IT Update for April 2017

View this email in your browser
April 2017
A monthly report to UAB leadership and the IT community about technology projects
designed to enhance the work and lives of UAB staff, faculty and students.
Campus Email Solutions

No limits

UAB IT has worked to improve email — and we're not done yet

Remember when you had to stop your work to clean out your email because your inbox was almost full? UAB IT has been on a journey to improve the email experience on campus, from implementing unlimited email storage to improving the directory. And we have plans this year to make more improvements by cutting costs and improving phishing detection. With your input and feedback, we've included new initiatives in the IT Strategic Plan. Over the next several months we will be bringing you videos (like the one above) that showcase the changes we've implemented and those that are planned to improve the technology experience on campus so that you can get back to changing the world.


Migration of staff, faculty email to the cloud continues

UAB IT is migrating UAB employee and faculty email to Office 365, a cloud-based system that offers new tools and continuous upgrades to improve the service and environment. Migrations for customers of UAB IT's Desktop Services have taken place throughout March, and will begin for the rest of campus on Friday, April 7. Office 365 offers several advantages for users, and because email is in the cloud, it is not dependent on UAB facilities being available when the user is off-campus. Office 365 is also the email system that students use. Learn more here.

Policy tips send warning if you try to email credit card numbers

Sending credit card numbers and personally identifying information via email makes you more vulnerable to identity theft. UAB IT has implemented policy tip warnings via email to alert you if it appears you are trying to send a credit card number via your UAB email account. These warnings are intended to alert you to potential danger and help you protect yourself. Learn more here.

60-second survey will help UAB IT gather more info about customers
UAB IT wants you to take a 60-second survey to tell us your communication and technology preferences. The quick 10-question survey will give UAB IT more information about how to communicate with our customers and will let us know what technology services are most valuable and important to you. UAB IT appreciates the feedback from students, faculty, staff and researchers.

UAB app adds tiles for BSync calendar, BlazerBucks
Wonder what's happening on campus today? Worried your BlazerBucks are running low? The latest UAB App update features live tiles for BlazerBucks/Dining Dollars accounts and BSync events. Don't have the app? Download it today. Learn more at
Brainhack unites researchers around the world in brain studies
Researchers from UAB joined colleagues from around the world last month in participating in the global Brainhack event, working on projects related to neuroscience. UAB IT's Research Computing team assisted with the March 2-4 event, helping teams in the hack to improve the performance of image processing, taking image analysis from 21 days per subject in an untuned workflow to two hours per subject using the graphics processing unit (GPU) tools. Brainhack gathers researchers from a variety of disciplines to cooperate on projects related to neuroscience. Contrary to “hackathons," brainhacks are not exclusive to programmers, but instead open to scientists from all backgrounds and expertise. Attendees were able to work on projects of their choosing with part of the goal being to get people with different backgrounds working together to understand the brain. Projects include generating and testing hypotheses, developing new tools and methods, improving upon existing tools and methods, learning about particular techniques, or doing just about anything else that will directly or indirectly advance attendees' knowledge about and understanding of the brain.

New classroom status page monitors tech outages in classrooms

UAB IT's Classroom Technology team has created a new Classroom Status page to let faculty know the technology status of the classrooms UAB IT oversees across campus. A color-coded system will let faculty know if there are any technology issues in each classroom. Access the page from the IT faculty page or click here.

New online application saves time for prospective students
Students applying as undergraduates to UAB now have a much simpler process that saves time — and has led to an increase in the number of applications to the University. Previously, prospective students had to sign in to apply with a “proto-BlazerID” — a cumbersome process. If they forgot their password, students had to contact AskIT to get it reset. Now, students can log in with a social media account or with a guest account, reducing the amount of time it takes to log in to complete an application. Last year, UAB IT also worked with the UAB Admissions office to include UAB in the Common application — an online service that allows students to apply to multiple institutions with one application.

Public profiles extension of Faculty Profiles to launch in fall
A planned extension to the Faculty Profiles system will allow UAB faculty to create public profiles for their scholarly activities.  The public profiles, which will be backed by the VIVO network, will allow faculty to showcase their researcher expertise and enable collaboration. The system will be able to read UAB data and help researchers and administrators discover experts at other institutions, while making investigators more discoverable to scholars around the world. The public profiles site will allow many of UAB’s departments to stop manually updating their sites with faculty information and simply link to the new site. Testing of the new system is expected to begin in the next month, with a tentative launch date of the public profiles site in September.

Instructors praise technology upgrade in Heritage Hall classroom
A technology upgrade in Heritage Hall classroom 442 is earning rave reviews from those who use the classroom. All of the technology in the room was upgraded: the computer is an all-in-one touch-enabled Windows 10PC; the AV controls were updated to the new classroom standard, with a new control panel with intuitive icon-driven interface; new, brighter projector; and Blu-ray player controlled by the touch panel. Learn more here.
Report Viewer access to be limited to on campus, VPN
On April 15, access to the Report Viewer application will be limited to UAB Campus and Hospital networks, or for external users via VPN. A VPN is used to connect a remote user to UAB campus resources that are restricted for reasons of security and/or licensing constraints. For instructions and downloads, please visit Anyone who has trouble accessing this resource from off campus should contact AskIT at

Use Internet Explorer 11 to access Oracle and other applications
With the latest Firefox update (52.0) and subsequent updates, Java, Silverlight, Adobe Acrobat, and other plugins will no longer work. Use Internet Explorer 11 to access Oracle and any other system that relies on the above applications. Click here for more information from Mozilla.

Plans for DocuSign moving forward with training
DocuSign 101, UAB IT’s first internal training session for DocuSign has been completed. The internal pilot program has begun usage in a test environment and template training for the internal pilot program will take place during the week of April 3. DocuSign will allow electronic signature of documents, one of the most popular ideas in UAB IT's SPARK crowdsourcing campaign.
Data Protection and Security Policy protects vital information
Managing and protecting data are responsibilities shared by all members of the UAB community. UAB’s revised Data Protection and Security Policy recognizes the vital role information plays in UAB's educational, research, operational, and medical missions, and provides a framework to ensure that electronic data, in all forms, are adequately protected in accordance with federal and state laws and university policies. For information, please see UAB IT's Security website.

Security tip: Take precautions to reduce risk of identity theft
Identity theft is a real threat; it can happen to anyone, and it can be challenging for victims to deal with the fallout. Take precautions to reduce the risk of identity theft and protect yourself and your identity. Click here for tips.

UAB hosts ServiceNow user group meeting

UAB hosted the Alabama ServiceNow user group meeting Tuesday, March 14, at the Alumni House. Professionals from around the state who use the software — which is the platform for UAB's IT Service Portal — met to discuss resolving customer issues and continuous improvement and to get a demonstration of the newest version of ServiceNow.

Future of IT in Education focus of UAB IT presentation
UAB IT's experience was showcased last month during a Campus Consortium webinar on the Future of IT in Education. Vice President and Chief Information Officer Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. led the webinar for higher education IT professionals across the country and discussed the pace of technology; using technology to create a competitive advantage for universities; and what education will look like in 2020. Dr. Carver also presented at Educause and Gartner last month.
UAB IT imperatives and Educause Top 10 Issues

Top IT issues include security, student success, data-driven choices
The success and foundation of an institution’s future is built on the success of its students. Educause has identified the top 10 IT issues for 2017, which are foundations for student success. Advances in technology and data science make it possible to use information technology to improve students' institutional experiences. UAB has already adopted many of these priorities in its IT Strategic Plan and seven IT imperatives, and the video above showcases how UAB's IT imperatives match with the Educause Top 10. Educause’s top 10 list includes: information security; student success and completion; data-informed decision making; strategic leadership; sustainable funding; data management and governance; higher education affordability; sustainable staffing; next-gen enterprise IT; and digital transformation of learning. To learn more about the Educause Top 10, click here.

IT Strategic Advisory Committee holds first meeting
The IT Strategic Advisory Committee, made up of 20 members of the campus community, held its first meeting last month. The committee is a first step toward establishing a stronger governance process for IT services. The committee will provide advice and guidance on how the university should prioritize, plan and allocate resources to meet the technology needs of the university. 

ATTENDANCE MONITORING PILOT: UAB IT is partnering with Ex Libris on new technology for attendance monitoring. UAB IT will pilot the iBeacon technology internally to help determine if it is a viable solution for campus.

PII REDUCTION COMING: UAB IT's information security team will be partnering with IT professionals across campus to reduce the amount of personal identifying information (PII) from campus servers, which will reduce risk for the university and its faculty, staff and students.

IP ADDRESS MANAGEMENT: UAB IT will be implementing a new IP address management system in partnership with IT professionals across campus. IPAM will make it easier for faculty, staff and students to connect to the UAB wired network, and it will also strengthen security by allowing UAB IT to identify where sensitive data is being processed and improve UAB's ability to respond to security incidents.

Last modified on May 29, 2018