May 18, 2012

Mac viruses – the end of an era

A recent virus outbreak affecting hundreds of thousands of Macs has signaled the end of the days when Apple’s computers were largely ignored by virus authors.  Apple has since released an update that removes the virus and corrects the underlying problem (available through the Software Update function).  ITS is currently working with technical staff in the Faculty of Education to identify and procure a campus-wide anti-virus tool for Macs to protect against future threats on this platform.

IT Services Portfolio

In order to increase ownership of its PM processes and to better connect with its business units, IT Services has embedded a staff member as the go-to resource within each of its units. These embedded staff members will ensure project reporting and processes are happening in a consistent and timely fashion. They report to the ITS unit managers, and have a dotted-line relationship with the Manager of the Project Management Office.  The PMO no longer actively manages projects, but is ultimately responsible for all reporting and processes.

Website launches

IT Services launched a number of newly redesigned websites within the past month, including the Privacy Office, Alumni Homecoming, Advancement Giving, Science Complex, and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.

24-Hour study centre

IT Services was asked by the CRDC to try to provide more space for students to study prior to final exams.  With the support of Security and the CRDC, ITS was able to open the Anderson Hall labs 24 hours a day through most of April. Security monitored the labs and the CRDC raised awareness to students.

On-site training

IT Services recently initiated on-site Microsoft Excel training to 25 staff members in Arts and Science. ITS was able to find a partner to deliver onsite, instructor-lead training.  Feedback has been very positive. ITS is working toward online training for all Microsoft applications as well for students who want to work at their own pace.  This training can lead to Microsoft certifications.

Fine Arts cost savings

The New Media department is replacing its lab computers this summer.  The initial specifications included a very powerful machine and the initial quote from ITS’s vendor of choice (Dell) was over budget.  After learning that New Media was attempting to rebuild with cheaper parts, ITS and Materials Management were able to negotiate with Dell to drop its price, which resulted in a saving of $50,000. The equipment is also now fully supported as a result.

Moodle report card

Final exams are now over and the central LMS Moodle administered more than 4000 exams – the highest number to date. Prior to final exams, ITS and CRDC staff met to determine how to improve service for students.  As a result, the recent final exam period experienced nearly flawless service.  A couple of very small incidents affected one or two users but did not result in outages.  This is now the benchmark for the Moodle service. Systems and service upgrades will be implemented during the summer to strengthen this operational standard.


The University of Lethbridge is now connected to Eduroam! This service provides secure, worldwide roaming access to students, researchers and staff from participating institutions to obtain Internet connectivity, when visiting other participating institutions, by simply opening their laptop.