Michigan IT Newsletter: December 2016/January 2017

Michigan IT Newsletter from the Office of the CIO

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Message from the Vice President for IT and CIO

Getting Started

This past November I started at the University of Michigan, leaving behind a job and staff I have truly loved and stepping up to a new challenge more than halfway across the country. I thought I would get started by sharing a little bit about me, what drew me to Michigan, and what my role means for the University of Michigan.

As I shared at the Michigan IT Symposium, I am native of Washington and I’ve worked at the University of Washington for most of my professional career. After 15 years in healthcare, I was asked by the president to take on the leadership role in UW’s technology organization, a one year assignment, focusing on the management of the IT organization. The IT organization and I grew on each other, and one year turned into eight, all the while building trust and enjoying the ability to affect real change across campus. I was a geek by heart, and I found my calling.

My husband actually grew up inside and outside of Detroit, his family still runs a business in Detroit, so as I was looking for the next challenge, I started to become interested in the role of the CIO at Michigan. I explored it very tentatively at first, because it's hard to leave a place where you are successful and have enjoyed strong working  relationships, but after getting to know the leadership team here and meeting staff and faculty members who are so enthusiastic about what they're doing, I realized that Michigan is a really special place. What attracted me to Michigan the most was its commitment to embrace the role that technology is going to play in every facet of the institution moving forward—from how we care for patients, to how we accelerate our research, to how we train the next generation of digital leaders.

As your new Vice President for Information Technology and CIO, I'm excited about the ability of the entire campus to get behind initiatives in ways and scale that are difficult to accomplish in other places. And, as someone who has held dual roles in both administrative and unit IT leadership, I have a great deal of respect for the diverse set of priorities and responsibilities of unit’s and their IT that are often more immediate and less theoretical than those in central. I’ll be doing a lot of listening from the center out to the edges of what is the next thing, what services need to be provided, or what capabilities are needed. Together, we’ll also look for opportunities to simplify and become more effective with the resources that we already have in place.

I believe that, working together, we will continue to see technology as a partner to the innovative spirit and excellence that defines this institution.

In partnership,


Kelli Trosvig
Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
University of Michigan

MESA: Bite-sized strategy tool has super-sized impact

by Dana Fair, ITS Communications

U-M's Michigan Enterprise Strategic Assessments, better known as MESAs, are making a splash here and at other universities.

The MESA is a strategic planning tool created and launched in summer 2015 by the ITS Enterprise Architecture team. Groups and teams start with a template and through a series of directed discussions build their own MESA. The outcome is a document or set of documents and corresponding artifacts that help those teams visually express their strategic goals, plans to achieve those goals, and the current and desired future state of their services, products, technologies, or capabilities.

Broad appeal

The MESA presentation by U-M and early adopter Yale University at Educause 2016 resulted in a flurry of inquiries and discussions with folks from several institutions, including Arizona State University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Washington. "Kyoto University is hoping to have someone from U-M visit and speak with their leaders," says Chris Eagle, IT strategist and enterprise architect, Office of the VPIT-CIO. "We've noticed that when we speak about MESAs in forums and at conferences, individuals are quick to recognize the tool's benefits and the significant value it can bring to their organizations."

MESAs use a consistent format across all organizational levels, looking forward three years. It is this standardization that allows staff to view and familiarize themselves with each team's thinking. As more teams build and publish MESAs, their institutions amass a better sense of what individual and collective teams are thinking and planning. What's more, the information included in the documents can be used to align team decisions with institution-wide strategic plans.

Wide-ranging benefits

Advocates say that the formal exercise assisted with determining what capabilities should be pursued or abandoned. Team discussions offered a chance to develop long-term vision documents that could be referenced easily.

"ITS teams have been building and using MESAs for over a year now," says Dan Kiskis, enterprise architect, Office of the VPIT-CIO. "Entering the annual review process, we interviewed directors and managers about the tool's effectiveness. They conveyed that it helps them think strategically about their services and roadmaps. Others pointed out that they began exploring technologies their teams might not otherwise have considered."

As MESA usage weaves its way through the Michigan IT community, more teams on the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint campuses, and the Health System have an opportunity to show the intent and aspirations of their services. They can plan how best to maintain existing business processes and implement new business processes that are dependent on certain IT services. The result is a transparent and bite-sized strategic plan that can be mutually beneficial for IT service providers and customers.

Individuals and teams can find out more about this useful tool by visiting the MESA website. General inquiries or presentation requests should be sent to umich-ea@umich.edu.

Flint IT supports new pre-school program

by Nick Looney, Flint ITS; Photos: U-M Flint News, Flint ITS

More than 200 young students will gain new skills through exploration, learning, and creative play as Cummings Great Expectations, An Early Childhood Center, officially opened its doors last month to provide much-needed early education services for children across Flint. Through a partnership with the UM-Flint School of Education, Flint ITS was instrumental in providing technology support for the new center.

Flint ITS was involved in the project in a number of ways. The group installed network and wireless throughout the building. It will also provide 20 desktop computers, 13 laptops, and 4 iPads for use at the location. Lastly, Flint is looking into the possibility of hiring a new employee to provide tech and support at the site. All technology work should be complete in the next few months.

The Cummings Early Childhood Center will provide early education services for many children in the Flint area. Cummings will identify and address the educational, behavioral, and health needs of Flint children ages two months to five years, with a focus on those who were exposed to lead as a result of the city's water crisis. The center also will serve as a resource hub for parents, families, and other home- and center-based childcare providers.

The center is the result of a partnership between Flint Community Schools, UM-Flint, and the Genesee Intermediate School District to provide space, programming, and fiscal oversight of Cummings. UM-Flint, which operates a nationally accredited early childhood education center on its campus, is providing the same program and services at Cummings. The state of Michigan, foundations, and other charitable organizations are providing financial support.

According to Bilal Tawwab, superintendent of Flint Community Schools, all of these entities are working together to increase access to early childhood education in Flint. Research shows high-quality early childhood education can mitigate the effects of lead exposure, which can cause developmental delays and behavioral challenges in young children.

"The effort to get IT services up and running for the Early Childhood Education Center in the Cummings Community School building has proven to be challenging, but through significant effort by multiple teams in ITS good progress has been made,” says Erik Taipalus, UM-Flint’s project manager. “ITS made a well-received special effort to get a temporary wireless network solution in place so that staff did not have to continue to drive to the nearby McDonald's to get internet access! We are hopeful that all IT services will be available by the end of the year."

Michigan IT Symposium creates connections and showcases innovation

by Nancy Herlocher and Josh Simon, LSA; Photo: Christopher Gardner, ITS

More than 500 IT professionals, administrators, and other community members gathered to create connections and showcase innovation occurring across all U-M campuses by participating in the third annual Michigan IT Symposium, held at the Michigan League November 21-22.

This year, the event showcased 59 posters categorized by how they advance U-M IT Strategic Plan goals: Easily leveraged information, minimal administrative overhead, learning health system, learning laboratory, and unified research ecosystem. It also offered several new features:

  • Hands-on training session topics including Hadoop, Docker, Amazon Web Services, and Getting the Most Out of the Symposium.
  • "Birds of a Feather" sessions were designed to encourage facilitated discussions around ideas like safeguarding research, communicating IT changes, and preparing for future student technology needs.
  • We screened our first-ever feature film, CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, which was followed by a panel discussion with DEI representatives from the College of Engineering, LSA, and the Office of the Provost.

Keynote panel

The morning keynote was a panel discussion moderated by Professor Tim McKay (LSA physics and astronomy and School of Education) and included faculty members Aaron Ridley (College of Engineering, Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering), Brenda Gunderson (LSA statistics), C. Alberto Figueroa (Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering), and Richard Tolman (School of Social Work). Each shared information about their work and the resources they use from Michigan IT. They also provided a wish list of the future of IT in their areas.

Video: Mike Stork, ITS

Closing remarks

For the closing session, Cathy Curley, executive director of strategy & planning for the Office of the CIO, facilitated a chat with Kelli Trosvig, U-M's new vice president for information technology and chief information officer. Trosvig shared some of her background story, why she made the move to U-M, and gave an overview of her approach to IT management. After answering a few pre-submitted questions, Trosvig participated in a short Q&A session with the audience.

Video: Mike Stork, ITS

Behind the scenes

The IT Symposium was made possible due to the efforts of the 2016 Michigan IT Symposium Planning Committee and many volunteers, from set-up and wayfinding, room hosts, graphic design, social media, and video and photography.

Get involved

The IT Symposium is one of several activities organized by the Michigan IT Steering Committee to build community and encourage collaboration among U-M's 2,400 IT professionals. Planning for next year's event has already begun. If you'd like to participate on the planning committee for the 2017 Michigan IT Symposium, email michigan-it-symposium@umich.edu. Come help frame and take part in our future conversations!

Home for the holidays? Read this first!

by Josh Simon, LSA

As winter break approaches, many of us are busy with holiday plans and are eager to finish up our work so we can relax with family and friends. But before you set up your away message and head out the door:

  • Help U-M conserve energy and money over the break:
    • Close and lock all windows to save energy and prevent water pipes and sprinkler heads from freezing and bursting.
    • Set thermostats to 68°F where possible for the building to operate efficiently and conserve energy.
    • Turn off all unused office equipment, including monitors, printers, copiers, fans, coffee pots, task lighting, and device chargers.
    • Turn off space heaters.
  • Help campus remain safe and secure:
    • Close and lock all doors.
    • Secure any valuables.
    • Lock desks and closets.

During the break, many buildings will be locked, residence halls will be vacated, most campus computing sites will be closed, and ITS will be operating on a reduced schedule. If you are working over the break and need assistance, call:

  • 911 to report crimes and emergencies to university police
  • 734-763-1131, the U-M Division of Public Safety and Security, for non-emergency issues
  • 734-647-2059, the Plant Operations Call Center, for maintenance requests, including custodial service, groundskeeping, and parking maintenance

Don't forget! When you come back from the holiday break, double check to make sure all your equipment is plugged in and turned on before reporting any problems.

Try mentoring for your 2017 resolution

by Rita Girardi, ITS Communications

Go to the gym. Eat more veggies. Learn to play the piano. Read the novel that's been sitting on your nightstand since July. The list of possible New Year's resolutions is long and often focused on self-improvement.

But what about making a resolution for 2017 that helps others? IT professionals have unique and valuable skills that, when shared, could make a huge difference in the education of a child, the job prospects of a college student, or the success of a colleague. Mentoring others is a great way to share your knowledge, give back to your community, and maybe change someone's life for the better. Here are a few opportunities:

Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program

The Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping historically underrepresented youth learn STEM subjects. DAPCEP has 40 years of experience partnering with universities, training programs, and K-12 school systems to connect youth with the best STEM educational experiences in Michigan. DAPCEP students are 4-18 years old, live in southeast Michigan, and love to explore new environments and make lifelong friends. Volunteer information.

WCC Mentoring for Success Program

Want to be professor for a day? The Student Resource Center at Washtenaw Community College is offering professionals the opportunity to discuss their education and career paths, profile their organization, and outline industry issues to provide a real-world viewpoint for both students and faculty. Their Professionals in the Classroom Day happens April 5-6, 2017. For more information, contact Leslie Neal, program coordinator, or complete this form.

Girl Develop It

Girl Develop It (GDI) is a nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable, judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development. The Ann Arbor GDI chapter hosts frequent events that are open to everyone, covering topics ranging from Git to Python to Photoshop. The group's goal is to empower and assist women interested in getting into and advancing in the tech industry. A 2017 meeting schedule is forthcoming. Join the Meetup Group.

Michigan IT Mentoring Program

Michigan IT staff will be able to take part in a new mentor program starting in 2017. As part of a pilot program, staff volunteers will be matched with a mentor within the Michigan IT community for a four-month period. Feedback from the pilot will guide how the program is set up long-term. The pilot is sponsored by the Michigan IT Steering Committee and will be available to current IT staff at U-M who are willing to put the time and energy into making their mentor/mentee relationship a success. Additional details are forthcoming. To volunteer to be part of the planning team, or to participate in the program as a mentee or mentor, email: michigan-it-mentor@umich.edu

Kudos & Campus News

Got some news to share, or know someone who deserves a shout-out? Let us know! (You must be logged in with your UMICH Level-1 password to access the form.)

New year, new IT news

The New Year will bring more than just snow and fitness resolutions. In the first part of 2017, you can expect improvements to how the Michigan Newsletter is published and distributed. Take our reader survey to weigh in. Your feedback will inform the direction of Michigan IT news to better serve the community. We’ve already made some changes: the email distribution list is now managed in MCommunity (Michigan IT), so people can subscribe/unsubscribe on their own. (New IT hires will be added to the group automatically, but can resign if they wish.)

Bermann named interim CISO

Kelli Trosvig, U-M's new vice president for IT and chief information officer (VPIT-CIO) as of November 14, has named Sol Bermann as the university's interim chief information security officer (CISO). Bermann served as interim CISO prior to Don Welch's arrival and continues to serve as U-M's privacy officer.

Shumaker moves to UM-Dearborn

Carrie Shumaker, formerly ITS assistant director for human capital management and student administration systems, accepted a position as the interim director of information technology, strategy, and operations at UM-Dearborn. Effective December 1, Shumaker will lead all Dearborn IT efforts, including applications, network, storage, architecture, and cybersecurity.

"Speed dialing" API calls

When Canvas API calls began to bog down Student Explorer—an application that serves as an early warning system for academic advisors—Information and Technology Services (ITS) and the Digital Innovation Greenhouse (DIG) worked with Unizin to reduce data processing time by half with the Unizin Data Warehouse. Read the case study (PDF) to learn about their solution to provide reliable data in less time.

Fast times at SC16

Kudos to Ben Meekhof (ARC-TS), and Dan Kirkland and Dan Eklund (ITS) for their support of U-M faculty and staff presenting at SC16, a supercomputing conference hosted in Salt Lake City, November 13–17. The team established a dedicated 100G path from U-M to the SC16 conference center as well as high-speed paths from Indiana University, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University to U-M. Their work proved that the Open Storage Research Infrastructure (OSiRIS) project could deploy at a national scale. U-M's high-speed path set a new conference record for bandwidth utilization by contributing to an aggregate of more than 1 Tbps in WAN traffic. See video and slides from U-M presentations at SC16.

New VR Community of Practice

A new Michigan IT Community of Practice is taking shape around augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) systems. Areas of interest include the use of these systems for visualization, teaching, content development, and performance. Meetings will begin in January (specific date TBA). Join the MCommunity group, AR and VR CoP, and the new Google+ community for more information.

Ideas2017 Challenge

As part of this year's Academic Innovation Initiative, the Office of Academic Innovation has challenged the U-M community to contribute more than 2,017 ideas about how we should transform education at Michigan. Visit the Ideas2017 Challenge website and enter a tweet-sized idea (or bigger). While you're there, browse through ideas that have been submitted.

VR training for future engineers

Sherif El-Tawil, professor and associate chair of civil and environmental engineering, was quoted in an article published by U.S. News about the effects of virtual reality technology in engineering education. Professor El-Tawil's MIDEN virtual reality cave gives Michigan Engineers unprecedented insight into the way structures come together, buckle, and collapse.

IQ to host data conference

The Higher Education Data Warehouse (HEDW) selected Information Quest (IQ) to host their April 2019 Conference in Ann Arbor. "This is a huge honor and will allow us to showcase the University of Michigan and our work here in IQ," said Shelly Turner, application developer lead for IQ who will also serve on the HEDW board from 2017 until 2019. The HEDW Forum is dedicated to sharing information and best practices about knowledge management in higher education. The 2016 event had attendees from 153 higher ed institutions, 37 states, and five countries. Congratulations to the IQ team!

Medical misinformation

"Fake" news is not limited to politics or celebrity gossip. A study by Ceren Budak, an assistant professor at the School of Information, shows that the most popular health stories on social media may also be the least accurate. For example, four out of five popular posts on Facebook about Zika contained accurate information, but the ones containing inaccurate information or conspiracy theories were far more popular. Budak says it's possible to combat online misinformation, but timing is key. "If you're too late, it's hard for you to catch up and combat [misinformation]." Also, the spread of misinformation by people online could be much greater than what the new study shows. "They just don't really check the credibility of the information. They receive and just share it right away," she says.

Lessons in digital citizenship

Students and faculty from the School of Education are working with students at Scarlett Middle School in Ann Arbor to help them become good digital citizens, and so they can become ambassadors for others in their school. Watch the video below to learn how the program hopes to foster civility and respect online.

How to hack a human

A recent article published in Communications of the ACM examines the chronology of medical device security. The paper is the result of an interdisciplinary project, known as Trustworthy Health and Wellness, which is funded by the National Science Foundation. Peter Honeyman, U-M research professor of computer science and engineering, collaborated on the article. Learn more.

Smart homes vulnerable

An interview exploring the technology underlying home device security and the Internet of Things (IoT) was recently broadcasted by CBC Radio. Atul Prakash, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, spoke about why many IoT devices are vulnerable. "The technology is relatively new," said Prakash. "Hardware is probably a little bit ahead of the software at this point, and a lot of vulnerabilities we are seeing are primarily on the software side of things."

Exploiting vehicle electronics

The networked electronics found in modern vehicles provide many useful and cool benefits, such as fuel savings, parking assist, and collision avoidance. Most of these features involve passing data among vehicle systems and human drivers. This connectivity also offers hackers new potential exploits. According to research presented last month by U-M researchers Kyong-Tak Cho and Kang Shin at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security in Vienna, the controller area network (CAN) protocol implemented by in-vehicle networks has a new and potentially quite dangerous vulnerability. The attack, known as a bus-off attack, exploits the CAN's built-in error handling facilities to potentially nuke both contemporary insecure CANs and future secured versions.

Lighting the past

Archaeologists in northern Michigan have used pulses of light shot from airplanes to double their discoveries. This remote sensing technology is called light detection and ranging, or lidar. Lidar sends out a pulse of light that returns a measure of distance from the object it strikes. It can greatly improve the efficiency of archaeological searches particularly when scanning vast areas for small details, according to a recent study. The work was supported by Jason Tallant, a data manager and research scientist with the U-M Biological Station near Pellston. Lidar was used at the station to look at the forest canopy and underlying land surface.

Fighting fake news

Experts say Facebook's recent move to ban phony news sites from its advertising network will do little to stop the spread of such articles on its platform. That's because fake news sites rely heavily on Facebook to steer traffic to their stories to generate ad revenue through other ad services, like Google AdSense. Gautam Hans, a clinical fellow at U-M Law School and an expert on the Communications Decency Act, believes that Facebook has the means to remove more fake stories from news feeds, citing its success in restricting pornographic and violent content. News sources can also be ranked or tagged to help consumers determine their validity, much like Google search results, based on criteria such as user ratings, spam, and traffic so that reliable news sources are more prominent.

Rise of the fembots

Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Microsoft's Cortana are some of today's most well-known virtual assistants. All are female, and all elicit an image of an assistant who is not just a woman, but a woman people can boss around, flirt with, and act inappropriately toward. Compound that with portrayals in the media and it all starts to feel like a big step backward rather than one toward the future. "If we want the computers to behave differently, we have to actually pay attention to how we build them so we don't just create mirrors of what society does," says Rada Milhacea, professor of computer science.

Securing the IoT

After recent attacks threw the rampant insecurities of internet-connected cameras, video recorders, and other gadgets into sharp relief, Washington lawmakers and officials are urging tech firms to do more to secure the Internet of Things. At a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing last month, lawmakers said the attacks raised national security concerns and questions about the need for government intervention. "We are in this sorry and deteriorating state because there's almost no cost for a manufacturer to deploy products with poor cybersecurity," says Kevin Fu, associate professor in electrical engineering and computer science, who was an expert witness at the hearing. "In the long term, it's going to take sustained support from government, industry, and universities to get security built into the billions of emerging IoT devices."

Tweet no more

Twitter suspended the accounts of several high-profile leaders of the so-called alternative right last month, raising new questions about the largely online movement's potential for influencing national debate. While the suspensions could damage the movement by limiting its ability to spread its ideology, others believe it could make the alt-right stronger by feeding into its narrative of liberal censorship and the death of free speech. Others point out that it takes more than suspending social media accounts to stop a movement. "Not knowing about negative behavior online doesn't make that behavior any better," says Nicole Ellison, a professor of information who studies social media. "It doesn't solve the problem in an enduring way."

Photonic chips skirt physics

In the tech world, one of the biggest questions of the 21st century is: How small can we make transistors? Today's transistors, at about 70 silicon atoms wide, are getting very close to the limits of current technology. Arnab Hazari, doctoral student in electrical engineering, explains how "photonic chips" that use light, made up of photons, could solve that problem.

Health apps #fail

A study published this month in the journal Health Affairs found problems with many smartphone health apps. Most concerning was what happened (or didn't happen) with information that should have drawn warnings from the app—like selecting "yes" when the app asked if the user was feeling suicidal, or entering extremely abnormal levels for blood sugar levels. Only 28 of 121 apps responded appropriately to such red-flag information, researchers said. Health apps "should have some common-sense standards" says lead author Karandeep Singh, assistant professor of learning health sciences and of medicine at the medical school. "The vast majority of apps do not have any kind of response."

Water app offers essential info

A team of researchers on the Ann Arbor and Flint campuses have developed a new Android app to help Flint residents during the ongoing water crisis. MyWater-Flint is an interactive guide that lets people pinpoint homes with a greater risk for lead, and also shows where lead has been found in city water. Users can see where pipes have been replaced or are currently being worked on, a map of water distribution centers, and it even explains how to get water tested. "We've developed an essential resource," says Jake Abernethy, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at UM-Ann Arbor. "It's an independent platform that gives people information they need and want to know as they navigate this complex situation."

Training & Events

Contact us to get your event listed. (You must be logged in with your UMICH Level-1 password to access the form.)

Community of Practice meetings

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

  • Agile Development: Tuesday, December 20; 3:30–4:30 p.m.; location TBD.
  • Project/Program Management: Thursday, January 12; 2:30–4 p.m.; location TBD.
  • Agile Development: Tuesday, January 17; 3:30–4:30 p.m.; location TBD.
  • Data Integration: Monday, January 23; 9 a.m.–11 a.m.; NCRC 520-1122 (new location).
  • Contact Centers: Thursday, January 26;10:30 a.m.–Noon; LSA Room 4154 (500 S. State).

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.

Diversity, equity and inclusion courses

UHR Learning & Professional Development has partnered with UMHS Office of Health Equity and Inclusion, Student Life, and UHR Office for Institutional Equity to offer training opportunities and other resources related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at no cost to departments. Learn more and sign up for courses at Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. See the complete list of upcoming DE&I courses.

Learn about digital signs

Want to learn more about managing digital signs? The Digital Signage Support page offers step-by-step procedures and a 30-minute eLearning course, DSWE101 Design a Simple Sign. The course introduces ITS digital signage software and demonstrates how the different pieces of a sign come together.

Computer Showcase: Pop-ups & deals!

Pop-ups: Monday, December 19, U-M Hospital Cafeteria, Dining Room A&B, and Thursday, December 22, Wolverine Tower, Suite G18 (9 a.m.–4 p.m. both days). Also be sure to check out the Holiday Sale through January 21 and save 10% when you buy any of that week's qualifying products.

MLK Symposium

Monday, January 16; 10 a.m., Hill Auditorium. The theme for this year's annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium keynote lecture is "The Sounds of Change." The lecture will be streaming online at mlksymposium.umich.edu. A special thank you to the ITS Infrastructure team who will create a direct network connection between the Ann Arbor campus and the U-M Detroit Center. Their efforts will help expand the reach of the event and encourage more participation.

IT4U70: What's New with Google Sites

Wednesday, January 25, 9–9:45 a.m.; online. Google Sites has a new look and feel. Monica Hickson (ITS) shows how to create pages, add new stylish themes, drag and drop content, and collaborate in real time. Level: Intermediate. Register in My LINC. If you missed last month's IT4U, Collaborate with Box & Google Shared Accounts, here's the 41-minute YouTube recording. This Google doc has resource links, including the presentation slides. See our IT4U YouTube playlist for captioned webinar recordings. For a categorized list of recordings, see the IT4U web page.

Hacks with Friends

Thursday, March 2, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. & Friday, March 3, 8 a.m.–4 p.m.; Ross School of Business. SAVE THE DATE! Hacks with Friends is a spirited, two-day hacking event where you can break out of your normal routine and have some fun. Form a team, build a project (a.k.a. "hack") from beginning to end, and show it off in a fun, friendly competition. Who knows—you might start something that could develop into new technology that would benefit the whole university. Sponsored by the Office of the CIO, Hacks with Friends is open to all Michigan IT professionals in all practice areas.

Safe Computing

Tips for safe online shopping

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

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

Please check out the tips and share them with your colleagues, family, and friends. An 8-1/2 by 11 inch Shop Online Safely poster is available if you'd like to post the information.

Clear the decks for 2017

  • Decommission unused systems and devices. If you are responsible for any university systems, websites, servers, databases, or devices that are no longer used or needed, please remove them from university networks and decommission them. Be sure to securely preserve, remove, or destroy any files or other information stored on them as appropriate.
  • Securely delete data. See Secure Data Deletion and Media Disposal for information to help you securely remove data from computers, mobile devices, and media.
  • Planning for electronic gifts? Share the Secure Data Deletion and Media Disposal link with gift recipients or save it for yourself. The information there also applies to personally owned devices that you may need to give away or dispose of to make room for new ones.

Your password needs a partner!

More than 3,000 people across U-M campuses have turned on two-factor for Weblogin since October. Are you one of them? Turn on two-factor for Weblogin today and enjoy the peace of mind you get by adding extra protection to your personal information: W-2s, U-M Google, direct deposit information, and more.

Once you do, encourage those around you to enroll in Duo and turn on two-factor for Weblogin. With tax season about to begin and tax fraud increasing every year, it is more important than ever that you take advantage of the extra security that two-factor provides.

You can also request a special education and awareness workshop dedicated to two-factor authentication by contacting the two-factor expansion project team at 2FA.project.contact@umich.edu.

Project Updates

Working on a project you'd like share with the Michigan IT community? Let us know! (You must be logged in with your UMICH Level-1 password to access the form.)

Two-factor authentication expansion continues

Two-factor (Duo) authentication expansion continues on all U-M campuses. In addition to the option to turn on Duo for Weblogin, some IT services have also begun requiring it.

  • ITS Windows Servers: ITS enabled Duo on more than 440 of its Windows servers.
  • MiServer: New and existing managed MiServer instances now require Duo at the administrative level unless the system administrator indicates otherwise.
  • WebNow: Will require Duo beginning January 14, 2017. Communications underway.
  • Banner/UM-Dearborn: Will enable Duo beginning in 2017.
  • UMHS VPN: Will require Duo beginning in 2017. Communications underway.
  • Outlook Web Access (OWA): Will require Duo beginning in 2017. Communications underway.

Expanding the use of Duo further enhances U-M data security. Contact the project team for more information. To add two-factor to a departmental system, see how to implement Duo on U-M systems, then contact the ITS Service Center to have your system listed at Systems that Require Duo Two-Factor.

CTools project sites migration

After successfully moving all CTools course sites to Canvas earlier this year, ITS is now shifting focus to decommission CTools Project Sites by late 2017. The ability to create project sites was deactivated as of December 3. Requests for CTools project sites after that date can be made through the ITS Service Center. After February 1, no new project sites will be created in CTools. The School of Public Health is the first unit to assist in the transition by piloting the migration process currently in development. Visit the project site for more information.

Data Concierge completes design process

The Data Concierge initiative has completed the design of data request processes and the initial supporting ServiceLink configuration. These steps will enable the flow of data requests through the ITS support services system and reporting on key service indicators such as data request volume, origin, and resolution time. Currently, requests for administrative data are routed through various channels and it can sometimes take months for information requests to get fulfilled. Deployment of the service pilot is planned for January 2017. Data Concierge, led by the Information Quest team, aims to create a one-stop shop for university data needs. For more info, visit the Data Concierge project page.

U-M, Unizin pilot dashboard tool

U-M and Unizin, a consortium of leading research institutions, recently launched a beta pilot of a new learning dashboard tool. Snapshot lets faculty view student engagement trends, monitor outcomes, and identify students at risk of failure. Students can view their own dashboard and compare it with their peers. John Johnston (ITS Teaching & Learning) partnered with Meg Bakewell (Center for Research in Learning and Teaching) to develop the rapid evaluation protocol adopted by other Unizin institutions. An evaluation conducted in October observed faculty walking through typical assessment tasks. Peers then discussed how to best use the tool to improve student outcomes and study behaviors. Observers from Ohio State University attended the exercise and plan to pilot the process there. Unit IT staff have participated in similar sessions, and a student session is planned.

WiFi upgrades

The WiFi Project team continues upgrade buildings across campus. Visit the project website for additional information.

  • Recently completed: Francis Thomas Jr. Public Health (SPH II), Gorguze Family Laboratory, Lane Hall, Carver Bldg., Argus II
  • Currently under construction: 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, Walgreen Drama Center, Gerstacker, Mortimer Cooley Bldg., Industrial and Operations Engineering Bldg., Community Dentistry, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, Martha Cook, Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Bldg., Space Research Laboratory, Robert Lurie Engineering Center, South Hall.
  • Site surveys scheduled/completed: Engineering Research Bldg. (ERB), Bonisteel Interdisciplinary Research Bldg (BIRB), Observatory Lodge

Changes to MGuest

​Recently, there have been issues with the MGuest WiFi network on the Ann Arbor campus. ITS has experienced intermittent problems with the current captive portal system. As a result, certain devices were unable to access the login page to sign in to MGuest.

In order to improve performance, ITS is deploying a new captive portal system for MGuest. The new system was successfully tested at Arbor Lakes, Wolverine Tower, Administrative Service Building, Boyer, Michigan League, and Palmer Commons over the past several weeks. The new system will roll out to the rest of campus beginning December 23 at 5 a.m., with all of campus scheduled to be complete by early February.

(posted Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, 4:15 p.m.)

Service Updates

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ARC-TS supports NIH pilot

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announced the Commons Credit Pilot, which provides biomedical researchers support for access to cloud-based computing resources as part of the its Commons program. Researchers interested in requesting resources from the program can get support for their submissions from Advanced Research Computing - Technology Services (ARC-TS). NOTE: Researchers must hold an NIH grant at the time of the award to be a part of the pilot. Contact ARC-TS if you plan to submit a proposal to the NIH Commons Pilot Program or for questions about any computational research resource.

BlueJeans Primetime extended

BlueJeans Network has agreed to extend U-M's license for BlueJeans Primetime through January 31, 2017, as part of an ongoing trial period. ITS is interested in your feedback and experience with BlueJeans Primetime. If you'd like access, please email bluejeansprimetime@umich.edu. BlueJeans Primetime is an add-on service designed for large-scale, interactive events. Event hosts can access moderator controls to mute participants, pin presenters, promote attendees and record events—all while streaming to thousands of viewers. Presenters and attendees can join from a range of video or audio devices, including room systems, computers, and mobile devices.

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