IT Projects Digest: Hilary term 2024

The Projects and Programmes Delivery Group (PPDG) continue to deliver digital changes at Oxford, both through the tried-and-tested IT development route and the Digital Transformation programme. We are working closely with the Digital Transformation team to deliver several new programmes - there is a lot going on and we’ve been working behind the scenes to simplify and streamline our processes to ensure we successfully deliver these big, exciting initiatives.

Our governance is now organised around five key areas and the following updates are grouped likewise.


The Technology Portfolio includes all our IT infrastructure work, as well as cyber security, data and identity. We continue to deliver key infrastructure and cyber security projects, as well as starting up some new, exciting programmes as part of Digital Transformation.

This term, you will see the launch of new, engaging Information Security and Data Privacy training, that is being rolled out to all staff from April 2024. We will be beginning a pilot phase for the rollout of the Managed Wireless Service (MWS), targeting sites where wireless provision is known to be poor. We are also rolling out email validation protocols (DKIM and DMARC) to improve the authentication of our outgoing emails and working with several departments to discuss an approach for moving them over to Nexus. We have also successfully rolled out the new staff card request process for most departments and colleges across the University, moving from PDF forms and emails to an online application.

The two big technology programmes coming out of Digital Transformation are:

  1. The Shared Infrastructure Services Programme, which will be delivering on the recommendations of the IT Infrastructure Service Review and will facilitate a more connected and collaborative IT infrastructure across the University with a focus on a shared services delivery model - contact Brendan Donnelly, Programme Manager for further information
  2. The Data Strategy Implementation Programme (DSIP), which brings together colleagues from Data Governance Group, Planning & Council Secretariat and IT Services to deliver commitments to make data more easily available and improve data quality, which will, in turn, support other strategic initiatives and the goal of reducing the burden on staff. For further information, please read the Michaelmas Term 2023 Data Digest or contact Alex Gray, Programme Manager


The Education Portfolio covers a wide range of activities including systems to support teaching and learning, assessment, applications and student welfare. Here is a sample of the work going on in this space:

  • The Canvas Enhancements & Inclusive Teaching Enhancements 2 project continues working to get the basics right in the  Canvas Virtual Learning Environment - find out about the most recent benefits delivered such as Digital Education Assistants providing local support
  • Student gender data enhancements - introduction of pronouns: on (re)registration, students are now asked to confirm their ‘legal sex’ and title, and invited to provide the gender they identify with, and their personal pronouns. Students can update any of this information at any time via Student Self Service. Staff and tutors using eVision and Teaching Management System (TMS) can now see title and pronouns for students. This will be available in the Graduate Supervision Reporting (GSR) system and Canvas during Hilary term
  • Assessment Centre of Excellence: four new roles, which will bolster existing central teams and provide additional support to departments and colleges involved in undergraduate assessment. This includes a Senior Policy Officer to work in Education Policy Support, who will conduct a thorough review of assessment-related policies and regulations, including the Exams and Assessment Framework, in order to make recommendations for simplification and clarifications; and additional staff to support the (re)designing summative assessment service in the Centre for Teaching and Learning. Recruitment will begin shortly
  • Digital Assessment Enhancements, which includes: the expansion of facilities for in-person typed exams from 6,000 to 14,000 sittings; the piloting of online marking; college collections delivered via Inspera; and enhancements to the eVision task for managing Inspera permissions
  • Coursework Extensions - a new solution in eVision for the processes of applying for and reviewing/approving/rejecting applications will go live on 30th January 2024. This includes the automation of self-certification extension requests, saving many hours in administration

Engagement and Dissemination

The Engagement & Dissemination Portfolio supports the delivery of projects aligned to the University’s digital communications, public engagement activities, and digital collections.

A key piece of work is the new Transforming Oxford’s Digital Communications Programme, supported by Digital Transformation funding, which comprises two projects:

  • The web CMS platform, previously known as the Mosaic 2 project, will deliver a stable, secure and flexible new web platform for the University, and will be the preferred platform for all the University’s public-facing web content
  • The new intranet platform will provide a personalised digital experience for all staff and students, bringing together content published across the University into a consolidated view

Early pilots for both the new web CMS and intranet will take place at the beginning of 2024.

Current initiatives within GLAM are focused making more of the University’s world-leading collections available online for viewing by students, researchers and the general public; as well as supporting onsite public engagement activities:

  • The Collections Online platform - a portal via which users can view and interact with the museums’ digital collections - is now live at the Ashmolean Museum
  • Underlying the Collections Online platform are Digital Asset Management Systems (DAMS) that hold the images (‘digital surrogates’) of the museums’ collections. All of the museums have a DAMS in place, except for the Museum of Natural History (OUMNH), which is on track for its DAMS go live at the start of the 2024/25 academic year
  • A new ArtifaxEvent system is being rolled during the second half of 2024 at the Museum of Natural History (OUMNH) and the Pitt Rivers Museum (PRM) to support education outreach events, which are a key aspect of GLAM’s public engagement activities


The Research Portfolio provides the systems for costing, pricing and managing research projects as well as those for managing the data outputs of research projects.

At the moment, we are working on the Research File Service (RFS), which is an Oxford University-approved central storage facility for active research data. In early 2024, the team aim to launch web front end access, which will enable internal research staff to collaborate with external guests and pave the way for working with confidential data. We are also working on a new, automated Research Ethics approval system from Worktribe, which will be implemented gradually throughout 2024. This will make submission, triage by ethics managers, review and approval processes more transparent, consistent and streamlined. Lastly, we have started work on a Research management data and data quality for REF project, which is assessing the required data and data quality, availability and accuracy, with a view to building tools and processes to improve the data for future REF submissions.


The Administration Portfolio covers finance and people systems. Current projects are enhancing how we use these systems and report on staff training.

In particular, the Mandatory Training project has delivered a new Compliance Report, which is now available as part of the Self-Service Training Data Reports tool. This provides data on people in your department or college who have not taken a particular mandatory training course. There is also a new, customisable, signposting widget that you can display on your website to show staff the courses you require them to complete in CoSy. The Workforce Management Project is assessing requirements to produce a rollout plan for the delivery of Rostering, Overtime, Leave and Absence, and Timesheeting in PeopleXD. Following a pilot last year, we are getting in touch with departments to assess readiness to adopt the new features. Please contact the project team for more information.