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IT Work Programme 23/24

Our continued ambition is to evolve the digital landscape of the University and with each iteration of our work programme to deliver an integrated architecture and experience for students, faculty and staff.

IT Work Programme Introduction

IT Work Programme Introduction

UCD IT Services is responsible for the design, development, implementation, management, and support of a wide range of digital technology solutions and services to support students, faculty and staff.

An annual IT Work Programme is created as part of the University Integrated Business Planning process, which comprises headline projects, as well as a significant portfolio of small and medium sized projects. These may be standalone projects or part of a broader University-wide programme.

The IT Work Programme is overseen by the IT Programme Management Office (IT PMO) and governed by the UMT IT Strategy Group. As part of the University's Integrated Business Planning process the annual IT work programme is also endorsed by the President and Bursar.

Projects classified as Headline Projects are high-profile commitments that require substantial financial investment, consume significant resources and/or have a high impact on staff or students. 

Projects classified as Medium and Small collectively form a comprehensive portfolio of work which are integral to delivering on the overall success and resilience of our digital services.

The 2023/24 work programme is underway and  grouped under seven themes as follows:

Strategic governance & innovation

Strategic Digital Governance & Innovation

Digital Governance is central to shaping the University's digital strategy and ensuring technological initiatives are aligned with the institution's goals. A solid foundation for the deployment and management of digital resources requires a broad adoption of frameworks for decision-making, programme management, and compliance.

Headline projects are the development of a Digital Information and Technology strategy, the creation of a Digital Governance strategy and the implementation of an Enterprise Architecture tool.

We will also continue the deployment of the PM² project management methodology, Enterprise Architecture phase 3 and the review of the IT Services Risk Registers. These initiatives aim to fortify project management practices, enhance enterprise architecture alignment, and continue to identify and mitigate risks.

Digitally Enabled Teaching and Learning

Digitally Enabled Teaching and Learning

IT Services is committed to advancing Digitally Enabled Teaching and Learning by providing robust technological platforms and support, as well as ensuring continued seamless integration of digital tools to enhance the educational experience for both educators and students.

The second phase of the Student Feedback project has commenced enabling both students and academic staff to follow a streamlined and integrated process. Furthermore, the second phase of a pilot program for plagiarism detection and originality checking is in support of the principles of academic integrity for our community. Working with the academic community, we are developing Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) standards to deliver consistent and enhanced content experience through Brightspace. We are also seeking to redesign grading workflows to streamline and improve the assessment process. 

Addressing the aspect of content accessibility, we continue to assess and support key tools that help support the academic community in the digital review of their content. A review of a Peer Assessment platform in pilot over the last 3 years is being conducted to determine if it provides academics and students with an effective platform

IT Services is supporting the Library in the discovery phase of the Library Management System project. This will explore and assess the requirements, functionalities, and potential solutions for an efficient and modernised library management system. This partnership underscores the significance of a well-integrated IT infrastructure in enhancing library services, and its integration with academic delivery.

Digital Student Experience

Digital Student Experience

Enhancing the students Digital Student Experience is an iterative ambition aimed at enhancing various facets of student life through technology integration. 

IT Services is working with UCD Teaching & Learning to procure a solution to support a pilot project in the area of Academic Advising in a number of pilot schools.  This solution will facilitate engagement between students and their nominated academic advisor.

A further significant project is  to identify potential technical solutions which can improve the experience for staff, students and external organisations in regards to Work Placements and Internships.  IT Services are working in partnership with the Careers Network, POST, schools and colleges in this initiative.

There will be significant investment in the expansion of wireless services across the campus, recognising the importance of availability of connectivity to students, faculty and staff. The initial areas will focus on creating “Wifi Oasis” in key traffic areas such as the Library. 

We continue to enhance our managed computer lab estate, which involves a major operating system upgrade, transitioning to the latest Windows 11. This initiative aligns with our annual hardware refresh, ensuring that both software and hardware components are optimised for demands of lectures and students. 

These projects envisions a digital student journey, encompassing academic and residential dimensions, to enrich the overall educational experience.

Research and Innovation Digital Support Services

Research and Innovation Digital Support Services

The Research Data Management (RDM) service, a joint initiative between IT Services and the Library, funded by the Equip budget, is a comprehensive project which provides essential support for researchers. As part of this endeavor, we are also engaged in a proof-of-concept project called IRLDAT, funded by NORF (National Open Research Forum). IRLDAT focuses on developing a distributed Research Data Storage solution tailored for handling large datasets, addressing the evolving needs of modern research. 

As part of the EQUIP scheme Research IT is also offering UCD Researchers access to a 2 year pilot research data Cloud storage offering via Dropbox for Research. The pilot is designed to ascertain initial interest among the UCD Research community.

Furthermore, we are conducting a consultation exercise with the UCD's HPC (Sonic) community to explore their High-Performance Computing (HPC) needs in regards to the on-premise research cluster at UCD. These findings will guide us in the request for funding in the next planning cycle.

This holistic approach reflects our dedication to supporting the advancement of research at UCD.

Protected Digital Assets

Protected Digital Assets

The University's multi-year, multi-project Cybersecurity Programme, now entering its 4th year, is a key programme of continuous improvement of the security posture of the University. It aims to better safeguard our operational systems and services, sensitive information, research data and intellectual property. The Programme also focuses on protective policies as well as fostering a culture of awareness among our community.

Other projects include seven new IT Security Reviews which are underway to identify vulnerabilities and ensure robust protection measures are put in place. Simultaneously, various IT Security Procedures are undergoing enhancements as well as a review of our Password Protection Policy to ensure this is to industry best practices. Additionally, the Security Scorecard will continue to be enhanced to give actionable information to cyber security threats. 

This collective effort underscores a proactive approach to cyber resilience and information protection within the University and underscores IT Services commitment to securing our digital assets.

Digital Workplace

Digital Workplace

The University is supporting two major technology investments.  We are collaborating closely with the UCD Finance Office on the FINPost project which is  implementing  Workday as a new Finance system for use across the university.  Simultaneously, our team is supporting the implementation of Salesforce CRM  to support marketing, recruitment and admissions of new students. 

A new communications and employee engagement platform, Workvivo,  is being implemented by HR with our support.  This will provide new mechanisms to enable communication at university, college and school levels.

A new Health & Safety Management System is being procured by SIRC with our support.  This will enable a systematic capturing, identifying, assessing and management of risks associated with various operational aspects ensuring regulatory compliance. 

Working with UCD Registry, we are delivering a number of enhancements supporting the administration of students.  These include an upgrade of Banner, new Fee Setting Process, support for Pathway programme and the rollout of the first phase of Programme Approvals.

Our web team continues to build out the web eco-system,  which supports the provision of over 500 websites in the university.  The new Design Library will continue to be enhanced and rolled out.  Particular projects focusing on search-engine optimisation and web accessibility will be progressed to help improve UCD’s external position and reputation.

The IT Helpdesk project's aim is to enhance both the digital and physical support experience for students and staff. This includes the implementation of a live chat agent and a redesign of our on-campus support space. These projects seek to elevate our IT support capabilities both in terms of virtual assistance and the physical support environment.

There are a large number of Telephony and IT infrastructure projects in our work programme to ensure service availability; aspects are extensive data centre maintenance activities including air conditioning replacement and the on-going tasks of patching, upgrading, and replacing of equipment including the servers hosting the Student Information System Banner. These projects also encompass new buildings, building refurbishments, fibre diversions, and upgrades to specific residences like Merville. Overall, these initiatives reflect an iterative approach to modernising and fortifying the organisations' telecommunication and IT infrastructure for optimal performance and resilience.

Data-Driven Decision Making

Data-Driven Decision Making

We have commenced the development of a refreshed Analytics Strategy which will help the university to improve the availability of information, enhance user experience and exploit advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence.  The strategy will explore the need for a new cloud data warehouse which aggregates diverse sets of data to report on key performance indicators.

In addition, we will continue to leverage the power of Tableau and have planned a number of projects to enhance information available through Tableau for a number of areas of the university.  The use of Tableau as the central platform underscores a commitment to user-friendly, visually intuitive tools that empower decision-makers.  Of particular interest is a project working with Institutional Research to make College and School Profiles available to college and school management.

A Data Broker Proof-of-Concept will be progressed in the College of Science during this year - this will help identify the needs of Colleges and Schools and how to best deliver these “local reporter” services.

UCD IT Services

Computer Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.

Contact us via the UCD IT Support Hub: www.ucd.ie/ithelp