Resources for All Campus Constituents

Goals

  • SCSU will commit the resources necessary to accomplish its academic mission and position the University as a leader in the use of technology in education.
  • Every member of the university community who so desires will be assigned a computer sufficient for the purpose of learning, teaching, research, scholarship and creative work.
  • SCSU will provide the technological infrastructure needed to support the teaching, learning, research, scholarly, creative and service activities of the campus.
  • Multiple computer hardware and software platforms will be available to members of the university community, and what is supported will be determined by the need of the user.

Every individual (students, faculty, administrators and staff) at SCSU should have access to certain minimum standards of computer and networking equipment and software. When possible, provision will be made to allow for situations in which higher levels of technology are necessary. All offices and work spaces will meet university-wide minimum standards and provide access to all campus resources and to anyone in the university community. Workplaces and classrooms should be redesigned to accommodate individuals interacting with technology.

The University will commit itself to provide effective and timely support for all different types of technology currently on campus and for future acquisitions. This support will consist not only of troubleshooting and repairs but also with maintenance and upkeep requirements. Every faculty, staff member, administrator and student at SCSU will be able to access the campus network with adequate bandwidth. All network design and architecture will facilitate smooth upgrade paths.

The TLTR recognizes that the University must support technology in a number of arenas, including access to information, the Americans with Disabilities Act, copyright and licensing, instructional and work spaces, distance education, discipline-specific needs and -- above all -- training and professional development.

Access to Information and Technology

Goal

  • Faculty, students, administrators and staff will possess the technological means to access curricular, research, scholarly and creative information from anywhere at any time.

All members of the university community will need access to technology in order to accommodate the rapid change presently occurring in higher education. In particular, all constituents (faculty, students, administrators and staff) need to be assured access to

  • a networked environment, based on universal e-mail, shared information resources and technology-rich instructional spaces
  • easy access to workstations and networked information services
  • consistent interfaces, procedures and documentation

The use of electronic technologies for information access at SCSU should facilitate learning, teaching, research, scholarship and creative activities. The user should be able to perform complex information tasks and have some control over the way information is formatted, manipulated, evaluated and integrated from different sources.

Students should have access to the digital curricular resources, library resources and communications resources required for effective learning. (For more specifics about this topic, including software and hardware, see Appendix 6: Technology-based Research Information.)

Hardware, Software and Network Infrastructure Minimum Standards

Goal

  • SCSU hardware and software standards will be reviewed at least once each year.

We believe that every member of the university community and all units at SCSU should have access to certain minimum standards of computer and networking equipment and software. These standards are parallel to those defined by MnSCU (see Appendix 8: Microcomputer Standard for Faculty Office Applications). SCSU's standards, which will need to be revised regularly, will be based on functionality.

Standardization does not mean arbitrary uniformity; diversity is respected at St. Cloud State University. A variety of computer platforms and software applications, therefore, will be supported.

The common functions requiring support are

  • interfacing with the machines themselves (like operating systems and common user interfaces)
  • electronic communication (like e-mail, messaging software, scheduling software, collaborative tools, Web browsers and so on)
  • desktop productivity (like word processing, spreadsheet and database programs)
  • information distribution and electronic publishing (Internet applications for communication, research and presentation)
  • certain typical university functions (like registering, verifying records, accessing information from the library and the Internet)

All of these functions presuppose an adequate campus network, by which we mean fast enough, efficient enough, already installed.

(For details about the e-mail system, see Appendix 11: Desirable Characteristics of an Electronic Message-delivery System.)

Network Infrastructure

Goals

  • Every office and classroom should have at least one network connection capable of supporting current software applications.
  • A subcommittee of the TLTR, the Bandwidth Management and Network Use team, should be established to advise the campus community on networking needs.
  • Campus bandwidth must be kept current and must be managed to anticipate the rapid growth of network activities. This continual support is critical to build a base on which all computer communications exists.

Building a network infrastructure is most easily described by equating it to the building of highways, roads and streets. The part of the infrastructure that compares to highways would be the network backbone. The campus telecommunications backbone consists of a cable containing fiber optic strands connecting each of the thirty-two campus buildings to a central hub.

Due to limited funding the campus has been able to complete only the equivalent of a two-lane highway, but SCSU needs the equivalent of an interstate highway. (See Appendix 9: Campus Network Infrastructure for more details and specifications on the campus network.)

Replacement

Goal

  • SCSU should establish a replacement plan for electronic technology that takes into account the speed of technological development.

The University needs a plan for replacing and recycling equipment. All equipment will need replacing at some time, so a university-wide policy as well as individual policies for particular sites are needed. Replacement may take a priority over recycling in installations that require cutting-edge technology or maximum power.

The TLTR recommends a replacement cycle that is responsive to the technological marketplace for most electronic computer equipment on campus. SCSU's current "policy" is to replace equipment, on average, every seven years, clearly inadequate for a university that intends to show leadership in technology.

Further, the TLTR suggests that Learning Resources and Technology Services draft a university policy for replacement and recycling of electronic equipment and that this draft as well as individual plans for particular sites be presented to the TLTR for review, assessment and approval. Once the policy is approved, it should be forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Affairs for action.

Training and Professional Development

Goals

  • Members of the university community who enhance their use of electronic technology in teaching, research, scholarship and creative work do so as part of their responsibility to professional development. Faculty, administrators and staff should find this professional development recognized and rewarded in their review and evaluation processes.
  • Appropriate and frequent training will be available for faculty in the varieties of technology available to students and required to perform their assignments.
  • Appropriate and frequent training on the varieties of technology available and required to fulfill day-to-day expectations and professional development will be available to faculty, administrators and staff who need or desire to expand skills and explore methods of integrating new technologies (including campus and MnSCU information systems).
  • SCSU will implement a plan to offer adequate professional-development funding to all categories of employees whose use of technology is important for the successful performance of their jobs.

Van Dusen (1997) concludes that attempts to implement new technologies in higher education are likely to fail without substantial commitment to professional development and support. All members of the university community must be given the time and resources to learn how to use new technologies and to integrate them into their profession. We have identified three base areas: training, incentives, assessment.

  1. Training must
    • be an on-going, continuing process
    • address how to use the technology
    • address how technology will help people do their jobs
    • socialize individuals on customs and etiquette in virtual communities
    • train the trainer, that is, train members in each unit who will in turn train others
    • allow for assisted and self-paced practice in a convenient site with access to the most current hardware and software
    • be offered at times that are convenient and free from other commitments
  2. Incentives to encourage university-wide professional development are desirable. Potential incentives for developing materials, implementing curriculum changes and sharing of expertise and experiences include
    • reassigned time to develop materials and expertise
    • grants, stipends and professional-development funds
    • recognition and reward for dissemination of technological expertise
    • fair and equitable partnership between members of the university community and the university itself in the development and ownership of created materials
    • reassessment of expectations in job descriptions

      For faculty in particular, incentives also can include
    • recognition and reward for professional development in activities recognized under the Article 22 of the IFO Agreement
    • reassessment of expectations in areas defined by the IFO Agreement

All members of the university community should have access to a variety of support resources (e.g., self-paced tutorials, workshops, seminars and one-on-one instruction). In addition, an understanding of the variety of information resources and the ability to use a variety of tools should include an understanding of applicable copyright and licensing laws. (For more on this, see Intellectual Property: Copyrights, Licenses, Trademarks and Patents later in this document as well as Appendix 5: Copyright and Licensing.)

For technology of any kind to be of value in higher education, participation by faculty is a necessity. Encouraging people to incorporate technology is better than penalizing them for not using technology in their instruction. It has to be recognized that the adoption of technology in instructional settings depends upon many factors, including the talents and expertise of the instructor as well as the kind of instruction going on. It is better to encourage high-quality, pedagogically sound applications -- where it will improve the instruction or the students' experience or access -- than it is to require all instruction to be technology based or to use technology merely because it is there.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Goal

  • SCSU will provide effective access to, communication via and support for technological use by all members of the campus community, including individuals with disabilities.

SCSU must provide effective access to communication, whether in print, electronic, or audio form, for individuals with disabilities. The requirements to make information accessible will differ with each person's disability, and the means to make it accessible should be responsive to that individual's needs. What this means for reading electronic resources (in particular Web pages), for example, is that screen-reading devices used by people with visual impairments must be available, or the University must offer alternative accessible screen-readable formats. What it means about open student computer labs, for another example, is that specific accommodations must be made in particular labs when particular individuals require them.

It is important to remember, furthermore, that university information and services go beyond its essential instructional mission. People with disabilities may need special provisions, for example, to make administrative and student services accessible as well.

Intellectual Property: Copyrights, Licenses, Trademarks and Patents

Goals

  • SCSU will develop policies regarding intellectual property rights that take into account applicable state and federal laws.
  • SCSU will designate a person or office responsible for addressing copyright, license and patents issues. This individual or office will be easily accessible to the university community.
  • For the use of external resources, an intellectual property office will develop procedures to monitor copyright and licensing compliance within the university community.
  • An intellectual property office will establish ownership of intellectual property and monitor copyrights, licenses and patents for the University and its personnel.

Among the many missions of a university, none is more important than the development and exchange of ideas, information and discoveries. Thus, all members of the university community need to understand and adhere to applicable state and federal laws and international conventions and treaties regarding intellectual property. It is in the University's best interest to be able to deal appropriately with intellectual property that is produced internally or externally. A central clearinghouse to address copyright compliance and establish ownership would be beneficial for the University. (For more information about this topic see Appendix 5: Copyright and Licensing.)

In addition, both the University and SCSU employees need to establish rights and ownership of intellectual content in both traditional and technology-based scholarship, research and creative work as that are disseminated or available to individuals or agencies outside the University. The same need to establish rights and ownership of intellectual content applies to curricular and instructional materials as well. Given the complex nature of ownership of intellectual property, policies need to be established. One impetus for recommending a university office be responsible for intellectual property rights is to negotiate and implement policies on "ownership" that would delineate what rights accrue to whom, for what and how long, depending on the commitment of university resources.

Copyright and license requirements will have the greatest impact upon SCSU's ability to fulfill the information requirements and expectations of the central Minnesota community. Compliance with copyright and license agreements at times requires special permission to use or alter the format of the information. An office responsible for obtaining permission would be able to assure this kind of compliance for externally produced information. This office could also educate users (faculty, staff, administrators and students) about applicable rights under copyright and affiliated laws, especially the Fair Use Guidelines (17 U.S.C. §107).

Technical Support

Goals

  • All members of the university community will have immediate access to competent hardware and software service and support for university equipment.
  • SCSU will support its on-campus computer equipment with one technician for every 100 workstations.

Each unit will be assigned a team of support personnel. This team will include a hardware/software technician, a network technician, an administrative computing support provider, a reference librarian, an ITV expert and an instructional designer, as necessary. A user requiring help may contact either a member of the team or one of the two central Help Desks. Coordination of the two Help Desks is essential for providing effective support to users. For requests coming into a Help Desk that cannot be handled immediately, a staff person will be sent to the requester's office or the request will be forwarded to the appropriate team member or support person. The central Help Desks will support the standard hardware and software specified by the TLTR.

This plan and our budget allow for one technician for every 100 workstations; the average for high-tech industries is 70 workstations per technician. As additional hardware is acquired, additional technical-support personnel need to be added at the rate of one technician for every 100 workstations.