Michigan IT Newsletter: November 2016

Michigan IT Newsletter from the Office of the CIO

Message from the interim CIO

Dear colleagues,

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that Kelli Trosvig will become U-M’s first vice president for information technology and chief information officer! Kelli is a seasoned leader with exceptional experience across IT, higher ed, research technology, and health administration. I am excited about Kelli joining U-M as VPIT-CIO and I know that she is, too. I am looking forward to working with Kelli as a valued colleague and partner on the president’s cabinet!

While this will be my last message to the Michigan IT community as interim CIO, I will continue to be a strong advocate for IT and the value you provide. Your work, and the services you offer, are critical to the operation and success of the university and I will continue to rely on our strong partnership as U-M takes this next step forward.

Finally, I encourage you to take advantage of the upcoming Michigan IT Symposium to connect with peers across the university, learn new skills, and get a better understanding of how IT is helping the U-M community achieve its missions. Either in-person, online, or a mixture of the two, it’s a great opportunity to take a step back and be inspired by the great work that’s happening across the U.

Many thanks and Go Blue!


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

Michigan IT Symposium preview

by Stefanie Horvath, ITS and Office of the CIO & Nancy Herlocher, LSA

Registration is now open for the 3rd annual Michigan IT Symposium! Join your colleagues for a full day of interactive sessions, hands-on-training, networking, and panel discussions. More than 150 IT staff from across U-M will share their posters and presentations about how their work enriches the U-M experience through technology. Detailed descriptions for all breakout sessions are on the CIO website.

Help welcome our new VPIT-CIO to U-M!

Kelli Trosvig, U-M’s first vice president for information technology and chief information officer, will cap off the day with closing remarks and a brief Q&A. Use this anonymous form to submit your questions to Kelli in advance.

Poster preview reception

The poster reception on the afternoon of November 21 is an opportunity to allow more time to review posters and engage in deeper conversations with poster creators. All posters will be categorized by how they advance the goals within U-M’s IT Strategic Plan and will use related templates to make it easier to visually identify them.

The Michigan IT Symposium is sponsored by the Office of the CIO and hosted by the Michigan IT Steering Committee. Check out this quick video to learn more about the Symposium and see photos from past events.

Video: Mike Stork, ITS Support Services 

Your password needs a partner: Turn on two-factor for Weblogin

by Jessica Rohr, ITS Communications

Strong passwords are essential, but they are not enough anymore. In a recent University Record interview on cyber security at U-M, Chief Information Security Officer Don Welch noted that “higher education has the highest number of IT security breaches among most industry sectors.” Your password needs a partner—two-factor authentication.

Now the U-M community has a great tool to protect personal information by using two-factor authentication from Duo Security. In October, U-M added the option to use Duo when logging into services via the Weblogin page. When you turn on two-factor for Weblogin, you add an extra layer of security to your personal information in Wolverine Access, U-M Google, and more—including your W-2s, direct deposit info, and your U-M Google email.

Protection “worth a few more clicks”

Denise Stegall, senior director for records and information services in University Human Resources, turned on two-factor for Weblogin during the August pilot and endorsed the service: “As one of the HR data stewards, I am aware of many examples of identify fraud. Knowing that I can add a layer of protection to most of my work systems to reduce opportunities for hacking [and] fraud to protect all U-M employees is worth a few more clicks a day using two-factor authentication!”

This fall, the Your Password Needs a Partner: Turn on Two-factor campaign will encourage faculty and staff to turn on two-factor for Weblogin through articles, outreach and education, and awareness materials. Efforts to expand two-factor authentication to new U-M services and individuals on all campuses will continue over the next year. If you would like to promote the Your Password Needs a Partner: Turn on Two-Factor effort in your unit, please contact the project team.

Currently, more than 23,000 individuals use Duo to access U-M systems that require it. Now that Weblogin with Duo is available to the entire U-M community, the university is counting on IT leaders like you to help promote its use and safeguard personal or university data. Be a Duo champion: turn on two-factor for Weblogin and then show your colleagues how easy it is to use.

The wider benefits of universally designed websites

by Jane Vincent, ITS Assistive Technology Manager

Web accessibility is often thought of as an us-and-them proposition. If you don’t need to use alternatives to the standard monitor, mouse, keyboard, or touchscreen, then designing websites to accommodate these alternatives may seem personally irrelevant. However, this perspective doesn’t take into account many accessibility guidelines that have benefits for a far wider audience.

A more useful approach may be to think in terms of universal design or UD, defined by the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University as “The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG), which is quickly becoming an international standard, even starts by saying, “Following these guidelines will also often make your Web content more usable to users in general.”

Two levels: coding & GUI

In website development, universal design happens at both the coding and the graphical user interface (GUI) level. One major coding example is reflowing text. This is explained in success criterion 1.4.8 of the WCAG 2.0 guidance as follows: “The resizing provision ensures that visually rendered text...can be scaled successfully without requiring that the user scroll left and right to see all of the content. When the content has been authored so that this is possible, the content is said to reflow. This permits people with low vision and people with cognitive disabilities to increase the size of the text without becoming disoriented.”

When WCAG 2.0 was published in 2008, it would have been difficult to predict the explosion of phones, tablets, and other portable devices with screens much smaller than standard computer monitors. Yet mobile device users instantly notice the benefits when text reflow has been implemented; it means the difference between an automatically tidy presentation versus having to repeatedly scroll right and left on a page to see all content.

On the GUI side, success criterion 1.4.3 of WCAG covers providing “enough contrast between text and its background so that it can be read by people with moderately low vision (who do not use contrast-enhancing assistive technology).” The Colour Contrast Analyser is a free tool for Mac or Windows that makes checking for compliance with this criterion very easy. Compliance is also likely to make websites easier to read for anyone over 40 or so (the eye’s reaction to light naturally decreases with age) or anyone in an environment with too much or too little lighting.

Learn more

To learn more about universal design, please join the U-M Web Accessibility Working Group, which meets monthly and also sponsors an active listserv where questions can be posted and information shared. We look forward to talking with you.

New initiative connects academic excellence, inclusion & innovation

by Erin McCann, Office of Academic Innovation & Ken Caldwell, ITS Communications; Photo: Office of Academic Innovation

There’s a new name for design at the intersection of academic excellence, inclusion, and innovation at U-M.

At its core, the Office of Academic Innovation—formerly the Office of Digital Education & Innovation—is shaping learning to be more personalized, engaged, and lifelong. Its influence spans 68 initiatives and three specialized labs: the Digital Education & Innovation Lab (DEIL), the Gameful Learning Lab (GLL), and the Digital Innovation Greenhouse (DIG). The group has championed an array of projects from massive-open online courses (MOOCs) to personalized messaging in apps like ECoach and ART 2.0.

A presidential charge

The Office of Academic Innovation is charged by President Schlissel and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Pollack to steward the Academic Innovation Initiative, a formal effort announced in October. In broad strokes, the Academic Innovation Initiative will consider how U-M will lead the way for higher education through the information age and further strengthen our impact on society.

According to James L. Hilton, vice provost for academic innovation and dean of libraries at Michigan, “the Academic Innovation Initiative is an invitation to the entire campus to imagine again what the great public research university ought to look like for this century, this technology, this economy, this global scale, this workforce.”

Get involved

There are many opportunities to get involved with Academic Innovation: attend upcoming events, join the Ideas2017 Challenge, or connect with three faculty-led design groups.

Read more

MiVideo viewership triples in three years

by Melinda Kraft, ITS Business Systems Analyst Senior

MiVideo, powered by Kaltura, is U-M’s streaming media service. Since its pilot in 2012, MiVideo has experienced explosive growth with viewership more than tripling from 1.3 million minutes in the 2013-14 academic year to 4.7 million minutes in the 2015-16 academic year (see chart). This September alone, students, staff, and faculty uploaded 13,033 videos, images, and audio files; and viewers consumed an average of 408 hours of media every day of the month!

An easy-to-use, web-based solution

MiVideo moved to ITS Teaching and Learning’s service portfolio in January, but its use isn’t limited to academic work. Current customers use the service for research, marketing, internal training, direct embeds in departmental websites, and live event streaming. More than 65 configurable modules enable MiVideo’s Mediaspace website customers to configure user experiences to meet their unique needs. Here are just a few examples:

  • MiVideo powers Media Gallery and My Media in Canvas and Blackboard (Flint campus)
  • The Bentley Historical Library uses MiVideo tools to bulk upload, publish, and secure large volumes of media quickly and securely. For more information, check out the Bentley Library Customer Success video.
  • The School of Music, Theater, and Dance uses live streaming, U-M authentication, and Playlists to make audio concert recordings easy to access.
  • The Health System’s Mediabank offers a large collection of downloadable images and video footage that is publicly available via a Creative Commons license.
  • With custom search features and external authentication, the School of Education’s Teaching and Learning Exploratory supports the study of education practice and is available to teachers and researchers.

A flexible streaming media service

Authorized users and administrators can access MiVideo from most any device with an Internet connection. The service also provides a variety of tools for managing multimedia content:

  • Automatic media conversion; upload virtually any video, audio, or image format
  • Player adapts for bandwidth and screen size for the best possible viewer experience
  • Customize players with colors, buttons, and messages
  • Attach downloadable files like PDFs, images, and Word docs.
  • Screen, camera, and audio recording with CaptureSpace
  • Add chapters and sync slides to your video or audio to create interactive presentations
  • Order no-cost, automatic speech recognition captions and transcripts
  • Plus custom metadata fields, sharing and collaboration tools, and analytics

What is the cost to use MiVideo?

The latest contract renewal eliminated caps on storage and streaming, paving the way to offer the service at no cost to all U-M units. To learn more about the service and request a consultation, please visit the MiVideo website.  

SUMIT_2016 addresses current IT security & privacy issues

text and photos by Joel Iverson, ITS Communications

U-M Law professor Margo Schlanger (far right), is joined by Alexander Joel and David Medine for a discussion about the appropriate balance between privacy and security in our society in an age of terrorism.

Rice University professor Dan Wallach, used humor at times to discuss the real need for a more secure voting system.

The 12th annual Security at University of Michigan IT (SUMIT) was held on Thursday, October 20. As the university's flagship event for National Cyber Security Awareness Month, SUMIT_2016 helped raise community awareness of timely IT security and privacy issues. This year’s event featured panel discussions and presentations that included:

  • Hacking & Securing the Internet of Things: A panel discussion that provided insight into attack vectors and emerging security standards of the Internet of Things.
  • Security in Tree City: Leaders of some of Ann Arbor's best tech companies shared their perspectives on the state of computer security, the information security industry in Ann Arbor, and the threats and challenges they strive to address through their products and services.
  • Security and Privacy in an Age of Terrorism: As part of the Dissonance event series, a panel made up of current and former federal experts, moderated by a U-M law school faculty member, discussed the pressing question of how to strike the appropriate balance between security and privacy in a world where terror attacks are a daily threat.
  • Hacking the Vote: Professor Dan Wallach, a national expert in the security of voting systems from Rice University, shared a case study of his ongoing project to design a more secure ballot casting system and the importance of doing so.

Information about each presentation and a biography of each presenter is available at the SUMIT_2016 event page. Videos of all SUMIT_2016 presentations and panel discussions will be available soon. Presentations from previous SUMIT conferences are also available on the Safe Computing events page.

More than 550 people attended SUMIT_2016 either in person at Rackham Auditorium or virtually via the live stream throughout the day. These individuals represented more than 209 universities, corporations, small businesses, and nonprofits from around the country.

Social media played another key role in keeping the conversation about SUMIT_2016 going. During the conference there were 277 tweets with the hashtag #sumit16. Those tweets made 38,400 impressions leading to 168 engagements (retweets, replies, quotes, and likes). As a comparison, in an average month, @umichTECH tweets are usually seen 20-40 thousand times.

ITS offers live streaming TV to Ann Arbor campus

by Ken Caldwell, ITS Communications

Want to watch live, local TV on the Ann Arbor campus? ITS Infrastructure is introducing Philo internet television, an IP-based solution your unit can use at no cost on computers, tablets, smartphones, and TVs connected to the UM-Ann Arbor network.

Philo offers an HD picture, 20+ hours of DVR storage per user, and supports U-M single sign-on. The Philo channel lineup currently includes 24 local broadcast channels, including the major networks and public television from Detroit and Flint. Philo-supported devices include Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and certain Roku models with Ethernet connectivity.

Use Philo in your unit

With its range of programming, consider using Philo to provide free, IP-based television content in your unit’s waiting rooms, common areas, or classrooms. Typically, an Ethernet-connected Roku device is used to connect to a television. The Philo system also has a number of open channels available to carry content that would support your unit's mission, whether that content comes from an external source or is created on campus. If you have ideas for future Philo programming, email itcom.umtv@umich.edu.

Watch live or record

To get started, visit umich.philo.com and log in using your U-M uniqname and password. Under the Live section, select a channel to watch live, or select a program name to record current or upcoming shows. Please remember Philo is available only on the Ann Arbor campus. For help connecting to Philo or to the U-M network, contact the ITS Service Center. To learn more about Philo and its supported devices, refer to the Philo support page.

Kudos & Campus News

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

CISO Don Welch to leave U-M

Chief Information Security Office Don Welch will leave U-M to become the CISO at Penn State University. Welch joined U-M 18 months ago. His last day at Michigan will be December 2. “Don played a critical role in leading U-M’s information security program,” said Kevin Hegarty, U-M interim CIO, executive vice president, and chief financial officer. “He raised the bar for our information security program by launching several strategic initiatives to increase the security posture of our research-intensive environment, to ensure U-M has relevant and actionable compliance standards, and to safeguard against cyber-attacks. I thank Don for his service to U-M and wish him well in his new endeavors.” Hegarty plans to work with recently announced VPIT-CIO Kelli Trosvig to set a plan for interim and long-term CISO leadership.

Data science funding

Four research teams from U-M and Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China are sharing $800,000 in awards for projects that focus on data science and how it can be used to sustain critical infrastructures for the environment and human health. Since 2010, the two universities have collaborated on a number of research projects that address challenges and opportunities in energy, biomedicine, nanotechnology, and data science. "We are excited to see a strong group of new faculty teams now venture into joint research with a data science focus, exploring new directions in an international context," said Volker Sick, associate vice president for research—natural sciences and engineering.

UMICH represents!

Twenty Michigan IT staff presented at the 2016 EDUCAUSE Annual Conference 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. Over 7,000 higher ed IT professionals attended this year’s event. Congratulations to all involved and watch for a full report in our next issue.

WiFi working wonders

How important is WiFi on the Ann Arbor campus? Based on usage statistics for the first day of the fall term, WiFi has become a must-have for U-M faculty, staff and students. On September 6, more than 55,000 people connected to MWireless and eduroam, using almost 96,000 unique devices and exceeding 54 terabytes of traffic. To meet growing demand, the ITS WiFi project has nearly doubled the number of access points on campus to a total of 11,579 since June 2015. Thus far, the project has improved Wi-Fi in 52 university buildings covering 5.8 million square feet. "It has been spectacular that you can now move almost anywhere on the campus and maintain WiFi connectivity,” says Peter Washabaugh, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and associate professor of aerospace engineering. “The upgrade project has definitely improved overall coverage and signal strength in areas where I operate."

A fine fellow

U-M alum Reid Wilson was selected as the first Detroit Data Fellow and will spend the next two years helping the Detroit Police Department understand crime patterns in real time. The program is part of a universitywide effort to engage with the city, its leaders, and residents to create a sustainable impact for a better future. Fellows participate in a weeklong data analysis boot camp on campus to prepare and each is assigned a U-M faculty mentor. The program builds on the Ford School's Education Policy Initiative expertise in data mining and quantitative analysis.

New CoP in town

Women in IT Community of Practice: Women make up less than 25 percent of the IT workforce in the USA. Minorities make up even less. A new community of practice explores why that is, and how we can promote diversification in IT. The goal of Women in IT is to establish a network of IT professionals to support women’s career growth, education on relevant topics, and look for ways to increase the number of women in IT. The group will also look for opportunities to reach out and encourage women of all ages to embrace and nurture their love for technology. To join, subscribe to the Women in IT MCommunity group or Google Plus Community. Our first meeting is on December 7, 2-4 p.m. in the Arbor Lakes Dome.


ECoach, a personalized education tool developed at U-M, has been expanded this fall to serve all first-year students. "The goal is to ease the transition to college for all students," said principal investigator Tim McKay, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Physics, Astronomy and Education, and director of U-M's Digital Innovation Greenhouse in the Office of Academic Innovation. "By learning more about every student, then providing them all with personalized feedback, encouragement and advice, the FirstYear version of ECoach will help ensure a more successful launch for every student."

Election audits

Since hackers targeted the election systems of more than 20 states, cyber security experts say Michigan should routinely audit a sample of its paper ballots to protect against election fraud. The Michigan Secretary of State’s office said the state’s voter registration lists have not been targeted or affected. “[Audits] should be done routinely in order to provide a strong degree of confidence,” said U-M cyber security expert Alex Halderman. “That’s an opportunity for Michigan to improve its election procedures. You should audit every election.” On November 1, Professor Halderman will be part of a Dissonance event titled "Disrupting Democracy: How Technology is Influencing Elections."

Packing a punch

John Heron, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, and colleagues have engineered a material that could lead to a new generation of computing devices—packing in more computing power while consuming nearly 100 times less energy than today's electronics require. Known as magnetoelectric multiferroic material, it combines electrical and magnetic properties at room temperature and relies on a phenomenon called "planar rumpling." The new material sandwiches together individual layers of atoms, producing a thin film with magnetic polarity that can be flipped from positive to negative or vice versa with small pulses of electricity. "That electrical control is what excites electronics makers, so this is a huge step forward," Heron noted.

Injectable computers

With a radio specifically designed to communicate through tissue, U-M researchers are adding another level to a computer platform small enough to fit inside a medical grade syringe. In the video below, David Blaauw, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and David Wentzloff, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, discuss how the technology will allow real time information to be applied to devices monitoring heart fibrillation as well as glucose monitoring for diabetics.

Smartphone stress

Parents searching for work-life balance may see smartphones and tablets as a way to escape the office in time to be home for dinner each night. But, a recent study suggests these gadgets can also be a huge distraction and source of stress. When researchers asked a group of parents to slow down and answer detailed questions about how and when they use mobile technology, people revealed a lot of internal conflict about how the devices are changing their lives. “Every time a new technology is introduced, it disrupts things a little, so in many ways this is no different from the anxieties that families and our culture felt with the introduction of the TV or telephone,” said lead study author Dr. Jenny Radesky, a pediatrics researcher at U-M’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

Inclusive meetings

One concrete way you can begin to implement U-M’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is by helping ensure that everyone feels comfortable at meetings. Often, this is as straightforward as making sure a range of options are provided when food is served, clearly identifying single-stall bathrooms and lactation rooms, and identifying people who can provide help to attendees when needed. Staff from ITS and elsewhere on campus have created "Ten Tips for Inclusive Meetings" as a first step to help meeting planners start meeting their DE&I goals. We welcome your questions and feedback at institutional.equity@umich.edu.

Twitter TV

Last month, millions of viewers used Twitter to watch live streams of NFL football and the presidential debates. If you weren’t one, here’s how it works: After opening the Twitter app and selecting Moments, you click “watch live” to join the live stream, which also integrates a Twitter feed of hashtags related to the event. Amanda Lotz, professor of Communication Studies and Screen Arts & Cultures, examines what these “Twittercasts” might mean for the future of live TV.

Online discrimination

In cyberspace, as in real life, it’s unlawful to discriminate against job candidates on the basis of age, race, nationality, disability, religion, or gender. But proving such bias is a challenge because the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, an anti-hacking law passed thirty years ago, makes it illegal to use some of the more common practices for detecting discrimination. Journalists and computer scientists from Northeastern University, the University of Illinois, and the University of Michigan are now challenging the broad sweep of that law in a lawsuit filed in late June by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Open Michigan

Open Michigan is relaunching as the home for all things open at the University of Michigan—freely accessible, openly licensed documents and media used for teaching, learning, and research—including expertise and services for open educational resources (OER), open data, and open publications. The new Open Michigan is a partnership of the University Library and Health Information Technology and Services (HITS). The Library and HITS have worked closely together in the past to host events and promote sharing. By officially joining forces, Open Michigan can provide the University of Michigan community with a ‘one stop shop’ for information and resources about open content of all kinds. Read more about the relaunch of Open Michigan.

Gaming for good

Computer gaming is now a regular part of life for many people. Beyond just being entertaining, though, it can be a very useful tool in education and in science. If people spent just a fraction of their play time solving real-life scientific puzzles—by playing science-based computer games—what new knowledge might we uncover? Professor James Bardwell and Scott Horowitz, a research fellow, examine how a popular game like Foldit is helping to advance the science of biochemistry through “gamesourcing.”

Bugged bugs

When Mark Zuckerberg posted a picture of himself on Facebook last June, a sharp-eyed observer spotted a piece of tape covering his laptop’s camera. The irony didn’t go unnoticed. Even those of us who don’t control large corporations have reason to be concerned about the next frontiers in surveillance. For example, today many security cameras are easy to spot. But researchers are developing devices that can hide in plain sight, some by mimicking animals, like robotic bugs. If an insect is too obvious, David Blaauw, an engineer at U-M, is developing “micro motes”—tiny computers mere millimeters wide that can be equipped with cameras and other sensors.

Kids media Rx

The quantity and quality of media children and teens consume should change with their age, according to new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The organization also says parents should oversee children's media consumption and educate them about proper media engagement. "The big picture message is that parents have a huge role to play as guides and mentors for their young children about what technology means," said Dr. Jenny Radesky from U-M’s C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, who led the crafting of the new guidelines for young children.

Voice choice

The growing high-tech field of conversational computing is popularized by intelligent virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa, and the Google Assistant. Interestingly, all of them use a young female voice. Because it has social and emotional dimensions not seen with keyboards and screens, conversational computing is holding a mirror to many of society’s biggest preconceptions around race and gender. “There’s a kind of pressure to conform to the prejudices of the world,” explains Jason Mars, professor of computer science whose tech start-up features an AI smartphone app. (Photo: iphonedigital/flickr)

Texting etiquette

How big of a role does texting play in your life? If you are among the 97% of American smartphone owners who send at least one text every day, it might be time to take another look at your texting etiquette. According to English professor Anne Curzan, there’s a chance you’re doing it all wrong. For example, the use of the period for punctuation has seen some of the biggest changes as a result of texting. “You need to be careful,” Curzan said. “There’s stuff going on with punctuation in texting. It is getting repurposed … and the period has come to be seen as serious, if not a little bit angry.”

Paper still safer

Online voting sounds like a dream. But ask cyber security experts and they’ll tell you it’s really a nightmare. In 2010, the District of Columbia piloted an Internet voting system and held a public trial to see if it could be infiltrated. Computer science professor Alex Halderman and his students welcomed the opportunity to legally hack their system. Within 36 hours, they found a tiny error that gave them full control. “The flaw that we exploited was just such a small error…[but] that was enough to let us remotely change all the votes,” said Halderman. “My take is it’s going to probably be decades before we’ve made enough progress on just fundamental computer security problems before we can offer the same security with online voting that we expect today from paper ballots in a polling place.”

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.

  • Assessment & Evaluation CoP: Tuesday, November 15, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.; Rm 1322 (Tribute Room), School of Education; Topic: Introduction to Data Management for A&E.
  • Agile Development: Tuesday, November 15; 3:30–4:30 p.m.; location TBD.
  • Project/Program Management: Thursday, November 17, 2:30–4 p.m.
  • Women in IT: Wednesday, December 7, 2–4 p.m.; Arbor Lakes Building 3, Dome.

IT security training

Michigan IT staff have asked for IT security training, and implementation of U-M's revised information security program, as outlined in the proposed revision to the U-M IT Security Policy, depends on knowledgeable staff. IIA has purchased a limited number of seats in several Merit training courses throughout the 2016-17 academic year. U-M’s Cyber Security Training by Merit Professional Development will cover cyber security for executives, cyber security for technical staff, secure coding, secure web application engineering, and more. Select staff members from the U-M Ann Arbor, Health System, Flint, and Dearborn campuses are receiving email invitations as the sessions are scheduled.

BlueJeans hands-on training

ITS Infrastructure offers training sessions at your unit’s preferred location to teach faculty and staff how to begin using BlueJeans conferencing service:

  • Understand BlueJeans and how it works
  • Schedule, join, and record BlueJeans meetings
  • Learn about BlueJeans’ moderator controls

Participants are encouraged to bring laptops, smartphones, or tablets. Visit the ITS BlueJeans page to learn more, create a BlueJeans account, and download the apps. These steps can also be done during training. For more information, or to schedule training, email HDVideoconferencing@umich.edu.

Disrupting Democracy: How Technology is Influencing Elections

Tuesday, November 1; 6:30–7:30 p.m.; Michigan League Ballroom. Both U.S. presidential candidates have shared their thoughts and concerns that foreign actors may be taking steps to influence or disrupt the election. Join U-M Professor Alex Halderman (Computer Science & Engineering, EECS) and Professor Walter Mebane (Political Science, Statistics, LSA) in a panel moderated by Doug Tribou (host of Morning Edition on Michigan Radio) as they examine how the security of election systems and election fraud have the potential for disrupting democracies both at home and abroad. This discussion is part of the Dissonance Event Series.

Detroitography GIS Workshop

Wednesday, November 2; 2–4 p.m.; Institute for the Humanities, 202 South Thayer Building, Osterman Common Room; Alex Hill, founder of Detroitography (an organization whose focus is on democratizing map making and refocusing data for people-centered innovation) conducts a workshop on the Geographic Information System software he uses to turn the raw data into maps.

Claude E. Shannon Centennial Celebration

November 4, 17, 21; various times and locations. U-M is celebrating the 100th birthday of Claude E. Shannon, widely recognized as the father of information theory. A biweekly Shannon Centennial Lecture Series will be held in the Rackham Amphitheater during the fall 2016 semester.

IT4U68: The New Inbox by Gmail

Thursday, November 10, 9–9:45 a.m.; online. Are you looking for a different way to manage your email so it acts more like a task list? Inbox by Gmail sorts, bundles and marks your email as complete. Using the new features, you can get closer to INBOX ZERO—an inbox with no email in it! Level: Intermediate. Register in My LINC. Playlist of IT4U webinar recordings in YouTube.

Ann Arbor Data Dive

Saturday, November 12; 9 a.m–7:30 p.m.; North Quad. The Ann Arbor Data Dive is a one-day data hackathon which gives you an opportunity to solve the data needs of non-profit organizations. It is a masters-student run community event, associated with the U-M School of Information. Data Dive is all about data work, peer learning and serving non profits. Come join us for a daylong, free, fun Dive into the world of nonprofit data needs: help each other as you try new things, and support the work of local non profits who do good for our neighbors. And drink lots of free coffee and snack on lots of free food.

MIDAS Annual Symposium

Tuesday, November 15; Rackham Building & Wednesday, November 16; Michigan League. Please join us for the Michigan Institute for Data Science Annual Symposium, “Big Data: Advancing Science, Changing the World.” The symposium will feature preeminent data scientists from around the world, and will highlight U-M researchers whose work is on the leading edge of innovation and discovery in data-intensive science. The symposium will also feature a student poster session, and opportunities for students to meet with potential employers interested in data scientists. If you know of any students who might be interested in these events, please let them know. More info and registration.

Digital History @ U-M: Webscraping

Friday, November 18; 2:30–4:30 p.m.; Tisch Hall 1014; The web contains a wealth of data that, even a decade ago, wasn’t available to researchers. However, data from the web is often messy and hard to manually download and gather. This workshop will focus on using the Python programming language to scrape data from the web and make it useful for digital history research and analysis. In addition to tackling the “how,” we will also discuss “why” and “when” web scraping is appropriate. Please bring a computer if possible. More info.


Wednesday, November 19; 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.; Kochoff Hall, University Center, U-M Dearborn; GIS Day is a global event celebrating the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Locally, a GIS Day event at U-M Dearborn will provide students, faculty, staff, and the community with the opportunity to explore, share, and learn about the application of GIS to problems that affect the environment and community. Presentations and exhibits will showcase the use of GIS in community development, public safety, health, environmental science, and others.

Michigan IT Symposium

Monday, November 21 & Tuesday, November 22; Michigan League. 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. Read the preview article in this issue.

Unizin Innovation Summit

Wednesday, April 19 & Thursday, April 20, 2017; Denver, CO. Early Bird Registration open until January 15, 2017. Call for proposals open until Monday, January 30, 2017. This year's Summit is a two-day event that will focus on how we can move forward together to create better digital teaching and learning environments by implementing important organizational changes. More info and registration.

Safe Computing

Change your password when you change your clocks

When you change your clocks for the end of Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, November 6, don’t forget to change your UMICH (Level-1) password as well. ITS recommends that you change your UMICH password every six months. An easy way to remember this is to change your password when you change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time. Change your password at password.it.umich.edu. This year you can add extra protection for your personal information by turning on two-factor authentication for Weblogin. See the article above for more information.

Cyber security news roundup

To get links to timely cyber security and privacy articles, such as the recent Dyn DNS incident, be sure to check out the In the News section of Safe Computing.

Project Updates

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

Delivering a better AWS experience

Aside from limited consulting, the current M Cloud AWS (Amazon Web Services) offering leaves the management of the service to the end user, which has been a barrier to adoption for some. There is also very little ability to report on usage and state across university assets. The M Cloud AWS Integrate project will focus on providing "value add" foundational connectivity, management, security, reporting, etc. It will integrate with campus resources, as well as make some more resilient. We encourage feedback from around campus on the project. The first tab of this worksheet provides more details about the project and the second tab contains the target scope for version 1 of M Cloud AWS Integrate. Feel free to comment directly in this document or send your feedback to mcloudawsintegrate@umich.edu.

CTools begins transition of project sites

This semester marked a major milestone for teaching and learning at U-M: All course sites moved from CTools to Canvas, a more capable system that has earned praise from faculty and students. But the work is not done yet. ITS is now shifting its focus to decommissioning CTools Project Sites by late 2017. Project sites, commonly used for file storage, research support, and collaboration, account for more than half of the content stored on CTools. Although about 60,000 such sites exist today, less than 10 percent of them were accessed in the past year. Visit the project site for more information.

IQ launches Data Concierge initiative

Currently, requests for administrative data are routed through various channels and it can sometimes take months for information requests to get fulfilled. Data Concierge will create a one-stop shop for university data needs. The Data Concierge team plans a pilot launch of the service in early 2017 that aims to provide a way to request and obtain administrative and learning management data in a consistent, timely, and secure manner. With Data Concierge, U-M administrators will be able to better meet the changing operational needs of the university, reduce costs, and improve efficiency. For more info, visit the Data Concierge project page.

Updating personal information in Wolverine Access

ITS worked with Public Safety and Security, Student Life, University Human Resources, and other key campus groups to release a new feature in Wolverine Access that prompts students, faculty, and staff to review and update addresses, emergency contacts, and U-M Emergency Alert preferences. The information is used to locate individuals in case of an emergency, send notifications of an emergency on or near campus, and route university mail. After a successful pilot, the Personal Data Validation screen rolled out to students on September 19, and to faculty and staff on October 3, with the following results:

  • During the week of September 19, 3,433 students updated their emergency contacts—a near 2,000% increase over the same week last year.
  • As of October 17, 43,593 students, faculty, and staff reviewed their personal information in Wolverine Access. Of those, 7,281 updated an address; 10,330 updated emergency contacts, and 3,611 updated an U-M Emergency Alert number.
  • 3,702 people enrolled in U-M Emergency Alerts for the first time.

WiFi upgrades

It continues to be a very busy fall for the WiFi project team, with many buildings completed across campus. Check out our progress! Visit the project website for additional information.

  • Recently completed: 300 N. Ingalls, Perry Building, UM Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI)
  • Currently under construction: Francis Thomas Jr. Public Health (SPH II), Gorguze Family Laboratory, Lane Hall, Burton Tower, Life Science Institute, Blau
  • Network design underway: East Hall, West Hall, GG Brown, North Quad (Residence Hall), Betsy Barbour, Newberry,  Randall Labs, Northwood Community Center
  • Site surveys scheduled/completed: Walgreen Theatre, Stamps Auditorium, Dental School, Argus II

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.

AFS maintenance disruption

There will be a brief disruption of the Andrew File System (AFS), also known as IFS and MFile, during the standard maintenance window from 11 p.m. November 26 to 4 a.m November 27. The service disruption will also impact websites hosted by ITS. Visit the ITS Service Status site for more information about the maintenance. The status on the page will be updated once the maintenance is complete.

One word: "BlueJeans"

BlueJeans Network now officially writes their service and company name without a word space: "BlueJeans." To align with the vendor’s preferred branding, ITS recently updated all references to BlueJeans online and in print. Likewise, please update your unit's materials for consistency across campus. This change does not affect the BlueJeans wordmark. To learn more about BlueJeans at U-M, visit its.umich.edu/blue-jeans.

Announcing Tableau Dashboard for Contact Centers

In an effort to deliver metrics in a convenient format, we are pleased to offer a new Tableau Dashboard for Contact Centers. This tool allows each contact center to view their data on:

  • Handled Call Volume by percent that met or breached hold time SLA
  • Distribution of presented calls, by time received and weekday
  • and more...

A training session is scheduled from 10–11 a.m. on Thursday, November 17 in Arbor Lakes, North Dome.  For your convenience, you may attend in person or via BlueJeans. (Join the Contact Centers Community of Practice to receive an invitation to the training session.) The session will also be recorded for later viewing. If desired, you can begin using your Dashboard by viewing the First-time Setup and Training Material.

U-M Box

U-M Google

Voice & Contact Center SLE revisions

Recently, the ITS Infrastructure team reviewed and revised the Voice Services SLE and Contact Center SLE on the ITS Key Service Document Repository website. Management of these documents is handled as part of the Business Planning Team's responsibilities.   

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