Sessions 2020

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The WatITis conference is held online in December 8, 2020. Please note that the session schedules are currently tentative and may change without notice.

Opens on December 8, 2020 at 10 am - 3 pm:

* indicates a 20 minute session

Time Stream 1 Stream 2 Stream 3 Stream 4 Stream 5

9:00-10:00

Opening remarks and Keynote: Lyndia Littel - Business and IST Systems through a Pandemic

10:00-10:15

15 minute break

10:15-11:05
(Session 1)

Microsoft o365 Stream Session 1: Microsoft Office 365 - The Journey Continues
Andrew McAlorum, Steven Bourque
The Right Question
Costin Ograda-Bratu, Steve Nickerson, and Edward Chrzanowski
Tracking Learning Outcomes and Issuing Badges in Waterloo LEARN: Why this could be a game changer
Daspina Fefekos, Tanya Strong
The Versatile BA
Anuja Bajaj, Annie Au, Silviu Besenyei, Jennifer Parkin, Deborah Tovell
Watis the hype around Continuous Improvement?
Kimberley Snage, Raghda Sabry, Jonathan Fischbach, Ryan King

11:05-11:15

10 minute break

11:15-12:00
(Session 2)

Microsoft o365 Stream Session 2: Using Office 365 – There is an ‘App’ for that
Lisa Tomalty, Jan Willwerth, Meagan Lai, Tabatha Dominguez, Lowell Williamson
Scalable user centric SSH key management
Jason Testart and Ryan Goggin
UW's Digital Transformation during Uncertain Times
Andrew McAlorum
IT in the time of pandemic: how to work from home securely
Terry Labach
Enterprise Architecture in Action
Maher Shinouda

12:00-1:00

Lunch break

1:00-1:50
(Session 3)

Microsoft o365 Stream Session 3: Moving to SharePoint Online
Connie van Oostveen, Stephen Markan, Tim Farrell
What IST is doing with on-prem storage*
Jason Gorrie

Security Information & Event Management (SIEM) with open-source tools*
Harsh Roghelia
Getting started with ArcGIS Online at the University of Waterloo*
Scott MacFarlane, Jennifer Keir

WCMS 3 layout builder and dashboards demo*
Kevin Paxman
Accessibility in Your Pocket*
Ryan Lahti, Joyce Barlow

Practical agile development in the enterprise*
Joe Kwan, Pavol Chvala
CEL-Computing Inventory Management System (CEL-CIMS)*
Ishan Abeywardena, Jason Greatrex

Digital Transformation in Campus Wellness: A modern EMR platform to meet the needs of Waterloo Students*
Nathan Lee, Greg Smith

1:50-2:00

10 minute break

2:00-2:45
(Session 4)

Microsoft o365 Stream Session 4: Exploring privacy and security concerns
Andrew McAlorum, Jason Testart, Mike Szarka, Kathy Winter
When organizational change rocks an agile team
Tara Hillis
Vena Implementation for Faculty of Math
Udaya Wettasinghe, Mike Gaspic
Hello, my name is...
Andrew Ward, Matt Harford
Two People With Some Views on Technology
Daryl Dore, Greg Smith

2:45-3:00

15 minute break

3:00-4:00

Keynote: David Gosset - Quantum Computing and closing notes

Session 1 (10:15-11:05)

Microsoft o365 Stream Session 1: Microsoft Office 365 - The Journey Continues (level 100)

Andrew McAlorum, Steven Bourque

45 min.

In December 2019, IST received approval to move forward with Office 365 email in the cloud for all employees. This approval was the result of a thorough investigation that included an assessment of risks from a security perspective, benchmarking with other Universities, and campus input.
The vision for the Office 365 Program is to align the University of Waterloo’s information technology services with our reputation as Canada’s most innovative university by embracing the Office 365 suite of cloud applications to increase student and employee efficiency and collaboration, realize cost-savings through the reduction of duplicate services and licensing, and modernize our IT infrastructure, security, and service delivery.
This presentation will provide an overview of the roadmap for implementing Office 365 at the University, highlight some of the accomplishments and challenges to date, outline the projects and initiatives planned over the coming months, and explain governance for the Office 365 program.

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The Right Question (level 100)

Costin Ograda-Bratu, Steve Nickerson, and Edward Chrzanowski

Recorded Presentation: The Right Question

Presentation Slides: The Right Question (PDF)

45 min.

“Now that detective is the right question. Program terminated.” The above quote was from an interaction between a Doctor and a Detective in the movie “I Robot” and here is a link to the movie scene from YouTube.

This panel, with presenters from CSCF (Steve Nickerson, Costin Ograda-Bratu) and IST stems from the work and discussions panel members had in producing procedures to triage client cases as they came into the help desk. The problem as with hospital triage is to ask “the right question” to prioritize the client/patient problem.

Imagine yourself on duty and a frantic call/message comes in as in: “My machine is on fire and there is smoke coming out of the back”. How do you triage the call? You will ask The Right Question and a possible future response might be verbal as in “Google/Siri RED RT – smoke coming out of machine from client X for John Doe.” In the meantime on your screen will be follow up questions and responses.

Anyone can participate. Please send the panel members or the moderator (Edward Chrzanowski) any possible questions beforehand (and not just to the specific aforementioned frantic call).

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Tracking Learning Outcomes and Issuing Badges in Waterloo LEARN: Why this could be a game changer (level 100)

Daspina Fefekos, Tanya Strong

45 min.

Tracking Learning Outcomes and issuing Badges can simplify information sharing and help staff and/or instructors track student completion of tasks within LEARN. This session will cover what Learning Outcomes and Badges are and how they can be used at the course and organizational level in LEARN. We will discuss some current use cases, as well as a few potential use cases that could streamline existing workflows and the way completion data is communicated.

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The Versatile BA (level 100)

Anuja Bajaj (University of Waterloo), Annie Au (University of Waterloo), Silviu Besenyei (Wilfrid Laurier University), Jennifer Parkin (Ryerson University), Deborah Tovell (University of Guelph)

45 min.

The role of a Business Analyst (BA) in Higher Education is rapidly gaining recognition, especially during these challenging times. In this session, a panel of our esteemed BA colleagues from the University of Waterloo and neighbouring universities will be asked a series of questions in which they will share their perspectives on their role as a BA. The goal of this discussion is to realize the key and versatile role of the BA and to foster a mindset of continuous improvement in all of us.

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Watis the hype around Continuous Improvement? (level 100)

Kimberley Snage, Raghda Sabry, Jonathan Fischbach, Ryan King

45 min.

Supporting the University's Robust Employer-Employee strategic theme and Excellence Canada initiative, a Continuous Improvement (CI) committee has been working to define a consistent framework and set of tools for improving processes at Waterloo. The CI culture is focused on respect for people and empowers employees to step up to their roles as problem-solvers. The pandemic has introduced unique challenges to our business processes and employee working environments - solutions like CI are needed now more than ever. Join this session to learn about how the CI committee has been working towards defining CI within UWaterloo, implementing efficiencies through the use of CI practices and frameworks, creating a CI culture within the UW community, and connecting with global education leaders in the CI space.

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Session 2 (11:15-12:00)

Microsoft o365 Stream Session 2: Using Office 365 –There is an ‘App’ for that (level 100)

Lisa Tomalty, Jan Willwerth, Meagan Lai, Tabatha Dominguez, Lowell Williamson

45 min.

The most significant benefits of transitioning the University to Office 365 are the enhanced opportunities for collaboration and improved functionality available through various apps that require all users to be on the same tenant, and in some cases require all users to be using O365 email in the cloud.

This presentation will outline some apps that have been implemented to enhance sharing and collaboration between students and instructors, and other apps and tools that have been implemented to enhance functionality for all employees.

The presentation will also describe the processes to be followed if you want to enable a new app.

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Scalable user centric SSH key management (level 300)

Jason Testart and Ryan Goggin

Recorded Presentation: Scalable user centric SSH key management

Presentation Slide: Scalable user centric SSH key management (PDF)

45 min.

Secure Shell (SSH) has been the accepted standard for remote access to Unix/Linux systems for over two decades. Despite its common use, many SSH server installations suffer from the weakness that authentication is permitted with simply a userid and static password.

SSH offers stronger authentication options using public-key cryptography; the most popular being SSH keys. Management of these keys can be cumbersome, particularly in a distributed enterprise environment, as the default configuration involves the manipulation of text files in users’ home directories.

In this presentation, Jason and Ryan from the Information Security Services team in IST will provide an overview and demonstration of a new centralized SSH Key repository service that, when combined with the OpenSSH server feature ‘AuthorizedKeysCommand’, provides a secure and scalable way for people at Waterloo to manage SSH keys on UW systems.

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UW's Digital Transformation during Uncertain Times (level 100)

Andrew McAlorum

45 min.

When the university moved to work from home in response to Covid-19, we had to quickly adapt the way we work, both individually and institutionally. This session will cover how IST responded to the increased need for technology support and tools in the ‘new normal’, and how we can help your team continue operations and complete strategic objectives from a distance. Topics include remote support for events and meetings with Teams, file sharing and collaboration with OneDrive, the migration to Skype telephony, remote workstation support with Bomgar, media streaming with Kanopy for online teaching and learning, and more.

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IT in the time of pandemic: how to work from home securely (level 200)

Terry Labach

45 min.

Off-campus and mobile computing trends have posed security risks for years. In the face of a global pandemic, with working from home (WFH) becoming the norm for many rather than the exception, those risks are multiplied. Without the shield of the mighty UW IT infrastructure, our staff and faculty must defend their own computing devices in their own homes.

Terry will discuss what he and his colleagues have learned about the new WFH computing security landscape. He will then demonstrate the latest techniques on how to keep your data and home-based computer safe. Staff and faculty working from home may not be back on campus full-time for eons. Let's be careful out there.

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Enterprise Architecture in Action (level 100)

Maher Shinouda

45 min.

This presentation will provide an overview of the Enterprise Architecture (EA) efforts at Waterloo. It will highlight some of the EA activities, the role of EA in projects and applications inventory initiative at Waterloo.

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Session 3 (1:00-1:50)

Microsoft o365 Stream Session 3: Moving to SharePoint Online (level 200)

Connie van Oostveen, Stephen Markan, Tim Farrell

Recorded Presentation: Moving to SharePoint Online

Presentation Slides: Moving to SharePoint Online (PDF)

45 min.

Currently, many departments and groups use SharePoint 2016 on premise to store documentation, collaborate on documents, keep important data about documents, and use other SharePoint features. Going forward, we will be using SharePoint Online (in the cloud). In this presentation, we will discuss the benefits and features of SharePoint Online, where it fits in the O365 ecosystem, when you might want to use SharePoint online, and the migration paths and process for on premise SharePoint sites.

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What IST is doing with on-prem storage* (level 200)

Jason Gorrie

25 min.

While some applications are moving to the cloud there is still a large need for "local" storage. For the past 18 months IST was renewing and refreshing that local storage. In this session Jason will go over the process and what happened along the way.

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Security Information & Event Management (SIEM) with open-source tools* (level 200)

Harsh Roghelia

20 min.

I would like to present about real-time big data cybersecurity project that I have been working on in the Computer Science Computing Facility (CSCF), to assist a research group. The talk goes in-depth on how I used terabytes (TBs) of connection logs generated by Zeek, to analyze and enrich the logs with geo-location data as well as threat intelligence data. This was achieved using Apache NiFi - a software project that allows automation of the flow of data between software systems and can be used in a cluster form with the help of Apache Zookeeper (a distributed configuration and synchronization service) to make use of as many resources as required. These enriched data logs were then sent to Apache Kafka (a high performance, low latency, stream-processing platform) which allows users to consume these enriched logs at any point for multiple purposes.

Once such purpose was to ingest the logs into Elasticsearch (full-text search engine with an HTTP web interface and schema-free JSON docs) for visualization via Kibana (an open source dashboard for Elasticsearch). This allowed a research group to develop multiple 2D and 3D visualizations as well as detect any anomalies on the network graph. I will also highlight my struggles with some of the solutions out there, such as Apache Metron, which is a big data cybersecurity platform, but fails to work on most install instances, and why I decided to not work with it after struggling with it for 2 months.

I want to shed some light on the great (some not-so-great) software that I used, in hopes that someone may find these open source utilities useful in any project that they are working on, and help answer some questions/reservations they may have with using these.

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Getting started with ArcGIS Online at the University of Waterloo* (level 100)

Scott MacFarlane, Jennifer Keir

25 min.

In this talk we will:

  • describe Esri Inc.’s cloud-based GIS mapping software: ArcGIS Online
  • talk briefly about the behind the scenes work that was done by IST and MAD to implement this SaaS platform
  • discuss how to get started with ArcGIS Online at the University of Waterloo
  • demonstrate some of the basic to more advanced capabilities of the platform

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WCMS 3 layout builder and dashboards demo* (level 100)

Kevin Paxman

20 min.

This will be a live demo of the layout builder and dashboards functionality within the upcoming WCMS 3. For those that attend WAC, note that this will be a similar demo, though some options have been added.

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Accessibility in Your Pocket* (level 100)

Ryan Lahti, Joyce Barlow

Recorded Presentation: Accessibility in Your Pocket*

25 min.

Purpose:

  • To showcase the embedded accessibility features available in our readily available campus software including Microsoft Office suite (Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, One Note, Immersive Reader, and Translator), LEARN, etc.
  • To understand when these features may be used and its benefits to the users, beyond persons with disabilities.
  • To showcase how to make student services accessible using the tools that students most often use while on campus (hint: it’s not email OR WCMS!)

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Practical agile development in the enterprise* (level 100)

Joe Kwan, Pavol Chvala

Recorded Presentation: Practical agile development in the enterprise*

20 min.

As a follow up to “Agile in the enterprise” delivered at last year’s WatITIs, this presentation would dive into more details about how agile principles have been practically applied within the university’s enterprise organizational structure through the Portal development team in IST. Information will be delivered from two perspectives: the product owner and the scrum master.

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CEL-Computing Inventory Management System (CEL-CIMS)* (level 100)

Ishan Abeywardena, Jason Greatrex

20 min.

The Centre for Extended Learning (CEL) Systems team initiated a project in Fall 2019 to inventorize all CEL computing assets for better management, tracking, renewals, needs analysis, theft prevention and budgeting. All computing equipment, including desktops, laptops, keyboards, mice, projectors etc., were asset tagged using unique QR code stickers as a part of this massive effort to keep track of the thousands of computing assets we own at CEL. Following the asset tagging, we implemented an asset management system called Computing Asset Management System or CEL-CIMS by customizing a FOSS asset management system. After the implementation of CEL-CIMS, all users, assets (HW and SW), key FOBs and meeting room assets were imported into the system. The CEL-CIMS benefits stakeholders by:

  • Rapid deployment of computing assets for work-from-home during the COVID-19 lockdown
  • Ensuring that all software licenses are up-to-date and renewed on time
  • Automatic initiation of desktop rollovers
  • Better forecasting and budgeting for HW/SW needs based on gaps (e.g. computers for contract/COF staff)
  • Better security and access control
  • Centralized reporting of inventory for audit purposes
  • Prevention of theft and calculation of write-offs (e.g. monitoring meeting room assets)
  • Identifying lost FOBs, reassigning FOBs, deactivating FOBs and strengthening office security/access control

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Digital Transformation in Campus Wellness: A modern EMR platform to meet the needs of Waterloo Students* (level 100)

Nathan Lee, Greg Smith

25 min.

The adoption of new digital healthcare ecosystem (Accuro, Ocean and Medeo EMR systems) in Campus Wellness at the University of Waterloo has delivered the goal realization of enhanced client care, improved work efficiencies and benefits to the student customer experience. In addition, Covid-19 has led to benefits including the fast adoption of virtual healthcare and the exchange of secure documentation.

Topics include:

  • Culture transformation in Campus Wellness
  • Improved efficiencies (automated appointment reminders, online booking, secure messaging)
  • Change management (managing the Go-Live date)
  • Cloud-based EMR
  • Virtual Healthcare (Medeo, Ocean forms)
  • Check-in Kiosks

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Session 4 (2:00-2:45)

Microsoft o365 Stream Session 4: Exploring privacy and security concerns (level 100)

Andrew McAlorum, Jason Testart, Mike Szarka, Kathy Winter

45 min.

With Office 365, we are able store our data in the cloud. In this presentation you will hear the answer to questions such as:

  • “Why store my data in cloud?”
  • “What types of data should not be stored in the cloud?”
  • “Is it ‘safe” to store research data in the cloud?”

In addition to its many supporters, Microsoft Office 365 has detractors. Some people are very skeptical about moving to the cloud for email and data storage. At this session, the panel will address frequently asked questions about Office 365 and answer questions posed by session attendees.

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When organizational change rocks an agile team (level 100)

Tara Hillis

45 min.

Traditional change management is formulaic but it works in some settings. What works and what doesn't when an agile team is going through organizational change? I will answer this question and I'll provide seven tips to help agile teams embrace the change without breaking stride.

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Vena Implementation for Faculty of Math (level 100)

Udaya Wettasinghe, Mike Gaspic

45 min.

Math identified a need to improve their budget process. In 2019 through 2020 Math worked with a vendor (Delbridge), IST’s Data, Integration and Analytics team, and campus partners in Finance, HR, RO and GSPA to implement Vena, a Financial Planning and Analysis software platform. The project goal was to centralize various inputs into one system, base budget projections on more granular data provided directly by source systems, simplify the overall budget process, and provide richer, more reliable data to support decision-making.

This presentation will explain the processes followed to implement this system, highlight some of the accomplishments as well as the challenges, and demonstrate the functionality around decision support.

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Hello, my name is... (level 100)

Andrew Ward, Matt Harford

Recorded Presentation: Hello, my name is...

45 min.

When supporting clients with high-risk requests, like password resets, changes to two-factor authentication (2FA) accounts, individual academic and financial account information, we need to be very confident we are helping the actual client. When possible, support for such high-risk processes and release of confidential information should be done in person, with identity supported by appropriate photo identification. When in person support is not possible, we need to fall back to a remote identity assurance process. For remote clients, industry standards and best practices use knowledge-based verification (KBV). This presentation will explain the new design of our identity assurance process, detail the data used to support the process, and cover some use cases from The Centre and the IST Service Desk.

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Two People With Some Views on Technology (level 100)

Daryl Dore, Greg Smith

45 min.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, autonomous databases, cloud technologies and other technical trends are leading us to an IT landscape that looks vastly different from today. Cloud capabilities are at the point where they are fundamentally changing how technology, as we know it, can be used. Many of the previous barriers to usage of cloud have also been removed in recent years. Software-as-a-Service puts configurable tools into the hands of business analysts to accomplish automation that would have traditionally required sophisticated programming. Cloud platform technologies further the democratization of technology to allow an individual in a small unit on campus to leverage capabilities that were once unthinkable and expensive.

Inside traditional IT, the promise of autonomous databases and operating systems have the potential to do patching, tuning and other work without human intervention. AI and machine learning have the potential to automate tasks that were once promised to always need human support. These new innovations are also becoming critical pillars to security and help desk operations. If a lot of traditional IT work does end up being automated, what will technologists do? While these technologies may require less specialized technical skills, functions like architecture, process and change management, business and systems analysis, and system configuration become invaluable to enable organizations to modernize and break the bonds of old processes, allowing for simultaneous growth and a commitment to fiscal responsibility.

In this presentation, Daryl Dore (Director of ERP and Data Systems) and Greg Smith (Director of Departmental and Campus Applications) will provide an overview of these trends from their perspective, and will discuss how they believe these trends could impact an organization like the university. Daryl and Greg have worked together since 2015, and share a common interest in the impact of industry-changing technologies and trends such as these, and how they are already impacting the traditional role of IT in higher education.

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