November 2012 IT Activity Report
UD is one of the four founding partners of the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance (DHSA). UD's IT staff are helping researchers use research-networking and expertise-mining tools to locate potential collaborators. The goal is to provide a Web-based search mechanism that allows health science researchers to search by research topic, investigator name, or institution. The results will include name and directory information, along with bibliographic references harvested from the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) PubMed citation database as well as links to other researchers who have similar research profiles.
We have completed the first phase of our collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University and other institutions. A Web site developed and maintained by JeffIT is based on the open-source Profiles Research Networking Software, an NIH/NLM-funded, open-source discovery tool developed at Harvard University.
For this initial step, IT developed the preliminary information associated with a list of about 75 faculty members from four UD colleges who are closely allied with DHSA.
The next phase will allow individual researchers to log in to the Profiles database to add or correct their information, particularly publication citations that are not found in PubMed. We plan to use the InCommon federated trust system to authenticate users' logins by using their UDelNet IDs and passwords. Authentication will be done by UD's own password-checking mechanisms. This process avoids storing a UD password file at another institution.
The newly established Research Computing Advisory Committee (RCAC) had its first meeting on November 7. The RCAC is a follow-up committee to the Research Computing Task Force (RCTF) that completed its work last year.
RCAC will focus on all aspects of research computing, not just high performance computing (HPC), which was RCTF’s primary focus.
The meeting covered a number of issues including:
- System requirements for large data storage as well as public access to research results;
- Digital humanities;
- Research collaboration, including methods for secure transport of research data; and
- Networking technologies to isolate research instrumentation, which is often not protected against malicious attacks, from the broader Internet.
Send all research computing issues for committee discussion to Dan Grim (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Over the past few months, IT has published eight UDaily profiles of faculty who use technology in their teaching. From music to tablet annotations, from Facebook to Canvas, from online peer evaluation to new approaches for study abroad, there's something for everyone who teaches at UD in this collection.
If you've missed any of the UDaily articles or their accompanying videos, you can find them at the IT Academic Technology Services (IT-ATS) Web site.
Here's the full list of the recent articles/videos:
- Teaching future educators how to read and write in a new way (November 12, 2012).
- Canvas as alternative to Sakai@UD—Professor uses two different learning management systems to gauge the utility of each (November 2, 2012).
- Professor applies technology to UD's study abroad program (October 24, 2012).
- Professor shares experience with new online peer evaluation technology (October 10, 2012).
- A professor uses clickers and UD Capture to make a large class feel smaller (October 2, 2012).
- UD faculty member teaches sociology and statistics with technology (September 14, 2012).
- UD prof engages students with Facebook Groups and Google Sites (August 27, 2012).
- Rhythmic grammar—University's Saad Maura uses music in Spanish grammar instruction (August 14, 2012).
UDSIS will be upgraded to Oracle 11g on Saturday, December 8. We expect the system to be down all day December 8 and to return after the upgrade is complete. Administrative users can test the upgrade and report issues from now until the end of November. Signoff is due November 30, 2012.
Technology for campus on display at annual Tech Fair
“Seeing demonstrations of things—it’s one thing to read about them, but it’s better to talk to an expert and see how it works or can work in my situation,” said one of the approximately 300 participants at the IT Tech Fair, held Thursday, October 18.
The fair offered faculty and staff members the opportunity to learn about existing and emerging technologies. Another participant said that the fair offered faculty and staff members the “opportunity to see some of the up and coming equipment and examine state-of-the-art technology.”
Staff members from IT and other technology related departments on campus were available to answer questions.
“I enjoyed the individualized attention that I received with each person along the way. Everyone was very inviting, helpful, and full of useful information,” one participant commented.
The fair emphasized hands-on technology stations to familiarize participants with technology available for them to use inside and outside the classroom. Stations were set up to demonstrate technologies such as UD Capture, i>clickers, the UD high performance computing cluster, hosting, and virtual servers.
“It was great to see tools that we can use and make connections with IT personnel who can help set up and learn to use the tools. I feel that I know more about what to ask for, who to approach, and how to get my problems solved,” said another participant.
Visit the IT Web site for information about IT, its services, and how to get your technology questions answered.
Workforce time and attendance system
IT Management Information Services (IT-MIS) has been collaborating with Human Resources (HR) to implement the new Time and Attendance system. We wrote several interfaces and configured the system to reflect University of Delaware policies.
A production and test Oracle database environment has been established and more rigorous testing has begun to “stress test” the data-load process and the coordination of routine daily events within the application.
PeopleSoft upgrades and updates
- IT-MIS worked with IT Web Development (IT-WD) to create new file attachment functionality for vouchers, purchase orders, and requisitions, making it possible for users to upload documents from Web forms into PeopleSoft.
- The PeopleSoft Student Administration application database upgrade has begun, and the test environment was completed in October. The production implementation is scheduled for December 8, 2012 to allow for more testing time and to accommodate some critical student-related events for the fall semester to complete prior to the upgrade.
- The Database Administration team has completed the project to upgrade the base Oracle database software to the latest version for the PeopleSoft Financial application. The programming staff completed testing the application to ensure a smooth transition. The production database was successfully upgraded in the first week of October.
- The PeopleSoft HR application database upgrade will begin in the test environment in early 2013. The Web forms application database upgrade is scheduled to begin in late 2012 or early 2013.
- Maintenance bundles 7 through 10 were applied to give HR a few new features and some necessary fixes for UD Jobs. Tax updates 12B through 12E have been applied as well. Tax update 12E supplied the necessary updates for year-end and W2 processing.
Central Authentication System upgrade
IT has upgraded the Central Authentication System (CAS). CAS is the interface that allows UD staff, students, and alumni to log in securely to University systems and forms. More information about CAS is available at this Web site.
"Along with a new client interface, the upgrade brings the University up-to-date with a more recent version of JA-SIG CAS, which provides many infrastructure improvements and an opportunity for future enhancements and features," Dave Costrini, manager, IT-WD, said.
Upgrading CAS is part of IT-WD's efforts to continually improve the University’s business systems infrastructure and security. CAS is a mature product that has been managed by JA-SIG since 2004 and has been deployed by organizations worldwide.
If you encounter any problems using CAS, report them to email@example.com.
A project is underway to implement Electronic Transcripts through the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). IT is doing data cleanup in preparation for project implementation, which is slated for the end of November.
Online MBA program
IT-MIS is working with the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, the Graduate Office, the Registrar's Office, IT Academic Technology Services (IT-ATS), IT Client Support & Services (IT-CS&S), and an outside vendor (Academic Partnerships) to implement the new online MBA program. Go live is structured in phases and scheduled between November 2012 and March 2013. For more information, see this UDaily article.
Accounts payable direct deposit
In September 2012, we went live with a change to Accounts Payable direct deposits to use the CTX format. We're doing the same "ACH" (i.e., direct deposits to a bank account). The difference is that some vendors want "addenda," with invoice IDs, messages, etc., which the CTX format supports.
Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation database
A database for the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation went live this fall. The center will be recording research initiative support (costs and effort) for the Department of Energy.
Procurement card security upgrade
A procedure to run payments on the Procurement Cards held by Procurement Department Buyers through a third party vendor named Bora went live in October. This new procedure will limit the exposure of credit card numbers to outside vendors and is our response to auditing concerns. To handle and archive the transactions, two IT groups provided programming.
Financial Data Warehouse server
In coordination with the ongoing database version upgrades, the move to a more powerful database server is underway for the Financial Data Warehouse and the Financial Reporting repository. These servers are in place for the PeopleSoft Oracle database upgrades. The project will be completed in the next several weeks.
Delaware debate coverage
IT University Media Services (IT-UMS) played a major role in presenting the 2012 Delaware Debates in Mitchell Hall on October 16-17, 2012. In addition to providing the technical and media support for the live debates between candidates for Senator, Congressman, Governor, and Lt. Governor, IT-UMS streamed the debates live to multiple news stations, organizations, and to the general public.
IT-UMS provided all the HD production equipment and crew required for the broadcast as well as the technical crew to set, light, and operate the venue. The Events and Video Production staff put in a total of 415 hours to support these two evenings, the culmination of a 2-week period in which IT-UMS provided support to 36 campus events including homecoming spirit events and football game, jazz and orchestra concerts, and a variety of other student and entertainment events.
IT collaborates with WVUD on new radio show
IT is collaborating with WVUD to produce a new radio show that showcases the research, teaching, service projects, and other activities of UD faculty, staff, and students.
Campus Voices airs every Thursday at 8:30 a.m. on WVUD (91.3 FM), WVUD-1 (HD radio), and the WVUD Web site. Each episode is archived at the Campus Voices Web site and is also available as a podcast, through iTunes or any other RSS application.
The debut episode aired on September 6, 2012 and featured Professor Lori Pollock of Computer and Information Sciences talking about NSF-funded initiatives in computer science education, women in computer science, and service projects in Chester, PA and Haiti.
Visit the Campus Voices Web site to view more information, including the most current broadcast schedule or to suggest guests for upcoming episodes.
Custom training and consulting: We did both with the Research Office
Our work with the Research Office this fall is an example of how we offer both consulting and training opportunities to campus. The Research Office asked us to provide Excel training to create a budget proposal for grants and contracts.
Working closely with their staff, we first modified their Excel template to make it applicable to a wider audience, and then we provided training on how to use the template. At the training session, Dawn Jory (Research Office) provided information about the elements of a budget proposal while Karen Kral (IT) addressed the Excel features used in the template. The key to the success of this training session was the collaborative effort from start to finish.
When you use technology, if you find yourself thinking, “There’s got to be a better way,” please contact the IT Support Center and ask for custom training. We can work with individuals as well as groups to help you learn more about new technologies or help you modify tools you already use to better achieve your goals.
LearnIT Express update
During September, the LearnIT Express webcast sessions ran every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 4 p.m. Each session demonstrated or introduced a technology tool or service that could help participants perform their work more efficiently. Topics included an overview of IT services, using the Registrar’s Office Standard Reports, and budget analysis using Excel.
LearnIT Express sessions will continue on Wednesday afternoons at 4 p.m. for the remainder of the semester. Like all LearnIT@UD sessions, LearnIT Express sessions are recorded and archived for you to view at your convenience. Visit the LearnIT@UD Web site to view all recorded sessions.