UCD IT Services
On Tuesday, 8th March 2016, IT Services ran the first IT Fair in UCD’s O’Reilly Hall showcasing IT Services ‘behind the scenes’ to faculty, staff and students. The IT Fair was a huge success. Upwards of 1,000 students and staff flocked to the event, which was hosted by UCD IT Services, and included participation from other key support service providers including Registry, Library, Teaching & Learning, HR, Finance and Research. A number of our external suppliers also exhibited.
The event proved not only to be a valuable learning opportunity for all in attendance, but also a wonderful networking occasion for ‘putting faces to names’.
The IT Fair reinforced IT Services vision which is to ‘empower people by transforming university life with new and emerging digital technologies‘.
The IT Strategy 2020 sets out how IT Services intend to support and contribute to the UCD IT Strategy over the next five years. Following an extensive stakeholder consultation and research process which included: a review of the previous IT Strategy; our quality improvement plan; and a review of key IT processes, the IT Strategy is the outcome designed to facilitate the delivery of the UCD strategic objectives and initiatives via a number of key strategic goals.
College and School plans and the supporting strategies of the UCD Strategy for Research, Innovation and Impact (2015-2020) among others, have been taken into consideration during this process. Our vision is to "Empower people by transforming University life with new and emerging digital technologies" and our mission is "both support and contribute to the UCD Strategy 2015 to 2020 by being the partners of choice for information technology solutions and services". View the IT Strategy 2020
This Media Creation Service offers the opportunity to create audio and video for learning, teaching and research using a variety of methods to create and complete your content. The facility is designed for expert users such as educational technologists or media specialists while the standalone audio recording is suitable for any member of staff to use. Some of the media creation options may require assistance from an audio specialist, for example the recording of audio material or self/assisted recording of video material and use of video and audio editing functionality.
The facility is available to book during normal opening hours of the Daedalus building, Mon-Fri 8.30am-9.30pm, Sat 10am-5pm during term and has been used over 100 times since it opened in 2016.
Under Strategic Initiative 2: Defining Educational Excellence, UCD is undertaking a review of all of its taught programmes. Management Services have supported the Curriculum Review and Enhancement Steering Committee in development of data capture tools in InfoHub. Stage three of the Curriculum Review and Enhancement Process, curriculum mapping and alignment, was launched in March 2016 with Module Coordinators subsequently mapping their modules to programme outcomes through InfoHub. The resultant maps have been used to inform discussion and decision-making amongst Programme Review Teams as they move into Stage 4 of the process, action plan and implementation.
IT Services collaborated with HR Promotions, Grading & Reward on the implementation of an online system to support the new rolling Faculty Promotion process. The objective was to provide an easy-to-use and intuitive online system to replace the existing promotion process that was highly manual and paper-based. InfoHub was chosen as the preferred method for delivery as it could provide a short implementation time and the system could be tailored to the process outlined by the Faculty Development Reward & Recognition Working Group (FDRRWG).
The new system was developed using an iterative prototyping method with key check points along the delivery timeline. Launched in May 2016 with the first candidate being promoted through the system in November 2016, the key components delivered were:
- Development Workspace for each faculty member to assemble their application by drawing data from existing systems
- Workflow and notification alerts to facilitate review of applications by Heads of School & College Principals
- Facility for faculty, reviewers, committee members and HR to collaborate and participate in the process online
- Reporting to enable the Faculty Promotion Committee make decisions and recommendations and to provide UCD HR with oversight of all promotion applications
- High level Promotions Dashboard for senior management
The system displays IT Services contribution to the university strategic initiative of increasing agility and effectiveness.
URooms has been live since 1st October 2015, making information about teaching and learning spaces such as room type, room configuration, equipment, capacity and pedagogical guidelines available via Infohub.
In 2016, the ability to book studio rooms in UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School was made available to students of those schools for the first time. We look forward to the next phase, when booking of all rooms will be opened up to all students and staff.
Developed by UCD Teaching & Learning, UCD Estates, UCD IT Services, UCD Lochlann Quinn School of Business and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, the application is mobile responsive, allowing a QR code to be placed outside the room, allowing a smart device access the room information by just scanning the barcode.
At the start of 2016 UCD IT Services introduced a new set of templates for Colleges, School and administrative units. The new web pages were developed to the highest technical and visual presentation standards and have been well received by the many school sites which have adopted the new templates.
Each website project required an intensive 4-6 week engagement with the project team from each college and school covering initial planning, site architecture design and implementation, image selection and development, content creation and integration with our Content Management System (CMS) before QA and final site launch.
The college and school phase of the project is nearing completion with 31 college and school sites fully migrated to the new templates, a further 8 sites are nearing launch dates with the remainder planning their redesign.
Due to the popularity of the new templates 23 non college/school websites were completed with a further 21 projects currently underway.
'With more than a third of visitors using mobile devices to access information on our website, it was essential for us to move to a responsive design solution. We now have a clean, fresh website that looks just as good on mobile devices as it does on desktop‘
Niamh Walsh, Marketing & Communications Manager, College of Social Sciences and Law
In addition to the modern visually appealing design, other key drivers for adoption have been the fully mobile responsive design, and high levels of accessibility. A critical success factor for the project was the level of stakeholder engagement at the project initiation stage.
For further information please visit our UCD Website Redesign Project Webpage
491 UCD students took part in the Educause ECAR survey 2016, a global student survey measuring technology usage trends in higher education. Compared with previous years there is a significant increase in the ownership of smartphones amongst UCD students: ownership jumped from 70.2% in 2013 to 96.7% in 2016 while 42% now own a tablet compared to only 19% in 2013.
In terms of academic success, 95% of laptop users linked usage of their device with academic success compared to 71% in 2013. The popularity of online learning has also increased with a 12% rise in the number of respondents with a preference for blended learning since 2013.
Since November 2016, UCD Students are able to access their individual personalised exam timetable via SISWeb. This new service, which includes details on exam location and seat numbers, was delivered by IT Services at the request of the Assessment Unit in UCD Registry.
During Semester 1 this report was run over 83,000 times, by more than 18,000 students. The service has been widely welcomed by students. Some of the many comments received include the following:
"This is the most helpful thing UCD has ever done for me. It takes so much stress out of exams"
Excellent! Great to have seat numbers also.....!
So helpful laid out in a clear manner so I don't accidentally read the wrong day or time.
Very, very, very, very useful. Good job, guys.
Love ?? it!"
UCD IT Services has a High Performance Computing Cluster (HPC) service called Sonic which enables users to run computing calculations across multiple servers at high speed. The service has widespread usage by UCD users from many areas of campus.
In early 2016 an agreement was reached between the UCD Earth Institute and UCD IT Services that the previously owned Earth Institute cluster, Gaia would be integrated into Sonic.
The upgraded Sonic cluster has 45 worker nodes or 1500 computing cores, 80TB of storage and 8TB of Memory. The network interconnect was upgraded from Gigabit Ethernet to 40Gb InfiniBand interconnect. The addition of more processors from Gaia and the use of a faster network technology allows the cluster to run more compute intensive jobs for more customers at a faster speed. The move to InfiniBand will further allow customers to run more parallel type jobs as well as the more standard serial tasks.
In order to facilitate new users using the system IT Services installed over 50 new software applications bringing the total installed applications to 160. This installed software now supports a number of disciplines such as Bio-informatics, Meteorology, Statistics, Machine Learning and Fluid Dynamics.
Application Jukebox provides access to a selection of the most popular academic application software. This is the same technology used in the open access lab PCs to deliver applications without needing to install software locally. Usage of applications through Application Jukebox has increased with each semester reflecting wide-spread adoption of this service for teaching.
In 2016 Application Jukebox for Mac users was launched and is designed to run windows applications virtually on user owned Macs using Microsoft Remote Desktop technology. This allows other operating systems to run windows applications seamlessly over the university network. As with windows users, a small client application must be downloaded and installed. Adoption of this service has been fast with feedback from users contributing towards future development.
To access this service click on the Application Jukebox icon in UCD Connect using a UCD user ID and password. To use the service for the first time, download and install the appropriate Web Interface plugin. Once this is completed, customers can access applications by clicking the link, which launches the Application Jukebox web interface.
IT Security in UCD is constantly evolving to combat the new and growing number of cyber threats that face the university. Raising awareness about protecting ourselves and UCD information is key.
Throughout 2016 IT Services led a number of campaigns that focused on how to protect passwords, identity, accounts, devices and how to spot a phish with 411 staff and students taking the Phishing Challenge. The numbers here illustrate the variety of threats taking place and how important it is to protect UCD data. Click to enlarge the image.
To give you a flavour of the range of IT activity taking place in the university during 2016 click on By The Numbers!
Did you know that IT Services logged 30,995 support cases during 2016 in comparison to 35,170 in 2013? The amount of queries run on InfoHub/SISWeb increased by 40% on the year before with 4,400,000 queries run by 41,000 individuals this September 2016? or that the peak number of concurrent connections for the wireless network in UCD, one of the largest in Ireland, reached a whopping 22,464 on Tuesday 22nd November 2016?
In terms of customer engagement, highlights during the year included the inaugural IT Fair which was attended by over 1,000 staff and students, while our IT Induction programme saw over 4,000 first years come through the Daedalus building. EdTECx in Action took place late August/early September with over 120 attendees and 411 staff and students took up the IT Security Phishing Challenge in March, while 491 UCD students participated in the ECAR survey on student use of technology in April.