Date: May 1, 2020
To: Registrars From: Student Information Systems
Re: CR/NCR changes
As you know, the ROSI, ACORN and Degree Explorer teams have been working to implement changes to CR/NCR enrolment options to reflect academic continuity provisions. In divisions that regularly allow their students the option of choosing CR or NCR in place of the mark earned in a course, mechanisms to waive the restrictions on the number allowed and the use of those courses to meet certain requirements have been implemented. The functionality has also been extended to divisions that have not allowed the option for their students but choose to allow it now.
Details about the functionality have already been communicated to the divisions involved. If you have questions or if your division now wishes to be included, please let us know.
Please note, because the deadlines in some divisions for students to choose the CR/NCR option have been extended, the Fall 2019 and Winter 2020 tabs in ACORN will appear for a longer period this year.
Work is continuing to extend CR/NCR functionality to divisions that use letter and symbol grades instead of percentage marks. That will be completed shortly.
Many thanks to staff in the divisions and in the EASI-SIS group involved in this project for their attention, effort and creativity.
On March 3, 2021, U of T launched its first comprehensive training for Microsoft 365. Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI) is now offering an Introduction to Microsoft 365 @ U of T and High Performance Collaboration. Created with consultation from all three campuses, these courses will help U of T employees to leverage the full power of Microsoft 365 products, to work faster and smarter.
Interested community members can register for monthly instructor-led sessions and also access over 100 U of T-specific micro-learning videos through SuccessFactors: Learning Management System. In addition, EASI has also launched a new Microsoft Training Centre website, which includes a training library and additional information. Beyond the training sessions, employees can also download slides to use as additional guidance and to practice the skills they’ve learned.
“U of T has such a broad user base and employees have different needs, along with different comfort levels with technology,” says Kathleen McLeod, Services Engagement Coordinator with Enterprise Shared Services at EASI. “We’ve offered training sessions over Teams, but this provides much more in-depth training. If you just joined U of T, you can hit the ground running with the introductory course, and if you’re taking the more advanced course, you’ll get more detailed, targeted training.”
The team started working on these courses with training partner, Protiviti, at the beginning of 2020. After employees began to work remotely due to COVID-19, the previously instructor-led courses needed to be re-imagined. This led the team to create micro-learning videos that provide on-demand training.
“When employees began to work remotely, many had to quickly learn how to use Microsoft products like Teams, SharePoint, Stream, OneDrive, Forms and more,” says Gary Raposo, Senior Manager with Enterprise Shared Services at EASI. “Everyone had these new tools thrust upon them and it really highlighted the need for these courses. Now, employees can easily access and customize the training they need.”
In order to gain a full understanding of users’ needs, the development of the courses included close consultation with all three campuses and 14 divisions. If a division requires specific training needs, the Enterprise Shared Services team can provide a one-time training session co-presented with a divisional representative as well as instructor guides.
“We recognize that the training will not be one size fits all,” says Raposo. “That’s why it was important to make it extremely flexible. We’re providing extensive resources and by offering to train others in the divisions, we hope to meet everyone’s needs.”
In addition to the formal training, the team will also continue to run Connect+Learn sessions to address specific topics such as new Microsoft applications or enhancements to existing applications in a personal and interactive forum.
The first instructor-led Introduction to Microsoft 365 @ U of T session will launch on March 24 and the first instructor-led High Performance Collaboration session will launch on March 30. In April, Enterprise Shared Services will offer train-the-trainer sessions and shortly after will roll out online, interactive workshops to give course participants the opportunity to apply their learnings. Instructors will be available to answer questions as participants work through exercises.
“We have so many tools available that are easily accessible,” says McLeod. “There’s so much value that they can offer to employees and it’s important to show them in context. When everyone uses the same tools in a similar way, it allows us to work collaboratively and expand everyone’s capabilities.”
Congratulations to Hung Chu, who will be retiring with over 38 years of dedicated service to the university on March 31, 2021. Hung began working part-time at Hart House in 1982 and started working full-time at UT Computing Services in 1985. Since then, he’s been involved in a broad range of projects and has held various roles in U of T’s evolving IT landscape.
Learn more about Hung below, and please join me in wishing him all the best in the future!
Director Enterprise Applications and Deputy CIO
Hung Chu, Operations/Product Support Joined U of T: September, 1982
Retirement and last day at work: March 31, 2021
Describe your background and how you arrived at EASI I joined U of T in 1982 when I worked various jobs at Hart House while studying Computer Programming at Humber College. After graduating in 1985, I applied to work at UT Computing Services (UTCS) when UTCS acquired Cray Super Computer.
I transferred again to Student Record Systems (SRS) in 1987 to become Production Coordinator. While working there, U of T merged three departments together (UTCS, SRS, and BIS), which was under the portfolio VP Computing and called Systems Development.
In 1998, three departments had separated and needed to convert systems for Y2K compliance. Student Information Systems (formerly SRS) and Computing Service (formerly UTCS) still operated under the IBM mainframe while AMS (formerly BIS) converted to using the SAP system. I came to EASI when AMS and SIS merged.
What will you remember most about EASI? I’ll remember re-locating to various buildings around campus when departments merged under the portfolio CEO, and I’ll remember working under various managers and directors who would give me a hand whenever needed. Also, converting various software and systems was very interesting. EASI has been like a second family to me.
What will you remember most about U of T? All of my co-workers have been really nice when we have shared special projects and special celebrations together. I will miss working with them.
What do you plan to do in retirement? I’ll do some chores like fixing things around the house and garden. Also, I’ll take care of my grandkids whenever needed while their parents are busy. I’ll travel somewhere to have fun and make some new friends along the way.
Date: March 1, 2021 To: Student Information Systems Users
From: Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration
Re: EASI Go Prod NGSIS Updates – Nov. 2020 to Feb. 2021
Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI) would like to update you on the latest major production releases and updates for the NGSIS program and student systems. From November 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021, EASI completed over 31 releases for a wide range of applications.
The following are major changes during this time frame:
New Student Information Systems Website (November 16, 2020)
The new Student Information Systems (SIS) SharePoint website was launched on November 16, 2020. It replaces the previous SIS for Staff website, providing a secure location for documentation for our applications. Other information, including system status and availability, and services shared with other EASI applications (e.g., information about VPNs and eToken) is available on the EASI website. The SharePoint site has been updated and includes improved search functions and a more accessible interface. New content, including training videos, is being added continually.
Curriculum Management / Curriculum Publisher (December, 2020)
Curriculum Management was the first product to be delivered through our original partnership with Kuali Inc. The application allows divisions to create, maintain and retire courses and programs using customized divisional governance processes, and in tandem, allows NGSIS to create a central repository of courses and programs for U of T. Curriculum Publisher is a U of T developed content management website that optionally interfaces with Kuali Curriculum Management, allowing divisions to publish a public facing Calendar or Academic Handbook.
In January 2021, the University of Toronto Mississauga completed its first governance cycle for courses and programs in Curriculum Management. In the fall of 2020, Student Information Systems and UTM began implementing UTM’s first Calendar in Curriculum Publisher, building the new framework from scratch. The Calendar itself will be finalised and published by March 29, 2021.
As well, significant enhancements were made to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering’s Calendar, published in early February, making it the first to be published after Curriculum Publisher’s migration from Drupal 7 to 8. New efficiencies are underway in the production of the Faculty of Arts & Science Calendar, which will be published shortly.
Weighted Grant Unit (December 31, 2020)
Basic Income Units (BIUs) have successfully been converted to Weighted Grant Units (WGUs) in ROSI. These units, which reflect student enrolment, are used to calculate University funding by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. Divisions receive funding based on student registration retrieved from ROSI on enrolment count dates. For more information on how registration information affects funding, please reach out to email@example.com.
Course Information System
The Course Information System streamlines syllabi and exams processes for instructors and administrators, and will ultimately help students to make better-informed decisions about their education. CIS has made the following releases:
Instructor Submission Deadlines (November 5, 2020)
The Instructor Submission Deadlines function allows Department Administrators and Registrar’s Offices to set when instructor submissions are due for each module. Deadlines are informational only and do not restrict instructors from submitting data past the deadline date.
New CIS Syllabus Statements (December 1, 2020)
By the direction of the Office of the Vice-Provost, Innovations in Undergraduate Education, three new optional course statements have been added to the Syllabi module for instructors in all divisions. These include Video Recording and Sharing (download and re-use prohibited), Video Recording and Sharing (download permissible; re-use prohibited), and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
Email Notifications for Instructor Submission Deadlines (December 15, 2020)
This function allows instructors to receive email reminders for any outstanding submissions that have an upcoming or past deadline.
Online Calendar (February 12, 2021)
In the winter and early spring of 2020, the remaining divisions using the Online Calendar tool moved to Curriculum Management and Curriculum Publisher. Historical data for the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering in the Online Calendar that had been used in Degree Explorer was transferred to Curriculum Management and new integration points were established. As a result, the user interface for the calendar is no longer required and was decommissioned on February 12, 2021.
Accommodated Testing Services (Late February/Early March)
As of fall 2020, the Accommodated Testing Services instructor module has been incorporated into the Course Information System for all St. George campus instructors and academic units. This replaces an email-based process and allows faculty members to view all accommodated test and exam requests in one central location where they are able to securely submit test details and documents. Based on feedback received from instructors in fall 2020, a series of targeted enhancements to the instructor module will be rolled out late February to early March 2021. During fall 2020, the forthcoming student module on ACORN was tested by current students to validate the usability of the module. The student module will be launched alongside the administrative module in summer 2021.
Student Academic Advising Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool will complement the eventual renewal of the student system. In 2020, the NGSIS team selected Salesforce as the vendor of choice to establish a Student Academic Advising CRM Proof of Concept. The team evaluated features within the platform and will continue to validate and finalize functional, administrative, and technical requirements throughout the spring and summer of 2021. After publishing the Request for Proposal, the team will proceed with the procurement process and will start the development and implementation effort in October 2021 for a summer 2022 pilot.
U of T’s Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI) is pleased to announce that a new process will allow controlled application integration with Microsoft 365 (M365).
Previously, any apps that accessed M365 data and MS Office add-ins were disabled due to security concerns. Now, EASI, in partnership with Information Security, has created a solution that will allow some apps that are business critical or broadly used at the departmental level to integrate with M365. The goal is to improve the user experience and allow users to realize more potential from M365.
Apps that are deemed very low risk, meaning they don’t access any M365 data, are now available for use. These include Microsoft Tech Community, Microsoft Events, Miro, Flipgrid and many others. Other apps that have been enabled include email clients like Thunderbird, Gmail and Samsung email. To see the current list of approved and pending applications, please visit the Admin Managed Apps page.
Apps that are higher risk or require individual licenses will be limited to certain users and will be managed at a departmental level. These include apps like 12twenty, myViewBoard, and DocuSign.
Once a new app is requested, it needs to be approved by divisional IT administrators, and then it heads to the Application Review Committee for evaluation. An additional risk assessment is performed and then implementation begins. New requests should be submitted through M365 App Request form.
The team faced many challenges when trying to implement this solution. They tried four different methods of controlling application access before creating a solution that balances users’ needs along with access and security. The winning combination uses Azure Active Directory, a cloud-based identity and access management service, including custom app consent policies and application user assignment groups.
The team is currently working to clear up the backlog of requests, and in the future will work on approved requests.
After extensive research and design activities, an overhaul of the database architecture, customization for different user groups and the launch of four modules, the U of T phonebook directory project has officially wrapped up – providing users a more modern, accurate and mobile-friendly application.
The revamped phonebook directory allows external and internal users to search for staff, faculty members and division or department information using an accessible interface. It also eases Departmental Administrators’ workloads, since staff and faculty can update secondary information.
“We’ve really worked to improve data accuracy and user experience,” says Pamela Harris, associate director of Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI). “It provides a lot of convenience – from using the application on a mobile device to allowing staff and faculty to update important parts of their information.”
This project was initiated in fall 2019 and was a collaboration between Information Technology Services and Human Resources & Equity.
Staff and faculty can log in using their UTORid and add additional phone numbers and an alternate U of T email. They can also select which phone number and email they would like to use to receive official Human Resources communications. Departmental administrators log in to their own module to primarily maintain department-specific contact information.
And when business officers cannot edit information, including creating a new department and modifying the visibility of that department, a module allows telecommunications administrators access to edit information and add new business officers to the system.
Before the team began any design work, they conducted research with staff across all three campuses to understand their thoughts on the current directory and possible improvements.
“I attended one of the initial usability testing workshops for the phonebook redesign project, where the team had set up a prototype of the actual application,” says Nathan Harrison, product delivery lead at Arts & Science Information and Instructional Technology. “It was so much easier to provide feedback on specific tasks with this approach – you’re able to provide richer feedback, and having your voice heard helps to make an enterprise change feel more inclusive for end-users.”
Similar to Google, the site takes the guesswork out of searching by providing autosuggestions, and guides people through the searching process with helpful tips. It also displays helpful information from all three campuses, including emergency, media and safety contacts.
“A key difference between the old and new application is the enhanced search functionality,” says Laura Klamot, a user experience designer with EASI. “Previously, it was more difficult for users to find what they were looking for since they might not remember a person’s full name, or be familiar with all of the department and faculty names, as well as the structure of the University. We worked hard to create an all-encompassing search.”
A new search feature allows departmental and telecommunications administrators to search by UTORid. And while users can compile a list of departmental contacts in a PDF, they can now download an easily editable CSV file.
Accessibility was also a major focus of the project. The team built the application according to accessibility standards (WCAG 2.1), and tested it using a collection of browsers, devices, and screen reader software.
Beyond the user interface, the data accuracy in the new phonebook has also been greatly improved.
“The previous application relied on directory coordinators to update a lot of the information and the data became easily outdated and sometimes inaccurate,” says Na Young Lee, assistant to the director at Arts & Science Information and Instructional Technology. “Since the information is pulled from the Human Resources Information System (HRIS) and various other databases, we can trust that it’s current data.”
Brian Galvis, lead phonebook directory project manager with EASI agrees.
“The new phonebook directory integrates data from many systems, including U of T’s VoIP provider, UTORauth, HRIS, University of Toronto Scarborough and the University of Toronto Mississauga. The magic of it is that all of those databases and systems come together behind the scenes to provide faster data exchanges and an overall improved user experience.”
With the ability to scale in the future, the phonebook could integrate with other university systems.
“The team has accomplished a lot with this project and we have a solid platform for potential future upgrades,” says Pamela Harris. “This could include integration with even more University of Toronto resources, such as Campus Maps, MS Outlook, and an Emergency Contact application.”
Date: February 19, 2021 To: UCheck Users From: Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration Re: UCheck Scheduled Maintenance February 21, 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Please note that UCheck will be unavailable on Sunday, February 21, 2021 from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. (EST) due to scheduled maintenance and upgrades. During this time, faculty, students, and staff will not be able to access UCheck’s health screening.
Date: February 16, 2021 To: ROSI Users From: Student Information Systems Re: ROSI and other student systems maintenance Friday, March 5
Dear ROSI users
We will need to take ROSI and all associated student information systems offline 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., on Friday, March 5 to perform quarterly maintenance on the database. We will return the systems to service sooner if the work is completed earlier than 9 p.m. The following systems will be affected:
Degree Explorer (Student and Admin)
ACORN Grant Application
Course Information System
Varsity Blues Registration System
Safety Abroad Student Registry
Exam photo invigilation
A notice will be posted on the ACORN launchpad so that students are aware of the outage.
Thank you for your patience as we make these improvements.
This email has been sent from a service account and does not accept replies. Please direct any follow up questions to the Enterprise Service Centre http://www.uoft.me/esc
Date: January 27, 2021 To: AMS and Past RPT Users From: Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration Re: Important Update for Past RPT Users
Dear all past RPT users:
We wanted to provide you with an update on the new reporting solution that will replace functionality offered by the previous RPT instance. This solution is located within the SAP Fiori Launchpad and allows users 24/7 access to run a range of key reports that were identified after consultation with a number of Central and Divisional users. This solution will provide reporting functionality during scheduled AMS downtimes (Fiscal Year End, Holiday Shut Down (2021 and beyond), Fiscal Month End and pay runs).
We have selected initial pilot group members to test the solution and ensure these reports run as expected. While this group has been finalized, opportunities may become available for more participants to join as the project progresses.
After testing, we will make any necessary revisions and have targeted a launch, barring no unforeseen issues, in March 2021.
We will provide an update before launch and we will also present a Connect+Learn session to highlight new features for reporting.
It required a solid plan, methodology and a strong team, and after over a year of hard work the S/4HANA Migration launched successfully in early November 2020. This represented a massive technical upgrade to U of T’s SAP Administrative Management Systems that will set the stage for improved overall system performance and future modernization.
“This project was lucky to have not only an exceptional project plan, but also exceptional team members,” says Lorena Gaudio, manager of Financial Advisory Services and Training (FAST). “It is a testament to the dedication of each of the team members that the deadlines were met all while dealing with the challenges introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The core project team involved over 40 people with members from Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI), FAST, Human Resources & Equity, Procurement Services, Facilities & Services, and Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation. It also required consultation from divisions, local IT administrators, Information Security, Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions and the vendor, EPI-USE.
“Everybody who was in a lead position on the S/4HANA Migration team was a subject matter expert – when you have the right people in the right roles good things happen,” says Philip Millenaar, project manager at EASI. “That’s tied together by the project plan with key tasks, deliverables and milestones and strong methodology so the ship keeps moving forward.”
The project required extensive planning, including code cleanup, system design and build, four rounds of testing involving more than 150 users, two simulated dry run cutovers, and detailed final preparation to ensure a smooth go live.
“When you have a technical migration it comes down to the testing,” says Millenaar. “We had formal test cycles and test cases with heavy IT and business involvement – this included central and divisional users. This was an extremely smooth go live because the testing was so extensive and detailed.”
The new platform represents the next phase of a five-year project, called the U of T Enterprise Modernization Program, that will upgrade U of T’s Administrative Management Systems and transform the future for more than 33,000 staff and faculty – with a revamped HR Talent Management Suite and core HR and research systems.
“With the U of T Enterprise Modernization Program, we startedby moving our infrastructure to the Azure Cloud, then launching SuccessFactors Learning Management System, Performance and Goals, and Recruitment, and finally launching S/4HANA,” says Cathy Eberts, director of EASI. “We’ve really come together as a high performing team. This sets the stage for future projects, including Succession Planning and Employee Central, while also continuing to optimize the system.”
And the team is already seeing results. After launch, there were no post go-live issues with the 180 integration points with AMS. Fiscal month end ran 50 per cent faster, batch processing is 25 per cent faster, selectoptimized reports run 80 per cent faster and 10 systems have been decommissioned to create an optimized landscape and reduce costs. The team will continue to work to optimize code and further improve speed and reporting for the Financial Information System, Human Resources Information System and Research Information System.
In January 2021, the team will also work to provide a reporting solution within AMS that will be available 24/7 during scheduled AMS lockouts.
Going forward, the platform will have the potential to provide an improved user interface as well as enhanced analytics and better insights into reporting. The new interface will be part of the U of T’s first steps into SAP’s latest and greatest web-based user experience offering: the SAP Fiori Launchpad.
A sneak peak of the interface will be available with a redesign of the Expense Reimbursement Direct Deposit (ERDD) on the Web application with an anticipated launch date in early 2021. This application will still be available through the Employee Self-Service and Manager Self-Service portal, but its new user interface will be responsive.
After playing a key role in previous SAP migrations, leading this current migration and working at U of T for 32 years, Gaudio will be retiring as of January 31, 2021.
“I am honoured to have had the opportunity to work on this project and it’s a great way to end my career at the university,” she says. “The introduction of the FIORI technology will be exciting and I have no doubt that future phases of the S/4HANA Project will have the same successful outcome as the first phase.”
EASI and FAST would like to thank everyone who has helped to make this project a success.