Our annual review for 2020-21
Seán Duffy reflects on another unique year of delivering IT services to the collegiate University
As another academic year begins, our teams have collected data on some of our IT services and projects delivered in 2020-21. It isn’t easy to present data on every system or tool, but I hope by browsing through these figures you will gain some insight into the variety of work undertaken by our department, particularly as we all continued to adapt to make the best of disruption caused by the ongoing Covid impact.
Our reliance on information technology whilst working and studying remotely is evidenced by huge numbers: 24.6 million chat messages via Teams in the year and 1.1 million hours of content delivered via Panopto lecture capture to support online learning. Reliance on our central IT Service Desk continued, with our team’s professional and friendly approach praised in feedback and an 87 per cent customer satisfaction score. We sourced and supplied headsets and webcams quickly, shipped computers to people’s homes and moved more users to the Managed Desktop service, all while working remotely.
Even with long periods of remote working for staff and students our internet connection and use of eduroam Wi-Fi continues to show year-on-year increases. The following graph clearly shows the impact of reduced on-site presence on eduroam use in Hilary term 2021.
IT Services collaborated with others on projects managed as part of business continuity, including supporting online admissions interviews, helping Medical Sciences IT (MSD-IT) to get the University's Covid-19 Early Alert Service (EAS) up and running in time for the arrival of students for Michaelmas term 2020, and providing access to a booking system for Covid-safe operations.
The work of the Educational Media team transformed, supporting our University colleagues with moving many of their planned public engagement events, training courses, research conversations, conferences and workshops into the virtual world. The IT Learning Centre continued to respond flexibly to changing needs, moving their ever-popular courses to entirely online delivery.
Our project teams were kept busy too. Early 2021 saw the rollout of multi-factor authentication (MFA) to nearly 70,000 staff and student accounts; a key defence in protecting personal and University data from cyber-attacks. E-assessments supported over 1500 exams (more than 40,000 exam sittings) in Trinity term 2021 and the new Teaching Management System (TMS) has been delivered in time for Michaelmas term. SharePoint Online was made available to everyone across the University in November 2020, offering significant improvements for collaboration, increased storage and secure sharing. And at the end of July 2021 the Canvas programme, responsible for the rollout of the Canvas virtual learning environment across Oxford, closed.
Throughout 2020-21 teams across IT Services have quietly gone about their work: finding ways to make desktop machines work at home; making sure systems work; enabling software and network upgrades; patching firewalls and switches to make sure they remain secure; and generally ensuring that there is capacity and security across all the systems we manage. And I recognise that in addition to all this, we have all had to adjust and manage the impacts on our home and family lives. I really appreciate the balances and compromises that you have all made in these challenging circumstances.
I don’t doubt that 2021-22 will have some surprises in store, but we are looking forward to working together with colleagues across the institution to support its mission as a world-leading research and teaching university.
Chief Information Officer
IT Services 2020-21: Our year in numbers
We deliver many IT services and projects, so this is a long list. However, you may be interested in different aspects of what we do, so please browse to the sections that are of most interest to you.
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|Teams continued to be our go-to collaboration tool; we created 24.6 million chat messages in the year 2020-21|
|It helped us to keep in touch with colleagues, with 1 million Teams calls in 2020-21|
|And where would we have been without Teams meetings – we held 1.6 million in the year!|
|That’s 24,206,137 emails sent using Nexus365 to be exact!|
|An astonishing 101 million emails read in 2020-21. Interestingly, almost 10 million emails unread!|
|SharePoint Online went live in 2020 and now there are 1386 new SharePoint Online sites created by 124 departments, colleges and units across the University. SharePoint on premise will be switched off in April 2023|
|The impact of Covid is also shown in the use of the University’s virtual private network (VPN). Before Covid, the service was used by around 1000 users per day, but once we were all working remotely this increased to 3500 users per day.|
|We expect year-on-year increases, but even in this unusual year use of Wi-Fi was higher than 2019-20. Possible causes include increased use of mobile devices to connect, more online lectures and downloading more HD/4k videos|
|Again, our internet connection shows an increase over 2019-20 despite long periods of remote working for staff and students|
|The Oxford electronic lab notebook (ELN) service now has a total of 2415 user accounts, across more than 50 departments and units, with 718 added in 2020-21|
|A total of 3213 electronic lab notebooks (ELNs) created so far in LabArchives, that’s 853 new notebooks in 2020-21, an increase of 13 per cent on the number created last year|
|Unsurprisingly, use of our desk phones decreased in 2020-21 versus 2019-21. With nearly 2 million incoming calls showing a decrease of 27 per cent on the previous year, and 950,000 outgoing calls representing a 32 per cent decrease|
|The Advanced Research Computing (ARC) service produced 73.7 million core hours of compute time used for research across the four divisions of the University. That’s equivalent to an average laptop working non-stop for around 2104 years! (corrected 2/11/21)|
|IT support and desktop services|
|There were over 121,000 support calls (Oxford Service Manager incidents and requests) in 2020-21. Customers have made a big shift towards our online support channels with service requests and web incident reporting up 37 per cent on last year, accounting for 1 in 3 calls|
|Customer satisfaction with support calls was 87 per cent, remaining consistently above 80 per cent for another year|
|56 per cent of calls were resolved on the same or next day. This is a reduction of 9 per cent on the previous year and analysis shows this is not attributable to any specific factor|
|The current number of computers using our managed desktop service is 5500|
|There are 1512 registered users on our remote desktop service|
|We have fulfilled 732 new laptop orders in 2020-21, approximately doubling the number of laptops across UAS/GLAM in one year. This level of growth in the managed staff PC service is unmatched|
|Educational media services|
|Our Educational Media Service reported an 84 per cent increase in the hours of material recorded on the Panopto lecture capture system in 2020-21, a total of 57,000 hours|
|A huge 1.1 million hours of content was delivered via the Panopto lecture capture system in 2020-21; an increase of 430 per cent over the previous year, clearly demonstrating the increase in online learning|
|Production of podcasts continued despite the disruption to normal activities. Our podcasting team released 633 episodes totalling 607 hours in 2020-21.|
|IT courses and events|
|Our IT Learning Centre administered 861 courses with over 9000 bookings in 2020-21|
|Self-directed learning via LinkedIn Learning proved popular with 5465 delegates generating 245,408 video views|
|We organised 29 training and learning events specifically for our IT Support Staff colleagues around the University|
|Our IT Learning Centre also provides a managed e-learning service for other units, resulting in 14 modules for nearly 1500 delegates|
|Oxford Mosaic web platform|
|The Oxford Mosaic web platform had 121 sites created on it last year, making a total of 639 sites on the platform|
|Over 37 million total page views for the Oxford Mosaic live platform in 2020-21. The Covid vaccine trial website run by the Oxford Vaccine Group was responsible for 8.5 per cent of all traffic in the year (3.2 million page views)|
|26 projects were completed in 2020-21, despite continued disruption caused by the Covid situation|
|Throughout 2020-21 we had an average of 47 active projects at any one time|
|To boost our cybersecurity, 70,000 primary and secondary Single Sign-On accounts had multi-factor authentication applied in 2020-21. An essential step in reducing the risk of cyberattack and to secure our accounts and systems|
|The e-assessment project enabled 40,589 exam sittings to be taken online during Trinity term 2021|