Students and parents at orientation.

Updates from
the Associate Vice President for IT and CIO

September 2017


Helping the SLATE grant to be part of a new national research platform: Robert Gardner, senior fellow at the Computation Institute was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant entitled Services Layer At The Edge (SLATE) in partnership with colleagues at the University of Michigan and University of Utah. The purpose of SLATE is to develop software that automates the distribution, configuration, management, and maintenance of applications commonly used to support the transfer of large data for research purposes. By utilizing SLATE, software in support of research can be quickly generated, customized, and managed in new environments to support large-scale deployments of data across the nation. SLATE is also under consideration as a component of the National Research Platform (NRP), an emerging set of standards that describe the basic ability of Science DMZs to communicate with other information technology systems and software at a national scale. IT Services is assisting the SLATE and NRP initiatives in order to strengthen the value of the University of Chicago Science DMZ to the institution.

Canvas adoption is strong for autumn 2017:
Outreach to faculty ahead of autumn quarter included email reminders to set up their course sites in Canvas, as well as to reiterate that Chalk is being retired. Additionally, a new self-service Canvas course site request form launched, which makes it faster for faculty to request and edit their course sites in Canvas. Over 160 new course sites were created within 7 hours of a recent email sent to faculty, and 770 out of 1500 expected course sites are now created in Canvas for autumn 2017. During the start of Autumn Quarter, staff will be stationed in the TechBar at The Joseph Regenstein Library for increased walk-in support through October 6. Continuing from the summer, frequent workshops will be held including Canvas Basics in 30 Minutes, Intro to Canvas, and Chalk-to-Canvas Migration.

New student reporting on teaching and courses:
Significant additional student analytics functionality has been provided to dean’s offices and departments to aid faculty and staff in analyzing courses, enrollments, and teaching—analysis that is critical to managing the success of every academic program. The student teaching dashboard includes information such as identifying the student teachers and the specific classes they teach, as well as the type of teaching in which they are engaged. These reports enable tracking and analysis of appointments related to the Graduate Aid Initiative (GAI), and feature a complete student teaching transcript. A second set of functionality is available through a course dashboard that allows for easy retrieval of the University’s class offerings, enrollment counts, and individual class rosters. A third dashboard on class instruction features a listing of appointed instructors teaching courses along with their rank and unit. The student data warehouse, Student Information Analytics system (SIA), continues to be expanded, now providing access to more than 15 dashboards and reporting packages for more than 300 authorized users across campus in central offices, dean’s areas, and academic departments.

New online information security resources available for faculty, students, and staff:
Two new information security websites were launched in time for the start of Autumn Quarter, to increase focus on important and timely information security topics and resources. Get Secure ( provides faculty, students, and staff with simple “getting started” information regarding how to be more secure online and when using technology. Get Secure includes information on topics such as two-factor authentication, data back up, mobile device security, phishing, and more. In addition to Get Secure, a new website was also launched for the University’s Information Security unit ( The Information Security website provides more extensive, in-depth information security resources, including importantly, content to assist faculty, students, and staff in identifying, avoiding, and reporting phishing scams.

Upgraded technology in classrooms for Autumn Quarter:
Kelly Simmons, associate university registrar at the Office of the University Registrar, worked with the Academic Technology Solutions (ATS) team in IT Services to implement technology upgrades for 13 classrooms across campus. These include the Cochrane-Woods Art Center, Swift Hall, Walker Museum, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Social Sciences Research Building, and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. Additionally, several classrooms in Henry Hinds Laboratory and Kersten Physics Teaching Center for the Division of Physical Sciences (PSD) have been updated with new audio visual installations. The ATS team, which implements and supports technology in the classroom, was key to the effort. Eight additional rooms are scheduled to receive technology upgrades during the winter break.


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Updates from the Associate Vice President for IT and CIO – September 2017