On May 15, uOttawa’s IT specialists met to discuss current and upcoming IT projects and initiatives. They attended the meeting in person or via Teams, the new Office 365 collaborative tool. They were able to attend the meeting virtually and and take part in the discussions by texting their questions and feedback.
Chief Information Officer Martin Bernier kicked off the session by providing a rundown of his first twelve months at the University. He foresaw that for the coming year, in addition to continuing to focus on communication and information sharing, the IT specialists would further promote closer collaboration and mutual transparency.
Martin Bernier discussed the importance of the newly created Information Governance Council in maximizing the institutional value of technology investments and practices and in aligning them with the University’s strategic objectives and priorities. Given the evolving state of new technological realities, the focus will (re)turn to digital transformations and ambitions driven by shared principles and a common vision of success: user experience. The IT specialists would rethink the ways by which they would interact with students, faculty members and employees, and transform the way they work.
Lyne Charlebois, Director of Information Technology at the Faculty of Medicine, updated the participants on the Women in Innovation group. It will provide a platform for women and male advocates in uOttawa’s STEM community (staff, student, faculty, partners) to create and sustain awareness of the IT profession and foster opportunities through networking and knowledge sharing.
Information Technology Manager Lyra Trstenjak spoke about the University’s response to the request from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development for post-secondary institutions to provide a reliable count of students who have completed experiential learning experiences during their academic careers. The goal is to prepare students to transition to the workforce by building their work and life skills, such as interpersonal skills and competencies. The University is seeking a solution to implement a one-stop shop to record students’ experiential learning. This solution would gather all experiential learning data in one location so that all users could view selected information, based on their access level: a student would see available opportunities and an individual portfolio summary, while an administrator would be able to run reports. The solution would also need to incorporate formal recognition for non-credit-based experiential activities.
The Faculty of Medicine has been exploring ways to automate the system it uses to manage undergraduate medical student attendance. The current process, which relies on Excel spreadsheets and emails, is labour intensive. Medtech, the Faculty of Medicine’s Information Management System, the Faculty of Medicine, and the Business Transformation Office are working together to automate the student attendance management process by developing a solution based on Office 365 tools, namely PowerApps, SharePoint and Power BI.
Carl Sarazin and Alan Franck described the development process for a new app and demonstrated the pilot version of the Absence Log Management Service. The new service supports the operational needs of both students and administrators, and features a dashboard to display relevant operational metrics. The app designers used five different Office 365 tools: PowerApps, Power BI, Exchange, Active Directory and SharePoint.
IT Manager of Security Services Jean-Ray Arseneau provided an overview of the past year’s progress on improving security on campus. Support staff members were most interested in workstation security, disk encryption, multi-factor authentication (MFA) and a push for the digital self-defence training. Next year, academic staff and student accounts will be MFA-enabled. IT will continue to focus on application security, and will regularly roll out automated patching to servers and workstations. In future, IT will be working with the community to put together the next iteration of the 2020-2023 IT Security Roadmap.
Alex Dipietro, Information Technology Manager ended the session discussing the recently launched Office 365 suite to support staff and academics. The migration to the new service began last spring and on May 21, several applications have been released to staff: Teams, OneDrive, Office Online, Mobile Apps, Power BI, PowerApps, Sway, Forms, Planner, Shifts. Users can now download the Office 365 suite and the mobile apps on up to 5 of their devices and 5 mobile devices.
The next meeting of IT specialists will be held this summer.