AVP and CTO Update, May 11, 2020
Good morning, colleagues
Did you see the CF Snowbirds as they flew around southern Ontario on Sunday? It was a nice event to look forward to and fun to see. If you missed it, there are many great videos from various locations on Twitter.
We just kicked off the Spring semester and, just like the latter part of the winter semester, this new semester already feels busier than ever! This is in so small part because of all the exciting and rapid activities taking place at McMaster as we continue to conjure up new and creative ways of addressing the challenge of being away from campus while the business of McMaster moves forward. Staff and faculty across disciplines and departments are working very hard to support each other, our faculty and instructors, and of course our students. Here are just a few of the ways in which innovation and ideation are unfolding – and of course, McMaster IT people, systems and services are playing an important role:
- Our colleagues in the MacPherson Institute are in full swing, offering a multitude of online programs to assist instructors with their teaching goals, and supporting and integrating many technologies to support the advanced delivery of virtual and online courses.
- The Student Accessibility Services team have developed new information and guidelines for students with accommodations who will be adapting to new course delivery models, and they are offering resources and information for instructors providing their courses virtually and/or online.
- There is a committee and Project Team working on a solution for online proctoring, with a pilot being planned for this spring semester.
- Our colleagues in CCT and the Faculty IT teams are working very hard to provide technology and support for instructors so they can develop more advanced online delivery of their teaching materials. This work includes creating ‘online studios’ on campus that will allow faculty and instructors to use advanced technologies to create materials for their courses while still physically distancing.
- An exciting new endeavour called the Archway has been developed to create a supportive community for our first year students, joining McMaster in the Fall semester. By creating smaller cohorts with peer mentoring from upper year students, and with professional staff offering guidance and leadership as well, the Archway will ensure no one is left out. And technology will play a key role, with the Microsoft Teams collaboration tool as the online environment for the cohorts.
- The Teaching and Learning Technology Committee, part of IT Governance, are exploring the opportunity to develop a task force to provide additional ‘just in time’ technology support for faculty and instructors as they need it.
- The UTS Client Services team engaged with partners across campus to come up with a remote desktop support model for McMaster owned devices that can be adopted and adapted by departments across campus.
- Our Communications and Public Affairs team have created McMaster brand backgrounds for everyone to use while video conferencing in Zoom or in Microsoft Teams!
Whew! And I know this is just the tip of the iceberg as so many more of you are quietly problem solving additional challenges in order to support our students, faculty and instructors, and our researchers. As we continue towards the fall semester, many more examples of amazing innovation and creativity will unfold. I want to extend my sincere thanks to all of you, for the work that you do every day.
As a final shout out, I am really excited to tell you that the CanSSOC (Canadian Shared Security Operations Centre) initiative is ready to launch its Threat Feed pilot service – an outcome of this past year’s proof of concept activities. McMaster has been one of the six institutions contributing to this initiative and it is great to see things unfolding. Register and join a webinar on Tuesday, May 12 at 1:00 PM Eastern to learn more.
Thanks everyone, have a wonderful week. Good news for everyone: we are heading towards a long weekend! I am sure it will be the turning point towards warmer days.gg's blog