The Bridge and Banner Offline: Nov 8th – 10th

The Bridge and Banner systems are currently unavailable, due to a system upgrade starting at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Friday, November 8th, 2019. Normal operations of the Bridge and Banner will resume late-afternoon on Sunday, November 10th, 2019.

Who will be affected and how?

All students, staff and faculty who use the Bridge, Banner, and other integrated systems will be impacted by this outage.

For Students: The Bridge will be offline during this time, while other systems such as the uLethbridge mobile app and ULink will be intermittently unavailable.

For Staff: All services in the Bridge and in Banner will be unavailable including timesheets, requests for appointments, expense claims, and all other financial transactions.

For Faculty: All services in the Bridge will be unavailable for staff and students, including those mentioned above, as well as research proposal forms and advising reports.

Windows 7 – End of Support January 20, 2020

Windows 7 will officially reach end of support on January 20, 2020. (You can read more about that here and here.) After that day, Windows 7 will no longer receive any patches, fixes, or security updates from Microsoft. The lack of security updates is of concern because cyber-criminals will still be looking for (and finding) flaws in Windows 7 and without any updates from Microsoft they will be able to exploit them much more easily. This puts your computer, the data it contains, data on network shares, and potentially other computers on our network at risk. IT Services will be working with faculties and departments to upgrade all computers running Windows 7 to Windows 10 prior to January 2020. Planning is in progress for these upgrades, and more information will be provided soon.

In the meantime, to be ready for a move to Windows 10 you should examine the applications you use every day and ensure that they are compatible with Windows 10. The following Lab Software list has been confirmed to work on windows 10. If your software is not listed on the attached list, please contact the software vendor to confirm compatibility. Most applications that work on Windows 7 will also work on Windows 10 but it’s always good to ensure your applications are up-to-date. While you are taking stock of the applications you use, it’s also a good time to make sure that any data, documents, etc. that you have stored on your computer are backed up elsewhere (Office 365 OneDrive, network drive, USB key, portable hard drive, etc.)

We understand that there may be a small number of computers, typically connected to research equipment, which cannot be upgraded to Windows 10 without breaking required functionality. If you believe that one of your computers is in this category, please fill out the attached form with your name, contact #, the UofL Barcode of the system, office location, name of software/device and any additional pertinent information.

While are working out the details of the plan, you can get ahead of the crowd by contacting IT Services using the following link to request an upgrade of your computer system to Windows 10.

Bridge Currently Unavailable

Update as of 11:20 PM: The update being applied this evening is running behind schedule. At this time, we anticipate that the Bridge will be available by 12:15 AM on March 22. We apologize for the inconvenience.

IT Services is performing an update to the Bridge this evening, which will take the system offline for approximately 4 hours.  The Bridge is expected to be available by 11:00 PM tonight (Thursday, March 21).

IT Services is making this change in order to address urgent performance and reliability issues within the system.  We apologize for the inconvenience, but we hope this update will help ensure the Bridge is stable and reliable going forward.

Upcoming Changes to Adobe Creative Cloud and Document Cloud (Acrobat)

Introduction

The University of Lethbridge has a license agreement with Adobe which allows us to install Adobe Creative Cloud (Adobe CC) and Adobe Document Cloud (a.k.a. Adobe Acrobat Pro or Adobe DC) on faculty, staff, and computers in our computer labs and in the library. Recently, Adobe has changed the requirements for licensing this software which will require some changes to the way we install and activate this software.  Read on for more details.

Current Situation (Serialized Licenses)

Today, our Adobe CC and Adobe DC software is licensed via serial numbers; we create installation packages based on our serial numbers and activation happens for each computer the software is installed on. In the case of Adobe CC, if you request the full Adobe CC suite the installation package is quite large and takes a considerable amount of time to install.  We do have a smaller version of the package available that contains a subset of the Adobe CC applications which helps improve the installation time slightly.  These packages must be maintained periodically so they contain the latest versions of the software.

The typical way you would obtain this software is that you would put in a request through our automated request system to have this software installed and a technician, either in person or remotely, would install the software on your computer.  The technician would enter information about the computer the software was installed on into our tracking system so that we can ensure we are within the limits of our license agreement as far as total installations on campus.

The software, once installed on your computer, would prompt you to install patches periodically to keep it secure and working properly, however if a new major version of any product was released these updates were not automatically applied to your computer. To get major version updates you would again have to put in a request through our automated system and a technician would remove your existing installation, and then re-install the newer package we had created which contains the latest major version releases.

Along with the limitation of performing major version updates this way, having the Adobe CC and DC products deployed this way also meant that we didn’t have access to many of the Adobe Services in the cloud since it isn’t possible to make those services available to serial licensed products; you need an account in Adobe’s cloud in order to be able to access these services.

Until recently, this was the only way to deploy volume-licensed versions of Adobe CC and DC, but that is changing…

New (Named User/Sign In)

Adobe has recently signalled to us that they intend to stop supporting serial-based activations of their software and are instead moving to what they called named user licensing. Whereas before we were licensing individual computers to run Adobe software, we will now assign licenses to individuals who may then have the software installed on any device they like.  Everyone is allowed to have two computers authorized to run the software at any given time.  Attempting to launch the software on a third computer would result in the other two computers being signed out of Adobe Creative Cloud.

This change in licensing also gives us some new flexibility with regards to how the Adobe CC and Adobe DC products will be installed and updated on your computer: rather than installing the Adobe CC or DC suite on your computer, we will deploy a small piece of software to your computer called the Creative Cloud Desktop. The installation of this software takes only a few minutes.  Once installed you sign in with your University of Lethbridge account and you will then be able to install any component of either suite for which we have authorized you.  For example, if we have given you access to the full Adobe Creative Cloud suite, you will be able to install just Photoshop if that is all you need, or you can choose to install all the applications. It’s up to you.  You also can choose which version of each individual application to install and whether to perform upgrades when they are released.

So you may ask what will the process for requesting Adobe CC or DC software look like as a result of this change. Well, you will still put in a request through our automated request system, and indicate whether you require Adobe Creative Cloud (which includes Acrobat Pro) or if you only require Adobe Document Cloud.  We only have a limited number of licenses Adobe CC and Adobe DC which we can assign to individuals so please only request what you need.  For example, if you only need Adobe Acrobat Pro, please request Adobe DC rather than requesting Adobe CC.  Also keep in mind that Windows, Mac OS, as well as most applications today have the built-in ability to view PDF files as well as the capability to create basic PDF files.  Unless you are creating advanced forms or taking advantage of other advanced features which Acrobat Pro provides, you likely don’t require Adobe Acrobat Pro at all and can make of what is available to you without installing any additional software.

Once we receive your request, we will grant your account access to the appropriate software. At that point, if Adobe Creative Cloud Desktop is already installed on your computer you have everything you need.  If Creative Cloud Desktop is not installed on your computer we will get it installed for you, or you can download it directly from Adobe and install it yourself.  (If you choose to install yourself, on the linked web page please select Download using direct download-links as in testing we have had issues using the Download from Adobe.com option.)

Launch Adobe Creative Cloud by clicking on it in the Start Menu (Windows) or launching it from the Applications folder (Mac):

Adobe Creative Cloud will start and prompt you to sign in. Enter your University of Lethbridge email address into the Email address box:

When you enter a University of Lethbridge email address into the box, you may be asked whether you are signing in with an Adobe ID or an Enterprise ID.  This will happen if you have an Adobe ID linked to your University of Lethbridge email address.  To gain access to the University of Lethbridge software and services, you will need to select Enterprise ID:

You should then be redirected to the University of Lethbridge sign-in page where you will enter you University of Lethbridge username and password:

Once you have signed in successfully the Creative Cloud application will show you all the applications you are entitled to install. (Note that if you expect to be able to install something and instead of Install the button says Try it means that we need to do some checking on our end to ensure you have been given the correct permissions).  Click the Install button to install any of the products you require.

We mentioned earlier that you can select which versions of the software you would like to install. This is accomplished by clicking the down arrow beside the install button and then selecting Other Versions.

Once installed, you access the software the same way you always have: via the Start Menu (Windows) or find them install in the Applications folder (Mac).

If you have reached your two-concurrent use limit you will be warned that you must log out of the other devices in order to launch the software on this computer. Don’t worry though, to use the software again on the other computers you simply sign-in to Adobe Creative Cloud once again.

Work-at-Home

With this change in licensing comes a change in the way work-at-home licensing for Adobe CC and Adobe DC products will work. Previously, ANY UofL faculty or staff member was able to purchase a work-at-home license of Adobe CC through the IT Store at a greatly reduced rate.  As we make the change to this new licensing model, ONLY faculty and staff who have had Adobe CC licenses assigned to them to use at work will be able to purchase work-at-home licenses of Adobe CC.

Shared, Lab, and Other Non-Personal Computers

As was stated at the onset of this article, under our license agreement we are entitled to install Adobe CC or Adobe DC on computers in our computer labs, library, and other areas where a PC may not have a single user, or even on computers where the single user of a computer may not be a faculty or staff member, as long as the computer is owned by the University of Lethbridge. If you think about named user licensing being available to faculty and staff and only accessible on no more than two devices at a time you can see that this may cause problems for these shared-computer scenarios.

In these cases, Adobe will continue to allow us to use serialized installations rather than named user, however they have imposed the limitation that an update coming to the Adobe products later this summer will be the LAST version of their products to support serialized activation. Any new releases after that release will not contain the necessary support for this type of activation which version-locks any serialized installation.  Adobe has committed to having a new solution to this use case by early 2019.

Questions or Concerns?

If you have any questions or concerns regarding these changes, please contact us:

IT Solutions Centre

Turcotte Hall – TH218

help@uleth.ca

(403) 329-2490

The Bridge and Banner offline for maintenance

The Bridge and Banner are offline for urgent maintenance due to recent technical issues. We expect that these systems will be available once again by 11:00 PM.

The Bridge and Banner Offline – Oct 26th – 28th

The Bridge and Banner systems are currently unavailable, due to a system upgrade starting at approximately 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 26th, 2018. Normal operations of the Bridge and Banner will resume late-afternoon on Sunday, October 28th, 2018.

Who will be affected and how?

All students, staff and faculty who use the Bridge, Banner, and other integrated systems will be impacted by this outage.

For Students: The Bridge will be offline during this time, while other systems such as the uLethbridge mobile app and ULink will be intermittently unavailable.

For Staff: All services in the Bridge and in Banner will be unavailable including timesheets, requests for appointments, expense claims, and all other financial transactions.

For Faculty: All services in the Bridge will be unavailable for staff and students, including those mentioned above, as well as research proposal forms and advising reports.

Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update (a.k.a. 1709) Coming Soon!

On March 27, 2018 Information Technology Services will be approving the Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update (a.k.a. Windows 10 1709) for installation via our internal Windows Update Server. If your computer is running a version of Windows 10 which is older than 1709 it will be updated to this latest version. Computers running any version of Windows older than Windows 10, such as Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will NOT be affected by this.

You will not have to do anything to receive this update as it will be applied in the background like any other update to Windows. The main difference you will notice with this feature update is that when you restart your computer after being prompted that there are updates to be applied, the restart will take longer than normal; usually about 20-30 minutes, give or take.

NOTE: Your files, settings, and data will be unchanged by this update however we do remind you that we recommend you frequently back up your important files and data to a network drive, OneDrive, USB thumb drive, external hard drive, or some other medium.
If you would like to see what to expect during the upgrade process read on below!

Should you open the Update & Settings section of your Settings application and look under Windows Update you might see something like this as the update is being downloaded from our update server and is installed to your system:

Once the update has been downloaded and applied to your system you would see this:

Note that if you like, you can choose to schedule the restart at a later time here:

However if you aren’t checking the Settings application and you just attempt to restart your computer the dialog may look slightly different:

You may also receive other prompts to restart that can come as a pop up window or notification toast.

Note once more that if you receive this notice you may choose to restart and install now or pick a different time:

Once you choose to restart or your system restarts at the time you chose you will see this:

Your computer will restart and then you will see this:

Finally, once your computer has likely restarted a few more times you will see your normal login screen:

Once logging on with your normal credentials Windows will have a few more items to take care of and you will see the following screens:

Finally, you will be back at your normal desktop.

At this point the update has been applied and you can use your computer as you normally do. If you would like to know what some of the changes are in this update Microsoft has a blog post on that very subject:
https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/10/17/whats-new-windows-10-fall-creators-update/#teYsWj4XmI1iH127.97
If you have any questions, problems, or concerns please contact the ITS Solutions Centre at (403)329-2490.

A Nightmare on Shred Street 2: Data’s Revenge

Like any Hollywood nightmare, a sequel is always in the offing, and identity theft just isn’t going away. With that in mind, the second annual “A Nightmare on Shred Street” event was held on Monday, October 23. In support of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Information Technology Services teamed up with Lethbridge Mobile Shredding to offer free shredding of personal documents, hard drive degaussing, and e-waste recycling at the University of Lethbridge.

In just four hours, this public event helped more than 100 people protect themselves from identity fraud by shredding over 2000 gallons of paper documents, as well as several hundred magnetic and other non-paper items (credit cards, cell phones, CDs, floppy disks, etc.) containing personal information. Over 3.5 cubic metres of electronic waste was collected and sent for recycling. A degausser was on site to demagnetize and erase 49 hard drives before recycling.

Donations for the University of Lethbridge campus food bank were gratefully accepted. The event raised $375 and collected 120 food items, which is enough for about seven hampers, to help University of Lethbridge students through the end of the fall term. Seven functioning laptops were also salvaged from recycling, with permission from the donors, and will be wiped clean and donated to the Operation Underground Railroad organization, which helps children escape from trafficking and slavery.

All of this more than doubles the numbers from last year’s event! Information Technology Services acknowledges the generous support of Lethbridge Mobile Shredding, DBS Environmental, Campus Safety, Facilities, and the many individual people who came together to make it happen.

Business Intelligence: Data Warehousing, Reporting and Analytics

Authored by Vicki Lund-Tulloch, Business Intelligence Administrator, IT Services

Have you ever wanted to know…

  • Are we reporting the right information, in the best way, to government bodies to boost our comparative rankings, meet compliance requirements and secure desired funding levels?
  • Can our academic and business decision-makers easily analyze operational data, from across faculties and functional areas, to make better decisions in a budget sensitive climate?
  • Do our marketing strategies align with student feedback and leverage the demographic, psychographic and geographic trends within our student body?
  • How many annual enrolments do we require – of a full fee paying, government supported and scholarship nature – to remain profitable and secure desired levels of government funding?
  • Do we have access to the right student, research, performance and departmental data to compile effective research grants?
  • Are we building the right infrastructure to support student satisfaction, learning, retention and successful graduation?
  • Are our industry partnerships aligned with current student courses to ensure relevancy and boost successful job placement upon graduation?

Addressing these questions requires the timely and accurate student, research and operational data that Business Intelligence can provide. We’ve already begun our journey with just such a system:

bi-pic-1

Ellucian Banner Operational Data Store provides a consistent view of institutional data for everyone across campus. Data uses familiar business terms and definitions so departmental users can easily access the information they need to manage operational reporting, perform ad hoc queries, and make better decisions about their daily responsibilities.

Cognos Reports provides an enterprise level depth of features for reporting, metadata creation and data modelling. It features tools for self-serve ad-hoc, complex and dashboard reports with automated and event driven delivery.

The Importance of Business Intelligence in Modern Higher Education

2016 EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issue: BI and Analytics

Higher education institutions must become more data driven to capably respond to demands to become more effective and flexible and to meet both mission objectives and regulatory requirements. Business intelligence (BI) and analytics are the keys to unlocking insights that are contained in the numerous institutional data stores.

Gartner’s 2016 CIO Agenda Report

“Business Intelligence and Data Analytics are the top trending priority for global CIOs in 2016. This marks the fifth-consecutive year that BI and analytics has topped the list.

Business Intelligence and Data Analytics tools have certainly gone from being auxiliary parts of business to absolutely vital. It’s a near-certainty that BI and analytics will remain the top priority of global enterprise CIOs again in 2017, as the need to gain insights from data will continue to increase.”

Gartners 2016 CIO Agenda: A Higher Education Perspective

Business Intelligence and analytics are receiving the highest new funding of any technology in higher education:

bi-pic-2

What the University of Lethbridge is Already Doing With Our Current Business Intelligence

“Cognos allowed us to automate 75% of the manual processes involved in generating our Fact Book publication which significantly reduced the time required to generate these institutional reports.”

“Enrolment management reports built in Cognos allow for weekly reports to be scheduled and run automatically from a reliable data source, saving time and reducing potential errors in the reporting process.  This type of reporting also enabled additional faculty and program specific reports to be developed and used to better inform institutional decision-making.”

James Croil, Acting Manager, Institutional Analysis

“It has given users within Financial Services more flexibility to run reports with a variety of parameters at any time rather than waiting for someone with expertise in MS Access to query finance tables and create the reports.”

Linda Anderson, Director, Finance System Support & Development, Financial Services

“With on-demand access to prospect reports, the ODS enables our fundraising managers to monitor development activity as often as they like, from their desk, on the road, or from home – at a time that is convenient for them.  This flexibility puts them in control while also freeing up the time of the report-writers for other tasks. We recognize that BI is important to help our institution better identify philanthropic prospects and compete for philanthropic contributions.”

Anna Linville, Manager, Advancement Services, University Advancement

 How We Compare to Other Higher Education Institutions With Business Intelligence

bi-pic3 bi-pic-4

Source: The Analytics Landscape in Higher Education, 2015 EDUCAUSE and Gartner

For any questions or further information, please contact Kevin Vadnais, 403-332-4056 or kevin.vadnais@uleth.ca.

The Results Are In – SU Food Bank Challenge!

December is always a busy month but the University took the time to show its community spirit by coming together and raising always welcome donations for the Student’s Union Food Bank.

IT Services and Financial Services threw down the gauntlet again this year and challenged each other to see who could raise the most donations and the results were fantastic! A total of 874 food items and a whopping $1,239.00 in cash was raised. Shelly Tuff, USLU Health & Dental Plan Administrator, said that the USLU foodbank has been well stocked. “Thanks to IT and Financial Services for all the food and cash collected, it will help out a lot of students in need. And thanks to all who donated, we at the Student’s Union are very grateful for your generosity!”

The friendly rivalry started early in December with both departments collecting food and cash donations. IT Services had a Chili Cook Off fundraiser which was very well supported. Managers donated their time and chili and The PMO Office came out victorious with the most votes for the favorite. All those who attended enjoyed some great food and donated generously. Plans are in the works to host another cook off next year.

For cash donations, IT Services raised $934.00 followed by Financial Services with a total of $423.00. For food items IT Services collected 514 items and Financial Services collected 360.
The response was overwhelming and we would like to thank everyone from both departments for their enthusiasm, generosity and support. The victors in this friendly competition are definitely the students in need.

We’re looking forward to another spirited competition next year!

 

volunteers-sorting-cans