MENU

<< Information Services Policies

Three students on UMKC campus

IS ANNUAL REPORT - 2020

Information Technology is a transformative tool to propel UMKC’s mission and support our foundational pillars of providing exceptional student learning; a thriving discovery enterprise; dynamic engagement with our community and region; a diverse and inclusive workforce and community; a strong and resilient staff, process and physical infrastructure. IT core values include a commitment to innovation; cultivating a team environment within Information Services; a collaborative environment of respect, sharing and participation; an expectation of excellence with high standards balanced with limited resources.

We seek out, listen to, and respond to our users’ needs.

98 hours of in-person and 647 hours of online video distance learning were supported during this review period. In-person classes were held in a hi-flex format, to protect students and teachers who needed to quarantine at home while learning.

Video support chart.

SUPPORT SERVICES

UM-AD Migration

System-wide IT is currently engaged in a project to consolidate each of the University campuses user accounts into a single, shared domain. This is an effort that will reduce costs, strengthen support infrastructure, increase security, and result in a more efficient IT environment. This consolidation will ease the adoption of cloud services, off-the-shelf software, and promote the sharing of common resources system-wide. As part of this initiative Information Services played a key role in ensuring success at UMKC. A few of these activities include:

Re-aligning IT Services Agreements / Project

During the end of CY20 IS reviewed all custom services for Academic Units across campus. Individual meetings with each unit are scheduled for early CY21. This ensures that IS can provide the services needed for each unit and that expectations on service levels are being met or exceeded. IS continues to work with Administrative units to implement RIM and have a consistent process across campus units.

Office 365

Office365Office 365 was fully launched, including communication and online resources for getting started. Multiple technicians were trained in O365 to ensure we can provide support to campus.

Microsoft Teams was also enabled and deployed to all Faculty and Staff, which was key during the transition to working remotely. Worked with all campuses to develop shared content and knowledge to support this new service.

Windows 10

Windows 10With the shift to remote work, we have had to implement new strategies to deploy Windows 10 upgrades to Faculty and Staff workstations. Our normal process of upgrading workstations over the network would not work with the limited bandwidth that most Faculty and Staff have at home.

To align with these changes, we have implemented a fully self-service option for Faculty and Staff to upgrade Windows both at home and on their own timeframe. This is now live and will be promoted via multiple channels over the next few months.

Cherwell

Cherwell SoftwareCurrently the Technology Support Center has distinct processes for handling support requests that come in via phone/self-service and email. To increase overall efficiency and align these processes IS will turn on email ingestion within Cherwell.

When enabled any email that is sent to techsupportcenter@umkc.edu will automatically get a new ticket created and the customer notified of the request. This will save technician time to create the new tickets and give technicians a single place to manage incident and service requests. A new process and reporting instance was created to improve our reporting abilities within Cherwell.

Mac OS

Apple  OSThe Mac Admin Team updated the standard lab image to 10.14 Mojave over the summer and standardized the Faculty/Staff image to 10.15 Catalina for the Fall. A policy was deployed to identify all UMKC managed Macs running a version of Mac OS 10.13 or older and update them to the latest 10.15 standard image. This was ~200 devices.

Updating to 10.14 or newer is crucial as Microsoft O365 is only supported on 10.14 and newer computers. All computers that received the Mac OS upgrade subsequently received the O365 Office Upgrade automatically to be prepared for the Exchange Online Migration.

COVID-19 IS RESPONSE

UMKC Coronavirus Response Team

Two students working on a laptop outsideAs part of the University response to COVID-19, a UMKC Coronavirus Response Team was established in February of 2020, with representation from many campus departments that would be most affected by mitigation activities. A member of the project management team attends and records minutes for these meetings and acts as a representative for IS as needed.

Technology Accommodations

To accommodate the immediate campus shift to remote work we purchased loaner equipment, including laptops, headsets, and microphones. New processes were created to handle the delivery and distribution of this equipment to campus Students, Faculty, and Staff. This ensured that Students, Faculty, and Staff had the technology needed to be successful in Academic and University work during campus shutdown.

This equipment included over 100 laptops, 25 headsets, 38 mobile hotspots, 25 USB Wi-Fi adapters, and 75 webcams deployed by TSC staff from 4825 Troost, as well as an additional 19 hotspots deployed through DoIT in Colombia. Approximately 100 laptops and hundreds of monitors were taken home.

RooLabs Online

RooLabs Online provides real time information regarding capacities of student computing labs located on campus, how many machines are currently in use in each lab, and provides free remote access to lab software. This allows Students to access standard and specialized software that is normally available only on campus from anywhere and on most computing devices.

Another benefit of RooLabs Online we can fully utilize campus computer labs by offering roughly half available computers to students on-site and the other half available to students remotely over the internet.

Remote Labs Expansion

Remote Support fielded 25,733 requests for help via phone, emails, and  online web submissions.To ensure continued access to required software IS added many specialized software packages to RemoteLabs. We also increased resources of RemoteLabs across the board to account for the increased need during the campus closure. This allowed students to access much needed software from off campus on their personal computing devices.

Shift to providing remote technology support for campus

Expanded Call Center operations to allow all TSC staff to assist with the phone queue and trained additional TSC staff on remote support procedures. This enabled us to provide expanded support to all UMKC departments working remotely. Further redundancy and cross training in TSC roles allowed us to be flexible and meet customer needs.

We also expanded our hours of operation from 8 hours to 12 hours daily and included weekend shifts during key back to school times to better support students, faculty, and staff during these unprecedented times.

We encourage and experiment with new ideas, both basic and cutting-edge.

TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT SERVICES

P300 – Oak Place Demolition


This is a project to remove IT Networking & Telecommunications equipment and pull cable plant back to the outside box so the buildings can be demolished. The scope includes removing all in- room access points from students' rooms, removing all equipment in IT closets, pulling fiber and copper outside plant back to external pull box. During this review period, the work was completed, and we closed the project.

P355 – InnoSoft Fusion


UMKC's Swinney Recreation Center is replacing their current recreation management system (RecTrac) with a new product, InnoSoft. As the product contains student data, the project works with teams from IT, Registration & Records, Security, and others as they are identified to implement the software for a July 2020 launch. During this review period, we converted to the new software and the project was closed.

P364 – Durwood AP Installation


Chancellor Agrawal requested that the wireless connectivity be improved at Durwood Soccer Stadium. This project assessed the environment to determine the best wireless solution and then implemented that solution. During this review period, IT installed conduit and mounting hardware at Durwood Stadium to accommodate networking gear, and Wi-Fi access points were installed at key locations throughout the area to complete the project.

Students laughing and smiling on campus.

P385 – UMKC Forward


In response to the budget challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic, UMKC Chancellor Agrawal asked the UMKC community to think about how to best address these challenges going forward: "In this time of crisis, UMKC has an opportunity to fundamentally reimagine its mission as a public research university serving Greater Kansas City and beyond." A PM was requested to support this initiative by providing organizational guidance, technology support, meeting scheduling and attendance tracking, meeting minutes, tracking action items, and other PM functions. During this period, we provided technical support for the Teams space and Zoom and attended and took minutes for several meetings. Committees delivered recommendations to the Chancellor, thereby completing this portion of UMKC Forward work. The project was then closed.

P389 – New Classroom Spaces


This project to retrofit classroom spaces around campus with AV and Infrastructure in preparation for online classes was completed during this review period. Podiums were added to several classrooms, rooms made Zoom capable, microphones added, TVs, ILE gear, etc. Rooms were completed in AC, ASSC, BEH, Conservatory, FH, HSB, Law, MNL, Student Union, and Royal Hall.

ILE Classrooms, Conferencing, Distance Ed, and On-Demand Video


Information Services shifted focus in this period to support the hardware and software necessary to facilitate the pivot towards hybrid and online learning. We continued to focus on maintaining efficient issue resolution times and minimizing downtime created by issues that would not normally impact in-person classes.

P391 – COVID-19 Symptom Tracker App

COVID-19 cellAs UMKC welcomes students back to campus during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, campus leadership needs to find ways to mitigate potential outbreak events in our campus community. The UMKC Chancellor and Provost, therefore, requested that Information Services work with the Coronavirus Leadership Team to review, select, and implement a COVID-19 symptom tracker mobile application for use by students and employees. Campus Screen was selected and made available during this review period.

P381 – Digital Signage Solution

Rise LogoThis project replaced the campus’s Four Winds Signage solution with Rise Soft Signage software to reduce the cost to the budget due to Covid-19. During this period, signage machines were updated with the new Rise Software and Imaged before the start of the school semester (4825 Troost, ASSC, Dental School, Student Union, Bloch, Law, and SCE). “How To” instructions and information how to obtain technical support were sent out to stakeholders. The old Four Winds box file was updated to reflect the changes in campus signage and included signage costs and savings for all units.

P174 – SCE Educational and Research Center

UMKC School of Computing and EngineeringThis is a project to build a new multi-story building in addition to our existing Computer Science & Engineering building, Flarsheim Hall. The IT/AV scope includes building-wide network infrastructure, IT closets, a VR showroom and computer lab, a high-performance computing teaching data center and computer lab, a motion capture lab, an unmanned systems lab, and renewable energy lab, and several smart classrooms and collaboration spaces, building-wide digital signage, and a new CBORD access and surveillance system along with the conversion of existing Lenel systems to CBORD in Flarsheim Hall before construction. During this review period, we finalized the IS budget for AV equipment and labor, coordinated with distribution vendors for equipment prices, and submitted POs for all equipment. During the next review period, IS expects to complete the equipment installation and complete the project.

P248 – Lenel to CBORD Transition

CBORD LogoThis project replaced the existing Lenel Card Assess system in 11 buildings with CBord Card Access. Buildings include 4747 Troost, Cherry Street Garage – Mail Room, Cherry Street Garage – Police, School of Education, Flarsheim Hall, General Services Building, Hospital Hill Annex, Administrative Center, Building #71, Cherry Street Hall, and Health Science Building. During this review period, we scheduled and completed all conversions for those departments that opted-in. We worked closely with the vendor, CBORD, and the UMKC PD to design and purchase a new camera for their interrogation room. We decommissioned and powered down the final server to complete the project.

We act with integrity and practice honest, and respectful two-way communication.

NETWORK ARCHITECTURE AND SECURITY

Studentw working at desk in classroom.Networking and Security were involved in a few behind-the-scenes projects both before and during the Covid change. Networking installed hundreds of replacement Wi-Fi access points and made numerous changes to the VOIP phone system. Security improved, expanded and offered new options for remote access to resources on campus for faculty, staff and students.

Security

Completion of enabling multi-factor email logons for all Students, Alumni, Faculty, and Staff. Previously, we had multiple compromises per week due to users re-using a password both inside and outside the University. Once this change was in, we have seen less than one compromise per week at UMKC due to credential reuse.

Completion of consolidation of all users to a single mailbox. This is a major change in preparation to migrating all mailboxes to the same consolidated system. This simplifies email access for people who are both students and have a faculty/staff role as there is now only a single mailbox to check. This also simplifies people who change campuses, their mailbox no longer moves, and no longer needs to have the logon address changed with a campus change.

A project has been started to migrate logon pages to use AzureAD with MFA for logon. This will eventually replace SecureAuth. This will allow all web sites that we integrate with use MFA, and will reduce the excessive costs on the older SecureAuth product we had in place.

A new VPN firewall has been installed, and initial testing started with campus IT staff. This will better enable the types of VPN users we can handle, such as phone and tablet VPN users, and provide a single VPN method that works for both Windows and Mac users. Initial groundwork has completed to support AWS virtual machines with a campus firewall managed in AWS.

INFORMATION ACCESS

Student sitting at student union.Database Server Design, Implementation and Administration

Software Design and Development

Provided maintenance and support for 62 software applications, websites and services including:

UM System IT Consolidation

Provided software engineering and project management resources for the following projects:

Provided campus representation on the following working groups:

Scanning Services

Generated detailed reports for departments based on their evaluation scan data.

 

We work together with our colleagues in a way that leverages and values each other’s expertise and insights.

FOUNDATION SERVICES

Foundation Services remedied and closed 511+ support ticketsIS Foundation Services (ISFS) provides secure, professionally managed data centers to meet the growing information technology (IT) needs of academic and administrative units at UMKC. ISFS serves as the primary system administrators for 400+ servers, provides assistance and technical support for campus IT Liaisons, supports the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) for UMSystem, and provides research computing training and support.