5.17 Technology Training
Those at a university need to understand computer and information technology since technology solutions are frequently called upon to increase productivity and reduce costs and since technology has become an important means of teaching and learning. Several sections of this technology plan (5.4.2, 5.9.1, 5.9.2, 5.16.1, and 5.16.2, 5.16.3) refer to technology training. This section attempts to identify the current training environment on campus, where successes have occurred, and where improvement should be directed over the next five years of the plan.
Technology training is necessary for three categories of university users: technologists, employees in general (faculty, staff, and student workers), and the general student population. It’s important to remember that learning about technology takes place in a variety of ways — from reading a manual, to taking a course or a workshop, to consulting with a friend. Also training might occur in groups or individually, online or in person.
Technologists. Training for technologists typically must be done in off-campus environments since training for the level of expertise we demand from these people is not available locally. A very small sum of money is currently available for training of technologists. It is essential to consider training as a part of the cost of technology ownership and, specifically, a part that pays for itself in less downtime and higher productivity. As part of training, there is an ongoing need for books and manuals.
Employees (Faculty, Staff, and Student Workers). Currently at SCSU, faculty and staff may take advantage of training offered by CIS-AdC and LR&TS. They also may elect to learn from colleagues or students, from on- or off-campus course, from online tutorials, etc.
Student workers provide additional challenges because of their temporary employment, the sheer quantity of student employees, and their varying levels of expertise. A training program that provides academic credit and/or possibly a certificate in some aspect of software and/or hardware competence might be initiated.
General Student Population. Student technology training is currently delivered through courses in some programs, as parts of various courses in many disciplines, through student training workshops, or by consultants in the various open and closed labs on campus. Training of the general student population has evoked several proposals that might prove worth investigating.
The following list includes questions about training that have already been raised by various campus stakeholders. In some cases, the concerns are about a particular kind of training; in other cases, the concerns are about training for a specific group. In general, technology training needs to be a higher priority than it is currently. In short, training should not be an afterthought.
In the next five years, SCSU should
A committee and appropriate sub-committees will be established to address technology training on campus. The committee will draw expertise from the various technologists and faculty members across campus who are involved in technology and information system training as well as from interested stakeholders.
Resources to provide training are essential to provide robust infrastructural support to technology and information systems. The level of training support is difficult to target because the current level of technology training funding is not tied to software application/hardware use. Advances in software and hardware will drive future training, but current needs are only partially understood. At the very least, substantial monetary and human resources will be needed to sustain a robust support scaffolding. The level of these costs will need to be determined, mindful of cost/benefit analysis relative to the total cost of ownership. In short, the more technologists and student workers know about what they are supposed to support, the more likely valid support will be available so that technology will be more effectively maintained and productivity will be enhanced.
Revised: May 2003