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Academic IT

Research Data Management adventure game launched

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service is pleased to announce the launch of the Research Data Management (RDM) Adventure Game.

The RDM Adventure Game is a text-based role-playing interactive fiction serious game, based on the data management challenges of a research project. The game takes the form of an online choose-your-own-adventure format in which game players take a simulated research project through the following processes: data management planning, data collection/generation, data organisation, data description and research publication, while encountering data management challenges along the way.

The game was developed as part of a collaboration between the University of Bath Library and Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service between 2017 and 2020 by Alex Ball (University of Bath), Samuel Simango (Stellenbosch University) and Nushrat Khan (University of Bath).

In January 2021, the Wellcome Trust’s Early Career Researchers Advisory Board endorsed the game by including it in the Wellcome Open Research early career researchers pack, recognising it as a useful tool for researchers. Sonya Towers (Grants Adviser at the Wellcome Trust), stated:

“The game is a great, fun way to teach researchers about how to manage their research data, throughout the entire grant life cycle. I really like the way it feels like you are part of an exciting story, where each decision acts as a cog in determining how the story ends.”

Since the game’s launch in December 2020 it has been played by people across 32 countries, and has recently been shortlisted as one of the nominees for the NSTF-South32 Awards for an award under the data for research category.

If you are interested in playing the game, click here. For more information, please contact Samuel Simango at ssimango@sun.ac.za.

Atlas.ti campus license now available

Monday, May 3rd, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that we now have an Atlas ti campus license available to staff and students.

What is ATLAS.ti?

ATLAS.ti is a powerful workbench for the qualitative analysis of large bodies of textual, graphical, audio and video data.

Sophisticated tools help you to arrange, reassemble, and manage your material in creative, yet systematic ways. ATLAS.ti keeps you focused on the material itself. Whether your field is anthropology, economics, criminology, or medicine: ATLAS.ti will meet your qualitative analysis needs.

To learn how to put ATLAS.ti to good use in your research, visit the Research Blog

For more information watch this YouTube video.

The license is available to staff and students and the software can be downloaded on  www.sun.ac.za/softwarehub.  
Users first need to create their own account on Atlas.ti website and use the invite code to gain access to the license and software.

*Please note: Users must please register with their @sun email account and not external email addresses so that the licenses can be managed.

Bespoke Research ICT Service Desk launched

Monday, May 3rd, 2021

A collaborative effort between the SU Research Support Teams (including LIS, DRD, IT, and IG) saw the development of a bespoke Research ICT Service Desk

The Service Desk is an intuitive portal so SU researchers have one place to go for services and advice specifically related to research information and communications technology (Research ICT).

This includes services and advice related to data collection, data storage, data transfer, data visualisation, and more. Bringing the SU Research Support Teams together on one platform improves collaboration and knowledge sharing across teams to address researchers’ requirements more efficiently.

Data Privacy day

Saturday, January 30th, 2021

In South Africa, we’re a bit late to the Data Privacy Day party. In Europe, it’s been around since 2007, while The United States joined in 2009. 

Data Privacy Day (known in Europe as Data Protection Day) is an international holiday that occurs every 28 January. The purpose of Data Privacy Day is to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices. 

Even though data Privacy Day has been around for more than ten years, awareness around the protection of data is becoming a critical issue. The reason is twofold. Firstly, data breach incidents across the world are occurring on a more regular basis and it’s happening to large companies who should have strict measures in place to protect their users’ data. Which brings us to the second reason – the implementation of GDPR and POPI. Before both these data laws, there was little to enforce companies to protect users’ data. The GDPR and POPI acts changed this. Now companies are held accountable and can be heavily fined for compromising their clients’ personal information.

Why is data so important, though? According to Mark Barrenechea, CEO at OpenText, “[e]very day we are building, brick by brick and bit by bit, a digital copy of ourselves, whether we are aware of it or not.” A bigger digital footprint makes it easier to find information about you, whether it’s personal information such as usernames and passwords, your physical location or your interests or hobbies. Algorithms can track your actions and anticipate your behaviour. Every little piece of information adds up to a bigger picture and can be used to your disadvantage. 

Sharing data is easy, which makes it critical that you take responsibility for protecting your own information. We can no longer depend on companies or social networks to keep our digital identities safe. This we’ve clearly seen over the past few year with multiple data breaches – many including large companies such as Facebook and Google. 

Data Privacy is just one day in the year to make data owners (that’s anyone using a digital platform!) aware of the importance of protecting data. However, we should be aware of the risks every day. How can you protect your data?  www.digitalguardian has an extensive guide, but here are 10 basic tips:

  1. Use encrypted networks when you’re accessing important information. Even though open and free Wi-Fi is tempting, it comes at a high risk. If you’re browsing websites not using https, know that whatever you do can be seen by someone else.
  2. Choose strong passwords. Don’t know how? Here are some tips. The general trend is using two-factor authentication. Better even, use a password manager as it’s the most secure solution.
  3. Protect your passwords. Don’t write them down. Don’t share them. And most importantly, don’t use the same password for all your social networks or websites. 
  4. Update your software when it prompts you to. Don’t ignore it because you don’t have time – it might be an important security update which will prevent that you are at risk.
  5. Update your antivirus software regularly. New versions of viruses, malware, etc. are released regularly to explore weaknesses. If you don’t update, you’ll be an easy target. Also, consider an anti-virus for your mobile devices – they are even more vulnerable.
  6. Check and configure privacy settings on your phone. Consider carefully which apps you give access to use certain services on your phone, for example the camera function.
  7. Lock your smartphone and tablet devices when you are not using them. Mobile devices are used to access social media, banking services and various other apps containing personal information.
  8. Enable remote location and device-wiping. If your mobile device is stolen, no-one will be able to access your information.
  9. Delete your data from old devices, for example, smartphones, before you sell, discard or pass them onto someone else. 
  10. Back up your data on a daily basis. If your device is infected with malware or stolen, you’ll still have your data. 

[SOURCES: https://www.forbes.comhttps://www.techradar.com]

Annual Moodle maintenance

Wednesday, November 4th, 2020

Assessments and courses are running quite differently in 2020. As a result, the normal November/early December maintenance weekend has had to be adjusted.

Annual upgrade and maintenance period for Moodle will take place between 13 and 17 December 2020. This will include:

  1. SUNLearn
  2. StudentFeedback
  3. SUNOnline
  4. Learning Hub (USB)
  5. Schools (Telematic Schools Project)

Affected staff and students will be reminded of possible disruption in access, but the IT team will be working hard to ensure that this is kept to a minimum.

For lecturers, roll-over of 2020 modules will take place ahead of the scheduled maintenance. The CLT support team will communicate details of this to all faculties within the next week.

 

 

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