the Campus WiFi Upgrade Project that features additional functionality including a list of buildings currently undergoing upgrades, project status, recently completed buildings, project contact information, and a communication toolkit.


Service Updates

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

Summary of Recent Canvas Outage

On Saturday, February 6, users on the UMICH network began experiencing trouble accessing Canvas. A response team was mobilized and soon discovered the issue was not related to Merit or U-M networks. The issue stemmed from a problematic routing of U-M network traffic to endpoints within the Amazon-based service, CloudFront. Together, U-M and Amazon team members quickly and efficiently tackled the problem. The issue was completely resolved by the next evening.

ARC-TS Offers HIPAA-Aligned HPC Cluster

U-M researchers who manage and analyze large volumes of data protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act now have a new secure computing tool at their disposal: the "Armis" high-performance computing cluster, which operates in tandem with the HIPAA-aligned Turbo Research Storage service.

M Cloud Adds AWS Educate

ITS M Cloud has enrolled U-M in AWS Educate, a program from Amazon Web Services that offers free credits, self-paced labs, full courses, papers, and more. AWS Educate members receive nearly three times the AWS Cloud Computing credits than independent users. Plus, it provides access to a huge assortment of learning tools on big data, entrepreneurship, gaming, genomics, info systems design, machine learning, mobile app development, security, and other cloud computing and IT topics.

Improved MCommunity LDAP Access

The MCommunity Directory LDAP Tree at ldap.umich.edu is more available to inquiries from your applications thanks to work performed by the Identity and Access Management (IAM) team on February 13. Before, queries to the MCommunity LDAP service were directed to one of the service's four IP addresses. If that server was unavailable (for example, during maintenance), the query would fail. Subsequent queries might, or might not, have reached one of the working servers.

The LDAP service now uses a single IP address that is routed to load balancers. The load balancers immediately direct MCommunity LDAP queries to an available server, and your application gets the information it needs about U-M people and groups right away. The new configuration is expected to improve service availability and provide better load sharing among the servers.

MCommunity Is in the Michigan App!

A new way of checking the MCommunity Directory has been added to the Michigan App. Download the app and search for people and groups, set your Away Message from your phone, and click or touch a phone number to call it. The new mobile-friendly way to check MCommunity is also available on the web. It is designed to work well on all your devices and in all the most popular web browsers. ITS staff are working to add all the features available in the current MCommunity interface to the new mobile-friendly interface, including the ability to edit other parts of your MCommunity profile, and create and edit MCommunity groups. The new interface will likely replace the current one later this year.

Chat Support Is a Click Away

The ITS Service Center (4HELP) now offers chat support Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.. To get started, visit chatsupport.it.umich.edu—even on a mobile device. Chat with 4HELP to get assistance with many IT-related issues, including:

  • MiWorkspace and application support
  • Password resets
  • Telephone issues
  • Remote access
  • Ticket status updates

For high-priority issues and critical incidents, please continue to call 734-764-HELP (764-4357). Chat with an ITS Service Center representative by clicking the MiWorkspace icon in your taskbar system tray (Windows) or menu bar (Mac), then select "Chat 4HELP." A short survey will pop up at the end of each chat session. Please take about 30 seconds to respond to help us evaluate the chat experience and our processes.

M+Box

M+Google

Where to Store Your Stuff

The university provides multiple options to access, share, and store information. If you're wondering which service to recommend for a specific use case, or you want to better understand what each service offers, here are a few helpful resources:


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