In this period, as it appeared in the electoral programme, Information Technology Services duplication has been eliminated by unifying all the assets around one single service. All vacancies existing in the past and those generated in recent years have also been filled, resulting in a rejuvenated workforce and an increase in the effective staff of the Information Technology and Communications Service. In the coming years, this service will be improved by creating an intermediate layer of technical managers who will be responsible for coordinating the actions carried out in specific areas. Twenty new positions will be created to improve key aspects such as developing and maintaining management applications, security, maintaining corporate systems and networks, and providing assistance for teaching tasks on all university campuses. A paid system of watch shifts will also be implemented that will attend to critical systems outside of normal working hours to guarantee 24×7 operation.
Over these four years, significant investment has been made into the basic infrastructure that enables the university to function: modernising the communications network, contracting maintenance services for equipment and facilities, improving the efficiency of server rooms, improving the protection of these critical infrastructures, modernising security elements and load distributors, acquiring storage cabinets and servers, renewing communications cabling in some units and installing new network access points, complete renewal of the fixed telephony service, improvements to the mobile telephone service, improvements to the conditions of the campus interconnection service and renewing the equipment required for this interconnection, modernising the access and presence control system base software. Among these actions, it is important to highlight the deployment of the Wi-Fi communications network, into which a very significant amount of investment has been made to provide full coverage throughout its facilities.
In this new period, the actions in basic infrastructure will be directed towards completing Wi-Fi coverage in the pending buildings, completing the deployment of the communications equipment already procured to renew the corporate network, improving the communications equipment deployed in the server room in the Severo Ochoa building, establishing high-availability systems for critical systems, replacing some security elements, generally enabling a software telephone service from which the telephone can be answered from users’ computers and completely modernising digital access control and presence.
Regarding user equipment, and in relation to Central Services computer equipment, an inventory process has been undertaken and two renovation plans have been carried out, which have resulted in the renewal of approximately 45% of the equipment park. In the new period, new renovation plans will be undertaken, continuing the process of continuously improving the equipment.
To support campus departments and administrations in procuring computer equipment, annual centralised equipment procurement programmes have been implemented. Through these programmes, the different university entities have procured approximately 500 computers. The annual implementation of these programmes will continue in order to renew computer equipment in the departments and campus administrations.
The institutional website and the intranet are two essential elements in daily university life. These key elements need to be technologically modernised and implemented under an enterprise-level support model. Over the last year, the university has carried out the basic consultancy to define the renewal process. In the next period, a project will be implemented to completely update the institutional website and create a new intranet that provides a totally personalised user experience and that transparently integrates the different services offered from it.
Virtual campus and IT for teaching
In the educational field, the Virtual Campus is a critical system for the university’s daily operation. Over the last year, the university has carried out several actions, including integrating a new anti-plagiarism system. However, this system also needs to be technologically modernised to incorporate the latest developments. It is proposed to start the 2021/2022 academic year with a completely renewed version of the Virtual Campus that provides an integrated experience with other systems used in teaching, such as Microsoft Teams and other applications that are part of the Office 365 ecosystem. The university will deploy the new Virtual Campus to eliminate resource limitations and improve user experience when connecting from home.
Regarding the computer rooms dedicated to teaching, great effort has been made in renewing computers, covering approximately 55% of the equipment park. Classroom network management has also been improved (a network that integrates the equipment of all the classrooms in the university’s centres), optimising the service architecture of this network and modernising the servers that support these services. New computer rooms have also been created on several university campuses. In the new period, the annual computer renewal plan will continue, so that the average life of the equipment is always maintained within adequate parameters. Requests from the centres regarding the creation and provision of new computer rooms will also be attended to. Digital technologies will also be integrated for teaching (digital whiteboards, tablets, broadcasting systems, etc.) into classrooms where they are required or where they can can add value to the teaching experience.
Regarding educational software, a campus license has been procured for MATLAB numerical computing software, which is used in teaching in a significant number of university centres and departments. Harnessing the MATLAB experience, other parallel requirements will be identified, which can also be met through solutions such as campus licenses. Ongoing support will also be provided to the departments in procuring simulation software to meet specific teaching needs.
Digital administration and management applications
This year, the university has developed new functionalities and technologically renewed the vast majority of management applications, including those for academic services for students and teachers, postgraduate study coordination services, the doctoral procedures portal, university entrance exams, online pre-registration and enrolment, outgoing mobility management, incoming mobility management, enrolment in foreign language level tests, the employee portal, calls for personnel agreements charged to research funds, internship management clinics and other external practices, the geographic information system, the business services portal, the portal for job seekers, querying censuses in electoral processes, support system for the DOCENTIA programme, messaging system, directory service and white pages application, access and presence control system and remote registration. Numerous developments have also been made in the SIES programme used by the administrations that have made it possible to improve management in specific areas such as doctorate management, end-of-study project management, managing teaching groups, services for ONEO and the Equality Unit, managing teaching planning, managing joint programmes for official bachelor’s studies (PCEO), issuing the European Diploma Supplement (SET), integrating the GESINTER system, etc.
Regarding deploying new systems, deployment has been completed on the economic management system and the research initiated by the previous governance team. A new management system for the Occupational Hazard Prevention Service has been implemented and a new contractor profile has been deployed. Digital bidding mechanisms have been enabled. A new digital management system for contract records, a new system for consulting the University of Oviedo archive, a new system for managing contract calls for labour and interim teaching and research staff and a signature holder solution for the integrated digital signature in processing processes have been deployed. The main library systems have been modernised by replacing OPAC and AMICUS. A new multi-search engine has been deployed for the library. Great effort has been made in developing the processing for all funding. A new key restoration system has been developed. New services have been implemented for querying data from other administrations for administrative services through a thin client and a new appointment service has been deployed. The university has a new corporate mobile application, a new corporate software portal and numerous portals have been implemented, including the complete development of a new Transparency Portal.
A new comprehensive system has also been developed for managing non-official studies (FNOF), which is currently being used mainly to manage university extension studies. Numerous digital procedures focused on different groups have also been established. Among them, service sheets have been issued in self-service format, the request for permits and licenses and the request for a generic instance by digital registration, with extensive scope for all groups. The registry offices (general and auxiliary) have also been established as registry offices for accrediting identity in issuing FNMT digital certificates and the application procedure has been simplified for all University of Oviedo groups. Following the strategy of reusing resources offered by the General State Administration, the digital contracting file has been fully integrated with the Public Sector Procurement Platform, as well as integration with the Central Personnel Registry through Anot@.
The great challenge for the next four years will be to complete the process for digitally processing all procedures. The university will integrate the registration system with the Registry Exchange System of other public administrations and implement the digital file and record for the entire University of Oviedo. The university will continue with defining and implementing new digital procedures, mainly focused on simplifying and streamlining administrative procedures, such as transport expenses, service commissions for the PAS and teaching and research staff groups, or digitally processing expense files for research and other university services.
In the student body field, issuing academic certificates in the self-service modality and issuing the authentic digital copy of the degree is of special relevance. The interconnection and integration of digital academic management procedures with the Interoperability Node of the Spanish University System (NISUE) and with the “Mobility Tool” of the Erasmus consortium is also of utmost importance, for exchanging academic information between universities and other administrations, as well as the Data Verification and Querying Service (SVC), for querying data that is already in the Administration’s possession. This will reduce the student body’s bureaucratic burden in their academic procedures and simplify procedures.
Other initiatives to be developed are the complete implementation of FNOF in other non-official studies, migrating academic records from GAUSS to SIES and modernising the University of Oviedo institutional repository. Digitisation of the following processes is also of vital importance: developing new tools for coordinating practices within companies, implementing a space management solution, improving hiring processes for research and teaching and official research staff personnel, modernising the university’s digital journal system, deploying a solution for managing conferences, modernising the university accommodation system, improving the corporate survey system and improving the census system to cover electoral processes other than those of the University Rector and Faculty.
In relation to the Information Technology and Communications Service User Service Centre, service conditions have been improved in this last period. Service hours have been extended with a first level in a 24/7 regime, service is provided to students and not only to staff, including managing corporate device guarantees and replacing faulty components, and providing courtesy equipment while breakdowns are being repaired, support to classrooms in centres, etc. In the next period, the service will be improved by proactively inventorying equipment and carrying out maintenance tasks, implementing a chatbot service to assist users, developing a self-help portal with information related to the most common problems and providing university personnel to enable a support service specialising in security aspects and to assist in teaching tasks on all university campuses.
A project will be implemented to completely update the institutional website and create a new intranet
Regarding the computer rooms dedicated to teaching, great effort has been made in renewing equipment, covering approximately 55% of the equipment park.