IT news Issue 4 – Summer 2014
IT Transformation • Service Catalogue • Survey results Podcasting • Brand new website • Student employability ZendTo • Weather forecasting • iManchester for staff
IT Services making IT happen Welcome to the fourth issue of IT news, the publication which highlights the latest activities and innovations from IT Services. There has been a great deal of activity in IT over the past few months. We’ve had the results from the Staff IT survey and action plans are being put in place to address areas highlighted within it.
Find out more about: • IT Transformation ............................................ 1 • Service Catalogue............................................ 2 • Survey results.................................................... 3
This is an exciting time of change with the IT Transformation programme working to create an IT organisation focused around our three core values:
• Podcasting...................................................4– 5
• One IT team
• Brand new website.....................................6 – 7
• Enabling others
• Student employability ...............................8 – 9
• Customer first
There are some interesting items in this edition including an introduction to the new IT website to be launched in September, and an update on our Podcasting service which has recently passed one million downloads.
• ZendTo ....................................................10 – 11 • Weather forecasting......................................12 • iManchester for staff.....................................13 If you would like to leave comments or feedback on any of our services, visit: www.its.manchester.ac.uk/talktous
Gerry Pennell Director of IT
IT Transformation 1
IT Services is changing… Since his arrival in summer 2013, Director of IT Gerry Pennell has met with many areas of the University (both Faculty and Professional Support Services) to understand their IT requirements and current perceptions of IT. This gave direction to the planning of an IT Services re-development and as a result, the IT Transformation Programme is working to create:
The changes will not only affect colleagues within IT Services, but also other staff and students across the University in terms of how services are requested and received, as the Transformation evolves .
• A single University IT structure – One IT team
One of the specific areas being addressed is project delivery and work is already underway to develop a new project management framework for IT Services; bringing improvement to how we initiate, govern and deliver projects.
• A professional IT service that is customer focussed • An IT service that is agile and responsive to the needs of the University This programme of change is not just about making IT work better, but about enabling the University to operate more efficiently – supporting the Manchester 2020 Vision in delivery of the University’s Strategic Plan.
An IT Charter is also in development which will define our core function (as a University service) and outline our terms of engagement; in delivering professional IT services to both the organisation as a whole, as well as our individual staff and student customers.
2 Service Catalogue
Service Catalogue The IT Service Catalogue gives an overview of all IT related services available for staff and students. The Catalogue explains what each service is, who might benefit from it and any restrictions or costs that may apply. The details of these services are continually evolving to accurately represent the University’s current IT offering.
For further information on the Service Catalogue, search the Knowledge Base or visit the IT Services website:
Where more than one team or software application offers a similar service, they are grouped together under one name to provide a clear overview of the available options.
A printed brochure offering a summary of all IT services is also available on request.
Survey results 3
In January we launched our all Staff IT Survey asking our colleagues ‘What’s IT worth?’ We’d like to thank everyone who took part in the survey and let you know that your views are feeding directly into changes being made within IT. The survey has been a useful tool in identifying where the strengths of IT Services lie; in our friendly and knowledgeable staff, as well as identifying areas for improvement and a need for greater agility. Some of the feedback you gave told us that: • 59% of the 1120 respondents were satisfied with IT services and facilities overall • 74% of respondents felt IT staff were friendly •
76% said wireless connectivity was important but satisfaction levels were at 44% - this is being addressed by the wireless roll out project in conjunction with Estates
IT services and facilities overall
Access to IT support
Managed desktop (of 823)
Speed of initial response Wireless connectivity
Survey results: percentage of 1120 respondents satisfied
Staff IT Survey Improvement plans are being drawn up by the new IT Leadership Team to address areas highlighted by the survey, which include timeliness and research focus. Further changes will be made as a result of the IT Transformation Programme (see page 1) under the leadership of Director Gerry Pennell. The programme will play a significant part in the improvement process, making IT Services more agile and responsive to the changing needs of our staff and students at the University. We are making improvements, moving our processes forward and reporting back results which affect specific areas highlighted in the survey. These include business services and research support. Once again thank you for taking the time to complete the survey and further details of changes made as a result of the feedback we received will be available later in the year.
Podcasting Since its official launch in September 2013, the Podcasting service has been embraced by our staff and students. Now available in 120 teaching locations across campus (twice the number available in Semester 1) with plans to add a further 50 rooms to that list later this year, Podcasting is proving to be an invaluable learning resource for both staff and students. With downloads reaching over one million, our students are making the most of the ability to replay, revisit and revise from their past lectures. Students are using the recordings
With downloads reaching over one million, our students are making the most of the ability to replay, revisit and revise from their past lectures
for revision purposes, with downloads peaking around exam time. Roadshows held across the University enabled us to engage directly with our students, and encourage them to make the most of the Podcasting Service. We handed out helpful flyers telling students how to access their Podcasts. These were in the shape of smartphones to emphasise that you can access your past lectures anywhere!
– lecture capture Having recently introduced a basic editing feature, lecturers are now able to remove the beginning and end of their lecture recordings before they become available to students. This can be used to cut out the ambient noise while students are settling at the start of lectures, as the microphones begin recording on the hour automatically. An academic steering group has been set up to oversee the future direction of the Podcasting service. This group is made up from representatives of most schools and faculties. We hope that the number of Podcasting locations will continue to grow over the coming year and that our staff and students alike will carry on making the most of this fantastic teaching and learning facility.
To find out more about the service visit: www.mypodcasts.manchester.ac.uk
Podcasts are really useful as it is virtually impossible to write down all the useful information in a lecture, so they’re brilliant – student feedback
6 Brand new website
The IT Communications and Marketing team have been busy developing a new IT Services website which will launch in the autumn. Our website will be closely aligned with the look and feel of the new University of Manchester website, and it will be fully compatible with mobile devices.
Our international presence
We’re using the time between now and autumn as an opportunity to give our online content a full ‘spring clean’ before it is moved to the new site. Colleagues from all areas of IT Services are working with us to ensure that content is up to date and relevant before it is relocated to its new online home
Last year, the IT Services website received hits from 193 different countries. Top 5 countries:
Darker shading indicates higher percentage of visits to our website.
• UK (87%)
• USA (2%)
• India (1%)
• China (0.6%)
• Iran (0.5%)
Brand new website 7
So what can you expect to see? • Improved navigation
All content will be accessible from the main site navigation and new top level tabs will link to our most popular services
• New content
We’re adding a section around our most popular services, with the additional option of navigating the website by IT Service Catalogue entry
• New look and feel
A cleaner presentation of online content that is fully compliant with the University of Manchester style and branding guidelines
• Clearer links to social media
Our Twitter and Facebook pages will be accessible from every page on the site
• Your IT Services content improved
New web templates provide us with more opportunities for boosting current pages through the use of multimedia, feature boxes and widgets
• New home page
An attractive new home page that will promote our key services, social media feeds, service availability and links to all areas of the site
How do people arrive at our site?
8 Student employability
Coming full circle The second in our series of articles featuring graduates working within IT Services My name’s Cat Hayward and I am one of the new additions to the ever-growing pool of Manchester Graduate Internship Programme (MGIP) members lucky enough to have the opportunity of working here at The University of Manchester. After graduating with an honours degree in Biomedical Sciences I was faced with the question: What do I do with my life now? Unlike most of my course mates I did not want to continue studying in higher education or work in a lab. So after weeks of job hunting, soul searching (and nagging parents) I realised project management was the career path for me. A few weeks later (during one of my feverish internet job searches) I saw an opportunity via MGIP for the position of Customer Service Excellence (CSE) Project Assistant within IT Services. To put it simply: I applied, was invited to attend an interview and was successful. As CSE Project Assistant I spend my days attending meetings (call me crazy, but I love meetings) during which I meet staff from all over the University discussing different projects, policies and initiatives. When I’m not attending meetings I am coordinating information gathered from various sources; information collated from surveys, from countless emails and of course the aforementioned meetings. My report of evidence will ultimately be presented to an assessor who will hopefully grant IT Services a Customer Service Excellence award. Having been here two months to the day (at the time of writing), I can honestly say I love this job. I am working with some of the most supportive and lovely people ever, in a city I adore, at the best university there is.
Cat Hayward – IT Customer Service Excellence Project Assistant
Student employability 9
– recent graduate views Matthew Mutch – IS Support Analyst
When I graduated from the University of Manchester in 2013 I shared the same concerns that probably harangue every student leaving higher education: What now? It wasn’t just a question of skill, but one of experience. In the modern world the one foundation that leads to a prosperous career is the experience you can bring to a role. The MGIP program run by the University is a fantastic vehicle for gaining that experience, both in giving you a wide range of knowledge in your area, and providing experience you can use to direct yourself. I was fortunate enough to gain an internship as IT Equipment Lifecycle Administrator, recycling and refurbishing all the IT equipment the University updates every year; sorting it for disposal by an outside contractor, or reintroducing it back into the University environment for professional or academic use. The job suited me perfectly, enhancing my current knowledge of hardware, whilst training me in the common software requirements of the average user. The training given was tailored to what I wanted to learn, and at every turn I found someone willing to help me progress. Importantly, being an intern in such a role allowed me to network extensively with all types of staff and students, as the job often required collections or deliveries to all areas of the various campuses. I feel I know someone in almost every section of the University now, especially IT Services, and that gives me confidence to liaise with the correct person from any job, whilst knowing that I can expect support in whatever I undertake. Thanks to this support I have secured a permanent position in the University. I’ll now be working as an IS Support Analyst. This will provide me with opportunities to learn more about the systems in place, as well as make even more contacts and friends. The University of Manchester IT Services and MGIP have given me a perfect environment to help me figure out what I want from a career, and provided the training and help I need to get there.
Drop off and pick up large files using
ZendTo ZendTo is a system that allows files up to 20 Gigabytes (GB) to be ‘dropped off’ and ‘picked up’. It is much faster and more efficient than using email to send large files. Commercial systems, particularly Dropbox, are also used for this purpose, but many organisations prefer not to use them. Sending large files through email can cause congestion on networks, meaning that many organisations - including The University of Manchester - block email attachments over a certain size. For example, we use ZendTo to send our newsletters to the printers. Including all images, this edition of the newsletter takes up 244 Megabytes of space, which far exceeds the limit for email attachments.
ZendTo 11 Weather Forecasting 5
Who can use it? • University of Manchester staff
can drop off files for either another member (or members) of the University or for any outside party
• University staff can request
an external party to send files to them
For more information or to use the ZendTo service visit:
Important note: This service should not be used for private or confidential material (or such files must be encrypted). Members of the University can login using their University of Manchester account. External users are asked to prove they are not a computer-based system by taking part in a quick light-hearted game, (for example, place the ‘ice and lemons in a jug’). File recipients are identified by providing their email addresses. ZendTo replaces the trial DropOff service which we ran from June 2013. ZendTo was originally developed by The University of Southampton, and our thanks go to Julian Field for making this customisable open source software.
12 Weather forecasting – made locally
ManUniCast teaching resource
February’s big storm hits the UK – The white area are wind speeds exceeding 54 mph.
A real-time weather forecasting website ManUniCast is a weather and air-quality forecasting website used as a teaching resource and outreach tool for students. A beta version of the website was launched on 4 November 2013.
Visit the ManUniCast website for your latest weather and airquality forecast, and for more information about the project.
It uses two models for forecasting; the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model, plus the WRF model with Chemistry (WRF-Chem)
• Simon Hood, George Leaver and the Research Infrastructure team for their help setting up the models, installing the computational nodes, configuring software and optimising the code
Every day, one meteorological and one chemical forecast are performed on the University’s Redqueen High Performance Computer (HPC) cluster. Running each WRF and WRF-Chem model takes approximately 6 and 10 hours respectively. When complete, the forecast data is published on the ManUniCast website. This project was carried out by researchers at the Centre for Atmospheric Science, in collaboration with the eLearning team in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, and supported by IT Services.
• Chris Paul for configuring and maintaining the Virtual Machine and web server hosting the ManUniCast website
For more information about the project and your latest weather and air-quality forecast visit: manunicast.seaes.manchester.ac.uk
– not just for students
Available free from the Google Play or Apple App store, iManchester is your pocket guide to everything at the University of Manchester. The app covers everything, from events and news to maps and Blackboard courses. You can customise the appearance of the main page of the app by pressing the function buttons and dragging them around into an order that suits your needs. iManchester is not just for students. The app has many features that staff can take advantage of. Some of these are listed here, but you’ll need to download the app to see its full range of functions!
Events Browse events by category and see descriptions, times and locations. Add an event directly to your calendar or get directions via the campus map at the touch of a button. Maps and places Even those who have been at the University for some years might be amazed at what you can discover on campus that you didn’t know existed. For example, cycle storage and showers, hidden cafes and restaurants. The interactive map is particularly helpful at the start of the academic year to direct any new students who might approach you on campus when you’re wearing your ‘Ask me’ badges.
Blackboard Access the courses you run through the Blackboard button. As a lecturer or course leader you can post announcements and participate in discussions with students. Directory Find contact details for colleagues on the go and email them directly from within the app. Emergency contacts If you need help either on campus or abroad, call the University emergency security line directly from the iManchester app.
Contact us To send general comments and feedback on any of our services visit: www. its.manchester.ac.uk/talktous IT Services The University of Manchester Oxford Road Manchester M13 9PL www.its.manchester.ac.uk
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