January 2015

Welcome to uWaterloo Connect IT! This blog will provide a collaborative environment for university community members to help shape the future of IT at Waterloo.

On the go with Quest Mobile

In early May 2014, Information Systems & Technology (IST) partnered with the Registrar’s Office (RO), Centre for Extended Learning (CEL), and Graduate Studies Office (GSO) to implement a mobile interface to the Quest student system.

A closer look at the new Waterloo campus map

Then and now

There were three main reasons the venerable old campus map needed to be replaced. First, it was based on Adobe’s Flash, which meant it didn’t work on mobile browsers and left smartphone users reliant on outside alternatives, such as Google Maps. The University needed a solution tailored to the campus that was based on trusted and familiar data sources.

Drupal North

On June 26 and 27, many members of the Waterloo Content Management System (WCMS) team attended the Drupal North conference. This was the first year for the conference, though many of the groups making up the organizing committee have held (and continue to hold) DrupalCamps of their own.

Finding value with Information Management

In late 2013, I became the director of a new group in IST called Enterprise Architecture (EA). I have written previous blog posts about Enterprise Architecture (the practice), but the EA Group does more than just Enterprise Architecture. One of our other key responsibilities is Information Management.

Information Management

"What's the plan?"

It seems hard to believe, but it has been almost 3 years since the development and approval of the Information Technology (IT) Strategic Plan.  A lot has happened over that time, including the launch of the University's Strategic Plan, some incredible initiatives and service improvements throughout the IT community, the IST reorganization, updated IT governance and the move to EC2.  Wow!

Enterprise Systems – “The Invisibles”

My workday at the University usually starts by parking my car in a parking lot and a quick stop at the Davis Centre Tim’s for a cup of coffee. I use a fob to enter my building, adjust the office temperature, and start an application on my computer to begin my routine work. I may check my HR information and/or training enrolment on myHRinfo, and if I’m feeling a little under the weather, pop over to Health Services for a quick health appointment.

Authentication Service Renewal

Where are we now?

The processes and techniques that provide authentication and authorization for the campus community have not changed in many years. These processes are reliant on batch consumption of identity data using WatIAM’s Extract file, direct LDAP authentication against the campus active directory, and the use of CAS for web application single sign-on. While this infrastructure has served the University well for many years, some changes will be required to ensure future needs are met.

WaterlooWorks: Project overview and update

WaterlooWorks is part of Co-operative Education & Career Action's (CECA) Systems Strategy. It will replace JobMine, our current co-op and career recruiting system, and integrate numerous standalone applications that support co-op and career success such as career workshops, career appointments, job sign-off request form, and eCheckin.

Learn. Develop. Grow.

Take the time to invest in YOU!

Late last month I was creating a spreadsheet in Excel and remembered something a colleague had said about the value of a pivot table: it brought the data to life, making it easier to summarize and use.

Open data at Waterloo fosters student innovation

University’s open data initiative is important resource for Waterloo Student Portal

This story originally appeared on the Waterloo Stories website on February 19, 2015.

Kartik Talwar wanted something more out of the University of Waterloo when he arrived as a student in 2010: information, and lots of it

It wasn’t that it didn’t exist; it was just in scattered digital nooks and crannies. Talwar, who graduates this year in math and physics, sought a single source from which to shape his student life, a giant repository of data about programs, courses, timetables and services.

How Waterloo continues to evolve its technology-enabled learning

Where are we now?

Waterloo’s position within the world of online learning is very solid. The use of online learning continues to grow for on-campus courses, and almost every student has an online component for multiple courses. The number of fully online enrolments and available courses increases term-after-term as well, and Faculties consider it a strategic growth area. It’s clear that students no longer perceive taking a fully online course as a “one-off”. Approximately 5000 Waterloo students take at least one fully online course in a term.

Portal rolls out to more students

Students in three faculties now have access to the student portal. Last month, Engineering students joined those in the Faculties of Environment and Arts, and student feedback has been very positive.

Math students will be invited to access the portal starting this month, followed by Applied Health Sciences (AHS) in March, and Science in May. Assuming the portal’s technical infrastructure continues to perform well, all students will have access to the portal by the end of May 2015.

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