Chapter 3 – Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services (ITS) provides integrated information technology (IT) support for the University of Iowa campus. ITS provides computing facilities; administrative information systems; voice, data, and video communications networks and services; technological resources for teaching and research needs; Instructional Technology Centers (ITCs); and a variety of related services and support.
Information Technology Services is a group of four departments (see VI-3.2 through VI-3.5 below). Each department has its own decision autonomy, budgets, and business plans, which guide its actions and decisions. The Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) provides coordination, capital planning and control, policy approval, and other institutional coordination intended to support the successful operation of each ITS department.
The CIO also leads the Campus IT Leaders (CITL), a group of UI collegiate and administrative IT top-level staff. The group's general purpose is to facilitate discussion, strategies, infrastructure/enterprise solutions, and good communication on information technologies.
The CIO office provides further support to the campus IT community through several groups focused on specific IT practices: IT administrators, webmasters, application developers, and help desks. See the CIO website for links to these groups.
The University IT Security Office reports to the CIO and promotes the implementation and use of secure information technology systems, services, and programs. Offering educational materials for campus technology providers and security awareness programs for technology users are key components. In addition, the Security Office consults on issues of regulatory compliance, develops and/or shares industry best practices for security, and facilitates the development of new and updated IT policies for campus. Critical information security services for the campus are managed by the Security Office, as well as the coordination of security incident response and resolution.
The CIO is advised by the Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC), a charter committee appointed by the governing body of the faculty, students, and staff and the Faculty Senate, confirmed by the President of the University. The committee's general charter is to advise and recommend on University IT policies, services, and development.
The Campus Technology Services (CTS) department provides broad-based services to all campus users, as well as assistance to instructors and researchers who use technology. The group offers a wide range of services and support, as detailed below.
- a. ITS Help Desk support is available to students, faculty, and staff at The University of Iowa. The ITS Help Desk provides support for ITS services, operating systems, software applications, web-based computer systems, security, and much more (https://its.uiowa.edu/helpdesk/).
- b. The Computer Sales Program is available to purchase new equipment from selected vendors. Models are available at the ITS Help Desk to try out before buying.
- c. Select software titles can be downloaded through the ITS Software download site (https://its.uiowa.edu/software/).
- d. Assistance in acquiring software through volume discounts and reviewing software licenses to ensure proper compliance is available through the Software Licensing Service (https://its.uiowa.edu/campus-software-program).
- e. Groupshare is a web-based file collaboration service that allows teams to share information, collaborate on documents, and more (https://its.uiowa.edu/groupshare).
- f. Application Development and Integration services are available.
- g. Web design and consulting services are available at https://its.uiowa.edu/web-development#!service-catalog.
- h. More than 25 general-access computer labs are available across campus as part of the Instructional Technology Centers (ITC) service (https://its.uiowa.edu/itc).
- i. For a complete list of services provided by ITS, visit the ITS Service Catalog at https://its.uiowa.edu/all-services-and-software.
The Instructional Services group of Academic Technologies supports instructors in their use of computing technologies in teaching endeavors. For more information on any of these services, please contact Instructional Services by phone or email (https://its.uiowa.edu/contact). Services include the following:
- Collaborate with instructors to produce instructionally relevant electronic materials and tools. Instructional Services staff have a rich set of skills and many years of experience supporting the use of technology in instruction. Staff can offer assistance in any of the following areas:
- Instructional design;
- Development of instructional software applications;
- Use of authoring tools;
- Web development (including web page design and online course development with ICON and other tools);
- Database development (including active web page creation);
- Use of presentation tools; and
- Digital media production.
- Assist instructors in building course-related websites. Instructional Services is responsible for the University's course management system, ICON (Iowa Courses Online). Working with individual colleges, Instructional Services staff are available to assist instructors in building course websites, to provide consulting and training on ICON, and to integrate ICON with other information systems on campus (Registrar, Exam Services, Library), as well as with specialized collegiate applications.
- Maintain consulting and media studios with on-site expertise in software applications and hardware. This includes a media lab exclusively for instructor and researcher use. The media lab offers specialized hardware and software for both Macintosh and Windows platforms. Instructional Services also provides help in designing and creating digital media for instruction. Faculty can use the facility on a walk-in basis or receive one-on-one consultation by appointment. Some of the typical things that can be done in the studio include the following:
- Digitize and edit photos, slides, audio, and video;
- Design and create media-based presentations, lectures, and course web pages;
- Use digital still and video cameras to create digital movies and animations; and
- Experiment with new instructional and adaptive technologies.
- Provide opportunities for faculty to learn about technology and its integration with teaching and research. In addition to the one-on-one assistance provided through the consulting and media studios, Instructional Services also offers a variety of opportunities for faculty to learn about technology and teaching.
- NExTT Workshops. Twice a year (before the start of each semester), Instructional Services sponsors a week-long series of workshops, NExTT.
- Ad Hoc Workshops. Instructional Services staff are available to provide small-group training geared specifically to a department or group, in any location (office, classroom, or in the consulting and media studios).
- Throughout the year, Instructional Services sponsors half-day workshops, demonstrations, and seminars on specialized topics covering the latest tools and methods for teaching with technology.
- Investigate new and emerging products, methods, and systems that have instructional applications, especially those technologies that are based on open standards and promote interoperability. Investigations are typically collaborations with faculty and other ITS departments, sometimes initiated by Instructional Services and sometimes initiated by others. The following list identifies some of the major areas for investigations and gives examples from recent projects.
- Collaboration tools
- Development standards: XML, IMS
- Digital video: DVD, streaming video, MPEG
- Communications: video conferencing, SMIL
- Asset management, digital libraries
- Web technologies: Java server pages, web-based surveys, web-enabled databases
- Networking: wireless, Internet2 applications, distributed network storage devices
The Research Services group of Academic Technologies supports researchers in their use of computing technologies in research endeavors. For more information on any of these services, please contact Research Services by phone or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Services include the following:
- a. Collaborate in new research. Research Services provides expertise in a number of areas. Some current and historical examples include computer imaging and visualization, computer-based 3-D modeling, system administration, software development, virtual reality, molecular modeling, high-performance computing, and high-performance networking. Our staff is available for consultation regarding researchers' projects and actively collaborates by co-authoring papers and co-writing grant proposals.
- b. Build the local cyber infrastructure. Research Services is developing local research computing infrastructures, including planning for or development of computational grids and high-performance computing resources, data management, visualization, remote instrumentation access, and collaborative tools.
- c. Enable investigators to better accomplish their endeavors through the use of information technology. Research Services works to provide whatever is necessary for investigators to be successful in their use of information technology. This can include: training, both in one-on-one situations and in workshops organized through the year; providing access to unique hardware; serving as liaisons to key vendors; and organizing user groups.
- d. Stimulate consideration of new technologies. Research Services is always looking at new technologies (such as collaborative tools and immersive environments) and new research applications of existing technologies, such as 3-D printing and high-performance networking.
- e. Work with and complement the efforts of other researcher support groups across campus. Research Services works closely with other research facilities on campus to provide multidisciplinary support for researchers.
The Administrative Information Systems (AIS) department provides information technology solutions and services that enhance the administrative operations of The University of Iowa business, collegiate, academic, and service groups. These services include the full spectrum of development activities (design, programming, implementation, and maintenance), database management and administration, information access, consulting, and project management. These services are provided for internally developed and purchased software. Additionally, Administrative Information Systems provides coordination and support for the University Data Warehouse, which provides end users with decision support, and web-based reporting environments for Admissions Office, Grant Accounting, General Ledger, Human Resources, Payroll, and University Billing Office data. For more information on any of these services, please contact AIS.
The administrative systems supported by AIS encompass a diverse set of University functions such as academic and financial student records, library automation, central business office functions, human resources, payroll, and personnel services. AIS's major customers include the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, Registrar, University Housing and Dining, Admissions, Financial Aid, Finance and Operations, Business Office, Accounting and Financial Reporting, Human Resources, Facilities Services, Research, and University Libraries.
The University's administrative systems are hosted on a variety of computing platforms (IBM Enterprise Server, Unix, Linux, and Windows servers) and databases (DB2, Oracle, and MS SQL Server) using many different development environments (PL1 Batch and CICS, PeopleSoft, Java, and MS Access). AIS services are supported through strong partnerships with sponsoring customer departments and other ITS departments.
The Administrative Information Systems department is organized into customer-centric and service-oriented work groups. Currently, there are four work groups aligned directly with major customer groups (Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, Library, Finance and Operations, and Finance and Operations-PeopleSoft) to provide their specific support needs. The Institutional Data and Data Management Group is a service-oriented work group that provides broad services across all the administrative customer base. Project MAUI consists of several project-centric work groups focused on either functional modules (Admissions, Student Records, Billing, or Degree Audit-transfer Articulation) or technical infrastructure.
Systems & Platforms (SPA) works in partnership with campus IT providers, especially IT departments, to provide for and sustain reliable, available, and responsive computing infrastructure. Our work helps our partners deliver information technology services to students, faculty, and staff of the University, and to external customers who are important to the University mission.
The Systems & Platforms department provides computing environments that enhance the academic, administrative, teaching, and research functions of the University. SPA also provides comprehensive management or assists with the management of Large Systems, Unix Systems, Windows Services, Enterprise Client Management, Directory and Authentication Services, and Computer Operations at The University of Iowa. The Systems & Platforms department is committed to providing secure, reliable, cost-effective services using the most appropriate and efficient technological tools available. SPA is responsible for hardware and software installation, configuration, and maintenance. The department is also responsible for resource management, troubleshooting, and storage services, including backup and security. The Systems and Platform Administration department is organized by server, client, directory, and operations support. For more information on any of these services, please contact the SPA director.
- a. Large Systems. The Large Systems work group provides hardware and software support for the IBM zSeries enterprise server for the University. The Large Systems enterprise server provides services and support for personnel, student, and accounting information for the University. The Large Systems support staff provides service and support for academic and administrative enterprise computing. The group provides installation, configuration, and support of the operating environment, data repositories, transaction servers, and end user computing utilities and languages. The group manages the troubleshooting, data backup and restore, security, and the printing facilities in the IBM zSeries environment.
- b. Unix Systems. The Unix Systems work group provides storage service and management of Unix and Linux servers. The Unix group supports the campus computing infrastructure as well as various academic and administrative services at the departmental level. Supported services include campus email, web services, the library online catalog system, VMware, the Red Hat Network Satellite patch and update distribution service, digital asset management, and the PeopleSoft financial and human resource applications. Typical tasks include system installation and configuration, application installation, troubleshooting, backups and restores, and assisting with computer security.
- c. Windows Services. The Windows Services work group provides server management and application hosting services to departments. Services include security patching, hardware, software updates, and communications. Supported services include shared campus Active Directory forest domain controllers, campus email/calendaring, web services, file and print, and the course management system. Typical tasks include system installation and configuration, application installation, troubleshooting, backups and restores, and assisting with computer security.
- d. Enterprise Client Management. The Enterprise Client Management Services work group provides Systems Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) tools for delegated administration of departmental machines and Citrix support for web access to applications from Windows, Macintosh, and Linux workstations. SCCM for desktop administrators provides: 1) remote control for troubleshooting clients; 2) security patch management; 3) application deployment that allows you to automate installation of specific applications to targeted machines; and 4) asset tracking to monitor both software and hardware inventory.
- e. Directory and Authentication Services. The Directory and Authentication Services work group provides Identity and Access Management (IAM) services for the University community. The IAM infrastructure is an integrated system of policies, procedures, business rules, and technologies used to facilitate and control user access to critical online applications and resources while protecting confidential personal and business information from unauthorized users. IAM solutions support user authentication, access rights, service profiles, password strength requirements and changes, and other processes that enable simpler sign-on for campus applications and services.
- Major aspects of this IAM infrastructure include: 1) Enterprise Directory Service, 2) Enterprise Authentication (HawkID), 3) Active Directory, 4) security and protection of confidential data, 5) web services, 6) service provisioning, 7) tools for administration and self-service, 8) policy, and 9) enablement of campus applications.
- f. Computer Operations and Data Center Management. The Computer Operations and Data Center Management work group provides resources for day-to-day operation of the central University of Iowa computing systems, including Academic Computing and Administrative Computing. The Operations group is responsible for the scheduling, execution, examination, and dispersal of computer output. This includes doing problem determination, problem tracking, and customer assistance. The group is responsible for monitoring the diverse systems and physical infrastructure of ITS computing and data storage facilities.
- g. Enterprise Storage. The Enterprise Storage Team is responsible for maintaining the University's centralized storage infrastructure. The group manages hundreds of terabytes of Fibre Channel and ATA disk capacity, Fibre Channel Storage Area Network fabrics based on Brocade switching hardware, EMC storage arrays, and Network Appliance storage systems.
The enterprise storage infrastructure supports many critical applications, including campus email, institutional databases, student records and registration systems, course management systems, library automation systems, VMware clusters, user and departmental file space, and research applications.
The Telecommunication & Network Services (TNS) department provides planning, development, implementation, and support of networking, data, video, cable television, and voice communications for the University main campus (except for The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics) and the UI Research Park. TNS also ensures that the services provided to the University community are cost-effective, dependable, ubiquitous, and of the highest possible quality. For more information on any of these services, please contact Telecommunication & Network Services.
- Telephone service, including maintenance and repair
- Cable television service, including maintenance and repair
- Data networking for access to the campus data network and the Internet, including authenticated wireless access for laptops and other mobile devices
- User training and consulting on telephone services and features
- Voice processing (voice mail, auto-attendant, bulletin boards, etc.)
- Long-distance calling
- Conference bridge (conference calling)
- Campus directory service
- On-campus relay service for the hearing impaired (assistive technology)
- Consultation, design, and inspection for communications cabling and outlets
- Installation of communication cabling and outlets
- Locating buried University communications cables
- Installation and maintenance of campus fiber and coaxial cables
- As part of the campus universal wiring plan, every communications outlet has the capability of providing voice and data connections.
- Requests for service. A University Service Requisition form is required for any installation, move, change, removal, or replacement of telephone, data, video, or cable service. For service requests, please forward the requisition form to the Telecommunication & Network Services customer representatives.
- Infrastructure. Telecommunication & Network Services has ultimate responsibility for all campus communications infrastructure, including: outside plant copper, fiber, and coaxial cable; in-building copper, fiber, and coaxial cable; communications closet infrastructure, access, and security; microwave, satellite, and other point-to-point communication infrastructure; wireless design, radio-frequency use, and deployment, including cellular sites; and all other communications infrastructure. All communications infrastructure installed on campus must be in accordance with current campus standards and be approved and inspected by Telecommunication & Network Services. Unapproved infrastructure may be removed, replaced, or redesigned at the expense of the offending department. For more information please contact Telecommunication & Network Services.
- Construction projects, remodels, and relocations. When a construction project, remodel, or relocation causes the need for additional communications infrastructure, equipment, or services, the one-time installation and capital costs shall be borne by the project and should be included in the project budget.
- Outside vendors. All significant contracts for services provided by outside vendors should be coordinated with the director of Telecommunication & Network Services. These include but are not limited to: local and long-distance service providers, contractors and consultants, and equipment vendors. Please contact the director of Telecommunication & Network Services before negotiating with outside vendors. Telecommunication & Network Services is in the best position to coordinate and integrate the proposed products, services, and vendor relationships with existing campus telecommunication services. As with all contracts, compliance with purchasing policies (V-11) is required.
- Consultation and training. Telecommunication & Network Services provides consultation, training, and support upon request. Customer representatives are available to answer questions regarding your existing telephone service or new service offerings available, or to help evaluate the best service options for your needs. Please contact them by phone to schedule an on-site visit or training session.
- Billing. Departments pay monthly for telephone service. The charges include the telephone line, instrument, system features, maintenance, and repair due to normal use of the service. Departments also are charged for data connections, which includes circuit, equipment, and maintenance costs.
Repairs required due to customer misuse or abuse of University-owned equipment or customer-provided equipment will be billed on a repair time and material basis.
Long-distance charges are billed monthly and appear on monthly Transaction Detail Reports (TDRs). Reports showing details of monthly long-distance calls are maintained by TNS for up to five years and are available to departmental billing coordinators as needed. Billing coordinators, in coordination with the account reviewers and individual employees, are responsible for reasonably ensuring compliance with University policy.
Questions regarding any of these billings should be directed to Telecommunication & Network Services.
- Personal long-distance telephone and cellular phone policy. Departments are responsible for determining when an employee needs to have access to telephone service and the type of service required in order to fulfill job responsibilities. (Types of service include: single-line phone, multiple-line phone, cellular phone, local service only, restricted long distance service, unrestricted long distance service, authorization code required to activate phone service, etc.) All costs related to such services are borne by the department. Examples of related costs may include: acquisition, installation, and ongoing fees related to use of the equipment or services.
Personal phone calls made on University equipment should be kept to a minimum. Long-distance personal phone calls are the responsibility of the employee and should not be made on University equipment. In the event an employee is abusing this policy, the employee's department is responsible for taking corrective action.
Routine personal calls are not allowed on University-provided cellular phones. (See also V-11.23 Technology Allowance Policy.)
- The University Directory (https://www.dna.its.uiowa.edu/Whitepages/) lists contact information for students, staff, faculty, and departments.
- Information about how to update University Directory information can be found at https://uiowa.edu/homepage/updating-directory-info.