University Technology Plan

Assumptions:

MTSU has significant needs for technology funding, primarily for information technology, but also for other technology areas including the sciences and mass communication.

Funding may come from many sources, including technology access fees, state appropriations, fees charged to a specific segment of the population when benefits are limited to that segment, government and private grant programs, and contributions from outside donors.

Identified needs (in alphabetical order):

Central computer systems. Academic and administrative central computer systems must be maintained. Academic systems support software such as e-mail and CourseInfo. Administrative systems support software such as SIS. These systems require hardware and software upgrades annually. Professional staff must be constantly available to monitor and maintain these systems.

Computing Labs. A lab is defined as an area in which classes are rarely scheduled. It contains computer workstations intended for individual student use. It may contain printers and specialized hardware. Labs may be further classified as general purpose (used by and open to most students) and special purpose (usable only by specialized groups). Labs require computer replacement at intervals of 3-5 years. Software updates may be required as often as annually. Staff must be available to provide assistance, to monitor equipment use and to perform maintenance.

Connectivity. Connectivity between systems must be provided. There are two issues, networking of the campus itself, and connection of the campus to the outside world. Both must provide adequate bandwidth. This requires cabling (or wireless alternatives), hardware (servers, routers, etc.), a good Internet service provider and constant professional staff monitoring.

Discipline-specific equipment. Many disciplines require non-computer technology. This includes such diverse items as a gas chromatograph for Chemistry, an optical spectrum analyzer for Physics, lighting equipment for Speech and Theatre, and recording equipment for Recording Industry.

Faculty and staff offices. Faculty and staff members require computer workstations with software that is specific to their job functions, typically including e-mail and word processing. An individual may need a printer or other additional hardware, and may require specialized software. Faculty and staff machines must be replaced at intervals of 3-5 years. Software updates may be required as often as annually. Staff must be available to provide assistance and to perform maintenance. If major new software systems are introduced (for example, for computer-enhanced courses), appropriate training programs must be available to faculty or staff members.

Library. In addition to housing a lab, the MTSU library has special hardware requirements (notably servers) and software needs (notably databases). Servers will require upgrades at intervals of 3-5 years. Database updates will be required annually. Professional library staff must be available to support this software. Support is also required for the hardware.

Master Classrooms. A master classroom is equipped with a teacher's workstation, a computer projector, a network connection and other enhancements. It may or may not contain student workstations. It is intended as an area in which classes are scheduled, but a master classroom with student workstations may sometimes be used as a lab. In master classrooms computer, projection and audio equipment must be replaced at intervals of 3-5 years. Software updates may be required as often as annually. Staff must be available to provide assistance, to monitor equipment use and to perform maintenance.

Recommendations:

The following recommendations are in priority order.

1. Provide infrastructure to support existing computer users. Specifically

  • Appropriate and sufficient connectivity (on campus and to the outside world), and appropriate and sufficient staff to support connectivity.
  • Appropriate and sufficient personnel to maintain computer systems in labs and offices. Major lab sites should have on-site support. Roaming support can be used for other sites.
  • Appropriate and sufficient personnel to support central computing.

A corollary to this is that new facilities should be established only when appropriate and sufficient infrastructure support is available.

Examples of TAF projects permitted under this priority: Infrastructure such as bandwidth, cabling or wireless, switches, and routers.

2. Establish a 4-year replacement cycle for computer workstations and a regular replacement cycle for other equipment (such as projectors in master classrooms). Upgrade library servers and central systems as necessary to ensure adequate service. Provide for regular upgrades of software on all systems.

Examples of TAF projects permitted under this priority: Replacement and maintenance of all computers, projectors, scanners, printers, library servers, campus servers, software and databases. This includes faculty computers if they are actively engaged in developing and conducting on-line courses or technology for faculty labs if course materials are being prepared.

3/4. Address discipline-specific equipment needs on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of TAF projects permitted under this priority: Initial purchase, maintenance, and replacement of any instructional discipline specific equipment that will be used by students.

4/3. Provide appropriate and sufficient personnel to provide training for faculty and staff members, to support technology based teaching and integration of technology into the curriculum.

Examples of TAF projects permitted under this priority: Consultants for training for faculty and staff development directly related to the introduction or application of new technology that impacts students.

5. Continue to add master classrooms at the five per year rate proposed in the Academic Master Plan. It is assumed that if any new classroom buildings are constructed, its lecture rooms would be master classrooms. Master classrooms should not be unnecessarily restricted in use.

Examples of TAF projects permitted under this priority: New master classrooms.

6. Encourage the "owners"; of existing labs to share these spaces as much as possible by supporting existing labs with consumables, software and staffing. New labs, especially special purpose labs, should require full justification.

Examples of TAF projects permitted under this priority: Consumables and staffing for existing labs. New lab technology, if justified, is permitted.

7. Everything else.