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April 2022
McMaster Connectivity Newsletter

For the IT community, by the IT community.

Please note, there will be reduced newsletter issues over the summer semester. There will be a May/June and July/August edition.

McMaster IT News

Data governance at McMaster

McMaster's Data and Information Classification policy has been approved!

McMaster's Data and Information Classification policy has been approved and is available here: . This policy provides the foundation for work being done in Information Security, Records Management, Privacy and Enterprise Risk Management.

Interested in learning more about data governance at McMaster? Be sure to check out the Provost's website to learn about all the aspects of data governance at the institution.

Regular updates to the McMaster community will be provided in the Institutional Research and Analysis (IRA) Newsletter. For more information, contact:

Read more
McMaster GSuite decommission on May 4, 2022

McMaster GSuite account holders must move any files and data they wish to keep before May 4, 2022.

Learn more

Continuing this month: MFA for Microsoft 365 required for students, faculty and staff

The Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) universal adoption policy started to roll out in January 2022. All McMaster staff, faculty and professors emeriti are required to use MFA on their McMaster Microsoft account by May 2022. Student activation will extend across Spring/Summer 2022.

But there’s no need to wait! You can start today! McMaster students, faculty and staff can sign up for and use MFA right now.

Learn more

CYBER ALERT: A new, streamlined approach for McMaster cyber alerts and awareness

The McMaster Information Security Services team has introduced new methods for sharing critical information and updates from the cyber security landscape (e.g. CanSSOC) with the McMaster IT community. Keep an eye on your inbox and check out the Cyber Alerts Teams channel to view past alerts. 

May 2022 Teaching & Learning Month 
Tips & Tricks to Improve Collaboration & Productivity

Come join us on Wednesday, May 25, 2022! We'll share the latest updates and useful tips and tricks for faculty, TAs and students using Microsoft 365 and/or Zoom.

The meeting will be divided in three 20min increments.

By the end of this event, you'll be familiar with the latest important and useful features of Microsoft 365 and Zoom apps. You will be able to save time, collaborate more seamlessly, communicate more clearly, and find/share documents easily when collaborating with McMaster and/or external users.

Agenda (join and leave any time!):

  • 20min - New features worth knowing about
  • 20min - Tips and Tricks to improve collaboration and productivity
  • 20min - Q&A

Facilitators: Christa Morrison, Business Systems Specialist, UTS & our student team, UTAG22


Upcoming Accessibility Events

Information is available on the Accessibility Hub showing disability inclusion-focused events, training, and speaker series that are taking place virtually and in-person at McMaster University in 2022.


The Spectator: Computers Recycled as part of Earth Day Initiative at Mac

Computers and out of date technology were gathered at the ACCESSTech IT drive for as part of McMaster Earth Day activities. Donated items were sanitized of personal data for disposal or donated to Empowerment Squared, a community organization that donates computers to those in need.

At the last event, students, University Technology Services and Facility Services collected 780 kilograms of used technology.

Read article
IT security tips for McMaster users traveling abroad

Planning a trip? Check out these handy tips to help maintain IT security best practices before, during and after you travel.

Read more

Adjusting your device time zones for optimal security.

When travelling to different regions around the globe or within Canada; ensure that the clock on your PC and phone is synced correctly to the destination’s time zone prior to accessing university email or any application that asks for your McMaster Microsoft account. (e.g: If travelling to Vancouver, ensure that the clock is synced to Pacific Standard Time and not Eastern Standard Time prior to logging into Avenue2Learn).  

Here's how you can adjust the time manually or automatically on your PC

  1. Click on the Windows icon () in the lower left hand corner > Enter Settings in the search bar and Click on Open when it shows up as the first search result
          Menu open, setting app selected, open highlighted
  1. Type in time in the search bar and click Change the time zone
          Search of 'time' with Change the Time Zone option highlighted 
  1. There are two options to set the time: manual or automatic.

Select Option 1 for your PC to go out to the Internet to have the time sync automatically or select Option 2 to select the time zone for the region of the globe that you’re in
          Date and Time menu, 1. Sync now, 2. Time Zone (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

A reminder to add IT security to your spring cleaning checklist

With exams approaching and the Winter 2022 term near conclusion, McMaster welcomes the start of spring! Spring brings a new energy to campus as warmer weather and longer days approach. Additionally, as we conclude another winter term, that means many of us may start the annual task of spring cleaning.  

Spring is a perfect time to embrace and address IT Security spring cleaning as well. Improving IT security is a great opportunity to re-assess a variety of subjects including enhancing IT security when working from home or on campus.

MFA drop-in sessions to support universal adoption

To support the McMaster community with universal adoption of MFA, the Information Security Services team is hosting virtual drop-in sessions for anyone who has questions about how to prepare yourself for MFA, guide you on the set-up process and address any questions.

Virtual drop-in sessions are available on Microsoft Teams meetings every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. until June 30, 2022. Community members can also join the Microsoft Teams group to post questions and get answers from the Information Security Services team.

VPN accelerator for students in mainland China to be discontinued

With the return to in-person learning and McMaster’s shift to the Microsoft 365 environment, the Alibaba virtual private network (VPN) accelerator for students in mainland China will be decommissioned mid-June 2022.

Learn more
Have you subscribed to the UTS Service Dashboard?

The new UTS Service Dashboard allows you to customize your preferences for alerts on upcoming planned maintenance and unplanned major service interruptions. The dashboard is built on Atlassian. You can set your preferences to receive your alerts via email and/or text for the services most relevant to your work. Subscribe today!


Zoom Meeting Security Change

McMaster is implementing a change to improve the security of all scheduled Zoom meetings. Beginning May 2nd, all newly scheduled Zoom meetings will need to be secured with at least one security option. Meeting options include: Waiting room, passcode, authenticated users only, and Registration (for events). 

What do I need to do? All new meetings will have the waiting room enabled as the default security option. Individuals can change their meeting defaults or per each meeting as required. Previously scheduled meetings will not be affected. 

Why the change? This feature will add an extra layer of security to prevent ‘Zoom bombing’ and nefarious interference with McMaster Zoom meetings.  

More information about Zoom security: 

NEW! Microsoft 365 features and updates

Click here to see a demo of the McMaster Office 365 Hub.
Commenting is now available on recorded Teams meetings and sessions! 

Users will see a Comments button in the upper right-hand corner of any video or audio file stored in OneDrive or SharePoint Online. 

Selecting this button expands a panel where users will be able to have threaded conversations through comments, for which file owners have full edit permissions over. 

Changes are also coming to audio sharing options in Teams!

Any user who can share screen in a Teams call or meeting on a web platform (Google Chrome & Microsoft Edge) will soon be able to share computer audio along with screen share (Entire Screen or Tab). This feature is busy rolling out.

Note: Due to specific operating system limitations, this feature may not be available on all operating systems.

Microsoft Class Teams Now Available for Spring/Summer 2022

Spring/Summer 2022 Class Teams have been created for all courses listed in Mosaic and are now available for instructors. Check out the setup guide on how to start using and activate your Class Teams

What are Class Teams and why use them? 

Class Teams are automatically generated Microsoft Teams for courses, labs and tutorials listed in Mosaic. Instructors and students are added to the Class Teams via a data sync process with Mosaic every 24 hours until the end of the add/drop period. The data sync also removes students who have unenrolled. Instructors must be listed in Mosaic for Class Teams to be created and appear as options in their Teams account.

While much of the process is automatic, manual changes are not reset with data syncs. Students, TAs, or instructors manually added to a Team will not be removed, and Team names manually changed will not reset with data syncs. 

Instructors are not required to use the Class Teams automatically created for them. 

Instructors can start using their Class Teams without students seeing or being able to access them until instructors decide to ACTIVATE the Team.

Instructors can use existing Teams or Teams they create manually but will have to add students as members manually and keep that list updated. Manually created Teams cannot be synced with Mosaic.

Please join our Class Teams Community of Practice to stay up to date with announcement and to join weekly drop-in sessions, should you have any questions.

10 Noteworthy M365 Updates

Check out our list of 10 Noteworthy updates and integrations to Microsoft 365 apps including Teams, Outlook, OneDrive and more! Find out how these updates can help you!

Learn More

EmpowerEd: Christa Morrison and Joe Kim at Microsoft Canada

EmpowerEd, a partnership of Canadian higher education institutions and Microsoft Canada, discusses the higher ed space in Canada.

Christa Morrison represented University Technology Services and McMaster by presenting Active communities of practice for academic professional learning and sharing experiences in creating a robust and active community delivering high impact learning experiences.

Joe Kim, professor of psychology, also represented McMaster with High impact strategies for student engagement and shared insights on a people-centered learning experience, along with strategies and digital tools faculty members have used to engage students for deeper learning.

Register and get access to the on-demand presentations!

IT Spotlight series: IT & EDI - A look at UTS' Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee

Established in 2017, McMaster's University Technology Services (UTS) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee is a staff-led initiative to support McMaster's overall commitment to fostering equity, diversity and inclusion amongst its work force through values and practical application. It is important that McMaster IT continues to engage with and promote these priorities and initiatives as a way to ensure that we are doing the best we can to build inclusive working habits.

Over the course of 2021, the UTS EDI committee implemented a variety of initiatives and actions for the broader community to partake in as a way to support an equitable working environment.

Read more
McMaster Byte Size: your monthly tech newsletter

Have you subscribed to the monthly tech newsletter for McMaster students, staff and faculty? McMaster Byte Size includes tech news, reminders, training and more for the McMaster community to learn more about IT security, Microsoft 365 and Zoom offerings, new services and more! Have a news item to submit for an upcoming issue? Get in touch!

RECORDING AVAILABLE: Continuing the AI Conversation with Dr. Carlton Sapp

Managing Vice President for the Data Analytics for Technical Professionals, Gartner inc. Dr. Carlton Sapp recently gave a special talk to McMaster IT on the topic of Artificial Intelligence or AI. Check out the recorded talk and learn more.

Many thanks to Gartner Professionals and Dr. Sapp for their time.

Nerds and Nodes: The Mac AI Podcast
Gayleen joins Gal Armon from the Mac AI Society to discuss the current goals, challenges and responsibilities of IT in postsecondary institutions. 

Check out the podcast on Spotify and Apple Podcasts

The Nerds and Nodes Podcast serves as a deep dive into the minds of experts in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the fields of biomedical sciences, engineering, business, humanities and more. The McMaster Artificial Intelligence Society is a group of students dedicated to the study and implementation of AI to students at McMaster and across Canada.
Items of interest

Women Advance Technology: May 5, 10, 17, 24, 31

EDUCAUSE Leadership Series will host the Women Advance Technology online offering, a five-week event for professionals invested in advancing opportunities for women in the fields of technology, information security, and teaching and learning.

Over the course of five weeks, participants will have various opportunities to engage in online, synchronous and asynchronous sessions. Throughout, participants will meet, share with, and learn from a cohort of higher education professionals and leaders for networking and conversation with small-group deep dives.



Ryerson University is hosting the Ontario Higher Ed IT (OHEIT) conference from Tuesday, May 24 to Friday, May 27, 2022. OHEIT is open to all IT staff, faculty and employees from Canadian universities who are interested in gaining insight into:

  • Technology trends, projects, products and services in higher education;
  • Cybersecurity initiatives and progress on cybersecurity benchmarking projects.

This year, the conference will be presented in a hybrid format with day one having in-person and virtual events and the remaining 3 days virtual only.

Read more

CANHEIT 2022 Registration Open & Call for Proposals!

University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) will host CANHEIT 2022 from June 21 to 23. Join your colleagues at the largest gathering of Canadian higher education IT leaders from universities, colleges and technical institutes. 

The Call for Proposals will be open until May 6.

We are once again using the Ex-Ordo platform to receive proposals – more details on your options for presenting all of your great ideas can be found there.

Share ideas, trade best practices and inspire each other in a unique hybrid format. Register today!


Submit your Proposal

The EDUCAUSE Call for Proposals for Fall 2022 is now open!

The best thinking in higher education IT comes to Denver and online this fall, and the stage couldn’t be bigger. Are you ready to step into the spotlight?

The call for proposals is now open! We need and want your knowledge, experience, and prescriptions for the issues higher ed cares about most. At the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, you’ll be center stage and able to showcase your thought leadership to an eager audience. You’ll gain critical presentation skills while enriching the community with your insights.

Our community-generated program will showcase future directions, best practices, stories of successful collaborations, lessons learned, and solutions to community-wide issues within various program tracks.

Step up to the challenge and shine your light—we all benefit! Submit your proposal by May 3

Submit Your Proposal

Have a story you want to share with the IT Community? Email Tanya Reid at to feature an article!

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2022, McMaster IT

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