5.10 Computer Labs

Background

This portion of the Technology Master Plan considers the variety of computer labs across campus. SCSU needs to address evaluation of support, equipment and software, staffing, and coordination and training in these labs. Additionally, operational and support responsibility vary from one type of computer lab to the next. This section defines and addresses these issues.

A number of different types of computer labs exist across campus. These range from areas open to all students, mixed labs (used for closed and open purposes), curriculum labs, specific departmental labs, multipurpose/multi-user labs, etc.
  • Computers in open labs are loaded with a bundle of core software to meet general student user needs. LR&TS technologists support these workstations. Staffing of these labs is by part-time student workers. LR&TS technologists train student workers, and additional real-time support comes from GAs and faculty.
  • Mixed labs (open and closed) may also be supported by college, multi-departmental, or departmental funds and personnel. In some cases, special software has been loaded for specific users.
  • Closed labs, curriculum labs, and departmental labs are supported by college, multi-departmental, or departmental funds. In some cases, these labs require technical support and/or liaisons with technologists within LR&TS.
  • The Miller Center, as a multipurpose/multi-user mixed lab, has mixed support and funding, including assistance from GAs and faculty.

The general continuity of operation for computer labs needs to be addressed in the following areas:

  • hiring of student workers
  • initial and on-going training of student workers
  • supervision of student workers
  • updates of software provided through university site licenses
  • software management, i.e., the imaging process and other new technologies
  • software and hardware availability for specialized instruction
  • compliance with university hardware and software standards by all users and support staff
  • technology competency of students as related to faculty expectations
    Some of these items are more fully addressed in other parts of this plan (5.4, 5.9.2, 5.16, 5.17).

Goals

Over the next five years, the university will
  • continue to consult with the Student Technology Fee Committee on monetary support for labs
  • identify concerns common to all labs and those limited by type of lab
  • provide to personnel (faculty, technologists, and student workers) supporting all types of labs appropriate initial training and additional training as required by their duties (see 5.17)
  • evaluate support provided to labs and develop for these facilities a clearly defined support structure that includes determination of LR&TS technologists and colleges and/or departments’ levels of responsibility
  • continue to provide quality access for all users in open computer labs
    • appropriate technical support will be available (see 5.16.1 and 5.17)
    • hardware and software will remain current based on an appropriate replace/upgrade cycle (see 5.9)
    • users should have a mechanism for addressing inappropriate materials or behaviors in campus labs
  • regularly inform the campus community of the technology available at each location and what level of support users for these facilities at these locations
  • collect information during the five years of this plan to determine what roles these computer labs play in teaching and learning on campus (see 5.4.2 and 5.4.4)

Specific Actions and Timeline

A committee will be established to evaluate computer labs on campus. This committee should include members of the Student Technology Fee committee and should regularly consult with that committee.
  • The committee will follow the standard timeline (see 5.0) for carrying out and reporting on specific actions.
  • The committee will evaluate open, mixed, and discipline-specific computer labs in the context of the goals.
  • The committee should consider the concerns listed in the background as part of its evaluation process.
  • The number and complexity of the issues related to student labs may lead the committee to develop a time-sensitive prioritization. Some issues may need to be addressed in a short timeframe, while others may be addressed at some later date in this planning cycle.

Resources

Resources to support closed computer labs should be well defined in order to provide consistent and reliable service in these areas. Specific support should be tied to particular cost-centers or all computer labs, and all stakeholders should be aware of their obligation to support all types of computer labs.

Evaluation

  • Has the committee continued to consult with the Student Technology Fee Committee?
  • Has the committee identified and resolved common concerns for all labs and particular issues for mixed and discipline-specific computer labs?
  • Has initial training for personnel (faculty, technologists, and student workers) been provided? Has additional training required by personnel duties been offered? And has training been effective and timely?
  • Has the committee evaluated support provided to labs and developed for these facilities a clearly defined support structure? Have support issues associated with mixed and discipline-specific computer labs been resolved?
  • Have open computer labs continued to provide adequate and robust support to users, including technical support as well as current hardware and software that is in legal compliance?
  • Is the campus community regularly informed about the technology available at each location as well as the level of support users at these facilities can expect?
  • Has the committee determined what roles these computer labs play in teaching and learning on campus?
  • Have the committee's recommendations been reasonably implemented?

Revised: May 2003