Technology Fee Guidelines

As you know, the University’s Board of Trustees has approved a Technology Fee of $75.00 ($37.50 for part-time students), effective September 2002.

Guiding Principles:

  1. The technology fee casts the students as consumers of technology provided by the college; expenditures of that revenue should be on resources and projects having a perceptible effect and demonstrable impact on students.
  2. Technology expenditures are most needed and most likely to be felt by students in academic uses of technology. Faculty development, the purchase of software/personal computers, increased access to computer laboratories, etc. should have priority.
  3. Requiring staffing, support, maintenance and upgrades, technology is never a short-term or one-shot investment, and so any investment in technology should be the result of strategic planning, done with an eye to sustainability and scalability.

Suggestions:

  1. An effective plan should build from existing resources and programs. The first priority should be what can be done to ensure more effective utilization of technology already in place: what is required to allow more use of technology in instruction? The likely answer is faculty development. Each campus should at least consider faculty development programs as part of its plan, ideally building on existing experience and success. Which faculty can mentor other faculty? What experiences with online instruction can be disseminated within a discipline or program? What resources can be mounted for modeling successful uses of instructional technology?
  2. An effective plan should concentrate responsibility. Technology use needs to have a high priority and profile, coherent because it partakes of a single vision. What structure for leadership or support is in place or needs to be in place? Who accepts responsibility for the coordination and direction of student access to technology?
  3. An effective plan should not localize or concentrate the uses of technology itself. It should, on the contrary, seek the widest possible distribution of use and benefits. What steps will be taken to ensure that technology is not focused almost wholly on a particular student constituency, on a specific kind or level of instruction, on a single program or department? To put that positively, what steps will be taken to ensure the most general access to technology?
  4. An effective plan should have clear goals. Planning for uses of technology should be done with a clear sense of the desired outcomes of that use. What should students be able to do with technology? What should faculty be able to do? How general and integral will the use of technology be in the life of the institution?
  5. An effective plan should give adequate attention to support issues. The use of technology is a problem if that use is interrupted or unstable, service is inconsistent, responsiveness to problems is not timely. What support will there be in the planned use of technology to ensure that help is available, delivery is consistent, and glitches are minimized?
  6. An effective plan will include students’ input. Students are major stakeholders in the use of technology, particularly with the technology fee in place. Will there be a forum for voicing the suggestions and needs? Will they have an ongoing role to play in the plan itself, perhaps as peer mentors, tech assistants, so-called online course wizards, or other (often remunerative but also cost-efficient) roles?

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