Introduction

The past year has seen a period of growth in services, exciting new developments, and closer collaboration with the IT support staff community.

Some of the developments have been directly visible to our users, for example the introduction of Webmail, the new web-based interface to the Herald Email system. Others, such as the bandwidth upgrade to the network backbone, have been equally significant, but less immediately visible.

OUCS's role in supporting users to make use of IT has continued to grow, both through its programme of training courses, and its information and support provision. Use of the Help Centre and user registration services rose significantly during the year. There has been substantial activity in the areas of high level security and virus protection, and OUCS produced a free CD for distribution to all new undergraduates to help protect their computers and the University infrastructure.

In line with University policy, OUCS's support efforts are increasingly targeted towards the distributed IT support staff community. Support, too, for the use of IT by academic staff is increasingly important, for example as shown by the growth in the use of WebLearn Virtual Learning Environment, and also in the development of new online teaching and research projects.

Looking to the future, OUCS continues its long term aim of integrating access to IT services through work to develop a portal service, single sign-on facilities and the use of digital certificates.

The following pages contain further information on these and many other topics in which OUCS has been active during the year.

Professor Paul W. Jeffreys

Director, OUCS

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