What McMaster IT did this past summer…(Warning: It was A LOT!)
The McMaster IT community has been busy since May, participating in various McMaster IT Strategic engagements and ensuring various new and continuing projects are progressing, and completing, successfully. This collective effort is central to enhancing IT services for all members of the McMaster community and will help McMaster to achieve its institutional goals. Thank you to the many individuals and teams involved. Our exciting work continues into this fall semester as we pursue efficient, secure, and delightful technology.
McMaster IT Strategic Plan Activities since May:
- Over 200 individuals from across campus, including McMaster IT, administration, and academic units, participated in 12 McMaster IT Strategic Plan engagement sessions to explore and unpack the various 2019 priority initiatives. Please see our new McMaster IT Strategic Plan Active Initiatives page to stay current on updates.
- We had an excellent turnout at the McMaster IT Summer Social where we shared some cool treats and hot ideas.
- Many of you joined AVP & CTO Gayleen Gray for Tech Tuesdays this summer to spark new conversations and ideas. These drop-in sessions were a success and Gayleen will reconstitute them in future.
- Our McMaster IT Student Advisory Committee kicked off its second year this September with an energized group of new student representatives. Thank you to Marzena Keilar and Christa Morrison for guiding this committee once again. We are very fortunate to have an engaged committee that can provide input and feedback on our exciting IT initiatives.
Productivity and Efficiencies:
- The MacBill project supports the continued rollout of the PeopleSoft Billing and Accounts Receivable Module, and the Accounts Receivable Policy that addresses an overall university billing policy for external non-student invoicing. Phase 2 and Phase 3 users will go live in the fall of 2019 and the winter of 2020 respectively. This is a long-term, multi-phase project that is ongoing until May 2020 in a collaboration between Financial Services and UTS. The next group that will be receiving training in October is the School of Business, Humanities, Parking and the Registrar’s office. This project is on track.
- The MacBuy project is well underway and in the adoption stage, thanks to significant partnership and collaboration from across the institution. A successful Town Hall was held in August where leadership and the project team shared information on the onboarding process and provided details on the training efforts to date. Onboarding continues across the university and the next MacBuy Town Hall is expected in January 2020.
- The Campus Solutions suite of improvements has been a significant collaborative partnership between UTS, the Registrar’s Office, and various faculty representatives. The following projects have been recently implemented:
- Grades process improvements and deferred exams – closed August 15, 2019
- Repeat Rules – closed September 1, 2019
- Two projects remain open:
- Academic Advisement: Project is scheduled to go live mid-October 2019.
- The second degree project: The Registrar’s office is working with the academic offices to clean up some minor data issues. Transfer Credit is with the Assistant Deans for process improvement and data clean up.
- In August 2019, we launched a Microsoft O365 (MS O365) Program, a concerted effort to accelerate the rollout of the Office 365 suite of products. The first output, an Office 365 Hub, provides a single point of information for students, faculty, and staff. This site will evolve as we continue to enhance our learning and adoption of MS O365 suite of products. In parallel, our Communication Team has been busy promoting MS O365 via various digital channels and in person at student and faculty fairs.The MS O365 program team is currently partnering with individuals across campus to leverage our collective knowledge on collaboration products such as MS Teams and MS Translator. We have also engaged a vendor to create SharePoint sites for three departments as a proof of concept. Planning activities are underway for larger initiatives and we are expecting to publish a MS O365 roadmap in the coming months.
- University Technology Services, in collaboration with Student Accounts, Student Services, Registrar’s Office, Student Government, and Associations, successfully fulfilled the Student Choice Initiative (also known as the student fees opt-out) project on time and within budget, incorporating all of the Government of Ontario’s requirements. The Mosaic online function allows 24,000 McMaster students to opt-out of non-essential fees and went live on Thursday, September 12, 2019. McMaster has approximately 24,000 students that can opt-out.
- This summer, McMaster successfully transitioned its Lynda.com license to LinkedIn Learning. The UTS-led project team supported the technical change with support from the broader LinkedIn Learning Committee which consists of representation from the Library, the DeGroote School of Business, McPherson, Student Success, HR, various faculties, and Accessibility Services. The project is now transitioning to operational status and will sit with the Library.
- Conversations around a One-Card system roadmap are currently underway.
Exploring delightful technologies:
- Planning towards a potential campus mobile app continues, and a full proposal should be ready later this fall. Read more here.
- While there are many Virtual Reality (VR) labs popping up around campus to support research and exploration, we are assessing the opportunity to use VR to highlight McMaster University sites and activities with a joint proof of concept project between Anatomy and the Office of the AVP and CTO. We expect to have some fun and interactive VR modules to share with the community later this fall.
- A number of individuals worked very hard in the latter part of the summer and the first few weeks of the semester to accommodate all of the technology in the new Peter George Centre for Living and Learning to handle temporary situations that needed to happen due to construction. A special shout out to Chris McAllister and his team and the UTS Network team for their work. Thank you to a few of the new student staff and UTS front line support areas for their help also. There were a number of other new or renovated rooms across campus and we know it takes extra effort to get these ready so there are many other members of the IT community who also deserve a pat on the back for their efforts – unsung heroes, all!
- The Bring your own Device (BYOD) proof of concept project finished its first semester at the end of April, This project allows students to use their own laptops to access the software they need to do coursework from anywhere on campus. Dr. Nick Bock initiated this project with UTS to evaluate the technology and the framework for one of his Winter 2018/19 Term courses. The pilot has been extended and Dr. Bock will run another course for Fall Term 2019.
- The Research Technology Services Review came to an end and the final report is being reviewed by the Vice President Research in order to outline activities going forward.
- Associated exploration of institutional core research facilities is underway.
- Our new Identity Management system launched this August thanks to the excellent extensive project team. Now referred to as MacIAM, this new SailPoint system will create all campus MacIDs and will be a springboard for future functionality. We will begin planning new phases soon!
- UTS implemented Microsoft’s Desktop Management solution, SCCM, to manage departmental desktops. UTS is using this software to manage security patches and updates as well as imaging new machines. UTS is now delivering this capability to other IT Partners across campus (Humanities, Social Sciences, Registrar’s office, and Housing) for their desktop support services, too, and together we are implementing and testing this solution to build a Service Model for further adoption opportunities across campus.
- The communication pathway between the university and the hospital was upgraded on August 29th By removing old “tie lines” and replacing with a more modern LAN connection between the two facilities. This refresh will create improved voice calls and more flexibility for other telecommunications capabilities between these locations. There should be significant improvement in the quality of the voice calls.
- The campus Wireless Enhancement project is underway and in the planning stages This project will bring new and enhanced wireless access points into 50 buildings across campus – much more communications to come!
This list is by no means exhaustive and only touches on those activities related to the McMaster IT Strategic Plan. We know that that the McMaster IT community, YOU, are actively involved in enhancing the campus technology environment and have success stories of your own. Thank you for all that you do..
This is an exciting time to be part of McMaster and the McMaster IT community. We have so much to look forward to as we continue to deliver on the McMaster IT Strategic Plan. Over the next few months, we can expect further developments as IT Governance committees meet and new initiatives are endorsed. Please continue to tap into the strategic initiative updates and check out this site and Confluence regularly for project updates.News Category