Glen Lucas, Desktop Operations / Media Services Apprentice

Photo of Glen LucasA warm welcome to Glen who joined us in July 2017 as our Desktop Operations / Media Services Apprentice.

“By the time I had left school, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do. I had done different jobs but, I hadn’t found the right job for me. I’ve always helped my family and friends when they had issues with their electronic devices and I felt a great sense of achievement when I’ve fixed their problems.
When I found out about an IT Apprenticeship, I really liked the idea of gaining skills and using them while earning. Especially, at the best University in Scotland as this gives you a great chance to expand your knowledge and network.
At first, I was quite nervous but everyone gave me a warm welcome and I’m very happy working here – there is always a positive atmosphere and a great working environment. Everyone is really helpful in making sure I understand the work I’m doing, taking me through each process in a clear manner.
I think I made an amazing choice coming to St Andrews as there isn’t a better place to learn skills in IT – everyone is so supportive and happy to help!”

Learn more about our IT Apprenticeships scheme at
https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/itapprenticeships/

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Start of Term IT Support

We know how important getting access to IT systems and services (particularly our Wi-Fi!) is for students, so we make sure we are resourced to provide additional IT support during arrivals weekend and orientation week, just case extra help is needed. IT welcome packs were issued to around 3000 new students during arrival weekend – outlining how to access key services, such as eduroam, Apps Anywhere and Office 365.

During arrival weekend (9-10 September), we had dedicated IT support available in the majority of Halls, along with an IT support team in the Main Library and our ID cards team who were based in the Gateway. We also recruited senior students to provide additional IT support during arrival weekend and orientation week – and we are very grateful for the positive contributions they make.

We see a wide variety of devices from all over the world during the first few weeks of term – and typically see around 40,000 connections to eduroam (our wi-fi) every day.

During the month of September 5983 calls were logged with the IT Service Desk (via front desk visits, emails, IT self-service or telephone). Whilst this is a lot, we’re really pleased with this figure! Five years ago, our logged calls in September were approximately 9000 – so there’s been a lot been going on behind the scenes to make access to systems and services more straightforward.

We collected over 150 feedback cards from the students during arrival weekend – from those receiving help and support from the IT Service Desk and Access Control teams. Every single one was positive. See examples below:

“Excellent services with dedicated and
patient staff, willing to help get the job
done. Greatly appreciated”

“The staff was very friendly and helped me
sort out the difficulty straight away.
Overall everything was very pleasant and
stress-reducing on move-in day”

During arrival weekend, orientation week and the first few weeks of teaching there is a particularly high demand for IT support and we would like to thank everyone involved for their continued support and patience during this time.

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Click on the slideshow to see photos from the first weeks of start of term

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What teams can learn from World of Warcraft – talk by Alex Schladebeck

Last month, Alex Schladebeck, Head of Software Quality and Test Consulting at BREDEX GmbH, was our invited speaker at the IT Services staff meeting in Parliament Hall. Alex Schladebeck is a team leader, consultant, software tester and product owner who has been helping development teams improve their quality through communication.

Alex ’s talk focused on the highly successful MMORPG game, World of Warcraft (WoW), and its parallels to how we work in teams – in role distribution, task management and communication. Players of WoW create characters who gain abilities from their race (such as dwarf and elf), their class, equipment and level. Similarly, team members in real life have different abilities based on their background, past activities and experience.

Photo of Alex Schladebeck demonstrating how team members work together in World of Warcraft

Alex Schladebeck demonstrating how team members work together in World of Warcraft

The game is structured around quests and goals with rewards for their completion. Individual questing is possible in many cases, but more rewarding activities require self-organising groups to complete them. On the other hand, everyday work is structured around tasks with goals to be completed. Some activities can be done individually, but more often than not, a whole-team approach is required.

Alex explained why achieving goals in the fantasy world works so well, why it doesn’t always work so well in real life, and what we could do to change that.

Alex also ran workshops for some IT Services teams on the previous day in the Byre Theatre. Many thanks to Alex for taking time out of her busy schedule to spend time with us last month.

More information about Alex Schladebeck can be found at http://www.schladebeck.de/

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Our green data centre wins gold award for the third time

The University of St Andrews has, for the third time, achieved the highest level of award for the performance and green design of its data centre. Following a rigorous re-assessment process this summer, we have just been advised it has retained the GOLD award under the Certified Energy Efficient Datacenter Award (CEEDA) Scheme.

Photo of the Data Centre Ops Group – on our assessment day

The Data Centre Ops Group – on the assessment day (October 2017)
L:R – Alan Sumner, Project Coordinator; Steve Watt, Chief Information Officer; John Booth Assessor & Technical Lead, CEEDA; Ian McDonald, Network and Infrastructure Team Leader; David Stutchfield, Sustainability Manager; Dean Drew, Associate Chief Information Officer

Built at a cost of £2.4 million, the data centre was opened in 2011, with the aims of carbon neutrality for energy supply, reducing energy usage and costs and providing an efficient, reliable and scalable facility. The data centre only uses energy from renewable sources and
the energy efficient design saves the University between £65,000 – £75,000 per year in electricity costs. The data centre has brought significant incalculable benefits, through significantly improved ICT system availability in a safe and secure environment. This has allowed for large-scale e-enablement projects of business processes to be completed over the last few years.

Photo of our data centre

Inside the data centre

Nick Morris, Head of Product and Strategy, CEEDA at DataCenter Dynamics commented on the University’s third GOLD award: “From the very start, the design of the data centre fully integrated fundamental principles of scalable energy efficiency, with an eye on significant anticipated service growth. This was reflected in their first assessment cycle in 2012. What is truly outstanding is that the initial approach taken, and improvements put in place year on year have matched evolving best practice – which is a testament to the flexibility of the design and the ability of the data centre operations team.

The Assessor, John Booth, Technical Lead (worldwide) for CEEDA said: “Once again the data centre operations team at the University of St Andrews have provided an excellent evidence pack to support the CEEDA auditors in the re-assessment of their data centre. I’m delighted that the University will retain its GOLD award for adopting in full the requirements of the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres  and the CEEDA criteria.”

Steve Watt, Chief Information Officer said: “We are absolutely delighted to achieve the CEEDA Gold standard again. We take our corporate social responsibility very seriously and developing an energy-efficient data centre is part of this. We continue to be the only University in the world with this award, which is a very positive reflection on the skills, expertise and dedication of our IT Services and Estates colleagues”.

 

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IT workshops for new students

In the next few weeks, we have organised a few IT workshops, demos and presentations to help new students become familiar with some of our key services. These will focus on printing, cyber security and using computer applications for your studies.
No booking is required but seating may be limited.

How to use Apps Anywhere (our application management service)
A short demonstration on Apps Anywhere plus time for Q&A
Wednesday 13th September 2017, Arts Lecture Theatre, 11am
Thursday 21st September 2017, Maths Theatre B, 1.15pm

How to stay safe online
A 30-minute presentation by their IT Security team plus 15 minutes of Q&A
Monday 25th September 2017, Arts Lecture Theatre, 1pm
Wednesday 4th October 2017, Maths Theatre C, 2pm

How to use UniPrint
A 30-minute demo session on printing, copying and scanning
Wednesday 27th September 2017, Main Library, 2pm; 2.45pm; 3.30pm
Thursday 12th October 2017, Main Library, 11.30am; 12.15pm; 1pm

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