CR/NCR changes

Date: May 1, 2020
To:
Registrars
From: Student Information Systems
Re:
CR/NCR changes

 

Colleagues

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.

___________________________________________________

Rodney Branch
Manager, Client Services and Process Integration
Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI & NGSIS)
University of Toronto

Speed of U of T enrolment sees massive improvements

It’s been three years since Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI) completed a large upgrade to its Student Information Systems. Since then, students can now enrol in a fraction of the time that it used to take prior to the Platform Modernization Project.

Fast enrolment has a university-wide impact, relieving much of the stress that U of T’s 95,055 students face in preparation for their studies. In 2021, more than 10 times more students were able to enrol within the first minute of their enrolment window when compared to 2018.

See the extensive preparation that goes into planning for peak enrolment period, how testing has changed over time and the results of a finely tuned system.

Infographic of the testing and improvements made for peak enrolment resulting in a major increase in speed
Image Description: Peak Enrolment Period 2021 includes 15 major enrolment days across 3 campuses. Testing includes setting up 2,500 student accounts with the assistance of Information Security. Each account is validated to ensure login works and add/drop course transactions work. 3,500 logins are simulated over 45 seconds and add/drop course transactions are performed to test the limits of the system. In 2018, the Platform Modernization Project launched and updated infrastructure from a mainframe server to Linux servers. In 2019, the team performed extensive testing to tune the new Linux infrastructure. In 2020, EASI and Information Security worked to tune a new authentication process called UTORMFA. In 2021, the team performed standard testing using 2020 as a benchmark to confirm peak performance. As a result of these improvements, in 2018 one per cent of the day’s total course transactions occurred within the first minute while this number increased to 19 per cent for 2021. In 2018, three per cent of students enrolled in the first minute of their start time window while in 2021, this number increased to 43 per cent. Other improvements that the team has made include an update to the ACORN launchpad to Azure Cloud/WordPress and a renewed focus on security. These improvements are important because U of T has a large student population. 95,055 students are enrolled with 15,345 new full-time students entering First Entry undergraduate programs in fall 2020-21. U of T also welcomes international students from 164 countries and regions.

 

My Research Applications & Agreements: Renewed and ready to support U of T’s research and innovation community

After months of preparation, extensive consultation and testing, U of T’s My Research Applications & Agreements (MRA) launched an important upgrade on August 30, 2021. The benefits are many – from an improved user interface and streamlined processes to expanded support. 

“These critical improvements were driven by the feedback received from our research and innovation community,” says Renée Brost, Chief Administrative Officer with the Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation (VPRI). “It was really important for our team to reach out to those using the applications. We consulted with approximately 90 users and conducted testing sessions across U of T’s Academic Divisions and three campuses at various stages of the design and development process.”

MRA supports U of T’s vast research and innovation enterprise, which includes nine partner Toronto Academic Health Science Network (TAHSN) hospitals. MRA is integral for researchers to secure the institutional endorsement and approval of their research grants, applications, and non-funded agreements.

“It’s important to continuously and intentionally improve the institutional supports for research and innovation, consistent with U of T’s profile as an internationally significant research university,” says Brost. “Not only have we aligned with U of T’s latest SAP technology upgrade, but we have also refreshed and streamlined the research application process to make it as efficient as possible.”

Since MRA’s initial launch in the spring of 2013, approximately 28,000 research funding applications have been submitted for approval through the system. An additional 1,400 non-funded research agreement requests have been submitted since the launch of the non-funded agreement module in 2019.

MRA manages the internal approval process for over 2,800 principal investigators, as well as academic leads, divisional research staff, business officers, and central research staff.

“The modernized user interface, combined with a familiar process, relieves a lot of stress when submitting a research proposal,” says Steven Short, Acting Vice-Principal Research and Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. “The upgrade will create time savings for each researcher, which will add up with the thousands of research proposals going through the system. As researchers, we should be focused on our work and advancing the mission of the University.”

While processes primarily remain the same, what has changed is better filtering, searching and grouping of research applications and best of all, the elimination of nested scroll bars. Based on feedback from U of T’s research community, the navigation and user-experience has also vastly improved through a modernized user-centric design, along with automatic resizing to fit different devices, including tablets, desktop computers and mobile phones.

“The new user interface displays important information in one glance, using larger text and an easily accessible left-hand navigation,” says Bob Dirstein, Analyst and Project Manager with Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI). “We’ve also simplified and reduced the number of questions when submitting a research application, and the new MRA has greatly improved error checking. All of these improvements will help users navigate through the system more quickly and with fewer errors.”

The Sponsors & Programs screen in the previous version of MRA

The previous MRA user-interface.  

The Program/Sponsor screen in the updated MRA

The new MRA user-interface uses a more streamlined left-hand navigation to show important information at a glance. Larger text, dynamic resizing and displaying more information on screens help users to navigate through the application process more quickly. 

In addition to improved validation and error checking, users can also access support resources through a dedicated help button and soon will have short explanatory videos for each step of the process. The renewal also provides principal investigators with better tools to collaborate with their assistants, providing a streamlined workflow.

From a broader perspective, the MRA Renewal Initiative is also part of the U of T Enterprise Modernization Program, a project that is in the midst of upgrading the administrative management systems and transforming the future for more than 33,000 staff and faculty.   

What’s next for the My Research systems?  

The team is actively working on an update to how principal investigators view their research funding details with My Research On Line (MROL) and the Funded Research Digest (FReD) as part of the My Research Funds project. This project will bring many of the same user experience enhancements seen in the renewed MRA to MROL and FReD, along with some exciting new tools and functionalities to simplify the management of research funds.

“We’re really excited about this next upgrade, which reflects our ongoing commitment to provide a best-in-class user experience to the community,” says Brost. “The challenges of the past year have underscored the critical need for modern and on-demand digital tools.”

For more information on the MRA Renewal Initiative, please visit the MRA Renewal Initiative webpage 

Need help? Contact http://research.utoronto.ca/contact-us 

 

macOS Users – Update AMS Connections Before Sept. 18

Date: September 10, 2021
To: SAP GUI macOS Users
From: Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration
Re: macOS Users – Update AMS Connections Before Sept. 18

Dear SAP GUI macOS users,

Due to an update for our Administrative Management System (AMS), macOS users will need to update their AMS connections to the system before September 18. After this date, you will no longer be able to access AMS with your current connections. Please note that this update does not affect Windows users.

To make this update process easier, we have published an XML file that you can copy into a folder where the connections will update automatically. To set up these new connections, please follow these instructions.

We highly recommend that you upgrade to SAP GUI 7.7, the latest version of the software. Please follow these instructions.  Please note that upgrading to SAP GUI 7.7 is not mandatory for this current update.

If you have questions, or need help with updating your connections, please contact us in the dedicated Teams channel for divisional IT administrators. If you would like to sign up for this channel, email Praveen Narayanaswamy at praveen.narayanaswamy@utoronto.ca and provide your First Name, Last Name and Division. This channel is meant to answer specific queries from divisional IT administrators and is not meant for end user communications.

If you have questions, you can also submit a ticket to the Enterprise Service Centre.

Thank you for your assistance in making these updates.

Sincerely,
Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI)

ROSI, ROSI Files and Rocket Shuttle Unavailable Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sent on behalf of Information Security – Information Technology Services

Dear ROSI Users,

As you may be aware, eToken authentication for high security logins will migrate to UTORMFA later this fall.

In preparation for this future transition, the AdminVPN will not be available again this Sunday, September 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and those who use ROSI, ROSI Files and Rocket Shuttle will be affected. ROSI Express will continue to remain available.

UTORMFA has already been adopted by over 10,000 members of the U of T community. UTORMFA, powered by DUO, is a software based multi-factor authentication method that authenticates user logins via prompts sent to a user’s phone. UTORMFA is easy to use, quick to set up and secure.

If you have any questions about the UTORMFA project, send a message to utormfa@utoronto.ca. Need help? Submit a ticket through the Enterprise Service Centre (ESC).

Please stay tuned for more details about the eToken migration project.

Sincerely,
Information Security

AMS GUI Unavailable Sept. 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sent on behalf of Information Security – Information Technology Services

Dear AMS GUI users,

As you may be aware, eToken authentication for high security logins will migrate to UTORMFA later this fall.

In preparation for this future transition, the AdminVPN will not be available again this Sunday, September 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and those who use SAP GUI will be affected.

UTORMFA has already been adopted by over 10,000 members of the U of T community. UTORMFA, powered by DUO, is a software based multi-factor authentication method that authenticates user logins via prompts sent to a user’s phone. UTORMFA is easy to use, quick to set up and secure.

If you have any questions about the UTORMFA project, send a message to utormfa@utoronto.ca. Need help? Submit a ticket through the Enterprise Service Centre (ESC).

Please stay tuned for more details about the eToken migration project.

Sincerely,
Information Security

EASI’s Student Professional Experience Program: Growth and gain in challenging times

Despite challenging circumstances with working during the pandemic, Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration’s (EASI) co-op students excelled during yet another year of the Vice President Operations & Real Estate Partnerships Professional Experience Program (OREP PEP).

This program is designed to provide undergraduate, graduate students and recent graduates with the opportunity to gain work experience in their field of study. This year, five students joined EASI to gain practical skills, knowledge and experience, working on a broad range of projects from SharePoint to Business Intelligence and User Experience and Process Design.

“Even though we’ve faced many challenges with the pandemic, it was important that our student summer experience program continued to grow,” says Cathy Eberts, Director of Enterprise Applications and Deputy CIO. “Students gained the hands-on experience they need for the job market, and in return brought with them a wealth of creativity and new skills to our department.”

They also brought an infusion of creative thinking and process improvements to each project, and helped EASI implement the latest strategies and processes.

What do these students have to say about their experiences and what do they plan to do in the future?


Tiffany Kao posing in front of a road and mountains

Name: Tiffany Kao
Position: Worked with the Enterprise Shared Services team on client migrations to SharePoint
Program/School: Second-year Faculty of Information (iSchool), Master of Information student in the Information Systems and Design Program, University of Toronto

As an Information Management Analyst at EASI, I had the opportunity to apply what I’ve learned at iSchool – particularly concepts in Information Architecture, UX design, and Project Management – on multiple SharePoint sites. SharePoint was completely new to me when I started, and I experienced a steep learning curve at the beginning. Nevertheless, I had a wonderful supervisor, who had a lot of trust in me, encouraged me, and gave me the freedom to manage projects independently. Working hands-on helped me gain a lot of confidence in my professional capabilities. Seeing my work fulfilling clients’ needs and bringing them convenience to their everyday tasks made it all worthwhile. I am grateful for this experience, and I highly recommend everyone to try the co-op route!


Yuting posing for a headshot while wearing glasses and a black shirt

Name: Yuting Liu
Position: Worked with the Digital Workplace team to respond to end users’ requests
Program/School: Fourth-year Geographic Information Systems student, with minors in Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Toronto Mississauga Campus

While working with the EASI Digital Workplace team, I’ve been given the opportunity to directly interact and assist various clients, which has given me the ability to further develop and utilize both my technological and interpersonal skills. Every day brought a new set of problems to solve, which taught me the importance of being flexible and adaptable in order to serve my clients’ needs and, in cases where I lacked the necessary knowledge, to quickly and effectively seek out what I needed. I’ve resolved issues ranging from networking and software problems to hardware failures.

My breadth of knowledge, as well as my ability to acquire new knowledge has benefited greatly from my time here at EASI, and will undoubtedly be useful in any of my future endeavors.


Celeste smiling for the camera wearing a blue hoodie

Name: Celeste Ramnarine
Position: Worked with the Enterprise Shared Services team as an Information Management Analyst (SharePoint Online)
Program/School: Second-year
Faculty of Information (iSchool), Master of Information student specializing in Knowledge Management and Information Management (KMIM), University of Toronto

With the SharePoint Support team, I have been working on several projects that surround information management (IM), design, community support, and outreach. These projects have allowed me to collaborate with many members of the U of T community, learn from my experienced team leaders, develop my design and IM skills, and demonstrate my project management and problem-solving skills. My favourite project so far in my placement was creating, presenting and demonstrating in EASI’s Connect & Learn showcase. My presentation was about integrating a Wiki (i.e. knowledge base) within an organization’s SharePoint site and its associated benefits for organizational IM.

Working with EASI has been an evolutionary experience in my professional development. I am motivated to continue my position, growing and learning with insights from my MI program and SharePoint team.  


Moulika posing in a pumpkin patch while holding a pumpkin and smiling

Name: Moulika Ranikunta
Position: Worked on the Power BI Infrastructure and Administration Project
Program/School: Third-year Mathematics and Statistics Undergraduate student, University of Toronto

As a member of the amazing EASI Power BI (Rangers) Administration and Infrastructure team, I’ve had the opportunity to explore Microsoft Power BI from the ground up and build documentation to support future users. I’ve learned how to analyze data in Power BI starting with loading the data in from multiple connections, preparing the data, creating and optimizing data models, visualizing data and working with the AI features within Power BI.

I do want to give a huge shoutout to my mentor Brenda Boshoff – she made my experience this summer absolutely stellar by going above and beyond to support me and the team, and she taught me many interesting facts about a professional workspace. Also, a huge shoutout to Titus, Dmytro and David for making every stand up meeting a fun one! The pandemic had its ups and downs but working with this team was the highlight of my summer. Given how much I’ve learned about Power BI, I am thinking of pursuing a career in this area once I graduate.


A close up headshot of Mikella

Name: Mikella Seth
Position: Worked with the User Experience and Process Design team on the UniversITy Service Catalogue project, assisting with user research, usability testing and UI refinements.
Program/School: First-year Faculty of Information (iSchool), Master of Information student with a double concentration in UX Design and Data Science, University of Toronto

I had the pleasure of working with the User Experience and Process Design team over the summer, which provided me with insight into producing thoughtful, user-centered designs for the University’s community. I was hired as a UX designer to work with the University Service Catalogue, which is an online catalogue for all of the University’s IT services that are available to students, staff, faculty and alumni at the University. My role encompassed a mix of user research, ideation, prototyping and usability testing as I delved deeper into how users discover or search for IT services online. Besides working on the site’s user interface, I was also able to focus on how users’ experiences were affected by back-end development, such as how site content is indexed and how search results are retrieved. Moreover, the ability to keep in close contact with other stakeholders, like application developers, ensured a smoother handoff of design deliverables.

Despite having had to work remotely, I was fully supported by the EASI team, who scheduled multiple weekly check-ins and working sessions where I was able to gain valuable feedback on my design process. It has been lovely getting to know the team and being made to feel so welcome!

AMS Now Available – Renewed My Research Applications & Agreements (MRA) is now live!

Sent on behalf of the Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation

Dear AMS users,

The Division of the Vice-President, Research & Innovation (VPRI) is pleased to announce that the renewed My Research Applications & Agreements (MRA) system is now live as of Monday, August 30th.

Please also note that all Administrative Management Systems (AMS) – including AMS SAP GUI, Employee Self-Service/Manager Self-Service, Expense Reimbursement Direct Deposit, Capital Projects and Invoice Workflow are now available.

MRA is the University of Toronto (U of T) online system for researchers to secure the institutional review and approval of their research funding applications, The MRA Renewal Initiative is part of the U of T Enterprise Modernization Program – a project that is set to upgrade the administrative management systems and transform the future for more than 33,000 staff and faculty.

More information about the MRA Renewal Initiative can be found on the project webpage.

What is changing?

MRA has been rebuilt in a new technology to modernize the user interface and improve the overall user experience for the research and innovation community. These are some of the changes that applicants can look forward to:

  • Streamlined navigation and user-experience through a modernized, user-centric design
  • A simplified online form
  • Improved validations that check the MRA and show users which fields are incomplete before submitting
  • Tools that allow applicants and approvers to more easily track their application status
  • Enhanced features for filtering, searching, and grouping applications
  • Functionality to link MRAs to other funding applications and non-funded agreements
  • Enhanced tools for applicants to work on applications together with their designated assistants
  • Built-in assistance with help videos (coming soon) and Help Desk contact form

These changes were made in response to the feedback we heard from the research & innovation community through end-user consultations.

Training Opportunities

The VPRI will be hosting information and training sessions for MRA users. These sessions will include a brief overview of MRA and the application process, key changes introduced as part of the renewal, and step-by-step instructions on creating and submitting an MRA in the renewed system.

Two sessions will be offered during the initial, post-launch period:

 Please register for only one of these sessions.

Other Resources

Please visit the My Research Applications & Agreements (MRA) webpage to access important user documentation, tip sheets, and video aids to support you in using the renewed MRA.

Questions?

If you have technical inquiries about using MRA, please contact the RAISE Help Desk at raise@utoronto.ca | (416) 946-5000.

If you have questions about the MRA Renewal Initiative and training opportunities, please contact Safa Faidi, Services Engagement Coordinator, at Safa.Faidi@utoronto.ca

ROSI, ROSI Files and Rocket Shuttle Unavailable Aug 29 from 12- 1pm

Sent on behalf of Information Security – Information Technology Services

Dear ROSI Users,

As you may be aware, eToken authentication for high security logins will migrate to UTORMFA later this fall.

In preparation for this future transition, the Admin VPN will not be available this Sunday, August 29 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM and those who use ROSI, ROSI Files and Rocket Shuttle will be affected. ROSI Express will continue to remain available.

UTORMFA has already been adopted by over 10,000 members of the U of T community. UTORMFA, powered by DUO, is a software based multi-factor authentication method that authenticates user logins via prompts sent to a user’s phone. UTORMFA is easy to use, quick to set up and secure.

If you have any questions about the UTORMFA project, send a message to utormfa@utoronto.ca. Need help? Submit a ticket through the Enterprise Service Centre (ESC).

Please stay tuned for more details about the eToken migration project.

Sincerely,
Information Security

AMS GUI Unavailable August 29 from 12- 1pm

Sent on behalf of Information Security – Information Technology Services

Dear AMS GUI Users,

As you may be aware, eToken authentication for high security logins will migrate to UTORMFA later this fall.

In preparation for this future transition, the Admin VPN will not be available this Sunday, August 29 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM and those who use SAP GUI will be affected.

UTORMFA has already been adopted by over 10,000 members of the U of T community. UTORMFA, powered by DUO, is a software based multi-factor authentication method that authenticates user logins via prompts sent to a user’s phone. UTORMFA is easy to use, quick to set up and secure.

If you have any questions about the UTORMFA project, send a message to utormfa@utoronto.ca. Need help? Submit a ticket through the Enterprise Service Centre (ESC).

Please stay tuned for more details about the eToken migration project.

Sincerely,
Information Security