Michigan IT Newsletter: May 2016

Michigan IT Newsletter from the Office of the CIO

Message from the Interim CIO

Dear colleagues,

This past April marked a few firsts in my career: I celebrated my first anniversary as U-M’s chief financial officer, I experienced my first trip to the East Coast on behalf of the university, and I stepped in as the interim CIO and AVP for Information and Technology Services.

As you are aware, Laura Patterson announced her retirement last month after serving as a key leader within the university for the past 23 years. I’m sure I’m not alone in my appreciation of her ability to build bridges across our complex and decentralized environment. In particular, the IT strategy she developed together with faculty, administrative, and IT leaders not only sets us in the right direction today but will be a roadmap and plan for future IT leadership.

If you haven’t read the plan or visited the IT Strategy website, I encourage you to set aside some time and check it out. In fact, one of the tactics within the IT Strategic Plan—to implement the Canvas learning management system—is the featured topic of this month’s newsletter. This is but one of the many impressive IT efforts in the works across U-M, and I look forward to learning more about the many facets of the Michigan IT community.

I am also pleased to share the news that President Mark Schlissel has appointed a search advisory committee and launched the search for the new position of vice president of information technology and chief information officer for the University of Michigan. There is more information about the search, including the position description and how to recommend candidates for this important role, on the Office of the President website

I want to assure all Michigan IT staff that I am committed to making this interim period as smooth as possible so we can all continue to move forward in supporting the important work of our university. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please do let me know so that I might have the opportunity to address them.

Best regards and Go Blue!


Kevin P. Hegarty
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
University of Michigan

Canvas Large Course Institute

by Heather Kipp, ITS Communications

Teaching a large course presents unique opportunities and often requires some key decisions about how to build the course in Canvas. Large course instructors typically coordinate multiple sections, instructors, and teaching assistants. They tend to use streamlined workflows, and many rely on automated testing, peer-assessment, and group tasks.

In May, the Canvas Large Course Institute will provide personalized support to instructors who teach large courses. Institute participants will explore options and make decisions about how to best structure their site in Canvas. The institute will also highlight successful techniques from other faculty who teach large courses. About 60 course teams, or 90 instructors and teaching assistants, signed up to attend.

“Many instructors are moving their large courses to Canvas this summer. The Large Course Institute is an opportunity for them to do that in a supportive way while learning from other faculty in the same situation and using the various resources we have available,” said Meg Bakewell, assistant director for the Center for Research on Learning & Teaching (CRLT).

Participants will come together three times. The meetings provide participants an opportunity to consult with experienced instructors, Canvas experts, and peers. Between meetings, participants engage with additional resources to explore specific Canvas tools of interest and make significant progress toward building their fall course sites with support from the institute team.

The Canvas Large Course Institute is coordinated and facilitated by CRLT, ITS, LSA Instructional Support Services, the Language Resource Center, CAEN, and U-M Library.

“It’s been a great collaboration. We’re bringing the best from all of our organizations,” said Bakewell. “We hope to ease the transition to Canvas and make it a great experience for faculty and their teaching teams.”

Wide array of Canvas learning options

by Heather Kipp, ITS Communications

A universal “one-size-fits-all” training approach is rarely effective when it comes to mastering new technology. People’s learning styles and areas of interest can vary drastically.

For this reason, U-M offers a wide range of Canvas training opportunities, including e-learning, step-by-step guides, videos, and face-to-face support. Faculty can choose the path that best meets their needs, or benefit from a combination of multiple tracks.

Self-guided learning

Those who prefer to learn at their own pace can use a self-guided Canvas Quick Start Tutorial, which can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.

Learn in a group setting

Workshops provide demonstrations of a wide variety of Canvas tools and step-by-step instructions for incorporating functionality into existing lessons and curriculum. Workshops are held weekly on both Central and North Campuses. See a full schedule of Canvas workshops.

One-on-one consultation

Beginning May 9, Canvas Crew consultants can help faculty set up their Canvas courses. Drop-in sessions are available throughout the summer on both Central and North Campuses, as well as by appointment. Contact canvascrew@umich.edu for more information.

Canvas Crew offers 1:1 support to faculty this summer

by Heather Kipp, ITS Communications

Preparing to use Canvas in the classroom this fall just got a little easier for faculty.

Beginning May 9 and running through mid-September, the U-M Canvas Crew will provide in-person, hands-on support to faculty who need to learn how to use Canvas. The Canvas Crew consists of students and staff from ITS, LSA, College of Engineering, and University Libraries.

“There are lots of ways to learn about Canvas. Some faculty rely on peers while others use online tutorials or attend our workshops. This is a great option for those who want to make the transition with face-to-face and one-on-one assistance,” said Victoria Green, Canvas Crew manager and business systems analyst with Information and Technology Services.

The Canvas Crew will hold drop-in hours at both Hatcher Library and the Duderstadt Center, and is available by appointment. They will also continue the current ITS service that converts CTools course materials for Canvas.

“I was motivated to apply for the position because I want to learn how U-M and its faculty leverage course management systems to create impactful learning experiences,” said Steven Cederquist, School of Education graduate student and member of the Canvas Crew. “I hope to meet a lot of new people and learn how technology is shaping the future of postsecondary education.”

“We want to help faculty who are pressed for time. While we can’t eliminate all the effort it takes to move to Canvas, we can decrease the administrative burden,” said Green. “The Canvas Crew will get you up and running in as little time as possible with the maximum flexibility. We can answer specific questions or walk you through your first introduction to Canvas.”

U-M IT Strategy: Technology empowers the leaders and best

by Stefanie Horvath, ITS and Office of the CIO Communications

The U-M IT Strategic Plan is published and fully supported by the IT Executive Committee. The updated strategy represents how information technology supports the vision of our faculty leaders across the entire university, including the U-M Health System.

“The strategic goals and initiatives in this plan keep us on the path towards the best possible campus experience, and position us to provide leadership to educators and learners everywhere,” said Barry Fishman, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Learning Technologies, School of Information, and School of Education.

The Strategy & Planning team, within the Office of the CIO, is identifying metrics to assess and communicate progress on the initiatives and strategic goals. The team will continue to share and discuss the IT strategy with faculty, researchers, and staff to seek further input on initiatives and needs that directly support the goals.

“Even though we are in the midst of IT leadership changes, there is much we can accomplish towards the core ideas and vision to support the university’s research agenda, reduce barriers to interdisciplinary collaboration, and make it easier for faculty and staff to focus on their mission work, while continuing to strengthen our security posture and balance privacy and compliance requirements,” said Cathy Curley, executive director for strategy and planning, Office of the CIO.

If you have questions or comments, or are interested in having a representative from the Office of the CIO facilitate a discussion about the strategy with your team, contact the IT Strategic Planning Team at IT.Strategic.Planning@umich.edu.

Summer is go-time for ITS Communications Systems

by Patty Giorgio, ITS Communications

Summer is a time to relax, put your feet up, and enjoy the sunshine, right? Not for many members of the Michigan IT community. Summer is one of the busiest times of year for ITS Communications Systems and Data Centers (CSDC) staff, and this summer is shaping up to be busier than most.

Over the next few months, teams will work on projects ranging from WiFi upgrades in academic buildings and residence halls, a new building construction project at Blau Hall (the newest building for the Ross School of Business), and major renovations at Kresge Library, Intramural Sports Building, and Weiser Hall.

Campuswide WiFi upgrade project

The team recently finished WiFi upgrades at the School of Nursing, 400 N. Ingalls Building, LSA Building, Modern Languages Building, and Oxford House.

The Campus WiFi Upgrade team will be working on upgrades in Thomas Francis School of Public Health (SPH II), Henry Vaughn (SPH I), Lorch Hall, School of Education Building, Revelli Hall, Earl V. Moore Building, Stearns Frederick Building, Weill Hall, the low rise portion of Weiser Hall (Dennison), Alumni Memorial Hall (U-M Museum of Art), and academic spaces at North Quad. Residence Hall space at North Quad is scheduled to be completed next summer.

The team will also be hard at work deploying pervasive WiFi in Stockwell Hall, Alice Lloyd Hall, Mosher-Jordan Hall, Couzens Hall, Mary Markley, and South Quad. If you think residence halls are empty during the summer, think again. This work will be performed amid several conferences, camps, and other programs occupying these buildings over the summer months. Visit the WiFi project website for additional information.

Health System network upgrade

At the medical campus, CSDC will work with MSIS/MCIT on a five-year network upgrade plan that includes network hardware, WiFi coverage, and infrastructure cabling in seven of its buildings. ITS and MSIS will upgrade infrastructure cabling, backbone fiber, and WiFi access point locations, as well as remediate any locations where mini-hubs are installed.

MCity fiber project

Over at MCity, staff will install fiber in multiple locations to support MWireless, roadside equipment, and traffic control systems.

Network & A/V infrastructure upgrades

Network jacks and audio/visual improvements will be completed in over 50 classrooms at LSA and College of Engineering buildings, along with upgrades to network switches at Electrical and Computer Science Building, Randall Labs, and Undergraduate Science Building.

Stadium infrastructure upgrades

Finally, it wouldn’t be summer on the Ann Arbor campus without a project at the Big House. Athletic plans to install additional point-of-sale systems and upgrade existing ones at the football stadium. CSDC staff will install the the networking infrastructure and electronics for this system just in time for Wolverine football fans in the fall.

Staff Spotlight: Rachel Wologo

LSA Instructional Support Services

What group or team ​do you represent?
I represent the Learning Technologies and Consulting Group (LTC), a unit within LSA Instructional Support Services (LSA-ISS). 

What services does your group provide?
The LTC provides consultation and development support for LSA faculty on a broad range of technology and pedagogical issues. We help faculty transition to Canvas, discuss grant opportunities, explore flipped classroom models, assist with audio and video for student projects, and provide support for implementing new software in a curriculum. LTC also produces high-quality video intended for course use, such as recording live events or guest lectures, creating videos to be used in a flipped or blended classroom, and creating instructional videos to supplement existing classes. 

What is one thing you get to do regularly that makes your job rewarding?
Working with faculty to better teaching and learning is what makes my work so rewarding. Being a former classroom teacher, it is in my bones to always be looking for ways to improve student learning and engagement. By working with faculty on instructional design, I am indirectly helping students as well. The faculty at U-M are such a joy to work with, which makes coming to work everyday a pleasure. 

​Tell us about a recent project you worked on that you are particularly proud of.
Like many instructional units on campus, our largest project is currently Canvas. We are developing a plan and putting structures in place to support LSA faculty as they make their transition from CTools to Canvas. LSA consists of 60 departments with courses ranging from a few dozen students to nearly 2,000 students, so we need to offer a wide range of support options and resources. To make this transition as smooth as possible, we offer one-on-one consultations, funding for graduate student assistance, basic and advanced workshops, and scheduled drop-in hours at various locations around campus so faculty can get the Canvas support they need. We also created a collection of web and print Canvas documentation, as well as Canvas tutorial videos for faculty use. These resources are available for everyone on the LTC website.

Any tips for other schools/colleges that want to ensure a successful move to Canvas?
Reach out to faculty early and in various ways. Let them know they don’t have to take on the task of transitioning to Canvas alone. Provide them with reassurance that we are in this together and will be there to offer assistance when needed most.  

Who else is a part of your team?
Monika Dressler, director of LSA-ISS; Ralph Franklin, manager of LTC; Carla Stellrecht, Elizabeth Formin, and Teri Horton, senior instructional learning consultants; Anthony King, along with myself, instructional learning consultants; and Shawn Jackson, video coordinator. We also have student staff that assist with video production. LTC is just one unit within LSA-ISS that supports faculty in the design of classrooms, day-to-day operations, and teaching methods.

What are some of interesting things people in your area do?
We also work with faculty on innovative technology projects. An example is the course AmCult241/Bio24, "Health, Biology, and Society: What is Cancer?," taught by Professors Alexandra Stern and Laura Olson. They successfully piloted GradeCraft in a flipped classroom scenario during the winter 2016 term. The project was lead by Monika Dressler and involved all the units in LSA-ISS to help ensure its success. We think this type of course, involving new tools like GradeCraft, will only increase in the coming months. 

What other campus units do you regularly partner with?
LSA-ISS collaborates with many units, including ITS, Language Resource Center, LSA-IT, CRLT, U-M Library, Teaching and Technology Collaborative, and others throughout U-M.

What is the best way to reach your group?
You can contact the LTC at lsa-iss-LTC@umich.edu or 734-615-0099. For requests concerning other units within LSA-ISS, call 734-615-0100 or visit the LSA-ISS website.

Kudos & Campus News

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

Mobile Apps Challenge winners

The Mobile Apps Challenge celebrates the innovative mobile development by U-M students, faculty, and staff. Thirty-nine participants submitted 16 videos this year featuring a working app or prototype. A panel of judges from around campus selected the top three apps based on creativity, usability, and utility. Matt Jacobs and Olivia Walch, both students at the Rackham Graduate School, took home the first prize with SketchAnything. The app, available now in the Apple App Store, automatically generates a step-by-step drawing guide for any image. The guides are generated by complex mathematical formulas and presented in a simple, easy-to-use interface. Visit the Mobile Apps Challenge website for the full list of 2016 winners and a video mashup of all entries. Start building your apps now for the 2017 challenge!

Waste not, want not

What if your phone could remind you there is one week left to eat the yogurt in your fridge before you should throw it out? Or tell you which ingredients are close to their expiration dates so you can use them for dinner tonight? These are a couple of the functions a group of U-M students plans to make to FreshFridge, an app they hope will make a dent in the $165 billion of food that goes to waste in the United States every year. The app won first place in the third annual Innovation in Action competition established by the School of Public Health to give all U-M students the opportunity to create innovative, scalable solutions to real-world health problems. FreshFridge team pictured: Trevor Dolan (LSA), Hannah Gordon (SPH), Jana Stewart (SPH, SNRE) and Christina Hecht (SPH, SI).

Analytics at decision-making speeds

The March edition of Heathcare IT News profiled the UMHS Fast Analytics (FA) team led by Jonathan Greenberg and including Dave Berrie and Tom Cook. The FA team recently joined MSIS/MCIT, where they will play a key role in their effort to build a robust data analytics infrastructure. UMHS also hopes to leverage the group’s expertise to help the rest of the institution implement more agile and self-service capabilities for data analytics. The team was formerly part of the UMHS Revenue Cycle organization, where they created process improvements, developed revenue opportunities, and enabled cost savings. They also assisted with dashboard implementations and prepared the Tableau platform for use at UMHS.

Corkboard no more

Remember when students would turn to a corkboard in a dorm or study area for information about what was happening around campus? Nowadays, digital signs are steadily becoming the corkboards of the future. Instead of having to design content, print it, and physically deliver it to each strategically placed location around campus, we can now automate the process in "real time" with digital signage technology. Additionally, more software applications are being developed to accommodate touchscreens, and websites are being designed for content consumption. Learn seven tips for better digital signage content from Amanda Grabowski’s (ITS) recent article in Campus Technology.

A look back at Michigan IT

Who was the founding director of the university’s first computing center, established in 1959? Even the most knowledgeable fans of U-M history would likely be stumped by this question. But not for long. A cross-campus team of IT professionals recently received a U-M bicentennial grant to develop an interactive timeline that will highlight the rich history of U-M’s technological heritage, success, and occasional failure. Supported by the Michigan IT Steering Group and burgeoning grassroots interest on campus, the timeline will show how U-M has been on the forefront of technology that shapes higher education and long-term change. If you are interested in participating or have an idea to contribute, contact the IT Bicentennial team. (The correct answer, BTW, is Professor Robert C.F. Bartels, pictured.)

Power app

GridWatch, a system for monitoring the state of the power grid using smartphones, has been selected as a finalist in the Vodafone Americas Foundation's Wireless Innovation Project competition. GridWatch is a collaboration between researchers at U-M and UC Berkeley. The Michigan researchers include Professor Prabal Dutta and engineering graduate students Noah Klugman, Pat Pannuto, and William Huang.

U-M, IBM supercomputing data collaboration

U-M is collaborating with IBM to develop and deliver "data-centric" supercomputing systems designed to increase the pace of scientific discovery in fields as diverse as aircraft and rocket engine design, cardiovascular disease treatment, materials physics, climate modeling, and cosmology. The system is designed to enable high-performance computing applications for physics to interact, in real time, with big data in order to improve scientists' ability to make quantitative predictions.

Sirius research

Thanks to Jason Mars, “Siri” could get a whole lot more effective in years to come. An assistant professor of computer science at the College of Engineering, Mars and his team of researchers built their own intelligent assistant, named Sirius, which features voice-command and image-matching capabilities. They released Sirius to the rest of the world last year so other researchers could examine how to improve intelligent assistants, too. “These kinds of infrastructures were locked up at companies like Apple and Microsoft and Google, and the world didn’t have an end-to-end application that provided the similar kinds of technology,” Mars said. In January, he received a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation to continue his research. Mars hopes the grant will enable his team of researchers, which includes undergraduates, graduates, and Ph.D. candidates, to make intelligent assistants more efficient.

Dangerous drive

Researchers from Google, U-M, and the University of Illinois have discovered a highly effective security hack to gain access to others' computing systems—leaving USB flash drives with malicious payloads laying on the ground. In their study, they found there is a nearly 50% chance that someone will pick up a given drive, plug it into their computer, and start clicking. If that drive has malicious software on it, it's all too easy for a hacker to access your computer. And yet humans will, without fail, disregard the risk and plug in unknown drives.

Ransomware puts patients at risk

Police departments, government offices, corporations, and countless individuals have been victims of malicious software that encrypts data and demands payment for its return. But a spate of recent incidents at hospitals has some experts worried that patient care could suffer from ransomware infections. “The big difference with health care is that the consequences are greater,” says Kevin Fu, an associate professor at U-M who studies computer security issues in hospitals. “You can lose your email and that’s annoying, but patient records are needed in order to treat patients.”

Digital technology supports healing

You’ve probably heard the warnings: “Limit screen time for your children,” or “Focus on real experiences, not virtual ones.” But what about children who spend long periods of time in hospital rooms, cut off from friends and peers? Can these technologies help improve hospital life for these kids? That’s where J.J. Bouchard, a certified child life specialist with C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, comes in. “I have always had an interest in gaming and digital media, and seeing the opportunities to connect with kids using tools they are excited about really opened up my eyes to a whole new way of serving our patients,” says Bouchard. In 2015, he became the Child Life team’s first digital media manager. “I get to bring new and exciting technology to the kids. It’s my dream job,” he says. Read the full article and watch the clip from NBC Nightly News about Bouchard's work with young patients.

Join the Michigan IT LinkedIn group

Michigan IT is on LinkedIn! Open to current members of the Michigan IT community, the Michigan IT LinkedIn group is a forum to connect, share knowledge, and find colleagues with similar interests. Welcome to the community!

ITS says goodbye to Facebook

Due to low engagement and the changing social media landscape, the ITS Facebook page was unpublished on May 1. ITS Communications will update ITS websites and printed orientation materials to remove references to Facebook and will instead focus on its Twitter account, @umichTECH. Follow and retweet @umichTECH for project updates, services changes, live event coverage, mobile developer information, privacy and security tips, Computer Showcase offers, technology on campus, and more. Use #MichiganIT to join the conversation.

Video for first “Dissonance” speaker event

Dissonance, a new U-M speaker series focusing on the confluence of technology, law, privacy, and security, launched on April 12 with a conversation between Nate Cardozo, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Entitled “Apple & the FBI—Encryption, Security, and Civil Liberties,” and moderated by U-M Professor J. Alex Halderman, the debate drew a crowd of more than 150 U-M students, faculty, and staff, as well as people from the Ann Arbor area. Over 200 viewers also streamed the event. The video of this discussion is now available. In the spirit of SUMIT, help fuel plans for future conversations and submit suggestions for speakers or topics you would like to see addressed. Stay informed of future events by joining the Dissonance mailing list.

Tech in teaching innovation

Several of the five winning faculty projects recognized by the eighth annual Provost's Teaching Innovation Prize integrated technology into their fresh approaches to advance student learning. The U-M community can meet the innovators at a 9–10 a.m. poster fair (including a light breakfast) on May 2 in the Michigan League Ballroom as part of the opening day of Enriching Scholarship 2016. The award is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, and the U-M Library. "This year's Teaching Innovation Prize highlights the broad range of educational innovations at U-M, from easily adoptable course interventions, to collaborative models for curriculum reform, to creative uses of technology to solve real-world problems," says James Hilton, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, professor of information, dean of libraries, and vice provost.

Girls empowered

Over 100 high school girls and their parents attended the second annual Girls Encoded, an all-day event designed to educate and encourage girls to study computer science. U-M computer science and engineering Professor Rada Mihalcea, research fellow Veronica Perez-Rosas, and student Lauren Molley co-directed the event, which took place Saturday, April 9. The day consisted of hands-on activities, a panel discussion, and lab tours to show students the different aspects of computer science. Students used MaKey MaKey, an invention kit, to make pianos using fruits and vegetables. They also learned the basics of chatbot and web development, and created an electric circuit. The panel discussion consisted of four undergraduate students in CoE and LSA.

Big brother is watching…

We now have dozens of smart devices in our houses and even on our bodies. They improve our lives in so many ways—from lowering energy consumption in our homes to reminding us to take medications. But these gadgets could be providing a window that any hacker could see right through to spy on you. H. V. Jagadish, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, outlines the history and reviews the current debate around the use of technology to covertly monitor the conversations and activities of others.

Training & Events

Contact us to get your event listed.

Collab training

The ITS Collaboration Services team offers free training on M+Google and M+Box to departments and units. The team can customize the training to meet the unique needs of your group—from beginners to advanced users and anything in between. Request customized training for M+Google and M+Box.

Tech Scoop workshops

Computer Showcase hosts a regular series of workshops designed to help you discover new tech and make the most of the tech you already have. Join us for demos and tutorials on hardware, software, apps, and products that might just change your world. Sessions are held Fridays, 11 a.m.–noon on the ground floor of the Michigan Union, and are open to all. We encourage advance registration, but drop-ins are welcome. Bring your own device if you want, but that's not required. We can provide 1:1 tech consults or helpful, how-to resources so you can DIY with confidence. Coming up: May 13, Organize Your Mac; May 20, iMovie; May 27, Keynote.

Community of Practice meetings

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

  • Assessment & Evaluation: Monday, May 9, 12–1:30 p.m.; School of Education, Prechter Lab, room 2202. Dr. Larry Gruppen will share insights on validating instruments to assess student learning. Attendees are encouraged to bring examples of validation needs. The community will also discuss future meeting topics and recent achievements and upcoming events related to assessment and evaluation at U-M.
  • Agile Development: Tuesday, May 17; 3:30–4:30 p.m.; location TBD.
  • CoP Facilitators: Wednesday, May 18; 2:30–4 p.m.; LSA Building, room 2001.
  • Digital Education & Online Learning: Wednesday, May 18, 3–4:30 p.m.; North Quad 2435.
  • Assessment & Evaluation Special Session: Thursday, May 19, noon–1:30 p.m.; School of Education, Tribute Room. room 1322. Validating instruments for student learning in the health science domains with Dr. Brent Stansfield.
  • Cloud: Thursday, May 19; 3:30–4:30 p.m.; location TBD.
  • Contact Center Social Event: Thursday, May 19, 4–6 p.m., Ashley’s.
  • Data Integration: Monday, May 23, 9–11 a.m.; Arbor Lakes Building 3, South Dome.
  • Google Apps Developers: Thursday, May 26, 1–3 p.m.; LSA Building, room 2001.

Attend Enriching Scholarship

Monday, May 2 to Friday, May 6; various times and locations. 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 applied skills and see how many IT services are used to support the core university mission. All sessions are free and require registration. There are two “Get to know Canvas” tracks at this year’s event:

  • Canvas Fast Track: An introductory series of workshops for those new to Canvas
  • Canvas Master Track: For experienced Canvas users looking for a deeper dive into functions and features

Techweek Detroit

Monday, May 2 to Sunday, May 8; various times and locations. The week-long event will be held across a number of Detroit locales and will feature key leaders in the community, tech and startup companies, and workshops. TechWeek combines entrepreneurs, speakers, innovators, and the local community to share and celebrate technology innovation. Anyone who helps build, support, or celebrate the tech ecosystem in Detroit is encouraged to learn from top speakers, meet their next co-founder, and demo the newest products. Festival tickets are free to access events on Monday through Thursday along with a hackathon over the weekend. Paid All Access tickets include access to special Summit events on Friday.

Gameful Learning workshop

Friday, May 6; 10 a.m.–noon; Michigan League, room 4. Gameful learning and GradeCraft, the tool, are two aspects of the TLTC Transformation Project, Gameful Assessment in Michigan Education (GAME): Building a Community of Engaged Learners and Teachers. This workshop will provide participants an opportunity to think through whether the gameful approach to course design and assessment is right for them and how they might go about transforming their teaching. This session is geared toward instructors. Bring a syllabus from a course you have taught/will teach so that you can make the most of the hands-on activities and discussions. Register for the Gameful Learning workshop.

Recycle your e-waste

Saturday, May 7; 9 a.m.–2 p.m.; Pioneer High School parking lot. U-M's Office of Campus Sustainability, in conjunction with Ann Arbor Public Schools, is hosting the 9th annual free e-Waste Recycling Event. Get rid of your electronic waste quickly and easily in a responsible, secure, and environmentally friendly manner. UM-Ann Arbor staff who would like to drop off their e-waste on their way to or from work can do so at the business drop-off site at the U-M State Street commuter parking lot on Thursday, May 5, 8 a.m.–4 p.m., and Friday, May 6, 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Be prepared to show your Mcard.

Learn about EDUCAUSE

Wednesday, May 11; 1111:30 a.m.; Michigan Union, Kuenzel Room. Join EDUCAUSE President John O'Brien for a discussion about EDUCAUSE: what it is, what they do, and the resources available to help IT professionals. This event is open to all IT staff at U-M. In particular, John is interested in talking with IT staff who are early in their careers or new to IT in higher ed. To attend, please RSVP online by May 9. 

IT4U: BusinessObjects Tips & Tricks

Thursday, May 12, 9–9:45 a.m.; online. Join Jeanne Mackey (ITS) for a review of time-saving tips in BusinessObjects—from scheduling reports to creating grouped variables and simple charts. Level: Basic to intermediate. Register in My LINC. See the IT4U YouTube playlist for recordings from previous sessions.

Safe Computing

Travel safely with technology this summer

Whether you are planning a vacation overseas, a professional trip, or just a local getaway this summer, you will likely take your smartphone, laptop, or other mobile device with you. Here are three tips to help you safeguard both your own—and the university’s—data.

  • Require a password, passcode, or PIN for access to your device, and set the screen to lock after 15 or fewer minutes of inactivity.
  • Turn on the app or feature that helps you find your device and/or erase its contents if it is lost or stolen.
  • Use a secure Internet connection, such as your phone's cellular network, and turn off optional network connections (WiFi, Bluetooth) when you are not using them.

For instructions, a short video, and additional resources, check out Safe Computing: Traveling with Technology.

Project Updates

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

ITS completes migration pilot of CTools project sites

With the transition to Canvas for course sites, the use of CTools for project sites will likely end in the next few years. There are nearly 60,000 project sites in CTools, of which about 5,300 were active in the past year. ITS plans to migrate CTools project sites to alternative solutions in multiple phases. Last month, the migration process and tools were piloted by ITS staff. Pilot participants provided helpful feedback, which influenced modifications to the process and technology. An academic unit pilot is planned for summer 2016. At this time, there is no date for when units need to move project sites off CTools.

New two-factor options to replace MTokens this summer

U-M will soon replace MTokens with a new two-factor authentication solution from Duo Security. "Duo has an innovative solution that's widely used in higher education," Don Welch, U-M chief information security officer, noted. MTokens will be phased out across the entire university, including the U-M Health System and the Flint and Dearborn campuses.

Most MToken users will switch to the new solution this summer and will be able to pre-enroll. (See Systems that Require Two-Factor.) Departmental applications using two-factor may also switch to Duo this summer. Duo includes an app that lets you push a notification to your mobile device to approve your login. At other universities where Duo is used, most people find the app to be the most convenient option. Other options may include a phone call, passcodes via text message, or Duo hardware tokens.

The implementation team is partnering with units to offer on-site enrollment and online help. Got an MToken you’re not using? Drop it off in person at any of the MToken Distribution Centers, or send it via campus mail to ITS Access & Accounts in the Administrative Services Building.

Telepresence robots poised to invade U-M

You may have noticed robots with iPad heads roaming the halls of the Michigan Union, the Administrative Services Building, and elsewhere on campus. Welcome to the future.

ITS Communications Systems and Data Centers is exploring telepresence robots from Double Robotics to give staff a physical presence at work when they can’t be there in person. The goal: To offer a more personal way to interact than being stuck on a laptop or stationary display.

Aside from business meetings, other applications might include assisting the hearing impaired or giving remote tours. The Double is controlled from an iOS app or web browser with arrow keys or finger gestures. Check out an introductory video. For more information, or to request a demo, email HDvideoconferencing@umich.edu.

School of Nursing continues move to MiWorkspace

The School of Nursing completed the majority of staff computer migrations and the project team continues to work 1:1 with faculty to prepare for their individual workstation migrations. More than half of nursing faculty completed the initial interview and many have scheduled migration dates. For additional details, view the MiWorkspace project website and academic unit implementation status.

BYO project seeks campus partners

The overarching mission of the BYO (Bring Your Own) project is to build solutions that allow U-M staff, faculty, and students to move more freely between devices, identities, and services. Based on the project’s extensive campus engagement and under the guidance of the End User Computing (EUC) Steering Committee, the BYO team will initially focus its efforts on four areas of improvement:

  • Cloud Strategy: Define an organizational cloud strategy, upon which BYO is heavily reliant.
  • Software: Make a proportional investment in the delivery of virtual applications.
  • Knowledge: Create one place for easy access to information and practical advice for using personally-managed devices on or off campus.
  • Print: Develop a simple printer installation solution for MiWorkspace and Campus Computing Sites users.

The BYO team is actively seeking campus partners. Want to be involved or have questions? Contact byod-foundation@umich.edu.

SAM to focus on short-term goals

Over the past several months, the SAM (software asset management) team used Nvivo qualitative analysis software to pinpoint trends in the interviews conducted with more than 100 individuals in 27 units. Overwhelmingly, the data indicates that sharing more knowledge and resources across campus could help alleviate many of the pain points units experience. In response, the End User Computing (EUC) Steering Committee suggested tackling more immediate challenges rather than initiating a long-term project. This focuses efforts on developing short-term solutions to benefit campus more quickly and minimizing the administrative burden that frequently accompanies large-scale projects. The team is currently identifying these smaller-scale improvements, and in the coming months will seek campus participation to help with development and implementation. Want to be involved or have questions? Contact the SAM project team.

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.

ARC launches redesigned websites

Advanced Research computing rolled out redesigned websites in late April. The home URLs will not change, and frequently used pages will be redirected to their updated versions. Enhancements in the new sites include:

  • Improved search, including for software packages and faculty affiliated with the Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering (MICDE) and Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS)
  • Easier navigation to HPC resources, user guides, consulting services, and training opportunities
  • Better access on mobile devices.

Operation of Flux or other HPC resources will not be affected. The updated sites include: Advanced Research Computing, ARC - Technology Services, MICDE, MIDAS, and Consulting for Statistics, Computing and Analytics Research. Contact Dan Meisler for questions or more information.

U-M Dearborn moves to Cisco Unity for voicemail

On March 19, UM-Dearborn successfully transitioned from Microsoft Exchange voicemail to Cisco Unity voicemail in a collaborative effort between Dearborn Information Technology Services and Ann Arbor ITS Communications Systems and Data Centers (CSDC). Transitioning Dearborn to Cisco for voicemail provides close integration with Dearborn’s voice infrastructure. The new application offers Visual Voicemail, similar to using voicemail on smartphones. Additional benefits include:

  • Support by a single team, decreasing problem resolution time.
  • Maintenance and downtime will be local to the Dearborn campus, and will not affect the Ann Arbor and Flint campuses.
  • Customers can still forward voicemail to SMTP (Google), as many do today.

As part of the move, Dearborn’s voice infrastructure was declustered from Ann Arbor’s, which optimized Dearborn’s voice services (e.g., call processing, voicemail, contact centers, etc.). It also allows the Ann Arbor VoIP team to reduce overall voice service impact by closely aligning various activities, upgrades, and processes for UM-Dearborn.



Updated MS Office for MiWorkspace devices coming soon

Most MiWorkspace computers running previous versions of Microsoft Office will receive an updated version this year.

  • Mac: Faculty and staff with MiWorkspace Mac computers running Office 2011 will be able to choose to upgrade to Office 2016 on May 19. Visit the Microsoft Support site for additional information about Office 2016 including new or changed features from Office 2011.
  • Windows: Most faculty and staff with MiWorkspace Windows computers running Office 2010 will receive Office 2013 after July 2016. Visit the Microsoft Support site for additional information about Office 2013 including new or changed features since Office 2010.

Office 2013 will be released to MiWorkspace Windows beta testers in May to help identify incompatible programs and inform our release plans. ITS will work with units using programs or databases that are incompatible with Office 2013 to determine an appropriate upgrade plan. ITS staff will begin testing Office 2016 for Windows by the end of 2016.

New store hours at Computer Showcase

New Computer Showcase store hours are coming Monday, May 2.

Michigan Union: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–7 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Pierpont Commons: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Also, be sure to check out our pop-up store at the U-M Hospital Cafeteria, Dining Room A&B, on Friday, May 6, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

M Cloud updates

  • The M Cloud roadmap is now available for review. (PDF)
  • The AWS Egress Waiver has been extended with no need for yearly review. For more details, see the overview tab of the M Cloud website.
  • The AWS enterprise account manager for U-M is Jim Schramek. If you would like to arrange a meeting, please feel free to reach out to Jim directly, or contact Mark Personett, the ITS service manager for M Cloud.

New lower MiServer rates

We are pleased to announce that the rates for MiServer have been finalized and are greatly reduced. The new rates are posted to the MiServer website. These rates will go into effect at the next billing cycle. If you have any comments or questions, please direct them to the ITS Service Center.

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