IT@UofT concept graphics

Culture and core values

A journey towards service excellence

Speakers:

  • Zoran Piljevic, Director, Information & Instructional Technology Services
  • Elias Karamitsos, Service Delivery Lead, Information & Instructional Technology Services

Time: May 5, Round 1, 11:25 – 11:55 a.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

Information & Instructional Technology Services (IITS) at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) is leveraging ServiceNow to foster a culture of service excellence and continuous improvement, both within the department and across the campus. This journey started a couple of years back with formal Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) training for all information technology (IT) staff and consequently implementing an IT Service Management (ITSM) platform. Processes were designed from the ground-up for incident management, service requests and change management. Eventually aligning itself with the rest of the University, IITS launched ServiceNow in January of this year and is now expanding both tool and culture to units across UTSC.

TechKnowFile: a short history of the IT conference that grew

Speakers:

  • Marden Paul, Director of Planning Governance & Assessment, Office of the Chief Information Officer
  • Amanda Wagner, Graphic Designer, Information Commons

Time: May 5, Round 2, 12:55 – 1:25 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The TechKnowFile (TKF) conference has been a valuable opportunity for the University of Toronto’s (U of T) information technology community (and beyond) to come together annually, meet their peers, share their experiences and highlight achievements and innovative ideas. TKF began in 2003. This session will tell the story of the conference, how it has evolved and shares some entertaining highlights from over the years.

From data governance to data strategy: the evolution of the institutional data governance program at the University of Toronto

Speakers:

  • Jeff Waldman, Manager, Institutional Data Governance, Planning & Budget
  • Kiren Handa, Executive Director, Institutional Research and Data Governance, Planning & Budget

Time: May 5, Round 3, 1:25 – 1:55 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The increasing availability of rich and plentiful data, together with powerful data collection and processing tools for collecting and processing data is transforming the global community. The University of Toronto (U of T) is no exception. Our mission increasingly relies upon the adept and efficient use of institutional data. However, if institutional data are to be useful, they must be well-managed, accurate, understandable and accessible. Over the past two years, the University has undertaken efforts to establish its institutional data governance program. Our institution is large, complex and highly distributed, presenting unique challenges to successfully engaging its divisions to implement the program. While establishing its reporting structures to guide and oversee the program, the University is adopting a non-invasive data governance approach, drawing upon an organization’s existing people, processes and infrastructures. We will introduce the approaches taken to date, including establishing the institution’s vision, guiding principles and approach to program implementation. Furthermore, we will describe the extensive consultations we undertook with a broad range of stakeholders to help us understand the current state of data governance and opportunities.

Staff wellness and engagement in a virtual, remote setting

Speakers:

  • Holly Downey, Academic Appointments Administrator, Family and Community Medicine
  • Megan Parry, Global Health and Social Accountability Program Coordinator, Family and Community Medicine

Time: May 5, Round 4, 2:05 – 2:35 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

While working remotely may offer benefits, it can also lead to decreased well-being and increased feelings of isolation. To support colleagues to prioritize their wellness and team engagement during the pandemic, the Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) set up multiple wellness initiatives, including a monthly exercise competition, a virtual social meet-up and a gardening group using various virtual platforms, including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack and Google Sheets. When these initiatives were presented to the DFCM staff (a team of 37), a word cloud was created to describe ‘wellness’ and inspire them to join the initiatives in June 2020. Now, almost a year later, we will recreate this word cloud, using Poll Everywhere software, to observe how perceptions of wellness may have changed. We also plan to survey the staff using Qualtrics to understand how the wellness initiatives have impacted their experience of remote working. Lessons from this experience can help teams understand how these initiatives do/don’t support staff and what long-term initiatives may be integrated into remote team wellness and engagement.

2021 happened. Now what?: culture and compliance challenges in the wake of the AODA deadline

Speakers:

  • Chris Sabatinos, Web Accessibility Specialist, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Office

Time: May 6, Round 1, 11:10 – 11:40 a.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The web accessibility standards are now in full effect. Are you prepared? Together, we’ll explore some of the realities and misconceptions that Chris Sabatinos, Web Accessibility Specialist, has seen across multiple departments and divisions in their journeys to make the web a more accessible place.

Putting people at the centre: services engagement for enterprise technology

Speakers:

  • Kathleen McLeod, Services Engagement Coordinator, Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration (EASI)
  • Mobolaji (MJ) Edun, Services Engagement Coordinator, EASI

Time: May 6, Round 1, 11:10 – 11:40 a.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The University of Toronto (U of T) invests an abundance of resources into enterprise technologies and the institutional value that can be gained from these investments is enormous. A new software solution with a high level of adoption from the University community can transform workflows and workplaces, saving both divisions and University employees valuable time and resources. However, the positive transformative change that a new enterprise technology can bring to institutions of higher learning can also be disruptive to targeted end users: when divisions adopt new software solutions, the individuals who will benefit from these changes are often tasked with completely revising long-standing work processes. Additionally, the level of computer literacy among University employees can vary widely, adding barriers to individuals’ adoption of new technology.

What, why and how of change management across IT@UofT

Panel host: Laurie Harrison, Director, Online Learning Strategies, Information Technology Services (ITS)

Speakers:

  • Robin Wilcoxen, Interim Manager, Information Risk, Information Security
  • Paul Day, Manager, User Experience and Process Design, Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration
  • Emmy Cummings, Information Management Analyst, Human Resources

Time: May 6, Round 2, 11:40 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

Interested in learning more about the why, what, who and how of change management? Glean insights from a panel of leaders from ITS and other administrative units across U of T who recently collaborated in a specialized virtual workshop program on this topic. Investment in planning and implementation of new services and solutions is our daily focus, but equally critical are effective communications and support strategies for our University community as we roll out new initiatives. Shared leadership and building of capacity for this important skill area is key. In this session, we ask panelists to share key takeaways from their recent professional development experience and describe how they will apply the frameworks explored in the change management workshop to the work of their unit going forward. Why is change management important to your service and project initiatives? What did you learn that was a key takeaway to be applied? Who on your team and beyond will be involved in change management communications? How are you planning on changing your strategy? (Note: This session will include interactive components, such as polls and the use of chat for brainstorming and sharing).

An accessibility initiative: providing the Siteimprove service for all owners of institutional websites

Speakers:

  • Paul Steacy, Communications Coordinator, Education Commons, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)
  • Lonny O’Brien, Accessibility Officer, Education Commons, OISE
  • Korede Olubowale, Web Accessibility Specialist, Education Commons, OISE

Time: May 6, Round 3, 1:35 – 2:05 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The Siteimprove website governance and quality-control service will crawl a website and provide detailed reports of identified problems, including accessibility concerns, as well as a workflow for remediating the site. In pursuit of equity of access through better digital accessibility, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) Education Commons decided, in late 2020, to purchase and deploy the Siteimprove service for the use of our many website owners and editors. We will discuss how Siteimprove fits into our institutional accessibility strategy and what we learned from the experience of rolling out and supporting this somewhat advanced platform to a user group of varying skillsets. Could Siteimprove work for your community too?

On track — using data to tell the real story about strategic delivery progress

Speakers:

  • Vikram Chadalawada, Senior Manager, Student Information Systems & Lead, IT@UofT Strategic Plan Delivery
  • Gerald Lindo, Senior Project Manager, Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration

Time: May 6, Round 3, 1:35 – 2:05 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

What is the data culture within your organization? How do metrics and key performance indicators (KPI) help strategic delivery? What stories does your data tell you about progress? How do we know that we are on the right track? These are some of the questions that this presentation will cover. The topic of the presentation is primarily a showcase the work going on with IT@UofT Strategic Plan implementation and how data played a key role in progress measurement. There will also be a demonstration of the IT@UofT Strategic Plan Dashboard, which was built for this purpose.

Information security and privacy

Balancing Innovation and Information Risk

Speakers:

  • Ashley Langille, Information Privacy Analyst, Information Security
  • Kelly Carmichael, Coordinator, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Office

Time: May 5, Round 1, 11:25 – 11:55 a.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

This session will cover the University’s process for assessing new technology platforms/vendors for use in administration and education. These technologies exist in a rapidly evolving landscape of regulatory and security requirements, which must be considered alongside shifting community expectations surrounding the use of personal information and excitement for the possibilities of new technology.

Reveal the hidden needs: University identity and access management assessment report

Speakers:

  • Jin Fang, Manager, Information Security, Information Technology Services (ITS)
  • Matt Wilks, Senior IAM Architect, ITS
  • Pete St.Onge, IAM Supervisor, ITS
  • Luke Sutherland, Business Analyst, ITS

Time: May 5, Round 2, 12:55 – 1:25 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

In the fall of 2020, Information Security engaged a consulting firm to conduct a University identity and access management (IAM) assessment. We will reveal this report and provide some highlights with regards to current IAM major pain points, challenges and common needs. Audience who manages IAM solutions, processes and policies should attend this session and get to know what the next step plan is.

How U of T and CanSSOC are using actionable threat intelligence

Speakers:

  • Axel Schulz, Security Analyst, Canadian Shared Security Operation Centre (CanSSOC)
  • Carl Chan, Senior Security Information and Events Monitoring Administrator, Information Technology Services (ITS)
  • Indraneel Joshi, Security Operations Manager, CanSSOC

Time: May 5, Round 3, 1:25 – 1:55 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The Canadian Shared Security Operation Centre (CanSSOC) has been working closely with U of T’s security team to help protect you. In this presentation, we will explore how U of T’s cyber security team partners with CanSSOC to deploy threat intelligence through various services as well as look at the successes and challenges that we have encountered along the way while helping protect faculty, staff and students.

Information Security incident response — a primer for U of T

Speakers:

  • Alex Tichine, Director, Information Technology, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering
  • Deyves Fonseca, Associate Director, Information Security Operations

Time: May 5, Round 3, 1:25 – 1:55 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The information security incident response plan is a vital component of an adequate information and cyber risk management. In early March, the Information Security Council endorsed the first Security Incident Response Plan to be adopted across the University of Toronto (U of T). Join this session to learn about the plan, the main features and how it can benefit you and the wider U of T community.

An agile approach to security risk management

Speaker:

  • Elias Karamitsos, Service Delivery Lead, Information & Instructional Technology Services

Time: May 5, Round 4, 2:05 – 2:35 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

Information & Instructional Technology Services (IITS) at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) has taken an agile approach to managing security risks and vulnerabilities across its network. Initially starting with vulnerability scan reports, IITS has now begun to leverage additional information sources, such as reports from the Information Technology Services’ (ITS) next generation firewall (NGFW) to better identify potential risks and threats. Moving this information into a custom ServiceNow application allowed for easy manageability of the process, activity, notes and reporting.

DAI-IRSA: challenges and opportunities in data governance and information risk management at U of T

Speakers:

  • Robin Wilcoxen, Interim Manager, Information Risk
  • Jeff Waldman, Manager, Institutional Research and Data Governance

Time: May 6, Round 1, 11:10 – 11:40 a.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The Data Asset Inventory and Information Risk Self-Assessment (DAI-IRSA) program launched to the University of Toronto (U of T) community in October 2020. It is a partnership program between Institutional Research & Data Governance and Information Security at the University. The inaugural year of the IRSA program was 2020, following a pilot that was conducted in 2019. The vision of this program is to enable units to actively manage their information risk and data governance and to broaden the understanding of shared challenges across the University. More than 60 departments and divisions participated in 2020, inventorying their data assets, assessing their information risks and coming to a deeper understanding of the data in their care and the processes they are employing to protect them. This presentation will be a community update on the program and some University-wide trends in data governance and information risk identified through the DAI-IRSA program. Topics will include: strategic objectives of the initiative and goals for 2020, an update on data governance trends and information risk trends, followed by a Q&A discussion.

IT maturity assessment with the Gartner IT Score

Speakers:

  • Marden Paul, Director of Planning Governance & Assessment, Office of the Chief Information Officer

Time: May 6, Round 2, 11:40 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The Gartner IT Score methodology provides a collection of toolkits for assessing maturity across a wide range of information technology domains. Using the assessment toolkit, in combination with Gartner analysts or in-house expertise, assists units in identifying organizational strengths and areas for prioritizing focus. This session will introduce the IT Score methodology, scope and provide opportunities for using the IT Score in your own departments.

Instructional, academic and research-related technology and initiatives

Supporting the instructional landscape through transformation: the TIL learner-centred design pilot

Speakers:

  • Steven Bailey, Director, Learning Space Management
  • Julia Allworth, Manager, Innovation Projects – the Innovation Hub

Time: May 5, Round 1, 11:25 – 11:55 a.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The pandemic necessitated a shift in how we view instructional spaces and what technical support is needed in these new spaces. During summer 2020, we conducted empathy-based interviews and focus groups to understand the needs of students, instructors and technical and teaching support staff in the forced shift to remote teaching and learning. Our research showed that individuals experience learning spaces along a continuum of comfort, from feelings of discomfort to empowerment. Based on our research and inspired by the medical model of patient-centred care, we developed eight principles for learner-centred design. The principles include: 1) acknowledging emotional stakes. 2) Taking a personalized approach. 3) Transparent communication. 4) Ensuring education is collaborative and accessible. 5) Building community by learning together. 6) Creating connections to supports. 7) Empowering students and instructors. 8) Autonomy in teaching and learning. Drawing on these principles, we developed the Transforming the Instructional Landscape (TIL) Learner-Centered Design Pilot to support instructors in experimenting with new technologies that meet their teaching needs. This collaboration between the University of Toronto’s (U of T) Learning Space Management (LSM) team and Innovation Hub’s team brings together technical experts, classroom designers and design researchers as well as instructors and students. The pilot has important learnings for both technology implementation and systems of support at U of T.

The Digital Preservation Lab at UTL: helping researchers, librarians and archivists retrieve and preserve digital content

Speaker:

  • Jess Whyte, Digital Assets Librarian, University of Toronto Libraries

Time: May 5, Round 1, 11:25 – 11:55 a.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

How does a librarian preserve a floppy disk, an archivist appraise a hard drive dropped off with someone’s personal papers or a researcher access media-bound digital content? The Digital Preservation Lab (https://uoft.me/UTL-DPL) at the University of Toronto Libraries (UTL) provides equipment and software (e.g. write-blockers, legacy media drives, emulators and BitCurator) training and staging storage to help researchers and library staff do just that. In this presentation, we’ll cover an overview of the space, along with some unique and interesting digital preservation cases from the vaults.

Bridging technology and pedagogy: the Office 365 for teaching and learning webinar series

Speakers:

  • Justin Fletcher, Faculty Liaison Coordinator, Teaching, Learning and Technology, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI)/Academic & Collaborative Technologies (ACT)
  • William Heikoop, Online Learning Coordinator, Online Learning Strategies, Information Technology Services (ITS)
  • Derek Hunt, Faculty Liaison, Teaching, Learning, and Technology, CTSI/ACT
  • Cora McCloy, Faculty Liaison Coordinator, Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, CTSI
  • Sun Ooi, Faculty Liaison, Teaching, Learning, and Technology, CTSI/ACT

Time: May 5, Round 2, 12:55 – 1:55 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

Microsoft/Office 365 tools have a wide variety of pedagogical applications. While University of Toronto (U of T) faculty may be familiar with Microsoft 365 tools for general productivity needs as well as their research and service responsibilities, these tools also support a wide variety of teaching and learning needs. In this session, a team of faculty liaisons from the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation (CTSI) and Academic & Collaborative Technologies (ACT) will share their experience collaborating to offer a four-part webinar series titled “Office 365 for Teaching and Learning.” This webinar series introduced the U of T community to how the Microsoft 365 suite can be used to support teaching and learning. It framed Microsoft 365 tools as an extension of the University’s Academic Toolbox powered by Canvas (Quercus). For example, we shared how faculty can use Microsoft Bookings to coordinate Office Hours appointments with students on Microsoft Teams and how faculty can use Microsoft Stream to record, caption, store and share asynchronous lecture recordings. In sharing these applications, we embedded pedagogical advice, such as encouraging faculty to limit lecture recordings to 10 to 15 minute chunks that are interspersed with active learning activities (i.e., reflection surveys created on Microsoft Forms).

Computer science research computing and the rise of AI

Speaker:

  • John DiMarco, IT Director, Computer Science

Time: May 5, Round 2, 12:55 – 1:55 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

In 2012, University of Toronto (U of T) Computer Science professor Geoffrey Hinton and two of his graduate students presented a seminal paper at a machine learning conference. It demonstrated that “deep learning” could perform image recognition far more accurately than had previously believed possible, approaching what human beings are capable of doing. The impact of this paper was transformational; since then, the artificial intelligence (AI) techniques outlined in that paper have made huge inroads in a number of technology-supported applications and that process is accelerating. The computing work for that paper was not in the least “mainstream”: it leveraged computing hardware and software used in a way far different from what the manufacturer had anticipated. A key member of the department’s technical staff worked very closely with the researchers to make the computing possible. This talk will describe the computing that was done, why and how and will briefly explore implications and lessons learned about how to provide innovative and effective research computing.

Testing, publishing and marketing mobile apps at U of T

Speakers:

  • Michael Spears, MADLab Manager, Academic and Collaborative Technology
  • Sue McGlashan, Interim Associate Director for Security Strategic Initiatives, Information Security, Information Technology Services (ITS)

Time: May 5, Round 2, 12:55 – 1:55 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The University of Toronto (U of T) currently has more than 20 applications (apps) on the iOS and Google mobile app stores. These include apps from U of T departments, instructors and researchers. They have been developed internally, procured from external vendors and programmed by students. This talk will describe the steps you need to follow to distribute your mobile app. There are a variety of models for app distribution on mobile platforms, differing primarily on whether your app is being shared for testing only, for wider U of T-only distribution or for distribution to the public. The MADLab facilitates the publishing process in all of these scenarios. App users are increasingly concerned about the collection of personal information and aggregation of activities by apps. Learn about U of T’s process for reviewing security and privacy in new mobile apps and your obligations as a mobile app publisher to protect and inform users. You will also learn about the required disclosures and documents for getting your app approved by mobile app store proprietors. You will leave with a checklist covering the marketing and metadata that you need to supply for your app store listing and a preview of the ongoing analytics that will be available to you to measure the performance of your app.

360-degree video tours at the UTM Library

Speakers:

  • Mike Serafin, Library Technologies & Liaison Librarian, University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) Library
  • Simone Laughton, Head, Library & Instructional Technologies, UTM Library
  • Mai Lu, Head, Public Services, UTM Library
  • Rob Makinson, Coordinator, Library Communications & Liaison Librarian, UTM Library

Time: May 5, Round 3, 1:25 – 1:55 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

In response to drastically reduced student presence at the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) Library during the 2020/21 academic year, a 360-degree virtual tour of the library was developed. It helped create a more immersive and engaging experience for students who were new to the University. This presentation will outline the process from beginning to end and share lessons learned, including our plans for an updated tour and related projects. We will outline our process as we planned the tour content, created a script, recorded audio, chose a 360-degree camera, completed editing and post-processing and shared the final product with our community. We will provide specific details about the equipment we used to record the video and editing workflows using both Insta360 Studio 2020 and Adobe Premiere. We used trial and error to determine the best balance between quality and speed, so we will share what worked for our project to inform the plans of other groups at the University of Toronto. We will explore how this technology could be used to support other academic initiatives and activities.

The Centre for Research and Innovation Support (CRIS): supporting faculty to access research tools and technologies

Speaker:

  • Vinita Haroun, Director Centre for Research & Innovation Support, Division of the Vice-President Research & Innovation
  • Prisca Obierefu, Research Technology Liaison, Centre for Research and Innovation Support

Time: May 5, Round 3, 1:25 – 1:55 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The Centre for Research and Innovation Support (CRIS) is a partnership launched by the Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation, the University of Toronto Libraries and Information Technology Services. The mandate of CRIS is to provide researcher-centred, practical and coordinated supports to faculty and divisional research offices to advance research scholarship and impact. Over the last year, through partnerships with central and divisional offices, we have developed a suite of resources and services that aims to improve visibility and access to existing information technology resources and addresses emerging needs of the research community. This presentation will elucidate our partnership approach, by showcasing some of these resources, including new professional development offerings focused on training for research tools, such as Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) and JupyterHub as well as the CRIS Resource Hub, a self-serve catalogue of research and innovation supports.

The KPE method: streamlined tech for improved learning outcomes

Speakers:

  • Iain McPherson, Lead Instructional Designer, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE), Teaching & Learning Department
  • Rob Huang, Instructional Designer, KPE
  • Christine Brown, Instructional Designer, KPE
  • Charlotte Hale, Instructional Designer, KPE

Time: May 5, Round 3, 1:25 – 1:55 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

At the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE), the Instructional Design (ID) team has developed a method and toolkit to clarify and simplify the build and user experience of Quercus courses. This presentation seeks to highlight such methods and tools and their department-wide deployment. Early results suggest improved outcomes and an enjoyable, relevant learning experience all while maximizing delivery efficiency. The methods/tools provided faculty with an effective and efficient method of high-quality online course development and delivery. Students appear to have benefitted from high levels of on-boarding support, a uniform look and feel to their courses and a sound framework of online pedagogy built into the tools. The approach and materials were designed to be scalable and deployed in a way so that professors could also use the materials on their own when designing/building their courses. The KPE ID team supports instructors by providing opportunities and ideas to simplify and streamline, offering resources for the creation of audiovisual learning assets and serving as best-practice/pedagogical experts on the use of Quercus and other tools. Templates and guides created by our team, third-party engagement tools and our own creativity all play significant roles in creating a space conducive to learning within our current constraints. We will share aspects of our approach and materials with participants to take back to their own units.

Collaborative video production through the pandemic and beyond: the ETO’s remote editing process

Speakers:

  • Anna Limanni, Senior Instructional Technologist, Education Technology Office, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering (FASE)
  • Joanna Lau, Instructional Technologist, Education Technology Office, FASE
  • Santino Pannozzo, Audio-Visual Specialist, Education Technology Office, FASE

Time: May 5, Round 4, 2:05 – 2:35 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The remote editing process is a service offered by the Education Technology Office (ETO), Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering (FASE) where content is self-captured by instructors and edited by the ETO team. We are particularly proud of this service as it pulls in the expertise of different members of our team. This service began in response to the sudden move to online/remote teaching in March 2020. We wanted to find ways to support instructors in creating pre-recorded (asynchronous) video content quickly (and efficiently), regardless of their existing level of comfort with the technology involved. Because we couldn’t offer them in-person help, we also wanted to empower instructors to try things on their own as much as possible. To achieve this, we took components and resources we were already offering for special projects and expanded these services to meet the needs of instructors during the pandemic. The remote editing process provides instructors with the guidance and support they need to confidently self-capture high-quality video content. In this session, we will present examples of the resources we developed as part of the remote editing process, outline how instructors typically participate in the process and discuss how the development and implementation of our initiative can be applied to a wider range of projects to support instructors in adopting education technology. We’ll finish by sharing how we plan to use this process during the summer of 2021 and beyond.

Goodbye Drupal 7, hello Drupal 9

Speaker:

  • Salvi Keele, Web Designer/Developer, Information & Instructional Technology Services (IITS)

Time: May 5, Round 4, 2:05 – 2:35 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

As Drupal 7 is reaching end-of-life, the Information & Instructional Technology Services (IITS) web team is focused on an action plan to migrate 85 of our Drupal 7 websites onto Drupal 9. This presentation will showcase the team’s new Drupal 9 theme and sample site, the action plan for migrating existing D7 content and configuration and the challenges of supporting many sites as a small team.

REDNeT – a global platform to showcase our research

Speakers:

  • Alexandra Agostino, Project Manager, Vice-President, Research & Innovation (VPRI)
  • Ganesh Vedula, BI Developer, VPRI

Time: May 5, Round 4, 2:05 – 2:35 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The University of Toronto has a highly impactful research community across a broad range of disciplines. However, this research expertise is not easily identifiable and searchable. In 2018, a working group was struck by the Vice-President, Research & Innovation (VPRI) to explore institutional online tools that allow internal and external users to discover research expertise. From this process, a tool was selected for implementation and the Research Expertise Discovery & Networking Tool (REDNet) project was initiated. This presentation will showcase the tool (Symplectic Elements) that is currently being implemented and provide background on how we are leveraging data from our human resources, research and other systems along with external bibliometric services, to support and populate REDNeT, which will be available to our broader research community and the public. There are several benefits to our researchers, including the ability to automate harvesting and publication identification, highlight scholarly and creative work beyond journal publications and integrate with TSpace to harvest deposits from the University’s internal repository. Learn about the current phase of REDNeT’s implementation, the features of the tool and how we are working with our user community to implement a new solution.

Developing instructor capacity in times of COVID-19

Speakers:

  • Juan Mavo-Navarro, Learning Technology Specialist, School of Continuing Studies (SCS)
  • Samantha Stevens-Hall, Instructional Technician, SCS

Time: May 6, Round 1, 11:10 – 11:40 a.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

By winter 2020, the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (SCS) was offering an average of 150 online course sections per term, which accounted for 28 per cent of the entire course catalog. In direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions for in-class instruction, 68 per cent of the course catalog was systematically transitioned to either online or remote delivery modes of instruction, with considerable success in enrolment and learner satisfaction. In addition to the strategic and logistical challenges of this endeavour for both academic and operational teams, the school’s professional instructors also needed support and training to quickly develop the necessary skills to deliver instruction in an online format. In response, the Learning Innovation (LI) team proactively redesigned and strengthened ongoing professional development initiatives to provide just-in-time support to instructors with accelerated sessions in areas such as Quercus, Blackboard Collaborate and Remote Delivery. Additionally, the SCS developed a project to help instructors transition their courses with the support and coaching from an LI lead, which contributed to the success of the transition. This session will focus on the lessons learned from the rapid transition to online, in particular, the requirement to develop instructor capacity within a short period of time as well as future support and training initiatives based on this experience.

Small steps, big impact: intersecting Quercus and UDL in a workshop series

Speakers:

  • Michal Kasprzak, Assistant Director, Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation/Teaching Assistants’ Training Program
  • Anna Limanni, Senior Instructional Technologist, Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering EdTech Office

Time: May 6, Round 1, 11:10 – 11:40 a.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

The pivot to online teaching intensified the conversations about effective teaching strategies to eliminate barriers in student learning. It also increased the need to engage faculty in conversations about practices that make learning more accessible and inclusive, especially when designing coursework in Quercus and using institutionally supported education technology (EdTech). In this session, we will introduce our four-part Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Quercus lunchtime webinar series. The series was a joint initiative between the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation, Academic & Collaborative Technology and the Teaching Assistants’ Training Program. It was developed in response to what we saw as a combination of increased faculty interest in incorporating UDL principles into teaching, tempered by simple strategies for implementation. Our goal was to help course instructors explore the intersection of UDL with course design in Quercus by highlighting specific Quercus features that would help them make small, manageable changes towards creating a more accessible and inclusive learning experience for their students. In this session, we will present examples of the resources we developed as part of the series, outline how the series was adapted for use with different audiences (i.e., faculty and teaching assistants) and discuss the challenges and opportunities we experienced in facilitating the series when the University moved to remote teaching and learning.

Leveraging digital accessibility tools in the workplace

Speaker:

  • Ryan Lahti, EdD, OCT – Technology Adoption Consultant, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Education Commons

Time: May 6, Round 2, 11:40 a.m. – 12:10 a.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

Have you ever used an elevator to get to a different floor? How about a power door operator to open a door? Have you ever read a caption to a muted video? Accessibility tools designed for persons with disabilities can help improve everyone’s digital experience. Join us to learn about free accessibility tools that can help you balance your work, manage your stress, reduce fatigue and work more efficiently. This beginner-level session will focus on software and tools for computer work.

Retrofitting classrooms and meeting rooms on a budget during the pandemic

Speakers:

  • Rouben Tchakhmakhtchian, Manager, Chemistry IT Services, Department of Chemistry
  • Renante Yson, Senior Projects Administrator, Department of Chemistry
  • Patrick Wong, Applications and Systems Software Programmer, Department of Chemistry

Time: May 6, Round 2, 11:40 a.m. – 12:10 a.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

This presentation will present how the Department of Chemistry retrofitted a meeting room and a classroom for use with video conferencing technologies. Budgets were tight so we had to get creative in order to get the most bang for our limited bucks while satisfying challenging requirements, such as the ability to capture audio anywhere in the room and being able to screen share off a touchscreen and support the video capture of a conventional whiteboard in the same room.

Staying ahead of the storm: collaborative team solutions to meet changing faculty needs and requirements

Speakers:

  • Simone Laughton, Head, University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) Library & Instructional Technologies
  • Angie Cappiello, Instructional Technologies Support Specialist, UTM Library & Instructional Technologies
  • Kenneth Berry, Instructional Technologies Support Specialist, UTM Library & Instructional Technologies

Time: May 6, Round 3, 1:35 – 2:05 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

In the face of the gathering storm clouds of the pandemic, our faculty and students were looking for solutions to move their academic learning activities to remote delivery. University of Toronto (UTM) Library & Instructional Technologies worked together with new and established partners, developed novel resources, refined workflows and navigated the challenges. More fully using existing communication channels and developing new ones, we revised and refined resources and explored new routes to improve efficiency. We provided our instructors, students and staff with opportunities to discuss topics as a community, to have input regarding the development of supports and to deepen the conversations around technology-supported teaching and learning. We encouraged instructors to explore and discover innovative technologies and approaches as they ventured into uncharted territory that at times include untested and unproven technologies from opportunistic companies. We focused on proven tools, such as TeamUp, Crowdmark and more. We integrated and promoted vetted technologies, such as Quercus, Drupal, ServiceNow and Microsoft 365, to ensure that academic teaching and learning activities by and large continued on course.

Utilizing Student Learning Mastery Gradebook to enhance student learning

Speakers:

  • Rosa Hong, Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Language Studies, University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM)
  • Ivan Chow, Instructional Designer, Rotman School of Management
  • Sara Pagliaro, Department of Language Studies, UTM

Time: May 6, Round 3, 1:35 – 2:05 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

This presentation outlines the results of our project on preliminary exploration of the Student Learning Mastery Gradebook (SLMG), a pedagogical tool embedded into Quercus. The project explores the integration of SLMG into course design, its impact on the student learning experience and students’ perception on the role of assessments. A pilot study was conducted in LIN204-English Grammar I at the University of Toronto Mississauga in summer 2020, where SLMG was implemented in experimental pre-tutorial quizzes. Students were allowed two attempts at these quizzes with a mandatory two-day lapse in between. After completing the first iteration, they were provided with the SLMG report as well as a list of resources that could help them improve their understanding and target specific learning outcomes. Two surveys were also conducted at the beginning and end of the course to investigate students’ attitudes towards assessment and their learning strategies. The results revealed a significant change regarding the latter: 1) there was a shift from focusing on content knowledge acquisition towards a macroscopic view of “learning how to learn” and “assessment for learning” 2) students strategize their learning based on their strengths and weaknesses related to learning outcomes. The project revealed the SLMG’s potential as a learning assistance tool as it prompts students to think beyond disciplinary content, (re)evaluate their perception of assessment and reflect on their own learning strategies. The session aims to present SLMG’s functions and to share the findings and future implications of the project.

Administrative technology and initiatives

Meet Navi: U of T’s mental health virtual assistant

Speakers:

  • Kimberly Elias, Manager, Strategic Initiatives, Student Life
  • Meagan Lau, Project Manager, Mental Health Virtual Assistant, Division of Student Life, Student Experience
  • David Newman, Executive Director, Student Experience, Division of Student Life, Student Experience
  • Jennifer Nolan, Cognitive Architect, IBM Canada
  • Kenji Northrup, Senior Cognitive Consultant, IBM Canada

Time: May 5, Round 1, 11:25 – 11:55 a.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

“Navi” – the University of Toronto (U of T)’s mental health wayfinder – is a new virtual agent. It leverages IBM’s Watson Assistant, which has had more than 25,000 conversations with U of T students since September 2020. Connecting students to mental health resources in the community and on campus, the anonymous bot allows students to easily search for supports that have traditionally been difficult to navigate. Join this session to see a demonstration of Navi and learn about the journey the team took to deliver this innovative solution that allows students to explore a range of campus and community resources with no fear of judgement, 24/7.

Optimizing registrarial student services and staff workflow in a remote environment through AskRegistrar

Speakers:

  • Cesar Mejia, Associate Registrar, Systems, Scheduling & Examinations, University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM)
  • Lorretta Neebar, Registrar & Director of Enrolment Management, UTM
  • Vlad Soloviev, Associate Registrar, Records, Registration and Graduation, UTM

Time: May 5, Round 2, 12:55 – 1:25 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

AskRegistrar is a by-product of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was conceptualized, developed, tested and launched for students within a five-month period (April – August 2020) to modernize our services, improve our students’ experience and create a more efficient workflow for our staff. Leveraging the ServiceNow platform, AskRegistrar services more than 15,600 undergraduate students and approximately 300 graduate students. It has also streamlined the workflow of more than 60 staff members in the Office of the Registrar and enabled the institution to capture a more accurate account of student interactions and demand on our services through live statistical reports. Presently, AskRegistrar offers students four levels of remote service: 1) an artificial intelligence (AI) knowledge base recommends helpful articles. 2) A ticket system to submit questions. 3) A request form to book an appointment with an academic or financial aid advisor 4) A history of all interactions through AskRegistrar is logged. Staff and students can view replies, recommendations, appointment history and more. Our previous service model relied heavily on phone, in-person support and email requests that were triaged one-by-one by a team of five front line staff. Our response rate has significantly increased with these improvements and has provided a more sustainable workflow. AskRegistrar continues to evolve and new features and improvements are continually released.

Guest Wi-Fi: eduroam Visitor Access information session

Speaker:

  • Patrick Hopewell, Director, Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions, Information Technology Services

Time: May 5, Round 3, 1:25 – 1:55 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

Providing wireless access to visitors to the University of Toronto campus has always been a challenge. The legacy guest Wi-Fi solution is cumbersome to use, especially for conferences and open to abuse (i.e., sharing credentials, lack of accountability). Information Technology Services (ITS) will be launching a new guest Wi-Fi service based on CANARIE’s eduroam system called eduroam Visitor Access (eVA). This session will explain what eVA is, how it works and (hopefully) answer any questions you may have about it.

Managing change management in information security

Speakers:

  • Luke Sutherland, Business & Project Analyst, Information Security
  • Jason Quay, Enterprise Application and Solution Integration

Time: May 5, Round 4, 2:05 – 2:35 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

As information security matures its processes supporting operational excellence, we have taken several steps to strengthen our change management practices. These efforts have recently culminated in the adoption of the ServiceNow change management module in the Enterprise Service Centre (ESC) to consolidate medium and high-risk changes across information security. This presentation provides a brief background on the development of the Information Security department’s change management practices and illustration of how ESC has been incorporated to support the initiative.

Energy autarkic IT systems

Speaker:

  • Brian Sutherland, Educational Technology Administrator, University of Toronto Scarborough, PhD Candidate in Information Studies

Time: May 6, Round 1, 11:10 – 11:40 a.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

Information technology (IT) consumes a significant amount of energy and materials in the rendering of information services. How might we reimagine IT as more sustainable? In this session, we will explore a historical collection of energy autarkic electronic information devices collected as part of my thesis work at the Faculty of Information under Professor Matt Ratto of the Semaphore/Knowledge Media Design group. This talk will present a series of speculative information system prototypes constructed from of recycled (U of T) e-waste, open source software, hardware or plans and sustainable materials. Are energy autarkic prototypes social imaginaries, urban off-grid, solarpunk or extreme proof of concept systems for IT in the future?

Pivoting on a dime: how SCS digitized the credential assessment application process with DocuSign

Speakers:

  • Steve Boyle, Director of Operations and Information Technology Services, University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (SCS)
  • Marcus Barnes, Lead Developer and Systems Architect, University of Toronto SCS
  • Heather Postill, Information Management Analyst, Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration

Time: May 6, Round 1, 11:10 – 11:40 a.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

Established in 1967, the Comparative Education Service (CES) is Canada’s only university-based academic credential assessment agency. CES assesses foreign credentials for their Canadian equivalency. In partnership with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), this unit’s reports help thousands of internationally educated professionals fulfill their immigration, employment and education goals. When our on-site operations ended in March 2020, due to COVID-19 restrictions, CES faced significant hurdles in maintaining operations that were dependent on in-office, paper-based workflow. This presentation will outline how CES transformed the production of our education credential assessment reports using DocuSign in partnership with our colleagues at Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration (EASI). Attendees will be introduced to the resources available through the eSignature Competency Centre and Enterprise DocuSign pilot. This session will also cover best practices when implementing DocuSign solutions that enable divisions to deliver electronic, tamper-proof documents to students worldwide securely. We will give a short demonstration of DocuSign as well as provide attendees with a downloadable project checklist.

I can see clearly now: focusing on solutions that support collaborative teamwork

Speakers:

  • Simone Laughton, Head, University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) Library & Instructional Technologies
  • Mike Serafin, Library Technologies & Liaison Librarian, UTM Library
  • Kenneth Berry, Instructional Technologies Support Specialist, UTM Library & Instructional Technologies
  • Angie Cappiello, Instructional Technologies Support Specialist, UTM Library & Instructional Technologies

Time: May 6, Round 2, 11:40 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

As a newly formed team, learning what to prioritize and how to optimally collaborate on different projects can be challenging. We describe our vision quest using Microsoft 365 tools and apps to check in with each other, to diagnose where improvements are needed and to determine the small corrections needed during day-to-day activities. Inspired by the lens of the Kanban development process and leveraging Microsoft 365 tools and apps to help manage multiple projects, we will share our efforts to improve workflows, establish priorities and foster improved communication. Need a checkup? Come out and share your experiences regarding tools that support collaborative work and deeper engagement with members of your team. Engage with us to share perspectives on the potential pitfalls and affordances of tools and apps to determine what is peripheral and what enhances team focus.

SAP on Azure cloud: how we transformed AMS

Speakers:

  • Praveen Narayanaswamy, SAP Solutions Architect, Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI)
  • Sarosh Jamal, Infrastructure & Operations Lead, EASI

Time: May 6, Round 2, 11:40 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

Using a LEAN approach and limited consulting engagement, Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration (EASI) migrated the University of Toronto’s (U of T) Administrative Management System (AMS) to the Microsoft Azure platform and successfully converted it to run on an SAP S/4HANA workload. Extensive planning and execution were utilized in two major phases, culminating in a seamless transformation of our infrastructure. We were able to meticulously test and release each phase of the project by architecting, designing and consulting with our various business stakeholders. This talk will address the steps taken to migrate our platform and 180+ integrations from an on-premise landscape into a securely architected enterprise system delivered on cloud services. We will highlight how we achieved new operational practices, holistic collaboration amongst business and development teams for testing and validation, but above all realized immediate benefit to our more than 40,000 end users.

Jinja templates as a tool for gradual automation and infrastructure as code

Speaker:

  • Alex Tremblay, Systems Administrator, Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions, Information Technology Services 

Time: May 6, Round 3, 1:35 – 2:05 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

This talk will demonstrate how the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions within Information Technology Services uses a templating system called Jinja to implement gradual automation and manage infrastructure using the principles of infrastructure as code. This solution has been used to manage on-premises and Azure resources in a consistent and repeatable way and can be used by any team as a means to gradually automate any workflows or processes they have. The implementation is accessible, easy to pick up and can be leveraged by any team member to the benefit of the whole team, without prior programming experience, thereby fostering creativity and teamwork.

Kicking the tires on Salesforce

Speaker:

  • Court van Beek, Product Delivery Lead, Information and Instructional Technology (IIT), Faculty of Arts & Science
  • Kelly Jay, Senior Information Systems Analyst, Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration

Time: May 6, Round 3, 1:35 – 2:05 p.m.
Location: Breakout sessions

This presentation will tell the story of how Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration, the Vice-Provost, Innovation in Undergraduate Education (VPIUE) office and the Faculty of Arts & Science collaborated to grow a divisional initiative to improve academic advising into an institutional project that will transform the way student advising is realized at the University of Toronto. We will provide an in-depth look at the team’s process of presenting requirements and gathering feedback across the institution and how we worked with Salesforce and our advising staff to set up a proof of concept (POC). We will also showcase the Advisor Link platform and outline how it can benefit both students and staff across the University. The presentation will start with the “roadshow” consultation that was done with divisions across all three campuses. Next, we’ll outline how we engaged key stakeholders and advisors from the Faculty of Arts & Science to help build out scenarios and test cases. We’ll showcase the methods and tools we used to engage the subject matter experts, such as workshops to brainstorm use cases, group work to develop scenarios and the translation of scenarios into usable test cases.