Michigan IT Newsletter: September 2016

Michigan IT Newsletter from the Office of the CIO

Message from the interim CIO

Dear Colleagues,

In a university setting, change is constant. This evolution is even more apparent as we welcome a new class of students. Just read the Mindset List for the class of 2020 and try not to think about how much has changed!

Thanks to the work of the IT community, incoming students will have access to a wide array of resources to support their IT needs, from getting connected to WiFi to using videoconferencing technologies such as BlueJeans to enhance their classroom experience.

A significant change for all faculty and students this fall is that they will log into Canvas instead of CTools. Since announcing the transition to a new learning management system nearly two years ago, faculty and staff have collaborated to prepare for the shift in technology. Many thanks to all of the IT staff who have worked tirelessly to prepare faculty for this change and help instill a smooth transition for our campus.

There have also been changes within our central IT organizations, from the recent IT unification efforts across UMHS to the restructuring efforts within ITS I mentioned last month. With change all around us, I encourage everyone to learn something new, expand your networks, and gain a fresh perspective as we embark upon a new term together.

Best regards and Go Blue!


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

UMHS announces leaders of seven new IT divisions

by Glen Sard, MSIS Communications Manager; photo: Marc R. Stephens, MSIS Learning Design and Publishing

From left: Ted Hanss; David Sweetman; Myron Hepner; Karen Hollingsworth; Joe Kryza; Michael Warden; John Brussolo; John McPhall; Andrew Rosenberg.

In the July issue of the Michigan IT Newsletter, UMHS Associate CIO Ted Hanss reported on the progress of ongoing efforts to unify the Health System’s two main information technology and services providers—Medical Center Information Technology (MCIT) and Medical School Information Services (MSIS).

On August 10, Hanss and UMHS CIO Andrew Rosenberg, M.D., released a video announcing the selection of seven senior directors who will lead the new, consolidated divisions that will make up the core of the unified organization. They are:

  • Architecture and Operations Management – John McPhall
  • Clinical and Operational Applications – Karen Hollingsworth
  • Data, Reporting and Analytics – Myron Hepner
  • Education and Training – David Sweetman
  • Service Management – Michael Warden
  • Research Applications and Advanced Computing – John Brussolo (interim)
  • Technical Infrastructure – Joe Kryza

Dr. Rosenberg says that as these senior directors assume their new roles, their top priority will be working together to build a robust new organization that will be capable of effectively serving the ever-growing (and evolving) IT/IS needs within the Health System, including the Medical School and associated units.

“I’m very excited to be able to welcome our new senior directors, and very pleased they have agreed to assume these important roles,” says Rosenberg. Over the coming weeks and months, they will each play a major role in helping to shape our new organization—and I look forward to being able to benefit from their substantial talents as we all work together to make that happen.”

For more information about the MCIT/MSIS unification effort, please visit the Unity website.

Helpful campus IT resources

by Ken Caldwell, ITS Communications; photo: Austin Thomason, Michigan Photography

As campus IT professionals, we know that the amount of information accessible to U-M faculty, students, and staff can be overwhelming. We’ve gathered some of the most helpful resources for you to bookmark and share with colleagues as they return to campus [Bookmarks].

Campus-wide resources

By unit or school

  • LSA's Getting Started Guide provides an overview to the resources and services available.
  • Michigan Ross's Ross IT provides a comprehensive suite of technology and support.
  • The Medical School has a useful Get Help page and numerous self-help resources in its UMHS KnowledgeBase. Also see: Help Me Now.
  • ​The College of Engineering's CAEN (Computer Aided Engineering Network) offers a KnowledgeBase full of tech FAQs.
  • At Michigan Law, the LawITS website provides information about the department and its services, including printing, laptop exams, online classifieds, and more.
  • The School of Information and its UMSI Computing staff supports the high-quality research and education with the latest in technological services and support.
  • The School of Public Health's Instructional and Computing Services (ICS) maintains a comprehensive website about its broad range of services, along with forms to request specific resources.
  • School of Dentistry’s Dental Informatics uses technology to advance health through education, service, research, and discovery.
  • School of Social Work’s Computing Resources offer social work students 10 Windows workstations and 7 email-only express stations (see other Campus Computing Sites).
  • Taubman College Computing Resources make IT easily accessible to current and incoming students and the Taubman community.
  • School of Education’s Office of Information Technology (SOE-IT) works with MiWorkspace Neighborhood IT to provide first-rate IT services to SOE faculty, staff, and students.
  • UM-Flint’s IT Services provides the UM-Flint community with a wide range of computing, data networking, classroom technology, multimedia, and web services.
  • UM-Dearborn’s IT Services provides on on-campus computing services, access to business systems, support, and more to the UM-Dearborn community.

Blue Jeans in the classroom

by Todd L. Austin, LSA Instructional Support Services; photo: Todd L. Austin

Now entering its fifth year of use at LSA’s Instructional Support Services (ISS), the Blue Jeans videoconferencing cloud service has become an essential tool for constructing unique and valuable live, interactive experiences. Working with faculty, ISS helps to integrate the use of Blue Jeans for everything from a simple guest speaker in the classroom to a full, semester-long exchange with overseas partners, leveraging the unique features of Blue Jeans and its excellent and forgiving network architecture.

At the Department of Anthropology, Lisa Young made use of Blue Jeans in her “Museum Anthropology” course, which earned a Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize in 2015. Students analyzed and catalogued a decades-old collection of agricultural seeds from the Hopi Nation of Arizona. They then participated in live, small-group discussions over Blue Jeans with farmers and others at Hopi, putting the seeds in the context of the source community from which they came. As one student team wrote in the course blog:

“When we introduced our corn samples to the Hopi farmer and a classroom of Hopi third graders, their reactions and interpretations helped us to understand what this corn meant to them and the many ways it is used in their culture. Each corn type had its own meaning and use. They were not simply beautiful ears of corn; these crops were their children. We would never have acquired this understanding of cultural significance tied to these collections if we had not had this dialogue with the source community.”

The English Language Institute’s Brenda Prouser Imber employs Blue Jeans virtual rooms as meeting spaces for international students preparing to become GSIs in her “Pronunciation in Context” course. Using Blue Jeans, Brenda is able to automatically record the practice conversations of her students. She then annotates the videos using Viddler, providing time-specific feedback to her students on their use and pronunciation of English.

In Shubhangi Dabak’s “German for Business” course, Blue Jeans virtual rooms were created in advance and shared both with the students in our classroom and with their conversation partners in Germany via Google Docs. At regular intervals, Shubhangi would call ‘time’ and our students would click on the next Blue Jeans URL in the shared doc, allowing for rapid switching of partners—a sort of “speed dating” conversation practice. This highly-efficient tool saved lots of classroom time from being lost to tech support that would have gone into creating and managing serial Skype calls.

Norma Sarkar’s section of the School of Nursing’s Community Health Nursing course studies Ypsilanti, while their partners at FSIL of the Episcopal University of Haiti (Haiti’s only four-year nursing school) study their local community of Leogane. Using Blue Jeans, they meet weekly to compare notes and experiences, opening the eyes of students at both schools to another way of life, a different range of responsibilities for nurses, and a new appreciation for the impact of cultural context on health outcomes.

Blue Jeans allows LSA ISS to construct experiences and create communities that would not otherwise be possible. Its stability, flexibility, easy-to-use interface, and forgiving networking expand the reach of the university and the range of teaching and learning experiences we can bring to our students. Register for a free Blue Jeans workshop to learn more.

Switch to Duo sets course for fall expansion

by Jessica Rohr, ITS Communications; photo: Joel Iverson, ITS Communications

Lynn Chamberlain, a student administrator in the School of Education, signed up for Duo in July. Despite her initial hesitation, she chose the option that sends a push notification to her cell phone. She says, “It seemed like the easiest method to me because all you have to do is click Approve and you are in.”

More than 16,000 people across all U-M campuses are now using Duo Security for two-factor authentication to access sensitive university information in some systems. Of those, more than 12,000 accounts registered a mobile phone to enable the smartphone app. (Some campus and UMHS systems are still moving to the new solution.)

U-M made a near-complete switch from MTokens to Duo Security over the summer as part of an effort to enhance the protection of university and personal data against malicious attacks and data breaches, which are on the rise. Two-factor authentication is a second layer of security, keeping an individual’s account secure even if their password is compromised. It requires two proofs of identity when logging in:

  • Something you know, such as a UMICH password
  • Something you have, such as a passcode or mobile app

Chief Information Security Officer Don Welch says, “With a base of our community and dozens of unit systems now using Duo for two-factor authentication, we are ready to expand the use of two-factor authentication at U-M.”

Expanding two-factor authentication

To keep improving U-M’s overall IT security, the next phase of the effort will expand two-factor authentication to individuals and services on a voluntary basis. The first focus is on offering Duo to all services via the Weblogin page, an option available this fall to the entire U-M community.

This means individuals will have the option to use Duo to further protect their personal information, such as W-2s and direct deposit information, when logging in to self-service options in Wolverine Access. Google for U-M will also be included.

Staff, faculty, and students in several campus units (LSA, the College of Engineering, the Institute for Social Research, UMHS, and Information & Technology Services) are currently piloting the two-factor option on Weblogin. One pilot participant says, “It's another step to take when logging in, but because it is making my data more secure, I don't mind it.”

If you’re interested in testing the Weblogin option, contact the project team.

IT Bicentennial Team seeks your unit's historical stories

by Jessica Rohr, ITS Communications; photo: Bentley Historical Library

MIDAC, the first and largest ever computer in Michigan, located at Willow Run Airport Analog Computer Facility that began in 1951.

Did your unit propel the early days of computing at U-M? Rise up against the prevailing opinion in the 1950s that computing didn’t matter to education? Or demand that technology be used for good and not for advancing global warfare in the 60s and 70s?

Well, grab some canned air and a Q-tip! It’s time to dust off U-M’s technological history for the Bicentennial celebration. A cross-campus team is digging into U-M’s past for stories and milestones to illustrate U-M’s IT heritage. The project, funded by a U-M Bicentennial grant and sponsored by the Michigan IT Steering Group and the Office of the CIO, will focus on transitional periods in technology to spotlight U-M’s technological heritage, success, and occasional failure.

The team has already made progress. Here are some of this summer’s highlights:

  • A dedicated research intern from UMSI spent hours in the Bentley Historical Library piecing together U-M’s technological milestones and the cast of characters who drove them. And the story so far is not without drama—or influential actors!
  • Technological records and stories date as far back as 1881.
  • Volunteers stepped forward from the School of Public Health, School of Dentistry, College of Engineering, UMHS, and more.
  • The project developed partnership opportunities for those interested in being a core team member; in-kind collaborator; or subject matter expert.
  • Video interviews with key influencers and contributors are now underway.
  • Early research points to using TimelineJS from Northwestern University’s KnightLabs to bring U-M’s technological history to life.

The end result will be an interactive timeline to show how U-M has been at the forefront of creating and inventing technology that shapes, not only daily experiences in higher education, but also long-term change in the world.​ Now the team needs your help identifying two to three significant technology events or stories in each unit across our campus history. Submit your unit’s stories, artifacts, and ideas to the IT Bicentennial team.

Ted Hanss: "We Should Tell That Story"

Video: Mike Stork, ITS Support Services

Kudos & Campus News

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

Congrats to EDUCAUSE presenters

Twenty Michigan IT staff had proposals for presentations or posters accepted for the 2016 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference to be held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California on Wednesday, October 26. The EDUCAUSE Annual Conference is the premier convening of IT professionals and technology providers in higher education. The conference programming is derived from member-driven content organized across overarching IT tracks and hosts one of the largest exhibit halls in the industry. In 2016, the annual conference will host over 7,000 higher ed IT professionals. Congratulations!

UMHS all-stars

Imagine saving more than 10,000 hours a year, turning 4.5 hours of wait-time to 4.5 seconds, clearing 80% of someone’s roadblocks in just an hour, and saving more than $3 million in the process. That’s what happened when UMHS adopted a self-service approach to analytics. The organization’s Fast Analytics team, led by Jonathan Greenberg, recently won the Project of the Year award in Health Data Management’s Analytics All-Stars Awards.

SIGUCCS awards

Kudos to the ITS Communications Team for winning four awards from the Special Interest Group on University and College Computing Services last month. The Michigan IT Newsletter (you’re reading it now!) and MiWorkspace Quick Start Guides won Best of Category for Computing Newsletter and Printed How-To Guides, respectively. Awards of Excellence went to the Campus WiFi Upgrade Project for General Service Campaign Materials and the Summer Internship Program Website for Student Created Materials. SIGUCCS is an association of professionals who support and manage the diverse aspects of information technology services at higher education institutions.

Ergo winner

The ITS Tech Depot was one of three Gold Level winners of the 2016 MHealthy Ergonomics Awards for its design and construction of mobile carts to transport heavy equipment. “Throughout their day, our technicians repeatedly move heavy equipment from carts to racks, then back to the carts, which creates opportunity for injury,” says Mark Pugh, the group’s operations supervisor. “Our unit purchased security carts with movable racks that help to minimize the need to lift and lower heavy equipment. It really makes pickup and delivery of dispositioned hardware easier, saves time and creates a positive, safer work environment.”

Breaking away

Former U-M CIO Laura Patterson recently celebrated her retirement with a little bike ride...across the United States. According to her blog documenting the 52-day trip, she arrived at the Atlantic Ocean in New Hampshire on July 26, after traversing 3,889 total miles. Starting in San Francisco on May 2, Patterson was part of an international group of over 20 riders from the USA, Germany, England, and the Netherlands. The route, beneath spacious skies, took them from sea to shining sea: through amber waves of grain, over purple mountain majesties, and across fruited plains. Next up: Alaska to Tierra del Fuego?

Data protection 101

Protecting data in a university environment is challenging. In the recently published EDUCAUSE article, “Protection Primer for Higher Education”, Mike Lowry, assistant director of Information and Infrastructure Assurance (IIA), and other higher ed co-authors—including Aprille Mckay, assistant director for University Archives and Records Management at the Bentley Library—outlined four domains of data protection. The primer describes environmental and cultural shifts that are leading to data-protection challenges. Download the PDF:

  1. Click the login link at the bottom of the EDUCAUSE website.
  2. Under “Federated Login,” click Login Using InCommon and select University of Michigan.
  3. You will then be directed to the U-M Weblogin.

Get up and (Pokémon) Go

For people who didn’t grow up playing Pokémon, the whole Pokémon Go craze might seem a little baffling. But even detractors of the game admit that playing it gets people moving. C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is using the game to encourage young patients to do physical activity and socialize with each other. “Physical activity is not something patients necessarily want to do,” said J.J. Bouchard, Mott’s digital media manager. “But kids got excited about the game, so they don’t mind. Playing Pokémon Go encourages them not only to move, but also to go out of their rooms and talk to one another or to the hospital staff.”

Auto alarm

Car-hacking demonstrations—like disabling a car’s brakes or hijacking the steering—get a lot of buzz in the security research community and deliver a disturbing wake-up call to consumer automakers. Now, thanks to researchers like Bill Hass and Leif Millar from the U-M Transportation Research Institute, industrial automakers realize big rigs are also vulnerable to hacking. But as the automotive security field evolves, defensive tricks are getting smarter, too. A new prototype gadget called a Clock-based Intrusion Detection System (CIDS) created by U-M researchers Kyong-Tak Cho and Kang Shin stops vehicular cyber attacks. The tool spots the malicious messages car hackers use to take control of vehicle components and then can either alert the driver or put the car into a “limp” mode that allows the driver to safely bring the vehicle to a stop.

Reinventing retail banking

Digital technology will change the banking industry in underdeveloped markets in ways that are truly revolutionary. Reports about the evolution of financial services in the developing world often focus on new systems that make it cheaper to transfer money than through traditional money-wiring services. Although transferring money is useful, Aneel Karnani, professor of strategy at the Ross School of Business, and an expert on developing world finance, says savings accounts will be the real killer app. “Contrary to popular perception, the poor do have a savings rate. It’s not true that the poor don’t save at all—everybody saves…,” Karnani says. “The trouble is they don’t have a mechanism to save. The money is so little that no bank wants to go through the hassle of opening an account for them.”

No emoji mojo

Is it OK to use emojis in an office email? That was among questions posed in a new national survey as folks in Michigan gave emojis a proverbial thumbs down, as did other Midwesterners—more so than any other region in the nation. “The problem here is that we are generally overconfident in our ability to convey emotions in electronic communication. Emojis, in turn, can provide us with a dangerous illusion that we are doing so effectively,” says Maxim Sytch, associate professor at the Ross School and an expert in communications. Instead, he suggested relying on old-school, time-tested methods: “If you want to convey an emotional response, state your emotions clearly in the text of your message, pick up the phone, FaceTime your colleague, or, better yet, have a face-to-face meeting.”

Hep C alerts

Baby boomers are five times more likely to have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus (HCV) than other generations. But the simple blood test is infrequently performed as routine medical appointments are often crammed with other preventative measures and tests. Investigators at UMHS recently found an easy way to help its primary care physicians ensure that an HCV screening is part of the routine: electronic medical record alerts. The automated alert, programmed to appear if a patient is within the at-risk age range, reminds doctors not only to issue the test but also provide educational materials about the virus. Implemented in fall 2015 in primary care clinics throughout the health system, the strategy contributed to a significant rise in screenings—an eightfold boost—in the first six months.

Hacking the election

Campaigns, political parties, and voting systems don’t have any overarching standards for their security practices—leaving the U.S. electoral process vulnerable to manipulation. Security experts have warned for years that there are surprisingly few measures in place to prevent a hack like one that hit the Democratic National Committee in July. But beyond political groups’ communications, an even more critical aspect of the election system is vulnerable to hacks: voter registration databases and voting machines. “It’s not a matter of do people have the capability of hacking the voting technology we are using today. It’s a question of whether anyone will and whether they will be detected when they do,” says J. Alex Halderman, professor of computer science and engineering at U-M.


Benjamin VanderSloot, a Ph.D. student at U-M, and Eric Wustrow, assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, have created a cryptocurrency that rewards people for taking part in DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks on TLS web servers. The currency only works when the user’s computer targets a TLS-enabled website. TLS stands for Transport Layer Security, a cryptographic protocol for secure Internet communication. A cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency.

MTRAC grants

Five technologies demonstrating high potential to solve the toughest challenges in transportation are moving closer to product commercialization with a combined $500,000 in funding from U-M’s Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) program. One project is a travel search engine called Your Own Planner, which was developed to reduce time spent coordinating travel plans. Your Own Planner addresses the problem that most travel sites leave the logistical details to the traveler, which can be inefficient and ineffective. Another is a computer vision-based posture analysis program that can quantitatively evaluate the level of ergonomic risk workers face at dangerous or injury-prone job sites.

Future IT leaders

Plans are in development for the next on-campus cohort of the Michigan IT Leadership Program (ITLP) to start sometime in 2017. The Michigan IT Steering Committee is looking to adjust program curriculum so that it is targeted toward staff who demonstrate potential for leadership opportunities and may not have prior formal leadership experience. Stay tuned to the Michigan IT Newsletter for future announcements about this next program and how to communicate interest and/or recommend staff. In the meantime, please direct any questions or comments to the Michigan IT Steering Committee.

FY18 IT Capital requests

Based on feedback gathered last year, the Office of the CIO is simplifying the process for collecting IT capital investment requests by eliminating the step of submitting an IT Investment Request Form. Instead, we are going directly to a more simplified Business Case and Funding Request Worksheet. This will reduce the number of steps and documents and also provide our governance committees with additional information to understand the idea and value it will provide. We will continue to leverage IT Governance for review and prioritization of these business cases in preparation for further assessment from a new VP-CIO. Units seeking information technology investments for the FY18 budget year that are estimated to cost more than $1M or that will result in a new or significantly changed shared service should submit a Business Case and Funding Request Worksheet through the CIO website by October 3, 2016. If you have any questions, contact UM-IT-Planning-Request@umich.edu.

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.

  • Agile Development: Tuesday, September 20, 3:30–4:30 p.m.; location TBD.
  • Project/Program Management: Thursday, September 22. 2:30–4 p.m.; location TBD.
  • Data Integration: Monday, September 26; 9–11 a.m.; Arbor Lakes Building 3, South Dome.
  • IT Service Management: Wednesday, October 12, 1–4 p.m.; Arbor Lakes Building 3, North and South Dome. Michigan IT Service Mini-Symposium. Please submit your ideas for presentations.

Tech Talks

Fridays; 11 a.m.–noon; Computer Showcase, Michigan Union. Computer Showcase hosts a regular series of free workshops designed to help you discover new tech and make the most of the tech you already have. Check out the upcoming “Get Connected” series of talks:

  • September 2: Meet the Canvas Crew. Learn the ins and outs of using Canvas, including mobile app tips, integrating Canvas with Google Calendar, and customizing your notifications.
  • September 9: Intro to Blue Jeans. Meet the video/audio conference tool BlueJeans for collaboration and content sharing. Learn how to set up an account, invite others, and join calls.
  • September 16: MWireless & Beyond. Learn how to securely connect to both wireless and wired U-M data networks. We’ll discuss virtual private networks (VPNs), using personal devices, and show you how to easily configure your devices.
  • September 23: Storage & Collaboration Tools. Learn about two powerful and secure file storage and collaboration tools: U-M Google Drive and U-M Box.
  • September 30: Google at U-M (Gmail & Calendar). Make the most of your U-M Google tools with tips and tricks for Mail and Calendar. Create and manage email invitations for Calendar events and Hangouts.

New Lynda.com courses

U-M provides free lynda.com access to faculty and regular staff on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Flint, and Health System campuses. The service recently added 54 new courses to its thousands of online tutorials for business, software, technology, and creative skills for professional and personal development. The service also stays on top of evolving best practices and new software versions, many times in advance of public releases.

Web Accessibility Summit 2016

Tuesday, September 6 to Wednesday, September 7; 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m..; Gallery Room Hatcher Graduate Library. The seventh annual Accessibility Summit is a two-day online conference with 12 experts on web accessibility, presented by Environments for Humans. Learn about building accessibility from the ground up, creating accessible WordPress content, what the law says about web accessibility, and more! Thanks to sponsorships from the U-M Library and the Office for Institutional Equity, attending the two-day Accessibility Summit is free. Sign up now to reserve your space.

Canvas Overview: Jump Into the Canvas Sandbox

Tuesday, September 13, 1–3 p.m.; SITES Mac Lab, 2054 Shapiro Library. This is your chance to get a look at Canvas, the new LMS (aka course management system) at U-M. Get the lowdown on cool Canvas features and come away with a personal sandbox site in Canvas to explore on your own. More info and register.

Outcomes, Rubrics, and Grading; and What The Heck, Let’s Throw In The Analytics Tool!

Wednesday, September 14, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.; SITES PC Lab, 2054 Shapiro Library. The Canvas LMS has great new features for using and displaying rubrics. These Rubrics can be used to assess your students’ progress toward learning Outcomes. Join this hands-on workshop and go in depth on the Outcomes, Rubrics and Grading functionality in Canvas. You will also get a preview of the Analytics capabilities available to instructors. More info and register.

Canvas—Three different ways to present your course content

Thursday, September 15, 9–11 a.m.; SITES Mac Lab, 2054 Shapiro Library. Canvas, the new Learning Management System that will replace CTools course sites in Fall 2016, offers instructors several ways to present their courses. Learn more about the syllabus, pages and modules features in this demonstration session. More info and register.

Beautiful Content Delivery In Canvas: Modules

Thursday, September 15, 3–5 p.m.; SITES PC Lab, 2054 Shapiro Library. Canvas Modules can be used to organize course content by weeks, units, topics, or just about organizational structure that works for you. Modules can contain files, discussions, assignments, quizzes, and any other Canvas content, as well as order the flow so that students are guided through your course. Join us to learn how you can quickly create new content, fill out your syllabus and build a whole new course site all at once. More info and register.

Claude E. Shannon Centennial Celebration

Friday, September 16, 8 a.m.–7 p.m.; Rackham Amphitheater. U-M is celebrating the 100th birthday of Claude E. Shannon, widely recognized as the father of information theory, with a Shannon Centennial Symposium. The symposium will consist of two poster sessions and four plenary talks by eminent leaders in the field of information theory. There is no cost to attend. Registration is required. In addition, a biweekly Shannon Centennial Lecture Series will be held in the Rackham Amphitheater during the fall 2016 semester.

Storage and Retention of Data

Friday, September 16, 3–4 p.m.; 1122 NCRC Building 520. This course will review the fundamentals of maintaining confidentiality of subject data, including data encryption and protection, using secure environments and external websites, and distinguishing among anonymized, coded, and de-identified datasets. More info and register.

Canvas Overview: Jump Into the Canvas Sandbox

Wednesday, September 21, 9–11 a.m.; SITES Mac Lab, 2054 Shapiro Library. This is your chance to get a look at Canvas, the new LMS (aka course management system) at U-M. Get the lowdown on cool Canvas features and come away with a personal sandbox site in Canvas to explore on your own. More info and register.

Google Apps Devs Open House/Meet 'n Greet

Thursday, September 22, 4:30 p.m.; HopCat. Come one, come all! Bring your new-to-IT or new-to-Google Apps Script friends. We'll eat and drink, get to know each other and what you can do with GAS (highlighting some of the group's accomplishments so far), and talk about some of our exciting plans for future meetings. It will be a blast!

Canvas—Three different ways to present your course content

Thursday, September 29, 3–5 p.m.; SITES Mac Lab, 2054 Shapiro Library. Canvas, the new Learning Management System that will replace CTools course sites in fall 2016, offers instructors several ways to present their courses. Learn more about the syllabus, pages and modules features in this demonstration session. More info and register.

Managing Your Stuff! How to Organize, Store and Access your Scholarly Resources

Wednesday, October 5, 4–5 p.m.; Scholarspace (formerly The Faculty Exploratory), 206 Hatcher Graduate Library. Canvas, the new Learning Management System that will replace CTools course sites in fall 2016, offers instructors several ways to present their courses. Learn more about the syllabus, pages, and modules features in this demonstration session. More info and register.

#micities 2016

Saturday, October 8, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Palmer Commons. The #micities conference is a discussion on how information technology is impacting community engagement, planning, and citizenship in Michigan cities and beyond. The conference will include lightning talks, and breakout sessions highlighting civic technology initiatives across Michigan. The conference keynote will be given by Dr. Anthony Townsend, author of the 2013 book Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia. This one-day conference is aimed at students, faculty, practitioners, and citizens interested in applying new information tools and methods in their communities. The event is co-hosted by the U-M School of Information and the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Michigan IT Symposium

Monday, November 21 to Tuesday, November 22; Michigan League. The Michigan IT Symposium Committee recently reviewed a record-breaking number of proposals. The group was very impressed with the quality of submissions, especially how they worked to forward U-M IT Strategic Plan goals. The 2016 Michigan IT Symposium will include nearly 30 presentations and 60 posters on topics including big data, diversity, professional development, and research. The committee also added new features this year: hands-on training sessions on topics including Hadoop, Docker, and Tableau; “Birds of a Feather” sessions to encourage discussions around ideas like safeguarding research; communicating IT changes; and preparing for future student technology needs. Full agenda and registration details will be announced in mid-October on the Office of the CIO website.

Safe Computing

New data classification to guide data protection

As part of a broader effort to modernize U-M’s information security program, the university is introducing a new data classification scheme that better reflects the complexities of today's data, and the more stringent regulatory environment in which we work.

For many years, U-M classified data according to three levels: sensitive, private/confidential, and public. The new model has four levels:

  • Restricted. Information and data covered by specific prescriptive information security controls and the most stringent legal or regulatory requirements.
  • High. Information and data that are both individually identifiable and highly sensitive or confidential, and usually subject to legal or regulatory compliance.
  • Moderate. Information and data that are individually identifiable, include confidential or proprietary institutional records, or are subject to contractual agreements or legal or regulatory compliance.
  • Low. Public information and university business data that generally anyone, regardless of institutional affiliation, can access without limitation.

The new data classification levels are foundational to the proposed revision of the Information Security Policy (SPG 601.27), which calls for—to the extent practicable—units and individual faculty, researchers, and staff to use common tools, information systems, processes, and services.

Information Assurance (IA) staff members are working with data stewards across the university to verify classification of university data according to the four new levels. In the coming months, each level will be associated with clear and specific standards and guidelines for protecting data. For more about the new data classification model, see Sensitive Data Classification.

Beware of ransomware

Ransomware is malicious software that infects and encrypts computers and other devices. Criminals use it to threaten victims with loss of their data and demand a ransom in return for a key to unlock their folders, files, and devices. A number of large health care providers have been targets.

Ransomware gets onto computers and other devices when people open infected email attachments, click shared document links that go to infected documents, or click links in email that go to malicious websites. Protect yourself by examining links before clicking and by checking with the sender before opening unexpected email attachments. It's a good idea to make regular data backups and keep them separate from your devices.

If you fall victim to ransomware, don't pay the ransom. There are no guarantees when dealing with criminals. If the infected device is owned or managed by the university or it is used to access or maintain sensitive U-M data, report the problem to IIA immediately. Learn more on Safe Computing.

Project Updates

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

Goodbye CTools, hello Canvas!

When classes start next week, students will log into Canvas instead of CTools. Since announcing the transition nearly two years ago, faculty and staff have worked together to prepare for the shift in learning management systems. About 83 percent of summer courses and 89 percent of spring/summer courses were taught in Canvas, up from 64 percent during the winter term. "We continue to partner with the Canvas Unit Contacts who represent each school and college to ensure all instructors teaching courses in Canvas this fall feel supported and prepared," says Sean DeMonner, executive director of teaching and learning at ITS. There are many support options for those who are new to Canvas, including a Convert2Canvas service and hands-on, in-person support from Canvas Crew consultants. Questions? Contact your school or college's Canvas Unit Contact or the ITS Service Center.

Improving cellular in Michigan Stadium

ITS Infrastructure continues to partner with cellular providers to improve coverage in Michigan Stadium. AT&T has several large-cell antennas in the stadium which are considered unsightly and out of sync with stadium architecture and design. ITS and AT&T are testing three alternative designs that will relocate the antennas behind the navy glass panels above the stadium press boxes and hospitality suites. We hope to have a new solution in place to improve cellular coverage and stadium aesthetics during the 2016 football season. Stay tuned!

Naming and branding ITS services

Over the past several months, ITS has worked with the Office of Global Communications and Strategic Initiatives, the Office of the Vice President and General Counsel, and U-M Procurement to align ITS’s naming and branding strategy with the contractual expectations U-M has with vendors, partners, and sponsors. For many ITS services, the vendor name will be removed when possible and replaced with a university-specific name (for example, MiVideo). Co-branding will be used when it makes sense from a technical, contractual, and practical standpoint. Co-branded ITS services include Box, Google, and Canvas. (Visit the U-M Google and U-M Box brand webpage to see the new wordmarks for these services.)

PCI effort nears completion

The creation of a new, secure infrastructure supporting the complex Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) for credit card processing at the university is 95% complete. The core of the infrastructure became active in July. Since then the ITS project team, in collaboration with the Treasurer’s Office, has actively engaged in migrating all high-risk campus merchants. Most merchants were completely migrated by the end of August. When fully implemented, the new infrastructure will offer institution-wide security controls, reduce risk and redundancy, and provide guidance for 12 PCI requirement categories and 330 controls within the requirements.

WiFi upgrades

It has been a very busy summer for the WiFi project team, with many buildings completed across campus. Check out our progress! Visit the project website for additional information.

  • Recently completed: Hutchins Hall, William Cook Legal Research Library, South Quad, Revelli Band Rehearsal Hall, Henry Frieze Vaughan Public Health building (SPH 1), Mary Markley, Stearns Frederick Building, Weiser Hall (Dennison), Alumni Memorial Hall (Museum of Art)
  • Currently under construction: Francis Thomas Jr. Public Health (SPH II), School of Education, Earl V. Moore Building, North Quad, Joan & Sanford Weill Hall (Ford School)
  • Network design underway: East Hall, West Hall, GG Brown,, Gorguze Family laboratory, Burton Memorial Tower, Perry Building, North Quad, Weill Hall (Ford School), Betsy Barbour, Newberry, Randall Labs, Lane Hall, Stanford Lipsey Student Publications Building, U-M Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), Northwood Community Center
  • Site surveys scheduled/completed: Walgreen Theatre, Stamps Auditorium, Dental School

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.

Canvas tool combines course sections

A new Course Manager tool lets instructors combine multiple class sections into a single Canvas course and add external email addresses (or friend accounts). The tool appears in the left navigation of each Canvas course. View detailed instructions by clicking "Help" inside the Course Manager window. Instructors should consider combining sections into a single Canvas course if:

  • Most assignments are the same
  • Most other materials (e.g., files) are the same
  • You want to keep grades for all sections together

(NOTE: If you combine all sections into a single course, GSIs can either grade all students or just their assigned sections.) LSA's detailed documentation contains more information on the pros and cons of combining. Subscribe to Canvas at Michigan to stay informed of the latest news, support materials, event information, and feature changes.

IQ launches site

IQ: Information Quest, a new ITS department, has rolled out an updated website. IQ will focus on campus needs related to business intelligence, learning analytics, research, and strategic planning. The group partners with campus and the health system to drive institutional excellence at U-M by delivering data that enables leaders to use their expertise to make strategic, data-driven decisions. The team, with a vision of creating a data-as-a-service delivery model, is delving into a deeper role in learning analytics, creating executive dashboards, and investigating a data virtualization platform. Look for more updates and information on the IQ site in the coming weeks.

New navigation for ITS websites

ITS website navigation has changed to make it easier for visitors to use. The new navigation focuses on a user-centric model rather than a business/unit-centric model. Labels are based on information, services, documentation, and support resources. The transition to the new navigation uses a soft rollout model, which will be used for most ITS website updates, so that intuitive changes can be made with little or no disruption to the user experience. Let us know what you think!

MiChart upgrade set for October

The upgrade to MiChart is part of the go-live rollout planned for Saturday, October 8. The upgrade will affect all MiChart users and is intended to enhance overall look and feel, customizability and usability of the electronic health record, and will include several other improvements. MiChart has been a primary tool for improving patient safety, healthcare quality and efficiency, and increasing collaboration between patients and their providers. MiChart’s successful implementation through a course of phased upgrades and staged rollouts has helped UMHS meet overall goals for medical innovation, remain competitive, and gain recognition as one of the Most Wired healthcare institutions.

MiVideo now a free service for U-M

MiVideo, U-M’s cloud based media streaming service, is now free for all uses on campus. In contract renewal talks with Kaltura for FY17 this summer, ITS finance negotiated for unlimited streaming. Previously the service was fee-based for non-course related uses due to contracted bandwidth limitations. This change opens up opportunities for units to consider MiVideo to upload and share video, audio and images. Discover how MiVideo has been helping the Bentley Historical Library.  

M-Pathways financials systems upgrade

ITS is upgrading the M-Pathways Financials and Physical Resources System to version 9.2 on September 19. M-Pathways FIN will be unavailable from 5 p.m. Thursday, September 15 to 6 a.m. Monday, September 19. The system includes the accounts receivable and billing, general ledger, procurement, asset management, space management and inventory applications. Visit the FIN Upgrade website for important information and the latest news about transaction cutoff dates, key changes, training opportunities, and more. Review the FIN Upgrade - Overview of Changes for a complete list of changes.

ITS production freezes

Beginning with the 2016 fall term, ITS production freezes for fall and winter terms will begin seven days prior to the start of classes and seven days prior to the first day of each term’s exam period. Spring and summer term freezes are not impacted by this new procedure. As a reminder, U-M staff can request that a campus or unit special event be taken into consideration for freeze purposes. Do this by submitting a request to Inform ITS of a Campus Event. Event dates and details are reviewed and added to the ITS Change Windows Calendar accordingly. For more information about ITS Production Freezes, refer to Production Freezes for Campus Services.

Lots happening with Tableau!

  • On August 1, ITS enabled version control on the Tableau campus production server. On production server workbooks, you will now see a version history under actions. Clicking on any of the revisions will allow you to download a copy. This is extremely helpful if you accidentally overwrite a workbook. Read the Tableau documentation.
  • On August 13, an additional 8-core license was installed on the production server to run the extracts and subscription services. The original 8 cores will be devoted solely to visualization rendering. If you have data behind a local firewall that is used in data sources on the server, please ensure the following IP addresses are open for the appropriate port(s): its-tabprdwa01.adsroot.itcs.umich.edu [] (original server); its-tabprdwn01.adsroot.itcs.umich.edu [] (new backgrounder).
  • Free Tableau: Tableau Desktop is free for students and instructors at accredited academic institutions. Tableau Desktop is used to visualize and analyze data, create workbooks, visualizations, dashboards and stories.

U-M Box

U-M Google

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