What's New in IT Services – November 2023

A lot’s been happening behind the scenes in IT recently. Here are just a few of the latest developments. 

Quarterly IT Open Meeting 

Our quarterly meeting with the IT Executive Leadership Team took place on Friday 10 November, with colleagues from around the university invited to ask their questions.  

A recording of the session is available, with questions posed on everything from equipment for new starters and wi-fi to identity and access management, M and N drive migration and more.

A write up of what was covered during the session can also be found on For Staff.

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Staff Development Forum award 

Colleagues in IT, along with OD&PL’s Harriet Boatwright and Cleaning Services’ Dawn Abel, have received a Gold award in the Developing Excellent Practice - Initiative of the Year category from the Staff Development Forum (SDF), in partnership with AdvanceHE. 

The award was for the workshops designed to help get colleagues in Cleaning Services online, so they can access things like their payslips digitally.  

This is not the first time the initiative has been recognised, having also earned a Partnership Award earlier this year

Among its praise, SDF noted that: 

The programme appears to be mindful of the needs of the staff it is serving and the fact that the project has received an internal award speaks volumes for the perceived importance of the project locally. Delivering digital literacy will not only benefit University of Leeds it will also deliver benefits to the local community as its staff utilise their newly learned skill outside of work as well as inside.” 

Congratulations to everyone involved! 

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Cyber security and Black Friday 

Following on from Cyber Security Month, we just wanted to take a moment to remind you that cyber security is for life, not just for October! 

Our Ten Golden Rules is a useful guide to help keep your (and the University's) information secure. 

Black Friday is also a time when many criminals aim to exploit a sense of urgency, and fear of missing out, to fuel scams heading into the busy shopping period before Christmas. Please be vigilant when shopping online, particularly if it’s on social media. 

The National Cyber Security Centre recently published a useful article with some advice, and you can also get some other tips for staying safe online on their website. 

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Getting ready for assessments, and Minerva feedback 

Our friends behind the Digital Education Systems Help site have written up a series of useful staff and student guides to help with all your questions around systems that are used as part of assessments and online submissions – take a look! 

They’ve also put together a series of Minerva student guides, along with information and a video guide about how you find your way around the University's Portal and Virtual Learning Environment.  

If you’re currently studying at Leeds and have some thoughts on how Minerva can improve, they’re also running a survey until Friday 15 December so you can share your feedback

Don't forget that the For Students site has helpful articles too, including information about mitigating circumstances and who to contact if you have problems with your assessment

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Jadu migration update 

Following on from our previous update in the summer, we’ve been continuing to work on the migration of the University's Jadu websites (including the main University site, For Staff and other key sites) to the cloud.  

While these sites may continue to look the same to visitors, there has been a huge amount of technical work going on in the background. 

This technical work – including an upgrade to the new version of Jadu – marks a major step in the delivery of the Digital Transformation Strategy, better protects the sites from cyber security risks and puts them in a better position for future updates.   

Once again, this could not happen without the assistance of colleagues around the University in helping us to plan and prioritise this work.  

Thank you all for your patience and support. 

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Key new Communication and Engagement roles in IT 

The engagement team in IT expanded earlier in November as we welcomed a new Director of Engagement (IT) and Head of Engagement (IT). 

Working closely with our IT Executive Leadership, Service Operational Leadership Team and our partners and stakeholders across the University, we hope that their addition to the team can help drive better communication and engagement. 

Find out more on For Staff.

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What’s New: October 1994 

We’ve hopped in the time machine again to see what was going on in a previous departmental update – this time all the way back from October 1994. 

The big news, unsurprisingly, was that we were getting ready for the rollout of Windows 95. As we said at the time: 

Windows 95 is important as it is an operating system in its own right, not a graphical user interface which sits on top of MS DOS. The University will benefit from the widespread use of Microsoft Windows for a number of technical reasons. However the biggest benefit is likely to be the ease of learning new Windows applications, once basic Windows skills have been mastered.” 

Over the summer, we had also introduced two new 90-PC clusters – one in the Chemistry Building, the other in the Worsley Building – as part of a broader shift in the IT Strategy to focus on "provision and support for computing in teaching”.  

This shift was also likely helped by an update to existing Windows machines around campus over the summer. It added an application called Mosaic which, with the benefit of a bit of hindsight, probably should have been bigger news: 

This application provides access to the World Wide Web (WWW) - previously access was only available to Unix users by logging in to the GPS or a Sun workstation.” 

Instead, we focussed on the fact we’d start publishing our newsletter, and some other bits and pieces, on the fledgling World Wide Web. Woops!

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